SEO For Architects
Everything you need to know about search engine optimisation for architecture firms: how to create online visibility through top of page 1 rankings, drive traffic, and increase long term sales revenue.
About This Guide
This step-by-step guide to highly effective SEO for architects incorporates advice from our years of experience in helping architecture firms with their search engine rankings.
We have seen first hand with our clients how game-changing search engine optimisation can be for architecture firms, increasing organic traffic to their website and generating valuable leads and revenue.
In this article, our award-winning SEO team provide:
- an 8 step SEO guide specifically for architects and architecture firms
- some advanced tips for those who already know the basics
- finally, we conclude with some conversion rate optimisation (CRO) ideas, to encourage your website visitors to enquire
SEO is a highly effective way for architects to create a reliable stream of valuable inbound enquiries, especially when combined with CRO and an elegant website design.
Help For Architects
While this guide is designed to allow architects to optimise their own websites, our helpful team are always on hand.
Should you require extra assistance, or have any any questions about SEO for architects, please get in touch.
Our Free SEO Audit Tool
Use our SEO audit tool below to analyse any page on your website, in relation to a particular keyword you would like to rank for. Should you have any questions, or if you would like a more comprehensive SEO audit on your entire website, please contact us today.
Overview of Contents
In this guide we’ll take a look a the following:
- What is search engine optimisation?
- Why is SEO important for architects?
- An 8 Step SEO process for architecture firms:
- Advanced Tips
- Lead generation for architects
- About The Authors
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It is the process of enhancing your website to boost its presence on search engines for better product, service, or expertise exposure.
It’s a practice aimed at ranking higher in organic search results, covering various content types like web pages, videos, images, and business listings.
Effective SEO ensures your digital content is easily discoverable, increasing organic traffic and potential customer engagement.
SEO should not be confused with SEM or PPC, both of which involve the use of paid advertising.
Why Is SEO Important For Architects?
There are 2 main factors that make SEO a highly effective marketing strategy for architecture firms:
- An extension or refurbishment tends to be a rare event, so your potential clients (especially residential clients) normally don’t already know who to use, and so are likely to turn to the search engines to help them find a potential architect.
- People tend to plan projects that involve an architect carefully, often spending many hours researching their options. If you don’t rank high on Google search, these people will be browsing the websites of your competitors instead.
SEO For Architecture Firms - 8 Step Comprehensive Guide
1: Choose the best SEO keywords
- As well as targeting obvious keywords containing the word ‘architect’, bear in mind that people are searching for variations like ‘architecture firms’ as well.
- Local search can be a big thing for architects, it’s one of those industries where people do like to find someone local, so ensure you include keywords combining words like architect with the name of the area you service, e.g. ‘architects london’ if you are based in London.
- You may also want to consider broad connected topics such as planning permission, conservation areas, and home design, as well as the more obvious keywords.
- See our blog on how to do keyword research for more general advice on this topic, including tips on what keyword research tools to use.
2: Ensure you have website content to match your keyword selection
- Keywords that mention the name of a local area you service are best optimised on a specific landing page focused on the services you offer to that area.
- Keywords relating to a specific service you offer will tend to rank best on a page outlining your architect services, ideally you want 1 page per specific service and 1 main overview page that links to each of these more focused pages.
- To rank high in the search results, use the relevant keywords naturally in the URL, meta title, meta description, and main headings on the page. Don’t overdo it, this is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and reduces the quality of your content and your ranking will be lower as a result. Be free to use variations of your keyword and be sure to talk about related themes, and link to more specific pages containing related content elsewhere on your website.
3: Create a range of high quality content
- Using just images and text is rarely enough to provide the rich content your target customers (and search engines) will be looking for. Consider adding infographics, videos, helpful PDF downloads, and tools such as extension cost calculators.
- As well as creating pages stating specifically what you do and how you are different to other architects, provide helpful content to your target audience, in the form of blog posts, FAQs, help guides, etc. These can attract potential customers to you site, and also demonstrate your knowledge on topics such as: ‘how to overcome planning issues’, or: ‘the latest design trends in architecture’, for example.
4: Earn quality backlinks
- Many believe that outreach to gain backlinks is an essential part of any SEO campaign, however, we know an easier and more effective way, as outlined in our backlinks help guide – create great content that people want to link to. For example: original research articles, great design ideas with plenty of images, statistic round-ups, up-to-date summaries on building project costs, infographics, helpful videos, etc.
- Where possible, make sure you are listed on the main online directories including industry specific to your industry such as ARB, RIBA, BIID, Houzz, and many other online listings that provide a backlink or at least a mention of your company. You may wish to include building & construction magazines, and design magazines, as well as the more obvious architect publications.
- Not only will your listings on these directories create backlinks, it will also increase your visibility online when people are using these directories to search for an architects.
5: Get listed on Google My Business
- One of the most important business listings of all is your Google Business profile, and if well optimised, this listing will ensure you show up on Google Maps, as well as within the Google local pack listings that often appear within the standard search results page.
- We have created a separate help guide on how to create and optimise a Google Business profile.
- You may also want to list yourself on other map platforms such as Bing Places and Apple Maps, to maximise your local search visibility when people search for ‘architect near me’ on any of these platforms.
6: Fix technical SEO errors
- Tools such as Moz, Ahrefs, SEO Powersuite, SE Ranking, and Semrush can crawl your entire website and look for SEO issues such as broken links, URLs that are too long, duplicate titles, redirect chains, canonical issues, and much more.
- Keeping your your website healthy from a technical SEO point of view is essential if you want to rank high, and fixing these errors often improves the user experience too, therefore increasing the chance that website traffic will convert into leads.
7: Create an SEO-friendly website architecture
- You may hear people refer to ‘SEO-Friendly website architecture’ but they’re not normally referring to SEO for architects.
- Website architecture is a marketing term referring to the way pages and categories on a website are structured and linked together, and getting this right is an important part of the SEO strategy for any website.
- As architects offer a service, not a product, architecture firm websites are typically enquiry generating, and therefore don’t normally have an ecommerce section requiring a complex network of categories and sub-categories.
- However, architect websites can still benefit greatly from a well organised ‘architecture’ to boost the SEO, for example:
- You can group similar styles of blogs with blog categories, under headings such as ‘planning’, ‘design ideas’, etc.
- You can group and categorise your projects and case studies by areas, and if these areas tie up with local search terms that you’re targeting, this will help your SEO. Once you have this set up, it is a simple job to pull a feed of relevant projects onto a local area landing page.
- So for example, if you have a page targeting the keyword ‘architects in London’, and you have a projects category of ‘London’, you can put an embed on the London landing page showcasing your most recent projects that are in the ‘London’ category.
- To give your most important landing pages some extra clout with added internal links, consider linking to them from the home page and/or from your header or footer menus, so that they are easily accessible within the navigation structure, and don’t suffer as ‘orphan pages’ with no internal links pointing to them.
- As outlined on this detailed blog post from Semrush, you also want to keep your website architecture relatively ‘flat’, and make sure all pages can be accessed within 4 clicks of the home page.
8: Conduct competitor SEO analysis
- Competitor SEO Analysis is the process of assessing what makes other websites rank ahead of you on search engines, in relation to a specific keyword you’re trying to rank for.
- We have proved this process to be especially powerful for architects. Simple difference you see on other top-ranking pages, such as whether or not they display relevant projects on the landing page, how they introduce themselves within the 1st 2 paragraphs of text, their meta titles, etc, can all give you some great clues about what simple changes to your website will turbo-charge your progress up the rankings.
Advanced SEO Tips For Architects
What to do if you are on ARB, but you cannot call your business an architect:
The ARB sets out to be an authority on who is an architect, and who is not. As they state on one of their websites: “The Architects Register is the definitive record of all UK architects. If someone is not on the Register, they are not an architect – it’s as simple as that.”
However, when helping architects with their SEO, we have identified that some reputable architecture firms are not allowed to use the word ‘architect’ in their company name, due to not having a high enough proportion of directors that are registered, and are therefore not allowed to call themselves architects, even though they have registered architects within their team.
This creates a challenge for SEO: people are searching using the word ‘architect’, and you offer architect services using qualified and registered architects, but are not allowed to call yourself an architect, due to not meeting all of the strict ARB criteria.
How to rank for architect search terms if you don’t have ‘architect’ in your company name:
- If you employ registered architects, you can make references to your ‘team of architects’.
- You can make general statements such as ‘are you looking for a local architect’, within your website content.
- State that you are an ‘architecture firm’ – Google seems to regard this term as a very close synonym to ‘architect practice’, and it’s good to use semantic keywords like this, even if you are able to freely call your company an ‘architect’.
- SEO agencies who don’t know the ins and outs of SEO for architects may make the mistake of creating content that adds ‘architects’ after your company name, which if reported to the Architects Registration Board (ARB) could land you with a fine of up to £5000, so it’s important to pick an SEO partner that understands the dos and don’ts of SEO copywriting for architects.
What to do if you are not on RIBA
While all architects have to be registered with ARB, RIBA membership is not an essential part of being an architect.
While the vast majority of architects choose to register with RIBA, and follow the RIBA stages etc, some prefer not to, for a variety of reasons.
Not being on RIBA means you will be missing 1 very relevant backlink to help your SEO, however, there are some effective ways to outrank someone who has more backlinks than you do.
Not being on RIBA also means that you will find it harder to gain trust with potential clients, which could reduce the number of enquiries your website generates. If you have a thorough process similar to the RIBA stages, be sure outline your processes in detail on your website, so that people can understand your methods clearly – a lack of information will not be good for generating trust.
On the other hand, if you clearly articulate your process on your websites, and other architects just rely on the fact that they’re RIBA-registered to gain trust, you may potentially be perceived as a more trustworthy firm with some potential clients, due to the detailed information you outline.
Local SEO for architects
If you are a residential architect, you will find that many people search for a local architect, i.e. someone based close to where they live.
This is slightly less applicable for commercial architects, but still sometimes relevant for these firms.
How to optimise for local search visibility if you are an architectural practice:
- If you live in a large city such as London or Birmingham, don’t just target keywords mentioning the name of your city, but also remember that local regions within each city will often be searched.
- For example, if you are a London based architect, you may want to target specific London boroughs or districts, as well as targeting search terms for London as a whole.
- Use keyword research to see which areas are searched the most, and then be prepared to create separate landing pages for each local area.
- Don’t state that you are based in each area – this wouldn’t be true, and won’t help you to rank either. Instead, state clearly where you are based, and also state that you serve the area that is the focus of your landing page, and give insights into the specific differences that apply in that district, to demonstrate you understand it just as well as locally based architects.
- While most people search for architects in specific towns and cities, some larger regions such as counties are popular in online searches, especially if there are no dominant town or city within that county or region. Again, keyword research should reveal the most searched phrases and help you decide which keywords to focus on.
Lead generation tips for architects
Once SEO is driving large amounts of relevant traffic to your architect website, you will want to turn this traffic into leads.
Bear in mind that potential clients are likely to compare your website with several other potential providers that are also ranking high when they search for architect services.
Because of this, stating that you offer the obvious services that all architects offer is not enough to make someone chose you.
How to stand out from the crowd
Virtually every architect website will state that they can help with creative designs, drawing up plans, working with council planning departments, monitoring projects, etc – so how do you stand out from the crowd?
People will want to learn more about the key differences: tell them about your culture, design processes, ethos, pricing structures, etc – the small details can make a big difference and boost enquiry levels if people relate to your company values.
While it’s important to outline clearly everything you offer, try to emphasise your USPs (unique selling points), and make sure you select the points of difference that are valuable to your target clients as well, there’s no point emphasising points of difference that don’t resonate with your client’s desires.
Case studies are another way you can stand out from the crowd, and appeal to the right target audience – people will want to see that you have done other projects similar to the one they have in mind, so be sure to showcase a wide variety of the kind of projects that you like to work on.
Also bear in mind that an architect service is very design-related, so the design of your website is important too – if you have a website that isn’t visually appealing, people are less likely to assume you can do a great design job on their project.
We trust that you found this SEO for architects guide helpful.
Now that you understand some of the essential and more advanced SEO strategies to help your website rank well on the search engines, you may want to take your learning to the next level by reviewing our in-depth case study on architect SEO – sometimes there’s nothing like a real-life project to help the theory make sense.
Or if you would like to speak to someone about SEO for your architect practice, please contact us today and we’ll be glad to discuss your requirements and see how we can help.
In the UK, locally-based architecture firms can typically expect to pay between £450 and £950+VAT per month for their SEO retainer. Some overseas firms offer SEO from as little as $49 or $99 USD per month, however, these companies often do little more than build 1000s of spammy links that harm your SEO, and it’s better not to spend the money at all. Competitive SEO architect campaigns in areas such as London may well cost in the region of £1000 to £3000, especially if wide areas of the country or UK-wide coverage is needed.
In the vast majority of cases, we believe that architect practices should outsource their SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation is complex as it requires the understanding of 100s different ranking factors. If you outsource your SEO to an agency who is doing SEO every working day for many different clients, they will have the experience needed.
Agencies will also have access to powerful software that is very expensive for individual companies, but cost effective for SEO agencies to use across multiple clients.
As an architect, you probably want to be focussing on what you do best, rather than potentially wasting hours on what could be done very quickly by an outsourced expert.
However, if you have the time needed to understand and apply the SEO processes outlined in this guide, you may score some quick wins on keywords that have low competition levels, and in time, you may be able to rank for highly competitive architect keywords as well.
Website architecture refers to the hierarchy of content on a website (including both pages and posts), and how this content is structured, including internal links between these pages.
It helps the SEO of a website by creating a clear organisational structure that search engines can understand easily.
For more information, see step 7 of our SEO guide for architects above on how to create an SEO friendly website architecture.
As outlined in our architect SEO case study, and mentioned in the video at the top of this guide, SEO can be an exceptionally effective digital marketing strategy for architecture firms.
SEO can be a slow process taking many months, especially for topics like architecture services where there is already a lot of content on the internet covering this in detail.
Therefore it is likely to take an architecture firm around 6-12 months to fully ‘break through the noise’ and get their website recognised by the search engines as authoritative, valuable, and unique.
Of course, if you have an established website, and have been doing SEO for a while already, and you fine-tune your efforts using the techniques outlined above, you may achieve results much quicker, sometimes within a few weeks.
Architect SEO typically takes 6 months or more before it delivers a consistent return on investment (ROI), but it is well worth the wait.
The ROI from SEO should not be measured in the month you spend the money – the yield from your investment will flow for many years to come.
The efforts from months 1-6 will be bearing fruit during months 7-12, and will continue to yield a good return over the subsequent years, so it is important to attribute the return to the investment over a longer timescale than the month the invoice is received, in order to calculate the ROI accurately.
Calculating the ROI from SEO is very difficult, but a good SEO agency will be able to utilise free tools such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics to help you understand the return on investment with a good level of accuracy.
Further Help And Advice
Our blog also contains a wealth of helpful articles, where you can continue your learning journey. A selection of our most popular SEO help guides are shown below:
Why choose UClimb to help with your architect SEO?
UClimb is an award winning digital marketing agency who have been working with architects since it’s foundation in 2019. Over time, we have developed methods to provide architect websites with a sustainable search engine optimisation for long term increases in organic traffic.
Here what one of our architect clients has to say about our SEO services, on this clutch review.
To see the results from one of our recent projects, view this architect SEO case study.