SEO is an essential part of digital marketing, but it may seem daunting if digital marketing isn’t your expertise. Don’t worry – SEO is both easy to understand, and something that can benefit your interior design business greatly.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and refers, according to the SEO experts at Moz, ‘the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.’ For you, as an interior designer, that means that you can (and most definitely should) create and update your website so that it is easily found by potential clients and partners when they are using search engines like Google. Think about it from their perspective: How many times have you tried a new business that you found on the first page of your Google search results or at the top of Google Maps? You’re probably not scrolling to the bottom of the page, and you’re almost certainly not going to the second and third pages of those search results. By targeting the right keywords, you can make sure your business shows up near the top of the search results that matter most to your business.
But first you have to learn the basics and ensure you have access to the expertise of a professional in this deceptively complex specialty.
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What is SEO?
There are four basic components of SEO:
- Keywords: Words and phrases that search engine users input into their search fields that connect with the purpose and location of your business. These should appear consistently throughout your web pages.
- Keyword search volume: How many people are using particular keywords to yield search results that could include your interior design business. On the surface, the more volume the better (but it’s more nuanced than that… see below).
- Website traffic coming from organic search: The number of people who have visited your web pages as a click-through from a search engine result.
- Conversion of clients found by keyword search: The number of people who found your business through a search engine that went on to become clients of your interior design business. There are other so-called ‘conversion’ metrics, too, including indicators of interest in working with your company, though the ultimate conversion is signing that dotted line.
Keyword Competition: Think Beyond Keyword Volume
One note about keywords and search volume: Depending on your company’s goals (regional vs. local; niche specialty vs. broad interior design expertise; virtual consulting vs. in-person work only; etc.), you may not necessarily target those keywords with the highest volume, because often those keywords also have high levels of competition. Instead, you may want to find targeted keywords that are both very relevant to your business, and with a lower level of competition that will allow you to compete to actually show up in those first 5-10 results when someone searches for them – i.e., that first page of search results.
So you see, it’s a bit more complicated than just finding the most popular keywords and copy/pasting them throughout your site – even if that’s the basic idea. But simply repeating your chosen keywords is just the first of many steps that need to be taken to maximize SEO.
This checklist maps out exactly what interior design businesses need to know to create and implement an SEO strategy. In fact, Jason, a trained architect himself and author of “The Complete Guide to Internet Marketing for the Kitchen and Bath Remodel Industry,” is helping to lead the way in digital marketing for interior designers while putting a spotlight on SEO. The website for Kitchen and Bath Marketing Solutions includes a Resource Library with hundreds of articles about digital marketing for interior designers that the Bath and Kitchen Marketing Solutions team adds to monthly, including a robust set of articles on SEO alone.
Why You Need to Invest in SEO
Looking more closely at the SEO Checklist, you’ll see action items such as “set-up Google Analytics, Google Search Console (GSC) and Bing Webmaster Tools.” Maybe that seemed manageable. Now, try to “Develop a Robots.txt file” — that’s not so easy. You can imagine that the average interior designer not trained in internet technology may have a difficult time completing just the initial set-up for maximizing SEO, never mind the necessary on-going maintenance. Plus, SEO data, like relevant keywords and standard procedure for achieving SEO are constantly evolving. Kevin agrees.
“SEO is a really broad term,” he says. “There are many facets and areas of specialization. It’s intimidating and ever-changing.” To put things into perspective, Kevin has three people on his team that focus solely on SEO for his clients, each with their own areas of specialization.
While mastering SEO can bring a huge influx of website traffic and, potentially, new clients to your business, it’s a heavily time-consuming venture. As the owner of an interior design business with many responsibilities to oversee, it’s important to understand the basics – and to leave the details to highly trained experts. Depending on the size of your business, it may be best to use independent specialists – instead of hiring someone full-time – who stay current on the latest keywords and the best way to connect them to your web pages.
“You can get started learning about SEO but to really master it, you should outsource it to an expert,” Kevin says. “What worked a year ago may not work now. Most business owners don't have the time.”
Pulling back the curtain of SEO is a great first step into bringing your website to the next level of exposure. Knowing the basic principles will give you the tools to get started on your own and then have a well-informed strategy session with an SEO expert who can help you implement a plan to maximize your SEO. One you start taking the right steps, be prepared for a boom in business!