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Keywords - What They Are, Which to Add

Keywords are as the name implies: key words. These words are built into the source code of a web page in the meta tag data and are not visible unless you right-click on the page and select view source.

Keywords can also refer to words in the regular text of your page.

Keywords in the meta tags are no longer very important as spammers overused them and most search engines don't rely on them any more. Keywords that are VISIBLE ON THE PAGE are important to a web page because they are used in analyzing the content to build search engine indexes. They should be worked into the text of your web page. FASO is programmed to automatically insert your name and a few other keywords when you create your website account. FASO has had excellent results with sites being indexed in association with the artist's name. You are free to add additional keywords to your site. However, additional keywords may not be beneficial and can have a negative effect on search engine listings if they give the appearance you are trying to manipulate rankings.

We get questions from artists all the time asking why their site isn't being indexed when they search plein air or New Mexico Artist, etc. The answer is you can't expect to be listed in such a vague search. Actually, there is a possibility your site is listed, just not in the top 2-3 pages. If you search Plein Air you will retrieve over a million listings and someone has to be number 999,997. 


The point we're trying to make is don't become too obsessed in search engine listings and keywords. While they are helpful, you can't rely on them for your sole means of marketing your site and artwork. One of the best means of increasing traffic to your site still involves human contact and offline promotion. One FASO client made about 500 postcards and printed them off her printer and sent them to her mailing list notifying them of her website. She sold 13 paintings in two weeks. Market your site in association with your name and make sure you include your website address on every piece of correspondence you send out whether it is letterhead, business cards, email etc.

Another FASO client used our newsletter function to promote 100 paintings in 100 days. He started with only 84 subscribers to his newsletter and sold over 90 of the paintings and garnered 3 larger commissions.

Also don't try to rank for very generic keyword terms. Let's take art posters as an example. It is very unlikely you will beat all posters, art.com, amazon, zazzle, liebermans, etc to rank for art posters (do you even want to?), even if it was a possibility.
Adding art posters to meta keywords isn't going to accomplish it since Google stopped using meta keywords for ranking at least 10 years ago. Google now uses contextual analysis and natural language processing to actually read the real, visible text on the page and determine what it's about. Sticking art posters on the page won't accomplish anything unless the page actually IS a well written page about art posters and meets some off-site criteria (discussed next).


The reality is that Google's ranking factors have changed dramatically over the past few years and are mostly off-site factors now like: 

  • links to your site
  • amount of time people spend on your site
  • number of people who click your site in a google search and then click back
  • number of links and mentions of your site in social media
  • links to your site from other sites in the same field (ie other artists and art sites)

The questions to ask in SEO are these:

  • What is it you are trying to accomplish here?
  • What search terms do you want to rank for and why?
  • What search terms can you realistically rank for and how do they further selling your art? [do you even sell art posters?]

SEO is like other marketing - it takes time, strategy, tactics, planning and hard work and can take a lot of time to payoff.

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