SEO for Tax Preparers:
The Ultimate Guide
Search engine optimization is critical for tax preparation businesses.
Without it, you’ll miss an incredible opportunity to build credibility and reach waves of new clients.
But what exactly is SEO for tax preparers?
How can your tax business website rank #1 in local Google search results?
What SEO keywords should you go after?
If you’re asking these questions, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, you’ll get a complete look at SEO for tax professionals:
- Why SEO is vital for tax professionals
- Local vs. National SEO for tax businesses
- Four actionable steps to improve your local SEO
- Four ways to step-up your national SEO
All in an ultra-practical approach, so you’ll leave with a bunch of steps you can take right away.
Let’s dive in.
Why Tax Preparers NEED SEO
Before getting into how to improve SEO, start at the beginning…
Why do you need search engine optimization?
As you’ll soon see, proper SEO takes a lot of work. Is it worth it?
Referrals Aren’t the Best Way to Get Clients Anymore
If there’s one thing the coronavirus taught tax preparers, it’s that depending solely on referrals is a mistake.
How many business owners do you know struggled to get any new clients during the pandemic?
How did you fare?
It’s alarming how fragile depending only on referrals is.
That’s why you need a back-up plan.
You need a marketing strategy that is pandemic-proof and super effective at bringing in new clients year-round.
Word of mouth isn’t the only way for people to find a tax professional nowadays.
Lots of people move into new cities and have no clue about the tax professionals in their area.
How do they find a reputable company?
And no amount of referral-campaigning will get to these clients who use search engines for ideas.
That’s why you need search engine optimization.
Tax Businesses Are Ultra-Competitive
Type “tax services” and check the Google search results.
You’ll find a small map with ALL the tax businesses in your area (or at least most of them).
How many are there?
10? 20? 30?
That’s how many businesses you’re up against (and there’s more that don’t show up!).
Every single red pin on the map is fighting for your clients’ attention.
How do you prevail?
Search engine optimization.
Now that more people are searching for tax professionals online, business owners are forced to get into SEO.
If you don’t jump on board, you’re going to miss out.
Even if you have the best tax preparation services, it’s no use if all people find on search engines is your competition’s website.
That’s why you need SEO.
Passing on this is NOT an option anymore.
Thousands of People Are Searching for Tax Preparers Online
What’s the first thing people do when they need something?
Nowadays, the answer is, “Google it.”
Stats don’t lie.
“Tax preparer” is searched over 13,000 times a month and brings 3.6k clicks to various websites.
And that’s during the off-season.
When tax season arrives, this number jumps well over 24,000 in the United States alone.
Even crazier is the keyword “tax services,” which brings in 44,000 searches during peak season!
People are using search engines to find tax preparers by the thousands.
But here’s an alarming fact:
Without proper local SEO, your business won’t show up in search engines when people type “tax preparer” or “tax services.”
Those 6.7k clicks? ZERO of them will go to you.
So don’t sit back and pray for people to find you.
Don’t focus only on referrals, word of mouth, or postcard campaigns. These all dry up eventually.
Get your SEO up and running, and your website will always be out there for the masses to find.
You’ll get a load of new clients this way.
SEO is One of the BEST Ways to Advertise Your Tax Preparation Business
What are your options for advertising your tax business?
Print advertisements? Which only gets less than a 1% response rate and has a terribly high CPA?
Telephone marketing? Where you’ll get rejected over and over again before you reach one potential client?
Television advertisement? Which costs a fortune, and is nearly impossible to track how successful it is?
Pay-per-click advertising? Where you’ll go up against giant companies, like Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block, who have all the money in the world to defeat your campaign?
Referral Marketing? Where some days are good, some days are bad, and you’re forced to work hard networking every day or nothing will come out of it?
The more you look into it, the more appealing local SEO becomes.
It’s not only far less expensive to hire SEO companies (it’s free if you go DIY), but it’s also extremely effective and easy to track results.
Remember the thousands of searches for “tax services?”
The stats only get better from there:
4 in 5 consumers search online to find local businesses. 50% of searchers visit the store on the same day as their search. And 18% ultimately purchase from the store they’ve just searched up.
With strong local SEO, your business will be the first to pop-up as people search for “tax services” by the thousands.
Your business will pop up on the face of people already searching for your services – something other advertisement options can’t do (or are just way too expensive).
Local SEO vs. National SEO – Which is Better for Tax Businesses?
There are two types of SEO: local and national.
Both have different goals and use different SEO strategies.
Local SEO focuses on ranking for local keywords on search engines, such as the name of your state or city.
For example, “tax services in Florida” is a local keyword. So is “best tax preparer Orlando,” or even “tax service near me.”
Any time there is a location in the keyword, it’s a local keyword.
If your clients live within your city or state, local search engine optimization will be a powerful tool for you.
National SEO, on the other hand, is focused on ranking for all keywords related to tax business.
Things like “How to prepare taxes” or “best tax software” are national keywords.
For smaller businesses, this isn’t as big of a deal as local SEO.
Yes, you will still benefit from having great national SEO (it’ll rank your website higher on search engines and help your local SEO push).
But unless you’re targeting clients from all over the country, your efforts should be focused more on local SEO.
It’s what will drive all the new clients to your door.
How to Improve Local SEO For Tax Preparation Businesses
Now that you know the importance of local SEO, the question is…
How do you improve your local SEO?
Here are four actionable steps you can take right now to improve your local SEO.
How To Improve Local SEO for Tax Preparation Business Step #1: Set Up Your Google My Business
If you haven’t signed up for Google My Business yet, do it now.
This is the single most crucial step to ranking your business on Google – even more important than your website.
It’s the first thing that shows up when people use search engines to find tax professionals.
Plus, with a good Google My Business profile, it’ll be super easy for clients to learn about your business.
The good news?
It’s super easy to get started.
All you have to do is head to Google.com/business, click on “manage now,” and fill up your business details.
That said, you don’t want to rush your Google My Business profile.
When filling out your business details, make sure you give as much information as possible (and make sure it’s all 100% accurate).
If possible, don’t leave anything blank. The more details you give, the better Google can index your business – and the higher you’ll appear on search engines.
One secret tip is to sprinkle keywords in your business description.
No, don’t stuff “tax services” or “tax preparer” until your description is unreadable. But give a clear and helpful description while sliding in keywords where they fit.
Quality over quantity always.
Another secret is to add high-quality images.
When your Google My Business profile is full of great photos of your business, you’ll not only get a better rank, but it will also build trust with potential clients.
Google will guide you on the photos you need to add (your logo, your office, your banner, etc.). Uploading all of these is a must.
You may also want to add 3-4 other photos to give people more ideas of what exactly your business looks like.
Expert tip: If a well-known influencer does business with you, ask them for a photo in front of your office. Then, with their permission, upload it to your Google My Business profile. It’s a sneaky little way to market your business that works.
There are a few other ways to optimize your Google My Business profile.
All of them follow the basic principle:
Give as much relevant and useful information about your business, and Google will put you higher on search results for it.
How To Improve Local SEO for Tax Preparation Business Step #2: Get Citations From Directory Sites
Yes, setting up the perfect Google My Business profile is a must.
But that alone won’t rank you #1 in search engines.
To get that, you’ll need citations.
What are citations, you ask?
Citations are any place on the internet where your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are listed.
The more your NAP appears on the web, the more search engines trust that your information is correct.
Go on Yelp, Yellow Pages, Merchant Circle, and other good directory sites and list your business there. (Note: It’s quality over quantity again. Citations from a lousy website won’t help.)
If you find your business already listed on these sites, sign up, claim it, and add your details.
You should also set up social media accounts.
Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram are great places to build more citations.
But here’s the catch.
Your company name, address, and telephone number should always be 100% consistent.
Every letter of your name, address, and phone number should be exactly the same everywhere it’s listed, whether that’s in directories or social media.
If it isn’t, if even one letter is missing, Google won’t see it as a citation.
That’s why claiming your business on directory sites and fixing the details is super important.
That said, don’t listen to what some say that Google can’t read shortcuts.
2850 Northgate Blvd and 2850 Northgate Boulevard count as the same address in Google’s eyes.
If possible, try to make everything exactly the same right down to the shortcuts you use. But you’ll find some websites just don’t allow you to do this.
Don’t stress over it.
However, typos like 2850 Norhgate Blvd won’t count as a citation. So keep an eye out for these.
How To Improve Local SEO for Tax Preparation Business Step #3: Get High-Quality Customer Reviews (and Reply to Them)
Another vital local SEO ranking factor is customer reviews.
Google wants to showcase the best businesses around.
There’s no better way for them to do this than to listen to what customers are saying.
That’s why you should strive to get more good reviews (and less bad ones).
How do you get your clients to leave reviews?
The easiest way is simply to ask.
Ask your customers nicely to leave a review. Let them know that it’ll be a big help for you and other future customers.
Also, make it easy for them to leave a review.
In your Google My Business profile, click on the “Get More Reviews” card. This will give you a short URL you can send to customers to leave a review.
Note: You should NOT give them something in exchange for a review. This is strictly against Google’s policy.
It’s all up to your clients if they want to leave a review or not. You’ll find many happy clients who wish to be helpful.
Another thing you should do is reply to your reviews.
When clients are happy, thank them for their review. You could also share these reviews on social media as testimonials.
When they aren’t, let them know you’re sorry and try to fix the problem.
Even if you can’t solve it, your reply will at least show readers that you care.
Remember, reviews aren’t only for ranking higher. According to Forbes, 90% of consumers read online reviews.
You can show the human side of your company by replying to reviews. Which, in turn, will build trust with any potential clients reading.
How To Improve Local SEO for Tax Preparation Business Step #4: Target Local SEO Keywords for Tax Preparation Businesses
Setting up your Google My Business profile, getting citations, and getting more good reviews will all help you get into the 3-pack (those first three businesses that show up in Google search when you type for “tax services”).
Getting into that 3-pack is the ultimate goal of local SEO.
Once you’re in, that’s when your phone won’t stop ringing, and people won’t stop showing up.
But that’s not the only thing you should work for.
Not all potential clients will search for “tax services.”
Sometimes, they search for something specific. Something like “tax preparers for seniors.”
Note: You can do some DIY keyword research by heading to Google and checking what people are looking for.
Your target audience might also search for something like, “Florida income tax rate.”
If you aren’t chasing these local keywords, if your focus is 100% on getting on the 3-pack, you might miss many potential clients.
So search for these related keywords, then put them around your website.
You should also start a blog and address these keywords (more on this below).
How to Improve National SEO for Tax Businesses
While local and national SEO focus on different things, there are areas where they overlap.
Even if your tax services are exclusively for a particular area, you’ll still benefit from national SEO.
This is because one crucial ranking factor for both national AND local SEO is domain ranking.
And the way to build your domain ranking is through traditional search engine optimization techniques, not local ones.
So don’t throw national SEO out the window.
It’ll give your local efforts a big boost when done right.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can use national SEO to grow your domain ranking.
How To Improve SEO for Tax Business Tip #1: Build Quality Links
Link-building is one of the most significant ranking factors in traditional search engine optimization.
It’s essential for hitting that #1 spot in search results.
The more quality links you have to your site, the better ranking you’ll get.
Notice, it says “quality” links.
Yes, there is such a thing as bad links that you want to avoid.
Links from unknown and unrelated sources aren’t useful for search engine rankings. If anything, they can confuse Google on what your website is about.
Instead, you want to get links from reputable websites in your niche.
An unknown fitness blog link is far less valuable than a link from, say, irs.gov (good luck getting a link from them though).
How do you get these links?
There are several ways:
- Ask for backlinks
- Write a guest post
- Build relationships
- Perform case studies
- Start a blog
With links from other good finance-related websites, your domain ranking will shoot up.
Note: building links with other local businesses will also help you with local SEO.
How To Improve SEO for Tax Business Tip #2: Start a Blog and Publish Relevant Content
Start a blog.
Content is the bread and butter of SEO. And your blog is where all your content belongs.
Blogs are incredibly useful for building links and getting more traffic.
Especially for tax businesses.
This is because taxes are confusing. Thousands of people have so many questions and need tax help.
Where do they go for answers?
So get down and dirty and find out what your clients are searching for. Then write the best blog post on the internet answering these questions.
You’ll get a ton of traffic this way.
You’ll also get a ton of links.
When you provide lists, charts, and definite numbers people can’t find elsewhere, other reputable sites will want to link to your site. Plus, a lot of people will share your work on social media.
It’s a win for everyone.
How To Improve SEO for Tax Business Tip #3: Fix Technical SEO (or Hire a Web Developer)
You can have the most complete web pages on a topic but fail to rank completely.
Because of technical errors.
Unfortunately, fixing these is no easy task.
Technical SEO deals with crawl errors, schema markups, broken links, page speed, and other complicated problems.
However… does that sound like something you want to get into?
It’s not something that most tax professionals even want to try.
That’s why we highly recommend hiring a web developer to do this for you (or working with SEO companies).
You could also at least consult with a web developer to help you out with this.
Because if your page is ridden with technical SEO errors, Google won’t give you a good ranking.
How To Improve SEO for Tax Business Tip #4: Create a User-Friendly Website
Last but not least, you need a website with great user experience.
User-experience refers not so much to looks, but more on functionality.
Your website should be pleasant and super easy to navigate.
If users can’t find what they’re looking for right away, they’re going to click that back button.
But with a user-friendly website, people will spend a lot more time on your website.
So throw in images, throw in infographics. Throw in a highly relevant and entertaining video that’ll keep them on your page for a few minutes.
Because the longer they stay on your page, the better it’ll be for your SEO.
Also, with good user-experience, more people will want to work with you.
If they feel comfortable and you make it super easy for them to schedule a call or book an appointment, there’s a big chance they will.
That’s why user-experience is vital.
It’s not only useful for ranking on Google, but it could spell the difference between someone becoming your client or not.
Remember, taxes are already intimidating for a lot of people.
The last thing you want to do is scare them away with an intimidating website.
Ready to Take Your Tax Preparation Website to the Top?
SEO is an investment.
A long-term investment.
It’s something that needs a lot of work to get started. And you won’t see instant results.
But when it clicks?
It’ll click hard.
Once your website is up there ranking for local SEO, you’ll have a solid foundation.
Anybody looking for a tax professional in your city will find you and will find you first.
Gone are the days when you had to splurge into advertising to see any result.
Or had to work tooth and nail chasing referrals.
With SEO, your business will experience steady growth for years to come.
Want the professionals to do your SEO for you?