SEO for Artists and Art Galleries – 5 Tips
Believe me when I say this. There is no better time to be an artist than today (well, except for perhaps during the Renaissance). Why do I make such a statement? Because now that we live in the digital age the “struggling artist” label is a misnomer if said artist or gallery embraces the concept of search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO allows you as an artist and/or boutique gallery owner with a website, the opportunity to compete with the already well-established paint-strokers out there, the ones that can carry on with word of mouth alone. But as with your craft, SEO too is a complicated talent, one that requires the most careful touch. Today, I am providing you with some honest and helpful advice on how you can use SEO to bring traffic to your website, in the form of paying purveyors of the arts.
Five Keys to Search Engine Optimization Success for Artist and Art Gallery Websites
1. Set Your Studio/Gallery Up for Local SEO
I know you have aspirations of selling your work to curators of fine arts throughout the world, and I’m not sidelining your opportunity to do so. But it is important to recognize that the best customer is the one right beside you. To get the attention of these local individuals and collectors you will need to first get the local attention of Google. Set up and/or optimize your Google My Business page immediately. If you are an individual, you will want to name your studio (yes, even if it is your loft) as your place of business and provide Google with the address accordingly. If you manage a gallery be sure that your name, address, phone number (NAP) are correct and added to Google My Business as such. Complete every single part of your Google+ local business page, from background photo to tag line so nothing is left blank. Once you receive your Google My Business PIN in the mail you will very likely receive that oh-so valuable placement on the Google Search map, right there on Page One, for when people search “art gallery in (your city)“. Once you’ve built up your online reputation in your region going “global” will be much easier.
2. Optimize the On-Page Technology of Your Art / Art Gallery Website
With your Google My Business page out of the way (for now) it is time to pay attention to your website (if you don’t have one, have one custom-built as soon as possible). Optimizing your site’s on-page technology, in essence, is “setting the table” for search engine success. First of all, you will want to make sure that every static page on your website has the title tags, headings, meta descriptions, and content (text and images) optimized with the keywords that you want to target (e.g. art in Laguna Beach). Second, you will need to analyze the speed of your website with the free tools available to you. Third, make sure that you site is mobile friendly with this simple test. Other things that are less obvious to diagnose are also of importance, such as ease-of-navigation (is your menu laid out logically?) and general page layout. If you are concerned about these on-page issues that have a direct impact on your search engine ranking then contact me for a quick, and free, analysis.
3. Start Adding New Content to Your Art Site Today, Everyday (or at Least Weekly)
Once the table has been set you need to provide search engines and searchers (collectors) with interesting, informative, engaging, and media-rich content on your website, as frequently as possible. Such a thing is a part of Google’s mandate and is one of the most important search engine ranking factors for 2015 and beyond. The great part, is that as an artist, such a thing will be much easier for you than most other businesses. That being said, simply posting images of your work won’t cut it. You need to add textual content on a regular basis as well. This can be effectively accomplished by adding a blog to your site and updating it daily/weekly. An updated post can be something as straight forward as featuring a new item from your collection, and complementing it with a few keyword-rich paragraphs, or getting very creative by posting a time-lapse video showing a piece in progress from start to finish. Vary the content mix on your blog to keep it interesting and true to who you (artist/gallery) are and it won’t feel like a chore, ever.
4. Socialize the Content
Social Media and art are perfect for one another. The public is far more accepting of artists and galleries than practically any other form of “business” and thus getting people to follow your page and engage the content (like/share) will be easier for you. Social media “signals” have an impact on SEO more today than ever before so it is important to focus your content distribution on the online channels available to you. When you post that aforementioned interesting, informative, engaging, and media-rich content from your website on to your social networks the referral traffic from those networks to your site will increase. The more traffic to your website the more search engines begin to recognize your site’s value for select content (art) and the more likely they (Google, really) will reward you with an improvement in rank in the future. Set up and optimize your brand page (not just your personal profiles) on all of the major social networks (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram) and the more fringe outlets such as Tumblr, Reddit, and Vine. Every time you update your site content (blog, etc…) be sure to promptly post the link to this updated content on every single one of your social networks on the day that it was posted on your site. Get used to this social media distribution of your content and you will develop a nice flow that will serve your SEO strategy quite well.
5. Choosing Between an SEO Agency or Individual Consultant for Your Art Based Website
When it comes time to having a professional SEO attend to your studio/gallery website you will be faced with the decision to either contact an agency, or a stand-alone consultant. Agencies will cost more (more overhead) and will rarely take a customized approach to working with an individual artist or boutique gallery. Agencies tend to work under scalable measures, which does not suit the unique needs of a local artist/gallery. Having worked in the agency environment for years (years ago) I can safely say that artists and galleries are better served by individual SEO consultants who will take the time and care to consider the unique situation of each, and work within the budget available.
If you have any questions that were not addressed above, feel free to contact me to discuss the prospect of increasing your online exposure as an artist and/or gallery, in your locale.
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