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WordPress is a powerful software that is already optimized for SEO. However, there is still much more you can do to optimize your WordPress SEO.
Learning how to set up your site and maintain it is essential for your online art business growth.
The strategies outlined in this post will help you to optimize your site and improve your rankings so your website will receive more organic traffic.
How To Optimize Your WordPress Artist Website
Changes happen around us every day. As humans, we adapt and move forward. The changes soon become part of the norm.
Do you remember before cell phones first came out?
You had to have a pocket full of change available when you left the house in case of an emergency. Knowing where all the pay phones were in town was normal.
Today the norm is shopping on your smartphone.
Times have changed, and we have adapted to all the changes.
Why am I talking about payphones and changes when you were interested in learning about WordPress SEO?
Because just like payphones, radio, television, or the internet, the way we communicate is continually evolving.
What we know today will be different fifteen, ten, or even as little as five years from now.
Like you adapt and learn the current ways, Google is also changing to serve its customers better.
Everyday content is published online, and Google crawls the content to understand what it is about to rank the content accordingly.
If the content is formatted correctly and written in Google’s “language,” Google will rank the content according to the quality of the piece.
Not too long ago, text was the primary form of content online, and it is easy for Google to understand.
In the background, the text is written in Google’s language, “HTML.”
Today more videos, images, and audio are being uploaded on the internet.
Google doesn’t understand images, videos, or audio because it only understands text.
If you want to rank higher in search with images, you must help Google understand your images with alt tags. I will go into that further later in this article.
So, the bottom line is, if you do not make it easy for Google to understand what your content is about, your artist website will not rank high in the search results.
Learning about WordPress SEO might sound intimidating, but it is not.
I am going over some basic WordPress SEO strategies you can start implementing today.
There will be some strategies that you might want to ask a professional to help you with, but most of the tactics are straight forward and very simple to start implementing.
Search engines are the number one source of traffic.
There is not even a close second.
If you have your website and blog linked to Google Analytics, you already know where your traffic is coming from.
Log into your Google Analytics.
Go to Acquisition.
Here you find where your traffic is coming from.
The traffic is broken down into four sections:
- Organic Search
Direct traffic is when someone types in the URL of your site or blog into search and is directed directly to your homepage.
Social traffic is when someone clicks on a link from a social media post and is directed to your site.
Referral Traffic Is when another site links to your website and refers you to a page or post you published.
Organic Search is when someone types in a query into the search field and then click on your link from the result page.
If your site is new, you might find that most of your traffic comes from direct and social traffic.
However, in time, you will start to notice that the majority of your traffic will be coming from organic search.
Why does this happen?
It takes time for recent content to rank in Google’s search.
Until people can start finding you on the first page of search engines, most traffic will come from other sources.
You will notice posts you published years ago are still generating traffic today. The more content you produce with your blog, the more opportunities you will have for generating traffic.
Social media, on the other hand, is a one-time deal. If people do not see your post within the first couple of days after publishing, your content will never be seen.
Another problem with social media is that they have total control of how many people will see your post. They even have control of whom they will deliver the content to.
I am not saying you should not use social media to promote your work.
It would help if you used every tool available.
Your main goal should be to make an online presence. You want to make people aware of your artwork. Use everything available to make your online presence.
The more people become familiar with your name and artwork, the higher your landing a sale becomes.
However, you want to be aware of what is providing the best results so you can develop better art marketing strategies.
According to Statista:
“As of February 2017, the distribution of traffic sources for top news stories in the United States is direct 48%, search 31%, referral 11% and social only 10%.”
Image courtesy of Statista
You can see by this study SEO is still essential for online businesses.
Maybe more important than ever with all the social media algorithm changes.
These numbers make it clear that producing content that is optimized for search engines will drive traffic to your website.
What Is the Best Search Engine
If you have been following me for some time, you already know that I say Google when I talk about search engines.
There is a good reason I do.
Google is the top search engine in the world.
If you can optimize your site for Google’s search, you win.
Image courtesy of Statista
The image by Statista shows that Google is by far the most useful search engine in the world.
It only makes sense to optimize your site for Google.
You will begin to build authority, the longer you have your blog, and the more high-quality content you produce.
Not only will Google start to see you as an authority and rank your site accordingly, but other people will begin to see you as an authority in your niche.
I will use this site as an example. When I started this site to help artists learn how to sell art online, I was lucky to have 200 people visit a month.
Within six months, I started having over 8,000 people visit a month, and the number continues to rise rapidly every month.
My organic traffic increases because Google started to see my site as an authority.
Google has learned that my site provides valuable content to help artists like you build an online art business.
I want to clarify that I spent many hours building this site to where it is today.
Building authority takes time and is demanding work.
You might not see tangible results for up to twenty-four months, and this is the norm.
Your site must have enough content before Google can start to see you as an authority.
Sharing all your posts on social media and sending them to your email list will help you get people to your WordPress site initially.
But the good news is that all the content you publish today will continue to generate traffic for years to come.
Best WordPress SEO Tool
The easiest way to start optimizing your WordPress blog is by installing the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
The Yoast SEO plugin is, by far, the best WordPress SEO plugin available.
Yoast offers a free version and a paid version.
The free version will have everything you need to get started.
You can always upgrade to the premium plugin later if you decide you want the extra features.
Here is an excellent Yoast SEO Tutorial to help you get started.
Keyword research should be a part of your WordPress SEO strategy.
Keywords are the words that people type in Google’s search bar.
For example, if you were interested in a review on Rembrandt pastel sticks, you might type in Google’s search “Rembrandt pastel sticks review.”
Google then filters all of the content published that relates to Rembrandt pastel stick reviews and ranks them according to the best content about the keywords Rembrandt pastel stick reviews.
If you publish posts that are not optimized with keywords people are using in search, your content will not rank in the search results.
For example, if you wanted to review Rembrandt pastel sticks and focused on the phrase “pastel sticks I use,” your post will not be shown in the search results for people interested in learning more about Rembrandt pastel sticks.
You need to learn your audience’s voice and what words they use when they are searching for content.
Even switching the words around or making them plural instead of the singular will make a significant difference in how much traffic your posts will receive.
Here is an example of some steps I take before I start writing a post.
The first step is to decide what topic I would like to cover.
Once I know what I would like to write about I go to Google Planner.
I start my keyword strategy by typing in some keywords that I think people will use to find the article I am writing.
Google Planner will provide you with a list of relevant keywords when you type in a word or phrase into the search bar of Google Planner.
The list will tell you how much traffic the word or phrase will receive in a month as well as the competition for the phase, or how hard it will be to rank for the phrase.
The image shows you an example of what you will see.
In this example, I typed in the phrase “Painting of a Horse.”
This phrase “Painting of a Horse” will generate between 100 – 1K people per month, and the competition is low.
The numbers are based on Google AdSense, so they will not be 100% accurate, but they will give you an excellent idea of what you can expect.
Now, if you targeted the keywords “horse paintings.” You can potentially reach between 10K – 100K people a month, but the competition is high.
This means it will be difficult to rank high in Google’s search for content focusing on the keyword phrase “horse paintings.”
If you are just starting your WordPress site, you might better target lower competition with lower traffic.
You will have a better chance of ranking in the top three of Google’s search for lower competitive phrases.
Once Google sees you as an authority, you can start to focus on words with higher competition.
How to Optimize WordPress
Now I would like to talk about specific tasks you should do to optimize your WordPress site.
It is a good idea to keep track of your site’s health and see where you are before making any changes to your site.
To find out your site’s health, login to your WordPress dashboard and click Tools > Site Health on the left sidebar.
There will be a list of issues your site might have with a brief outline of how to fix the problems.
Choosing the best hosting for your site is essential for your site’s performance.
According to WordPress:
The requirements for a hosting service to run WordPress should include:
- PHP version 7.4 or higher.
- MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.1 or higher.
- HTTPS support
I use SiteGround for my hosting service, and I could not be happier.
Before you post anything, you will want to set up your permalinks for search.
The permalink is the URL for your posts or pages.
Before you do anything, you will want to change the WordPress permalink default setting.
If you leave it the way it is set up, your URL will contain a random string of characters.
That does not give Google any information about the content of the post.
You want the URL to have your post title in it.
Go into your permalinks section and change the permalink settings, so Google will know what your content is about.
Watch this video to learn how to change your permalink settings in WordPress.
It is essential to have a theme from a trusted developer.
Many sites provide great themes such as Elegant Themes and Thrive Themes, but I have found Genesis Themes the best.
Speed is becoming more relevant for SEO.
Google will not rank a site that takes forever to load because it does not provide a good user experience.
If two sites provide the same content level, Google will rank the website that loads faster, higher in the search.
You can check the speed of your site at PageSpeed Insights.
Now that you have your site optimized for search, you will want to track the progress.
Have a clear picture of what is working, and if any issues need to be addressed.
You will be optimizing your site for as long as you have it running.
Remember, everything changes. So, does Google’s algorithm.
It is essential to keep up to date with Google’s changes and make any necessary adjustments to your site.
The last thing you will want I have is your site to lose rank after all the hard work you put into it.
How do you track your results?
Use Google Analytics and Google Console.
These are free tools provided by Google that will help you to track what is going on with your site.
Google Analytics will provide information about your traffic while Google console will let you know if your site has any issues that need to be resolved.
I have an SEO checklist I use every week.
It is easier to fix any problems as they occur instead of waiting for them to all build up.
You might want to consider using an SEO checklist as well.
How to Install Google Analytics
How to Install Google Console
How to Optimize Posts
Google makes it very clear, that writing quality content will help sites rank higher.
What does quality content mean?
Producing quality content means that you are providing value for your audience.
You are solving a problem, educating, motivating, or inspiring people.
Google wants you to write for your audience, not for Google.
Many people start to stuff their content with keywords just for the hopes of ranking higher.
Like I said earlier, Google’s algorithm is continually evolving to provide a better reading experience for its audience.
Google knows that when people are abusing keywords, and those people will be penalized.
Deliver What You Promise
Make sure every post delivers what you promise. The content should be detailed information about the title of the post.
If your title is “How to Clean Your Artist Paint Brushes.” The content is all about your latest paintings and how to purchase them, you will lose your readers.
Google is smart and will notice if your readers are happy or going to a different site for the information they are searching for.
When someone lands on your post, do not disappoint them. Make your content so good that reader will want to see more.
Be Consistent with Post Structure
Writing blog posts is entirely different from writing a book. You want to make your content to be easy to read and scannable.
- Keep the sentences and paragraphs short.
- Use bullet points to highlight key points you are trying to make.
- Use easy to understand words.
- Have your post flow.
- Break up the content into sections.
- Write Titles that make sense to the searchers.
- Include relevant images that complement the content.
- Create list posts.
Like I said earlier, Google does not see images. You will need to tell Google what your images are about.
You can do this by providing an alt tag for each image.
When you upload an image to WordPress, you will have an option to include an alt tag for the uploading image. In the field provided include text that describes what the image is about.
- Include a video.
- Link to relevant content.
Linking to other content that supports your topic will provide value to your post.
Outbound links show Google that you are trying to provide the best content you can provide.
It is also an excellent idea to include links to your posts as well.
Final Thoughts On WordPress SEO:
You have worked very hard to get to where you are today. For your business to blossom online, you will want to focus on WordPress SEO.
Keep on top of any changes that might affect your rankings.
I will post any news I learn about, so if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my newsletter.
Would you like to learn how to build a blog that generated over $15,000 a month?
Debbie Gartner explains exactly how she created a blog that makes her six figures a year.
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Popular Art Marketing And Sales Tutorials
Below are some of the most famous art marketing courses that will grow your online art business:
Most Popular – How to Make a Living Selling What You Make by Megan Auman
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