In today’s article I’m going to talk about a seldom-used SEO technique that can be very effective for artists with their own art blog or online portfolio—but first, let me start off with a question:
What do you do when an art blogger (or any website) mentions your work favorably and links to your site?
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It could be an in-depth review of your art, or perhaps it’s just a casual endorsement of your work—either way. You don’t just ignore those instances, do you?
Actually, most of us probably send an email or leave a thank-you note in the comments section to let the author know we appreciate it (both good things).
But there are also a few extra steps you can take to get the most out of that free publicity. . . while doing a good deed for the person who reviewed you in the first place.
Here’s what you have to do:
1. Link to that page—several times, if possible.
If you’ve read EmptyEasel’s article on SEO linking techniques, then you already know that you need other art sites to link to YOU if you want your own art website to rank well in the search engines.
In addition, the more links (and overall authority) that THOSE websites have, the better it reflects on your site. For example, one link from Art.com or the Yahoo homepage and your art blog would have top spot rankings even if those were the only websites linking to you at all.
So if you’ve just gotten a fantastic review from another blogger (whether they’re famous or not) the best thing you can do is link to them from your website to help improve their rank and authority. This will not only help people find that great review, but some of the ranking boost you send their way will also trickle back around to your site through the link they just gave you.
In other words, it’s good for you and good for them.
Now, there are two guidelines to follow when doing this. First, always link to the exact page that contains the review of your art. This helps “target” the search engines to the specific page that’s linking to you, instead of the entire website.
Of course, feel free to add a second link to their home page if you want to—it doesn’t hurt anything, and they’d probably appreciate it.
Second, use some of the same words in your link’s anchor text that they use in their review. For instance, if they’re discussing your recent floral paintings, your link should read something like this: “New Flower Paintings Review.”
This simply clarifies for search engines what the subject of that page is, making it more likely that folks searching for “flower paintings” will find either your website or that review (or both!) in their search results.
2. “Favorite” the review in StumbleUpon.
This is almost a no-brainer, but if you’re a StumbleUpon user, make sure to “favorite” the review of your site. (If you’ve never heard of StumbleUpon, check out this article explaining how StumbleUpon can help you market your art.)
If you use Delicious, Reddit, Digg, Twitter or any other major social site, take the appropriate action and link from those places as well.
Online, these social networks act like word-of-mouth channels—if people love the review, or your art, you can end up with a ton of visitors very quickly.
3. Ask the author to optimize the link’s anchor text.
This last technique is a bit pushy, and more about your site than theirs, so I almost hesitate to suggest it. However, if you know the person who wrote the article personally, or if you feel as though they’d be amenable to it, you can always ask them to optimize the link they made to your site.
You see, folks don’t always link to other websites with SEO in mind. They’ll often write something like “Click here to see her artwork” or “visit his website to learn more” and those links don’t do as much for you as they could.
Sure, it’s still nice to get a link, but it’d be a lot better to get a link that uses words relating to your art, like “oil painting” or “sculpture.” (And for those of you that are interested, here’s why optimizing anchor text is so important.)
So if you’re feeling gutsy, send an email thanking them for the review and then suggest (ever-so-politely) that you’d be thrilled and very grateful if they’d edit the link to use a more specific keyword.
Naturally, your results may vary depending on how well you phrase your request. If you’ve already linked back to the review from your own website, your odds will probably go up as well.
And now for one final tip. . .
There’s a very handy tool called Site Explorer over at Yahoo which will help you find out exactly which websites and webpages are linking to you. All you have to do is visit Site Explorer, type in the URL of your website and hit “Explore URL.”
The first thing you’ll see is a list of all the pages on YOUR website—but there’s also a link at the top of the page which will look something like this: Inlinks (3,471). Click on that and you’ll see a long list of webpages linking to your site.
Many of those sites are probably saying nothing but good things about your art. . . so whatever you can do to promote those pages can only help your cause online.