Use SEO to find clients

Do you want more clients beating a path to your interior design studio door? It can happen with the power of search engine optimisation (SEO). You can use SEO to find clients.

This article sets out to simplify some of the ‘tech’ terminology, remove some of the scary ick feeling when it comes to SEO (what the hell is it?!), and show you how to use SEO to find clients.

In a nutshell, SEO helps your website appear (rank) when a potential client searches for interior design services on the internet. SEO should be an important piece of the marketing puzzle for Interior Designers – because you really can use SEO to find clients.

SEO might seem like the less sexy option when it comes to marketing, there are no jazz hands here, but it’s reliable. It’s certainly not a ‘once and done’ strategy, requiring some on-going effort, but it really can deliver results.

Why does using SEO to find clients matter anyway?

It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website is, or how brilliant you are as an interior designer, if your potential clients can’t find you.

Without good (or great!) SEO your website won’t appear in online searches and clients won’t know you exist. Consider how often you scroll below page one (or even get to the bottom of page one) when you are searching for something online?

Having an SEO strategy in place is important because increasingly people use the internet as part of their research and buying process.

Statistic on searches to show why you should use SEO to find clients.

If you can’t afford to hire an SEO expert – there are plenty of tips, tricks, and tools to help you master SEO yourself.

As a starter – try typing your website domain (such as www.honeyinteriordesign.co.uk) into https://moz.com . You’ll find their ‘free domain authority checker’ in the ‘Free SEO Tools’ section of their website. It will tell you your domain authority, linking root domains, and ranking keywords.

It scores from 0 to 100 – with 100 being the best. Don’t be alarmed if you get a score of ‘bummer’! This means you have some work to do on your SEO but, according to SEO expert Nadin Thomson of The SEO Club, it’s not unusual.

Social Media VS SEO

Do you get many new clients via social media? It’s definitely possible – but it’s also a lot of time and effort. Unless you have a large audience (and sometimes even if you DO have a large audience) it can be difficult to be seen and heard.

Social media is a noisy place, and you are competing for attention amongst celebrities, influencers, and cute animal videos. The odds of being noticed are slim.

It’s worth bearing in mind, that social media is (generally) not the place you go to FIND something. If your washing machine breaks down, you want to take your new dog to puppy training class, or find a restaurant in your local area – where do you search? The Internet.

Social media can lead to accidental DISCOVERY.  But the internet is what people use to proactively RESEARCH, SEARCH and FIND what they want.

It’s the aimless scrolling Vs the intentional search.

This is why an effective SEO strategy can be used to help you find clients.

It’s also worth noting that we are increasingly searching with ‘voice’. We’re not just typing a phrase into our phones or computers and using an internet search tool (like Google), we’re also searching using Siri and Alexa (voice-controlled assistants).

Ultimately, these both search the internet for results – but we might use slightly different phrases in our written versus spoken language – so bear this in mind when you think of keywords (we’ll come on to keywords later).

SEO to find clients: A long-term strategy that works.

The beauty of your website as a marketing tool – and the use of SEO to find clients – is that it is a long-term strategy. The content you create for your website, or in your blog posts, can be searched and bring you clients for years.

No scramble every day to think of what to post, and whether it will get seen or liked. Just produce informative, valuable content for your clients on your website and let SEO do the rest.

When compared to the immediacy of social media, time invested in your website and a sound SEO strategy, just makes sense. The following statistics are an eye-opener:

Informational text which shows the lifespan of different types of social media posts.

Keywords

When SEO is mentioned, it’s almost always in conjunction with keywords. What are these?

Keywords are the words and phrases that your potential clients might be using when searching for something on the internet. And they are literally the keys to using SEO to find clients!

You might also hear reference to long-tail keywords. These are searches that contain 3 or more keywords and are more specific. They are less common than general searches but are more targeted and have a higher conversion rate.

Long-tail keywords are handy as they tend to be used by clients when they are closer to buying or when searchers know more detail of what they want and need. So, it will help you reach niche audiences.

As an example, a general search for ‘Interior Design’ becomes ‘interior design for living rooms in Kent’.

Discovering what clients are searching for.

A simple trick is to use Google or Bing to help you find keywords and phrases.  If you perform a search, a box to the side or further down the page will appear saying ‘Related Searches’. This gives you a clue to what people are typing into the search bar.

Another option is to use a keyword research tool. Popular options are: Google keyword planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz Keyword explorer, and Ubersuggest.

The exact keywords relevant for you will depend on the interior design services you offer, the sort of work you do, and where you are located. Understanding your niche and target audience will help you generate more relevant keywords.

Keyword difficulty score.

There’s a slight twist in the tail with keywords though – they have a difficulty score – and ranking first on google for a word with a high difficulty score (something like ‘Interior Designer’) is really challenging for a small business.

It’s another reason why niche and less common phrases can be helpful. They’re less competitive, with a lower keyword difficulty, and easier for you to rank well against (meaning you’ll have a greater chance of appearing on page one when someone uses them to search).

Your keywords should appear throughout your website – but there has to be a balance. Search engines are increasingly savvy and a webpage or blog that is overstuffed with keywords can end up being penalised.

Of particular importance is using keywords in the title, meta-descriptions, and headlines.

This article gives a great introduction and overview of keyword research.

SEO to find clients: The basics

I started right in with keywords, as they are so important, but there are some basics you can put in place too.

  • Be mobile friendly. Optimise your website to be viewed on a mobile device. This is important as more and more people use their mobile device to search for content online.
  • Make sure your website uses an SSL certificate and shows the padlock. It’s a computing protocol that ensures the security of data sent via the internet by using encryption. Basically, it authenticates your website and shows you’re trustworthy.
  • Customise your 404-error page (this page pops up when a page on your website is broken or unavailable). Personalise it with an option to re-direct the reader to another area of your website such as your homepage.
  • Links. Make sure all backlinks and hyperlinks are kept up to date and working.
  • Fresh content. Search engines like it when a website has on-going fresh content. That’s why blogs are so effective as a tool to find clients. But make sure your content is useful and valuable for your audience.
  • No orphans. Ensure that any blogs you write have links to both external and internal sources. An internal link could be another blog you’ve written on a similar topic, or to a relevant service or portfolio page.
  • Reviews. Positive reviews on sites like Houzz and Google can help lift your ranking.

Your Portfolio and SEO.

As beautiful as your completed project photography is – you need to add some context to help with SEO.

Make sure you include some text with your portfolio. Search engines are largely looking at text not images. You can use your interior design projects as case studies – describe what you did, what was the client brief, how did you interpret this and what was the result. It’s an opportunity to use appropriate keywords.

When it comes to your images – you can help SEO engines by adding in a file name that makes sense; include alt tags and alt text which use keywords relevant to your image; and add captions that explain what the image is.  

Make sure your images are compressed so you don’t slow down your website’s performance. One thing that most internet users DON’T have is patience. A long-loading time leads to a poor user experience and often people just give up.

Backlinks

If you feature anywhere online, make sure your website domain address is included. This may be an online search directory (like yell.com,) or an article or feature for a magazine. The more links you have from other (relevant) websites – the more authority you gain.

Get listed on online directories. Business listing pages such as yelp, Google my Business and Bing business, as well as industry specific sites like Houzz.

Analytics

If you want to use SEO to find clients, then your website’s analytics can help you. Free tools such as Google analytics and google search engine can show you which parts of your website are working well and what needs improvement.

The analytics you can view range from how many visitors you get to your website, how long they stay on each page, to the keywords that you are ranking for.

It’s important to remember that search engines don’t view your website as a whole – each page needs to work hard to produce results and should be optimised for search engines.

Need more help?

I hope this article demonstrates you how you can use SEO to find clients – but it’s just one part of the marketing puzzle. Need more marketing tips? This article might be of interest.

If you need more help with your marketing strategy why not check out my course ‘Finding Clients’ here

This online course was written for Interior Designers.

It covers all of the marketing pre-work you need to do, different routes to market, an annual marketing work book, and detail on tracking your marketing leads and your marketing return on investment (MROI).