SEO Competitor Analysis: What Accountants in Manchester Need to Do to Beat Their Competition

Do you want to beat your competition? Then finding out what the online competitive landscape for your industry looks like is a must. In this report, we conducted a competition analysis for “accountants Manchester”. 

As such, our findings reveal the gaps in their strategies. As well as outline what other accountants need to do to beat their competition in Manchester.

Discover what we found out in this comprehensive competitor analysis accounting report. And, by looking at which accounting firms are using SEO effectively, learn how to replicate their success for your own business. 

Introduction

Altogether in this report, we will be conducting an SEO competitor analysis of the top 10 accounting firms in the UK. As such, we’ll be focusing solely on those ranking for the keyword: “accountants Manchester”.

Overall, the report will cover:

  • Keyword Overview
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Top 3 Organic Competitors Analysis

Competitive landscape will analyse:

  •   Top 10 Competitors
  •   Domain Authority
  •   Keyword Search Traffic
  •   Overall Website Traffic Growth
  •   Search Positions
  •   Backlinks
  •   Top 3 Ranking Positions

And, Top 3 Organic Competitors Analysis will look at:

  •   Content Analysis
  •   Backlinks Analysis
  •   Backlink Growth Analysis
  •   Paid Advertising Analysis
  •   Display Advertising Analysis

Keyword Overview: "accountants in Manchester"

Combined, there are 1,600 average monthly searches for the keyword “accountants Manchester”.

competitor analysis accountants in manchester keyword overview

However, the keyword difficulty is 54%. This indicates that it would be “possible” for a new website to rank first for the keyword on Google. 

Altogether, the average price advertisers pay for a user’s click on an ad is £2.53. 

What The Competitive Landscape Looks Like

First, we’ll look at the top 10 competitors ranking for our targeted keyword. This will help us to see the broader picture.

Top 10 Competitors Search Positions

The majority of positions in the top 10 ranking positions for the keyword “accountants Manchester” are chartered accounting firms.

And, 20% of the results are business directories.

competitor analysis top 10 competitors for "accountant manchester"

Next we’ll look at domain authority of each of the top 10.

Domain Authority

Overall, the average domain authority is 31.

But the accounting firm with the highest domain authority is Haines Watts (hwca.com) with a domain authority of 38.

Lastly is James Scott, the firm is in position seven for our analysed keyword. And, has the lowest domain authority of 8.

competitor analysis accountant manchester

Keyword Search Traffic

In October 2020, Alexander & Co had the vast majority of the search traffic for the keyword “accountants Manchester”.

And, they received 47% of the 1600 monthly searches.

competitor analysis accounts manchester keyword search volume

The top 10 competitors received an estimated 93.71% of all the monthly search traffic (1600).

Keyword Search Traffic Landing Pages

Overall, our analysis of the top 10 URLs receiving traffic from searches for our targeted keyword shows that:

  •  6 are homepages
  •  2 are directory category pages
  •  1 is a service page

landing pages for top ranked keyword "accountants manchester"

Overall Website Traffic

Since June 2012, Haines Watts has had the most consistent and sustained growth in traffic.

Note: We have only included accountancy firms. Hence why numbers 6 and 7 (directories) are missing from the list below.

Search Positions

Haines Watts has the highest number of top 3 search positions (148).

Not to mention, they dominate 74% of all the top 3 search positions held by the top 10 competitors.

Search positions for "accountants manchester" keyword

Note: Again, we have only included accountancy firms.

Backlinks

Haines Watts has the highest number of backlinks (32,388). 

In addition to this, they have 90% of the top 10 competitors combined backlinks.

backlinks total for top 10 competitors for keyword "accountants manchester"

Follow Backlinks

Significantly, Haines Watts and Pomegranate Consulting have the highest percentages of backlinks. As is made evident by their high percentages, of 83.95% and 83.57% respectively.

% of backlinks competitor analysis keyword accountants manchester

Top 3 Ranking Positions

Alexander.co.uk has dominated the top-ranking position for the keyword “accountants Manchester” for 6 months. Specifically, from April to September 2020.

In fact, they have held that position since at least December 2019.

April -Sept 2020 top 3 ranking positions for keyword "accountants manchester"

During the same period, the second-ranking position for the keyword “accountants Manchester” was held by hurst.co.uk. However, this was only the case until August 2020.

Top 3 Organic Competitors Analysis

At the time of this report, the top three organic competitors for the keyword “accountants Manchester” are:

  •  alexander.co.uk
  •  hwca.com
  •  pomegranateconsulting.co.uk

Alexander & Co

Alexander & Co was established in Manchester in 1976. The firm offers a range of services such as accountancy, taxation and corporate finance. As well as advisory services to owner-managed businesses.

Alexander & Co homepage accountants competitor analysis

Visit the website

The services listed on the website menu are:

  •  Audit & Assurance
  •  Bookkeeping Services
  •  Business Start Up
  •  Business Restructuring
  •  Corporate Finance Accounting
  •  Forensic Accounting
  •  Financial Planning Services
  •  Growth Business Accountants
  •  Online Accountants
  •  Outsourced Financial Management
  •  PAYE & Payroll Services
  •  Tax Advice

Haines Watts

Haines Watts is “a top 15 firm of chartered accountants”. And they “support over 35,000 companies and business owners around the UK”.

Haines Watts homepage accountants competitor analysis

Visit the website

The services listed on the website menu are:

  •  Accounting services
  •  Audit & assurance
  •  UK & international tax
  •  Value-added tax (VAT)
  •  Business improvement
  •  Online accounting
  •  Outsourcing
  •  Outsourced IT
  •  Wealth planning & protection
  •  Business acquisitions & disposals
  •  International services
  •  Funding & asset finance
  •  Forensic & litigation support
  •  HR advisory & talent
  •  Not for profit services

Pomegranate Consulting

Pomegranate Consulting is a firm of “established chartered accountants and tax advisors”. And, due to the location of this report, they are based in Manchester’s City Centre.

Pomegranate Consulting homepage competitor analysis accountants manchester

Visit the website

And the services listed on the website menu are:

  •  Audit
  •  Accounting Services
  •  Business Healthcheck
  •  Business Growth & Planning
  •  Patent Box
  •  Payroll
  •  Personal Tax
  •  Research and Development
  •  Startups
  •  Strategic Exit Planning
  •  Tax Compliance

Keyword Analysis

We analysed how well the top 3 competitors optimised their websites for their service keywords. Here’s what we found out.

Alexander & Co

Alexander & Co has 13 service keywords that they do not rank for.

In fact, only 2% of all of the website keywords (26 keywords) are related to their services.

Alexander & Co Keywords

However, their most frequent service keyword is “accountants” with 9 instances.

Haines Watts

Haines Watts has 2 service keywords that they do not rank for.

And 12% of all of the website keywords (751 keywords) are related to the services listed in their website menu.

Haines Watts keywords

As demonstrated in the list above, the highest occurring service keyword is “VAT” with 397 instances.

Pomegranate Consulting

Pomegranate Consulting has just 3 service keywords that they do not rank for.

And, 28% of all of their website keywords (48 keywords) are related to their services.

Pomegranate Consulting keywords

However, the most frequent of these service keywords is “accounting” with 14 instances.

Content Analysis

Next, we’ll look at the content of each of the top 3 competitors for our targeted keyword “accountants Manchester”.

Alexander & Co Top Pages

Alexander & Co’s top page is its homepage which generates 45.06% of its website traffic.

Second and third place, respectively, are:

  •  alexander.co.uk/news/vat-commercial-property-need-know/ (blog post)
  •  alexander.co.uk/news/need-know-p11d-deadline/ (blog post)

Overall, these three pages generate 58.84% of the website’s traffic.

Alexander & Co Blog Posts

Alexander & Co has 137 blog posts that rank in Google’s top 100 search positions.

And, only 37 of those 137 blog posts generate any traffic.

However, those 37 blog posts generate 4.5% of all the website’s traffic.

Despite this, Alexander & Co has only published 4 blog posts in the last three months.

Haines Watts Top Pages

Haines Watts’ top page is its homepage which generates 27% of its total website traffic.

Second and third place, respectively, are:

  •  hwca.com/accountants-hull/what-is-vat-input-and-vat-output/ (infomation page)
  •  hwca.com/opinion/dont-panic-mr-mainwaring/ (blog post)

These three pages generate 49.16% of the website’s entire traffic.

Haines Watts Blog Posts

Haines Watts has 65 blog posts that rank in Google’s top 100 search positions.

And, just 4 of those 65 blog posts generate any traffic.

However, those 4 blog posts generate 9.71% of the website’s entire traffic.

And, Haines Watts has published 16 blog posts in the last three months.

Pomegranate Top Pages

Pomegranate’s top page is its homepage. This generates 84.44% of the entire website traffic.

Second and third place, respectively, are:

  •  pomegranateconsulting.co.uk/resources/tax-calculators/fuel-cost-calculator/ (resources page)
  •  pomegranateconsulting.co.uk/resources/business-calculators/marketing-campaign-profitability/ (resources page)

Overall, these three pages generate 94.71% of the website’s traffic.

Pomegranate Blog Posts

Pomegranate has 7 blog posts that rank in Google’s top 100 search positions.

However, none of those 7 blog posts generate any traffic for the website.

And, Pomegranate has only published 2 blog posts in the last three months.

In-depth Banklink Analysis

Overall, Haines Watts has the largest amount of backlinks (32,388).

Whereas, Pomegranate has the least amount with just 207.

Competitor Analysis "accounts manchester" Backlink analysis

In addition to this, Haines Watts also has the highest percentage of ‘follow’ Backlinks (83.95%).

However, Pomegranate is not far behind with 83.57%.

As a result this leaves Alexander & co with the least amount of ‘follow’ backlinks (71.68%).

Competitor Analysis Acountants Manchester Backlink Analysis Follow

Backlink Growth Analysis

Alexander & Co

In June 2013, Alexander & Co had 1 backlink.

Subsequently, their largest backlink growth happened between January 2017 and June 2018. During this time they acquired 1,838 backlinks. 

However, two months following this initial peak, Alexander & Co had lost 1,023 backlinks.

This was a 51% decrease.

Following this drop, their backlinks eventually increased and by September 2020, they had 1,953 backlinks.

Alexander & Co backlink growth

Haines Watts

In June 2013, Haines Watts had 18 backlinks.

And their largest backlink growth happened between December 2015 and December 2018. During this period they acquired 75,616 backlinks.

Despite this, following their aforementioned peak, Haines Watts lost 44,022 backlinks.

Evidently, this is not a great place to be in as that’s a 41% decrease.

However, in September 2020, they recouped some of their losses and had 32,388 backlinks.

Haines Watts backlink growth analysis

Pomegranate Consulting

In June 2013, Pomegranate had 4 backlinks.

And, their largest backlink growth occurred between May 2017 and January 2018. During this time, they acquired 1,441 backlinks.

Yet, shortly after this peak, Pomegranate lost 1,255 backlinks.

This equated to a decrease of 86%.

And, as of September 2020, they had just 207 backlinks.

Pomegranate Consulting Backjlink Growth

All-Time Traffic Growth

Alexander & Co

In January 2012, Alexander & Co had 387 monthly visits. Clearly, the firm worked hard to increase this over the following 8 years. 

Thus, by September 2020, their monthly visits had increased 453% to 2,142.

Alexander & Co Growth

Haines Watts

In January 2012, Haines Watts had 2,259 monthly visits.

And, by September 2020, their monthly visits had increased 532% to 14,285.

competitor analysis accountants Haines Watts overall traffic

Pomegranate Consulting

In January 2012, Pomegranate did not have any website visits.

In fact, they did not have any significant website traffic until August 2014. During this time they had 116 website visits.

And, by September 2020, their monthly visits had increased by 277 to 393.

Pomegranate consulting overall growth

Paid Advertising Analysis

In September 2020, Haines Watts was the only one of the top 3 competitors investing in paid advertising.

However, since January 2012, their estimated paid search traffic has been slight and erratic.

paid advertising for keyword "accountants manchester"

For example, their largest investment in paid advertising happened between March 2014 and September 2014. Clearly this was a good ROI for the firm, with an average spend of £40 per month.

Haines Watts paid advertisng

And, this investment in paid search traffic had a direct impact on the number of keywords Haines Watts in the top 3 Google ranking positions.

competitor analysis acountants manchester haines watts paid ads

Display Advertising Analysis

Once again, in September 2020, Haines Watts was the only one of the top 3 competitors investing in display advertising.

And these display ads were mainly targeted at men aged between 25 and 44 years old.

paid ad audiences for accounting firm Haines Watts

Haines Watts placed display ads in 25 countries around the world.

The top 3 countries where they display their ads are:

  •  United Kingdom (71% of their display ads)
  •  United States (14% of their display ads)
  •  Portugal (3% of their display ads)

Subsequently, the vast majority of their display ads are text ads (69%).

Summary

In conclusion, our SEO competitor analysis report highlights that there is a lot of opportunity for accountancy firms in Manchester.

Naturally there is a gap in scale between some of the firms we have looked at. Especially when it comes to paid advertising. However, by presenting the data in this report, other accounting firms, and indeed other businesses and brands, can learn from their successes and failures.

And, while firms such as Alexander & Co and Haines Watts currently rank high, this can always change. In fact, there’s plenty of potential for their competitor’s to take advantage of their weaknesses. Or in the case of Haines Watts, the chance to utilise paid advertising at a higher bidding rate.

Overall, by replicating the success of these top 3 firms ranking for the keyword “accountants Manchester”, others can benefit. So, if you’re an accountant or financial specialist, use our analysis to position your firm better and start ranking higher.

Our reports can help companies learn exactly why their competition is ranking higher than them. Not just accountancy firms. 

In addition, they provide the building blocks of a robust marketing plan that actually works.

If you would like a detailed SEO competitor analysis report of your own, get in touch.

Alternatively, we can help you to build a marketing plan that works for you.

Did you find our competitor analysis interesting?

As such, you might like to read our free weekly website analysis articles. Or even want to check out our SEO competitor analysis on Employment Lawyers in London

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