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Big Four SEO lessons for London accountancy firms

Analysing Google results for London accountants, Abby Chinery of Reboot Online Marketing reveals how backlinks, keyword optimisation and page speed can affect all firms, even the very largest.


July 2019

Smaller accountancy firms are falling short when it comes to Google rankings due to missed search engine optimisation (SEO) opportunities on their websites. Reboot Online Marketing recently conducted an in-depth SEO audit of the first three pages of rankings on Google for the term “accountants in London”, as well as analysing the SEO efforts of the Big Four (Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY) to see how local accountants can improve the quality and rankings of their sites, or even cash in on the missed opportunities presented by the Big Four.  

The study revealed that London accountancy firms commonly had the following SEO issues:

As part of the study, Rebootonline also audited the SEO efforts of Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY. There are many lessons to be learned from these giants, both from what they do right, but also from some opportunities they are missing. 

All have demonstrated powerful and organic link profiles (the makeup of links directing to a site), making Google far more likely to overlook the technical SEO issues which would have a large impact on smaller accountancy firms. Although it wouldn’t level the playing field, if some of the 73% of smaller London firms who rely on directory backlinks conducted some form of link earning campaign via digital PR and research-based content, they could get ahead of the local competition. 

Big Four lessons

One Big Four firm demonstrated good user experience when it came to the navigation of its site - aided by a sound internal linking structure. Although many smaller firms demonstrated satisfactory user experience (88%), around 67% did not have internal links. A lack of internal linking could also be seen on the remaining three Big Four sites, making them harder to crawl and for Google to understand what the site is about.

We can therefore see that the Big Four were not without their own SEO issues, and smaller firms could take advantage of such missed opportunities. 

All four had slow page speed (with one scoring just 11/100 on PageSpeed Insights), like the 44% of smaller companies analysed. This is certainly something smaller accounting firms should improve, as research suggests that a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. 

Reboot also saw that two Big Four firms didn’t target relevant long tail keywords. Surprisingly, there are a lot of missed opportunities for all four to target low hanging fruit. Hundreds of keywords are being overlooked, when simply including them in context would mean they would rank highly, and quickly, due to the domain authority that those sites carry. 

Much like the smaller firms, the Big Four had duplicate content issues, or a lack of completely unique content. For example, one demonstrated landing pages which targeted relevant keywords but contained limited unique content. One page targeted a competitive keyword but contained just one paragraph of unique content and several videos. 

This SEO oversight makes them less able to effectively compete with the more developed pages published by smaller competitors.

Abby Chinery is content marketing manager at Reboot Online Marketing.

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