For SEO, overcome ‘Lots of pictures, few words’

Photo by UX Indonesia via Unsplash. Check out this how-to guide for optimizing architecture firm websites.

How to optimize architecture firm websites is a highly visual process, but not entirely. Websites are approvingly visual, yes, and as an architect you have photos … so it's natural to want to show website visitors pictures of your projects, and allow them to simply enjoy your designs without distracting them with lengthy explanations. However, there is potentially a big problem here: Search engines like Google don’t know the thousand words that each picture might portray. Google reads words. For this reason, it's important to design your web pages with images and more than a few words.

Having lots of images with hardly any words is one of several deadly mistakes often seen in a typical architect website that impact search rankings.

How to Optimize Architecture Firm Websites – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of working on a website and your entire online presence to raise the rankings in the search engine results is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. When you do it right, your site will be seen and visited by more people, giving you a better chance to win more business.

The foundation of this process is “on-page SEO”: the content, structure and organization of your web page and entire website.

What the search engines look for: CONTENT

For SEO, the best content can be a 300-to 700-word article that provides useful information. Recent research indicates that longer articles up to 3,000 words can perform even better, especially for highly competitive keywords. 

The search engines, and your visitors, will appreciate answers to typical questions that come up as a client contemplates, plans and commits to a project. Help your potential client understand the options available to resolve a need or a problem, and educate them about possible opportunities as well as the process of working with you.

Fifty-five percent

How good is your content? No matter how good your site is, some visitors look briefly and then leave after a few seconds; they “bounce.” You can find out what your “bounce rate” is by using Google Analytics. If you can keep this under 55%, meaning about half of your visitors stay for a while, you are doing well.

How do you reduce the bounce rate? By offering relevant, useful and engaging content that persuades visitors to read, explore and stay for a while.

The search engines notice a low bounce rate, which may raise your ranking, making it more likely that searchers will see your site. Effective content includes articles, blogs, case studies, and videos, which contain the words that visitors use in their search.

How-to guide for optimizing architecture firm websites

Six ideas for winning content … and clients

  1. For each of your projects, write up a story that conveys the challenges and achievements, maybe even your “hero’s journey” – how you managed to get it through council or put a higher-than-expected number of units on the property.
  2. On the home page or elsewhere on the site, write about your philosophy, how you work with clients, creatively or technically, and explain how that’s an advantage – to the client.
  3. Add a blog and keep adding new posts on a monthly basis (or more frequently if you can). Mix in personal stories (people will appreciate “getting to know the architect”), project updates, and observations about trends or news related to design or construction.
  4. If you talk more easily than you write, make a video in which you answer a question that clients would or should ask (e.g., “What's the process for getting permit approval?”). Get the video transcribed so the web page has “words” too.
  5. Create resources (reports, flowcharts or videos) that help potential clients see options, organize or plan. Offer the most interesting and useful one(s) in exchange for an “opt-in,” in which they fill in a form or email you their contact information. This will allow you to follow up with them; if you share useful info regularly, they may just hire you.

Curious to learn more about how to optimize your architecture firm's website? Find out how to optimize a blog post here: archmarketing.org/seo-for-architects-optimize-blog-post

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