Last Fall, we had the wonderful opportunity to begin working with two excellent gals who had recently started their own interior design firm, located in the Midwest.
Like many new small businesses, they had no business listings showing up on search engines.
And, while a website had been created, the owners were frustrated they couldn’t get their website to show up in search even when using branded terms.
They were nowhere to be found without very specific searches a potential client would never use. This meant we had two primary hurdles to tackle right away.
TWO KEY PROBLEMS:
- Unclaimed Listings
- Unoptimized Website
Here’s the exact process we undertook to get them on the map (literally) which took just a few months, and created a substantial boost to their revenue.
Table of Contents
- Optimizing Listings
- Citations Campaign
- On-Page SEO
- Industry Profiles
- Content Plan
- User Experience
The Process We Went Through, A-Z
Creating and Optimizing Search Engine Listings
Since there was no pre-existing business listing, our team immediately created new ones through both Google My Business as well as Bing Places. We optimized each of these listings for the correct:
- Service area(s)
- Service(s) offered
We also listed pertinent information to the business like operating hours and COVID-19 precautions.
Finally, we added their logo, several relevant pictures, and all the details necessary to make it easier for prospective clients to feel comfortable with the business (and for Google and Bing to recognize it).
From here, it’s been an on-going process to continually add new, relevant content and pictures, service updates, answering potential client questions, and responding to positive reviews.
Building the Initial Citation Campaign
Citations are anywhere on the Internet where your business name and information can be listed.
Since our client was a relatively new business, they had very few citations working to establish their presence online and assist their ranking in Google Maps.
We implemented a citation campaign to build new citations and to correct a few pre-existing errors early in the process. The websites where these citations are listed can take weeks or months to process and display the data we submit, so we made sure to get this done quickly.
Before starting the campaign, we worked with the business owners to ensure we had all the data any citation source would need. By doing this, the business information was consistent no matter where a potential client might find them online.
The data we collected from our interior design company included:
- Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)
- Website URL
- Business Categories and Subcategories
- Operating Hours
- Business Description
- Social Profiles
- Primary Contact Person
- Payment Methods Accepted
Having these details repeated from multiple sources in the same format sends a clear signal to the search engines it’s a serious business worthy of showing in the search results.
Once the data was collected, we began our campaign. Business listing sites are one of the primary means by which we increase the visibility of a client’s website quickly and efficiently.
Most of these sites are part of more extensive networks which share information. Each network has a central hub where we can submit the business information we collected to distribute it out to the entire network.
The three primary local data aggregators we submitted to were:
Once submitted, each aggregator checks the information as part of their approval process. After the data-aggregators approved the client site, we saw a steady increase in the number of citations.
Some important citation sources are not a part of the data-aggregation networks or are very slow to receive and update the network’s information.
To expedite the process, we submitted the business information manually. While this is time-consuming, it ensured interior design client saw the fastest results possible.
As stated above, a few citations were already in place when we began the campaign, but two significant sources had inconsistent information from the data we had collected directly from the client.
We were able to claim and correct their listings on both Yelp and Houzz. This step also gave the added benefit of allowing our client to join the rankings of interior designers on those websites.
Data-aggregators for local businesses are notoriously slow at having the entire network receive and list all the data. From that standpoint, this campaign is still ongoing.
However, our client already has more consistency and a greater number of citations when compared to any competitor in their local area.
Setting Up and Reviewing Analytics & Webmasters Tools
One of the first things we do when we start working on a new client’s website is to set up Google Analytics and Webmasters Tools if it’s not already there. And, if it is, we review the numbers right away.
A key part of knowing what effect we’re having over the long haul is knowing the data is being:
- properly collected
- reviewed regularly
- analyzed for both discrepancy and opportunity
- tracking conversions, where possible
Fortunately, the interior design firm had already created and installed their analytics tracking so we had a baseline to work with.
In the month before working with them, they had only a handful new users to the site, of which most came from their social media accounts, primarily Facebook and Instagram.
And this made a lot of sense, too, since they were active on Facebook where their beautiful results and superior photography were highly engaging to their audience.
The few visitors they had to their site from Google were likely from branded search, meaning someone who knew the business had typed in the interior design firm’s exact name into a Google search bar directly. This was great to see for two reasons:
- The business had a brandable name people could easily search for
- Google was able to accurately populate their site for these branded queries in the search results
Google Webmasters Tools
As far as Google’s Webmasters Tools goes, we are looking for a couple things right off the bat:
- Sitemaps are submitted
- URLs submitted are valid
- Impressions are providing queries
In this particular case, it was set up properly, the sitemap was submitted successfully, and there was a small but meaningful amount of impressions and queries for us to review.
As we expected, the largest number of impressions and queries came from the business name. However, there were virtually no other searches related to their service or industry.
Establishing Effective On-Page SEO
An effective on-page SEO strategy for businesses who service clients in their local are includes optimizing for both maps searches and organic results.
In order to show up in the map results, the search algorithms have to be made aware that your business services that area.
Along with making sure the GMB listing was optimized, we made these on page changes:
- NAP consistency – We made sure that the name, address, and phone number of the business was listed on each page, matched the NAP on the GMB listing, and that if a mobile user clicked on the phone number it would make the call.
- Schema Markup – Schema is a language that allows you to provide direct information to the search engines. We added a schema markup to the home page with the businesses name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and social profiles.
- Local Mentions – It is only natural that a local business would mention cities and towns in the area. We made sure to have these mentions in the content on the site as well as in the title tags and meta descriptions on each page.
Organic results are the websites listed after the map results show for local searches.
They can be a good driver of targeted traffic on local results, but are most important for searches where there are no map listings.
- Titles and Meta Description – We optimized the SEO title and meta descriptions to help the search engines know what the page was about and so that what shows up in the search results was optimized to increase click-through rate.
- Content – We updated content on each page to answer the most common reasons a person would come to that page from search. For example, someone looking for a bathroom remodel will want some information about the process as well as pictures of bathroom remodels our interior designer has completed.
- Images – All images were optimized for each page including adding properly descriptive ALT tags.
Discovering Industry Specific Profiles
Every industry has online locations where similar businesses will attract new clients.
These lead generation websites are a quick way for some companies to generate sales, and they are useful for SEO in helping to establish a business as legitimate in their industry.
For our interior design client, we recommended they explore the following websites:
- Angie’s List
- Home Advisor
After checking with others in their industry, our clients felt most comfortable with the reputation costs associated with Houzz.
After optimizing their profile and description, our interior designer secured a new client, resulting in a quick win for their business.
Building Out a Content Plan for Services
People come to a website to get information – if you are not serving the information they need quickly, they will leave and find someone who does.
However, for SEO purposes, it isn’t enough to list your services on a single page. You want to have content which will meet search intent for specific services, too.
For this reason, it’s imperative businesses have a content strategy for their website specifically targeting their services, while delivering information to the end user in an easily consumable way.
Our interior designer has a long list of services available to their clients, but not every client wants to see every service they offer.
To make their site as user friendly as possible, we created three main categories:
- Bathroom Remodeling
- Home Remodeling
- Commercial Remodeling
Each of these categories appears at the top of their services page, which is linked from the main menu on the site.
The user can then select which main category of services they would like to explore. Once they do, they are presented with more specific services inside of that category.
Each type of service ultimately has its own page which is optimized to rank for those very specific keywords. By doing this, our client has the best chance of ranking for every search term which matches up with their service offering.
This structure also gives the user who doesn’t know exactly what they want the chance to make a faster buying decision as they educate themselves about their options.
Organizing a Favorable Mobile User Experience
A greater number of people get what they need, especially when shopping locally, right from their phone or tablet. Not optimizing a website for a mobile user is not only a quick way to annoy a potential customer, but Google indexes sites on a mobile-first manner, too.
We spent time first going through the biggest offenders, like:
- Slow loading
- Multi-device mobile responsiveness
- Proper menu navigation
These are especially important on an image intense site, such as with this interior designer, because potential customers are going to want to see plenty of visuals all throughout the site.
Next, we looked at page layout, flow of content, and the ability for the user to move around the site.
Optimizing content in an orderly manner, making sure the user can navigate to the most important pages very easily, and offering the ability for the user to connect are all important tasks.
Finally, we investigated some of the finer touches, like:
- Enabling click-to-call
- Adjusting font sizes for readability
- Confirming form submissions
In the end, results are what you pay for. Because SEO is a long-term play, it’s not always easy to see immediate results, but our client was fortunate to get them.
A Jump in Rankings
The client had zero rankings on Google prior to starting their contract with Tavallo.
We quickly moved to get them ranking for local search terms by optimizing their Google My Business and on-page factors of their website. In their most immediate area the rankings responded quickly.
The image above shows great movement. Not only was the client properties ranking on page one of various search properties for 16 keywords, there were many more keywords just starting to appear in the rankings.
As we develop the site and build the proper content plan, we expect to see more of these lower ranking keywords rise and produce new traffic for our interior designer.
Our client was also lucky enough to jump on the radar of a major magazine publisher, who will be running a feature on their business in the coming months.
These types of public relations connections can generate opportunities to connect with others within the industry, spark up buzz from local media sources and news outlets, and build brand awareness.
The All Important Revenue
Rankings are great but if they do not result in new leads or clients for the business then they are just a vanity metric.
Our client notified us of at least 10 engagements in the first few months, which definitely came from organic search, and 3 became clients.
In our first three months of working with this interior designer they were able to close these new clients resulting in additional revenue of just under $20,000.
One of these clients is a potential repeat customer, as well, which could lead to plenty of future engagement and a long working business relationship.
Does Your Design Firm Want to Grow?
We have had an excellent relationship with this client and look forward to working with them for a long time.
And we can’t wait to bring results to other local businesses.
If you would like to know more about SEO for your business, please contact us and we will analyze and discuss a potential plan to meet your needs.