Your CPA Site Solutions web site is already full of great tools for your clients and your firm. But if search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing haven’t indexed your site, you’re missing potential new clients to your competition.
As a CPA or Accountant you have different needs than many other online businesses. Unlike Amazon or Ebay you’re looking for Web users located near you physically. If you’re based in Seattle, Washington it doesn’t do you much good if Norm Miller of Winooski, Vermont likes your site and your services. He’s not going to make that cross-country commute to your office. Most people searching for a service provider like an accountant or tax preparer will search on their location, such as Seattle WA CPA.
Depending on the keyword in the local search, Google will display up to three kinds of search result: organic listings, local listings, and sponsored links. If Google has no sponsored links or local results for your search, it will only display organic listings. For example, at the time of this writing, if you search for the phrase Winooski biplane repair Google will return 6,380 organic listings, but not a single local business or sponsored link. Seattle WA CPA however, is different. It displays 3,320,000 organic results, and a full list of Sponsored Links and Local business results.
Most people, when referring to Search Engine Optimization, are referring to these free, organic results. This is where competition is the most fierce. Everyone wants to be at the top of the list, or at the least on the first page. To get in the running, Google has to be aware of your site. Once you’ve been found, then you can start adjusting your site to optimize for these results. To check if Google has indext your site yet, you can search Google.com for site:www.yourdomain.com. The results will show exactly which pages on your site Google has indexed. For example, when searching for site:www.cpasitesolutions.com, Google displayes results 1-10 of 522 pages. That means Google has indexed 522 pages of the site www.cpasitesolutions.com. CPASiteSolutions.com is a big site.
Try it for yoru domain. Any results? If not, the next step is to submit your site to Google. There are services and automated programs to submit your site for you, but for the major search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing, it’s best to handle those yourself.
To submit to Google:
To Submit to Yahoo:
Yahoo requires a Yahoo account and password to submit.
To submit to Bing:
Now sit back and relax. You may be in for a wait. It can take up to a few months before your pages start to appear in search results after submission. Google indexes your site just a few pages at a time. They’ll index a few in one visit, then come back later for a few more and so on until Google has covered your entire site. It may be a year before every page on your site appears in Google’s search results. To check, just search site:www.yourdomain.com again. The results will show you exactly the pages that Google has indexed so far.
Don’t rush to resubmit your site if it’s taking time. The search engines will find you eventually. If you’re getting no results after a couple months, go ahead and resubmit, but once indexing has started, don’t submit again unless you’ve dramatically changed your site’s content. Needless resubmissions can look a lot like spam, which puts you in danger of being penalized. Once search engines find your site, they’ll revisit you occasionally. If your content is static, you may be reindexed less often. Resubmitting after a major change can help- but be careful not to look like a spammer.
Above the organic listings are the local listings. Local listings display only specific businesses in the area being searched that provide searvices being searched on. For your business, these listings may be even more important and helpful than the organic results below.
Requesting a local listing often gets a better response from Google than requesting organic indexing. Once you appear in the local listings, you will automatically appear in the organic results.
Like the organic results, you can check to see if you’re already in the local listings by searching http://maps.google.com/ for your office address. Go a little broader if you don’t appear, just to double check. Try searching for your street and town or business type and town instead of your exact address.If you see your business listed, you are in the local business results. If you appear, it’s time to claim your listing.
To claim and edit your business listing you must be logged in as a Gmail user. Look for the “sign in” link on the upper right of every Google page. You’ll need a Gmail address too. To get one, visit gmail.google.com and sign up for a free account. That address will become your user name and password to log in to Google Local. Once you’re logged in simply click on your business name in the listing to open up the detail balloon for your business. You should see something like this;
Click the “Edit” link in the detail balloon and from there you will find a link to claim your listing.
If you are not already in the local listings, it’s easy to request a listing. Just visit http://www.google.com/local/add and you can add a new listing to the local directory.
Sponsored listings are, by and large, paid ads for your site. Meaning the companies and businesses that advertise in this section of the results create their ads and bid to achieve their position on the list. There is no charge for the ad until someone clicks on the ad and visits your site. This way, if you’re paying for your ad, you can be sure someone is visiting your site.
Sponsored Listings and Pay Per Click is worth an entire post- or an entire book- of it’s own, so we’ll touch on that more in the future. For now, look around for your site in the organic and local search results and start submitting and claiming your local listing.