Carter Johnson, CEO of United Business Leaders, has worked with Fortune 500 companies helping with Search Engine Optimization to rank higher in Google.
After graduating college, all he’s done is built companies and help other companies grow.

In this episode of the Growing Your Firm Podcast, David Cristello and Carter Johnson discuss:

  • 3 main steps any accounting needs to do in order to rank higher right away
  • The keywords you need to rank for
  • Google’s latest update that could wipe your accounting firm off the search rankings


Can someone find you when they do a google search?

Carter Johnson, CEO of United Business Leaders, has built a personal brand around Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

For beginners, SEO essentially means: “When someone searches for services they need, will your name come up before your competitors?”

To go even further, type “Accounting Firm in [your city].”

  • Where does your firm show up?
  • Does it show up at all?
  • If your firm doesn’t show up at all, there’s a problem.
  • If your competitors rank ahead of you (i.e. they show up higher on the page), there’s a problem.

See, most searches will end with the browser clicking the first three entries. It’s imperative to be up top for the right keywords (i.e. what someone types into the Google search box).

In the past, people would find accounting firms through the yellow pages. Now, barring normal client acquisition processes, getting found on Google is a powerful way to pick up clients while you sleep.

67% of overall searches are for local businesses and their services. Daily, there are 4.3 Billion Google searches. You can do the math!

The keywords you need to rank for:

When you think about ranking for specific keywords, many automatically think they must rank for: “accounting firm”, “Quickbooks advisor,” “CPA taxes”…

This is wrong. Essentially, with this strategy, you are hoping to rank above every accounting firm in the world. That does no good.

Here’s the secret…you want to rank for what your city and specialty is.

For example, here in Pittsburgh, PA (home of Jetpack Workflow), an accounting firm needs to set up their website to rank for “accounting firm in Pittsburgh.”

If you have a specialty, work to rank for “accounting firm for [industry]” e.g. “dental practices.” You must get ultra specific with what you need to rank for in order to capture the prospects out there looking for a firm like yours.

3 main steps any accounting needs to do in order to rank higher right away

Carter begins each engagement with a new client doing these three things. Today, on this podcast, you get these steps absolutely free.

First thing to do — Basic — have a website. That’s just the beginning however. Make sure you mention your city in all the “title” tags on each page. You can learn more in a tutorial we will link up.

Carter says it’s very rare for a company to have the title tags set up, meaning, just doing that puts you far ahead of the game.

Again, when you put specific title tags with your city and specific service, you narrow down the competition.

Second piece of the SEO puzzlemake sure your name, mailing address and phone number are clearly on the site (and in a few spots). It’s easiest to put on the “footer” of your page. Your footer is the bottom of a webpage and stays constant (as on our site here at Jetpack).

Search engines, when determining results, need to make sure you are in the right city and have updated contact information. The more you have filled out, the higher you rank.

For those accounting firms who might not even have a website up yet. DO THIS — spend a few hours this weekend setting one up on WordPress, Drupal, Squarespace or another website builder, put a “Coming Soon” page on the front, and add your phone, address, and name.

The older your domain name and content with those three pieces, the more Google “respects” your site. It will then preference your site in rankings over newbies on the block.

Third, build out your Facebook page, Yelp page, and Google business page. This sounds like a bunch of work, but it’s not.

All you need to do is:

  • Go to Facebook, set up a business page. Include your name, address and phone number. Plus, a description of the business.
  • Next, Go to Yelp. Set up your profile with your business. Include the same information.
  • Last, go to the Google Business pages and pinpoint your business. You’ll need to “claim” your business, get a PIN in the mail and verify it.

Out of all three, setting up your Google page is most important. Having a verified business location, Google trusts you more and puts you above unverified firms. It only takes about an hour to do all this, but goes a long way.

With Google business, notice whenever you look for a local business, a map is the first result with names of businesses. That’s your goal. Be on the top.  40% of clicks from a local business search are on that map that appears.

Now, for Facebook. Make sure you include a profile page and header. To create a banner header, you can go on or somewhere cheap to get a quick one thrown together for you to make your page nice.

Facebook is also important because the search engine within google (the top search bar) is getting more use. It’s becoming its own search engine within the site. The more established your page is, the more you will show up when someone searches on Facebook.

Same with Yelp. Their internal search engine is getting more and more use. Yelp has 167M active users. You’re bound to snag a few!

To stay abreast of Google’s ever changing algorithms, here’s a recent change:

Google’s latest update that could wipe your accounting firm off the search rankings

Regular updates from Google aren’t to punish businesses. Rather, it’s to make searching more trustworthy and reliable. Businesses with good content will always beat out the ones that don’t.

In the latest update, it’s important to your firm because it’s all about local business searches. Google will start “phasing out” companies that show up on the Maps who aren’t verified. That’s why it’s important to “claim” your business (as mentioned above).

Next, Google is also limiting the amount of businesses in a certain geo-location. For example, if you have multiple accounting firms in your building, your firm may not show up again. Your competitor will.

To combat this, you must beat your competitors. Get your name, phone, and address up and on as many sites as possible. Use these tactics to prove to Google you are invested in your online presence much more than other firms.

Carter could’ve gone on for awhile, but we had to stop there. Start with these strategies and invest in the knowledge to help your accounting firm.

These are the ways you can find more leads while you sleep without spending a bunch of time on technical website stuff. Rank higher in Google with these three steps.

What tips to do you have to rank higher in Google?

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