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SEO Not the Most Important Thing

by Clint Watson on 10/30/2007 8:41:15 AM

Today we re-iterate the idea that Search Engine Optimization is not the most important thing for marketing your art.

We know, we know, we beat this issue to death.  But that's because we constantly see artists becoming positively obsessed with the idea of Search Engine Optimization.  And, just to make it perfectly clear again...Search Engine Optimization should be relatively low on your totem pole of marketing priorities.  The problem, for a lot of us is that it's something that makes you feel like you're marketing - it makes you feel like you're doing something important....but you should be doing something more important.

Now, we have some evidence from the Search Engine Optimization industry itself.  Leading SEO firm SEOMoz is known for their great advice, resources and SEO tools.  In a recent Q&A with Rand, SEOMoz's founder, Answers to Questions for Rand - Round 1, he is asked the following provocative question and, please, notice his answer:

"What are 5 of the most successful ways SEOmoz has attracted new SEO business, besides the SEOmoz blog?"

Top 5? OK, Here goes:

1. Speaking at conferences
2. Word of Mouth
3. Publicity through Press/Media
4. Networking
5. SEO! (I know, the irony is thick)

Now, dear artist, if SEO is number FIVE on a list of five for a Search Engine Optimization company, how far down the list would it be for an artist?

So, what should you be doing with your marketing time instead of SEO?  Fortunately, we've been covering that topic in our ongoing series, Web Traffic Drivers and have provided links to those articles here:

Web Traffic Driver Idea #1: Review the Work of Another Artist

Web Traffic Driver Idea #2: Cross-Link with Other Artists

Web Traffic Driver #3: Write Collector-Focused Articles

Web Traffic Driver #4: Systematically Nurture Your Prospects

Web Traffic Driver #5: Generate Referrals

Web Traffic Driver #6: Comment on Other Blogs

Web Traffic Driver #7: Offline Advertising

Web Traffic Driver #8: Post New Works Consistently



Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

Related Pages and Posts:

What REALLY Drives Web Traffic - Word-of-Mouth and Advertising

What if Google Went Away?

Less is More


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Nick Roes
via web
Thanks for providing great info on marketing!

Eric Wilson
via web
Hi Clint,

I'm VERY interested in what you have written. I recognize myself as one of those artists obsessed with SEO after I recently built a new website and noticed that it dropped down in the rankings.

There are so many companies offering SEO and it's a minefield. One company just quoted me a price of $600 per month!

Your words are a breath of fresh air!


via web
I don't agree that artists should not try to improve their SEO rankings or that it should be as low of a priority as you state Cliff. I suppose if a a majority of them follow that way, it makes it a bit easier for those that do put forth at least some effort.

Certainly it shouldn't be the only marketing effort, but a good SEO ranking helps draw a lot more traffic than if you have not. And if traffic is important to your site, it should be one of the important efforts.

Adrienne Fritze
I now offer a "Guided Study" class in article marketing for artists - AND - I am my own student as this particular topic really appeals to me as my art is a combination of both visual work and the written word.

Although there are two (or more) schools of thought about "revealing too much" when it comes to cultivating collectors and fans, I have found in my own career that sharing who I am and what motivates a work or a series of works opens up an opportunity for people to find themselves in both my imagery and words and connect with me. In exchange for my willingness to share, I learn about folks drawn to my work, and very often they end up buying.

Additionally, the power of sharing my story has helped me overcome an extreme case of "shyness" and "stage fright" and I now find myself speaking in front of groups about my both my art AND my business association for artists.

I can see where combining the SEO 5 and Clint's 8 will give me even more ways to effectively share my story, driving people in both the offline and online worlds to my sites, leading to more meaningful sales.

Thank you for the lists. ;-)


Adrienne Fritze
P.S. A big part of SEO is the words you write IN your articles, and WHERE you share them. I post full articles to (need to do more of that), and post 160 character "bites" on Facebook and MySpace that link to the stories I share on my blog and websites.

Having a story to tell, for me, has been the most critical piece in attracting folks to my sites.


becky joy
This is very valuable information. I have been searching for ways to gain traffic and find bits here and there on the internet. I have noticed other bloggers starting about the same time as I have with many more "blog followers". The difference that I have seen is that they make more comments on other blogs and sites. I have subsequently been upping the comments.


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