SEO for Artists
A Beginner’s Guide To Getting Your Art Work the Attention it Deserves
by Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD.
Do you SEO yet?
I used to promise myself I’d learn SEO (search engine optimization), eventually.
Eventually, as in when I got around to doing other things I hear that grown-ups do; like inputting expenses to Quicken, Quickbooks or whatever that program is called.
I tried SEO this year, worked hard on it and the results so far — have blown my Quicken-free mind.
In 3 months my organic traffic has increased by 400%.
Mind you, even quadrupled, my traffic won’t be causing those chilly warehouses full of computer servers in Silicon Valley to crash, smoke and burst into flames.
But it sure is fun to see those little bar graphs peacefully growing a bit taller every day.
Interested in giving it a go for your site?
Let’s start with what SEO actually is.
Then we’ll look at how SEO benefits artists in particular, and we’ll finish by giving you great links you need to get the ball rolling.
What is SEO?
SEO is improving the words, structure, and user-friendliness of your website so it ranks better.
Who ranks it better?
The Google Gods.
So these Google Gods send out bots (aka spiders) to crawl the internet all night and drop off their findings to Mt. Olympus in the morning.
The more your site adheres to the top-secret algorithms designed by the Google Gods, the higher you rank in search results.
The higher you rank the more people see your Google listing and click on over to your site.
No one but the initiated at Google know exactly what’s in the algorithm.
But we do know it’s got a lot to do with making it easier for people (and the little bots) to find the information they need on your site by using Google search.
That’s why SEO requires you to learn things like:
How to use keywords on your site. Keywords are the words in the writing on your site that enable people to find you via search engines.
How to clarify your site structure using tags and categories so people can navigate your site with ease to find what they need.
Improving the readability of your pages by writing clear copy, crafting powerful titles, and adding subheadings to your text.
And finally, doing things like down-sizing your giant photos to improve your site speed. Those Google gods shake their fist at slow loading sites. Why? “Your images (and web pages) must load quickly, or visitors to your website will simply click away,” said Carolyn Edlund founder of Artsyshark.Com.
Implementing good SEO takes months not minutes.
But learning SEO will help you transform your website into an awesome place users will want to pull up a bean bag chair and hang out in.
And here’s 4 other surprising reasons it’s worth your time to at least dip your toe in SEO.
Why Do Artists Need To Learn SEO?
1. Money: SEO is Better than Social Media Marketing For Sales
Artists use Facebook and Instagram to attract people to their work and sell it, primarily with images.
But artists who use SEO on their website use both images and keywords. They often double the number of people who see their work.
Artists savvy enough to SEO are usually savvy enough to encourage visitors to subscribe to their site and send those subscribers regular emails.
That combo is more than good, or better.
Especially for garnering trust and selling art.
Because when it comes to sales; email marketing has proven statistically to have an almost 300% higher ROI (Return On Investment) than social media marketing.
2. Standing Out From The Crowd
Artists familiar with SEO don’t even try to rank for single keywords like “art” or “artist.”
The competition for such words is insane.
“Only a web giant like Wikipedia will rank for the word “artist,” said digital strategist Jack Paxton.
“If you rely on super, broad keywords like “artist” you won’t have a chance.”
What to do instead?
Go for long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are just groups of keywords that form sentence fragments or questions someone might type in the google search box.
Say you are an Australian oil painter who paints seascapes.
Paxton suggests you use a long tail keyword like “best beach oil paintings in Melbourne,” on your key places on your website.
Because the kind of people looking for artwork like yours will actually google words like that.
3. Holistic SEO Will Make You a More Authentic Marketer
Long tail keywords are great for authentic marketing because selecting the right ones will help you define and celebrate the uniqueness of our art and our mission.
For example, artist and subscriber Rebecca Bangs has already embarked on her SEO journey.
She has begun to use keywords in her posts and promotional copy.
Rebecca already knows her short and long tail keywords should orbit around nature, sustainability and floral art.
Because those are things her ideal buyers may search for online.
But Rebecca recently noticed that many people that follow her and buy her work also love science (as does she.)
So Bangs is wisely planning on organically weaving more science into her posts and keyword strategy soon.
Including the love of science will help her stand out and bring in her unique type of reader and buyer.
Good SEO, (as opposed to “Black Hat SEO”) isn’t a gimmick meant to trick people into coming to your site or purchasing things they’re not interested in.
Good SEO, (aka as holistic SEO ) is meant to be an ongoing process. One that can encourage you to:
Listen to your audience.
Appreciate your audience.
And find the meeting point between what they need and what you love to give.
That’s meaningful marketing.
4. Holistic SEO Makes You a More Confident Creative
SEO can make you a more confident artist.
Holistic SEO encourages you to understand what it is about you and your art that sets it apart from other artists and their art.
It’s always asking you to clarify your website’s true mission.
By looking at what’s truly different about you, and putting it in writing, something amazing will happen for you.
You not only remind others of what is wonderful about your work — you remind yourself.
Let’s give you links to the free resources you’ll need to your SEO journey.
How To Get Started Learning SEO Today
1. SEO for Artists on WordPress
If you have WordPress you are lucky, because you get to begin your SEO journey with Yoast.
It’s a wonderful, free plugin.
But I would never have gone near it if I hadn’t enrolled in the Yoast Academy video course.
This course is the bomb. Yoast coined the term holistic SEO. They are the best option for helping you apply it to your site.
* Take this course even if you do not have a WordPress website! Just go to step 2.
Step 1: If you have WordPress click on the free version of the Yoast plugin.
Step 2: Go to this page of Yoast courses and click the free “SEO for Beginners” on the bottom left.
You are ready for take off.
2. SEO for Artists on Weebly
Reviewers are hard on Weebly when it comes to SEO.
And the Weebly website doesn’t have a truly user-friendly guide that I could honestly suggest you go with.
But this ultimate guide to Weebly SEO will help, as will the video below.
3. SEO for Artists on Wix
Wix has developed an intuitive, comprehensive and free solution that will guide you through all the steps of optimization called the Wix SEO Wiz.
Find out about Wiz and how to get started using SEO on WIX here.
4. SEO for Squarespace
Squarespace has good internal info on SEO you should check out.
Here’s an extra little YouTube video that explains how to research long tail keywords without paying for a keyword tool.
5. SEO for Artists on Etsy
Read this great piece on how to get more visibility on Etsy search via SEO.
Or The Art of SEO by Etsy itself.
Etsy overhauled its search algorithm last year.
This video has tips on how you’ll want to change your listings as a result.
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What do you think? Are you going to try SEO? Or have you already?
Let me know in the comments below! 🙂