The Importance of Keyword Research and How to do It

Words are powerful things, especially when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing. The right words can drive the right people to your firm’s website and encourage them to schedule a call. These “right words” are keywords, and they can help search engines like Google understand what your website is about. But how do you find the right keywords for your firm’s site? Through keyword research for accounting firms.

It’s important to understand what keyword research is, why it’s important and how to do it.

What is Keyword Research and Why is it Important?

Keyword research is the process of finding words or phrases that are searched by your target audience on search engines like Google. These are the search queries people use to find firms like yours online. Incorporating these phrases into your content can help search engines understand what your firm’s website is about and help searchers find your website.

When performing keyword research, you can typically see:

  • How often a word or phrase is searched. The more often a keyword is searched, the greater the opportunity to drive visitors to your website.
  • How competitive the keyword is. Your competitors and other accounting-related websites may also be trying to rank for the same keyword. The more competitive a keyword is, the more difficult it will be to rank high in the search results for it.

You may also be able to view other metrics, but these are generally the two most important. 

Keyword research is important because it can:

  • Provide you with valuable information on what your target audience is searching for
  • Help you gauge the competitiveness of relevant keywords 
  • Guide your content marketing plan
  • Help your website rank for as many relevant search queries as possible

In many ways, keyword research serves as the foundation for your SEO and content marketing efforts. 

How to Do Keyword Research for Accounting Firms

Keyword research is important. But how do you do it? The first step is to brainstorm for search terms that are relevant to your firm and its services.

Brainstorm Ideas

If your firm already has a website with Google Analytics installed, you can use your Analytics data as a starting point.

  • Head over to your Google Search Console dashboard. 
  • Click the hamburger menu at the top left side of the page and navigate to Search Results under the Performance tab. 

Check the Queries tab to see which keywords your website is coming up for. These keywords can give you some ideas that you can use to search for more relevant keywords.

Of course, you can also create a list of terms or words that are related to your services or location. For example, “tax planning” or “accounting firm in Los Angeles.” 

Use a Keyword Research Tool

Using an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush will make your life easier. You can start with an idea, like a keyword from your Google Search Console list, and these tools will give you a list of relevant keywords that may be relevant to your website.

For example, accounting keywords may include phrases like:

  • Accounting firm near me
  • Small business accounting
  • Tax accounting services in CITY

If I enter the keyword phrase “small business accounting” in Ahrefs, the tool provides me with the following keyword ideas:

  • Small business tax accounting
  • Online small business accounting
  • Small business accounting services near me
  • Accounting firms for small business

These are all keywords that can be used in an accounting firm’s website to help attract traffic and targeted visitors.

It’s important to note that tools like Ahrefs are paid for and require a monthly subscription.

Google’s Keyword Planner is a free alternative.

Once you have a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to do a little more research.

Check Keyword Metrics

When performing your research, you’ll likely find hundreds of potential keywords. You can’t target all of them, and even if you could, it wouldn’t be worth your time. The key to success with keyword research is narrowing down your results to only those that are:

  • Highly relevant
  • Searched often enough
  • Low competition

All three of these factors are important. The keyword “accounting” is highly relevant to your firm and searched often (more than 63,000 times per month, according to Ahrefs), but it is highly competitive. You’ll need to compete with giant firms, accounting software developers, and other big fish to rank high enough to make the keyword worth your time. According to Ahrefs, you’d need about 681 backlinks (links from other websites pointing to your firm’s site) to rank in the top 10 results.

On the other hand, the term “accounting firms for small businesses” has a keyword difficulty of just 22. Depending on your firm’s marketing budget, ranking for this keyword would be doable.

Competition shouldn’t be your only concern either. A keyword may be low competition and highly relevant, but it may not be searched enough to drive any meaningful traffic to your website. An estimated 95% of all search queries in the United States receive less than 10 searches per month.

As you can see, metrics play an important role in your keyword research. The most important ones to consider are:

  • Search volume (how often the term is searched).
  • Keyword difficulty (usually given as a score – the higher, the more difficult).
  • CPC (cost per click) if you plan to run pay-per-click campaigns (ad campaigns on Google or websites). The CPC is how much you will pay for each click on your ad.

These metrics will help you determine which keywords are worth targeting and will give you the best chance of ranking or driving traffic to your site. 

Consider Your Audience

When searching for keywords, metrics are important. But it’s just as important to consider your audience. A keyword may be low competition and searched often, but if it’s not something your audience would search for, it may not be worth your time.

For example, let’s say that your firm only works with large enterprises. Using the example above, the keyword phrase “accounting firms for small businesses” would not be a good fit for your firm. Yes, it’s searched often and not too competitive. However, this search query will only attract small businesses looking for accounting firms. In other words, it will attract the wrong people. 

It’s important to ensure that you’re considering the nature of the keywords and who may be searching for them to ensure they align with your target audience.

Final Thoughts

Keyword research is a complex process. These are the most basic steps to conducting your research. It’s a process that requires experience and expertise to refine keyword lists and find the best ones to target. In truth, keyword research is both an art and a science. Working with a marketing professional who understands the unique needs of accounting firms can save you time and help make your marketing strategy more fruitful.

Do you need help with keyword research and SEO for your firm’s website? Book a call with us today.

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