This article is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.
Want the ultimate SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tip for artists? 
It's this: make sure that your name is so important, as a visual artist, that Google would be embarrassed not to have your name come up on page one when it's searched for.
Think about it, if someone searches for Rolex, it would be embarrassing if Google didn't deliver rolex.com on page one.
If someone searches for apple, Google's got to put apple.com on page one.
If someone searches for the gap, yep, Google would be ridiculed if The Gap's gap.com didn't appear first.
These examples are what we call "branded" keyword searches, as opposed to "generic" keyword searches. We looked at some branded artist searches last week. (Ed. Note - it was "last week" when I wrote this, sorry, it's been sitting in my drafts for the past 7 months....)
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google said about Google's position on branded searches when asked about the increasing amount of spam on the web,""Brands are the solution, not the problem," Mr. Schmidt said. "Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."
Since you're a visual artist, your name is your "brand", and this is the one (and for many artists, the only) term that you must rank well for in search engines.
And everything you create, write, put online and do professionally contributes or detracts from your brand.
And although old-school "Branding is for Sissies", (stuff like logos, letterhead, business cards, color schemes etc), The New Branding is hard work and gets to the heart of marketing - building relationships and sharing your art.
The good news is that if you share your art online with even a half-decent website or blog, chances are that you will rank well for your name, unless you have a really common name or there happens to be another "famous" person with the same name.
"Branded keywords convert to sales at a much higher rate than non-branded keywords" says Aaron Wall, of SEO Book. Aaron also provides some pretty graphs that shows by just how much branded searches blow away generic ones in conversions.
Make your artwork and hence, your name, so important as a visual artist, that Google would be embarrassed not to have your name come up when searched for, especially in the context of art.
I do realize that this advice, in many cases, is easier said than done.
Now, go change the world.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS - Not that I'm saying anyone should do this, but here's and idea for someone with lots of guts, especially if you're just getting started and your "god given" name is a fairly common one: Paint under a "pen name." Sit at a Google search box and come up with something memorable and fanciful to be your new professional name. For example, I just tried it and found NO Google exact matches for the newly christened great artist "Vincent Viridian." You could own the front page as "Vincent Viridian" within days. Ok, maybe that name's a bit too fanciful, but you get the idea. A radical step, yes, but it's one idea most of your competitors won't be willing to do just to rank well. If anyone has guts enough to try this, let me know what happens . . . .
PPS - I've long suspected that this may be what "Lady Gaga" did...I'm pretty sure that was a non-existent search term before her.
 "SEO" is short for "Search Engine Optimization." SEO is a collection of practices that are intended to "optimize" a website for maximum visibility in search engine results....and I say "search engines" to be nice to Bing, Yahoo and the others - in 2010 SEO basically means you're trying to rank at the top of the results in Google for various searches. My standard disclaimer: SEO is not a great use of marketing time for most artists, and there are a ton of other, more important things you should be doing instead....but.....since everybody seems to continually want to know this stuff and ignores my disclaimers anyway - here we go.