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I woke to my usual routine this past Sunday morning. I got out of bed, threw on my slippers, shuffled downstairs, grabbed a cup of coffee, turned on the flat screen and turned on Sunday Morning. The show led off with an interesting piece about the history of taxes in America. An interesting piece actually.

And by the time it was over, it hit me. Being an SEO is darn near an exact parallel to being a good tax accountant:

Both are playing a game governed by a set of rules

In the case of the Tax Accountant, the rules of the game are determined by Congress and the IRS. For the SEO, those rules are the algorithms that determine which web page is considered relevant and authoritative enough to be included on the first page of search engine results.

The rules both play by are also incredibly complex

I would guess the Tax Accountant has it tougher in this, because it’s not just the 40,000+ pages of the tax code that they must have knowledge of, but the mind-numbing rulings and letters created by the IRS that are designed to interpret the tax code. Then again, SEOs are forced to deal with the fact that the rules of their game are kept secret by the search engines.

Both are often hired to clean up the mistakes of do-it-yourself clients

Doing your own taxes is a very tempting thing…same thing for SEO. They both sound so easy to do once you have a basic understanding of the rules. And yet, the basics of the tax code (and SEO) are really only skimming the surface of understanding. Like anything in life, if there’s good value in doing it well, hire an expert…and you get exactly what you pay for in life, and nothing more. Of course, as a lawyer, I’m reminded of the old adage “a lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client.”

Hiring a good SEO (and a good Tax Accountant) can make a big impact on the bottom line

As we’ve approached tax day today, we’ve all heard the stories of certain businesses and individuals winning at the tax game and paying little or no taxes. Let’s be clear. That outcome is determined by a sound tax strategy applied based on the rules set forth in the code. Exact same for a good SEO. Those people apply what they know about the rules of the game influence the business outcome for their clients.

Both are widely disliked by the general public

We are talking taxes, after all. And SEO’s? Well, let’s just say you know you’ve made it when your industry has widely circulated jokes about a profession. You’ve heard the one about the SEO right? No? Well, this SEO copywriter walks into a bar, corner bar, pub, public house, drinking establishment, ale, beer, wine, liquor…

Both SEOs and Tax Accountants can be too aggressive for their clients

If an SEO goes too far, they can land themselves in Google hell, the site banned or severely penalized – and for sites that rely on search engines for their income, this is a very stiff penalty. In the case of tax accountants & advisors, the consequences can be devastating if the envelope is pushed too far – the Federal pokey.

What do you think? Would you add anything? Can you imagine any other professional that aligns so well to being a tax professional?

Happy Tax day everyone!

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Sean McGinnis

Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct
Sean McGinnis is Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct. He is also a (digital strategist, blogger, consultant ) and public speaker. You can find Sean on