No matter how good you are at your job, you’ll always have trouble getting clients as a fledgling architecture firm. Marketing was and is the name of the game, and your success in the market depends on your ability to reach potential clients.
Out of all the different promotional activities you can use, search engine optimization stands out as the most potent method. Optimizing your firm’s website and creating a viable SEO strategy will go a long way in building a healthy brand and streamlining your lead generation.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the basic SEO services and how they can help you out. At the end of the post, we’ll share a few best practices that most architecture firms aren’t aware of.
What is SEO for architects?
Search engine optimization isn’t a new concept. It has been around since the early versions of Google and even before that. Basically, this is a process of improving different website elements and introducing best web practices that will push your website higher in search results.
Although many architecture firms work based on recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing, they can benefit from search traffic. This is especially true for new brands looking to establish themselves on the market. Besides organic traffic, a high-quality SEO strategy can also affect your long-term brand development, making it better than any other promotional activity.
SEO and lead generation
According to many businesses, SEO for architects is the best way of luring new clients to your brand. Just check these lead generation stats posted on Keap.com:
- 59% of B2B firms would prioritize SEO
- 49% of B2C firms would prioritize SEO
- 20% of B2B firms would prioritize PPC, while 21% would prioritize SMM
- 26% of B2C firms would prioritize PPC, while 25% would prioritize SMM
However, this is just one source, so let’s not get too stuck on it. Instead, let’s review the main reasons why high search engine placement is the best way to generate leads.
Why does SEO work so well?
It isn’t a big secret that the traffic from search engines is the best-converting traffic. There are a few main reasons why companies and individuals prioritize this marketing approach to PPC (pay-per-click) and SMM (social media marketing):
- First off, everybody knows that SEO is an “organic” category. In other words, when a web page rankings on top of Google, this means that the content is most relevant for that query. It’s the best answer you can get to a question, and when looking for an architecture firm, this is probably the best solution at your disposal
- Although PPC results appear above organic SEO results pages, most people have figured this is a paid advertisement. This makes the ads off-putting for many people. Some users won’t click on these results out of spite, while others will think that the result isn’t most relevant to their query
- Another issue with PPC is that the landing page doesn’t always match user intent. The truth is that most people use Google and other search engines for informative queries. When they’re taken to a commercial page, they instantly close the site, never to return. Then again, PPC marketers have to resort to this solution as they need to justify marketing spending
- Similarly, social media traffic isn’t the best for conversions. While you can generate leads from these platforms, most people use them primarily for entertainment. They only refer to search engines when they’re prepared to buy something. Nevertheless, you can still gain SEO benefits by having an active Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok profile
In other words, SEO strategy is ideal for lead generation because it matches user intent perfectly. You’re not trying to push your services to anyone; instead, people seek you out organically (so-called inbound marketing).
What does the lead generation process look like?
The reason why SEO is so great for lead generation, in the architecture industry or otherwise, is because it slowly introduces users to a problem. If someone is looking to renovate their home or perform some other major project, they won’t click on the first PPC result and hire a firm.
Instead, they’ll research the topic, compare prices, and perform other tasks. Through search engines, users can slowly formulate their opinions before spending any money on a provider. Here’s what the sales and marketing funnel would look like:
- Many users start the process by learning about different aspects of interior or exterior design. Only a handful of users will contact an architecture firm straight away
- During these initial steps, people often check various online stores looking for perfect tiles, furniture, lighting fixtures, and things of that sort
- Some web users like to make mockups, checking how a particular solution would work for their home. For example, they might consider how certain furniture would fit with wall paint color and window layout
- After the initial planning, they will compare prices for different materials
- Only after going through all these phases will a user start looking for architecture companies. So, it’s vital that you capture a potential client’s attention from the get-go, from the informational stage. If a person has already visited your blog and read some informational articles, he or she is more likely to choose your business over competitors
Your main task is to optimize your blog posts within the search results so you can serve as a reference point from the early research stages. Companies rarely sell their services after the first website visit. It’s a process of slowly building trust by helping a person for free. So, when a person finally decides to hire an agency, the first thing they’ll think of is your brand.
3 Basic SEO procedures
SEO is a granular process during which elite agencies try to cover all the angles. Small mistakes during early phases can rear their ugly heads later on, affecting your SEO ranking for relevant keywords. So, to get the most out of the process, marketing providers will utilize the following methodology:
Before doing anything else, a service provider needs to make sure that your platform is working as intended. Although graphic design and visual solutions are vital for your conversions, you also need to improve the basic functionality of your site.
During an SEO audit, a marketer will perform various optimization tasks, including:
- Submit your website’s sitemap to Google
- Create an intuitive and simple website structure
- Make the site mobile-friendly while also increasing page loading speed
- Fix potential duplicate content issues
- Address broken links and other linking problems
- Introduce best practices for crawlers
Even if you have some experience with keyword research, link building, and content marketing, you’ll still struggle with technical audits. Most of the tasks are done on the backend by making changes to the HTML file. Even if an architecture firm decides to build links and create content in-house, they’ll likely hire a veteran SEO agency for this step.
Impact of technical SEO
As mentioned, technical optimization serves as a basis for all other processes. All these things are considered SEO ranking factors that can push down your performance within Google.
Interestingly enough, improving technical aspects doesn’t necessarily boost your rankings. Instead, it only ensures that you don’t get penalized. For example, having a slow speed will negatively affect your rankings, but boosting page speed to the max won’t necessarily boost your placement in Google.
On-page SEO refers to all the things we do on our web pages. It’s a process that involves keyword research, creating a content plan, writing blog posts, and publishing them.
Search engine experts love saying that content is king. As long as you can create high-quality content, you have a chance of ranking in Google no matter the size of your website. Nowadays, search engines give advance to posts that provide unique information and that can have the highest user engagement.
Here’s what the process looks like in practice:
- Get a quality keyword research tool and create a list of the most relevant phrases. Your main goal is to find keywords that have high traffic volume with low difficulty while being relevant to your architecture firm’s website
- After creating a primary keyword list, you should create clusters. Use broader topics as your “pillar pages” (a type of ultimate guide) and secondary articles as the satellites. Creating this type of structure will ensure that all relevant keywords are interconnected, ensuring easier crawling and better placements
- Start writing posts. Each piece needs to be unique and engaging. A tool like Surfer SEO can further boost their relevancy by showing you which keywords you need to add. Content tools have scoring systems that show the level of optimization for your articles
Each blog post should serve a particular purpose and answer a specific question. Make sure that all pieces are unique. Otherwise, there’s a chance your articles will start cannibalizing each other (eliminating other article’s presence in search results).
Impact of on-page SEO
On-page SEO is where we separate the wheat from the chaff. Quality articles are the main reasons why people would even consider visiting your blog in the first place or linking to your pages. So, if you get this thing wrong, everything else will be in vain.
Besides your placement within the search engine results pages, content is also vital for conversions. It shows your expertise to potential clients, ensuring that you get the most from each lead. It also sets the basis for long-term brand development.
As mentioned, there’s a high correlation between content quality and your ability to acquire links. People generally aren’t willing to share and link to resources that aren’t good, as they would tarnish their own reputation by doing so. In other words, for an off-page SEO to yield results, you need a good on-page process.
Aside from link-building, off-page SEO pertains to all other outreach and PR activities we perform externally. It can refer to our social media presence, live events, partnerships, affiliate and influencer campaigns, and so on. Basically, we use this method to increase our presence online and share the message with as many people as possible.
Impact of off-page SEO
Off-page SEO is important as it boosts the authority of the entire site. Google takes note of all these activities and will perceive the blog as a reputable source of information. That will make everything else much easier in the future, having a micro and macro SEO effect.
5 Tips for an architecture firm
Despite following the usual formula, SEO for architects is somewhat different from what other brands are doing. Most notably, while you’re still forced to pamper Google’s algorithms, you also need to take into account your target audience. Here are a few things that will mold your search engine optimization process:
1. Use images
When people are looking for architects, they’re mostly focused on visual solutions. When they visit the website, they need access to their past work as a way of assessing their expertise. This is why most architects’ sites are littered with various designs.
The good thing is that the cost of 3D house printing has dropped by 25% in the last five years. In other words, even if you don’t have a sizable portfolio, you can easily make promotional material for your site. Make sure these images are spread all over your homepage and every blog post to entice potential clients.
2. Optimize images
While having lots of visual solutions is fantastic for page interactions and, thus, placement within search engine results, it can also pose an issue. Intricate imagery can slow down website speed, causing Google and other search engines to penalize your site.
In other words, although you’ll need some pretty pictures on your site, make sure they’re well-optimized. Use software like Cloudimage to reduce the size of these files and ensure the highest possible user experience.
3. Implement social media
A scary fact about architecture firms is that only a handful of them have a notable online presence. Most of them don’t invest in their websites and social media, making it really hard to onboard new clients.
For example, 60% of companies don’t have a Facebook page, while only 10% of brands post regularly. This is a major missed marketing opportunity. Having an active Facebook account will help you onboard clients via this social platform, but it will also drive new users to the architecture firm’s website.
Besides increasing traffic to your website, social media users can have a major impact on your search engine rankings. Given that Google nowadays assesses user engagement on a site, you can get quite a boost from your biggest fans. The lack of competition on Facebook will make it easier to penetrate this social media.
4. Improve local SEO
Like many other websites that sell locally, architecture firms are highly dependent on their neighbors. Creating a Google My Business profile is one of the better ways to advertise your brand and put it on a map. By implementing this approach, your architecture business can drive highly-qualified leads back to your website.
Here are a few best practices for implementing local optimization:
- First, you need to create a Google My Business profile
- Fill in all the relevant data, such as address and phone number
- Add your architecture website to major directories like Yelp
- Start accruing positive online feedback from your clients
- Get an additional boost by performing local keyword research and creating blog posts for these phrases
Local SEO is vital for a successful SEO strategy. Although many companies use this method to generate leads, most of them don’t push the envelope. In other words, by proactively seeking feedback and optimizing local keywords, you can gain a competitive advantage over other websites.
5. Focus on collaboration
The architecture industry is a field that welcomes collaboration. You can team up with other agencies to do all sorts of things, whether executing client projects or organizing events together.
Most companies see collaboration as something that mainly pertains to basic architectural work. However, you can also use this premise to organize marketing events, job fairs, and other promotional activities. That way, you can put your name on the map without overspending.
Even better, all these collaborations can have an impact on your SEO. Most notably, you’ll start getting links from other sites, and your architecture firm will be featured in the biggest online publications. Over time, you’ll generate massive goodwill and boost brand awareness.
SEO is a perfect promotional tool for architecture firms. Although it requires a long-term effort and sizable investment, it’s the best way for a company to become an industry leader. To squeeze the most out of this promotional activity, you’ll need to find a good marketing partner and create a sustainable long-term plan.