Every accountant or CPA business wants more online visibility so that they’re found by more great leads. One of the ways you can build your online visibility is to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile, or GBP.
This is a free business directory listing from Google themselves and they want you to fill it in and use it. Doing so is good for them as they have all the details they need to list you in the search engines, and it’s good for you, because who doesn’t like free advertising from the world’s largest search engine?
You do need to know how to optimize your GBP before you’ll get the results you want from it, so read on for our Google Business Profile tips for accounting firms.
What is a Google Business Profile?
If you’re listed on any of the main online business directories, such as Yelp or Angi, you’ll be familiar with what you see on your GBP. As we said above, your Google Business Profile is simply a business directory listing. However, coming from the world’s largest search engine, we’d suggest you prioritize claiming and filling in this one over any of the others.
Google uses this profile to see what it should say about you in the search engine listings. It also checks out your GBP when deciding which businesses should make it into the coveted Google Local Map Pack listings at the top of Google Maps. And you’ll get another citation to help build your online presence when you fill in your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) on your profile.
What you’ll see when you claim your profile is a lot of space to talk about your business and what you do. There’s also plenty of space to list your services, answer questions, post quality images, add your contact details, and more.
Customers can also leave reviews on your Google Business Profile and you definitely want to encourage that and to respond to your reviews, not just for the social proof, but also because these reviews and your star rating can show up when you create paid ads, and because the more reviews you have and the higher your star rating, the more chance you have of appearing in the Local Map Pack.
Benefits of having a Google Business Profile for your accounting firm
We’ve listed some of the benefits above and here are even more reasons to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile:
Increased visibility and better rankings in local search results
One of the most important things to Google and the other search engines is that they want to provide the best possible answer to their search queries. This includes being certain that any content they present should come from a real and genuine business, not from any fakes or scammers. When you claim your profile, you have to verify your business to Google as part of the set up and, of course, this then gives them proof that you are one of those real and genuine businesses and that they can feel safe including you in the search results. This alone should give you a boost in the search results.
Once you’ve fully optimized your profile and filled everything in with quality copy full of relevant keywords, including local keywords, then when people search for an accountant or CPA in your local area, it’s quite likely your Google profile will be listed even above your own website. This isn’t a bad thing, though. It’s another listing in the search results for you, and it’s a verified listing to build trust with potential clients too.
Makes it easier to get more reviews
People can come to your Google Business Profile and post their reviews right up front on your listing. It’s easy for them to do and it’s easy for you to send a link straight to your reviews section when asking clients to leave a review on your profile.
You can also respond to your reviews on your profile and say “thank you” for any helpful feedback as well as respond to negative reviews to hopefully resolve the issue and turn it into a positive. This provides excellent social proof for any potential clients.
Free and easy to use
Nothing about using your GBP is difficult. The most complicated part is claiming your profile and even that’s not rocket science. What will take you the longest is completing and optimizing your profile, but that’s simply a matter of deciding what should go on your profile and writing great copy.
After that, it’s really straightforward to keep your profile updated with fresh content. It just takes a little time.
How Accountants & CPAs Can Get Started with a Google Business Profile
If you’ve been online for any length of time, you may already have a GBP, but you’ll still have to claim it if you haven’t done so. Go to Google Maps and search for your business. If there is a listing, then you should be able to click Claim This Business/Manage Now. If there isn’t a listing for your business, you will be able to add it at this stage.
Once you click Claim This Business/Manage Now, you’ll then be asked to verify your business. You can do this via email, text, video, or phone.
Google can take up to seven days to fully verify your business but, once they have, your GBP will go live.
You can start building up and optimizing your profile immediately via your Business Profile Manager. You can find that in the top right-hand corner of Google Apps in the drop down menu.
7 Ways Accountants Should Optimize Their Google Business Profile to Attract More Clients
It’s really important that you take your time on this and fully complete your profile. If you don’t, it won’t be fully optimized and you might miss out on an appearance in the Local Map Pack.
1. Complete your profile
Fill in every section you possibly can on your GBP. Think about what impression you want to create and what your potential clients will want to know.
Start by choosing the right categories for your accountancy or CPA business. You can have up to ten, so make the most of them.
You’ll want to include your full contact details, including your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) and your location. Your NAP is really important because, as well as providing information to your potential clients, it also gives you another citation for your business online, and the more citations you have, the more you prove that you have a genuine business that people can trust. A citation is just a mention of your NAP on any site that you don’t own.
Keep in mind that your NAP must be consistent and accurate everywhere online. Wherever you write it, it can’t vary at all, not even for small things like using an abbreviation in one place but not in another. If you alter anything and your NAP isn’t consistent everywhere, then it can cause confusion for potential clients who may not be sure if there are two businesses and which one is yours. The other issue is that Google can’t be sure which version of your NAP is the correct one, and they will lower you in the search rankings if they can’t be sure.
You’ll also want to include your opening hours on your profile. For customer information, but also for customer convenience. If you are open, anyone can use voice search to find you by saying “Accountant open now” and that gives you another way to be found.
2. Write a compelling and authentic business description
This is your chance to persuade potential clients to choose you over any other accountant or CPA. Take your time here and think about your USP and what people want to hear. Be genuine and authentic because people can tell the difference.
It’s also important to use your brand voice on your profile, just as you would anywhere else online. Optimizing your profile can also help to build your brand.
3. Upload photos and videos of your business
You can make your profile attractive and welcoming by posting photos and videos to show what it’s like to work with you.
Obviously, everything must be of high quality because it’s representing your business, though most mobile phones now have very good cameras, so it won’t break your marketing budget to do this.
Show people what your client-facing areas are like, and take photos of your smiling self and your staff to make people feel welcome. Do a video tour of your building and provide educational videos on important topics, such as what businesses can and can’t claim, and when tax deadlines are. It’s also good to take shots of the exterior of your building and any signage so new clients can find you more easily.
4. Respond to customer reviews
We can’t stress this enough. Responding to customer reviews is vital. It’s also easy as you can do it right on your Google Profile.
You must respond to every review, including the negative ones. Say “thank you” where appropriate and do your best to respond as if you had the person in front of you. Be polite and approachable. You’re not just responding to them, you’re also showing potential clients what your customer service is like and what it would be like to work with you.
The other thing this does is provide more social proof for potential customers and make the reviewers feel appreciated. They’ll likely review again and come back to your firm if they know they matter to you and that you appreciate their feedback.
Deal with negative reviews best by encouraging them to contact you either by email or telephone so that you don’t end up with a public row online for anyone to see. Listen, take your time, and be polite. Look at what you can do to resolve the situation and change the outcome. If you feel it’s appropriate, you can then ask the reviewer to change their negative review into a positive one.
5. Answer questions from the Questions & Answers section
If you don’t yet have any questions from clients, then think about what they’re likely to want to know and post those questions yourself with the answers for now.
This section might not seem important, but you are answering people’s questions, and that will help them to feel important. It will also help other clients who can see the answers you’ve already written.
Writing an FAQ helps you too as you can save time on answering the same questions over and over, reduce the number of calls that are just to ask questions, and it’s another opportunity to get your keywords into your profile. Even better, it’s an opportunity to show off your expertise and impress potential clients.
6. Post on Google
As well as filling in your profile, you’ll need to maintain it by regularly posting fresh content, including images and videos.
Just as you would on social media, you can talk about your business, provide educational information, and share any news, such as new staff members or new services. You can also share special offers, changes to opening hours during the holidays, and anything else you think would be helpful to your clients and potential clients.
Don’t forget to include your keywords and local keywords in these posts too. Every section on this profile is another opportunity to include your keywords and get found.
7. List services/products your business provides
There is a separate section for listing your services and products on your profile and this works as an at-a-glance view for clients as well as a list for Google to refer to when looking for businesses that match their criteria for search results.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Optimizing and maintaining your Google Business Profile can take some time, but we can make it easier for you. With Surefire Local’s business intelligence marketing software, you can update your profile, post, respond to comments, request and respond to your reviews right from your dashboard. You don’t need to log into your profile. You can simply do everything in our software. Not only that, but you can also update over 80 online business directories at once with just a few clicks.
Instead of using multiple pieces of software to manage your marketing, leave it to Surefire Local and use just one. Our all-in-one marketing platform can help you manage your most important online marketing activities within one platform.
You can plan, create, and schedule your content, manage and nurture your leads, schedule your email marketing, manage your social media marketing, work on your paid ads, and far more in our easy-to-use dashboard.
And you get highly detailed analytics and reports to tell you how your marketing is performing and where you need to make improvements.
Why not book a demo and see how we can make your marketing easier?