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SEO Checklist For Maximum Traffic
Are you happy with the traffic your art blog is generating?
If you struggle with the amount or lack of traffic your blog receives, you will enjoy this SEO Checklist for Artist article.
There are many variables with search engine optimization, and I have learned over time that having a simple check-off list makes it easier to stay on top of everything.
Optimizing your WordPress website for SEO will improve your search engine results over time.
You will start to see your website traffic and art sales increasing.
SEO Checklist For Artist Websites
Just like everything else, SEO continues to change.
Search engine optimization lets search engines understand what your art blog or online art gallery offers.
What does your site have to offer to your audience:
- Do you sell original art on your website?
- Do you sell prints or your original paintings?
- Do you offer advice about your artistic techniques?
- Do you offer classes?
- Does your blog provide news about events you are attending?
Besides providing great content for your readers, you will also want to optimize your site to make it easy for Google to understand what your website offers.
Google and other search engines change their algorithms to continue providing the best content to their audience.
No one knows exactly what Google is looking for.
However, there are some fundamentals that many SEO experts have learned throughout the years that profoundly affect PageRank.
However, even the best content and art marketing plan might have you only hearing crickets if you are not optimizing your SEO site.
You want more than just your family and friends reading your posts, right?
I have created this SEO checklist to help you drive more traffic to your website.
What you will learn:
How To Do SEO On Your Website
Before I get in-depth with Basic SEO, I want to go over the importance of analyzing the results of your blog.
There is no way you will generate the traffic you are hoping for if you do not know what is working and what is not working.
If you want your readers to come back to your site or follow through with your call-to-action, you need to write content they are interested in reading.
If you have not done so, install Google Analytics and Search Console.
These two tools will analyze many factors affecting your search traffic.
Watch this video to learn how to set up Google Analytics.
Watch this video to learn how to set up Google Search Console.
The speed of your site is one factor Google looks at when determining your PageRank.
Google wants to provide a good user experience.
If a site takes more than 4 seconds to load, the audience will move on to a different website.
You do not have to have the fastest site. You just need to have a website that loads faster than your competition.
Many things affect page speed, including:
- Image size
- HTML code
Reducing your images’ size is one of the easiest ways to increase the seep of your website.
There are many plugins available for resizing images on WordPress.
Remember that plugins reduce site speed, so be cautious of what plugins you have installed on your WordPress site.
An image optimization plugin might be the right choice if you have large images on your blog posts.
I use ShortPixel for resizing all of my images. I have found them to be the best, and they also have a plan for you to optimize all of the images on your site in bulk without losing any image quality.
Most Popular WordPress Image Optimization Plugins:
You can check the speed of your site at PageSpeed Insights.
PageSpeed Insights is a free tool offered by Google that will rate your site’s speed and provide you tips on how to fix any issues found.
Pingdom is another free site that will check the speed of your website.
WordPress makes it easy to build a professional blog with themes and plugins.
There are plugins for the look of your site, but there are also plugins to help you with On-Page SEO.
Yoast SEO is one plugin I recommend to everyone I work with to install.
Yoast allows you to write titles, H-tags, meta descriptions, page tags, and image tags for all your posts.
Yoast also grades your content and provides suggestions to help you optimize your content for SEO.
They offer a free and paid plugin. The free plugin is great to start with and is more than enough for most bloggers.
Watch this video to learn how to set up Yoast SEO
More people are using their mobile devices to search for content online.
Google has become aware of this and is rewarding mobile-friendly sites (responsive) by ranking them higher in the search.
A responsive site is a site that will look good on any device.
Most themes are now already responsive.
It is always good to ensure a theme you like is responsive before you purchase and activate it.
I use and recommend Studio Press Themes for WordPress.
Inbound and outbound links are essential for ranking higher in search and providing value to your readers.
Inbound links are links to other blog posts on your site.
Outbound links are links to other websites’ blog posts.
Providing links to other posts that offer extra value relating to your topis provides value for the reader.
There will be times when links become broken on your site, and you will want to address them.
When there is a broken link, Google will not continue to crawl the page the broken link is on.
Too many broken links could affect your Page Rank.
I use a plugin called Broken Link Checker for my sites.
I receive an email whenever they find a broken link.
The updates on broken links allow me to promptly address and fix any problems.
You want to create, upload and submit to your sitemap.xml to Google and Bing.
Wikipedia defines a sitemap as:
“A sitemap is a list of website pages accessible to crawlers or users. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for Web design or a Web page that lists the pages on a website, typically organized in a hierarchical fashion.”
According to WP Beginner:
“An XML sitemap is a way for website owners to tell search engines about all the pages that exist on their website. WordPress XML sitemap also tells search engines which links on your website are more important than others and how frequently you update your website. While sitemaps do not boost your search rankings, it allows search engines to better crawl your website.”
Follow the simple instructions to enable XML sitemaps in the Yoast SEO plugin in this article, Enable XML Sitemaps in the Yoast SEO Plugin.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free service provided by Google that will allow you to check your website’s indexing status and visibility.
Every day I take five minutes to check:
- HTML improvements
- Mobile usability errors
- Block resources
- Crawl errors
Google Search Console, in my opinion, is the best tool for SEO.
Google Search Console will provide valuable information about HTML improvements, but that is not all. It also tells you what keywords people use to visit your site and how well your posts rank in the search results.
Keywords are essential to help people find your content online.
Keywords are words or phrases people type into search engines to find content.
It does not matter how good your content is. If people do not type in the keywords your site or posts are ranking for in search engines, your posts will never be discovered.
You need to research what your audience is searching for and what phrases they use in the search engines so you can incorporate those terms into your content.
Enter keywords you would like to rank for, and Google’s Keyword Planner will give you a list of keyword ideas and the amount of traffic generated from the keywords.
Google and other search engines have become smart over the years.
People found the importance of keywords for ranking higher in the search.
They would stuff their content with keywords they wanted to rank for, and their site would climb to the top.
Because Google wants to provide the best content to its users, it created the Google Panda.
This algorithm will penalize sites with thin or irrelevant content.
Sites that once ranked high due to keyword stuffing are now penalized and nowhere to be found.
Keyword stuffing is also known as black hat SEO and should be avoided.
If you want to rank high in Google search, you will want to play by Google’s rules.
The best advice for ranking high in search is to write for your readers while optimizing your website for search engines.
Your Yoast SEO plugin will make it easy for you to create content focusing on a keyword or keyword phrase.
As I mentioned, Google ranks content based on the content quality and the keywords the content is targeting.
Keyword research is an important job you will want to take seriously if you drive traffic to your artist’s website.
Free Keyword Research Tools:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Console
- Manual Google Search
These tools will produce a list of keywords people are using in search.
Make a list of all the keywords you want to rank in the search results to start writing content about the keywords.
Your list will also help you not write duplicate content that Google frowns upon.
Check out this eBook to learn how to be more productive with your keyword research, Get Your Keywords Together: How To Do Keyword Research With Only Free Tools.
Moz describes On-Page SEO as:
“The practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-Page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to Off-Page SEO, which refers to links and other external signals.”
Here are some tips on how you can optimize your posts.
A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing. (Source: Moz)
Title tags are also H1 tags.
In WordPress, the section you add your title is an H1 tag. Do not include H1 tags in other parts of your content. Doing so will confuse Google and affect your ranking factor negatively.
Use H2 and H3 tags to separate your blog posts’ sections and make it easier for your readers to find the information they are interested in reading.
It is also essential to write a good title for increased CTR.
CTR is called Click Through Rate, which is the percentage of how many see your link and how many people click on the link.
Only two out of ten people will read your post after reading the title.
You want to intrigue readers to click on your post with your titles.
The title should be no more than 65 characters, relevant to your writing content, and contain the keywords you are trying to rank for.
If possible, place the keywords at the beginning of the title.
Use CoSchedule’s Headliner Analyzer to help you create perfect titles.
Moz Describes meta descriptions as:
“HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages. Meta descriptions are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page.”
Although meta descriptions might not play a role in Google’s rankings, they affect the CTR (Click Through Rate).
Many people read the title and the meta description before clicking on the link.
If you can write a meta description that will entice people to click on the link to your post, you will start to see your Page Rank increase in time.
Let’s say that you are ranked number 4 in Google’s search. Google will notice if more people skip over the first three links to click on your link. This tells Google your content is more relevant for the queries being searched. Google will then start to rank your post higher.
It takes time for this to happen, but it does. Pay close attention to your meta descriptions. The Yoast SEO plugin makes adding a meta description to every post easy.
The Yoast SEO plugin makes adding a meta description to every post easy.
If you do not manually write a meta description for your post, Google will take some text from your post and use that. This might hurt your rankings because it might not be attractive enough for people to click on the link.
Header tags are known as H1, H2, and H3 tags and are like book chapters.
Using header tags strategically will help Google understand your posts and make them a more enjoyable experience for your readers.
H1 is usually the main topic or keywords of the entire post. The H2 and H3 tags separate the whole post into subcategories.
As I have mentioned earlier, the H1 tag is the title of your post.
Incorporating appropriate keywords into the header tags will help your posts rank higher in Google’s search.
Note, when you use keywords in your post, you want to ensure the text is reader-friendly.
If the text does not make sense, your readers will just leave the page.
Google will notice if people visit a post and click off it quickly.
When people click off your post, it shows Google the content is not good, and the Page Rank of the post will go down.
Your objective is to keep people on your site for long periods. Professional bloggers recommend writing content to have people stay on your page for four minutes or more.
You can do this by:
- Writing great content for the readers, not for Google.
- Include images and videos that support the topic of the article.
- Use Header tags to make a great reading experience for your audience while describing what your content is about for Google.
Building an audience and generating traffic to your artist blog or online art gallery takes time.
It can take up to twelve months to see significant organic reach from search results. Organic traffic will take longer if you do not produce much content.
The good news is that the content you publish will always be searchable for as long as you have it live on your site.
Every post you publish will increase the chance of you being found online.
Unlike Facebook’s post, which spans twelve hours, blog posts are always searchable.
Blogging is the way to go if you plan to sell online art long-term.
You will want to optimize your content for your readers to see quicker results. It is easier to keep a customer than find a new customer.
You should do everything possible to keep the audience you built throughout your career.
Write content that interests them, motivates them, inspires them, and educates them. Most important, create content that will help your readers solve a problem they have.
Make your posts easy to read. Keep in mind that more people are reading content on their mobile devices.
Keep the sentences and paragraphs short and to the point.
Use bullet points to highlight the key points you are trying to get across. Stay on topic and separate your thoughts with header tags.
If you want to keep your audience coming back to your site, respect their time, and give them what they want.
Your audience will also be willing to share content they like with their friends, driving more traffic to your artist blog.
Final Thoughts On The SEO Checklist
The SEO checklist outlined above should be incorporated into your art marketing plan.
You can decide to go through the list once a week or monthly.
Going through your SEO checklist weekly will save you time in the long run.
Your time will be more productive because you will quickly identify any new alarms that need addressing.
Here is a simple SEO checklist you might want to consider using.
- Website speed
- Broken links
- HTML improvements
- Mobile usability errors
- Block resources
- Crawl errors
If you want to sell art online, you will want to spend time learning about SEO.
SEO is a vital ingredient for successful digital marketing.
Creating structured data incorporating page SEO strategies will help your posts rank on page one in Google’s search results.
Don’t forget to utilize the SEO tools outlined in this post and include internal linking with every post.