SEO. The least exciting term in the art world.
If you had to choose between working in your studio and working on SEO, we are willing to bet that ten out of ten artists will always choose to work in their studio.
But, since SEO makes up much of what we see and interact with on the web, it’s important to avoid always pushing it to the end of your priorities list.
It doesn’t matter how great your artwork is or how beautiful your website is if it’s not optimized for your ideal collectors to find it.
That’s why we put together a crash course with five tips to follow in order to improve your SEO and make more sales over time.
1. Figure out your keywords, targets, and audience.
Take the first 15 minutes of your day to think about your unique audience for your artwork. Are they young, edgy and interested in lower-cost pieces or homeowners looking for an investment piece? Your audience and their interests will be what drives your SEO keywords.
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 Denver, Colorado.” Try adding your location or other information so that you have a more defined segment than just “painter” or “artist.”
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. You can get new keyword ideas and focus on those that fit your art practice, have a relatively high search rate and a low competition volume.
2. Add those key SEO terms to title tags, image labels, etc.
Alright! So, you went through the first exercise of finding your keywords and you are ready to find your ideal audience for your artwork.
Here comes the fun (read: tedious) part.
The second step is to add these tags to the title tags on your website. This tells Google how to file your webpage online.
Google also crawls your image alt tags but not your images, so instead of having an image title that reads IMG092382.JPG, change your image alt tags to a relatable search like “affordable-custom-dog-portrait” 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 Artwork Archive.
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.
You can do this on Artwork Archive’s Public Profile News section, or on your own website.
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 (value to Google=clicks) and will rank these pages higher as they assume that the most people found these pages useful for their search.
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! You can also include your portfolio updates and news section in a newsletter to your audience. This will not only inform and keep your customers in the loop, it will also flag your page as relevant to search engines.
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 articles and updates. This will show that your content is relevant.
Even better, get other sites to link to your portfolio or articles. Having third-party, credible sites link to your site boosts your credibility. It’s a little like the coolest kid in middle school declaring that you are all of a sudden cool. See, Google really is a popularity contest.
Tip: Start with directories for portfolios or local businesses or art studios. See if there are any artist directories that will list your studio and website. These link-backs provide more SEO juice for your site.
5. Cultivate consistency and patience.
Since everything on the internet is catered to fast results and instant gratification, you might expect SEO to act the same way. That is not the case.
SEO can take a few months to build and develop as your links become more credible and authoritative.
It is definitely a marathon and not a sprint, but the payoff will also be long-lasting.
Just like any exercise or diet plan is concerned, you will need to be consistent in your efforts to gain results. Regularly update your news or blog page, add works to your portfolio, share your page on your social media channels and make sure your content is relevant. The small actions over time add up. And stay excited! SEO isn’t glamorous, but it will reap you the benefits you are seeking for your art business.
Looking for a way to jump-start the SEO for your artist portfolio?
Artwork Archive’s public profile gets your artwork seen by collectors all over the world on the Discovery platform and helps boost your SEO.