Stories + Keywords = Search Engine Love

You’ve heard that a great way to drive more traffic to your artist portfolio website is to insert the appropriate keywords into the text of your website, right? (If not, click here for a quick refresher on easy ways to optimize your website for search engines.) That sounds good in theory, but we’re artists. Our websites are mostly pictures, not words. So how does that work? The answer is in the stories that you write for each work of art on your website. I’ve talked about these stories before (click here to read that post), but now let’s put these two concepts together.

Most of the website hosting services designed for artists have templates that allow you to insert a little story near each work of art on your website. Not only are these a great way to connect with your website visitors and reflect your brand, they’re an ideal opportunity for working in those keywords that tell search engines like Google and Bing what your work and your website are all about. This is how you help get your website to show up on the first page of Google when someone is searching for the type of work you do. Time for some examples.

Let’s pretend that I’m Clark Mitchell, fabulous pastel and oil landscape artist from California. I want to write a story for this painting, Wild, Windy Asilomar, and I know that it should be short, engaging, and emotional. I also know that it should include one or two of my keywords, which I’ve identified to be: pastel painting, landscape paintings for sale, original art for sale, nature painting, and California landscapes. As a plein-air artist, I might be tempted to talk about how the day was really windy, and my painting kept getting blown off my easel, and my easel almost fell over, and so on. These are often the types of stories we artists tell each other. But let’s think about the kind of story a non-artist art lover might want to hear. How can I make an emotional connection while still using keywords? I might write something like this:

There are few things I enjoy more than being outside in nature, enjoying the elements, especially when I’m painting in pastels. In this pastel painting of the beach at Asilomar, I wanted to capture the sensation of being there—the warmth of the sun, the feel of the ocean breeze on my skin, and the smell of the salt spray coming up off the waves.

Let’s do another one. This time I’m Andrei Varga writing about my painting, Unsaved Memory. There might be a deeply personal story behind this painting that could come across as somewhat sad, which may be a turnoff to someone interested in the work, so maybe I don’t want to go into too much detail about that. So how can I write an engaging, emotional story using my keywords, which include: figure painting, people painting, oil painting, and original art for sale?

Recent events in my life got me thinking about memories—the nature of memories, what we choose to remember, and what they do for us. Memories add color to our lives, don’t they? I painted this oil figure painting to reflect my gratitude for memory and the way it enriches our lives.

I think you’re getting the picture now. First, latch on to any kind of universal emotion related to the painting that will allow you to engage with someone viewing the art and reading the story. Reveal something about your own emotions, interests, and inspirations. Then, include one or two keywords, even combining them, which will still work for search engines. The number of possible solutions is limitless.

Want to work on one together? Try writing one for Robin McClintock’s painting, I Spy 102 Vessels #5, that opened this blog post. Or post one of your paintings below, and let’s take a stab at writing a great story together. Let’s connect!


  • Hi! I’m so glad you asked because this is definitely one of the services I offer. I would be happy to interview you about your work so I can get good ideas for writing these stories, and then I can write them for you. With your approval, we can post them to your website. Let’s connect via email. Thanks!!

    Jennifer King

  • Hi, thank u so much for sharing this. It is so true that an artist needs a language skill to promot and share ones art work. Well, as the English is not my first language and fairly timid personality I often tend to have a fear to write about myself and my art in English…. I was always wondering if I can get (or pay) this type of help from someone who can appreciate the beauty and quality of my work also has great writing skill in English, and of course art marketing knowledge….? Could u introduce one for me please? Thx.

    Xiaogang ZHu

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