The purpose of this post is to simplify SEO for artists. I mean, I totally sympathize with the potential stress of trying to sift through some ultimate guide to SEO. Especially if you’re new to digital marketing. So I’m totally psyched to show you exactly how I’ve used (essentially 3) simple SEO best practices to create sustainable, ranking website businesses.
And at the core of a good artist SEO strategy is realizing that your brand is not based solely on your expertise as an artist, but rather on your commitment to providing high-quality, value-adding content.
This is long-term. This is sustainable growth that creates leads, sales and brand equity over time – and it’s completely automated.
Whether you’re a solo artist, a small business or a fortune 500 company, this is modern marketing. This is modern business.
Me personally, I’ve been an artist and a musician since I could walk. And the funny thing is, I always believed that art and business were like oil and water – complete opposites. Like some paradox.
But then I learned business. I actually got an MBA (of course to compliment my anthropology degree – hmm…) before eventually segueing into online marketing.
Suddenly, I found myself combining my passion for music and art with culture, travel, online business and digital marketing.
And with the growth of social media and online marketing, creative entrepreneurship has flourished like never before.
It’s such an amazing time to be an artist. Whether you’re a photographer, musician, painter or create handmade crafts – and whatever your niche is – there’s a market and opportunity just waiting for you through proper SEO tactics.
So I’m totally pumped to have you here today! Now enough small talk, let’s dive in!
- Step 1: Find A Keyword (The Free Way)
- Step 2: Topic Ideation & Content Creation For The Keyword
- Step 3: A Simple 3-Point SEO Checklist For Google Ranking
- Word Length
- Keyword Placement
- UX (User Experience)
- Google Indexing & Advanced Concepts
Step 1: Find A Keyword (The Free Way)
Keyword research is the first step and ultimate foundation to your SEO strategy. Conducting keyword research means you’re analyzing market opportunities and identifying specific keywords that, at the very least, check these boxes:
- Align With Your Target Market
- Will your content provide real value to your target market?
- Does it solve their problems and pain points?
- Align With Your Brand & Specific Content Goals
- What do you wish to accomplish with your content marketing?
- Consider adopting a sales funnel methodology to organize your content and promote lead nurturing and down-funnel sales
- Are Realistic Target Keywords To Rank For
- Competing against big, well-established sites for highly competitive, general keywords is extremely difficult for newer, smaller sites
- Aim for lower competition, long-tail keywords, which you can realistically rank for
- After establishing more authority, you can rank more competitively
- The advanced concepts section of this post looks at strategies to rank higher for more competitive keywords
- Also remember that writing posts for highly competitive words isn’t completely fruitless
- These can be pillar pages, which you can link to and drive traffic using other posts that target keywords more easily ranked for
So where do you find keywords? Well, on of the simplest (and cheapest) methods is by using Google.
Ever notice how Google will auto-suggest phrases for you after you start typing a particular keyword? This is extremely useful for SEO purpose. Essentially, this is Google saying “hey, many other people are searching for this keyword“.
What’s more, after your initial seed keyword search, Google provide you with more ideas using its People also search for, Search related to and People also ask sections.
So getting started with keyword research just takes some time and a little understanding of the basic mechanics of low-competition keyword ranking.
$$ Tip Jar
Value-adding content can be many things. To help identify your preference, aim for one (or a mixture) of these types:
- Entertaining Content
- Inspiring Content
- Educational Content
Step 2: Topic Ideation & Content Creation For The Keyword
We want to create content that the reader is actually searching for and that is actually helpful. Unfortunately, this means creating posts that only document the concept or story behind one of your original pieces isn’t likely to be in-demand.
The trick is to find 1.) topics that relate to your area of expertise (art) and provide real, actionable and meaningful value and/or 2.) target specific, long-tail keywords that relate to your niche and brand (i.e., abstract lake oil painting).
Rinse and repeat this process for multiple topics and you build trust, authority and brand.
These are the strongest assets a business can build. So while going straight for the sale and top spot in Google is attractive, opting for the slow-and-steady strategy of high-quality, value-adding content will pay off in dividends over time.
Selling your photography or generating leads on the back end of this value-adding content is much simpler. I mean, at this point people are way more willing to trust you since you’ve gone with a give-first, take-later approach.
$$ Tip Jar
Install the Facebook Pixel and retarget readers of specific articles or visitors of specific pages. Retargeting is like the holy grail of digital marketing and can yield some of the highest conversions.
According to Spiralytics, retargeting website visitors increases the likelihood of a conversion by 43%! Coupled with the rule of 7 – which says that someone needs to be exposed to a new brand up to 7 times or they make a purchase or conversion – retargeting just makes sense.
Read My Foolproof Guide To Facebook Retargeting Here!
Step 3: A Simple 3-Point SEO Checklist For Google Ranking
I really wanted to simplify the whole SEO process with this article. So while there are of course many advanced strategies – which I briefly cover in the last section below – if you at the very least just employ the following three points, you’ll be off to a great start.
In fact, many of my currently ranking article essentially just follow this formula and I’ve seen success time and time again (provided the target keyword isn’t too competitive).
Now enough small talk, let’s review my 3-point checklist for SEO success!
$$ Tip Jar
Be sure to optimize your images for search engines, which can be especially useful for artists whose work is highly visual. Learn more about image optimization here!
This concept revolves around the skyscraper technique. Essentially, you analyze the articles that currently ranking for your target keyword phrase. How long are they? How helpful are they? Can you improve it and make it better and longer?
As a good rule of thumb however, try to aim for writing posts that are at least 1,000 words in length. According to research from Backlinko, the average post ranking on page 1 of Google is 1,447 words long!
So, you may want to think twice if you’re considering a less is more approach with your SEO strategy.
OK, so once you have your keyword focus and article planned out (or written), how and where do you put your keywords? And how does this all translate to Google ranking?
Let’s break it all down.
Once you post an article to the internet-verse, Google will find it eventually and regularly perform site crawls (i.e., Google crawls your site for new content and updates).
But rather than waiting, which can take weeks or even months, you can manually index your site and sign up for the Goolge Search Console. Here, you can request page indexing and monitor various ranking analytics and other useful data.
Super useful! You can read more about indexing and the Google Search Console here. I also discuss this a little more in the Advanced Concepts section below.
But for now, to ensure you actually rank, the simplest keyword placement strategy is to make sure you put your target keyword phrase in:
- The Title (H1 tag)
- The First Paragraph or Two
From here, just write your content organically Do not “keyword stuff” to try to rank higher and quicker; the Google algorithm is smart and will pick up on this.
Just write with the goal of providing real value and creating a positive user experience (more on this below).
You can also include your target keyword within your subsection headlines (H2 tags) – if it’s natural and makes sense, that is.
UX (User Experience)
A positive user experience is the main goal for most companies – especially social media platforms and search engines like Google. So creating content with the user experience in mind is a surefire way to rank better (while building positive brand image and customer loyalty).
For simplicity, let’s look at UX as being in two separate categories:
- When visitors get to your page and start reading, how is their experience? Is it slow and are there enough visuals? Is the text big enough? What colors are you using and do they support your brand and intent?
- Such as creating with a mobile-first mindset, making the content engaging, readable and user-friendly
- For example, avoid long-running paragraphs and try adding visual elements, such as graphics and images
- The Content Itself
- That is, content that is actually helpful and improves the user’s experience…this is the major SEO ranking factor)
So when you’re creating your content for Google, just remember to also create it for your end consumer. Easy peasy!
$$ Tip Jar
Get the most out of your article by promoting and posting it across different platforms. For example, besides posting content to your own site, consider using sites like Medium, LinkedIn and Quora to expand your reach.
Learn more about cross posting content here!
Google Indexing + Advanced Concepts
As mentioned above, Google indexing essentially means that your content is cataloged in Google. This is of course required if we actually want to show up in the search results. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can either a.) wait for it happen, or b.) index your site and posts manually using the Google search console.
Covering this topic would be a whole post in itself, so I’m going to hand over the mic and refer you out to these pages to learn more:
- How To Get Google To Instantly Index A New Website (Neil Patel)
- How To Get Google To Index A Site Faster (CrazyEgg)
- 10 Ways To Get Indexed (Ahrefs)
So familiarizing yourself with Google analytics and the search console is a fantastic starting point. However, there are even more advanced techniques that can further optimize your content and push you up in the search engine results pages.
Although these tips can give you important boosts in the rankings, I’ve also found they can overwhelm rather than help (especially when I was first starting out).
So there’s no rush here, but definitely keep the following advanced concepts in mind as you move forward creating more content and optimizing your website and business.
Here are some advanced SEO strategies worth exploring more:
- Understanding Google’s EAT guidelines
- AI SEO
- Voice SEO
- Boosting on-site engagement
- Discover optimization and snippets
- Local SEO
So there it is, simplified SEO for artists. Although things can quickly become technical and complex, just remember to focus on the user experience, word count and keyword research and placement will get you started off on the right foot.
Exploring more advanced concepts (such as backlinking, boosting site engagement or optimizing for voice) is not required but can definitely give you a serious SEO boost – when you’re ready, that is.
So that’s all I’ve got for you today and thanks for stopping by!
Let me know in the comments: what do you think artist content should look like or focus on?