How to Research the Best Art-Related Keywords

Okay, so you know all about keywords, right? You know that keywords aren’t really words, they’re phrases. And you know it’s a good idea to have a list of keywords related to your artwork that you can work into your website, your blog posts, your online galleries (like and, and even your social media posts. Yeah, you know that keywords are super important for attracting new people to the art you have to offer.

But which keywords? 

What are the best keywords for you to use to promote and market your art? If you use keywords that are too generic, like “paintings” or “art for sale,” your artwork, website, post, or pin will be one of literally millions of results that pop up when someone searches for those keywords. On the other hand, if you go too specific or choose unpopular keywords that no one’s really using, then your art, website, posts, and pins may not show up at all. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to research good keywords, and you don’t have to pay for one of the online services to do it. Here are three ideas:

1. Search engines. Because search engines like Google give a searcher so many, many results for most searches, I suspect that fewer and fewer people are starting their search for art on search engines. But they’re still a great place to research keywords. For instance, when I go to Google and ask it to search for "wall art for sale," it tells me that there are 23,000,000 results. In my opinion, that means this keyword is too generic, and that using this broad term won’t really help people find the artwork I’m offering. 

But, if I scroll down to the bottom of the first page of search results, look what Google suggests: a great list of ideas for more specific, related keywords, some of which just might work for the type of art I’m trying to describe. We know that these are popular search terms (keywords), otherwise Google wouldn’t be recommending them.


2. Social media platforms that double as search engines. Two social media platforms that run on keyword searches are YouTube and Pinterest, so I’ll use Pinterest as my example. Here again, I’ve typed in what I know is an overly generic keyword, but notice how Pinterest immediately starts making suggestions to help narrow the search. 

Once you've hit the "enter" key to get Pinterest's search engine to go to work on a keyword, notice how the system also provides a list of additional keywords just below the search box to help narrow the search even further. Again, Pinterest is basing these suggestions on popularity—on the number of times other people have searched for these combinations of words—so you can count on these more specific keywords as being good, useful choices. (I wouldn't have thought of adding "awesome" to my keywords, but maybe I should since people are obviously using this word when they search for art!)


3. Moz. There may be other free keyword search tools out there, but one I turn to occasionally can be found on Click on Free SEO Tools in the menu that runs along the top of the home page. On the next screen, click on Keyword Explorer.


You can only research two keywords a day, but when you do, Moz provides a wealth of data on all the keywords related to the one you searched for. Not only does it give you a ton of great suggestions, but it also shows you which are most popular. Just look at the column marked Volume, which is shown on the far right in this image. If the keyword gets a "no data" in Volume, it’s a dud. It means people rarely, if ever, search for this term, so there's no point in using it. If it has a huge number in Volume, it’s probably too broad and generic. But these terms that fall into the hundreds and low thousands look like sweet choices to me.


Once you've researched and identified the best keywords to represent your artwork, you'll want to follow two other quick tips:

  • Only use the keywords that really relate to your artwork. People get annoyed when they search for a certain type of art, and the wrong choices pop up because the artist used the wrong keywords.
  • On any given work of art, use a combination of somewhat generic keywords (ones that probably apply to your entire body of work) and then a couple of super specific keywords that relate to just that one piece. So, for example, if you have a landscape painting of Venice, you might use both "European street scene painting" and "Venice canal painting." It's a good way to make sure all your bases are covered.

What other tips can you share for researching and using keywords to market your art? Let's connect!

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