SEO has come a long way from the abstract concept of trying to match your text with certain ‘keywords’
If I were to start off this blog with ‘SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization’, you’d most probably hit the back button and leave. It’s 2020. Almost every interior designer out there has their own website…and knows just how important SEO can be in boosting their outreach, and consequently, their earnings.
What is SEO?
But here’s the kicker. Search engines are constantly evolving, adapting their algorithms to provide better and better search results for users. New features are being brought in and existing features tweaked to help searchers get more and more value from the search results pages. And so, while the heart of SEO still remains great content, there are some tips and tricks that you can adopt as a kind of booster shot – to make your content work better at improving your SEO.
And that’s what I’m going to discuss today – the SEO tips and tricks every interior designer should know in 2020.
1. Get An Accurate Picture Of Your Current Search Results Ranking
Maybe you know this one…but I’ll point it out all the same. We all yearn to know how our site is doing in the search engine rankings.
And how do we do that? It’s obvious, right? Just do a Google search for ‘best interior designer in [your city]’ or ‘[your locality] interior designers’. Ten to one, if you do that kind of search, you’ll see your own website ranking within the first page, maybe even appearing on the Google Map result.
Does that mean you’ve cracked the SEO puzzle, that every second, hundreds of potential interior design clients are being served with your website as a top result when they make the relevant query?
Unfortunately not. And the reason for that is Google personalizes your search results. In other words, it tracks which websites you normally visit and it knows what kind of search results you work with. And because it can reasonably be expected that you will visit your own website fairly regularly, Google will detect that and return search results accordingly.
So how can you make an estimate of what the ranking of your website in the search results is?
A simple fix is to browse in the ‘incognito’ (for Chrome) or ‘private’ (for Firefox) mode. If you browse ‘incognito’, your activity is not tracked which makes the search relatively free of biases and more representative of a general search.
There are other methods of tracking your search results rank. If you want to know more about them, subscribe to the Searchmetry blog and you’ll be notified as soon as my blog on that is online!
Long story short, the first SEO thing interior designers need to know in 2020 is how they can make an accurate assessment of their search results ranking.
A simple method is to do the ‘interior design services in [your location]’ type searches in the incognito mode. There are better ways of knowing your ranking, to know those, watch this space!
2. Make Full Use Of The SEO Package
To begin with, there is no such things as an ‘SEO package’. I just made that phrase up.
By ‘SEO package’ I refer to a few fields available in the backend of your website that, when used correctly, can boost your SEO significantly.
These fields are
- SEO title
- Meta description
Let’s go through these one by one The category is the field which gives an idea what the webpage is all about.
For example, if your webpage is a blog post on ‘5 bedroom decoration howlers to avoid in 2020’, the categories could be ‘bedroom’ and ‘room decorating ideas’.
To take another example, your webpage for, say your restaurant interior design services would have ‘services’ as the primary category (WordPress allows you to select a primary category in case of multiple categories) followed by ‘restaurant design’ as a secondary category.
The categories are important in establishing your website’s structure for both the search engine as well as for people browsing your website.
Pro tip: While identifying categories does sound like a lot of fun, don’t get carried away and just keep adding as many categories as you can. At most, you should have 5 categories for a page. Usually, 1 or 2 suffice. The tags are the fields which reveal which topics have been mentioned in a particular webpage. If that sounds exactly like categories let’s just look at an example.
Let’s refer back to the same blog post ‘5 bedroom decoration howlers to avoid in 2020’. Depending on the items you refer to in that post, the tags for that webpage would include ‘bed’, ‘table’ and ‘wall colour’. They are not categories because they aren’t the main thing you’re writing about but they are specific topics that you do discuss or refer to in that webpage.
Pro tip: While it may sound tempting to select as many tags as possible for a webpage, always remember that too many cooks spoil the broth. As a rule of thumb, never have more than 10 tags for a single page.
To know what the slug is, look at the URL of this webpage. Go on, look at it.
See the last bit of the URL, which says ‘seo-tips-for-interior-designers’?
That’s known as the slug.
Now, you would think that the URL of the webpage should include the page title (in this case the blog title) as the slug, right? What you need to know here is that the slug plays a big role in which keywords you try to rank for. So, you need to keep the slug as general as possible to ensure that that particular webpage is considered for ranking for as many variations of your primary topic/keyword as possible.
Take this blog. It’s titled ‘5 SEO Tips and Tricks Interior Designers should know in 2020’.
It’s clear that the primary topic of the blog is ‘interior design seo’. We want this blog to rank for as many variations of this primary topic/keyword as possible. And accordingly, the slug of this blog is ‘interior-design-seo’.
All the other attributes like ‘tips and tricks’ or ‘in 2020’ have been stripped out since they will reduce the ranking scope of this article. Next up is the SEO title. This is somewhat similar to the category field because here too you have to maintain a certain kind of structure (like the category creates a kind of site structure).
However, the SEO title does not appear on your website. Rather, it appears on the search results page as the anchor text for each search result.
As you can see, the SEO title has 3 parts, separated by dots (or sometimes by horizontal bars ‘|’).
Of course, you can fill whatever you want in these 3 parts, but the best practice would be
Page title | Page type | Website name
For this blog, it would be
SEO tips for interior designers | Interior design marketing blog | Searchmetry
This makes it very easy for both search engines and people who’re browsing search results to know what kind of content they can broadly expect when they click on a particular search result.
The meta description is the brief description of the content of a particular webpage that appears in the search results page.
Most website platforms generate a meta description by themselves if you don’t specify one for a webpage. However I would advise you to go ahead and actually create a meta description for every webpage.
A good meta description contains
- The main topic/primary keyword of the content of the webpage
- If possible, the name of the author
- An element of incompleteness, which will leave the reader wanting to know more so they will go ahead and click on the link to know what they’re missing
Long story short, there are 5 fields – category(ies), tag(s), slug, seo title and meta description – that are very important for SEO and also to boost the user experience by making it very easy for the site visitor to understand what kind of content they can expect from a particular webpage.
While some of these fields are auto-generated by the website platform, it is advisable that you fill them in yourself, following the best practices outlined here to make your SEO truly kickass.
3. As Far As The Actual Content Of The Webpage Is Concerned, Focus On User Intent And User Experience
This nicely rounds off from the SEO fields I discussed just now.
Confused? Let me explain.
A basic understanding of SEO is that you need your content to feature the keywords as much as possible to make the search engines aware of the content. However, I have just now talked about the 5 SEO fields where keywords feature prominently and which are specifically used by search engines to understand and rank your webpage.
This eases some of the pressure on you to keep using the keywords so you gain flexibility to focus on user intent and user experience in the actual content. In other words, when creating your content, focus on
- Providing a complete solution to the issue or problem the user/visitor is facing
- Ensuring that the user/visitor can easily browse through your webpage and take any action they deem necessary.
Pro tip: One good method of ensuring your content is attuned to user intent is to try to focus on medium tail keywords.
In plain English, medium tail keywords are those keywords that are somewhat specific but not very specific.
For example, to return to the earlier example of an interior design blog titled ‘5 bedroom decoration howlers to avoid in 2020’, while ‘bedroom design’ is not specific at all, ‘bedroom design mistakes’ is somewhat specific. So, ‘bedroom design mistakes’ would be a medium tail keyword.
This ensures a balance between getting ranked on some variations of your keywords while not depending solely on hyper-competitive non-specific short tail keywords.
And how can you ensure a good user experience?
- Optimize your webpage for smartphone/mobile browsers (go for responsive design)
- Optimize your images and videos. If those files are too large in size, the webpage will either take a long time to load or have broken images. And as an interior designer you know that images are a pretty big part of your content.
- Include clear CTA’s or Call To Action’s. These are the ‘Get in touch’ type of buttons that should be located strategically throughout the webpage so that the user can sign up for a consultation or email you the moment they want to, without facing any difficulty.
- Ensure all links are working and lead to legitimate webpages.
- Make the anchor texts relevant. Try to completely avoid the bland ‘Click here’ kind of anchor texts.
Long story short, while you should indeed focus on keywords, the SEO fields discussed earlier takes care of most of the keyword content needed for SEO. This gives you some flexibility to focus your content on user intent and user experience in your actual content.
Pro tip: Try to collate a list of the terms people are searching for on your website; what kind of requests they are emailing you with. Take a monthly assessment of which terms occur most frequently and then try to create some fresh content base on those terms.
For example, say you see a lot of people are contacting you for office interior design tips or queries or projects. But you already have a blog post on ‘office interior design tips you must know in 2020’. What do you do?
Simple – create a blog post on ‘office interior design mistakes you must avoid in 2020’. Voila! You have fresh content related to the most popular user intent.
4. Try To Focus On ‘Featured Snippets’
First of all, what are featured snippets? They are the little bits of information that appear just below the search bar in response to a particular search query.
They don’t appear out of thin air. Search engines pull them from websites they deem highly authoritative and places them in pride of place on its search results pages.
Now, a featured snippet can be a bit of text or a table or visual content. It can be anything that the search engine judges to be authoritative and very useful to the particular search query. Forget all SEO babble and just look at any such featured snippet. Doesn’t it look very authoritative and by extension provide credibility to the website it is sourced from?
So, how do you get your content featured as featured snippets by search engines?
There is no way as such to tell Google to feature any content from your website as a featured snippet. It depends entirely on how credible the search engine deems your website to be. So, it will take time for any of your content to appear as featured snippets on any search engine and for any query.
However, you can prepare to be featured in structured snippets by focusing on user intent, having some specific content answering queries that are made very often and presenting this information in a very easily understandable format.
Long story short, featured snippets occupy a place of pride in search results. While actually being featured in any featured snippet takes time, you can prepare for it by having very, very specific information on some of the most popular search queries. Ensure that the information you offer is correct and easily understandable.
5. Keep Creating Great Content
This brings me back to where I started. The 4 specific features I have just outlined will act as a booster shot for your SEO.
However, they can only enhance your SEO. Without a base of great content, they can’t create your SEO for you.
As an interior designer, you need to focus on
- Your services
- Your portfolio
- Your experience
- Blog content on interior design (like ‘5 bedroom decoration howlers to avoid in 2020’) and on the interior design process (like ‘5 questions to ask your interior designer’)
The content needs to be high-authority, easily understandable and backed up by facts and figures. In particular, as an interior designer, you need to have visual content explaining your design ideas. And you need to keep creating this kind of content. Your website needs to feature fresh content regularly to look credible and to rank in search engine results.
Long story short, you need to keep creating relevant and credible content regularly, and backed up by visuals, facts and figures.
To sum up, SEO is no longer about stuffing your content with keywords. You need to adopt some tips and tricks into your SEO strategy in order for your interior design website to gain the search ranking it truly deserves.
The 5 SEO Tips and Tricks Interior Designers should know in 2020 are
- Get an accurate picture of your search results ranking
- Utilize the SEO fields – Category, Tags, Slug, SEO title and Meta description
- Focus on user intent and user experience
- Prepare content tailormade to be featured as featured snippets
- Keep creating great content
I will be following up this blog post with some specific content on how you can accomplish some of these tips and tricks.
Keep watching this space for updates!