SEO setup

SEO for Artists Lesson 3 – Critical On-Site SEO Setup

An extensive round-up of SEO best practices on the ASF platform – how to setup SEO on your home page, product pages, and more.

If there is one thing for certain within the art industry, it’s that SEO is a powerful channel with which to generate traffic.

And, as we’ve proven in a recent case study, SEO traffic converts into sales on a regular basis.

It’s clear that SEO is a viable channel – one which every artist and photographer should spend serious time leveraging in order to generate consistent monthly sales. But what are the best SEO practices for artists? And what’s the best way to setup SEO on an Art Storefronts site?

When it comes to success with SEO, your mileage will vary based on your specific niche. Your niche will determine the amount of competition you’re up against, and subsequently the amount of traffic and sales you can generate, as well as your ability to rank well (have your website’s pages appear near the top of Google search results).

Search Engines

So while you’ll need a tailored strategy based on your niche to succeed with SEO, there are a number of tips that you can implement to increase your odds of success.

It starts with having a site that is designed to convert traffic into sales. For as we say here, traffic is a precious commodity, and you need to do everything you can to convert the maximum amount possible into sales.

Therefore, the purpose of Lesson 3 on SEO is to focus specifically on what you should enter into your website in regards to SEO content.

SETUP AND TABLE OF CONTENTS

As we explore on-site SEO in this article, we’ll be starting with optimizing your home page, and then move into the other types of pages on your site, such as category pages and even individual product pages.

This resource is extensive. We invite you to download it as a PDF to read at your own pace by clicking here. You can also take advantage of the clickable table of contents below.


To make the advice in this article more practical, let’s assume we are an artist or photographer, and the specific niche we cover is “California Beach Art.”

I. HOME PAGE

homepage SEO

This is your absolute top priority and by far the most important page on your website to SEO properly.

What you put on this page will send the strongest signal about your website to Google and other search engines. Google knows that a home page usually defines the site within, and so that’s exactly how they treat it.

Therefore, your main keyword phrase(s) should be present in various places on this page:

A. SEO tags

The main SEO tags we will consistently refer to in this article are the “meta title”, “meta description” and “meta keywords”.

Within your ASF site manager, click on your home page, and then click on the SEO Options tab, as seen below:

Basic SEO

    1. Title Tag – This is critically important because this will be headline that Google uses when displaying your listing in the search results. It must contain your main keywords, as well as your full name (if you are an artist or photographer and you believe people will search for art using your name) or company name. For example, in the case of California Beach Art:
        • If we are selling paintings or reproductions of paintings – “California Beach Art – Original Paintings – Fine Art Prints on Canvas, Paper, Metal & More by Holly Adams”.

       

      • If we are selling photographs – “California Beach Photographs – Fine Art Prints on Canvas, Paper, Metal & More by Holly Adams”

      This will give us broad coverage over what people may type in to find this type of art.

 

    1. Meta Keywords – Here, you’ll want to put in your main keywords separated by a comma, such as “art, california, beach, beaches, photography, prints, original, painting, limited editions, holly adams”

 

  1. Meta Description – This text is critically important because it will appear as the sub-text in your listing that Google displays in the search results. Therefore, it will not only matter from an SEO perspective, but whether or not people will actually want to visit your site after reading it. In our case, we might put:
      • If we are selling paintings or reproductions of paintings – “California beach art and paintings by Holly Adams for sale. Browse hundreds of images of california beaches, all that can be purchased as original paintings, or as fine art prints on canvas, paper, or metal.”

     

    • If we are selling photographs – “California beach photographs for sale as fine art. Browse hundreds of images or california beaches, all that can be purchased as prints on canvas, paper, or metal.”

This is not only highly relevant to Google, it is informative and enticing for the potential visitor. Notice how we listed the specific media types, such as “metal”. This way, if someone was to type in “california beach art metal prints”, we will have a better chance of being the more relevant result.

SEO lesson

GOTCHAS: Make sure none of your titles, meta keywords, or meta descriptions are duplicated on your website. They MUST be unique on every single page, otherwise, Google may consider it a duplicate page (which means they will not display it in the search results).

One other thing we recommend doing is checking out some major art-selling websites (particularly those who are currently ranking well for your specific keywords) and inspect their SEO tags.

You can do this by visiting their home page, and in your browser, find the “View Source” option.

You can right click anywhere on the page…

View Source

…or select “View Source” from your browser’s toolbar.

View Source SEO

Then, after thetag and before the closingtag, you will find these tags – here’s what you should look for:

Where to find meta description

Another great way to find this information is to install the MozBar browser extension. More on that in this post.

A Critical Warning for Photographers

Back to the meta description phrases we’ve come up with. Here was our example for photographers:

“California beach photographs by Holly Adams for sale as fine art. Browse hundreds of images of california beaches, all that can be purchased as prints on canvas, paper, or metal.”

Notice how we used the term “photographs” and not “photography” – and that’s because the search volume for the word “photographs” is generally much higher. Using the Google Adword’s Keyword Planner, we can see this.

Here is the estimated search volume for “laguna beach photography”:

what is search volume

Now, here is the estimated search volume for “laguna beach photographs”:

search volume

As you can see, the keyword “photographs” delivers 143% higher search volume. That’s a strong improvement, and it only took a second to look up.

We also sneak in the phrase “fine art” in hopes of picking up some traffic from the 320 average monthly searches for “Laguna Beach fine art”.

A Critical Warning for Painters

Here was our keyword phrase for painters:

“California beach art and paintings for sale by Holly Adams. Browse hundreds of images of california beaches, all that can be purchased as original paintings, or as fine art prints on canvas, paper, or metal.”

Notice how we used “Art” and specifically not “Fine Art”. As you’ve probably guessed, the search volume motivated this decision.

Check out the estimated search volume for “Laguna Beach Fine Art”:

search volume research

Now, here is the estimated search volume for the phrase “Laguna Beach Art”:

keyword research

Boom! That’s a 3,100% improvement over the “Fine Art” phrase. Those are the kinds of key wins that help build a successful business.

If you’re wondering why we also include the word “paintings” in our phrase, here’s the numbers on that phrase:

SEO tips

B. The Headline (i.e. the h1 tag)

Here’s what we recommend:

    • If we are selling paintings or reproductions of paintings – “California Beach Art and Paintings by [insert your name]”.

 

  • If we are selling photographs – “California Beach Photographs as Fine Art by [insert your name]”

C. A few sentences of of descriptive content

Adding at least a few sentences of content on your home page will provide serious SEO strength to your website.

Too many artist and photographer websites don’t even contain a sentence of descriptive information on their home page, and this is a huge SEO blunder.

If you’re on the ASF platform, you will know by now you should be using a Product Gallery page type as your home page. Now, when using one of these pages, you will want to add text into both the “Lead Content” (which will appear above your images) AND the “Ending Content” (which will appear below your images).

To not distract your visitors from the images on the page, your Lead content should contain no more than 2 descriptive sentences.

“Shop my selection of high quality California beach art and original paintings. Click on any of the categories below and browse hundreds of images of California beaches, all that I have poured my heart and soul into. Images can be purchased as original paintings, limited editions, and fine art prints on canvas, paper, or metal.”

What to write on homepage

On the contrary, your ending content can contain as much descriptive content as you wish. The content you put in the ending content should not be a duplicate of what you put in the lead content.

In our case, we might enter this into our Ending Content:

“From San Diego, San Clemente, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Manhattan Beach, and up the coast to Sunset Beach, I have been painting California beach art for over 20 years. Whether its surf, surfers, waves, ocean, or sunsets, I paint scenes that reflect the culture of the area and the feeling you get when you live or visit these beautiful California beaches.”

artist SEO

Here, you should feel free to add 2-3 paragraphs of further text. Because it will be located below all of your images, it will not distract your visitors from shopping your images.

If they happen to read it, it will add to their experience nonetheless. But from a search engine standpoint, this content is going to make your home page extremely relevant within the niche you are trying to SEO.

Notice our decision to add a string of popular beach cities within California. We know that people will be searching for this type of art (i.e. “Dana Point Beach Art”) and we want the search engines to know that our website is a relevant to those searches. In addition, someone might search for “Dana Point Surf Art”. By adding some verbiage with the word “surf”, we just made our website relevant for this keyword search as well.

D. Image “Alt” tags

An “alt” tag is a way of providing Google with a description for your image. Here’s what it looks like in HTML code:

what are alt tags

If you are using the Billboard feature with your ASF website, here’s how to add alt tags for your images

how to set up alt tags

how alt tags work

If you are using the standard WYSIWYG Editor, here’s how:

alt tags SEO

As always, your alt tags should contain your main keywords. But again — don’t duplicate. Say you have 20 images of Laguna Beach beaches. It might be tempting to put “laguna beach beaches” for all 20. Don’t do this. Instead, find something unique about the image and use it to describe the images in more depth — Google will love this. For example, “Laguna Beach painting of crashing wave on beach” and “Laguna Beach photograph of surf and sand hotel”.

II. STORE PAGE / PRODUCT GALLERY USING KEYWORDS AS CATEGORIES

Store page SEO

If you are SEOing a Store page, and you are following our best practices, your products should already be categorized into categories based on their most relevant subject matter.

Therefore, this store page will actually display a bunch of categories that your visitor can click on. In other words, it is the main portal for all of your “California Beach Art” images. We will SEO it as such.

A. SEO tags

When editing this store page, you should again add unique title tag, meta keywords, and meta description as suggested in section I above. However, with one key adjustment.

You should use the broader descriptive name of your niche, followed by “Photographs for Sale as Fine Art” if you are selling photographs, and “Art & Original Paintings for Sale” if you are selling paintings or reproductions of paintings.

For example

    • If we are selling paintings or reproductions of paintings – “California Beach Art and Paintings for Sale”

 

  • If we are selling photographs – “California Beach Photographs for Sale as Fine Art”

Make sure your SEO title does NOT duplicate what you entered as the SEO title on your home page. Always make sure you have at least two different keywords. If you are worried that they are too close, you could change this page to something like this:

  • “California Beach Art & Paintings for Sale | Main Store”

and that should do the trick.

B. Image “Alt” and “Title” tags

If you are an ASF customer, these tags will be automatically populated for you as follows:

In the case of a category, the image “alt” and “title” tags will come from the SEO title. If the SEO title is blank, it will use the name you have inputted for the category instead.

In the case of a product (i.e. an individual image), the image “alt” and “title” tags will come from the SEO title. If the SEO title is blank, it will use the name you have inputted for the product instead.

III. CATEGORY PAGE / PRODUCT GALLERY PAGE USING KEYWORDS

category page SEO

A “Category page”, or a “Product Gallery page using keywords” is a page that displays an array of products (i.e. images) all related to a specific subject matter. In our case, let’s assume this subject matter is “Laguna Beach Art”. All of the images on this page will be of Laguna Beach.

A. SEO tags

    1. Meta Title:If you are selling photographs – “Laguna Beach Photographs for Sale as Fine Art”.If you are selling paintings or reproductions of paintings – “Laguna Beach Art and Paintings for Sale”.

 

    1. Meta DescriptionHere, you will want to follow the same logic as the home page, this time substituting the keyword of your broader subject matter (“California”) with the keyword of your specific subject matter (“Laguna Beach”).If you are selling paintings or reproductions of paintings – “Laguna Beach art and paintings for sale. Browse hundreds of images of Laguna Beach, all that can be purchased as original paintings, as well as fine art prints on canvas, paper, or metal.”If you are selling photographs – “Laguna Beach photographs for sale as fine art. Browse hundreds of images of Laguna Beach, all that can be purchased as fine art prints on canvas, paper, or metal.”

 

  1. Meta Keywords follow the same logic as your home page, but this time include “laguna beach” and perhaps one or two others that are relevant to this specific subject matter.

 

B. Image “Alt” and “Title” tags

The same approach will be used as described in Section IIB.

C. A few sentences of of descriptive content

Here, we want to follow the same general advice we provided in section I, but this time specifically for our new subject matter which is “Laguna Beach Art”.

For example, we might add the following text into the Lead Content:

“Shop our vast selection of Laguna Beach art and buy art prints on canvas, fine art paper, metal and more. Laguna Beach is a beautiful city on the coastline of California and is known for its beautiful sunsets, friendly people, and artistic community.”

SEO for photographers

In the Ending Content, we might add the following text:

“Laguna Beach, California is located on the coastline of Southern California. It is nestled between Los Angeles and San Diego, just south of Newport Beach. Laguna is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the coast of California. People visit these beaches to surf, skimboard, paddle board or just to relax and soak up the sunshine.

I have been inspired to paint these beaches because I grew up going to these beaches as a child and have amazing memories of the time I spent there. I exhibit at the various art festivals all year long, such as the Festival of the Arts, the Pageant of the Masters, and the Sawdust Festival.”

Notice how we did a couple things here.

First, we used verbiage relative to the geographic area and characteristics of Laguna Beach. This provides an immediate signal to the search engines that this page is extremely relevant when it comes to content about Laguna Beach.

Second, we take some time to explain our specific inspiration regarding the subject matter. This is where you can and should elaborate much further than we did in our example. This will not only be great for the search engines, but it will also be great for your prospective buyers.

IV. PRODUCT PAGES

Product page SEO

A “Product Page” is the page where an individual image is offered for sale.

In our case, let’s assume this subject matter is “An Emerald Bay Sunset”. Emerald Bay is beach community within the city of Laguna Beach.

A. SEO tags

    1. Meta Title:If you are selling photographs – “Emerald Bay Sunset Photograph for Sale as Fine Art”If you are selling paintings or reproductions thereof – “Emerald Bay Sunset Art for Sale”

 

  1. Meta Description:
      • If you are selling paintings or reproductions of paintings – “Shop prints of ‘An Emerald Bay Sunset’ – a fine art piece set in Laguna Beach – available for purchase as an original or as a reproduction in a variety of sizes.”

     

    • If you are selling photographs – “Shop prints of the Laguna Beach photograph ‘An Emerald Bay Sunset’ – available for purchase in a variety of sizes and media types.”
  2. Meta Keywords:Start with the name of the piece, then move to keywords that describe the subject matter. Rephrase to cover possible changes in search terms (ie: “Laguna Beach sunset photograph” vs. “Photograph of Laguna Beach sunset”).Don’t be afraid to plug everything into your keyword research tools (ie: Google’s Keyword Planner) to confirm decent search volume already exists for your terms.

 

B. Image “Alt” and “Title” tags

The same approach will be used as described in Section IIB.

C. Short Description / Long Description

Within your ASF site manager, you will notice that you have a designated place to enter in a short description as well as a long description for each product (i.e. image) on your website.

Again, you will want to follow the same techniques described above in terms of including keywords relevant to your subject matter as well as your niche when writing these descriptions.

By rule, you will want to make sure you include the following somewhere in either description (just one or the other – it does not have to be both):

“Emerald Bay Sunset Photograph as Fine Art” or “Emerald Bay Sunset Art”.

If it is a painting, or a reproduction of a painting, make sure the word “painting” is included.

Make sure the broader category (i.e. “California”), the main category (i.e. “Laguna Beach”) as well as any other relevant subject matter keywords (“sunset”, “surf”, “waves”) are included.

WRAPPING IT UP

Basic SEO

Remember, Google is one big encyclopedia of information. The difference between a company that releases a encyclopedia in print and Google, is that Google expects YOU to put in the information about your website and they will display you in their search results based on what you provide to them (your SEO rank is determined by many factors – but when thinking about your on-site SEO, this is a great mindset to have).

Completing your SEO setup is your first step of many to start ranking well in the search engines, and to ultimately start receiving free traffic from them.

We feel that this is one of the most critical steps you can take to get your website right in front of people who are directly searching for your subject matter and are looking to buy. Because it takes time to rank well, the sooner you complete this process, the better.

You’ll find more information on what you can do to succeed with SEO, and how features exclusive to Art Storefronts can help, in SEO Lesson 1 and in SEO Lesson 2.

For more advice on SEO and to share techniques with other community members, ASF customers can hit the ASF Forum and jump in to the discussion.


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