July 27, 2018

Grow Your Architectural Firm With a Stronger Online Presence

How The Best Architect Firms in Texas Make Smart Use of SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media and Their Websites to Win New Projects

Do you have a prominent online presence? If not, you’re losing out on clients, projects, and your reputation. This article will guide you through the four key pillars of building a stellar online presence, specifically tailored to architecture businesses in Texas. It will probably be the most important construction project you’ll ever undertake, so let’s get building!

In this article, you will Learn:

1. Local SEO for Texas Architects Make sure you’re listed in local business pages and maps on all major search engines so you’re easy to find. Also learn how to manage citations, get more reviews, optimize your website for local keywords, and build your backlinks.

2. Must-Haves for Any Architect Website Understand the essentials for your website, including design and layout tips, and ways to make your Home, About, and Contact pages stand out from the crowd. We also cover the importance of mobile optimization and page loading speed.

3. Content Marketing for Texas Architects Content is king, and we’ll show you how to rule with the most cutting-edge content marketing strategies. Optimize your content and get your business known around the web with these important keys.

4. Social Media for Texas Architects Social Media is more powerful than ever. Learn the tricks to go viral with social media posts that inspire and draw in clients on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.

Pillar #1: Local SEO for Texas Architects

Everyone understands the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) in today’s Google-driven world, but making the distinction between ranking, and ranking locally, is vital for your business’ success. When potential customers search for a nearby Texas architect, does your website show up on the map? Do they see reviews for your business? Are you in all the right directories?

This section will guide you through making sure you can answer a resounding “Yes!” to all those questions, making sure that your business is front and center in your potential customers’ searches. The days of simply putting a listing in the yellow pages are over. To compete in today’s online market, you need to have a standout local internet presence. We’ll show you how.

What is Local SEO?

SEO involves tweaking the search engine algorithms in your favor to ensure that when someone searches for architects in Texas, your name is at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). To ensure maximum exposure, adherence to the following strategies over the top search engines is essential.

Local Places Pages

Having local business pages on Bing, Yahoo, and Google is essential. Your architecture firm must be visible to your local target market in Texas. Since Yahoo no longer manages the updating and claiming of their local listings, you can update it using Yext. Important information to include is your business name, address, website, and phone number. When setting up your page, be sure to categorize your architect firm. If you do not choose a category, you may not be listed, or may become miscategorized based on keywords. You’ll also want to optimize pages with several high-quality images, with local keywords as your image names.

Citations

Citations are any mention of your firm on the Internet. These are most effective when they’re accompanied by contact information, or a link. These will be recognized by search engines, and can boost your rankings. Keep your information consistent across the internet, and search to see if anyone has cited a listing of your company. If so, you can claim the listing and edit it. The most important information to check is your name, address, and phone number (NAP). There are several ways to increase citations. Benjamin Beck of Local Stampede published several ideas for increasing citations.

Search engine reviews can help boost your ranking, and show up in SERPs. It’s most beneficial to have organic reviews. You can increase your organic reviews by placing a link or button on your website to make it easier for clients to leave a review for you.

Google Maps

Consistency of your address is important for local SEO, especially for Google Maps. This listing will appear next to your company in search results, so prospective customers can click on the map, and find you with their GPS. These search results are typically displayed based on the current geographic location of the person searching, and their key words used. To boost your chances of being displayed in SERPs, list your business over several directories, aside from the top search engines.

Local Keyword Research

Once you have your pages and citations, some local keyword research is needed. There are a variety of keyword researching tools available to simplify this task, or you may research yourself via Google. One free tool, which is a favorite among experts in helping with local keyword SEO research, is Ubersuggest. Optimize your keywords for local SEO by adding the location of your business to your chosen keywords. See what most people type in when searching for your services.

Website Optimization

Once you have your keywords, you’ll want to optimize your website using keywords throughout your content and in your title tags. The most important thing to keep in mind when using keywords is not to overdo them. The search engine algorithms will penalize “stuffed” titles with many repeated keywords.

Title tags are short descriptions (under 60 characters) about your website, or URL. Accuracy in describing your link is key. Search engines use these title tags, as do web browsers and social media sites. You’ll also want to keep your title tags below 60 characters to make all content visible. When drafting your page titles, keep them unique with the most important keywords listed first.

Meta tags are at the top of HTML codes for your website, and give search engines information about your page. Meta tag descriptions may not affect the search engine algorithms much, but can help improve your website click through rates, so it’s best to have descriptions that are approximately 160 characters long. This will cover more possible keyword searches, and increase the chance of viewers to click on the link for highlighted keywords in the SERPs.

You’ll also want to customize your URLs with keywords in order to boost your SEO rankings.

It’s also a good idea to include headings and subheadings in the body of your content with keywords. The heading tags (<h1> to <h6>) have a top down hierarchy for SERPs. It’s good to have at least one <h1> tag on each page, and two <h2> tags, with additional heading tags as needed.

In terms of the body of content, it’s important to have a good amount of high quality copy published to your website. Search engines recognize this, and display your website higher in the rankings when your content is valuable, even if it’s extensive. Keywords used in the body of your content should be spaced out and varied, and shouldn’t link to the same website more than twice on one page, with additional backlinks to other pages on your site throughout. Your primary keyword should be linked to your URL (homepage or another page on your site) within the first 1⁄4 of the page.

Localized Link Building

To increase your search engine rankings even more, build backlinks over several local websites in your area. These could be local bloggers, social media profiles, community websites, local professionals, government resources, and local directories.

There are many creative ways to build links. You may form a strategic alliance with another business and collaborate with them in sharing each other’s links, or publishing guest posts to each other’s blogs. Writing several blogs which link to different pages on your website is also effective.

If you follow all of these instructions listed above, your firm should be well on its way toward reaching the top of your local SERPs for Texas architects!

Pillar #2: Must-Haves for Any Architect Website

The days of the “online business card” are over. More than ever, a functional and effective website that attracts potential clients and converts them into warm leads has become an essential part of every good architecture firm’s marketing strategy. However, that’s when it’s done right.

In today’s digital age, prospective clients can and will judge your services based on the quality of your website. So, you need to know what you’re doing. That’s where these points come in. The seven points below are the essentials to a website which impresses your prospective clients and converts them into warm leads.

Clear navigation

Creative design and thinking outside the box aren’t just an important part of architecture, they’re a part of great web design as well. However, in just the same way, you need to know when to be creative and when to focus on functionality and usability.

Many firms try to get creative with their site navigation and end up with something confusing and frustrating for the prospective client who lands on their site. Don’t name your About page “This Is Us” or your Contact page “Let’s Talk”. Stick to easily identifiable titles which people are already used to seeing online such as “Home”, “Projects”, and “Contact”.

Foster and Partners offers a great example of a clear navigation, labeling items as “About Us”, “Contact Us”, “News” and “Projects” (see previous page).

Also, keep it to no more than five or six items, such as Home, Projects, About, and Contact and only include additional items if you feel they’ll improve your ability to win over prospective clients.

A Focused Home page

A clear and focused navigation is important, but it won’t get you very far unless the web pages themselves are just as focused and intentional in what they want to accomplish.

For most visitors, your home page will be the first page they see, so you need to make a good impression and do it fast. Your home page should immediately catch the prospective client’s attention with samples of your work that shows not only your expertise but also your capability.

A great example is Olson Kundig’s home page, which has a high-res video at the top of the page, a quick description of who they are, and a set of collections (properly labeled) showcasing what they can do:

And by linking to various images and project pages on your home page, you naturally lead the visitor to the next step: your project gallery.

A Beautiful and Informative Project Gallery

More than any other section of your site, your project gallery is where you sell prospective clients on what you do.

High-quality images that are big, beautiful (not pixelated), and effectively display your work may be a no-brainer, but more goes into convincing a client to work with you than just looking pretty.

First, if your portfolio is large, make sure to include easy drop down menus to help visitors filter by things such as:

  • Types of projects, i.e. Markets (Commercial, Residential, Educational, etc.)
  • Location / Region
  • Types of services (Architecture, Interior Design, etc.)

Next, when someone clicks on a particular project or image, make sure that page displays any important information they may want such as:

  • Is this a built or unbuilt project? (Also whether the image shown is a render or not)
  • Completion date
  • Location

El Equipo Mazzanti offers a great experience with both straightforward filters and informative project pages with menu-based filters to find relevant example project pages.

An About Page That Expresses You But is About Them

It’s important to express what your firm and designs represent as this is part of how a potential client decides if they’d like to work with you. Typically, this is most apparent on your “About” page but includes the rest of your website. However, the focus needs to be less on you and more on the benefits you can afford the client.

In reality, your entire site should be designed this way. The About page of most architecture websites says something like: “We are a multidisciplinary and award-winning firm with a wide range of successful projects.” This sounds impressive, but the reality is it doesn’t sell them on why they should work with you versus someone else because it’s what everyone else is saying. If everyone else is saying it, you need to decide how to stand out, or risk getting drowned out in the noise.

Olson Kundig’s About page is a great example of an About page which expresses who the company is while also explaining how they can benefit the client (and what clients they like to work with as well):

An Effective Contact Page

Many architecture firms mistake a website as a digital business card, and in some ways it is, but it can be so much more. When a prospective client lands on your website, they’re not just looking at information on a page, they are interacting with your content.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on your contact page, where a simple visitor can turn into a warm lead. But how effectively you turn that visitor into a lead depends on the effectiveness of your contact page.

First, include a contact form- don’t just throw information on a page. Your information should be listed on the page. However, make your contact form the prominent item at the top of the page. A form is more professional and by giving visitors something to interact with, you improve the likelihood of them taking action.

SOM does a great job of offering a clear contact form at the top of their page along with additional location information separated below it (see previous page).

Mobile optimization

Five years ago, you may have been able to get away without a mobile optimized website. But as of 2015, over 51% of online interactions were with a mobile device, as Mary Meeker of KPCB reports.

Today, it’s so essential that Google has started penalizing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile. This means that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re not just turning away those visitors that land on your mobile site...you’re actually getting fewer visitors period.

Luckily, this is easier to implement than ever with services like Squarespace offering mobile optimization built right into what are already beautiful web designs that properly show off your work.

Fast Page Loading Speed

The average architecture firm’s website has tons of images. But you already know that. It’s how you sell people on what you do, so it’s essential. Right?

However, what most don’t know is the speed at which your website loads affects how people behave on your site. We as humans are notoriously impatient when surfing the internet, so you need to optimize your site so that it loads within a few seconds (or less). Otherwise, you’re turning away potential clients at the door.

First, start by optimizing your images with a service like tinypng.com. You can lower the size of your images by as much as 70% (40-50% on average) with zero reduction in quality. Once you’ve done that, plug your URL into a service like webpagetest.org.

WebPageTest tells you how long your page actually takes to load and gives specific insights on what you can do to reduce that load time. And the faster your page speed, the more likely you are to convince the ideal client when they land at your doorstep.

A well-optimized website may have been an optional luxury for architecture firms in the past, but not anymore. Today, firms know that having a website which is focused, clear, and effective is essential for succeeding in the Digital Age. But by following these seven must-haves, you’ll be better prepared to deliver a high-quality and worthwhile experience for you and your prospective clients.

Pillar #3: Social Media Post Ideas for Texas Architects

Over the past decade, we’ve seen an explosion in the evolution of the way we communicate with others. What was once communicated via traditional means is now commonly relayed via social media. From LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to Pinterest, Google +, Houzz and Snapchat, we’re constantly utilizing new and exciting ways of connecting with our social circle.

Social media has become such a primary form of communication that businesses are tapping into it as a means of exposure for their firms. While considering the best possible strategy for such architects in Texas wishing to promote, share, and engage with others in their vicinity, it’s important to review several examples of social media posts that are being successfully executed by architects today. Here are 13 top social media post ideas being executed by top social media architectural gurus.

#1: Captivate your Audience with Visually Stimulating Images

Herzog & de Meuron are favorites over social media. While their website could use some pizazz, their Facebook profile is something to admire. To emulate this, post unique photographs of structures that are either your designs, or designs that you support which reflect a sense of your own style.

#2: Post Social Content That’s Sharable

It’s best for architects to be able to share their content over several platforms simultaneously. Posting content to a platform that’s easily shareable to multiple networks is key in optimizing exposure and time. Post content that is likely to be shared by followers; reaching a wider range of viewers without resorting to advertisements. Images or videos that elicit enough emotion for others want to share it is key. Like ArchDaily’s creative video post featuring MVRDV’s Markthal in Rotterdam.

#3: Purpose Driven Posts with a Unique Touch

A good rule of thumb is to post content that’s interesting and captivating for your audience. You have the unique opportunity to show a different side of your firm over each social media platform. Make that your purpose, and highlight the things that make your firm different from the rest, according to the style of each platform. The Netherlands Architect Institute (or New Institute) posts behind- the-scenes videos of an artistic nature on Facebook, with behind-the-scenes posts of a staff-oriented nature on Twitter.

#4: Make Use of Relevant #Hashtags

While posting to social media, it helps to add relevant #hashtags to go along with your post. #Hashtags that are trending are the way to go if you want to gain maximum exposure for your post. Hashtags are most important when posting to Instagram and Twitter, and should be used minimally on Facebook. Hawkins Architecture made great use of #hashtags in the following post.

#5: Share Real-Time Updates, and Sneak Peeks

If you’re building a major structure for a city, or client (and you have permission to do so) share an image of what it’s going to look like over social media. Your audience wants to feel like they have the inside scoop on the happenings within your firm before everyone else.

#6: Post a Fun and Engaging Comment Contest

Comment contests are great for gaining exposure and engagement. Choose a prize, and ask participants to like the post, share it and comment on it to be entered in the contest.

#7: Post a Quiz

Quizzes are wonderful for attracting followers and gaining exposure via shares. The quiz could be about anything industry relevant that will trigger viewers to fill it out. A quiz about which architectural style most fits the user, or will generate the user’s future home could spark engagement.

#8: Post Behind-the-Scenes Videos

These could be virtual tours of projects that are 15-30 seconds long, or even a behind-the- scenes blooper. Whatever your chosen video, make sure it is exciting enough to captivate your audience and hold their attention. Video is king over social media, and typically reaches a larger audience than most other types of posts.

#9: Post to Portfolio and Firm Profile Websites

You shouldn’t limit yourself to traditional social media sites. Spread your posts over sites such as American Architects, Houzz, Archello, Architizer, Dexinger, and World Architects. Fivecat Studio created a profile on Houzz to showcase their projects, and won several design awards and positive reviews (see next page).

#10: Post Community Relevant Information

As an architect in Texas, it’s good practice to be involved in your community in positive ways. Social media is no exception. Posts concerning your community are positive marketing tools when done correctly. Find relevant ways to talk about happenings in your community, while tying it back to your firm.

#11: Post Periodic Shout Outs

Each week—or day—pick a building, home or customer to be highlighted. Share with your social media following why this person or structure is special, and be sure to tag all professionals and people who helped make your highlighted structure or person special.

#12: Industry Humor Posts

A bit of humor over social media is essential, especially for businesses. A good rule of thumb is for 80% of posts to be about your company or industry, and 20% of posts to be fun. Funny posts and memes tend to have the most potential for turning viral.

#13: Posts with Calls to Action

Posting content that prompts viewers to take action are key. You may want them to click on a link to your website, call to set up an appointment, or simply comment below a post as to which picture they like best.

With so many options regarding which content to post over social media, it can feel overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to post each and every type of content listed, and you should only post the types of posts you truly feel represent your company to your target audience. Keep your social media profiles professional, personable, and consistent (while constantly reeling viewers in), and you should be well on your way toward becoming a top social media architectural guru, much like the examples listed above.

Pillar #4: Content Marketing Ideas for Texas Architects

According to Content Marketing Institute, 70 percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers plan to create more content in 2017, compared to last year. The figure is a telltale sign of how much marketers believe in the power of content marketing. You can’t blame them. After all, it’s plain to see how hungry this digitally inclined generation is to consuming content.

Because there is no doubt that content marketing is one of the best marketing methods ever used in today’s generation, we will look into some of the content marketing tips that you can use as an architect living in Texas.

Visit Forums

There are a couple of Google advanced search queries that you can use to find forums specifically for the Texans, and those that are directly related to architecture (or the industries related to it).

These are some that you can use:

  • Texas Real Estate inurl:forum
  • TX Real Estate inurl:forum
  • TX Architecture inurl:forum
  • Texas architecture inurl:forum
  • Texas Home design inurl:forum
  • TX House design inurl:forum

Once you’ve uncovered several relevant forums that you know your prospect customers are visiting, it’s time for you to take the next step -- adding carefully crafted (let alone comprehensive) comments in the site.

Here’s the thing, the more comments (content) you put out on these forums, the more visibility you’ll have on the site. That means your chances of getting seen by your prospect customers drastically increases.

Use the Skyscraper Method

Here’s the gist of the strategy:

  • Do your research. Check out the existing articles published about the topic that you want to write about. Take special notice to those that are ranking higher in the search engines, or those with TONS of engagements.
  • Combine all the information that you’ve acquired from going through all the materials that you uncovered. That way, your post becomes the summation of everything that’s been published about the topic that you want to write about, with your ideas added to it as well.
  • Through the Skyscraper method, instead of you publishing an article about “The 10 Amazing House Designs in Texas,” you’ll end up showing more houses (not just 10). After all, when you search the internet for house designs in Texas, the chances are good that you’ll find more than just a handful of them, at that point, you just need to include all of them in your post, PLUS the house designs that you personally know.

Guest post on Strategic Sites

By “strategic sites,” I’m referring to sites where your clients might find you. Even though you are an architect in Texas, you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to architect related sites only. You can also guest post on real estate sites that target the Texas audience, or perhaps construction sites that still targets the Texas audience.

Also, you might want to screen the sites where you’ll guest post on. Remember that you can view a website’s estimated monthly traffic if you use Similarweb.com.

That said, you might want to focus on reaching out to niche related sites that have a good bit of traffic. That way, your content (and you the contributor) would have a better online exposure.

Create an Influencer Roundup

Imagine reaching out to the top construction companies in Texas, and telling them that you’d like to include their CEOs or bosses on your influencer roundup about, “10 Exceptional CEOs in the Construction Industry Share Their Best Business Tips.”

Considering how your title says “Exceptional CEOs,” the chances are good that the CEOs you reached out to will be happy at the thought of being included in your post. Not just that, but there’s also a good chance that they’ll share your article across their social media profiles or even link to your post from their site.

That’s not all there is to this content marketing strategy, by the way. Since you’ve managed to build a relationship with the CEOs (and the other bosses), then you open yourself up to the possibilities of getting projects from them.

Publish Case Studies

Whether you publish your case studies on your website, or you give them away to your prospective customers, it still has the potential to help you close more projects as an architect in Texas.

What makes case studies so amazing is the fact that it shows your audience how knowledgeable you are about your trade. This doesn’t just help build your credibility and your brand as an architect, but it also helps establish trust between you and your prospective clients.

We say this because the moment your prospective clients see your case study, they will know, without a doubt, that you are more than capable of helping them with their problems. This will lead to them trusting you, instead of them being a skeptic on everything that you do since they worry that you are not skilled enough.

Answer Questions at Quora.com

While Quora has a diverse set of audience, you can still benefit from answering relevant questions in the platform. Think of Quora as your platform to growing your thought leadership or your personal brand. The more architectural related questions you answer in the platform, the more others will see you as an amazing architect.

This can lead to you forging strategic relationships which can lead to you getting more clients in the future, or this can also cause others to refer you to their contacts. Considering how Quora has about 332.6 million monthly visitors, the opportunities in the platform is limitless.

Optimize Your Content for the Right Keywords

While this content marketing tip is what other would consider as “basic,” we still like to mention it here simply because others aren’t really practicing what they preach. They know (and even tell others) that optimizing your content for keywords is important, but they don’t really take the time to optimize their content for the right keywords.

Whether you are in forums, your personal site, or writing an answer in Quora, it would be more prudent for you to keyword optimize your content all the time.

While there are a plethora of marketing strategies that you can use as an architect, not many can yield the same level of results that content marketing can bring you. That being said, if you aren’t using content marketing to establish your personal brand as an architect yet, then you can start using the tips we have shared right now.


More from Bautex:


< Story Hub