What is SEO
SEO is my absolute favorite field in webmarketing, I love it. It takes work but it’s super rewarding in the long run. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s basically making your content look cool for Google. There are no magical words or very technical bits to it. Well, there is but if you only do the basic things you’ll already do much better than 95% of the content publishing artists.
As I told you in the first piece about marketing for artists, trustfulness is key. And that’s how you SEO ! You write truthful, reliable, interesting content. You write it well, with short sentences and keywords. You add links between your articles, pictures saved for the web and nice keyword filled file names, alt descriptions and you’ll be awesome (you already are). You will need to break down your content into paragraphs with titles too. Make it so that people will want to read. That’s all you need to do.
When you have a few pieces of content, organize them into categories. Go through the whole thing once in a while to add links between the older and most recent articles. That’s it !
The results will be slow to show but they will show. The best thing is, SEO is the most reliable source of trafic in the long run. It also brings more customers.
SEO for creatives, step by step
Let’s review all of the things you should do to make your website SEO friendly.
First things first, you’ll probably want to start with a blog post. Why ? because it’s an easy way to pack a page with text and it’s also a great content source for feeding your social media. You don’t have to make different content for all of your channels, start with a blog post and sprinkle it over your mailing list, instagram, twitter, pinterest …
1 – Finding Keywords for artists
Your blog post should be about something you make or care about. A list, a tutorial, a product review, anything you like. Think about what people will search in Google to find you. “Illustrator” is too general, pottery is wildly popular so there’s about 0 chance that I’ll hit first page with this. However, I’ll take SEO for Artists, it’s very specific, it has probably very few queries but I’m sure people looking for that specific keyword will enjoy my piece. And stay on it, and maybe link it on their blog (that’s a backlink).
I know my title now : SEO for artists. It’s how I’ll name my article and I will use the keyword in the first paragraph of my piece, as well as in a few titles and images file names and alt.
In order to find keywords for your particular field, write down a list of what you do, how you do it and try them out in Google. You can use Google’s suggestions for inspiration. There are lots of tools to help you with that but let’s start with the basics and just list your keywords. For example if you are a pet portrait artist, your keywords should look something like :
- Pet portrait
- Dog portrait
- Custom dog portrait
- Dog painting
They should be organized in a structure, the widest subject linking to the more specific ones. For example your Pet portrait page will link to your Dog portrait article, which will lead to a few specific custom pieces or process pieces.
2 – Write your piece with SEO in mind
Your piece should be on point, and have around 300-500 words. It should look like a regular blog post (well, it is a regular blog post !), with pictures and titles. Like when you wrote your essays in school, think parts, paragraphs and transition words. Use active, short sentences, and keep it simple. No need for elaborate explanations, go straight to the point. Don’t forget to use your keyword when necessary. Repeating the keyword in each sentence will not help, it’s just a matter of balance.
3 – Add stuff Google will love
Pictures, but they must be light, aptly named (keyword-something.jpg) and don’t forget the alt description which should include keywords if it makes sense. Anything going “keyword keyword keyword” will not work ^^
Add links : both internal and external. Internal links are to a piece of your website that makes sense. For example I will link this article into my Marketing for artist piece and the reverse is also true. This helps search engines figure out your site structure. External links are also useful, they make your website more reliable and trustworthy. For example here I could link to Google’s SEO Starter Guide.
When using links, avoid the “click here” or “more info”, use real words describing your links. A really great strategy is linking on a keyword that your destination page uses.
Localization is very important. In facts, Google search is based on language / country. For example, I am in Canada and I speak French and English, this is why I have a bilingual website and I search for keywords appropriate to my area. Expressions may vary depending on your country. Finally, some customers will seek professionals close to home or local handmade products. It is therefore very important to clearly state where you work. This will be lovely content for an optimized contact page or a blog post about your location.
4 – Check the Data collection
If you want to see progress, you have to measure it. In google analytics, and search console, you’ll find heaps of data collected for you. If set up correctly, you’ll be able to find where you visitors come from and how they interact with your content. If you have an online shop, you can also set up conversion rates and see which channel brings the most revenue. For me it’s social media first and then organic search, which is about 20% of my actual customers.
5 – Share your hard work
Now that your piece is complete, you can use it everywhere else ! On social media, in your mailing list, and you can use it more than once, divide it into bite size chunks, you’ve just created a little content cache for later use.
Remember to think of your tunnel too, and if you need to add the shop buttons, links etc, do it. If your tunnel is from social media to your website, don’t add social media links back. Let the socials feed your website, as they should 🙂
6 – Go a little bit further
If you’d like to go a little bit further, you can spend time on keyword research and list the ones you’ll want to use. You can also try and keep track of your rank. I use Ubersuggest which is really simple and nice and mostly free. In researching keywords you will find which one are popular, too popular or popular enough that you can use them.
7 – Go get some backlinks
Remember the external links I talked about, they work both ways. By getting links to your website on the keywords you focus on, you will rank higher on the search engines. But, it must make sense, your local grocery shop links to your website will probably not be as meaningful as say a book review linking to your portfolio.
Try and stick to a schedule, write a blog post a month, every two months and try and update your old content with anything you’d like to add. It also helps. Google ranks a page and never a whole website, so each little action that you take will help.
That’s it for this little guide about SEO for Artists ! See, no real technical difficulties here ! If you decide to have someone work on this for you, it’s really something interesting too. However, do not trust anybody working in SEO with too many promises. If someone tells you that for money they will rank you #1 on google for “illustrator”, it’s 100% BS. A good SEO agency or freelance will promise you tools, content, help with keywords and tracking but it’s almost impossible to make sure a page will rank.
If you liked this piece, feel free to link to it ^^