SEO Tips for Art Professionals & Artists
If you are an artist or art professional looking to grow your portfolio online and bring more visitors to your website, you’re in the right place. The art market can be a tricky and fairly competitive market and, therefore, placing some focus on your marketing efforts can be an effective way of getting your work in front of more potential buyers, collectors and galleries.
In this article, I’ve outlined how to get the basics of SEO right for your art business as well as some specific strategy recommendations that you could consider in order to grow traffic to your website.
Getting the Basics Right
In order to delve further into some specific strategies that are useful in the art industry for SEO, it's important to consider the SEO basics. If you are someone who is not too familiar with modern SEO, this will help you understand some of the basics of SEO and how that can be applied to your art website.
If you are already familiar with the basics, I recommend skipping down to “SEO Strategy Ideas for Artists”.
Identify Your Target Audience & Keywords
If you are already familiar with SEO, you will know that understanding your target audience as well as identifying keywords is a pivotal part of any SEO strategy in any industry.
From working with clients in the art industry, I have found that collectors and potential buyers tend to search more for artists, mediums and subjects rather than specific piece names (unless you are lucky enough to have very well known, sought after pieces!). Therefore, this should be a core focus for any artist or art professional conducting keyword research for the first time.
Here are some examples of keywords following that format and their Global Search Volume GSV (how many times users search on Google per month):
mountain watercolor painting
acrylic mountain painting
greek statues female
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
In marketing your art website, your title tag and meta description are important elements to consider to help your site to rank. Title tags are a direct ranking factor Google pays attention to, and meta descriptions can be useful for getting more clicks from users. Including your keywords in both your title tags and meta descriptions are a great way to improve your SEO and help your art get found online.
As an artist selling work that has a unique title, this can be a great way to distinguish your art from other pieces on the market. However, keep in mind that your potential buyers may be looking for work like yours, but using searches such as “oil paintings” or “mountain paintings”. This can help you determine what goes into your title tags and meta descriptions.
For example, if your painting is titled “Alpine dawn”, you could opt for a title tag such as “‘Alpine Dawn’ Mountain Oil Painting by ARTIST”
Key Takeaways for Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Optimise your title tag and meta description. Title tags should be up to 65 characters and meta descriptions up to 160.
Consider keyword search trends in the art industry (artists, art styles, subjects) when creating titles, not just artwork names.
Headings (H1s, H2s)
Similar to title tags, your headings are the elements that appear on your page that show the structure of your content. Your main title on every page is your H1, and each one that follows is structured hierarchically from H2, H3 to H4 and so on.
Your H1 is another key element for your website to improve SEO. An optimised H1 is an essential factor that Google reads to understand your content and consider it for search results. In the below example, you can see an oil painting called “Misty Mountains” with an optimised H1 that includes keywords such as “oil painting” and “original oil painting”:
Key Takeaways for H1s
Always ensure your top target keywords are in your H1
Make sure to include keywords that reference the art style, medium or subject to target users who aren’t already familiar with your work
Getting Your Images Right
As an artist, imagery makes up a core part of marketing your work on your website. Therefore, getting your images setup right can influence your ability to rank in Google Image Search, and, in general.
There are a few tips worth considering when it comes to optimising your images for search.
Top Tips for Images on Your Art Website
Ensure any images uploaded at under 300kB (or are loaded in at under 300kB)
Utilise alt text on images to describe the image and facilitate SEO
Alt text (alternative text) is an attribute you can add to images on your website that are generally for the benefit of visually impaired users (e.g. people who use screen readers). However, it can also be an opportunity to optimise your images for your target keywords)
Make sure lighter image formats such as SVG, PNG and WEBP
Use a descriptive file name
For example, don’t upload images with a title such as “IMG_0497.png”. Instead, opt for descriptive file names such as “misty-mountains-oil-on-canvas.png”
Set Up Analysis & Tracking
In order to measure the success of your SEO work and your website, you will want to have some way to assess and analyse the number of people visiting your website, as well as other useful data such as purchases and which pages they visited.
There are different steps for setting up analytics depending on which tool you choose as well as what your website is built on (e.g. Wix, WordPress, Shopify etc.). Therefore, I recommend you research how to do this based on your specific setup.
I also recommend using Google Search Console. Search Console is completely free to use and simple to install, as it gives you more data in terms of just organic traffic from Google in comparison to Google Analytics or similar tools. For example, you can see what keywords people searched before they landed on your website, as well as what your average ranking position is for those keywords (e.g. whereabouts on Google you were placed).
Get Your Technical SEO Right
Finally, considering your technical SEO is also something that is important on your art website. Having good technical SEO will make it easier for Google to crawl and index your website. Therefore, improving your overall chance of ranking.
Technical SEO considerations include:
Make sure you have XML sitemaps set up on your website
Avoid dead links / broken links
i.e. Links that go to pages that don’t work or have been deleted. A tool such as Ahrefs or SEMRush can help you identify broken links
Ensure you have an SSL certificate and your website is secure
Robots.txt is correctly set up
Use canonical tags
Set up redirects for any pages you delete or move to a new page
I recommend reading the Ahrefs blog on Technical SEO Basics to gain more of an understanding of how technical SEO works.
SEO Strategy Ideas for Artists
Whenever creating content for your website, consider the following key SEO points:
Beneficial purpose: Consider the purpose of creating the content in the first place and what benefit the users will derive from your content
Value proposition: What unique value does your content offer when compared to other artists or other articles on the internet?
Needs Met: Are the needs of your target audience met when they read your content, or will they feel the need to continue searching for their answer elsewhere afterwards?
E-E-A-T: Consider how your content demonstrates experience, authority, expertise and trustworthiness (discussed later in the article).
Showcase Your Artistic Knowledge & Experience
A great way you can showcase experience as an artist, as well as build organic traffic, is to include content on your website about various parts of the process involved in creating the specific type of art you work with.
For example, if you are a sculptor that works with foundry bronze, you can share specifics with your audience around what foundry bronze is, how it’s made, how to identify the difference between real and fake bronze and so on. Because of the experience you are able to demonstrate on these topics, you can add your unique perspective in order to answer these questions and help potential collectors or buyers.
Above: An article from tanyarussell.com, a renowned bronze sculptor, showcasing expertise on the differences between real and fake bronze.
You can even include images of your own work to further enhance the experience aspect of your content. For example, you could include images of a real bronze sculpture to highlight the markings of a true bronze.
Group Related Artworks Together in Collections
This is a standard practice that many artists already do, but grouping collections of work together based on how they are related is a great way to target more general keywords and potentially improve your SEO.
People tend to search for art in a few different ways, but the main categories tend to be SUBJECT, ART STYLE and ARTIST. Therefore, I recommend exploring ways to group this kind of content together.
You can see the way that Saatchi Art do this below:
They group their main types at the top of the page, like Paintings, Photography etc. Then, they further categorise pieces based on Style, Subject and Medium.
As a solo artist, you generally won’t have the diverse portfolio offered on an art retailer website like Saatchi. However, it is good to drawn ideas and inspiration from. For example, if you sculpt various different animals, you could group your collections into different subjects: e.g. “Horses”, “Dogs”, “Deer” and so on.
E-E-A-T Considerations for Artists
E-E-A-T is a more recent concept in the SEO world that is becoming a greater considerations for those marketing themselves online, particularly with the huge evolution of AI. As an artist, it’s important to understand what E-E-A-T is and why it is a core consideration for your SEO strategy.
I highly recommend reading up on E-E-A-T in Google’s Search Rater Guidelines as well as documentation.
About the Artist Pages
About the Artist pages are an imperative part of any artist’s website. This is not only an essential for E-E-A-T, but also a great way of demonstrating expertise to your audience. It gives you the chance to fully showcase your knowledge and experience to potential clients.
On this page, you can discuss your journey as an artist as well as your educational background or art school and any other achievements and working methods.
In doing this, you can showcase your authority and expertise as an artist, which is great for building out E-E-A-T on your website and setting you apart from other art professionals.
Below is a good example of an Artist Bio on Taylor O Thomas’s website.
Case Studies & Testimonials
Having case studies or testimonials on your website are not only great for E-E-A-T, but they can also help build trust with users who visit your website.
If a collector or buyer lands on your website, you want to give them as many reasons as possible to consider purchasing one of your pieces. Therefore, case studies for commissioned work or testimonials from previous buyers can help engage new customers.
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into how to improve your art website and drive more visitors and potential buyers to your artworks. In addition, I also recommend considering listing your works in online art spaces, such as Saatchi Art, Artfinder, ArtParks and so on.
If you are looking for more advice on how to grow your art website or online presence, I have worked with numerous clients in the art sector and would be happy to advise further. Please feel free to reach out to me by heading over to my online contact page.