Getting your website to appear at the top of the search page when someone searches for you by name on Google or Bing is fairly easy. There probably aren’t a whole lot of other artists who have your same name (unless your name is Jennifer King!). But getting your website to appear anywhere near the top of the list when someone is searching for more generalized terms like “seascapes” or “colorful flower paintings” or whatever type of art you create can be much more challenging. With so many artists sharing these same search terms and competing for the top rankings in online searches, we have to do what we can to improve our chances of getting those top spots.
One of the big debates in the marketing community over the last couple of years is how much your social media activity affects your search engine ranking and whether you can try to use social media to improve your position. Representatives from Google have stated that things like the number of Pinterest followers you have or the number of Likes you’ve earned with your Facebook professional page have nothing to do with how that search engine calculates your ranking on its search pages. In other words, there’s not a direct connection between social media and search engine ranking.
However, nearly all the experts say that there are powerful, if indirect, relationships between the two. For instance, the more your social media messages inspire interaction and engagement and the more people share what you post, the greater your online “presence” will be. Also, the more your social media messages encourage people to visit your website, the more traffic you’ll have. All of these things add up to advances in your position on a search engine. And, these experts agree, as time goes on we’re likely to see a closer, direct connection between social media and search engines.
With that in mind, it just makes sense for us to do what we can within social media to help improve our rankings. Here are a couple of simple ideas that I’ve gathered:
1. Use your keywords and hashtags. Both in your artist profiles that you’ve built on each of the social media platforms you’re using, as well as in the art marketing messages you write, try to incorporate your core set of keywords whenever you can. And convert those keywords into hashtags when you’re posting a message on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I know it may seem silly or redundant, but remember that search engines can’t “read” your images, so you have to put concepts into words.
Example: If you’re posting an image of your latest landscape of a California vineyard, write more than just the title or something like “fresh off the easel.” It would be better to write “Fresh off the easel! My latest #California #landscapepainting is called Vineyard in the Valley.”
2. Keep messages short and sweet. My hero Neil Patel at Quicksprout has done some research and determined that the shorter your message is, the more likely people will be to read and click through to your website. The ideal message length is—are you ready for this?—only 40 characters long. That’s super short so it’s okay to go longer, but when you start getting into hundreds of words in multiple paragraphs, you’ve gone way too far.
Example: The example above is fine, but if you went on for six more sentences about the awe-inspiring light and the breathtaking colors and the bottle of cab that you enjoyed afterward, that’s too long. Save that story for the description of the new painting on your website.
3. Encourage viewers to take some action. At least some of your social media messages should include what’s called a “call to action,” meaning a specific directive to the viewer to do something. People frequently don’t think to share or respond to messages, but it’s amazing how often they will if you remind them to take action.
Examples: Invite fans to visit your website by saying something like “click here for a sneak peek at my latest #paintings.” Encourage your followers to spread the word about an event by writing “retweet to share this #artexhibit invite with your friends.”
4. Tease viewers into clicking through. Without a doubt, the best action they could possibly take would be to click through to your website. So, it’s fun to use your social media messages to give them a little taste of the good stuff they’ll find on your website.
Examples: Reveal a small section of a new artwork and tell them they can see the whole thing when they click the link. Show them one new painting but tell them there are a whole lot more in the new series on your site. Give them details about one workshop but mention you’ve got two others scheduled, which are explained in more detail on your website. You get the idea.
In marketing terms, techniques like these are called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which sounds more complicated than it has to be. There are more advanced techniques you could use, but you’ll get pretty far with just these basics.
What other ideas do you have for improving your search engine ranking? What’s worked for you? Let’s connect!