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As part of my look into accountant website visibility in Cumbria, I surveyed how things looked in Penrith at the end of January. Why does this matter?
AHREF’s round up of Local SEO Statistics for 2024 make a few very clear points that are highly relevant if you are seeking clients and customers locally. I’ve picked out four that are probably the most relevant to accountants in Penrith and the rest of Cumbria.

  • 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day. (That includes service based businesses too!)
  • 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase.
  • Customers are 70% more likely to visit and 50% more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with a complete Business Profile.
  • 58% of businesses don’t optimize for local search. (This is something that we see clearly in these survey results.)

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Local “near me” Search Results For Accountancy Practices in Penrith

First of all, I searched for “accountants near me”. The search was centred on the Penrith industrial estate near the M6. Secondly I searched for “tax accountant near me” from the same location.

Results for accountancy firms who showed up in search were collected, and directories or other generalist results were ignored. The identities of individual accounting firms are not published.

Accountants near me

Search results for "accounts near me" searches centred on Penrith Industrial Estate at end of January 2024

Tax accountant near me

Search results for "tax accountant near me" searches centred on Penrith Industrial Estate at end of January 2024

Company ID 10 does well in both searches with an office in Penrith. Company ID 140, also based in Penrith does well for the “accountants” search but is nowhere to be seen in the “tax accountant” search’s top 25 websites. Company ID 136 is another Penrith based company that shows up well for both searches taking 3rd and 2nd position, in the two searches, at the end of January 2024.

The pattern of visibility in the “accountants near me” search is similar to other towns in Cumbria. After the top 3 local places mostly being taken by local firms; directories and lots of companies from outside the region are dominant on the rest of the first page.

Just one Carlisle based accountancy practice shows up before the next local Penrith company (ID 40) surfaces in 28th position. That’s way beyound most people’s attention span in search results.

Company ID 40 does show up a little more prominently in the “tax accountant” search. It is however well down near the bottom of what used to be page 2 of the results. Quite clearly, it’s not well optimised for people searching for what are likely its core services.

What Factors Seem To Influence Penrith Accountancy Firms’ Visibility

Filtering out all of the non-Cumbria based accountancy firms we can take a look at what local SEO factors might be influencing those rankings.

SEO attributes of Cumbria's accountancy practices compared. from a Penrith perspective in January 2024.

For Company ID 10, it’s fairly clear that they have worked to grow website traffic with just over 1300 monthly visitors estimated up to the end of January. They are also helped by having a premises in the town, but are by no means the nearest accountancy practice to the Penrith Industrial Estate. Factors that drive that visitor traffic appear to be proximity to the searcher, the fact that they appear somewhere in the rankings for over 2k keywords and they’ve published enough content for Google to index nearly 450 pages of it. The website has managed to acquire 1800 backlinks from 447 different websites. Even this company is on a declining visitor traffic path: with visitor numbers just over 10% of what they were seeing 18 months ago.

The second placed company in this list is interesting, it’s another of those practices with no website, which is still showing thanks to its Linked In profile and Google Business Profile. This is even though the business may no longer be operating. I spotted a note somewhere that the owner may have retired. This is another of the situations where the local accountants would be well within their rights to notify Google of the defunct business profile.

The 3rd placed company is local to Penrith with a much smaller number of monthly visitors. They show up for just 48 keywords, suggesting that their reach is very local. Current visitor traffic appears to be around 48 per month a marked decline from 159 nearly 2 years ago. The website has attracted 1200 backlinks… but these only come from 79 different websites. It’s a much less diverse backlink profile than the top company.

Next comes a Carlisle based practice that also has an office in Penrith. Company ID 6 has also managed to generate an estimated visitor traffic volume of around 2300 per month, mainly from desktop searches. They are found in approximately 575 different searches and have had just over 550 pages of content indexed. Much of their authority comes from their 980+ backlinks acquired from around 180 different websites. However these relatively strong statistics are only enough to raise them to 22nd place in the “accountants near me” search and 23rd place in the “tax accountants near me”. The proximity of their Penrith office is not enough to lift them above the directories and out of region companies that fill the search results between Company ID 136 and themselves.

The really shocking performance profile is Company ID 137 who show up 3rd for the “tax accountant” search but have no detectable visibility for the more generic search. It seems that they are only found in a single search and have virtually no authority whatsoever, with just a single website page indexed and only 2 backlinks currently discoverable from a single third party website. This is despite the fact that they are described as a general accounting practice on their website and in listings. Even their Google Business profile is incomplete and ambiguous about the location of the office.

Even in a small town like Penrith, visibility in search can be a significant generator of valuable leads. There are only about 4 accountancy businesses visible in search that are actually based in Penrith and for the most part they are out performed in search by companies based in other parts of Cumbria, with an office in Penrith or accountancy companies from right across the UK, who Google deems more important for very local searches than companies who are based in the town.

Where local SEO practices have been ignored, obscurity is the inevitable result. While most accountancy practices do rely on word of mouth referrals from satisfied clients, ignoring the potential of search to deliver clients who want your services, but aren’t associated with anyone in your network is a risky business.

Contact Ray at ClimbHigh SEO to discover the simple steps to better visibility in Penrith.