Are you wondering if the location of your accounting practice really matters? With technology and cloud accounting, does it matter where your office is located? The answer is: Absolutely.

Park Avenue in Manhattan

If you want to develop a high-quality clientele gradually over time, the location of your office matters. Ideally, your office location will be near businesses you want to attract to your practice. In other words, if you locate your practice in a glitzy part of town (Wilshire Boulevard, Park Avenue, Michigan Avenue, etc.), you will attract businesses and individuals in that immediate area. If you locate your office in a suburban location, make certain the location has a population large enough to support your growth goals and demographically, it matches your ideal client.

Perception Matters

While your accounting practice does not need a retail location with walk-in traffic, the physical location does matter in today's digital world. In other words, when someone is searching for a CPA or accounting firm near their business location, you will want your accounting firm to be located nearby because most business owners "feel" that they need an accountant nearby in the event of an emergency. Perception does matter.

By this, I mean that you can be located on a second floor or the third floor of an office building to avoid paying retail office space pricing, but the physical location should be near the businesses that are in your target audience. Also, the location should be near the center of the city. If you want to be towards the top of the list on Google, Bing or Yahoo when someone is doing a search, you need to be physically near the location the searcher requests. With geographic targeting capabilities improving all the time, it is becoming far more challenging to dupe the search engines if your actual location is not in the city being requested. In other words, you can't claim to be located near Times Square in New York City when you are actually located in Staten Island or New Jersey. Yes, I understand it is relatively close in miles (from your perspective), but the prospect wants a firm near Times Square, not someone in Yonkers. The days of saying you are located downtown when in fact you are eight to 15 miles outside the city are over. And if you are successfully duping the search engine, the prospect will eventually find out and dump you before you get to establish yourself as the trusted advisor.

The Importance of Local SEO

With the explosion of smartphones and tablets, increased sophistication of search engines, combined with prospects becoming more adept at searching, the location of your accounting practice is become more and more important to your SEO. Location matters now more than it has in the past.

Your physical location certainly helps your website break through the clutter. It helps you narrow your audience to target prospects and allows you to show up in the search engines for relevant keywords. Of course, your website needs to be built with SEO so it can be optimized for these types of keywords. But, location matters more than just breaking through the clutter using SEO.

Google and other search engines know your location. Using local listings online, your contact page and other listings, they can tell where your business is located. If you have discrepancies in your address or location, the search engines will see this as inaccurate data. They don’t want to provide inaccurate data to their searchers, so it makes them less likely to show your website. Say, for example, your website’s contact page says you’re physically in Hoboken, but all over the website you say you’re a Manhattan CPA firm. They might see this as an inaccuracy. Which one is correct? Should they show your website to people in Manhattan or Hoboken? This is why the actual location of your business matters. If you want to generate clients from Manhattan, you want to have a Manhattan address.

The second way your physical location can help you break through the clutter is through local listings. Local listings are business listings like Yelp, Google Business, etc. Claiming your business on local search sites directly improves your website’s SEO as your physical address is tied to your website. Additionally, search engines know a lot about their searchers (including where they are when they search.) Because of this, they try to serve their searchers local, relevant businesses. Claiming your local listing can secure your place in these local listing results and put your firm safely within the “Local Pack.”

Hugh Duffy

Hugh Duffy

Hugh Duffy is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Build Your Firm, a website development and marketing company for accounting firms.