Of all the strategies you could use to market your tax practice, few can offer better ROI than local search engine optimization. Why? According to Hubspot, “four in five consumers use search engines to find local information,” and 28% of local searches will result in a purchase of some kind. In other words, the majority of your potential clients depend on search engines to find services like tax preparation, and local SEO helps them find you right when they’re ready to invest in your help.
Here’s what you need to know and some practical steps you can take to make sure that your tax practice has an internet presence that’s primed for local search.
What is Local SEO?
SEO (or search engine optimization) involves writing and designing web content in a way that makes it more likely to appear on search engine results pages. Local SEO is similar, but, as the name suggests, focuses specifically on searches that involve local terms like city names and zip codes or phrases like “near me” and “close by.” It also involves searches that appear to have local intent even if a term like this isn’t included.
A Google search for “tax help,” for example, will yield a typical results list with web pages from the IRS and other reputable sources as well as a list of local tax businesses. This list is often referred to as the “local pack,” and landing your business’s information there is the primary aim of local SEO.
In short, while the goal of general SEO is to increase the results standings of a particular website, local SEO differs in that its goal is to help increase the standings of your business’s address and contact information.
Why is Local SEO important for your tax business?
Local searches typically have extremely high purchase intent. When someone searches for a local plumber, hairdresser, or tax preparer, they’re almost always ready to pay for that service. They aren’t just a potential customer — they’re already a lead. Appearing in their search results means that you’ve connected with them at exactly the right moment in their journey to becoming a paying customer.
How can you improve Local SEO for your tax business?
If links are the lifeblood of general SEO, citations are the lifeblood of local SEO. In this context, a “citation” is any place online where your business’s name, address, phone number, and website URL appear together. You can think of citations as an online version of your business card; they help customers quickly learn what you do and how to find you, and you want to “hand out” as many as possible.
Generally, the more online citations your business has, the more likely it is to appear in local searches. Below are some of the easiest and most important ways you can create citations for your tax business:
Your own website
If you have a website, make sure to include all of your current contact information and organically incorporate keywords that are relevant to your business like “tax help,” “tax preparation,” “tax professional,” etc.
Google My Business
Creating a Google My Business account is one of, if not the, most important things you can do for your local SEO. When businesses appear in the coveted “local pack,” Google pulls information like hours, address, and phone number from their Google My Business accounts.
Not only does a Google My Business account act as another citation and improve rankings in local searches, it ensures that potential clients can easily contact you and find your office once you appear in their search results.
Like Google My Business, Yelp offers another opportunity for a citation for your business. It’s also one of the most trusted used and trusted resources for choosing local service providers. You can learn more about how and why to create a Yelp account for your tax business here.
Social media & other directories
Make sure to keep your business’s contact information up-to-date on all of your social media accounts and take advantage of other online directories like FourSquare, CityGrid, Bing, and others like those on this list.
For more ways to expand and improve your tax practice’s online presence, check out the tips in our Social Media 101 for Tax Professionals guide!