So you built your website and nobody is showing up to check out your amazing art and all the hours you put into designing your hip new artist website and you can't figure out why?
Well for starters, don't be too discourage it does take time to generate traffic and with this post I am going to try to guide you down the correct path.
My site www.savvypalette.com has generated 6,553 unique visits over the past ninety days. These come from all over the world and I have my phone setup to send me push notifications each time someone visits my site.
A few days ago I penned a article "Why Artists Should Build Their Own Website?" and this article is a direct follow up to that post. So strap in and put on your geek hats, we're about to be savvy by stepping outside our confront zones.
What is SEO and why is it important?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of growing your quality and of course quantity in viewers for your site naturally, or organically which also known as your website traffic. The key dynamic here is to make your site and pages as visible as you can to search engines like Google, but how does an artist do this especially if like most artists you have little to no interest in monitoring your website traffic and seeing what works and what doesn't.
Unfortunately unless you hire a SEO professional you will have to dawn the geek hat and teach yourself to be savvy when it comes to understanding the in's and out's of SEO.
I should mention, that hiring a professional SEO expert, or firm will most likely be a very expensive venture - one that most independent artist can't afford. However teaching yourself some of the basics behind SEO will defiantly get you on the right path and get your material in front of the eyeballs you so desire.
Here are my 5 savvy SEO tips.
1. It's All About Keywords
But first before we discuss keywords, we must figure out who your desired audience is? Are they teenagers, or parents? Maybe they are retired and looking for invest art. These questions will most likely be answered in the type of art you create and of course you need to establish who you might be creating your art for before you can decide on your important keywords.
For example, a barber shop would want to come up in the search results when people search “barbers near me” and a hobby store would want to be in the search results for “hobbies,” but neither the barber nor hobby store would benefit from coming up in a search for, say, “bowling.” These search terms are your focus keywords.
So, let's say you are a abstract artist who primarily paints portraits. What would some good keyword be for this area of focus?
Common Art SEO Keywords to Avoid:
Using keywords like these, is basically like you being a needle in a haystack. Instead you would be much better off to create a keyword based around your name + art, or your local area + painter. Even better would be something like acrylic landscapes by (your name/brand) + (location.)
You will be using these keywords in your website, on your images, and in your content—so make sure you start here. The more defined you can be, the better. You can always open up your terms, but you want to avoid overly generic terms that are highly competitive.
The higher the competition is for a topic, or term, the lower your chances are for ranking for that topic. So start big, but then drill down for specific topics like “colorful abstract oil painter in Oklahoma City.”
Tip: There are good keyword search tools available most offer a FREE trial period, but remember that once your trial is up your card will be charged. You’ll want to use these tools to see what people are searching for and the volume of people searching for these terms, along with how competitive they are.
2. Add Your SEO Keywords To Title Tags and Image Labels
So, you went through the first exercise of locating your keywords and you are ready to find your ideal audience for your artwork.
Here comes the fun, tedious part of SEO.
This second step is tedious because now you must incorporate all you keywords you came up with into the titles of your site's pages and image descriptions. This is a vital step, because it informs Google how to index your site based on the information you provide.
Google also crawls your image alt tags, but not your images, so instead of having an image title/file name that reads IMG071528.JPG, change your image alt tags to a relatable search like “affordable-custom-pet-portraits” or whatever it is that you want people to find.
Tip: Use dashes between your alt-tag keywords.
3. Create High-Quality Content and Host Your Portfolio on a Credible Platform.
One easy way to jump-start your SEO and get your art on the first page of Google results is to get your profile on an highly-ranked and credible site for art portfolios like Pinterest. I personally do well with Pinterest linked back to my site. My Pinterest profile for my art gets about 17,000 views per month.
Because you don’t have to wait for Google to recognize your own site as an authoritative site, hosting your portfolio on a site with a strong Google presence will bring more traffic to your page.
Another way to boost your rankings is by creating high-quality content in the form of blog posts. I do this weekly and generate decent results, but running a blog can be overwhelming for some. It requires regular updates and decent writing in order for it to stay competitive in this content rich market.
Update your audience with useful and engaging posts about your process, upcoming sales, etc. Think about sprinkling in keywords, but don’t get too caught up in loading your text with keywords that you lose your voice. “Keyword stuffing” is also penalized by Google, so add your keywords where they fit naturally and focus on making compelling updates.
Tips: Longer-form content (over 1000 words usually performs and ranks higher than short-form content). Break up your paragraphs into digestible blocks brevity is your friend online. And use your header tags (H1 & H2) within your articles.
4. Demonstrate Your Pages Value by Sharing Your Content and Linking.
Google is not afraid of a popularity contest. They favor content and pages that are valued and will rank these pages higher as they assume that the most people found these pages useful for their search. Valued in this case means more "clicks."
This means you will want eyeballs on your pages. Don’t be afraid to share your blog and portfolio with your audience online—how do they know you have updated them if you don’t let them know! This almost needs to become a daily ritual in order to be successful.
You can also use links to tell Google that your page is valuable. Link to other news posts and to your portfolio from within your own articles and updates. This will show that your content is relevant. I did this in this post myself.
I linked to a previous article I wrote about building a artist website as well as I linked to my site in general too. I do this because these blog posts not only end up on your site, but quite often they get indexed by bots onto other sources as material to check out and you won't even know this is happening usually. The better your content the more natural backlinks it will create over time.
Even better, get other sites to link to your portfolio, or articles. Having third-party, credible sites link to your site boosts your credibility. Think of it like the "cool kid click" in school declared that you are cool and now everyone else thinks so too. More or less, Google does boil down to a huge a popularity contest.
5. Cultivate Consistency and Patience.
We live in a fast-food, got to have it now world with all of our app based technology and instant gratification at out fingertips daily, but when it comes to SEO - Patience is a Virtue is a mind set that will pay off in the end. So sit back and wait for your diligent efforts.
Be active though! Post regular updates to your blog, portfolio and your social channels. All of this effort gets indexed over time and Google will eventually track your site and place it where it needs to be. Being savvy about SEO is not glamourous, but essential in your efforts to market your art and be seen by a wider audience. So remain positive and do the best you can within your abilities and you will reap the results you are aiming for.
As always, be savvy and diligent in your pursuit of chasing your art dreams.