The ultimate guide to SEO for artist websites

I’ve recently been implementing some long needed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) fixes throughout my artist website. A big part of being able to sell art online is generating traffic to your website.

Today I wanted to share with you some quick wins, lessons, and insights on how to apply SEO for artists on your website.

SEO for artist websites isn't complicated.

You may be thinking that SEO may not apply to you and your art websites, but SEO for artist websites matter.

You've built a website for your art so people will find and see your work when they are searching for terms related to your work. This is what SEO for artists does for you.

At it's most basic, SEO is where you gear the pages and blog posts on your website to be relevant to the related searches people are typing into to Google.

A big misconception about SEO for artists is that a website ranks for one keyword. When in reality individual pages rank for different keywords.

Basic SEO for artists practices are no different that putting the lid back on the peanut butter before you put it away or washing your hands before you eat – it’s just a good practice.

Overtime, you’ll see benefits from in the form of higher quality traffic to your art website. Just know, SEO for artists is not a quick win to increased traffic right away. It's a long term game.

If you have a website, you probably want the right people to find it. Apart from generating traffic to your site with things like features, interviews, and mentions – SEO for artists can offer up a grip of traffic for you without too much effort.

Bottom line, a site following basic SEO for artists will generate free traffic to your site in the long run.

Search engines (robots) want to share your site with people looking for relevant topics related to you and your art.

The ONLY way a search engine knows what your site is about is with the WORDS on your site.

Search engines can’t see what images look like or what videos are about. Which is a problem for most art websites. They're image heavy without much words.

Is SEO for artists possible?

First and most importantly, you need to have words on your site to support your images. Yes, you need to WRITE about about your art, your process, and share your ongoing journey, and growth as an artist.

How you put words on your site is where these best SEO practices come in.

3 Simple steps to get started on SEO for artists

This is the quick and easy process of making sure you master the art of SEO for artists.

1. Make a list of keywords to target

Finding which keywords to target is the most tedious part of figuring out SEO for artists.

Fortunately, there is a tool that makes this really easy now. It's a tool called UberSuggest. The keywords to target are different for every artists. It depends on the type of art you make, the subject matter, and the medium.

You'll want to use Ubersuggest to help you brainstorm keywords to target. Good keywords to target have 500+ monthly searches and are low competition.

2. Install an SEO plugin on your WordPress artist website

Hopefully your artist website is built with WordPress. WordPress allows for more plugins and customizations. One of which is installing a plugin called RankMath. Rank math will help you make sure each page is SEO friendly and follows all the best practices to rank for each of your keywords.

Essentially, since you've made a list of keywords to target, you have a plugin for implementing SEO the right way, and now is the next step. Writing a blog post targeting each keyword.

3. Creating pillar content

Pillar content are pages on your website that rank for highly searched keywords with a lot of competition. These are the keywords you ultimately want to rank for. However the only way to rank for these in time is to have all your other blog posts related to this keyword link back to your pillar content.

For example, let's say I wanted to rank for the keyword “acrylic paintings”. If I look on UberSuggest, I can see it gets 200,000+ searches every month and is a highly competitive keyword. This would make for great pillar content. Then if I were to write a blog post on “acrylic painting flowers” which only gets 9900 monthly searches. I would link it to the pillar content.

TIP: It’s also best practice to link back from each of these blog post to the Pillar content. Which brings me to the next tip…

4. Writing SEO content the right way

A common misconception is that entire websites rank high for one keyword. When in fact, individual pages are what rank.

It’s your blog posts and pages that rank, not the whole website (or even your home page).

Now let’s talk about how to organize content on each page.

Remember, search engines can’t see images, they can only READ them.

Yes, I'll say it again, you need to WRITE about your art and process. At least 600 words per blog post, portfolio page, etc – to describe and give context to your images. Sharing your artist journey.

Once you write those words you need to organize it into headers. Headers are simply “titles”. There’s typically an option in your website editor to highlight the text and set what type of header the text should be.

TIP: If you scroll up and down this actual article you're reading right now, you'll notice how the titles of each section are bigger and smaller. I did this on purpose to show you how this looks.

H1 is usually the top title of the blog post or page, H2 is the subheadings of each idea in your page, and H3 is the sub sub headings beneath each H2 header.

For example, a blog posts headers may be organized like:

    • Paragraph of text
    • H2: Idea #1
      • Paragraph of text
      • H3: sub idea 1
      • Paragraph of text
      • H3: sub idea 1
      • Paragraph of text
    • H2: Idea #2
      • Paragraph of text
      • H3: sub idea 2
      • Paragraph of text
      • H3: sub idea 2
      • Paragraph of text

(Just scroll up and down this article to see this in action.)

Search engines crawl pages on your site looking at these H tags to understand what the page is about. So include words that describe what you’re talking about in these headers.

Now, since you’re an artist, you’re probably writing about images of your work.

Let’s say in your blog post you’re including three behind-the-scenes type process images of you drawing in your sketchbook. The only way a search engine knows what these images are about is by what you write in your ALT tag.

When you look at the HTML of your images in a blog post, it usually looks like:

<img src=”smiley.gif” alt=”Smiley face”>

Simply write a description of the image in the the ALT section with your keyword in it.

Since you have a plugin like RankMath installed on your WordPress artist website it'll guide you in SEO best practices. Telling you how many times your target keyword needs to be in the post, out bound and inbound links needed.

5. Turn your art website into a spiderweb

Now you have to make sure everything within your site is linked to each other. Creating a virtual “web” of related pages and posts.

Proper linking tells search engines how relevant your pillar content is in regards to this topic. Giving search engines an idea of what your website is about.

Essentially, all your pages and posts need to link to each other in a logical way.

Think of it like a pyramid with your home page at the top. Right below the homepage is your pillar content, and below that your individual blog posts and other pages.

Translating this pyramid into practice would mean having a link on your homepage to your pillar content which links to your smaller blog posts.

It’s basically a nice way to organize all the content on your site.

For artists who work in different mediums, subject matters, or have different series of work. This pillar approach and SEO practice can help a lot with how you organize your work. Ultimately, creating a clear experience for people visiting your site.

Final thoughts on SEO for artists

SEO for artists is about writing genuine content first, then taking a few minutes to alter it slightly so it meets SEO requirements so it ranks in search engines.

The requirements for SEO for artists is pretty simple:

  • Each blog post should target a keyword that has at least 500+ monthly searches month and has low competition. Use a tool such as UberSuggest to do your keyword research.
  • Each blog post should be a minimum of 600 words (1,000 words is better).
  • Your keyword needs to have a keyword density of a minimum of 1% and no more than 3%. So for a post that is 1,000 words long, 10-30 times.
  • Include your keyword in the blog post title
  • Include your keyword in the URL
  • Include your keyword phrase in at least one H2 and H3 title
  • Include your keyword in the first paragraph of your blog post
  • Link at least once to an outside reference or resource
  • Link to a related blog post on your site
  • Link to the pillar content related to the blog post

These are good practices on SEO for artists.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, it’s no different that putting the lid back on the peanut butter before you put it away or washing your hands before you eat – it’s just a good habits.

Honestly, if you're going to make a blog post, you mind as well make it about something people are already searching for. Putting your art website to work for you.

Also, SEO for artists isn't about gaming a system. No longer can you stuff keywords into an image or create false links to get higher in search results. SEO for artists now is about creating authentic content and organizing it in a clear and thoughtful way.

If you look at all the recent updates to the algorithms search engines use, it's about creating a better human experience on your site.