SEO for Architects: How Architectural Firms Get Higher Rankings & More Organic Traffic

By: John Devlin

Architects

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Search engine optimisation is a necessary component for architects looking to grow their firm.

If you’re not using SEO, it may be costing you jobs and keeping potential clients from finding you while also helping out competitors who use this marketing strategy as well!

I am going to keep the SEO jargon to a minimum in this post if I do have to use certain terms I will try my best to add an explanation.

Search engine optimisation should play a crucial part of any company’s marketing plan. Without it, you may be missing out on big-ticket clients, organic search traffic and opportunities for growth in the future!

For architects looking to take their firm into new markets online, learn how SEO can help with this process!

SEO (search engine optimisation) is the most effective way to help potential new clients find you online.

What is SEO for Architects

Search engine optimisation is a set of methods and techniques that are used to boost your website’s rankings in Google’s (and other search engines) results.

SEO can be tricky, but it doesn’t have as much to do with what you say or how hard you work – instead, it depends on improving the way content appears and performs when someone searches for keywords explicitly related to architecture firms like yours!

It Starts With an SEO Strategy

Having an SEO strategy for your architecture firm is essential because it helps you stay on track when creating content.

Instead of just producing what one thinks people are looking for, your plan will ensure that the generated material is targeted towards searches and results in higher rankings on SERPs (search engine result pages).

For content marketing, this means having high-quality blog posts and case studies with strong links from relevant sites across social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter so those who visit us can find even more great information about our architectural services.

Keyword Research is The Foundation of Any Successful Architects Driving Leads Online

Properly optimising your website for an increase in Google rankings is critical for any small business, architects included. It’s not an out the box solution, or a one size fits all process.

We wrote a complete guide on doing keyword research as a small business here; it should be straightforward to find your perfect set of architects SEO keywords.

Here's a Quick Overviews into Finding Keywords for an Architects Website

  • Use SEO tools to Reverse Engineer Competitors Keywords
  • Use Google Related Searches To Discover Search Terms You’ve Overlooked
  • Check Top Architecture Firms for Their Keywords
  • Use Google Search Console to Find What Keywords You Rank For
  • Use Social Media to See What People Are Searching For Online

A keyword research tool like Ahrefs and Semrush will give you all the search terms and closely related keywords your business needs in seconds. Giving you precious time make to shift your SEO efforts elsewhere.

Local SEO basics are always the same – it’s just about finding new ways to use them!

Enthusiastic architects who want to grow their firm should keep this in mind – SEO is about using the right keywords strategically to achieve the results you want.

Keyword Mapping & Topic Clustering

This keyword mapping sounds way more complicated than it is. It’s actually one of the most simple digital marketing strategies you’ll come across.

Open a spreadsheet and put a main service keyword at the top.

Example:

Architects in Glasgow

Now under this, you want to add all the terms that mean the same thing.

These are called keyword variations.

So following the above example

Architects in Glasgow (This is the primary keyword)

  • Glasgow architects
  • glasgow architects
  • architects in Glasgow
  • architects Glasgow
  • architecture firms Glasgow
  • Glasgow architect
  • Best Glasgow architects
  • Glasgow architecture company
  • architecture firm in Glasgow

Now these all belong to one page, you don’t need to use them all on the page in fact, you shouldn’t use them all, but you also shouldn’t use these words on any other pages.

It confuses Goggle and leads to something called keyword cannibalisation which is not good.

Sprinkle 3-4 around the page and pay particular attention to the meta title and H1 (page titles), which we will come too soon.

Now for another page, you might like the look of “architects in Scotland”, and if your company serves clients nationwide, you can also create a page that legitimately targets this set of keywords.

Now your keyword mapping!

We should have keywords mapped for every page on our site. If two pages are talking about the same thing, pick one or combine them into one better page but don’t keep two.

The H1 & Meta Title [Search Engine Optimization Basics]

Title tags and H1’s (page headings) are key ingredients to a successful SEO campaign for any architectural firm. With so many search engines now expecting them, it is imperative that you use title tag characters wisely and stay within 55 character limits, or they could negatively impact your website traffic!

Yoast has built-in tools for editing these crucial pieces of information in WordPress websites.

Here is how you’d write the meta title tags and H1’s using the keywords above.

We are going to write them in a way to maximise the keywords we have and to try and entice the click.

Meta Title: Award Winning Glasgow Architects & Architectural Designers

H1: A Creative & Effective Architecture Firm in Glasgow

This H1 features on the page and is seen after the click, so at this point, it’s less about Google and more about making a great first impression.

Although we still covered the majority of the main keywords between the two.

I assume everyone reading this already has an existing website, so I won’t go into the URL.

There is a best practice for these, but I’d advise against changing them once your site is up and running.

SEO for architectural firms does not warrant wholesale changes to the site URL structure. Some SEO agencies will do it for a slight early boost in rankings, but for me, it’s overkill.

So now we have our keyword research done, and all our specific pages are starting to get optimised. We are well on our way.

Meta Descriptions

Metadata, such as meta descriptions, provide additional information about your page to search engine algorithms. These text snippets are most likely to appear in search engine results pages for your site.

It’s possible to write an interesting summary of the page content to entice visitors to click through.

More recently, Google has started changing meta tags for pages with a poor quality score. They will now rewrite the description or use a section of your website’s content rather than remove it.

Don’t try to stuff your meta descriptions full of keywords – have a clear and concise message that explains clearly what the page is about and what users will get from it.

Go Easy on Images

Most architects websites I have worked with love images, loads of pictures and very little content.

Architectural work is visually oriented, but you must include enough text for search engines and users alike.

You can show off your recent projects with stunning photos if that’s what floats your boat; however, make sure there’s some textual content in there as well!

Put alt tags in images so that those who cannot see them know of their contents without clicking through.

This also helps Google identify which words or phrases might be relevant when ranking sites higher in its index (because someone couldn’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t important).

Picking the Right Images for Your Architectural Website

At the workplace and out onsite, post smiling, happy pictures of the team.

If they see you, your team and even your consumers thrilled that the problem has gone away. Happiness because the issue disappeared & it was YOU who caused it to go away!

With smartphones, it is no longer necessary to purchase any additional equipment for picture processing since many photographs are now taken in high quality.

The look of what comes on the photo is critical – clean, smart locations are more essential than ever.

A Quick Word About Stock Imagery for Architects Online

Where should I go if I’m not comfortable in my photographs?

Stock photos. I use Shutterstock. In my opinion, they have the best selection for professional businesses.

When you upload a photo, the program will automatically select the ideal bit depth and resolution. If your picture is a little larger or smaller than this fixed size, it may be resized for you by the program.

You’ll need to choose a pixel width on your own; however, if any of the images in your blog post include text that isn’t at least 300 pixels wide, you’re going to wish you’d chosen a larger picture.

Careful not to use too small a pixel dimension when using stock imagery with text on it.

Don’t use a stock image to imply that your architectural company is something that’s not.

What Kind Of Content Marketing Should an Architecture Firm Do?

For many architects, what they’re sharing has a significant drawback.

If you examine their blogs and social media feeds, for example, you’ll see that the majority of postings are about company news such as wins or new employees (with an occasional mention towards non-profit activities),

This may have its place, but it doesn’t drive targeted traffic. This post is about search engine optimisation for architects websites, so we will stick with what brings in new hot leads.

Architects Should Publish The Following

  • Location Pages – To Target Nearby Towns and Cities in Search Results
  • In-depth Case Studies – To Demonstrate Expertise
  • FAQ’s On Questions Constantly Asked in the Industry (Every industry has them)
  • New Services – Expand your list from Architect services and search for keywords around the restoration, renovation, and urban design sectors.

Google's Tools Can Help Drive Organic Traffic

There are numerous Google-verified, free resources available. These professional tools provide valuable insight into how to improve your website if you utilise them correctly.

Visitor clicks and bounce rate can be measured quickly with Google Analytics.

It’s vital to link your companies website to Google Search Console, Google Ads (if you run sponsored advertising), to see what people are looking for on your website.

For additional ideas on how to improve rankings in SERPs, read this page.

It’s SEO tips aimed at all types of tradespeople.

The Google Search Console records a wealth of information about how your site performs in terms of traffic and popularity.

You may check out the number of pages indexed by Google search engines, as well as crawler problems identified and how people are navigating and finding your website.

SEO is Slow But Rewarding.

SEO and optimising your website takes time. It’s not a quick fix. It requires consistency and knowledge of the correct steps to take. Even doing everything right, you will need to be patient and persevere in your efforts.

You will find that after a month or two, you’ll hardly be seeing any changes. This is because search results take time to index and rank your site, so it’s important not to get too frustrated at this stage!

As long as your content is excellent and consistent, you should see positive results in 3 to 6 months.

It takes time because search engines index the backlinks that other websites have created for your site.

It’s not just done by one click of a button like some people would like you to believe (Trust me, I’ve tried them all!).

You need to have a well-structured site.

It needs to be responsive and fast. It’s not as simple as leaving your keywords in the meta tags and title tags; there is more to it than that.

Internal links Are Your FREE Boost.

Internal links on a local website are rarely used, but the more competitive search terms like:

  • Pet Insurance
  • Home Insurance
  • Cheap Flights

Check out this image here.

See the internal links using keywords highlighted.

These websites are maximising an internal linking strategy, and guess what you can too.

Here’s a simple explanation of what internal links are, what they do and how to use them for your benefit.

To sum up, internal links are simply hyperlinks that link to other web pages on the same domain.

They help with two significant factors of SEO:

1) Indexation

The more internal links you have within your site, the easier it is for Google to crawl and index all of your web pages. Indexation is a crucial part of SEO because once a page has been indexed, it will have a much higher chance of being found in search results.

2) Rank Boosting

The second benefit is that internal links help with ranking. The more links point to the same page. The more valuable Google usually finds it to be.

This means your pages will rank better for keywords you are targeting because of the numerous inbound links pointing to it from other web pages on your domain.

3) They boost the relevancy of pages to specific keywords

For example, if you were looking for a pool builder, linking your indoor pools page to your outdoor swimming pools page on the same site is an internal link. That will boost how relevant that outdoor pools page is to search engines.

How to use internal links to your advantage

The first step is finding the right keywords, so you’ll need a list of long-tail keywords specifically related to your business. We should have this from the keyword clustering/mapping we did earlier.

Now, where it makes sense, contextually link the pages across your site using descriptive anchor text.

For example, if you are a web design company, your website will probably have many pages about different types of websites. You could then link to your eCommerce website page from all other pages discussing various sites.

Anchor text is just another word for the hyperlink text.

In this case, it’s the clickable text that links from one page to another.

Be sure those pages are relevant to the keyword you’ll be linking to, as Google looks for anchor text links and applies them as a relevancy signal!

So if I were linking from my pool builder page to my pool design page, it would make sense to use words like “pool design services” as the link text.

The best tool on the market to find internal linking opportunities within a website is a Link Whisper; they crawl the site reading the text and spits back internal link opportunities that you can add with one click.

Pretty cool right, when I first started, this took many painful hours.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-Page SEO includes linking to your site from other sites that are related to your business or niche.

Why is it important?

Off-Page SEO Helps in 3 ways:

1. Builds Reputation and Presence:

Every link you add to your site (blog, Facebook page, website etc.) counts as a vote for your site. The more the votes, the higher the search engine rank for your business or blog.

2. Boosts Traffic:

Now that you’ve started to build your reputation and presence, other bloggers will start visiting your site and blog. The more quality links you have, the more traffic you’ll build naturally.

3. Establishes Expertise:

Other people in your niche space respect sites that focus on content and are more likely to help promote you if they buy into your expertise.

It’s different from on-page, on-page SEO is something you have control over, whereas off-page you have way less input.

On-Page SEO involves optimising your website architecture and navigation, title tags, meta descriptions, headers, content, images, video and other media types for search engine optimisation.

Here are the nuts and bolts of Off-Page Search Engine Optimisation

Backlinks

Backlinks are websites that link to your site. Google’s algorithm also reflects the frequency with which a website has been cited in other locations.

There are numerous methods to establish new backlinks on your own.

Quality over quantity of links is achieved through connections, and there are several strategies to attract backlinks.

Acquiring backlinks is a crucial part of any architect SEO campaign; I’ll share some great resource videos below that walk you through building links to any local or small business website

9 SEO Tips & Strategies

If you read nothing else on my site, read these essential SEO tips for architects and other tradesman websites. These are how other top SEO professionals and I consistently rank websites higher in search results in 2021

1) Rewrite all Your Intro's (Yes for Every Page)

Businesses write boring introductions.

Rewrite the first few paragraphs on every page to boost your architects SEO and give all your pages the best possible chance of holding a users attention, make them engaging and benefit-driven. Also, include your main keyword in this section of the page.

Instead of this – We are award-winning Manchester architects and designers, dedicated to sustainable buildings.

Try This: With the help of Manchester Architects, you can be sure to get your perfect project without any hassle or stress. You will work with one dedicated architect who will take care of everything so you don’t have to worry – just enjoy the process!

This works so well because it’s all about them, and visitors like reading what’s in it for them.

2) Internally Link Your Pages Together (Search Engines Want This)

We’ve been over the internal linking strategy above. This is a quick win for boosting search engine rankings

3) Build Industry Relevant & Locally Relevant Backlinks

Local and industry-relevant are the only guidelines you need right now for local link building. Stick with these two principles, and you won’t go far wrong.

4) Build Citations

Your business will already have citations, which are mentions of your name address and phone number across the web. Your business will already have citations, on other websites and blogs (Yell.com, Facebook)

These need to be checked for accuracy and if they’re not 100% accurate, then they should either be fixed/updated. This will help with rankings in 2021 because Google looks for mentions of your business in its index.

Build a Social Fortress

Most small businesses online use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but here is a list of more social platforms where you can get safe citations and backlinks for your firm.

  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • Disqus
  • Quora
  • TikTok
  • YouTube

5) Make Sure Your Website is Lightening Fast

Website speed in 2021 is a huge deal: Here’s why:

Google wants to return the most relevant results for a users query. If your site is slow, they might assume that your website isn’t great and rank you lower. So getting your site speed down could boost rankings.

But that’s not even the main reason you want a fast loading website.

Visitors today expect a great UX (User Experience), and if your site takes more than 4 seconds to load, then they’ll leave and look elsewhere.

Shoot for 2 seconds, Hell shoot for one second and below, it’s 100% possible.

Here are three links that talk about speed optimisation basics for 2021:

 
 

6) Promote Your Website

Every chance you get, you want exposure to the website. If you’re featured in a local newspaper, you want the web address with a link. You are mentioned in a Facebook post, then ask for the link to be included.

The compounded effect of constantly pushing your website and brand online (in the right places) directly correlates to higher rankings.

Google sees these editorial backlinks in newspapers, mentions your website on social or in trade associations, and begins to paint a picture of your company being one its users can trust for Architecture services.

Bad SEO Tactics - Aka Black Hat SEO

1) Don't Blindly Pass Over Your Site To SEO Agencies

Not many SEO Agencies are good at SEO. That’s a fact. I’ve seen a handful at best; what they are good at is selling SEO services, really good at it, to the point where the worst agencies have no moral compass for right and wrong.

Get a whole load of case studies from them before committing to any contract and check out what they say is accurate.

2) Don't Listen to Any One person Opinion (Think Salesmen)

If you read something cool about SEO on a blog like mine (hopefully), then go check it out before you start to implement it on your website.

If a simple SEO strategy works, other people will have implemented it on their website.

Those websites should show up in the top 10 results for that SEO strategy (keyword). If you don’t see any, then it is probably bullsh%t.

Most SEO strategy is simple and well known, and the SEO Gurus on YouTube will be screaming about it.

3) Never Automatically Submit Your Site to Cheap Spammed Directories

It is easy to automatically submit your site to cheap spammed directories (and many do). While this can drive some tiny amounts of traffic, it also gives Google the impression that you are trying too hard.

It may even damage your ranking for actual vital keywords. You should never forget that it is far better for your rankings if you take the time to pick the best local and industry-relevant directories carefully.

Any directories that accept automated submissions are usually crap.

4) Don't Sleep on Web Design & Quality Content

Yes, I know. You’re an architect, and you build buildings for a living. But don’t assume that everyone who walks through your front door knows what a beam or a joist is.

The majority of clients probably won’t know – at least initially. Use excellent web design and high-quality content to explain what you can do and lead with the benefits of your service to them the customer.

A strong web presence also builds credibility and start to position you as a leader in your field.

Well designed sites will not only keep your visitors on your site longer, but they’ll also be more likely to share it with others.

5) Don't Pass SEO Down the Line

SEO for architectural firms is critical to your companies continued growth in 2021 more than ever. Don’t pass the hiring, vetting and checking process onto junior members of staff.

They won’t appreciate the importance of SEO and won’t be results-focused like you are.

Successful SEO for any architects company is worth A LOT of money, give it the respect it deserves, and you will be rewarded.

6) Don't Publish (Or Index) Unwanted Content

Things like your team pages, award news, latest funding or news updates belong on social media.

Don’t index anything on Goggle that is not keyword-driven, of interest to potential clients, and not commercial.

Google search results work by matching users search queries with pages optimised for keywords.

7) Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is simply the over usage of keywords on a page, so much so that the content becomes unreadable to humans.

In the past, SEO experts have used keyword stuffing to improve their chances of being ranked high on SERPs (Search Engine Result Page).

It was a time when the strategy of using lots of keywords in content made sense because search engines were less sophisticated and used to look at keywords in context with other relevant words to determine the topic.

Now, it’s too late for SEO pros who are still stuck in this practice because Google has updated its algorithm.

Stuffing keywords is now an obsolete SEO trick, and as such, any over usage of keywords would lead to a penalty.

This means that your articles, blogs, web pages won’t rank well if you practice this technique.

8) Don't Link to Bad Websites

We want inbound backlinks from trusted high quality, or local websites to improve our Architects SEO strategy.

Google trusts some sites more than others and rewards those they link to accordingly.

The same is valid with who you link out to. To keep it simple, link out to trusted high authority websites in your industry, think associations and government articles.

9) Never Rely on SEO Alone To Drive Traffic to Your Website

SEO is a perfect marketing tool, granted, but it’s just one method of driving traffic to your architectural firm’s website.

SEO takes time which we have discussed, so look at other options to supplement your search engine optimisation efforts. Some of these include:

a. Pay per click search engines such as Google Adwords or Bing Ads

b. Social Media Marketing (SMM)

c. Email marketing campaigns

Last Word

There are a lot of SEO tips for architects that you can put to use right away. We hope these basic SEO strategies will help get your website seen more on the web and in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo! or even Yahoo.

But if you want even more advice about how to optimise your site, so it performs better online, please sign up for our email list by clicking one of the links above.

If there is anything we don’t cover here that you would like us to explore in future blog posts, just let us know below, and we will do our best to address it with an article.

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