Accountant SEO Q&A: is search engine optimisation enough to drive large amounts of traffic to my practice website?

published on September 1, 2010 in SEO & PPC

Should search engine optimisation be the be all and end all of your online marketing?

In our first Q&A session we discussed what search engine optimisation (SEO) is. Today, we’ll talk about what SEO isn’t, and why search engines traffic should only represent around 25% of your overall website traffic.

Search engine optimisation is not guaranteed

Search engine ranking algorithms are fiercely guarded secrets and nobody can guarantee n°1 – or even page 1 – rankings.

SEO companies and consultants can only work on the known ranking factors they can easily manipulate (page titles, links text, number and source of inbound links, addition of new content, etc.). They have little control over other ranking factors such as link ageing or website “history”, which are amongst the 200 factors used in search engines’ algorithms.

On top of that, no-one can predict the exact repercussion an “optimisation” will have on your rankings. Is it going to improve them by 1 or 5, will there be any change at all or are we looking at minus 10 places?

SEO doesn’t give instant results…

The more competitive your keywords are, the longer it will take for your website to rank well. Even for some geo-keywords (less competition) it may take weeks for your site to rank at a position that drives traffic to your site, especially if it is brand new or if you are not working on your inbound links (links coming from other websites to yours).

… and require regular work

Search engine optimisation is not a one-off task. It requires regular work to be put in to acquire new links, generate new content, stay on top of what your competitors are doing and what search engines find acceptable. Crossing that line could result in triggering Google spam filters that will nullify your SEO efforts or worse, penalise your website.

The perfect website traffic pie

For most accountancy practices, SEO should therefore only be a complement of web traffic sources: bringing in people looking for your practice name, partners names or searching for a local accountant, or one with a particular area of expertise.

Your website traffic should equally be coming from:

Perfect Traffic Pie

Perfect Traffic Pie

  • Direct traffic
    • Offline marketing and networking (leaflet drop, business card exchange, yellow pages ad, etc.);
    • Browser bookmarks (favourites) or people knowing your website address and coming back;
    • Clients recommendations;
    • (Regular) email newsletters.
  • Links from other websites (inbound links)
    • Online directories;
    • Social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.);
    • Guest-blogging;
    • Comments left on blogs;
    • Online press releases;
    • Link partnerships.
  • Online Advertising
    • Pay per click;
    • Banner advertising;
    • Adverts (yell).
  • Search engines (PPC excluded)

Remember: the more traffic sources you have, the less likely you are to be affected if one fails, and that can very easily happen with SEO.


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