When people search by typing something into Google, the search engine runs an algorithm to filter everything on the web that meets that search, and show the best results to the person searching.
The purpose of SEO (search engine optimization), is to optimise your chances of being selected by Google amongst its top results and thus being presented to people who are interested in what you do. After all, they are actively searching for it right at that moment, so they are great leads and potential customers or clients.
Having an SEO strategy and implementing it will direct traffic to your website. If your site is relevant to those website visitors your business will grow. Once they are there, you should have mechanisms in place to capture as many of those leads as possible so that you can engage with them and convert them into customers over time.
Let’s start by looking at the 7 steps you can implement for immediate SEO results:
UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE
Think about who your ideal audience is, how they behave online, what they want, and what words or phrases would they use to search for it. In order to be found, you need to be using the same words they would use, the same type of language. For example, would they use the term “established artist”, or might they rather look up “well-known or famous artist”?
You also want to narrow down the number of options Google would find when it runs its filters, so think beyond broad terms like “art”. Be more specific like “contemporary art from Africa”, “art galleries to visit in Toronto”, or “artists in Istanbul”.
To help you select the best keywords, you will need to look at data. You can find this data in various online tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, Semrush, Keyword Tool, or KWPlanner. These provide statistics of keywords searched by user demographic within a specific period and geography. Take note of words and phrases that relate directly to your business, with some search volume, but not too much.
Good ideas are the types of art you show, artist names, your physical location, and types of activities you offer.
USE YOUR KEYWORDS
Over and above your SEO title and description, the idea is to use your chosen keywords within your content, in other words, within the headlines, body copy, and image titles on your website. A blog is a great way to create content that can utilise your keywords regularly while increasing audience engagement.
One thing many people don’t do is rename their image files, instead, they simply upload the image with a random name as it came from the camera. Instead, you can gain SEO wins quickly if you name the image file to include some of your keywords. Use words that people searching Google might be using. So for example in addition to the artwork title, include the artist name and artwork category.
USE KEYWORDS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Off-page SEO refers to all the other places part of your website where you post content or where you are mentioned in other people’s content. When Google lists search results for your keywords, the results will include your website as well as other references such as social media posts, guest posts, videos, publications, etc. This means that the more you include your keywords in all kinds of content across any channel on the internet, the more you’ll be found.
Links refer to connections between your content and content on other pages, blogs, or sites. Links are important because they tell Google your content is relevant and liked by your audience.
There are several easy ways to do this. Here are some tips:
1. Add a blog/news page to your website and within one article, include links to other related posts within your own blog, or other sections within your site, like exhibition pages.
2. Do interviews on other websites and link them back to yours. At Artfundi we created a whole website to help our customers with this, and you’re welcome to make use of it. https://quotesbylivingartists.com If you would like to have artist quotes and interviews on this site contact us, and we’ll add you to the list.
3. Create links from the press back to your site. Remember to keep these updated so as to avoid dead links.
Building links should be an ongoing activity as over time it really helps to increase traffic, and improve your Google indexing.
SEO TITLES AND META DESCRIPTIONS
These are also referred to as ‘Snippets’ and they are the form in which Google presents previews of the search results. Along with the link to your website, Google will show a title and a short description of between 50 and 160 characters in length.
Examples of titles might be “Name Surname | Contemporary Artist | Sculpture” or “Gallery Name | City Name | Photographic Art”
If you have an Artfundi website, you will simply follow the prompts in the SEO module.
WEBSITE STRUCTURE & SITEMAP
Websites should be designed and built with SEO in mind. Basically, this means the navigation is easy to follow, visitors can quickly go to the content they want to view and navigate easily around the website. Google reads this structure as a sitemap and rewards you for a website that makes user journeys simple and logical. If you’re planning a new website or revising your existing one, include a good SEO site structure in the requirements.
Sitemaps are used by Google to index and verify your website. XML Sitemaps are important for SEO because they make it easier for Google to find your site's pages which is important because Google ranks web pages, not just websites.
If you don’t have your sitemap, you can find it by typing your domain plus the extension /sitemap.xml into a browser search.
Some website builders, like Artfundi, automatically create sitemaps for their users and provide you with the link to your sitemap.
Once you have it, add your sitemap to Google. You can do this by following these steps:
Sign in to Google Search Console
In the sidebar, select your website
Click on 'Sitemaps'
Remove outdated or invalid sitemaps (if any) like sitemap.xml
As with anything you do to grow your business, you’re going to want to measure your results. With SEO this is easy to do using any of the same tools we recommended in Step 4 to find your keywords. Even on the free versions of these software tools, you will also get some analytics about your SEO status. To know if it has improved, you will need to take a reading before and after.
Of course better SEO raking is only one of the results you’re after, increased art sales is the main one. This will take a little longer, but it is worth making a date in your diary quarterly to check in and see how your sales are improving, and whether a growing number of those leads are coming from your website and social media.
So, are you ready to optimize your SEO and grow your art audience and sales?
We would love to help you, so in addition to this blog post, we’ve created a visual framework, which is FREE. You can download it and keep it on file or on your wall as a reference.