We have had many clients in the architectural and design niche over the years. What makes their products unique, is that generally, they think that their images should be doing all the selling.

This is because they think that no words are needed when you’re giving a striking visual impression – this could be true, but only up to a certain level…

Words are needed because readers use them to better understand the brand tone of voice and all the subtle little elements that make every project unique.

Plus, search engines always need words to understand what a page is about and to offer it as an element of the match when somebody is searching.

Something you may not know is that SEO basically works like a love match. It helps facilitate the meeting of the best possible matching between one side, a page that offers something and on the other side, the ideal customer who is searching precisely for what that page is offering.

That type of match cannot happen if the words on the page are not present; the real words that people are searching for.

Here we need to always do a little bit of a reality check, which means stepping out of assumptions of what we think a customer is searching for. We need to delve deeper into the Google database and find out the words our ideal customers are actually searching for.

In this sort of reality check, there’s always a lot of discrepancy between what we think that our customers may be searching for and what they really do.

Why does this happen? Our ideal customers are different from us because they do not share our expertise or knowledge – we tend to use appropriate and precise terms, and they don’t.

When a customer searches for something online, they use a very informal colloquial; imprecise language. So to create a love match, our pages must contain the customer’s words – the right words that they are actually searching for.

So, YES we definitely do need words on pages and lots of them! Nowadays content needs to belong, very long..! So, no matter how beautiful your images are, we need words – but what words?

One very common mistake that we have with designers, architects, and developers is that they have portfolio pages which are generally optimised for the wrong type of keywords.

You will find these pages ranking for the project name, the street name, and the building name. Do you think that the customer would be searching for that when they’re in need of architectural services? Would they know it? No, they wouldn’t!

They would be searching for the services that you can provide: extension, basement extension, refurbishment, rebuilding, conversion and so on. 

Mentioning where the project took place is important, as it will enhance the possibility of being found for geolocalised keywords, but along with mentioning the place, you also need to mention what sort of service you provided so that instead of “Project Knightsbridge” for example, it should be optimised for “basement extension in Knightsbridge”.

Going back to images, absolutely yes, we love images, but they can create issues or can do wonders. I’m linking you to a couple of articles where you can read about image optimisation; make sure that images work in your favour and not against you because they can really make a lot of difference for SEO. They can damage your page speed or improve your rankings if you use the right sort of tags and file names.

As always, my articles like this are not just aimed at the type of business mentioned… it’s not just architects who have these issues! Every business should make sure they think about the customer first and ask “what is their search intent?” “what would they be searching for on Google?” when you want them to find a specific page.

When we used to have in-person meetings – and we’re finally restarting again! – at this point, I usually play a sort of game with my clients or prospective clients. I would stand up and ask them “Now, let’s swap chairs. Now you’re sitting in your clients’ place. What would you be searching for if you wanted them to find you?” 

This is the question that guides our thought process and that should always guide any real approach to keyword research. Then you need to evaluate what you find and use only the best, the most attainable and valuable keywords. This is what we do for all our clients, not just architects!

So, do you know any architectural firms or any other sort of business that wants to Be Found Online better? Lead them our way. We will be happy to reward you for your support.

In my next post, you will find out how and why…