Will your Tax Accountant or CPA website disappear from Google's mobile search results come April 21?

Imagine a new prospect who was just referred to you by a longtime client. This person goes to Google on an iPhone, but you do not show up in the search results. Think of a client who gets lost when driving to your office. The client pulls over and does a search on a droid phone to get directions to your office. Again, nothing comes up in the Google mobile search results.

You may ask how that could possibly happen. If your website is not up to the modern standards of what is called a responsive website, Google will start showing your website lower in mobile search results starting April 21.

This change will affect your traffic and, more importantly, your brand awareness. This is a great opportunity for progressive accountants who do not have a website yet to get started and for those using old technology to upgrade.

Some basics on responsive website design and mobile search

Depending on what report you read about mobile search, about 50% of Google traffic will be coming through mobile search by the end of 2015. That is a very significant percentage for your CPA and tax accounting practice.

Statistics show us that mobile click-through rates (CTR) are higher than those for tablets or desktops. Mobile users usually also have a higher sense of urgency when searching. In addition, mobile CTRs are also higher due to the fact that there are fewer ad impressions available per search on smartphones. 

A properly optimized, responsive website will include streamlined navigation, making it easier to move around on smaller screen sizes. The website will actually change dimensions automatically for all devices. You use one domain name and one version of the website instead of managing multiple editions.

Contact information and directions (mapping) are two of the biggest features for current clients. The #1 tool used by prospects who were referred to you or who found you on search is easy access to reviews, which they take into consideration when choosing a professional. If you are missing any of this content, your website will not fare as well. 

According to Google, sites that are mobile-friendly generate 67% more purchases than those that are not. By making your site more useful, you are increasing client satisfaction and the odds of getting new clients from search results. Your website should be a cash-positive return on your investment, not an expense-line item.

Click here to check if your website is mobile friendly

Here are some examples of top-performing Tax Accountant and CPA websites. You will notice they are all clean in navigation and that the content is clear and concise. The old way of building websites and navigation for the desktop computer is over. Websites that are cluttered with content get fewer conversions since users cannot quickly identify what they are looking for. This is especially true on a smaller screen. The statistics don’t lie. The last thing you want is for someone to bounce off your site due to frustration over having to two-finger zoom to see what’s what on the page.

Even before Google’s April 21 rollout, we have noticed that older legacy website clients do not get as much traffic overall (and especially from mobile) as the users on our responsive website platform. The difference ranges from 54% of traffic from mobile for a responsive website to 15% for an older website. These numbers are significant and will affect the overall health of your firm.

Another issue many tax accounting processionals don't think of is email. According to Litmus (in 2013), 51 percent of emails are now opened on mobile devices. This means that if your monthly client email newsletter is not built for mobile devices, you will lose readership and the effectiveness of your communication.

At the end of the day, the only reason you’ll ever get new clients is because you’ve sold your clients on a solution to end a specific pain point. The best way to ensure new customers trust you is to convey your story and client reviews to them through your website and email newsletter. Your website and brand need to be visible to communicate your value proposition.

  • Lee Reams II

  • I am a marketing junkie who has spent the last 20 years developing and executing "best in class" word-of-mouth marketing campaigns. With over 10,000 happy clients I think we are on to something. The explosion in web marketing and social media have redefined the way independent professionals market their practices. Follow my blog to see if you can take some of our actionable ideas to market your own practice.

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