Get out a notebook because this episode is overflowing with knowledge and actionable advice from an SEO and website designer expert – Robyn White.

Robyn shares her expertise as she dives into the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to help designers stop chasing and start attracting their ideal clientele. She defines and demystifies many behind the website scene elements and shares how to use keyword phrases, indexing, and strategic marketing tools so your interior design site can work smarter to build up its relevance and prominence.

Robyn describes the reasoning behind a slow and steady presence build-up and her thoughts about blogging to create “a cloud of expertise” have my mind whirring. She prioritizes consistency and quality over quantity and has a handy nugget of wisdom you do not want to miss out on.

Follow Robyn White on her website and Instagram


Read the Full Transcript ⬇️

[00:00:00] Rebecca Hay: Hey, hey, hey, it’s Rebecca and you’re listening to Resilient by Design. Today my guest is Robin White of RW Design Studio and truthfully Robin totally blew my mind. She is not a designer. She is a web strategist, web designer, and a luxury industry expert. She is passionate about website design. And how you can attract your clients through.

[00:00:29] SEO and your website. Today, we really dive into all things, search engine optimization, what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, what you probably didn’t know you needed to do. I mean, truthfully, this was such an inspirational conversation that at the end of the call, I invited her to join me for an even more intimate conversation inside designers room.

[00:00:51] So if you are a designers, remember, you’re going to want to head on over to your portal so you can rewatch the call that I did in there with Robin White, where she. She audits individual websites. Her expertise is quite impressive and she really gets us thinking about marketing in a very different, unique way.

[00:01:07] I hope you guys find this episode interesting and useful because there are tons of tangible takeaways so get your pen and paper ready. There’s things that you can do today to improve your website SEO. Enjoy this episode. Welcome to Resilient by Design, Robyn. I’m so excited to have you here and have these like juicy conversations that I know designers are dying to hear about.

[00:01:32] But before we dive into all of the SEO, et cetera, why don’t you just say hello and introduce

[00:01:38] Robyn White: yourself to my audience. Sure, Rebecca. Thank you so much for having me here today. I’m Robin White. I own RDW Design Studio, and I help interior designers and others in the home industry stop chasing their ideal clientele and start attracting them.

[00:01:54] And I do that through strategic websites. Design and targeted search [00:02:00] solutions. And my goal is to transform how visitors engage with my client’s websites to allow them to step into their next level of success. Whatever that is for them.

[00:02:11] Rebecca Hay: Oh my gosh. Okay. I love it. I also love that. It’s so, so interesting.

[00:02:15] Because I’ve talked to lots of marketing people in the past for the podcast, but you are like hyper focused on helping designers and professionals in that space, like in that home industry. How did you end up as this sort of niche of like helping designers? Like, what is your connection to this

[00:02:31] Robyn White: world?

[00:02:31] Such a good question. I have no connection. That’s the truth. It truly comes from, and my clients hate when I say this, my love of watching com And when I started this business, I worked with a coach because I know working with a coach is a way to fast track everything. And she was like, you need to niche down.

[00:02:52] You know, when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one niche down, learn about an industry. I started out in one industry. It wasn’t bringing me joy. And I decided to really look inward and figure out what is it that I really enjoy doing. And I started exploring different things and landed on interior designers because when I’m relaxing in the evening, I tend to just gravitate toward, you know, HGTV shows.

[00:03:17] And I know it is an inaccurate representation of the industry. And now that I understand the industry, I watch it and I’m like, Oh no, you cannot do that kitchen for that price. That would never happen, right? That’s truly how I

[00:03:30] Rebecca Hay: started working. with interior designers. Awesome. Okay. Well, I love that because I think it’s important to, you know, you want to work with someone who understands your field, who gets what you do.

[00:03:39] And I think sometimes as creatives, we do struggle to find the people who can be that additional support to our business that even really understand the terminology. Yes. And I think we’re going to talk about that because that’s so important with everything that you do. And I think it’s this perfect timing because I literally just had a conversation with some designers inside my designer’s room.[00:04:00]

[00:04:00] We’re talking about marketing and May is like a marketing month. We’ve talked about this idea of where do you invest your money to get in front of your ideal client, right? Like, is it an Instagram? Is it a Facebook ads? Is it in Google ads? Is it in your website? Is it in like a publicist? Is it getting featured?

[00:04:17] And yes, Everything has its time and place to help build your brand, but it’s understanding like what is going to move the needle, what I think is so interesting. And I’ve recently heard conversations about this with my husband and his clients who are local service providers looking to get in front of local people.

[00:04:34] So much comes down to. search engine optimization, right? Understanding how you are getting in front of those people. And I, I don’t even really know anything about this. So this is why we have you here today. So why don’t we just start with the basics? Like what is SEO and why do we need

[00:04:51] Robyn White: it? Yes, that’s such a jam packed question and I’m so happy to answer it and I would love to start by explaining what SEO is because I do feel that in the last few years, it’s really become this buzzword that’s just thrown around, you know, I’ll have a lot of people talk to me and they’re like, well, yeah, I need SEO.

[00:05:08] I need SEO, but they truly have absolutely no understanding of what it is. So in really simple terms, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and what that means is it is the art. And science of getting your website found in organic or free spaces like Google, Yahoo, Bing. Those are search engines. Most of us use Google, so I just tend to default to say Google instead of search engines.

[00:05:38] But the goals of SEO are really to increase your sales, build awareness around your brand, and generate leads. It’s getting people Traffic to your website and just to understand a little bit about how search engines work, which I think is important to know so that you know, like, why [00:06:00] there’s so many different parts of SEO and things that go into making it actually work for your website is.

[00:06:06] Search engines use computer programs called bots or spiders or web crawlers. You may have heard of one of those terms before, and they come out and they basically crawl the Internet when they find a new page, they add it to this index. And you can think of this index somewhat like an old fashioned Rolodex of sorts.

[00:06:27] And then when somebody goes to Google and types in a phrase interior designer near me, for example, or interior designer in plus a location, the search engines use what’s called an algorithm, and that’s a computer program. And this algorithm has a whole bunch of different ranking factors. There are hundreds of different ranking factors that it uses to serve the best results possible to the searcher.

[00:06:56] Rebecca Hay: Sounds very complicated. It can be complicated. But basically, you’re optimizing Your website, right? This is about your website, not about your Instagram, not about your whatever magazine. It is about optimizing your website so that when people are searching, you appear in their search results. Is that what

[00:07:19] Robyn White: I’m understanding?

[00:07:20] That’s exactly it. And what we all have to remember is Google is a business just like we are. So they want to provide the best. Best and the most relevant search results to the people who are using them as a search engine so that we continue to go back to Google and use them as a search engine. And don’t go and use Bing or Yahoo.

[00:07:42] So if you are doing something a little, let’s say, better. black hat, not quite acceptable practices on your website and you’re stuffing keywords or hiding keywords. So it’s not really relevant to the page, but you’re coming up. That’s not helping Google serve [00:08:00] its customers well. So they’re going to start de ranking you, de indexing you, moving you further down in the search results.

[00:08:07] They want to deliver the best and most relevant. And the reason. That SEO is important and why it should matter to interior designers is because the more visibility you have, the more chance you have of getting in front of the people who are searching for your services. People are out there right now, searching for what you have to offer.

[00:08:28] And you want to get in front of them so that you have a chance to get them as a client. Yeah, that’s the whole point.

[00:08:34] Rebecca Hay: I think it’s really important. I think sometimes designers and we’ll get into this, but you know why, why, why it really matters, but I think sometimes we forget that we’re servicing a geographical location.

[00:08:45] I’m sure some designers want to work internationally, but let’s face it. Most of us are servicing a geographic location. Our area or select cities, or like maybe the cottage country or maybe Florida, like, you know, there might be certain destinations where our clients tend to go. And so that’s where we start serving.

[00:08:59] And so if you think about yourself wanting to hire a service in your own city, like how many times have you Googled before you’ve even bothered asking for a referral from a friend? Like I do that, you know, we had bedbugs a few years ago. Okay. It’s out there. I’m not going to lie. And what did we do? We didn’t ask our friends because I don’t want them to know that we have bedbugs.

[00:09:18] So we Googled, you know, like, I don’t know what we were trying different things like bed bug remediation or bed bug extermination Toronto. And we literally picked one of the companies that was one of the top three that popped up because let’s face it, I do not have time to scroll past the first page of

[00:09:35] Robyn White: Google.

[00:09:35] No, you don’t. No, you don’t. And you’re absolutely right, Rebecca. When it comes down to a local business, people do search online. Yes, referrals, word of mouth, that’s a really important part of it too. But generally speaking, when you’re looking for something local, you’re typing in that service near me or that service and the town.

[00:09:58] And local [00:10:00] search is. Much easier to rank for than if you’re someone like me, who is not a local business, but I work virtually across, you know, the U. S. and Canada, it is much harder to rank because if I want to rank for web design for interior designers, I’m competing against anyone. Everybody else in the world who’s trying to rank for that.

[00:10:22] Whereas if I was trying to rank for a web designer in Boston, you can see how now the competition market has decreased drastically to one geographic location. Yeah. So local search is fantastic.

[00:10:36] Rebecca Hay: So I love that. And this is something that I think that we need to like start talking more about as designers.

[00:10:40] But. I’m like, I’m just thinking I’ve never paid anyone to help me with SEO for any of my websites ever. Do you naturally have SEO on your website? Like, does your website naturally rank based on just the information that’s on it? Yes.

[00:10:54] Robyn White: So that’s such a good question. Google is going to index your page.

[00:10:59] They’re going to pull their own sort of phrases out of it that they would rank you for. So let’s just give an example. You’re in Toronto. Let’s say you wanted to optimize your homepage where you want to rank for Toronto interior designer. If we use that keyword phrase in the content in the right places on your website, ideally, Google is going to pull that.

[00:11:26] They’re also going to pull interior designer in Toronto. They might pull interior decorator. They might pull just interior design firm Toronto because it’s a. Google smart, Google understands synonyms. They’re going to get all of that from the content on your site. And then they’re going to pull really weird phrases as well that you’ll rank for that potentially nobody is ever going to search for.

[00:11:53] So even if you don’t hire someone to help you or work on your SEO yourself or optimize your website, chances [00:12:00] are you’re ranking for some things on your different pages, even if you haven’t done any work for it, whether you’re ranking. On page one. is another question. And that really comes down to your local market and the competition there.

[00:12:15] You know, if you’re in a place that’s got 500 interior designers in a big city, it’s going to be a lot harder to rank than if you’re in a smaller town with five. Right. So

[00:12:25] Rebecca Hay: that’s encouraging to hear. We all naturally, as long as you have a website, you need a website for this,

[00:12:29] Robyn White: right? You need a website for this.

[00:12:30] And one thing to understand is Google doesn’t index the entire website. They index web pages. Oh. Okay. So every page of your website could potentially be indexed, but what is coming up in a search result is actually a specific page of your website. Hmm. Then once someone clicks over, they can access your entire website.

[00:12:52] Rebecca Hay: So does that mean that, Then tell us that we need to focus on like one page specifically that we think is most important.

[00:12:59] Robyn White: There are certain pages to focus on. The number one page to focus on is your home page and that is because Google favors homepages and they’re almost always going to index that first.

[00:13:10] So what I always um, encourage my clients to do is, Pick your number one geographical town city service area and optimize the homepage for location plus service on the homepage. So for you, Toronto interior design, Toronto interior designer, and we would optimize the homepage for that. Then if you. Service other towns or let’s say, um, suburbs, things like that, that’s where we would want to build out location specific pages that are really built and designed purely for SEO.

[00:13:48] Right. How do you know all this?

[00:13:50] Rebecca Hay: I’m like listening to you. I’m like taking notes. I’m like, I mean, do we just take your word for it? Do we just trust you that? Yep. The homepage and like, how, like, how do you know this? Is there like [00:14:00] ways to see, does this change? Is this like the Instagram algorithm? Like as Google changing how they index things like, Oh, Rebecca, about this knowledge.

[00:14:08] Robyn White: Well, first of all, Google changes its algorithm possibly more than Instagram does, much to everybody’s dismay. It’s so frustrating, but there are, I think there’s over 200 different ranking factors and Google will roll out minor and major algorithm changes. Um, they’ll call them core updates oftentimes.

[00:14:28] And one just came out in March and has kind of wreaked havoc with some pages being de indexed. So it’s changing constantly, which is why a lot of the time, if SEO is an important part of your marketing strategy, sometimes having an expert in your back pocket, who’s working with you on an ongoing basis, who’s staying on top of this, because it’s their job to the same way.

[00:14:53] It’s your job to stay on top of new trends in interior design and paint colors and no, you know, to the trade vendors for furniture lines, things like that. I stay on top of it. And the reason I got into it, I didn’t start out doing SEO. I started out doing web design. As I started doing it longer and longer, I realized strategy is the most important part.

[00:15:15] And for me, having a really beautiful aesthetically pleasing website is very important, but just a pretty website isn’t going to get you very far. And I want my clients to have strategic marketing tools when I design and build a website for them. So to me, part of that is making sure that the SEO component is taken care of for them.

[00:15:34] Rebecca Hay: My brain is like firing on a million. I’ve got like a million questions. It’s so good. I mean, I’ve always loved marketing and in fact, when I started this podcast, if you go all the way back to like the first season, the first like 15 episodes, I talk a lot about marketing. And the first course that I did for designers was.

[00:15:52] about marketing because I just find it so interesting. I don’t teach that course anymore because it’s changing too much. So I was like, I got to [00:16:00] update this like every three months, like no, no, no, no. But I just find it so interesting. And I think this is like such an, an untapped opportunity for designers.

[00:16:08] I don’t, not a lot of designers are talking about this. I actually had a designer say to me yesterday, I’ve been doing some like private coaching with like one on one clients. And she said to me that the only money she invested in her business last year. Was on Google and we’re not here to talk about ads, but it was the same concept, which was like Google AdWords targeting her local area.

[00:16:29] And she actually made all that money back just from the projects that she landed through that. And it was, to me, it was like an eye opener thinking like, Oh, here we are, all of us creatives distracted by Instagram and all the pretty squares. And we just want to have the prettiest Instagram feed and we want to have all the followers and we want to be like followed by those people that we look up to.

[00:16:49] But. Meanwhile, that’s probably not moving the needle the same way your website and Google can.

[00:16:55] Robyn White: I totally agree with you. And I think what this really comes down to, Rebecca, is who’s your ideal client and where are they? You know, if your ideal client is on Instagram, then yes, your Instagram grid should be Spot on.

[00:17:10] And you want to spend a lot of time there. For me, I work with interior designers. You’re all on Instagram. I have to be on Instagram, right? That’s important for me, probably more so than SEO for my own website. Right. But for interior designers, are your clients finding you on Instagram? I mean, that’s something that’s really important to track.

[00:17:30] And I would also say the difference between. SEO and SEM, so search engine optimization and search engine marketing, which would be like Google ads and Facebook ads is SEO is a marathon. It’s not a sprint, whereas ads are going to get traffic to your website immediately. SEO is going to take time. That’s a huge difference.

[00:17:52] Rebecca Hay: Like that. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I love that. It’s funny. I just, I just interviewed [00:18:00] a designer on a podcast and at the end, her nugget of wisdom was like, I’ll read it to you. It was like the same thing. She was like, be kind and patient with your own progress. Yes. That applies to your website too.

[00:18:09] Right? Yes.

[00:18:10] Robyn White: And the other thing you have to realize is. For both of them, SEO and SEM, what you’re doing is trying to get traffic to your website. So let’s think about this. If you get 5, 000 visitors a month because of you’re doing SEO or SEM to your website and one person converts, and let’s say a conversion for you is somebody filling out your contact form.

[00:18:35] That’s terrible. And then you really want to look at your website, what’s going on there with the design, the user experience, the messaging that is creating this disconnect between all of these eyes that are coming to your website, but nobody’s actually converting or taking the action you want them to take.

[00:18:55] So sometimes 5 visitors a month. With four people who fill out your contact form is a far better statistic.

[00:19:03] Rebecca Hay: Oh, wow. And I suppose we should be tracking that.

[00:19:08] Robyn White: Yes. And you can track it in Google analytics for sure. Oh God. That’s like a

[00:19:12] Rebecca Hay: whole other conversation.

[00:19:15] Robyn White: Exactly. I know

[00:19:16] Rebecca Hay: most of us as creatives, like tracking numbers and even our own profitability is like, Oh, do I have to look at that spreadsheets?

[00:19:23] Google analytics feels like that to me. But anyways. Yes,

[00:19:26] Robyn White: it’s confusing. It gives you a lot of information, but if you don’t have it set up on your website, I highly recommend doing it just so that it’s tracking the information now, even if you don’t look at it until 3 years from now, at least you’ve got all the data.

[00:19:41] Okay,

[00:19:42] Rebecca Hay: so that’s a good tip. So that’s something that you would recommend designers do right off the bat, like get Google Analytics set up for your website, because it doesn’t, it’s not

[00:19:49] Robyn White: automatic, correct? No, so what I would recommend, and I do this for all of my clients when we launch their website, is you want to set up something called Google Search Console, [00:20:00] and you want to submit your site map to them.

[00:20:04] Okay, what that does is it lets Google know, especially if you’re a brand new website that your website is out there and we can actually request indexing of certain pages so they can maybe prioritize those and come out with their little spiders and bots and crawl it faster. Because if a page isn’t indexed, it can’t show up in search results.

[00:20:24] If it’s not in that Rolodex, we can’t find it, right? And then you want to set up Google Analytics. Both of those are free tools. Sometimes there’s errors in them. Sometimes they’re accurate. You know, again, they’re free. Um, you get what you pay for, but they’re really helpful tools. They can show us where there’s errors on your website.

[00:20:42] They can show us statistics about how people are using your website, what’s driving traffic to your website. You know, is Instagram. Driving traffic to your website is Facebook, so it can just be very useful data to have, and you can now track conversions in Google Analytics, so you can set up a conversion for it to track that is your contact form, for example.

[00:21:03] Right. So cool. It is a lot to think about, you know, I really, we all have our own zones of genius, you know, I’m overwhelmed with picking a paint color. So, right. I’m

[00:21:15] Rebecca Hay: like, well, that’s way easier. I’ll leave the SEO web stuff to you. Let’s just get real. So what can people do? Everyone’s listening right now and they’re like, okay, I obviously need this. That is clear. Are there some things that other than apart from setting up your Google analytics, because but that’s not really how people search you.

[00:21:33] No, I don’t think. No, it’s not. What can designers do to rank in a local search? We kind of mentioned a bit of it before, but tell us again.

[00:21:42] Robyn White: So Off of your website, the number one thing I would recommend doing immediately if you have not already is set up a Google business profile. This is free. I’m going to guess that most of you already have it.

[00:21:56] It’s connected to Google Maps. [00:22:00] Basically, what happens when somebody searches interior designer near me or Toronto interior designer, Google is going to use its regular algorithm, but then it’s also going to look at three other factors. It’s going to look at relevance, distance and prominence, and it’s going to go through.

[00:22:21] All the Google business profiles and see which ones match up the best, and it’s going to pull the top three most relevant ones into what’s called a local pack or a three pack. So when you look at a search results page on Google at the top, you have the paid ads, and they usually say sponsored. And then generally, the section that comes next is that local pack.

[00:22:48] So there’ll be three business names. That’s being pulled directly from your Google business profile. And that comes up before the organic search results where they’re showing a webpage. So definitely set up a Google business profile. And then the biggest recommendation I can make is. Take time and optimize it, answer all of the questions, fill in all of the information, ask for reviews there.

[00:23:17] I cannot stress the importance of that. Don’t ask for reviews on Houzz. Reviews on Google Business Profile are what are going to help you get in that three pack. And, Google, I know we’re probably going to talk about this later, but while a lot of SEO is related directly to what happens on your website, there is a component of SEO called off site where Google looks at everything that your business is doing off of your website.

[00:23:46] And the. And I think the biggest factor there is the Google business profile. You have an opportunity to get reviews there and respond to reviews, which I recommend doing even if it’s a positive review and you’re [00:24:00] just thanking them. Google again, wants to show businesses. In that local pack who are in business, because what if you went out of business and you never took down your Google business profile, that’s not really the kind of information they want to serve to their customers.

[00:24:15] So by you responding to reviews, updating your business hours for holidays, posting photos, doing updates, things like that, they know you’re an active business that’s still around and chances are they’re going to serve you. Interesting.

[00:24:29] Rebecca Hay: Okay. Woo. That was already a lot of information. Yeah. Set up a Google business profile.

[00:24:35] Mm hmm.

[00:24:35] Rebecca Hay: Love that advice. And please ask for reviews there. Okay. So that’s the second thing. Yeah. That’s the second most important thing. And I love that you said that because early on in my business and my interior design firm, I was getting house reviews. Now that’s when house was cool. House furniture designers is not as cool anymore.

[00:24:52] I don’t know if you’ve got the memo, but since they purchased Ivy, there’s some privacy concerns for designers. And so a lot of us have sort of stayed away from house, but I did get a lot of reviews initially on house that I can use on my website, but I was like, ah, I can’t. organically post a review on Google for my, for my website.

[00:25:14] And so now I love that you’re saying this because you are confirming what I’ve been telling designers, which is send your clients a link to review you on Google. Don’t just get some nice words in an email. You can then pull the words from the Google and put it on your website and put it in all your marketing.

[00:25:31] I love that you’ve said that. I did not. Think about responding. I have never replied to anyone’s review. So I just learned something brand new that I’m going to have to go in now and do myself.

[00:25:43] Robyn White: And the other thing I would just say is don’t listen to this podcast and rush out and send out 20 emails to clients asking them to review you on Google.

[00:25:54] We want to do things slow and steady because we never want them to [00:26:00] sort of see an alarm bell. About our business profile. Oh, cause it might look spammy. It could look spammy. So do it, you know, slow and steady.

[00:26:09] Rebecca Hay: When a project wraps, you’d send it to the client. You could probably send it to a handful knowing that not everyone’s going to do it.

[00:26:17] Right. Absolutely. Takes a lot to remind people to do reviews. It does.

[00:26:20] Robyn White: Oh my gosh. Yeah, I actually have in my email signature, if we’ve worked together and you’ve been happy with my service, blah, blah, blah. And there’s a link to leave me a Google business profile review right there. Like, why not something else I can put in the signature?

[00:26:35] Rebecca Hay: I mean, I probably wouldn’t do that because if a client’s not enjoyed working with me, I don’t want them to leave me a review and I don’t want to make it easy.

[00:26:42] Robyn White: True, true. But you know, if somebody leaves you a less than stellar review, you do have the opportunity to respond, right? But you can’t take it down.

[00:26:51] You can contact them to take it down if it violates certain practices. Yes. Right. But generally speaking, if it’s, if it’s real and they were not happy, no,

[00:27:02] Rebecca Hay: you can’t. I mean, I don’t have anyone right now, but I just, I know I’ve had clients over the years where I’m like, yeah, I definitely didn’t do the best job with that project.

[00:27:09] I was inexperienced. They probably weren’t happy with me. And I’ve had clients that in the early years. So I would probably not ask them to review me on Google because I’d prefer to have five

[00:27:23] Robyn White: stars, right? I totally understand. Yeah. So Google business profile, super important. And then the other way to really start showing up in local search, we sort of discussed a little bit earlier, optimizing your homepage for, you know, interior designer, interior design, plus your number one search engine.

[00:27:44] Town or city that you service and then listing out locations that you service that can link off to location specific pages. So I’ll use Boston as an example, just because that’s near where I live. So, [00:28:00] let’s say Boston is my primary service area. My homepage would be interior designer in Boston, for example, and then let’s say I service for surrounding towns.

[00:28:11] Let’s say it’s Newton. Wellesley, Weston, and Brookline. I can’t optimize my homepage for five different areas. Too confusing to Google. So we pick the number one area for the homepage, and then we design four other pages. So each of them would be interior designer in Brookline, interior designer in Weston, right?

[00:28:32] So forth and so on. And we want to design that somewhat like a homepage. Because someone searching interior designer in Weston, that page would show up, not your home page. That would be how they enter your website. Do you see what I mean? So that’s how we can optimize for various locations.

[00:28:53] Rebecca Hay: Hold on, hold up.

[00:28:55] So we need like a homepage basically for every city or town that we serve, but is it visible on our site or are these like hidden pages that if you just go to rebeccahaydesigns. com you’re getting my main homepage, you’re not seeing it. seeing the Rebecca Hay Designs Muskoka webpage, the Rebecca Hay Designs Florida webpage, or the Rebecca Hay Designs, who knows where else I might work.

[00:29:19] Robyn White: I’m going to answer this in sort of two different ways. If you have different locations for your business, so you’re actually located, let’s say in five different geographic areas, then you probably want to have a locations Tab in your main menu at the top of the website with a drop down that would link to each.

[00:29:43] Of the location pages when it’s more that you have a service area that covers several towns. I don’t usually put those in the menu because they don’t generally help the user experience of a visitor. Who’s entering [00:30:00] through the home page. However, I would want to have a section on the home page. That’s designed beautifully that somehow lists out the different towns that you service.

[00:30:12] Thanks. That each town could then be a clickable link to that location page. And the reason is, it doesn’t really help the visitor who’s entering your website through your homepage, but it helps Google. When they’re crawling your website, if something is linked to from the homepage, they’re going to find it faster.

[00:30:33] Got it.

[00:30:34] Rebecca Hay: So this is something that you need help with, because I can’t imagine doing this myself, but this would be a really great way. If you are trying to service like Cape Cod, for example, and you’re in Boston and you really want to do more houses in the Cape, like that would be a great example because it’s like its own distinct location and you want more jobs there.

[00:30:52] So that when people are searching like interior designer, Cape Cod, it’s going to pop up. Absolutely.

[00:30:57] Robyn White: Absolutely. Yes. Very cool. So, I always say to my clients, you know, we have to design your website first and foremost for people. Google is second. And we really have to think strategically, is SEO and being found online something that’s really, really important to you?

[00:31:15] Or is it something that is not a part? of your marketing or awareness strategy, because if it is important, we need to do things sort of a certain way. We need to have a good amount of words on the page. You know, if I go to an interior designer’s homepage and all I see are images and there’s actually no words or content, which might look beautiful if you’re Kelly Wurstler or Nate Berkus or something.

[00:31:39] You don’t need SEO if you’re at that level, but for most of us, we do need to come up in organic search and a lot that’s based on our content, the words. So we have to have words. Yeah.

[00:31:49] Rebecca Hay: Oh my God. That’s really important to hear designers. Did you hear that? You do also need words. You need copy on your site, not just pretty picture.

[00:31:55] You do. You do. Question about that. I feel like what [00:32:00] I used to hear was you want to have a key phrase or whatever those words are like, Interior designer Toronto, and it needs to be repeated. Is that still the case? Do you want to repeat it multiple times on the same page? Yes, you do.

[00:32:12] Robyn White: Okay. And there is no magic number, and I’ll explain why.

[00:32:16] So yes, there are certain places where the keyword phrase that you’re trying to rank for needs to go. It should go in the main headline. As close to the top of the page as possible, you want to have it in another heading, ideally somewhere else lower on the page. And then you want to have it in the actual, I’m going to call it paragraph content.

[00:32:37] And the number of times it actually shows up is sort of a ratio based on the amount of words on the page. So, for example. Let’s say you have a hundred words on your homepage. We’re going to want that keyword phrase to show up way less times than if you have a thousand words on your page, it’s, there is no magic number.

[00:33:00] We kind of, we have tools that we can use to see if it’s, enough, things like that. And you can use synonyms and it doesn’t need to be exact. So when I was saying, you know, Toronto interior designer or interior designer in Toronto to Google, that’s essentially the same keyword phrase. The variations can be used.

[00:33:21] Yeah. Oh my gosh, this is so interesting. And then you also Want it to show up in ideally your page title and your meta description. So when you see search results on Google, there’s usually something that’s, I think, blue, and that’s your page title. And then there’s a couple of, maybe a sentence or two underneath it.

[00:33:44] That’s your meta description. That’s kind of like your ad description. Text advertising text, because that’s what somebody might read to decide if they actually want to click over to your website. And ideally we want to have your keyword phrase in both of those places [00:34:00] as well.

[00:34:00] Rebecca Hay: So that meta description, who writes that?

[00:34:03] Is that auto generated by meta or is that something that you supply them? So

[00:34:07] Robyn White: Google will automatically pull whatever it wants to pull. I do write meta descriptions for my clients in the hopes that Google will choose. That, Tupole. Ah, okay. Clever. We have no control over what they decide they want to use.

[00:34:24] Rebecca Hay: Oh my

[00:34:25] Robyn White: gosh. All we can put forth is our best efforts to give them what we want them to take.

[00:34:30] Rebecca Hay: Got it. Yeah. My gosh. Okay. Can we, I, I know our time is ticking. We’ve talked about so much already, but I want to make sure that we don’t, I’m And today without talking about blogging, because whenever anyone thinks about SEO, they think, Oh my God, do I need a blog?

[00:34:45] And I’ve even caught myself saying that, like, we just redid my website and now I’m like, Oh man, we did not SEO any of that stuff. So I’m going to look at that. My interior design firm website, and I previously had a blog and it had, I don’t know, maybe 20 different blog posts and a lot about sustainable design, which is one of my pillars in my design business.

[00:35:04] And with the new iteration of the site, because I’m not regularly creating blogs, I was like, I don’t think we need it. But then I was like, Oh shoot. There’s all that SEO content in that blog. Do we need a blog? Please, Robin, tell us what to do when it comes to blogging.

[00:35:22] Robyn White: So I’m just going to say, I hate blogging.

[00:35:25] I find it to be a chore, so I sympathize and I understand why you may not want to do one or continue one. Why do I feel like there’s a big but coming? But, the short answer is yes, you do. And here’s why. Because our websites need to be primarily designed and written for the visitor and to provide a really good user experience and get our messaging across clearly, there’s always going to be a lot of pages on our website that we don’t try to rank for a keyword for.

[00:35:56] What our blog allows us to do [00:36:00] is try to rank for those keywords in a blog post. So I think blogging is incredibly important for interior designers. But the caveat is you need to have a clear content strategy. You can’t just go throwing up posts and you really want to have a combination of posts that let’s face it are probably not going to pull in your ideal client.

[00:36:27] Things like, um, how to choose kitchen cabinets or the five best white paint colors, you know, the things that may be a DIY er. Who’s looking to do their own kitchen or paint their own living room would be looking for so they’re not necessarily going to bring in the kinds of clients that you want to work with.

[00:36:45] What they are going to do is send out to Google this cloud of expertise showing that, you know, all about interior design. You are a trusted authoritative expert in your field. So there is a time and a place for those kinds of posts and they are important. But what you also want to think about is again, this goes back to local SEO and getting in front of your ideal clients.

[00:37:14] So let’s think about one example. How can you get in front of the kind of clients you want to work with one step before they’re thinking of hiring an interior designer and write a blog post about that. So an example is maybe they’re building a home in Toronto and maybe they’re looking for best builders in Toronto.

[00:37:33] So if you’ve written a blog. about the three best home builders in Toronto, because it does relate. You work with builders, it’s adjacent, you have the same kind of client. Your blog post is going to come up, and they might click on it, and then they’re going to see your website, and see that you’re an interior designer, and they’re going to be like, Huh, let’s file this away, because I’m going to need an interior designer.

[00:37:57] Once my home is built, or maybe they’re smart enough [00:38:00] to know they should bring one on while it’s being built. First,

[00:38:03] Rebecca Hay: they should hire the designer first. But maybe they don’t know that yet, so they’re looking for builders and then they see you. And then they have a call with you and you’re like, uh, uh, uh, there are great builders, hire me first.

[00:38:13] Robyn White: Whoa, that just blew my mind. Exactly. So you really want to have a blog strategy, you want to be thinking like what’s the value of the post and who is it going to attract and you want to have a combination. And then another example, let’s say that you are a kitchen and bath designer. You offer, you know, full service interior design.

[00:38:31] So we have a services page that talks about your full service interior design, but it’s not really appropriate to try to rank for kitchen designer or bath designer there. Because we want to use the phrase kitchen and bath because that’s what you use in the industry. Right. But when you think about it, and this is where knowing who your ideal client is and understanding them and how they search for things, If I was looking to have my bathroom redone, I would not search for bath, because me being outside of the industry, bath is the actual bathtub, not the room.

[00:39:04] So while kitchen and bath is what’s used in the interior design industry, we might want to have a blog post all about kitchen design. to cover that. And we might want to have a blog post all about bathroom design to cover that. And there isn’t really another place on the website where trying to rank for that sort of keyword fits in logically.

[00:39:23] So that’s where blogging can be really helpful.

[00:39:27] Rebecca Hay: So do we have to post a blog every week, every month, once a year? Is it one of those like more the better?

[00:39:34] Robyn White: I’m going to say consistency is better than more, and I’m going to say high quality content is better than more content. So you don’t really want to just be spewing out what everyone else is spewing out.

[00:39:50] You really want it to be thoughtful, well written, provide a lot of value. So think about what is actually [00:40:00] doable for you. Let’s say it’s one. Post a month. It’s 12 posts a year to write. You can hire out the writing, you can hire a copywriter, but that doesn’t seem that unmanageable. Or maybe it’s one post every other month and it’s six posts a year.

[00:40:19] But what I always recommend is sort of. I like to plan out six months of content creation for my clients at a time. I don’t like to do more than that because the algorithm is always changing. I want to see how the posts are doing in the analytics before we decide that we want to keep moving forward in this strain, let’s say.

[00:40:37] Rebecca Hay: Oh, interesting. So you will actually look at the analytics and see if that blog post is getting any traction. Like, is it, is anyone clicking on it? How long are they staying on that page? Let’s say that type of thing. Like, has it showed up in Google? Is

[00:40:52] Robyn White: it driving any traffic to the website? It’s not just writing it.

[00:40:56] You want to really track it, analyze it, and then maybe Maybe it’s just a matter of adding another section to it, changing headings, you know, something like that. So a lot of times what I do with my clients is we’ll look at their current blog and we’ll work on fixing up old blog posts and we can republish them because Google looks at recency.

[00:41:19] So it’s not all about constant new creation. It can be taking what you already have and making it better. So

[00:41:25] Rebecca Hay: I could take, uh, All the old blog posts that are no longer on my site because the other site is now deactivated. I could take that content and slowly like update it, obviously. And then I could slowly release those old blogs as new blogs on my new site.

[00:41:41] And that would actually probably be better than having had those old ones sitting there. Or not necessarily,

[00:41:45] Robyn White: I may have messed up. Not necessarily. We can talk afterwards. Anyways, I don’t want to get too technical. But yes, the long and short of it is yes, blogging is fantastic. If you’re able to commit to [00:42:00] it.

[00:42:00] And the other thing about it, let’s think about this. It’s giving you content that you can repurpose in lots of other places. From that one blog post, you might be able to get five or eight social media posts, right? Because we’re all on social media and we’re all struggling to create content there. If you do videos on YouTube, you could do a little short video about a little bit of the blog post and then say, you know, to learn everything, go to my website and read the blog.

[00:42:26] So you’re driving traffic to your website. Um, so there’s, you can repurpose it in an email newsletter. To your email list. So there’s lots of different ways you can take this one blog and repurpose the content.

[00:42:37] Rebecca Hay: So one question for my website. So I have two websites. My second site, that’s a whole other question we could dive into, but we recently decided that for the podcast pages on my site, that it would probably be smart for SEO.

[00:42:50] And this is not based on any expert. This is just my team and I being like, I think we should do this. Other people do this is to take the transcription of the podcast. episode like we’re having this conversation today and putting that on the page of the podcast episode. Is there value to that? Like it’s a whole lot of words.

[00:43:10] Robyn White: I think there can be value to it depending on how the podcast pages are set up. So if they truly live on your website and it’s content that you’re Adding to your website. I think that could be a wonderful way to optimize for keywords related to that blog post for sure.

[00:43:31] Rebecca Hay: I think I might need to do a deep dive there.

[00:43:33] Cause I think, I don’t know what we’re doing to be honest. It’s not my area.

[00:43:37] Robyn White: That could be a really good way to create content for you.

[00:43:41] Rebecca Hay: Right. Well, I’m like, here we are recording these episodes, right? Like, they just live on Spotify or iTunes, like, come on, and on YouTube, this is also on YouTube, but like, there’s got to be a better way to, like, drive traffic to my website.

[00:43:54] Yeah.

[00:43:54] Robyn White: The other thing that I think could be interesting if it’s, and it’s probably doable, if there’s a way [00:44:00] to, Actually search through the episodes on your website. Cause you know, we can’t really do that on Apple or Spotify. So if you could break down the episodes into different buckets, so let’s say there’s a marketing bucket and a process bucket, something like that.

[00:44:17] So that visitors to your website can search, Oh, I want to see all the episodes that talk about process. And then those all come up and they can scroll through and see. You know, which one they want to listen to do that. Right. I think that could be real from a user experience standpoint, that could be really cool.

[00:44:35] Cause then we’re not just scrolling through by date that it was published by category, by category. Yeah. So

[00:44:41] Rebecca Hay: we have something similar inside designer’s room, which is my membership. People can search the podcast, meaning they can just type in like SEO tactics and then any conversation I’ve had will pop up with the timestamp so they can go and of the podcast, that’s just for my members.

[00:44:56] But I can see the value and I don’t know how to set it up. I’d have to figure that out. How on the website, if you could search by category, right. And maybe that could, we need to tag them and there’s probably a way to do that. Yeah, it’s true. Cause you can’t really search podcasts. Right. That’s a good idea.

[00:45:09] Robyn White: And everybody has different things that they’re really interested in learning about when they’re listening to podcasts. So unless it’s one of your regular listeners, like I am, or, you know. We know when a new episode comes out, we listen to it. But for someone who’s kind of new, who’s just like, Oh, I really want to learn about SEO.

[00:45:24] You would want all of those to come up and you would know to look under marketing for that. Right.

[00:45:29] Rebecca Hay: Ooh, good idea. Okay. Thank you. Amazing. Can you help me execute that?

[00:45:34] Robyn White: Maybe. We can definitely chat about it for sure.

[00:45:37] Rebecca Hay: I’m not doing that myself. I know where my expertise lie. You have too many other things.

[00:45:42] Yeah. Yeah. Oh my gosh. This conversation has been so wonderful, Robin. Okay. Before our time wraps together, what last nugget of wisdom? I mean, you have shared so many nuggets and I’m sure the designers listening are like, minds are exploding and they’re like, I wish I had a pen and paper. So guys, if you’re listening and you feel that way, just listen [00:46:00] to it again.

[00:46:00] When you have some quiet time at your desk or with a cup of coffee and like, write down all these things that are so actionable. And I love that. Thank you, Robin, for sharing it. You’re welcome. What is your last nugget?

[00:46:11] Robyn White: I’m going to say, don’t look for website inspiration from your industry. And what I mean by that is also dare to stand out and be unique.

[00:46:24] I see so many designer websites. They all look the same. And they all say the same thing. What’s going to make a client hire you is what’s unique about you. And I think it’s fear that holds us back from truly standing out and showing up as we are. But when you can be authentic to yourself and share your personality and show up and have that come across in your website, you’re going to stand out.

[00:46:54] People are going to remember it. So don’t look for inspiration in your industry.

[00:47:00] Rebecca Hay: I love that advice. I think that is so impactful because like how many of us see another designer, Oh, they’ve launched their new site. Oh, wow. Look at it. So beautiful. I mean, I’ve been guilty of that. I just redid my website and I was like, okay, well like what’s everyone else doing?

[00:47:15] Oh, I really like how so and so did that. Let’s do that too. I mean, it’s my own work and my own copy and all that, but it’s very similar aesthetic and layout. And it’s true. Like that is what, and I talk about this all the time, like clients are hiring you. For you, but also what is your differentiator and your personality is obviously one of them.

[00:47:34] And so leaning into that doesn’t mean you have to be swearing and like, you know, crazy on your site, but infuse it in the language and the visual. I love that. That’s really great advice. Show your personality.

[00:47:45] Robyn White: You know, I always say. Give information about you on your homepage, like fun facts or make a mood board and show a whole bunch of photographs of things you love, but something that makes you [00:48:00] human and not just this image on another website, right?

[00:48:04] Beautiful picture. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:48:07] Rebecca Hay: That someone might be able to connect to. Whatever that might be. I love that. I’m now going to go redo my entire website. Thank you very much. No, no, no. Sure not. Quick question, and I do want you to share how people can work with you and find and follow you, but would you do like an audit?

[00:48:22] Like, say somebody here listening today is like, I don’t need a new website. I already have a website. Like, could you help someone? Could you look at their website and say, you know, here’s Where you’re, where you’re messing up or here’s what’s working for you. Or here’s where I see an opportunity. Like, do you do that?

[00:48:37] Do you offer that service?

[00:48:38] Robyn White: That’s a really good question for SEO. I start everything with a thorough SEO audit. That’s always the first step in working together. And it’s about a 40 to 50 page document. And then that we use as a roadmap for me to either move forward with you or for you to take and fix things on your own.

[00:48:56] So for SEO, yes. There’s definitely an audit for web design. I do offer website consulting. So that is really, it’s an hour and a half on zoom where you can ask me any questions you have about your website. If you don’t have questions, you can say, let’s go over my homepage and I can go through and audit it for you, but that would be live on zoom.

[00:49:18] And then you can record it and refer back to it.

[00:49:20] Rebecca Hay: Cool. Very cool. And then you also do the whole kit and caboodle.

[00:49:23] Robyn White: Yep. I do custom website design. Yep. And I have a graphic designer and a copywriter on my team, so we can handle everything all in house for you. And then I also do website template customization.

[00:49:36] So it’s different than just buying like a 200 template online. I have six templates that I’ve designed specifically for interior designers in the home industry. You pick one, you send me all of your content and. I upload and format everything into the template for you and launch it. So you don’t have to deal with any of the technical website y stuff.

[00:49:56] Rebecca Hay: Super cool. And if somebody has a website already [00:50:00] that they want your help with, can you work on different platforms like WordPress,

[00:50:04] Robyn White: Squarespace, Showit, that type of thing? Good question. So for SEO, I can work on many different platforms. For design, I specialize just in WordPress. So I can do Consulting on any platform, but you would actually take my suggestions and implement them yourself, unless it’s WordPress.

[00:50:22] That’s helpful. It’s

[00:50:22] Rebecca Hay: super

[00:50:23] Robyn White: helpful

[00:50:23] Rebecca Hay: to know. Okay. This has been amazing. Where can everyone find and follow you?

[00:50:26] Robyn White: So my website is rdwdesignstudio. com. And I’m very active on Instagram, and it’s rdwdesignstudio. And I post lots of helpful tips, so that’s a really good place to, to learn a lot.

[00:50:40] Rebecca Hay: Thank you so much for being my guest today.

[00:50:42] I know you’re going to get a lot of designers calling you, reaching out to you, DMing you, saying, Help! Because this has been Very eye opening, especially for me. I’m like, my brain is firing on all. I’m like, Oh my God, this and then I got to change that. And like, what about this? And I got to hire her to do this thing.

[00:50:56] I’m like, Oh my gosh, amazing. Thank you so much.

[00:50:58] Robyn White: Thank you for having me. It was really fun chatting with you.

[00:51:03] Rebecca Hay: Okay, I hope you guys enjoyed that episode. There were so many tangible nuggets that you hopefully caught that you could immediately implement in your website, such as setting up your Google Analytics.

[00:51:15] Setting up a Google business profile, asking for Google reviews from your clients. Like this is such a big one. It’s going to help you in all the other marketing in addition to helping your ranking on Google. And I love how she talks about that nugget of wisdom at the end, which is. Don’t just look at your competition and copy what they’re doing when it comes to your website.

[00:51:38] Find what’s going to make you unique and show your personality. I’m really excited to have connected with Robin. Her expertise is truly so helpful. Let’s be honest, I immediately Asked her a million questions after we stopped recording about my website, what I could do, and the challenges that I’ve had, and she was so helpful and so forthcoming with the [00:52:00] information.

[00:52:00] I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Please head on over to Robyn’s Instagram. Let her know you heard her here. And of course, don’t forget to review the podcast. We’d love to see some new five star reviews on iTunes. Leave a comment. Let everybody know. What it is about this podcast that you’re enjoying.

[00:52:14] And of course, if you think I should have Robin back to dive in even more into this stuff, send me a DM on Instagram and let me know. I hope you enjoyed that and I’ll see you soon.