1. Get Other Sites to Link To You
This is the number-one thing you can do to increase your search engine results. Why? Search Engines use the number and quality of links to your site to determine your site's popularity. Ask your artist friends, your galleries, your art clubs and anyone else related to art you can think of to link to you. Make asking for a link part of your regular routine. If you don't do anything else on this list, PLEASE get other web sites to link to you.
2. Use Keyword-Rich Text
Write a paragraph or two for each page on your web site. Be sure to work in your most important keywords into the text. The magic number seems to be 4 times. If your name is the keyword you're targeting, use your name naturally in your paragraph 4 times.
3. Keep Each Page Focused on 1 Major Theme
Don't try to use all your keywords on every page. Focus on one or two keywords on each page of your site. For most artists, this happens naturally. Focus your main page and your 'about the artist' pages on you as an artist and what you mostly create. Then focus each artwork detail page on the particulars of that piece.
4. Use Descriptive Page Titles that Contain Your Key Words
Page Titles are weighted heavily by search engines. Be sure to title each artwork with a very keyword rich, descriptive title. 'Old Courthouse in Steamboat Springs, Colorado' is a MUCH better title (for search engines and humans) than 'Landscape #23.' FASO uses the artwork title as the page title for artwork pages. In the Marketing Center of your control panel, you can override the default Main Page Title we use if you have specific keywords you want to use.
5. In the MARKETING CENTER, Add Keywords and a Site Description
NOTE: Don't spend a lot of time on keywords - none of the big search engines use them anyway. The search engines now look at the actual visible text on the page. Meta keywords were a great idea that never worked out in the real world.
Google doesn't use the keywords tag so it's one of those things that won't hurt, but (according to them) won't help. It might help a tiny amount, but using the keyword naturally in the readable text of the page does so much more.
The Site Description is the description of your website shows when your website is found through a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo). Think about what people will learn about your site in a brief overview; this is what you should place in your Site Description.
It appears under the link to your web site in the search engine results. Here is an example from one of our clients. He has written his meta description tag to read Contemporary Texas landscape paintings, original oil on canvas, western paintings - a pretty good description of who he is and what he does.
If you don't use a site description, the search engines will use the first couple of sentences of text from your web page. However, sometimes the first text on your web page has navigation links and other elements that are not actual content. It's best to just take control and add a meta description.
6. Build an Ever-Increasing 'Library' of Content
Over time, you need to create more and more text content that search engines can index. If you do, you will capture, over time, more and more smaller niche keywords. There are two ways to do this for most artists:
a. Write a good, descriptive paragraph to go with each artwork and keep most artworks on your site indefinitely (this is why we have an 'archive' feature).
b. Set up a Blog - it is better if the blog is integrated with your web site (as with FASO)
7. Build Word-of-Mouth 'Buzz'
Tell people about your website! Put your website address on your business card. Put it on your letterhead. Put it on the back of every single artwork. Send email to your friends. Ask your friends to send email to their friends talking about you. Submit comments in online forums. Advertise your website in any print ads you run. Tell people at shows about your site. Tell people when they lament missing out on a Sold piece, that they can get previews on your website. The list goes on and on and on.
8. Submit Your Site To Google
It seems like this should be the number one recommendation doesn't it? Well, it's not. If you follow our advice given in number 1 and get other sites to link to you, Google will find you anyway. However, it never hurts to submit your site to Google.
You can read about more about this here:
How to Submit Your Site to Search Engines
9. Be Realistic
Selling art takes marketing. Real marketing. You must be willing to build contacts, build a mailing list, communicate with prospects, etc. Search Engine marketing is important but please don't think it is a substitute for other forms of marketing. Many artists are shy and prefer to be in the studio and have little contact with prospects. This makes substituting search engine optimization for 'physical' marketing a strong temptation for some personality types. In the real world, it takes both types of marketing.
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