As I mentioned on Sunday, today’s article contains another one of my SEO tips for artists looking to boost their rankings in the search engines. All it takes is the ability to highlight keywords in a text editor or blogging program and then click bold or italicize.
Emphasizing keywords for the search engines
If you spend much time on EmptyEasel you’ll notice that I (like most writers) occasionally use bold or italic text to emphasize specific words. That’s not just for looks, however—it also influences how search engines rank my pages.
We already know that search engines look at several elements of a page to determine which words it should take the most note of. I’ve already written why words in titles and keywords in the meta-description are viewed as important, but it’s also good to realize that bold and italic words are important to Google too.
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense for this to be the case—after all, bolding words makes it easy to see the most important words or phrases in an article—the “big idea” of an article, sometimes.
Italics are important as well, and for two reasons. Yes, italicizing words gives them extra emphasis just like bold words, but italics are also traditionally used when talking about proper titles of things like books, movies, and of course, artwork.
This works out great if you’re posting your artwork online, since that gives you a very natural way to use italics already. If you’ve been using quotes for your titles until now, you might consider switching to italics to gain that extra boost in the search engines.
For those of you that title your artwork Landscape No.3, for example, and don’t want to waste time trying to rank for such a competitive word like “landscape,” consider using quotes for the title and then including a short descriptive sentence of that particular artwork in italics right afterward—perhaps the subject, colors, or feelings in your artwork, just to give the search engines something more specific to go on.
Common-sense advice for using bold and italic text
Don’t overuse bolds or italics. Creating entire paragraphs in bold or italic text will simply nullify their value. In general, if you just intend to highlight a particular keyword, once or twice is enough.
Put your readers first, and SEO second. This just means to use bold and italic text as people expect them to be used. Bold words may be followed by a definition—italics can often be used instead of quotes. The fact that you’re emphasizing important keywords at the same time is like killing two birds with one stone.
Pick words found in your title, meta, etc. Be consistent—those bold or italic keywords should also be repeated in your title, throughout the meta description, and even in the anchor text of links leading to your page.
How much will emphasizing your keywords help? It’s hard to say for sure, but I do think it’s important. When optimizing your art blog or portfolio for the search engines, it’s all the little things (like bolding a few keywords here and there) that eventually add up and make a difference.
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