Are you happy with the traffic your art blog is generating? If you are struggling with the amount or lack of traffic your blog receives, you will enjoy this SEO Checklist for Artist article.
Just like everything else, SEO continues to change. SEO (search engine optimization) is basically letting search engines understand what your art blog or online art gallery is about.
What does your site have to offer to your audience?
Do you have art for sale?
Do you offer classes?
Does your blog provide news about events you are involved in?
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 site offers.
Google and other search engines continue to change their algorithms so they can continue to provide the best content to its 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 heavily affect PageRank.
However, even the best content and art marketing plan might have you only hearing crickets if you are not optimizing your site for SEO.
You do want more than just your family and friends reading your posts right?
I have created this SEO checklist for artists to help build traffic, not be lost in cyberspace.
What you will learn:
Before I get too in-depth with Basic SEO, I want to go over the importance of being able to analyze the results of your blog.
There is no way you will be able to 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-actions, you need to write content they are interested in reading.
If you have not done so already install Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
With these two tools, you will be able to analyze many factors that can affect your search traffic.
The speed of your site is one factor Google looks at when determining your PageRank.
Google wants to provide a good users experience. If a site takes more than 4 seconds to load, your audience will move on to a different site.
You do not have to have the fastest site, you just need to have a site that loads faster than your competition.
You can check the speed of your site at PageSpeed Insights.
This is a free tool offered by Google that will rate the speed of your site and provide you tips on how to fix any issues found.
Pingdom is another free site that will check the speed of your site.
WordPress makes it easy for you to build a professional blog with themes and plugins. Not only are there plugins for the look of your site, there are also plugins to help you with On-Page SEO. One plugin I recommend to everyone I work with to install is Yoast SEO.
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 a great plugin to start with and is more than enough for most bloggers.
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 a good idea to make sure a theme that you like is responsive before you purchase and activate it.
I use and recommend Genesis themes for WordPress.
Links are important for ranking higher in search and providing value to your readers. 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 be able to continue to crawl the page. This could affect your Page Rank
I use a plugin called Broken Link Checker for my sites. I will receive an email whenever they find a broken link. This allows me to address and fix any problems in a timely manner.
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 pages of a web site 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 web site, 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 indexing status and visibility of your website.
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, and it is free.
Keywords are important to help people find your content online. Keywords are a word or phrase that 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 into search engines, your posts will never be found.
You will need to research what your audience is searching for and what phrases they use in the search engines.
There are many tools available for keyword research but I recommend starting with Google’s Keyword Planner.
Enter in 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 their users they 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.
Your Yoast SEO plugin will make it easy for you to create content focusing on a keyword or keyword phrase.
Moz describes On-Page SEO as:
“The practice of optimizing individual web pages in order 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.
Create a good Title. 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 the content you are writing and contain the keywords you are trying to rank for.
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, it does affect the CTR (Click Through Rate).
Many people read the title and then read the meta description prior to 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 in time your Page Rank increase.
Let’s say that you are ranked number 4 in Google’s search. Google will take notice if more people are skipping 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 it easy to add a meta description to every post.
The Yoast SEO plugin makes it easy to add a meta description to every post.
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 also are known as H1, H2, and H3 tags and are like chapters of a book. Using header tags strategically will help Google understand what your posts are about and will 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 entire post into subcategories.
Incorporating appropriate keywords into the header tags will help your posts rank higher in Google’s search.
Note, when you are using keywords in your post, you want to make sure the text is reader friendly. If the text does not make any sense, your readers will just leave the page.
Google will notice if people are visiting a post and clicking off it quickly. This tells 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 as long periods of time. You do this by writing great content for the readers not for Google.
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 a lot of 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 that has a lifespan of twelve hours, blog posts are always searchable.
If you are planning on selling art online long-term, blogging is the way to go.
To see quicker results, you will want to optimize your content for your readers. It is easier to keep a customer than it is to find a new customer. You should do everything you can 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 them solve a problem they have.
Make your posts easy to read. More people are reading content on their mobile devices.
Keep the sentences and paragraphs short and to the point. Use bullet points to highlight 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. This will drive more traffic to your artist blog.
Your SEO checklist 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 easily be able to 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
You might also be interested in:
- How to Write a Content Marketing Plan That Increases Art Sales
- Art blog checkoff list
- Art Marketing Basics: Get To Know Your Audience
- Sell More Art Online Keyword Research Introduction
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