SEO & Taxes: Leave Both To Professionals

Taxes and SEOYou start out as a small business with few employees and some pretty straightforward tax reporting. If you’re like a lot of small business owners, you plug along for a while doing much of the accounting work yourself and consulting with an accountant when things get a little hairy. As your business grows, so does the burden of handling your taxes. One day, you realize it’s too much and it’s time to hand over the heavy lifting to a professional so you can focus on running your business.

Performing your own search engine optimization (SEO) tactics is parallel to tax preparation. Many small business owners know just enough about SEO strategies to do a few of the steps in a smart small business SEO plan, but eventually lack the time, advanced knowledge and resources to really move the sales needle. And we’ve seen many cases where a little bit of SEO knowledge can do a lot of harm that is difficult to undo.

If you think tax regulations and laws change quickly and often, then the pace of changing SEO best practices will blow your mind. Even though Google and other major search engines are huge in size as far as companies go – Google reports employing over 60,000 at the end of 2015 – they are seemingly as nimble as small businesses.

Google and other major search engines regularly release new algorithm changes of which webmasters must be aware in order to move up the organic search results ladder, maintain any ground gained and avoid being knocked completely out of the results.

In the past couple of years, there have been hundreds of updates on Google, with a few updates that changed the SEO landscape. Some of these major updates include the Penguin and Panda algorithm updates. Failing to stay up to date on SEO techniques, or practicing outdated or wrong ones, wastes your precious time and financial investments in your small business SEO strategy. Having your site blacklisted by Google is as painful as having your taxes audited. If you want to future proof your investment and stay out of trouble, you have to know the latest SEO rules and play by them.

Maximizing your “return” requires a professional who has the time to invest in watching the numbers.

Hiring a professional SEO strategist will remove the bulk of the time that you would have to spend on your SEO strategy yourself. Time constraints on small business owners can lead to doing the bare minimum, which returns bare minimum results.

It’s about maximizing your time to do what you do best, and taking advantage of scaling opportunities. Comprehensive SEO strategies involve on- and off-page tactics that should integrate across social media, digital marketing and networking outlets to produce measurable outcomes (sales). A tactical and experienced SEO strategist curates your content and can repurpose to maximize your investment by linking it in other places.

For example, you already know the SEO value of adding fresh content to your website on a consistent basis. Additional value comes from backlinking, posting blurbs on social media like Facebook and LinkedIn and more. The investment you make in one blog can grow exponentially when used as part of a comprehensive SEO strategy.

Performing on-page SEO only is like filing a partial tax return.

Focusing a website page on one keyword doesn’t generate results. Website content has to include keywords that people will search on which to find you. If you are an accountant, then that would be accounting terms like “small business accountant.” If you are an advertising and marketing agency, then that’d include keywords like “SEO for small business” or “Kansas City SEO experts.” See what we did there? But that led SEO experts to stuff web pages full of keywords that made sense to search engines, but not to visitors. So the search engines changed their rules, and now websites have to include keywords, but also be reader-friendly in order to rank well.

Other on-page SEO work includes adding meta descriptions, headings and tags, optimized URLs, and a focused, but natural sprinkling of longtail keywords. Off-page SEO includes social media, link building and guest posting, all working synergistically to create a comprehensive strategy for your online marketing.

Manually creating backlinks to your website can do more SEO harm than good.

The best sources of backlinks are those from authoritative websites that are related to your particular niche or industry. You can encourage natural backlinks by creating content that is unique, useful or even controversial.

Run-of-the-mill content is irrelevant. Content pushed out without a strategy or reason won’t build readership or loyalty because people can find the same information everywhere else. Your content is the foundation of your SEO strategy and it has to be of value to people. It has to establish you as the authority in your field. Using content “farms” to churn out blog after blog is like using free tax software. It’s designed for everyone, but eventually, you have to customize and get detailed if you’re going to grow your business.

Long-term SEO strategy takes time, like following a tax strategy over the years. Not all SEO strategies and techniques will mesh well with your website or objectives. And no effective SEO strategy works in days or weeks. A good tax strategy plays out over the course of years. A good SEO strategy plays out over months.

Hiring a proven and trusted expert can keep you out of hot water.

Not playing by the IRS’s rules can land you in an audit with a financial penalty. Not playing by search engine rules can put you on slippery slope that can be difficult and expensive from which to recover. Being penalized by Google (or the IRS for that matter) can cause significant, long-term problems that may be hard to remediate on your own. The solution is to hire a trusted SEO expert from the beginning so your SEO strategy has both short and long-term goals and a proven way to achieve them.

Hundreds of Kansas City small businesses turn to our digital marketing pros to develop their SEO strategy, from keyword-rich content to sharing, linking and promoting both on and off page. If you’re just starting out, we can develop SEO tactics for your budget and immediate goals. If you’re ready to use SEO to grow your business to the next level, we can evaluate current tactics and supercharge your strategy for optimal results.