As a Certified Houzz Consultant that has been offering Houzz optimization services since 2011, I’ve learned a lot about when Houzz can serve as an amazingly powerful marketing tool for design studios and when it is an outright waste of time.

While the normal first step on determining one’s Houzz potential is a one-to-one Houzz optimization consultation call with me, Studio Designer asked me to write up this do-it-yourself assessment process to support their users.

Disclaimer: I am an independent marketing provider and consultant. While certified by Houzz (after a training and test), I do not work for them. My allegiance is with you the designer. Unlike Houzz employees (“Houzz reps”) that promote their Pro+ advertising product, I rarely recommend anyone paying Houzz for advertising. Instead, my focus is on how you can use the free organic listings to promote your business. If you are curious, here are the cons of Houzz Pro+ advertising.

To know if it is worth investing in Houzz optimization, you’ll need to follow these steps:

Is Houzz Relevant In Your Area?

Houzz got my attention to begin with by moving to the top of local search results in many towns for the interior designer keyword. If it isn’t showing at the top of search results in your area, then your local area will get less Houzz traffic and thus Houzz will be less relevant.

As Houzz is not very well-known outside of the home improvement industry, don’t expect homeowners to go straight there to find their designer. If Google and other search engines don’t send them to Houzz, they won’t likely visit it.

So, check your local search results. For example, here are the results for Atlanta interior designers:

The first three results are what is called the Local 3-pack, which is part of the Google My Business directory.

The first two “organic” search results belong to Houzz. This is why they matter.

What this means is that Houzz will be getting a ton of traffic in Atlanta, and thus Houzz is relevant for Atlanta area design studios.

If Houzz is in any of the first 5 organic search results for your main town(s), it is relevant. If not, you can stop here and ignore Houzz for now.

How Does Houzz Determine Ranking In Their Directory?

Now that you know that Houzz is getting a lot of local traffic, you’ll want to see if you have a chance of competing on Houzz.

The Houzz directory shows listings based on their ranking algorithm (with sponsored listings in between the organic listings). Here is a view of NYC results:

Houzz’ algorithm largely ranks sites based on their profile, popularity and engagement metrics.

If your profile has stronger metrics than your competitors’ profiles, then yours will be shown first. If not, you’ll fall in line.

The problem with falling in line is that we know that statistically the first result will get the most clicks, and that few people click past position 5 or 10. So, being in position #11 is almost like being invisible. It is like being almost on Main Street, but in an alley.

In my experience, if you aren’t in the top 3 in Houzz, it isn’t going to provide you with enough leads to make it worth your while.

Since Houzz does not share its exact algorithm with us, we can surmise that it is determined by, at minimum, these metrics:

Profile ranking factors include:

  • Completing all profile fields with business information,
  • Number of images,
  • Number of projects,
  • Having a link from your website’s homepage to Houzz.

Engagement ranking factors include:

  • Reviewing other home pros,
  • Sharing at least 3 ideabooks with others,
  • Answering questions,
  • Responding to direct messages (and how quickly you respond),
  • Participation with ideabooks.

Popularity ranking factors include:

  • Getting reviewed – quality and quantity of reviews matter,
  • The quantity of ideabook ads that your images have received,
  • Houzz followers,
  • Houzz Awards.

Do You Have What It Takes To Compete?

Now that you know many of the important metrics, you can compare yourself to your competitors, and see how far they are ahead of you.

If your competitors have 60+ reviews and tons of gorgeous images, and if you have 3 reviews and just a couple projects, you need to see if you are willing to do what it takes to compete. This might mean taking more small projects so that you can quickly get more photographs. It certainly would mean that you’d need to be more persistent in soliciting reviews for your business. In this situation, you might need to aim to achieve your Houzz goals in a 2-5 year period. You won’t be able to rush it.

If the gap is smaller and if you are willing to work to close in further, then you are a prime candidate for serious Houzz optimization work.

Self-Help or Pro Optimization?

To optimize your Houzz, you’ll need to make sure that you profile, engagement, and popularity metrics are all super strong.

If you have a lot of time or an assistant with the extra time, you can make an attempt yourself to compete. To do it right, expect to spend time on it every day. Even then, since you aren’t a pro, you might overlook some key aspects of optimization and never make sufficient traction.

If you are busy, disinterested in the optimization game, or are the type who prefers to hire pros to do complicated jobs (good thinking!), then that is where professional Houzz optimization services come into play.

As Houzz optimization pros, we can do a lot of the work for you. To begin the conversation, just schedule a call with us here. So far we have predicted with 100% accuracy if it is feasible to get you to position #1 in your town.

I hope this cleared up your questions on leveraging Houzz.

Ken Lewis | Managing Partner, Client Expander

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About the Author

This blog was written by Ken Lewis | Managing Partner, Client Expander, a marketing agency exclusively focused on the design industry.

Ken and his team have been marketing providers for Studio Designer since 2013.