This article is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.
"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 want to know this stuff and ignores my disclaimers anyway - here we go.
In my last article
, I outlined some of the factors that we think Google
uses to determine how to rank search results. This needs some more discussion. After all, if you're going to "optimize" your website for something, it helps to know the factors you're optimizing for.
What you need to understand is that there are actually two types of SEO - on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On Page SEO vs. Off Page SEO
On-Page SEO refers to things that you can control on your website.
It is easier because,well, you can control everything on your website. You don't have to get other third parties involved. Unfortunately, for most searches, on-page SEO is not nearly as important as the other type of SEO: Off-Page SEO.
Off-Page SEO refers to things that other people do and/or say about you and your website.
It is much more difficult because you have to convince or entice other people to do things....to take actions......that will help your website rank better. Most SEO experts agree that Google places a lot more emphasis on the factors we target with Off-Page SEO
(There are sometimes exceptions to this in the case of a new search term that Google has not seen before).
So let's re-organize (and add to) our list, dividing it up between on-page and off-page factors.
On Page SEO Factors:
- Do the search terms appear on the page? If so, where?
- Do the search terms appear in the title tag of the page?
- Is the IP Address hosting the domain trustworthy...or is it known to host spammers?
- Does the content of the page appear to be copied from somewhere else?
- Does the content of this page appear multiple times on the domain? If so, how do I know which copy to show in the results?
- Do the search terms appear in the domain for this page?
- Do the search terms appear in the URL for this page?
- Does the page appear to be engaging in malicious or manipulative practices?
- Does the page appear to be buying links? - if so - Google will penalize the site
Off Page SEO Factors:
- How many external links are pointing to this page?
- Do the external links come from a diversity of sources? *
- How old is the domain that this page resides on?
- Do the external links come from sources that Google trusts? *
- Do the external link sources have lots of links pointing to them?
- Does the anchor text of the external links pointing to the page contain the search term? *
- Is the domain one that Google trusts?
* The asterisks indicate the most important factors in SEO for most searches.
As you can see, the top three factors have nothing to do with anything on your page that you can directly control! See why I say SEO is not a great use of your time? The time an energy you spend trying to get external links with the right anchor text could pay off more dividends if spend crafting a great email newsletter to your fans (and might get you some links anyway!).
Anyway - I thought it would be good before we embark on this journey to have an overview of what we're trying to accomplish.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic