What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and is the art and science of making your website visible to search engines. SEO is used to improve “search ranking,” or how high up your website will appear in search results when people enter relevant keywords on search engines like Google and Bing.
Search engines constantly crawl the web looking for new sites and new content. They also frequently change their algorithms for finding that content. The most important thing you can do for SEO is to have a well organized, user-friendly, content rich site that gets updated on a regular basis.
What can I do to improve my website's SEO?
Houzz Site Designer is built to display quickly and meet the standards of modern search engines. Beyond that, there are several things that you can do to improve SEO. These fall into the general categories of Content, Links, Social Sharing and Metadata.
- Provide detailed content in your Houzz professional profile. Include high quality photos with descriptive and meaningful text specific to that photo. Organize your photos into meaningful projects.
- Describe your projects: Where is the space? How was it created? What materials were used? What makes it unique? Be descriptive and specific.
- Provide clear details about yourself and your organization. Include who you are, where you are located, what you do, your professional degrees or certificates and professional associations.
- Frequently provide fresh content. When you add new projects to your Houzz professional profile, these will get pushed to your website. So keep your profile up to date!
- Create Links back to your website from your Houzz and other public profiles including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
- Ask customers, colleagues and partners to write about you and link to your website.
- Share links to your website on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Metadata refers to the behind-the-scenes content that describes your site and is meant to help get your website search engine visibility. Houzz has built your site to be search-engine friendly, but there are some SEO-related page settings you can adjust to increase your search engine visibility and make it clearer to search engines what your site is about.
From within Site Designer, click Site Pages from the left menu. Click Page Settings.
A dialog box will open that allows you to edit the Meta Title and Meta Description.
The meta title is one key way search engines know what your site is about. The meta title also appears in the browser tab.
Homepage Meta Title
By default, Houzz uses your Professional/Firm Name, along with your city and professional category from your profile as the meta title on your homepage.
This is a good title for SEO but you can choose to edit or add information if you like. The meta title should be less than 70 characters and easy to read. You might choose, for example to add a few descriptive words. The Wilson Kitchen and Bath example above could use something like “Wilson Kitchen and Bath - Scottsdale Kitchen & Bath Remodeling Specialists” as a title. (Note that Wilson is a fictitious company used for demonstration purposes only.)
The search result for Wilson Kitchen and Bath might look something like this:
Other Page Meta Titles
You can edit the meta title for all of the pages on your site, including new pages you add. For pages other than the homepage, the meta title is, by default, the name of the page. It is best to update the meta title with something a bit more descriptive. For a page called “Projects” for example, you might use the meta title “Kitchen Remodeling Projects.”
The Meta Description provides information about the type of content found on your site. Sometimes called the “snippet,” the Meta Description is the information displayed under your name on a search results page.
The meta description should be descriptive and is best kept within 160 characters.
Homepage Meta Description
By default, Houzz populates the meta description for your homepage with the business description from your profile. If you have not yet completed your business description, it is important to do so. This will help clients find you, both on the web and on Houzz.
Other Page Meta Description
Search engines will often find your website’s homepage. But sometimes another page on your site could come up in a search. In this case, the snippet comes from the meta description for that page.
Although it is good to think about the types of words someone might use to search for your type of business and incorporate them into your content, avoid simply listing keywords or words that are not relevant to your site. This is true for all content throughout your site, as these practices can hurt your search ranking.
To learn more about meta descriptions, here are some relevant links:
Why doesn't my site show up in Google searches?
It may take some time—weeks or even months—for Google to discover, or index, your site. It can take even more time before your site appears for relevant keyword searches. There isn’t much you can do to speed up this process. Google does, however, make tools available to help you make your website easier for them to find and for their machines to read, or crawl, your site for content.
What about other search engines?
The other major search engines are Bing and Yahoo. Yahoo search is powered by Bing, so their algorithms are the same. And although Bing’s algorithm is different from Google’s, the general guidelines are similar.
Bing provides some webmaster tools, and you can submit your site to Bing.