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Understanding Inbound Links: For Artist Bloggers and Art Website Owners

Last week I kicked off my SEO for artist’s series with an article on how to describe your art for Google. In this article I’ll explain why getting other websites to link to your art blog or portfolio is extremely important.

Let’s start off with a simple scenario: you’re an oil painter and you’ve started a daily painting blog. Each day you upload your artwork and write about it so that Google knows what’s going on.

If someone searches for a few of the key words or terms in your blog posts, Google WILL put your blog in the search results—but where? Third? Twelfth? Five-hundredth?

Obviously the closer you are to the top the more people will see your art, so that’s where you want to be. Unfortunately, art websites and blogs without very many inbound links (ie., without other websites linking to them) will always show up farther down in the search results. How far down depends on how many other websites are using the same keywords.

For an oil painter, that can be some pretty stiff competition. Do a quick search on Google for oil painter (or just click the link) and you’ll get 2.5 million results. Search for oil painting and there’s 8.7 million results.

By describing your artwork in-depth as I suggested last week, you’ll already be showing up in more specific searches so your odds are better anyway. Start getting links to your website and you’ll really see an improvement.

But wait—you should also know that some links are better than others.

Good links for an artist website, art blog, or painting portfolio would be from OTHER art websites, art blogs, or portfolio sites. Bad links (or links that won’t really help) would be from any other kind of website.

Google has been getting smarter about understanding link relevancy, so while trading links with just anyone used to work fine, that tactic doesn’t work well anymore.

PLUS, the best art websites to get links from are the ones that are showing up first on Google results themselves. Not only are they relevant to your subject, but Google “trusts” them and places more value on their outbound links.

So how do you get other art websites to link to you? Here are four methods that work.

1. Ask for a link.

This isn’t the best way (it’s often considered annoying), but in some circumstances it will work. Making intelligent, interesting conversation in your email helps, as does already having a link from your own website to theirs.

2. Post a review of an artist (or an art website).

I discovered this quite by accident with EmptyEasel. Each week after featuring a different artist, I’ve seen many of those artists link back to me. That wasn’t my intent, but it’s certainly one way to go about it.

3. Write a “guest” article for an art blog.

Some art blogs and art websites allow readers to send in their own articles. If your article is used, you’ll probably get a link back to your website. EmptyEasel does this on a weekly basis, but I know most other art bloggers would enjoy getting article submissions as well.

4. Be interesting, both in your writing and your art.

This is by far the best way to get inbound links for your art blog or website. Write things that other artists are interested in, or put your most creative artwork online and explain your artistic process. This will bring natural interest from other art bloggers and art websites, and they’ll just start linking to you on their own.

Of course, getting high-quality art-related links and rising to the top of Google won’t happen overnight. If it’s something you’re interested in doing, then set aside some time each day (a half hour perhaps) and work at it using the four methods above. Within a few months you’ll start seeing results.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

Most of you art bloggers probably know by now that getting more inbound links from other art sites will directly affect your website's rank in Google. What you may not know is that you have the power to improve your own rankings with your own links. What do I mean? First take a look at the structure of a website, and then I’ll explain. . . . read more

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