One of the best ways to understand how Search Engine Optimization works is to see how it actually affects your website.
We all know that if you own a website or art blog and just read about SEO, you’re not going to see results. That’s a given. You have to DO something, too.
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Taking it one step further, though, even if you implement a new “SEO tip” every now and then, but you don’t track your results, you’ll never know for sure if those tips are even working.
That’s why at Foliotwist we work one-on-one with each of our artists to make sure they have a solid “before and after” understanding of the changes they’re making to their website, and how those changes affect the amount of visitor traffic they get.
And today, I’m going to explain how we do that.
Obviously I can’t look over your website and give you specific advice, like I can with our Foliotwist artists, but just by sharing the methods that we use at Foliotwist, I’m confident you’ll be able to start seeing which of your SEO efforts are working, and which aren’t.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Take a look at your website title.
This is where we start out with all of our artists, because the title is one of the most important things you can control about your website.
Here at EmptyEasel, my website title is “EmptyEasel.com: Painting Tips, Artist Reviews, Selling Art Online and more.” It says everything I want it to say. And your title should do the same for you!
If you were enrolled in our Traffic Booster training course at Foliotwist, I’d just point out your title for you, but in this case you’ll have to find it for yourself. (And don’t worry if you have no idea where your website title is. Lots of people don’t ever realize that it’s important.)
One way to find your title is to go to your website’s home page and look up at the “tabs” along the top of your web browser. Hover your mouse over the tab connected to your home page. You should see your website’s title appear.
Another way to find your title is to type your domain name into Google’s famous search bar. When you see the blue link to your website in Google’s search results, that’s your title.
Please note, your website’s title is NOT your domain name. It’s usually something else. Often artists put their first and last name as their website title, or some combination of their name and their art. Like “Oil Paintings by So-and-So.” But it truly can be anything you want.
OK, got your title? On to the next step. . .
See if your title shows up in Google’s search results
Now that you know your title, it’s time to see how effective your title is at bringing you visitors from Google.
But first, I need to explain something very important:
The only way people will find your home page is if the words they type into Google are the SAME as the words in your title.
So if your website title is “Oil Paintings by So-and-So” you’d better hope that someone out there is typing in the words “Oil Paintings.” Or “So-and-So.”
But it gets harder. . . because thousands of other websites are using the phrase “Oil Paintings” in their title too. In fact, no matter what words are in your title, other websites are using those same words in THEIR titles.
So Google always has to make a tough choice—which website will it show? Will it be yours? Or someone else’s?
Why don’t you find out?
Again, I won’t be able to see the results, but head on over to Google and type any single word from your website title into that search bar.
What kind of results did you get? Do you see your website? Check the second page, or the third if necessary.
Now type any two words from your title and press enter. I guarantee you’ll get different results. Once again, look for your website.
If your title has more than two words in it, pat yourself on the back (you’ve got better odds already) and try searching for any three words from your title.
At some point, you may as well copy/paste your website title into Google’s search bar. Hopefully by then you’ll see your website, if not much sooner.
So what can we take away from this?
It’s fairly simple, really. If your website isn’t showing up where you’d like it to be, just change the words in your title.
Here are my suggestions:
1. Your title shouldn’t just be your name.
Many artists assume that they only need to rank for their name. So they put their name in their title, and call it a day.
But wouldn’t it be nice to get some visitors to your website who were searching for “Oil Paintings”? What if people don’t know your name? Most people don’t!
ALWAYS put some other words in your title.
2. Use words that people would be searching for.
If you’ve made up a name for your style of art, don’t expect other people to type that made-up name into Google. Use words that THEY would use.
Try to think of all the various words that people use which mean the same thing. Then combine them in your title.
For instance, if you’re hoping that people will be interested in your paintings and prints, then make a list of all the words and phrases that people might be using, like this:
• Oil paintings
• Art prints
• Fine art prints
• Art reproductions
And so on. Then try to use several of those words in your title, in a sentence, so that it still makes sense when people read it.
3. The more specific and detailed your words are, the better.
The word “Art” is used by millions of websites. The word “Paintings” is used by hundreds of thousands. “Oil paintings” is slightly better, but still used by tens of thousands of websites.
Why do I tell you this? Because you shouldn’t try to compete for Google’s attention with all of those other websites! You’ll lose. Instead, be very specific about what your art is and stay away from common or vague terms.
If you create watercolor paintings of koala bears, put it in your title. Like this: “Gorgeous Watercolor Paintings of Koala Bears in Nature.”
4. Finally, wait a week and check back.
Google doesn’t make changes instantly. So once you’ve figured out a killer title, upload it to your website and walk away.
Wait at least a week, and then come back and try typing in some of the new words and phrases in your title. I guarantee you’ll see different results than you did the the first time around.
Maybe you’ll realize that some of the words you added aren’t really helping. If that’s the case, get rid of them. Now you know.
Or, maybe you’ll be #1 for one of the phrases that you just added a week ago.
Whatever the case, you can tweak your title again and again to make it better. Depending on the words you choose for your title, it’s possible to greatly improve the amount of traffic you’re getting after just a few months!
Naturally there’s a lot more I could get into today (there always is, with SEO) but this is probably a good stopping point. Hopefully I’ve shared enough to get you started, and once you SEE the changes happening it’ll all start to click into place.
As always, if you’re interested in learning about the personalized SEO help that we offer over at Foliotwist, feel free to check us out or email me. I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have.