By Alex Dixon
More than likely you've heard the term SEO, but, for the uninitiated, SEO literally means Search Engine Optimization— technical jargon for a set of methods used to boost your website's rank in Google's search results.
Now, why should you care? Well, according to this article put out by the SEO gurus at MOZ, the top 3 positions in Google's search results account for a whopping 55% of organic clicks, with the number one spot alone netting over 30%.
Think about that, over one third of visitors click on the first result they see. Naturally, everyone wants to be number one, so we've outlined below 5 steps you can take to help boost your website's ranking.
The first step is to make sure your website satisfies the most basic SEO criteria. These are things often forgotten when new content is uploaded but play a critical role in getting your site to rank well. For example:
Meta Title TagsMake sure you have defined a meta title for each page. These are very important, as they contribute keywords and will be displayed in Google's search results.
Meta Description TagsMake sure you have a meta description on every page. These have no keyword value, but are important for humans as they show up below your web page's title in Google.
Page HeadingsMake sure you have headings on each of your website's pages. These are typically headers, sub-headers and page titles (i.e. your project's title).
Google rewards websites that stay up-to-date and frequently post new content. Now, this doesn't mean you should just post for the sake of posting, as with most things quality trumps quantity. However, consistently updating your website is far better than mega updates once or twice a year. This will not only help your ranking but will make your site feel alive and provide a more engaging experience for your visitors.
Update ProjectsDevelop a content strategy that involves adding new projects periodically, set deadlines and stick to them.
Keep the blog freshSet yourself a goal, if you have a blog or news section, this could be one post per month or bi-weekly.
Keywords help Google determine how relevant your content is to a particular search term. For example, if you're a residential architect and your project descriptions include words like "residence", "home", "single-family", and so on, you'll likely rank higher for those search terms than say, "museum" or "library".
Mix them inSprinkle 4–5 key words or phrases into your project descriptions and website copy, making sure they emphasize your expertise or address your clientele.
Use it in a sentenceKeep the keywords contextual by using them in sentences, and repeat the same concept using different wordings.
Stay LocalIn addition, be sure to include project locations (city, region, country) as these can help boost your rank for geographic specific searches.
Backlinks are when another website links back to your site. Here again, quality is better than quantity. Google determines a website's rank in part by how often that site is referenced by others, essentially quality by association. While this happens organically, there are a number of ways you can generate new links on your own.
Social ProfilesCreate profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to promote and share your work.
Architecture ProfilesCheck that your website URL is up-to-date in your profile on sites like ArchDaily, Architizer, Houzz, and others.
Architecture AwardsWhenever you recieve an award make sure the awarding body adds a link to your home page or project page on their website.
Blog SubmissionsSubmit your work to lifestyle sites like Dwell, or design blogs like Dezeen, and be sure to include a link to your website in the body text.
There are any number of free and/or paid tools out there to track and manage your SEO progress. We recommend a couple free ones below that you can start using today. Note, for both you'll need a Google account (fancy that).
AnalyticsGoogle Analytics. Track how many visitors your website receives, what they look at and where they come from.
KeywordsGoogle Webmaster Tools. See what keywords your website ranks for and where in Google's results you show up.
Hopefully that's enough to get you started. Stay tuned for part 2, where we'll take a more in-depth look at a couple of the sections outlined above. If you're interested in learning more about how Monograph can help grow your firm's online reputation, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.