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SEO Basics for Artists

Written by Chris Miano, Founder of MemoryFox.io

This blog post was written as part of the collaboration between Book Arts and Daemen College’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Arts Program.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, has become a crucial element of marketing for businesses and nonprofit organizations in the last decade. In simple terms, SEO is about optimizing your website and the content within it so that you rank higher on search engines.
For example, when you search for ‘Chihuly’ you will see his website as the number 1 ranked website for this search term. The 2nd is a museum that is dedicated to highlighting his art, and the third is his Wikipedia page. In this post, we’ll go through what should be your #1 mission as an artist and owner of your own personal brand – get ranked on the first page so that when someone Googles you, you’re one of the first sites that they see. None of us are as well known as Chihuly, who likely has a marketing team that handles his SEO for him. For us, we’ll need to be smart and focused to get the results we’re looking for.
SEO is the most effective way to help increase organic traffic to your website. SEO strategically uses keywords, phrases, and questions that your target audience is searching online to push your page to the top of search engines. In short, you strategically set up your website content to prove to search engines that you are an authority in a particular area, or is a reputable resource for the search terms that your audience is using.

As an artist, you may be wondering why SEO is relevant to your brand.  With an average of 68% of web traffic and online experiences beginning with a search engine, Search Engine Optimization is important because the better it is executed on your website, the higher the website will rank in search engines like Google. In fact, individuals are more likely to discover you by search engine than by social media: SEO drives 1000% more organic traffic than organic (not paid) social media. If other people have stronger SEO strategies, they will likely rank above you on Google, or your website may even appear on the dreaded second page of Google, where only 0.78% of Google searchers click to navigate. On average, the top three links or websites on Google’s search page receive over 75% of all clicks associated with the keyword or search term. Ideally, you would aim to have your website rank in the top three links, but you should definitely aim to have it appear on the first page of the keyword and related search terms. 

 Google determines where a specific page or website lands in the search term’s rankings by “crawling” or reading the page and assessing its relevance and quality in relation to the keyword or phrase. This is done by analyzing the quantity of keywords used within the specific page and the quality with which they are used. Google analyzes quality of search terms a bit ambiguously, but it is primarily assessed by the sheer number of other credible websites that link to that specific page on your website. Your strategy should include ways to increase the number of keywords used that are relevant to your audience’s search terms and your services, as well as ways to improve the “quality” of your page (in Google’s eyes) so that your website can rank higher, and therefore gain more organic traffic.

How to build an SEO Strategy

You’re busy, and quite frankly, you never set out to be a marketer, and gaming Google algorithms is not something you feel you have expertise in doing. Fear not! As long as you keep things simple and focused, you’ll see results over time.

It’s important to note that while there are many search engines that can drive traffic to your website, Google is the primary driver of internet traffic and search terms in the world. According to Ahrefs, a leading search engine optimization resource, Google generates over 90% of global web traffic. So for the purposes of this guide, we will strictly discuss SEO strategies as it pertains to Google’s algorithms to help your website rank higher on Google’s landing page.

Know Your Keywords

This might be the longest and most ambiguous step to generating your search engine optimization strategy, but it is crucial: your targeted keywords will drive your entire SEO strategy. It’s easiest to start with one keyword that can be your North Star when creating content and web pages. So ask yourself this: what is the one thing that someone would use to describe what it is you do. Write this down in as few words as possible, then create a list of similar terms to that keyword or phrase. Remember, you should write these phrases in ways that people would actually think, say, or search them, so it will likely be informal in nature.

Need a place to start? Here’s an example of a keyword brainstorm:

         Top phrase: Glass Artists in Buffalo, NY

         Similar keywords and phrases:

  • Best glass art in Buffalo, NY
  • Cheapest glass art in Buffalo, NY
  • Where can I buy glass art in Buffalo, NY?
  • Glass art near me
  • Glass lawn ornaments
  • Glass art
  • Where can I buy glass art?
  • Glass Art by <your name>

This list can keep going. The idea is to have central themes that your target audience might search to discover you.  These are the key phrases that are going to help drive your content strategy – the blog posts and verbiage on your website that will catch Google’s eye.

Draft a Content Strategy

Based on your keyword brainstorm, you now have a pretty good grasp on what your audiences will search for and will find valuable. This will help you create a focused content strategy for the pages of your website. Be creative with your sources of content online! Blogs are a great way to drive SEO with keyword search terms, but you can also integrate your social platforms, post videos, create graphics, and more! The key is consistently adding content to your website that demonstrates you are an active authority on the keywords you choose to target.

Be sure to include many, if not all of the following items to your pages to help elevate your SEO ranking:

  • Page Titles: What appears at the top of an internet browser. Should be short and keyword-heavy.
  • Meta Description: The description or summary that appears under your link in a search engine. This feature is customizable in most web platforms.
  • Headings: Not only are headings helpful for your target audience to navigate a page’s content, it’s helpful for search engines to pick up on important keywords in the headings as well.
  • Links: Link your content to other pages on your own website. It helps users navigate your website and helps Google establish authority in your domain. Linking to outside sources, as long as it’s accurate and relevant, will help increase your SEO ranking too!

These are the things that help Google “crawl” on your page and determine its authority and quality. Using more of these will help establish a greater SEO score, and will help your page rank higher in search engines under the keywords you’ve targeted. Don’t pack in TOO many keywords (no more than 15-20), otherwise Google will actually punish you for keyword stuffing.

Backlinks, Backlinks, and more Backlinks

Backlinks are actually one of the most important determinants of a page’s ranking on Google. It totally makes sense when you think about it. The more websites that link to your website or blog post, the more that signals to Google that you are an authority.

In theory it’s very easy, all you need is people linking to your content and <poof> your domain authority will rise over time (and your rankings in turn)! However, this part really does take a lot of work and time. My recommendation is to have a ‘Give First’ mentality with other creators in your community. When you write a blog post, link to other creators and surely they’ll return the favor and may even share your content on social, or post it on their website. If you were to, for example, create a blog post about, “Best Places to Buy Glass Art in WNY”, you’ll certainly want to share that with vendors and they’ll be thrilled you included them! Find opportunities to collaborate with other artists, content creators, and vendors to create an ecosystem around what you do. 

Example of basic SEO to get started with

Keyword Theme: Glass art

Key Phrases: 

-Glass artists in WNY
-Buy glass art WNY
-Where can I buy the best glass art in WNY?
-Glass art WNY

Blog topics:

-Where to buy glass art in WNY
-Top glass artists in WNY
-Glass art for beginners
-Amazing glass art in Buffalo, NY

 

SEO shouldn’t be a scary, daunting task. Rather, you can (and should!) use what you already know to curate your SEO strategy without having to juggle another large task. Stick to what you know, and what you enjoy, and post consistently using the keywords you want to target.

Good luck!

This blog post was written Chris Miano, Founder of MemoryFox, a platform that helps nonprofit marketers collect, organize and share video and pictures from their community of volunteers, donors and mission beneficiaries.

This blog post was written as part of the collaboration between Book Arts and Daemen College’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Arts Program.

DAEMEN COLLEGE SPEAKER SERIES

Join us for a series of three (3) virtual presentations hosted by Book Arts & led by faculty from Daemen College’s Leadership and Entrepreneurship in the Arts Program (LEA), dedicated to advancing leadership opportunities in the arts.

Presentation topics include introductions to: artists as entreprenuers, non-profit leadership, grant writing, marketing & branding, client management, & more!

The virtual Daemen College Speaker Series is intended for artists and arts curious folks interested in learning about or working in a creative field. All experience levels are welcome to attend. Registration is free!

UPCOMING PRESENTATIONS

Wed 23

Daemen Speaker Series: Branding for Artists

June 23 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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