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SEO for Architects [The Ultimate Guide]

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Learn why SEO for architects is critical to grow organically your firm. If you’re not using search engine optimization, aka SEO, you may be losing great opportunities to grow and potential clients.

Today I’m going to be teaching you about SEO for Architects and how to increase the organic search traffic to your firm’s website.

In this article, you’ll learn what SEO is, why it gets you more clients, and how to implement the best SEO practices within the AEC industry.

Without further delay, let’s find out exactly…

What is SEO & why do I need it?

Woman searching on a website
Woman searching on a website

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of optimizing a web page to increase the quality and quantity of traffic generated from organic search. It’s arguably the best digital marketing channel to bring in leads for architects and brings in two-thirds of all website traffic on average.

This includes traffic from search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The quality of traffic refers to how relevant the user’s search request is to the website’s content.

The quantity is the actual volume of traffic the website receives from the search engines.

In essence, we use SEO to get more (and better) traffic to our websites. However, it’s a strategy that takes time; usually, the results take 3 or more months to show up. Because of it, most companies choose a PPC strategy. But, the cost of an SEO strategy is much lower than PPC, and its results can be much higher.

In these next sections, you’ll learn about several of the different SEO ranking factors and how to optimize them to get more high-quality traffic.


The AEC Guide to Digital Marketing

Building industry-specific guide to grow a digital presence.

READ MORE

SEO Strategy & Planning

Businesswoman planning business strategy
Close-up of young businesswoman sitting at her workplace in front of laptop computer and examining business strategy on digital tablet at office

Keyword Research

The first step in optimizing for search is determining what keyword(s) we want our website to rank for.

Keywords are one of the foundational elements of SEO. These terms are what searchers enter into the search engines. They can be questions posed by users, could be products users want to buy, etc.

As Google describes: “When someone searches on Google, your ad could be eligible to appear based on the similarity of your keywords to the person’s search terms, as well as your keyword match types.”.

For example, let’s say you own an Architecture company that exclusively designs restaurants, and you only work within the greater NYC area.

Your desired main keyword may be “restaurant architects New York City” or “restaurant designers NYC” because they align specifically with your business offerings.

Picking your keywords seems straightforward, but you still need to know which are valuable and deliver high traffic, right?

To find these high-value keywords you can use a keyword research tool such as:

These tools help you find the traffic amount each keyword receives a month, as well as some great suggestions for similar keywords.

* Keyword Research Tip *

Find keywords that align with your specific services offered and markets served.

Generally, more specific keywords have the best conversion rates but are not searched as much as broad keywords.

The definition of long-tail and head-tail keywords will help you to understand the keyword research better

Long-tail

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases. These keywords will have lower search volume than head keywords, but also lower competition. In other words, it’s easier to rank for these keywords.Example:

Example

  • Best website builder for teachers
  • Nike Shoes for Men in San Francisco
  • Digital Marketing for Architects
  • SEO for Architects
Head-tail

Head tail terms/keywords are phrases that are broad in nature, have a high search volume and more competition. As they are more generic, more websites are ranking for them which brings more competition around these keywords.

Example:

  • Website Builder
  • Shoes
  • Digital Marketing
  • SEO

I recommend getting a list of both broad, high volume keyword as well as narrow, specific keywords – you will use both.

Once you enter your target keyword into the keyword tool, notice each keyword’s “competition” number.

This number gauges how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword on a scale between 0 – 1.

The more competitive the keyword, the higher the score.

If your desired keyword has high competition, that often means it’s a higher ROI term, which comes at a higher cost per click (CPC) when using paid ads.

Content Strategy

Close up portrait of a woman's hands writing a letter.
Close up portrait of a woman’s hands writing a letter or making notes.

After you’ve got a list of promising keywords, it’s time to lay out all the keywords you’d like to rank for and assign them to current pages or scheduled pages to be created through a thoughtful content strategy.

Most pages are optimized to have one primary keyword (Unless it’s a large cornerstone article – more on that below), so in order to rank for multiple keywords, you’ll generally need more pages.

Each keyword you find can be the topic for a new page or blog post.

For example, maybe you want your home page to target the keyword “restaurant architect New York”, but you would also like to rank for “restaurant architect Buffalo” too.

This is where you could create another landing page specifically to target “restaurant architect Buffalo” and give readers info about your restaurant architecture efforts in Buffalo.

Information Architecture & Linking Strategy

Once you’ve got a list of pages/posts for each keyword you are targeting, you can organize those pages in a logical way within your site to help boost your SEO even more.

To do this we help search engines define the most important pages on your website by using an internal “linking structure”.

See the image below to get an idea of how this internal linking works.

Linking Strategy

When page B links to page A, it is passing “PageRank” to page A, which boosts A’s value to the search engines.

You can see that the subpages (B) are linking to the parent pages (A) above them.

The strategy here is to use many smaller blog posts to pass PageRank to your main pages or posts.

The more relevant the subpage is to the parent page and the higher the traffic the subpages get, the more PageRank gets passed to the parent page.

These parent pages or posts in this type of structure are known as a…

Cornerstone Articles (aka Pillar pages)

A cornerstone article or pillar page is aptly named because they make up the “cornerstones” of your website’s content marketing strategy.

These cornerstone pages are the “A” page (in the example above) that your smaller “B” posts are linking up to.

Cornerstone pages or posts are generally 3x the length of the subpages and target higher traffic and broader keywords.

To solidify the example, you may have the three pages “restaurant architect Buffalo”, “restaurant architect New York City”, and “restaurant architect Albany” that all link upwards to a larger cornerstone page named “restaurant architect New York”.

These 3 subpages would all pass PageRank to the cornerstone page, boosting its rank in the search engines.

* Cornerstone Article Tip *

A well structured website should have 4 or more cornerstone articles that are very relevant to the business’s service offerings and/or target market.

Cornerstone articles should target broader, larger volume keywords and have at least 4 relevant subposts that link up to them.

For more great info on content & linking strategy, check out the Wiki Strategy.

For more info on cornerstone articles, check out Yoast’s take on cornerstones.


On-Page SEO

Website development layout sketch drawing
Website development layout sketch drawing

What is On-Page SEO?

Now that we have our keywords chosen, the content strategy outlined, and linking strategy in place, the next step is to actually build out the pages that we’re trying to get ranked.

The On-Page SEO points in this section refer to the optimizations that occur “on-page” when writing and publishing your page/post.

These On-Page optimizations include technical factors that tell Google and other search engines what subject our page is about.

Slug

Located in the URL, the “slug” is the web address that directs someone to the specific page on your website.

Ideally, your slug should contain the target keyword and be less than 80 characters long. For example, the slug of this page is: “/seo-for-architects-rank-your-website-get-traffic/”.

Your URL must contain your primary keyword and be easy to read, without any special character.

Title

The title of your page is the heading text that your user sees on the search results, it’s also displayed in the tab of your web browser.

For example, the title of this page is “SEO for Architects: How to Rank Your Website & Get Traffic”.

Ideally, your title should contain the target keyword and be between 50 – 60 characters in length. Most search engines only display 60 characters give or take.

Also, your primary keyword must be in the title tag, and if possible, place the keyword at the beginning of your SEO Title.

Meta Description

The meta description is the paragraph text that your user sees on the search results. It’s the meta description that will make the user click on your ad instead of your competitor’s.

Ideally, your description should contain the target keyword and be between 150 – 170 characters in length.

When creating the meta description, try to make it unique and highly converting. Every page and post needs a unique and different description.

A research on Google about Saturday Night Live

Heading Tags

Heading Tags are the pages H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, & H6’s that tell search engines (and readers) about the hierarchy of your webpage content.

This hierarchy is important because it helps the Search Engines crawl and understand the pages and posts. And, it also helps the users to find what they are looking for in the posts/pages. It’s easier to read when you have well-structured content.

For example, the H1 of this page is “SEO for Architects: How to Rank Your Website & Get Traffic” since that is the main topic of this page.

An example of an H2 would be the subheading “On-Page SEO”, and an H3 would be “Heading Tags”.

This is very similar to how you would structure a research paper or other professional publications.

We use this structure to define written points in a logical hierarchy.

The H1 and at least one subheading tag on the page should include the target keyword.

Max of 30 heading tags should be used on any one page. Length isn’t a big issue for headings, use what makes sense within the context of your content.

Body Text

The body text is the main paragraph text that makes up the majority of your page/post.

This body text should include the target keyword between 2% – 5% of the total page copy. 

For example, if the page is 300 words long, the exact keyword should appear between 3 – 6 times throughout the body text.

However, even your target keyword appears only a few times throughout the body text, you can add related keywords to your body text to make your content rank for more keywords on SERP.

If my target keyword is “SEO for Architects”, these would be the related searches Google will show me. (To see Google’s related search, you need to scroll down Google’s search page.)

Related Searches

You can also use its “People Also Ask” section to find great keywords/opportunities to be added to your content as H2, H3, H4, etc.

People also ask

Subpages and small posts should be no shorter than 300 words, cornerstone pages or articles should be no less than 900 words.

Alt Attributes

At least one of the images on the page should have an alt attribute that contains the target keyword. 

These alt attributes are displayed by screen readers and also when the image cannot be displayed.

They are also used by search engines to find out what the images on a page are about.

Here you want to make sure the alt attribute describes the image appropriately. 

For example, if you have an image that shows a restaurant you designed in Manhattan named Atomix, the alt attribute could be “Atomix Restaurant Design Manhattan”.

On-Page Links

Inbound Links

Mentioned in the Internal Linking Strategy above, an inbound link is just a hyperlink that directs the user to another page within the same website. 

Each page or post should contain at least one inbound link within the body text. 

See your linking structure above to determine what pages may be helpful to link to.

For example, this page has an inbound link to “Keywords for Architects” a few sections above.

That link allows the reader to learn more about the architecture keywords subject in greater detail, and also passes PageRank to that page, thus boosting its SEO.

Outbound Links

An outbound link is any link that directs the user to another page on a different website. 

Your page or post should contain at least one outbound link. 

Outbound links are used to “connect” your page to other sites within a relevant network. Oftentimes, we do this through guest blogging.

For example, this page has an outbound link that goes to “Neil Patel’s Keyword Planner”.

That backlink can not only pass PageRank to his page but also tells Google and other search engines that my content is related in topic to his content.

This would be a great time to shoot Neil an email saying “Hey Neil, I wrote an article about SEO for Architects and linked to your keyword planner tool to help my clients find good keywords. I’d love it if you checked the article out, and feel free to share it along to anyone you know in the Architecture industry.” 

This is a great way to build a linking network with other relevant sites and dramatically boost your SEO, leading us to the next topic…


Interested in hiring an agency to help your with your website?

Our team has got you covered.

DISCOVER

Off-Page SEO

Architect and customer businessman shaking hands top view
Architect and customer businessman shaking hands top view, desktop with a building project, tools and wood swatches on background

What is Off-Page SEO?

Now that we have our pages built and ready to go, the next step is to get that content viewed & shared by our target readers. 

Unlike On-Page SEO, which tells search engines what our page is about, “Off-Page” SEO helps tells search engines how valuable our page is. 

To help search engines see our page as high value, we use the methods outlined below to get our page shared and distributed around the internet.

These specific factors are generally optimized separately from the page/post itself – hence why it’s called “off-page”.

Backlinks

Backlinks are outbound links from other sites that link back to your page; they pass PageRank to your page and greatly boost SEO.

If a friend links to your page from his blog, that’s a backlink.

If someone shares your page on social media, that’s a backlink too. 

The key to backlinks is to get highly relevant, high-quality links from reputable sites. 

For example, if you own an architecture firm that specializes in restaurant design in NYC, a backlink from a reputable restaurant industry blog in NYC may be a great backlink to have.

Here are some different examples of backlinks and their respective impact on SEO:

  • Blog – someone linked to your page from their high-traffic, relevant industry blog post (Higher SEO impact)
  • Social Media – your page link is shared on an industry-relevant social media group (Higher SEO impact)
  • Social Media – someone shares your page link on their low traffic, personal social media page (Lower SEO impact)
  • Business Directory in Relevant Industry – your site is linked to from a relevant industry directory (Higher SEO impact)
  • Business Directory in Non-relevant Industry – your site linked to from a directory not specific to your target industry (Lower SEO impact)

Can I buy backlinks? It depends. It needs to be related to your niche and a reputable website.

Traffic

This one is pretty simple: The more traffic your page gets, the more valuable search engines perceive that page. 

This is the “rich get richer” of SEO; pages that already get high traffic, do better in search engines than pages that don’t.

For example, when a blog post goes “viral”, it’s because the high amount of organic traffic relative to the short time-frame pushes that page up the search (and social media) algorithms faster than less popular content. 

Paid traffic in the form of search ads or social media ads is a great way to drive initial traffic to fresh content. 

If you have the ad budget, and you don’t want to wait for the traffic to come organically, you can use paid ads to help give content the short term boost they need before the organic traffic kicks in.

Google My Business

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free and easy-to-use tool for managing your company’s online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

By verifying and editing your business information, Google My Business helps customers find you and optimizes your listing across all of Google’s multiple search networks.

This tool is essential for every local business; besides it’s a ranking factor, this tool also will boost your local presence organically.

When creating your account, make sure your company name, address, and phone number (NAP) are correct.

Learn how to Setup Your Google My Business or edit your Google business listing.


Conclusion to SEO for Architects

I’m aware that the topic of SEO is denser than others, so if you have any questions at all don’t hesitate to reach out – we’ll be glad to help.

Also if you have any more SEO topics you would like to see covered in more detail, feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to add it to the discussion.

That’s all for now! I hope this article gave you an actionable perspective on how to approach your SEO efforts as an Architect or architecture firm.

If you are looking to hire an agency for your SEO needs, be sure to request our media kit below!

Thanks for reading!


Don't forget to share this post!

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Nathan is a Bizop co-founder and technology director who specializes in systems, application, and blockchain development.

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Social media for architects and architecture firms can be extremely powerful. When applied correctly, this marketing strategy can impact an architect’s business […]

Content Marketing for Architects [6 Key Ways to Boost Traffic]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Whether you are an independent freelancer or working for a well-established firm, a common theme for everyone within the architectural industry is […]

Optimize Your Pinterest SEO with These 3 Fast Fixes

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
Inspired by a conversation with a client earlier this week, here are three quick and quality steps you can use right now […]

7 Key Pinterest Marketing Tips for Architects

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
The architecture industry is growing exponentially by the day. Surprise, Pinterest marketing for architects has become one of the most ideal social […]

Top 5 Interior Design Blogs to Follow

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
In the sea of home and interior design, it’s almost effortless to find quality interior design blogs and inspiration online. From visual-based […]

Interior Design Social Media [Top Channels]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Social media is one of the first essential marketing efforts any interior designer should take in successfully creating an online presence. It’s […]

SEO for Interior Designers [10 Quick Tips to Boost Traffic]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
What are you doing to bring in new clients to your interior design business?  If you’re solely relying on referrals and word […]

How to Find the Best SEO Keywords for Architects

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Properly optimizing your website for a boost in Google rankings is essential for any architecture firm. If you are already familiar with […]

10 Amazing Interior Design Instagram Accounts to Follow

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
Instagram has risen to be the perfect platform to draw inspiration from––with its highly visual content and engaging community, it’s never been […]

3 Steps to Get Better Engagement on Instagram [$1.80 Strategy]

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
Growing an audience on saturated social platforms such as Instagram can be easy. With the use of hashtags in posts and following […]

8 Key Interior Design Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Firm

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Within the interior design industry, it’s all about first impressions and maintaining a reputable firm. With so many marketing channels available, you […]

How to Plan a Website for Interior Designers

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Branding
As an interior designer, you should already be familiar with the importance of aesthetics and functionality. Your working and living spaces are […]

Consistency is Key: Social Media Marketing Routines

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
It’s only human to adopt a daily routine. People typically follow a pattern of living from their morning to evening routine. Consistency is […]

How to Establish Trust Through Social Media Marketing

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Branding
Let’s face it–– it’s not always easy to trust people you meet on the internet. It’s only natural to approach online users […]

Why Your AEC Firm Needs A Value Proposition Statement

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Branding
To meet the demands of today’s world, it’s essential to be focused on what your clients may need. With a compelling AEC […]

Bizop Bot Voted One of Hubspot’s Best Business Bots

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Industry / Press
The Hubspot bots have voted, and according to them (and us!) – Our Bizop bot is a smashing hit! We are proud […]

Websites for Interior Designers: Best Practices

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Branding
The days of compiling high-quality photos into a lookbook and carrying around a bag of sketches quickly fade as we continue deeper […]

A Couple of Reasons Why Instagram Stories are Great.

Author / Alexandria Swanson

/ Marketing
Instagram stories are a great way to improve brand exposure. In this article, we will explore why! Many businesses are using Instagram […]

Keeping it Real on Social Media [Importance of the Human Touch]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Branding
Social media is one of today’s most powerful tools, and any designer should take advantage of the benefits that social media has […]

6 Key Email Marketing Tips for Interior Designers

Author / Nathan Wilbanks

/ Marketing
Email marketing is an essential tool for interior designers and home decor businesses. This tool is used to create a systematic flow […]

The Role of the Student [Wanted Design Brooklyn 2019]

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Industry / Press
Last month, our team had the opportunity to attend WantedDesign in Manhattan and Brooklyn. A teeming hub of budding designers, WantedDesign was […]

How Can Architects Rank High On Google [SEO Tips]?

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Marketing
Like most architects, you are probably trying to figure out the most effective way to get your work noticed. You’ve got a […]

How to Improve Bounce Rate for Your Interior Design Website

Author / Jessica Ayre

/ Branding
Your website seems to generate a lot of traffic, but for some reason, that traffic doesn’t end up sticking around for very […]