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9 Tips for Artists Looking for More Search Visibility

 

by Jayson DeMers

Most artists these days maintain a website to sell their services, or at least a blog to show their work. But it’s hard to earn new commissions and work opportunities — whether in the form of a music gig or audience at an art show — unless you can generate a steady stream of traffic to your site.

There are many viable ways to earn such traffic. For example, you can pay for advertising, or build a social media audience first. There’s usually a downside, however: Paying for advertising requires upfront capital that most artists don’t have, and building a social media audience can be an unpredictable and even counterproductive mission.

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Advantage

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best strategies for additional visibility, and that goes for artists, too. It’s fairly inexpensive, especially when compared to outright advertising; it doesn’t require a base following to start; it requires no formal expertise (at least, again, in the beginning); and it has the potential to grow your traffic exponentially — both in a local area and on a national basis.

Higher search rankings will almost always result in higher inbound traffic. So as long as your site’s content and conversion rates are in order, attention to SEO is going to lead to greater interest in your services.

Tips for Artists and Musicians

So how can an artist make the most of this strategy? In addition to following standard best practices for SEO, you’ll particularly want to employ the following tactics:

1. Declare a niche for yourself.

Make sure you have a dedicated, specific niche that you serve, and be as specific as possible. This specificity will ensure you don’t have much competition. For example, if you knit blankets, don’t just optimize for terms such as “knitted blankets”; get more specific with terms like “custom knitted blankets for newborns” or “knitted blankets with nerdy design.”

2. Make your services clear on dedicated pages.

Dedicated pages with associated keyword terms aren’t as essential as they used to be, but they’re still valuable for artists and musicians. Most people are going to be searching for your goods based on the type of service you’re performing, so keep at least one or two pages that have rich content focused on what you actually do.

3. Use a personal brand.

Even if you have a regular brand (such as a dedicated store for your products or a band name), you’ll want to use a personal brand in conjunction with it. A personal brand will help you increase the visibility of your content, and increase the appeal of your business for prospective customers.

4. Keep your branding consistent.

No matter what you’re doing — whether it’s on your own site, a publisher’s site, or social media — keep your branding consistent. Sooner or later, people will search for you by name, so you’ll want to keep all your brand names and identity signatures as consistent and recognizable as possible over the long run.

5. Write about your trade.

People are always interested in learning arts, crafts, and music, so take the time to write a blog about your trade. Don’t necessarily give away the “secret sauce,” but you should go out of your way to share your knowledge and expertise. This will make your content highly shareable and visible, which is an easy shortcut to getting more backlinks for your page (and therefore more domain authority to boost your rankings).

6. Incorporate multimedia content.

You’re an artist, so show off the goods! Make sure you’re incorporating plenty of examples of multi-media content on your site, including images, video, and sound clips. Optimize these features with appropriate titles and description tags so they can easily be found through search.

7. Network with other artists.

Get to know other local artists, and network with them online. Work on sharing one another’s content, and cross-pollinate your social media followings (especially if you serve complementary niches). Any boosts in visibility you garner will help you both out.

8. Get involved in local events.

Local SEO is a good shortcut for fast visibility … especially for artists, who usually have a specifically local appeal. Get involved in local events, and write about your presence: You’ll get some love from the event hosts, and you’ll build your relevance for your region. On top of that, you’ll probably earn some backlinks, which make it even easier to land a spot in the local “3-pack.”

9. Attract reviews.

One of the best ways to build local search visibility is through positive online reviews. The more reviews you have on third-party directory sites, and the more highly rated they are, the more likely you’ll be to appear in the local 3-pack. Publicize your listings in these areas, and try to optimize your reviews (without soliciting them directly).

Keeping Things Affordable

Plenty of SEO agencies and professionals can help you earn higher rankings, but they may cost several thousand dollars a month or more. As a budding artist or musician, you may not have access to that kind of cash.

Instead, focus on building your rankings as frugally as possible. Spend a few hours learning the basics of SEO on your own, and focus on the tactics you can do effectively on your own. You may run into issues, and eventually find it helpful, even necessary, to enlist professional services; but to get started, you don’t need much. Prioritize the fundamentals; you can always build from there.

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6 Ways to Optimize for Searches Other Than Google

 

by Jayson DeMers

When people think about search engine optimization, they usually want to know how to make their site rank higher in Google. Every business has a website and Google is responsible for two-thirds of all searches online… so if you’re going to rank for one search engine, it should be Google.

But Google isn’t the only search engine that people use, and it’s not the only one worth optimizing for — especially if you serve a particular niche or operate within a certain industry that may generate traffic from another angle.

Alternatives for Optimization

Depending on your line of work, you might wish to include these search alternatives in your optimization strategy:

1. Amazon.

As BigCommerce explains, Amazon’s number-one goal is to make buyers happy — which means giving them more of what they want, and a better experience overall. To begin with, how you optimize your product listings plays a huge role in how you’ll turn up in search. Make sure to fill out all categories, tags, titles, and descriptions as fully and accurately as possible, so you’ll be viewed as a relevant entry. From there, your best bet is to garner lots of validations. For example, you’ll want to amass inbound links that point to your product, and you’ll require lots of positive reviews from users to earn higher rankings.

2. eBay.

This site works much the same way Amazon does, so it’s an excellent target for optimization. Your product descriptions and images will play a huge role in your rankings, as well as your seller rating and reputation. Because the listings are more temporary, though, links won’t help you as much here.

3. YouTube.

According to Search Engine Watch, the best YouTube optimization strategies start with keyword research: You’ll create and name your videos according to YouTube’s most popular searches. Make sure all your videos are named concisely and accurately, and pay the same level of attention to your categories, tags, and channel descriptions. The number of likes, comments, and views you attract also plays into your ranking, so encourage your audience to participate in these areas.

4. Etsy.

This is one of the few online marketplaces that goes out of its way to help sellers optimize their listings. Ideal for crafters and artists, Etsy encourages sellers to choose strong keywords, optimize their shop titles and descriptions, and earn plenty of backlinks for their products (not to mention maintaining a good reputation in the community).

5. Bing.

Google still dominates, but Bing is making a respectable effort, and currently gets more than 20 percent of all searches on the web. Bing comes as a default with most Microsoft products (because it is one of them). As a result, it tends to be more popular with older demographics. If you’re targeting older populations, this makes it a key tool for optimization. Bing works in much the same way Google does, but with a few differences: It doesn’t favor backlinks as heavily, it prefers old, established content to fresh material, and it’s a bit more literal when it comes to keywords and titles.

6. DuckDuckGo.

According to Neil Patel, DuckDuckGo’s greatest advantage is the privacy it offers to users. It doesn’t track or keep user search history the way Google does, so if you want to optimize for it, you’ll have to take a different approach. DuckDuckGo users are concerned about their privacy, so if that sounds like your target demographic type, focus on semantic search queries on a national level. DuckDuckGo’s local search isn’t as robust, but it does try to intuit user intention the way Google and Bing do.

How to Decide What’s Worth Optimizing For

If you’ve looked at this list and wondered how you’ll find time to optimize for all of them, relax. Not all businesses will benefit from optimizing for all these channels. You only need to focus on the two or three — or possibly just one — that best suits you and your clientele.

For instance, if you don’t produce a lot of videos on a regular basis, you don’t need to optimize for YouTube. If most of your business comes in via Amazon, you can focus your efforts there instead of eBay.

The good news is, most optimization standards work more or less the same, with an emphasis on quality and relevance for incoming searches. Apply those general principles no matter what kind of content you’re producing, and you’ll get a head start in every optimization application–even the ones you aren’t directly pursuing.

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5 SEO Strategies You Can Implement in Real Life

 

by Jayson DeMers

For the most part, everything you need for search engine optimization (SEO) can be completed online. There are two main areas of optimization to worry about: on-site optimization, which is the ongoing publication of content that introduces new material to your site, and off-site optimization, which involves building relationships and links that point inward to your domain. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can work on these two areas and see progress over time.

However, there are also some optional in-person or real-life strategies that you can use to boost your SEO campaign. For traditional businesses, this is an exciting possibility.

Real-Life SEO Strategies

Try using some of these in-real-life strategies to improve your SEO campaign’s performance:

1. Advertise your content through print.

The content you develop for your site doesn’t have to remain exclusive to your site. After all, you spent a lot of time on it and it’s appealing to your target audience. You can use your best copy in printed brochures, or use printed ads to direct your key demographics to your website to view your most popular materials. This will generate more interest in your on-site content from new demographics, who will then be more likely to share, comment, and engage with it, driving your visibility and effectiveness up.

2. Network with more people.

You could also work on attending more professional networking events and meeting more people when you get there. These are easy opportunities to meet more people who are interested in expanding their personal networks of contacts; almost everyone you meet will be willing to connect on social media, which will instantly increase the diversity and volume of your audience. Assuming you meet 10 new people at every event and attend one or two events a week, you could easily rack up 1,000 new followers a year–and that’s not even counting the additional contacts those new contacts will give you.

3. Get mentioned in major publications.

It’s also a good idea to try and get your business featured in local publications, even if they don’t have an online presence. Though newspapers are slowly dying, they remain a viable medium for some demographics and can be easier routes for mass visibility than some online sources. Do noteworthy things in your community and build a relationship with at least one journalist who works for a local publication. There are a few easy ways to find a reporter’s email address, so pitch them a few interesting ideas and get yourself featured.

4. Attend local events.

You could also increase visibility for your business by attending more local events. For example, if there are street fairs and festivals going on, make sure your business is represented at a table or even help with the event. This will help build your notoriety in the local sphere, which means you’ll attract more local followers, get featured in more local publications, and earn more online visibility and local relevance, even if you aren’t directly trying to build it. Stay plugged into your community to learn what’s going on at any point in time, and don’t be afraid to get things started–odds are, other business owners would jump at the chance to get involved with a budding event.

5. Draw more people to your site through traditional ads.

Remember, more traffic is always a good thing for SEO. It means that more people will be reading, sharing, and linking to your content, you’ll develop a bigger reputation, and as long as they’re engaged, Google will view your site as having a higher domain authority. You can also drive traffic to your website through traditional advertising methods, such as TV spots or billboards. These tend to be more expensive than long-term digital investments like content and social media, but they’re worth it if your business needs the extra SEO boost from an offline angle.

The Importance of Creativity

Why bother with these in-person strategies instead of just relying on the known off-site and on-site tactics? At first glance, these tactics may seem like they add extra effort without much of an extra payoff, but there’s always an advantage in pursuing more creative SEO strategies.

Your biggest threat in SEO is competition; one competitor outranking you for an important keyword term could disrupt your entire campaign. Therefore, you’ll have an edge when pursuing any tactic that differentiates you from your competitors.

As long as you keep targeting the right keywords, the right audience, and the right overall direction, these creative additional touches can be just what you need to get ahead. Keep challenging yourself and your team to pursue these new directions and help your strategy stay alive.

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7 Ways to Coordinate Your SEO Team’s Efforts

 

by Jayson DeMers

Search engine optimization (SEO) demands input from many different teams
and individuals at once; on the surface, it may seem like a
straightforward strategy, but it’s actually an amalgamation of efforts
from multiple different areas.

For example, your strategic
directors will be busy delving into keyword research and new competitive
opportunities, while your writers work on new content, your social
media experts work on promotion and audience building, and your account
managers or team leads analyze your results and keep your clients or
bosses happy.

All of these sub-groups of people will be trying to achieve their individual goals while trying to remain focused as a team.
After all, they all share the same ultimate vision–boosting your
rankings in search engines. Wrangling this chaos into something
organized can be extremely difficult, but there are some strategies that
can help you do it.

Order in Chaos

Try using these strategies to keep your SEO team better organized:

1. Keep your team on the same schedule (mostly).

Even
though your team may not be working in the same location or even on the
same projects, it’s a good idea to keep your team on the same
schedule–for the most part. Working during the same hours will allow for
the nearly constant possibility of communication, so you don’t run into
the problem of employees reaching out to others when they’re
unavailable. Alternatively, you could use shift planning software to schedule your employees’ shifts and availabilities on some kind of rotating basis, allowing key periods of overlap where conversation can freely take place.

2. Use cloud-hosted software.

Hopefully by now, most of your systems are already in the cloud. Cloud-hosted software is accessible anywhere at any time–provided
you have the credentials and an internet connection. This means all of
your employees will have mutual access to the same files, the same
project documents, and the same communication threads as everyone
else–no matter what device they’re using or where they’ve set up shop
for the day.

3. Set clear expectations.

One of your
most important strategies will be setting clear expectations from the
beginning. Let your employees know things like the chain of command,
proper procedures for uploading finished work, approvals processes, and
how you expect goals to be reached. This will help keep everyone on the
same page and thinking together like a team with a unified goal.

4. Set clear communication standards.

You’ll also want to set clear communication standards for your team to use.
For example, if you use project management software, should all of your
team’s discussion stay relegated to the appropriate project within the
software? Or should they use instant messaging for the discussion, and
the project management software to document key points of interest?
Don’t wait to establish these standards; be proactive here.

5. Appoint key leadership positions.

A
team is only as good as its leader. While you may serve as the overall
team leader, you’ll also need to appoint key positions of leadership
among your teammates. For example, who has the last say on content
getting published to your site? Who’s ultimately responsible for various
projects hitting their deadlines? Establishing some kind of hierarchy
will help keep all your workers in line.

6. Document your workflows.

It’s also beneficial to formally document all your workflows.
Setting clear expectations, proactively, will go a long way in making
sure your team stays working together and following the same procedures,
but having a documented reference source will prevent those standards
from evolving in new directions over time (it will also help solve any
disputes that may arise within the team).

7. Set both individual and group goals.

Finally,
you’ll want to set goals on both an individual and group level.
Obviously, you want your employees to work together, so you need a
group-centric focal point to unite them, but you also want to cater to
the strengths of each individual with more specific, employee-centric
milestones.

Complicating Matters

As if SEO and team
coordination weren’t complicated enough, there are even more factors
that could cause headaches for your business. For starters, not all your
team members may be full-timers. You may also have independent
contractors, interns, and/or remote workers all pouring in their efforts
simultaneously. You may also have staffing changes, delegation, and
overlapping responsibilities to contend with.

The truth is, coordinating your SEO team will never be easy or straightforward, but it will make more sense when you commit to improving your approach.
As long as you keep refining your methods and learning from your past
mistakes, you’ll keep improving, and you’ll eventually end up with a
stable system that keeps your workers happy and your results consistent.

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