SEO For Artists – Get Your Art In Google, Google Images, And An Intro To Getting In Wikipedia (This Is, If You Have Enough Sources)

For artists, SEO isn’t too complex.

SEO for artists usually means populating Google and Google Images when people search your artist name or the type of artwork you make. This means optimizing your website, YouTube channel, and social media profiles to rank high for keywords around your work. For galleries, they usually want to rank for “art gallery” in their city as well as their represented artist names.

Artist Rene Schuler

I will show you how to do all these (and how to get into Wikipedia if you have enough sources). We’ll use René Romero Schuler as an example, an artist I’ve been working with for 5+ years. I spent over 2 days on this tutorial. It’s a bit lengthy, but follow these steps and you should get very good results (and if for some reason you don’t, leave me a comment and I will help you).

How Google Populates Their Results – Google pulls content from different parts of the web. Your website is one, social profiles are another, YouTube videos and thumbnails, Wikipedia, and so forth. Put it all together and that’s what you see in Google. This just means we need to create content in the right places, label images before uploading them, and tweak a few things. This will help you populate Google with YOUR content. That’s what SEO for artists is all about.

If You’re Using WordPress – I recommend installing the Yoast SEO Plugin which I reference throughout this tutorial. To do this, log into your WordPress dashboard, go to your Plugins menu (on the left), then search for Yoast SEO. Install and activate it – we’ll get into it later. It won’t affect your design, and you can always delete the plugin and revert back if you choose.

My Background – I’m the #1 ranked WordPress SEO Consultant in Google, have 3,000 visitors/day, started my career designing WordPress sites for artists, and am Google Analytics certified. Not trying to sell you anything, just assuring you this guide is actually going to work.

 

1. Dissecting Google

In this article I will use René Romero Schuler as an example.
René was the first artist I did work for, is still a client, and a great friend.

Rene Schuler

Search her name in Google and this is what you’ll see…

SEO-For-Artists

Search her name in Google Images and she also dominates…

google-image-seo-for-artists

 

2. Ranking Your Website #1

Use Your Name In The Domain – using an exact match domain (www.yourname.com) is the easiest way to rank #1 for your name. As long as you build out your website with your portfolio, bio, statement, events, and other important pages – you should eventually rank in the top result. If you just created your website it will take some time, but don’t wait around. You’ll want to give Google other “signals” by following additional steps listed in this tutorial.

exact-match-domain

Use Your Name In The Homepage Snippet – each page on your website has a snippet that appears in search results (see below). This consists of your SEO title (the link) and your meta description (the longer summary). Instead of using the default snippet generated by WordPress (or whatever website builder you’re using) you should write these yourself.

Here’s what the snippet looks like…

Homepage-Search-Engine-Snippet

To edit these in WordPress, make sure you have the Yoast Plugin installed (Plugins → Add New → Yoast). Then in your WordPress dashboard, go to SEO → Search Appearance → General.

Search-Appearance-Yoast-SEO

Now go to the “General” tab and you will see fields where you can edit these…

Search-Appearance-Settings-Yoast

Or (in my case), you will see a link to your homepage. Click it to go to your homepage, then scroll down to the Yoast section and click on the “snippet preview” (see below). Here’s where you write them. When you’re done, update the page, then give Google 1-5 days to crawl your site and show these. Other website builders will have a similar process of writing snippets.

seo-for-artists-with-yoast

No Text / Unreadable Text – if there’s no text on the page, all Google sees are your images (which I’ll cover in step 3). However even without text, you SHOULD still be able to rank #1 for your name. But art galleries wanting to rank for “art gallery chicago” (a more competitive keyword) should probably have some text on the page. If you do use it, avoid embedding text into images or using flash as these are unreadable to Google. If you open your website and try to copy some text, but can’t, this means it’s unreadable to Google and won’t benefit your SEO.

 

3. Google Image Optimization

If you go to René’s Google Images you can see she dominates the results (a project I did for her). But it’s actually very easy since the majority of images only come from a few sources.

Before uploading your images ANYWHERE online, always label the file name with the title of your artwork. An example would be: Alpana – 5×5 Oil On Canvas by René Romero Schuler. If your main goal is to populate Google Images when people search your name, include this in the file name. If you goal is to populate Google with a keyword related to your art, leave it out. This goes for images on your website, social media profiles, Wikipedia, and basically everywhere.

google-image-seo-for-artists

Main Social Media Profile Photo + Cover Photo Are The Ones That Rank
Your main profile picture is the one most likely to appear in Google Images, so make sure you include your name in the file name before uploading your main photo AND any covers photos.

Create A Pinboard
Rene’s pinboard is around 20% of her Google Image results . Pinterest is a high authority website so images you upload here are likely to rank high. Create an awesome pinboard with your art and maybe a few photos of you, and you’ll be dominating Google Images in no time.

artist-pinboard

Use this tutorial video which shows you how…

Optimize Images On Your Website
The images on your homepage, bio, and the FIRST image you see when you open up a portfolio page are the ones most likely to appear in Google Images. Each of these images can be “optimized” by using your artist name in the image file name and alternative text…

Image File Name. This is what the image is labeled on your computer before you upload it. Anytime you upload an image to the web, the file name will be associated with that image. To help search engines associate an image with your artist name, I recommend this format:

Artwork Description – Your Name

Alternative Text. Alternative text is also used to describe images to search engines. WordPress does not do this automatically, so you will need to use a plugin like Automatic Alt Attributes (however, this only adds alt text to new images in the visual editor, so you will need to add it to all other images manually). If not using WordPress, look for a field to fill out an image’s alt text, or you will have to edit the HTML to do this (send this guide to your developer if need be):

<img alt=”alternative text” src=”https://onlinemediamasters.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/image-file-name.png” width=”300″ height=”300″ />

Image Speed. There are over 20 ways to optimize images to load faster, many of which you can find in GTmetrix. Many artists don’t like to resize or compress images, but you can still cache images, remove EXIF data, lazy load images, specify the widget/height of each image, use a CDN (content delivery network) like Cloudflare/StackPath, and make sure images are served from the correct URL version (www vs. non-www and http vs. https). Images are usually the heaviest element of an artist’s website! Give my tutorial a try – it should make your site faster.

Image-Optimizations-In-GTmetrix

Upload Images To Wikimedia Commons
About 30% of Rene’s Google Images are from Wikimedia. Just sign up for Wikimedia and upload photos to Wikimedia Commons (here are full instructions). When you get to the uploading process, include your keyword (eg. your name) in each photo’s description. There is a catch; people who click the photo in Google Images will be view this image (not an actual Wikipedia page). If you have enough sources, I’ll show you how to get an actual page in step 6.

If you want to rank higher in Google Images for a keyword other than your name, go to images.google.com. Now start typing in your keyword using the underline character _ to find a specific type of flower in the dropdown menu. Generally, the more specific the keyword, the easier it will be to rank. Once you find your keyword, upload your image to the sources above (social profiles, pinboard, website…). Give it some time and ideally it will rank high. Images that are uploaded to a high authority website (like Pinterest) have a better chance of ranking high.

google-image-keywords

If you are having trouble and an image doesn’t rank high, try selecting an even more specific keyword. Generally the more specific the keyword is, the less competitive it will be. And if a keyword shows up in Google’s dropdown menu, that means people are indeed searching for it.

long-tail-artist-keywords

 

4. Social Media Profile Optimization

Why social media is important for artist SEO:

  • Social media profiles rank high in Google
  • Profile photos are usually shown in Google Images

social-media-image-optimization

The most important social networks are…

Use Your Social Media Profiles Makes Them Rank Higher
Make sure all media profiles are 100% complete and include your artwork (which can usually be categorized into albums, pinboards, etcs). Adding connections and posting ongoing updates send good signals to Google that you’re a legit person/business. If you want to populate Google with your content, using social media profiles is probably the easiest way to do that.

 

5. YouTube Video SEO

YouTube videos can also appear in Google. This is called video seo and looks like this:

YouTube SEO

  • Create your video
  • Label your video file as the keyword, then upload to Youtube
  • Design a custom thumbnail, label it with your keyword, then upload it
  • Write a nice title which should also include your keyword
  • Write a long (preferably 400+ word) description using your keyword 2-3 times
  • Don’t overdo it on the tags, but add a few
  • Get more likes, views, comments by promoting it
  • Embed it on your website (# of embeds is a ranking factor)
  • ALWAYS respond to comments as these will help it rank higher

FYI here’s an updated video of René if you want to hear her story…

 

6. Get An Artist Wikipedia Page

I’ve done quite a few of these, unfortunately Wikipedia doesn’t want the writer to have any connection to the artist, so I probably shouldn’t publicize them. But here’s how to get one.

Step 1: Gather Sources – gather links from ALL online articles you’re mentioned in. These should not be published by you (eg. your website) since that would be considered biased and against their guidelines, which I recommend skimming through. There is no perfect number of sources, but ideally it should be over 15. To find these, Google your name, scroll through the results, then start building your list. You can setup a Google Alert for when someone publishes something about you in the future. Once you have a list of sources, it’s time to write a draft.

Step 2: Write A Factual, Non-Biased Draft – look at the format of RenéLaura, and other artist Wikipedia pages. Follow a similar format: early life and background, works of art, exhibitions, collections, references, etc. It should be similar. Also notice nearly EVERY sentence is cited. You don’t have to copy/paste exact sentences from your sources, but the article should be derived from them, NOT your own words. So just do the best you can to write the article while citing your sources. Also leave out any promotional or exaggerating tone.

Step 3: Hire A Wikipedia Article Writer – it is against Wikipedia’s guidelines to publish an article about yourself (since it’s biased). You will need someone to review your draft, make sure it follows Wikipedia guidelines, and write the first draft in Wikipedia code. You can hire a Wikipedia article writer by signing up for a freelancer account then posting a job for a “Wikipedia Article Writer” (there are plenty out there). Either wait for people to apply, or search for a writer and ask high-rated people if they’re interested. Most of them are overseas, but all the ones I hired worked well for me. Just make sure they have very good reviews.

Step 4: Work With Your Wikipedia Writer To Get It Published – they will tell you if anything needs to be fixed. Just send them your draft, list of sources, and a few images if you’re including a “works” section. Thy will also need your main picture and information that shows on the right side of the page. From here, it’s just a matter of working with your writer. I am not a writer so I can’t answer too many questions about this, but your writer should be able to.

There are plenty of Wikipedia article writers out there:

Wikipedia Artile Writers

 

7. SEO For Art Galleries

If you run an art gallery I assume you want to rank high in Google for your represented artist names as well as “Art Gallery Chicago” or whatever city you’re in. Here’s how to do that…

seo-for-art-galleries

Create A Page For Each Artist – if you search “René Schuler” do you think Google will serve a page showing 20 different artists? No, you need a separate page on your site for each artist.

Optimize Your Artist Pages

  • Use the artist name as the page title
  • Ideally their portfolio should include a lot of their work
  • Label images before uploading them (as the title of the artwork)
  • Use as much unique content as possible, duplicate content isn’t good
  • Use some text on the page if possible, otherwise all Google has are images
  • Write your snippet to sound nice and include their name (as described in step 1)
  • Include unique information, why should Google show your page and not other galleries? This is a huge factor since ‘valuable’ content usually outranks the competition. Google measures how much time people spend on a page and uses it to determine a page’s rankings, so investing time in content is the #1 thing you can do.

Spruce Up Your Google My Business Page

*Google is increasingly taking into consideration activate business owners who: post on Google Posts, respond to reviews, keep special hours updated, answer questions, make it convenient for customers to take direct actions on GMB using business URLs.

Google My Business Logo

Get Reviews (Especially On Google My Business) – all you need is 1 review to get the stars.

Google-My-Business-For-Art-Galleries

Enhance Online Profiles With Moz Local – run your website through Moz Local which helps you fix incomplete, inconsistent, and duplicate profiles. Get your score up as much as you can… these profiles (called citations) are an important part of Google’s local search ranking factors.

Outsource Less Important Profiles To Whitespark – since these profiles are so important, you need more of them. You can either outsource this to Whitespark’s citation service for $4-5 per profile, or use their list of top citations by city. But you should at LEAST have 50 other profiles other than the ones in Moz Local. If you do this yourself, be sure to keep track of your logins.

Follow Google’s Local Search Ranking Factors – I covered the majority of it, but if you’re ever in doubt of how to rank higher in Google Maps and local search results, check Google’ local search ranking factors. This is reported every 2 years by Moz and is the most accurate study.

 

8. Make Your Website Load Faster

You don’t need a developer to do this…

  • Run your website through GTmetrix to see if it’s slow
  • If yes, fast hosting is the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide
  • View these Facebook polls of the top rated hosts to see if yours is at the bottom
  • I use SiteGround, the #1 rated host and recommended by WordPress
  • If you have a WordPress website, sign up through their WordPress hosting page
  • If you only need to host 1 website, use SiteGround’s StartUp plan which is $6.99/month
  • If you need to host multiple websites, use their GrowBig which is $9.99/month
  • SiteGround will migrate you for free (no down time, and you don’t need to do anything)
  • When done, retest your site in GTmetrix and click through pages to see the difference
  • It gets technical, but my WordPress speed guide has many other recommendations
  • If using WordPress, you can hire my developer to fix your GTmetrix report ($40/hour)

I use SiteGround and have 200ms response times with 100% GTmetrix scores and .4s Pingdom load times. Do a hosting check, run your own tests, or click through my pages to see how fast they load. They were rated the #1 host in 26 Facebook polls and are worlds better than EIG (Bluehost, HostGator), Godaddy, and bad hosts who pack too many people on the same server. They’re recommended by WordPress, do free migrations, and I use their semi-dedicated plan.

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

Bluehost to SiteGround GTmetrix

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

Switched To SiteGround Hosting

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

2019 Hosting Poll

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Elementor Hosting Recommendations

July 2019 Hosting Recommendation

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Shared-Hosting-Poll-2017

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Go-To-Hosting-Company

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WP Friendly Hosting Poll

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Favorite Hosting For Elementor

2018 Hosting Recommendations

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Managed-WordPress-Hosting-Poll-2017

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Hosting-Poll-For-Speed

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SiteGround-Recommendation

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Bluehost vs SiteGround

WordPress Web Host Poll

They give me great load times (view my GTmetrix report)…

2019-GTmetrix-Report

One of many threads

Best-Host-Conversation

Here are their plans:

SiteGround-Plans

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🎨 How do I get my art in Google Images?

Label your image file names before uploading them to your website (or anywhere else online). They should accurately describe the image and include a descriptive keyword. Each image should have a description unique to that image. Also try using Wikimedia.

🎨 How do I rank #1 for my name?

Make sure your website and social media profiles are built to establish credibility to Google. Using the Yoast SEO plugin to customize how your homepage snippet appears in Google. Getting links to your website (eg. from press releases) helps. It can take several months for new websites to rank #1 for your name, but keep creating signals for Google.

🎨 How how I get an artist Wikipedia page?

You need sources, whether they are online sources or print. Next, you need a Wikipedia article writer (not you or anyone connected with you) to write the article. That writer should be knowledgable with Wikipedia's guidelines and code. Wikipedia will flag the page if you or someone you know writes it.

🎨 How do social media profiles come into play?

Social media profiles are very important to your SEO since Google pulls images, descriptions, and other information from your social media profiles and displays them in their search results. Make sure you have a Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube Channel, Instagram, and any other social networks you plan to post on. Even if you don't post much, just a few posts can improve your search engine branding when people Google your name.

🎨 What about SEO for art galleries?

Google has it's own set of ranking factors for Google Maps and Local SEO. To rank high for artist names, create a page for each artist with a unique description and portfolio. Use the artist name in the page title, URL, Yoast snippet, and content body. Make sure you create online profiles on Google My Business and other online directories and social profiles.

If you found my article helpful and have a friend who would also benefit from reading it, please consider sharing it with him or her. I’m glad to answer any questions you have about artist SEO, Wikipedia, and SEO in general. Just drop me a line in the comments below. Good luck!

Cheers,
Tom

How To Get Inbound Links: 7 Strategies That Actually Work

Is your website suffering from link deficiency?

You’ve probably heard how important backlinks are for SEO (roughly 40% of Google’s ranking factors). But getting inbound links ain’t easy. Rather than going out and building links on external websites, Google’s Matt Cutts says we should earn links through creative content.

And since part of creating “good” content is making your pages/posts stand out, I only found it appropriate to use a set of brilliant colored pencils to light this page up with some personality. I actually borrowed this idea from an article on Search Engine Journal (only they cheated and used a cute puppy). Either way, making your content visual, useful, and easy to navigate is WHY people will link to it. People don’t link to anything – you need to do something different.

Colored Pencils

Table Of Contents

  1. Create Educational Content
  2. Spruce Up Your Content
  3. Add Videos
  4. Create Infographics
  5. Post Long Content
  6. Improve Your Design
  7. Do More Content Marketing

 

1. Create Educational Content

This is the type of content people actually WANT to link to, they’re not just going to come by themselves. I specialize in SEO for WordPress so most people are looking for help configuring the Yoast SEO Plugin, or how to make a WordPress site load faster. These are some main topics people want to learn and I have spent WEEKS writing these tutorials. They’re the ones I put front and center in my navigation menu and the ones I link to most on my site. If you have a high value keyword but only a mediocre post about it, you should try improving that content.

What happens when you take a medicore post and invest multiple days turning it into the best tutorial online? My Yoast tutorial went from 5 visits/day to 100 visits/day (all from SEO) within 24 hours of republishing it with the new content. Now it has over 190 comments and a TON of links from people who have found it through Google. Of course it’s been ranking on the first page for it’s keyword (Yoast SEO Settings) for years because I’ve invested hours and hours into the content. When Matt Cutts says to “create good content” that’s exactly what he means.

WordPress Speed Optimization Guide

You need to identify key topics and write the ‘ultimate guide’ on each one. Yes it can take an entire week to write just one article, but that’s exactly what it takes if you want an extra 100 visits/day through a single post. Good content WILL pay off especially since Google has started penalizing websites with low quality content. 90% of my links are to my SEO tutorials.

Creating articles targeting high value keywords (educational topics) helps you:

  • Establish long-term, high traffic posts
  • Get links through SEO traffic it generates
  • Be viewed as an authority in your industry
  • Get tons of comments/conversations on those posts
  • Acquire some of the most loyal followers through education

 

2. Spruce Up Your Content

Visual content is 40x more likely to get shared (source) and while nice graphics are obviously important, don’t limit your content to text and graphics. Embed a Twitter status if you’re quoting someone, use a 2 column layout to list pros and cons, embed a video, or use an HTML table of contents like you see in the top of this post to help people navigate to specific topics.

I personally like using 2 column layouts in many of my blog posts. I also know my content body is 680 pixels (width) which means if I’m using a 2 column layout with photos, each photo would be 330(w) if you count the 20 pixels of space between each column. Knowing your dimensions helps you resize images to look better and makes them load faster. Just a quick tip for you :)

680 Pixel Width Rectangle

Although it’s specific to WordPress, my tutorial on how to spruce up content in WordPress has a LOT of ideas for diversifying your content. This includes how to add an HTML table of contents, embed a YouTube video without Youtube’s branding, embed social media statuses, style fonts, and other ideas. Here are just a few ways you can make your content more visual…

Content Ideas

  • Add an HTML table of content to help with navigation
  • Design infographics using canva.com or hire a freelancer
  • Embedded videos, ideally your own if it’s a high value topic
  • Take screenshots (I do a LOT of this since I blog about WordPress)
  • Use Advanced Twitter Search to find tweets to embed on your posts
  • Style links (and their hover color) in your posts so they’re easy to see
  • Use tables, 2 column layouts, buttons, lists, bold items, and other styling options
  • Adding a photo/bio in your blog sidebar so people know who is writing the article

 

3. Add Videos

People love videos (and love linking to them too), but few website owners actually do this. Creating your own videos if definitely preferred if you have the time, but even finding a helpful video on Youtube adds a ton of value to your content, like what Matt Cutts says about links…

 
Listen, I’m an introverted dude who was completely uncomfortable creating SEO tutorials (I still cringe when I hear myself talk). But guess what? I have over 200,000 views between all my YouTube videos and have gotten links, clients, and affiliate sales through these videos. When I write a super important article on my site (like my tutorial on optimizing content for keywords) I will create a video and embed it on that tutorial. Videos not only attract links because people love them, but by embedding videos on your site you are also improving engagement with your content (average time on page) which Google uses to determine your rankings.

Higher rankings, more links, more subscribers, and more sales from people who saw your videos. That’s like a win-win-win-win! Suck it up, get a camera, and start creating some videos.

 

4. Design Infographics (In 10 Minutes)

What else do people like linking to? Infographics. Read this article by HubSpot which says visual content is 40x more likely to get shared. You can create these yourself using a free infographic maker like canva.com or hire a freelance infographic designer for around $100-$400 depending on the graphics, how detailed your directions are, and the freelancer’s rate.

This infographic literally took me 10 minutes to create…

seo-link-building-infographic

I’m still trying to keep up with my videos, but you should be investing time in either videos or infographics – ideally both if you have the time/money. I urge you to create a couple videos or infographics and see what happens. I bet traffic to your post will double, and so will your links.

 

5. Post Long Content

One of the BIGGEST mistakes I see is people throwing up short content (usually mostly text) and wondering why it doesn’t rank. If you want to be on the first page of Google and people to link to you, your content needs to be better (and more thorough) than everyone else behind you. Longer content ranks higher in search engines and posts with 3000+ words is ideal. If you’re using WordPress, the Yoast SEO Plugin counts number of words for you in the content analysis tab, otherwise you can paste your full article in a Google Doc and do a word count.

When I revisit old posts to improve the content, I try add at least 500 words. You can plan out key topics (subheadings), add a table of contents in the beginning with those subheadings, then add additional sections to the article. Do your research and Google the keyword, see what other people are writing about, then include topics you think would make your article better.

 

6. Improve Your Design

People link to websites that look good. This does NOT have to cost a lot of money. For $40/hour you can hire a skilled overseas developer on freelancer.com who can help you design or redesign your site. I’ve been working with the same WordPress developer (Pronaya) for 5 years who is only $40/hour and helped me build over 25 websites when I was running a small WordPress design business. You can hire him by signing up for a freelancer account and searching for user BDkamol. I’ve invested $20,000 in him over 5 years because he’s that good.

pronaya-freelancer

Even if it means migrating your to a WordPress theme from StudioPress (super nice mobile responsive themes), I did this and it this has payed off HUGE for me. My old site wasn’t responsive so I migrated to StudioPress and while I can’t directly correlate it with link growth, it looks WAY better, loads in under 1 second, and is more SEO-friendly. Generally the nicer your website is (and the easier it is for people to find things) to more people will link to you.

 

7. Do More Content Marketing

Once you’ve creating an AMAZING piece of content around a high value keyword and published it, you need to get some eyeballs on it. Here are a few easy ways you can do that…

  • Send out a newsletter
  • Post it on your social networks
  • Join Facebook groups and share it when appropriate
  • Email bloggers in your industry who it would interest
  • Mention people in the actual article (they could likely link to it)
  • Publish interviews and quotes from Twitter to include more people
  • Hold contests, prizes, and discounts in return for sharing your content
  • Create a YouTube video about the topic and leave a link in the description

 

Avoid Hiring A “Link Builder”

You can hire an overseas link building freelancer on websites like freelancer.com and upwork.com but I would NOT do it since this can get you a Google penalty. I dabbled with some (very high rated) link building freelancers and they did get me ranked higher for WordPress SEO consulting and other services. But sure enough, within a couple months I got hit with a Google penalty and my traffic cut in half. It took me several months (and a lot of hard work) to recover from this penalty so do yourself a favor and avoid doing this together.

Besides, Matt Cutts says we should be earning links, not building them.

matt-cutts-link-building

The few “link building” methods that actually work:

 

That all I got! If you have any questions about how to get inbound links to your website, drop me a line in the comments (glad to help). Just remember, people naturally want to link to good content so that is the single most important thing you can do to speed up your link growth.

Cheers,
Tom

8 Top SEO Mistakes Made By Noobies

SEO Mistakes

Homer could have saved so much time if he had just learned some SEO basics.

Long gone are the days where keyword stuffing (and even keyword density) work in SEO. Google has gotten smarter and there’s over 200 ranking factors but with that being said, getting the fundamentals down isn’t hard. I have made plenty of SEO mistakes and spent months “figuring it out” when learning a few principals was all I needed to know. 4 years later and being the top WordPress SEO Expert in Google, I’ve learned a lot since I started.

Here are some of the top SEO mistakes I see…

 

#1. Not Selecting The Right Keywords

Guessing keywords doesn’t work. Doing a little keyword research tells you which phrases people are searching. I like to use Google Autocomplete for this to select long-tail keywords (ones that are very specific) since they have better conversion rates and lower competition.

Google Autocomplete Fill In The Blank

Use Google Keyword Planner to learn the actual # of searches a keyword is getting per month. Before you start optimizing your website, creating a keyword list is a good idea since this will help you align your content/site structure with well-research keywords.

 

#2. Not Separating Product/Service Pages

Once you know your keywords, instead of having 1 page outlining all your different products/services, creating a designated page for each product/service will help you better target each keyword. When people search “Chicago Engagement Photographer” they want to see a page about engagement photography (which should be optimized for that keyword). They don’t want a page outlining ALL your photography services. Google wants relevancy!

 

#3. Not Targeting Keywords In Content (Correctly)

Use your keyword in these places:

  • Page title
  • Content body (2-3 times)
  • URL
  • SEO title
  • Meta description
  • Image alt tag

If you’re on WordPress, install Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin and use the page analysis tab to optimize your content for green lights. However, the SAME content optimization strategies can be applied to any website, so just follow the items in this SEO checklist:

Yoast Page Analysis Tab

 

#4. Spending Time On Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are obsolete in SEO, so don’t spend time using these in your website.

 

#5. Ignoring Sitewide Optimizations

Sitewide optimizations are things that affect your entire website’s SEO. This can also be issues related to your domain name, sitemap, redirects, indexing, structural and usability issues, and other factors that affects your entire website. Here are the common ones:

 

#6. Not Knowing How To Get Links

If your website is optimized and you’re still not ranking high, you probably don’t have enough links to your website. You can see how many links you have using Open Site Explorer. I’m sure you’ve heard this and might ask, well, how do I get these damn links?

90% of my links come from my blog tutorials. People find there useful, so they’re more likely to reference them on their own website/blog/social media. Researching a long-tail keyword for each blog article (#1 in this list) will help you drive additional traffic. Then it’s just a matter of optimizing the content and making article “better” than whoever’s in the top results for that keyword. Longer, more thorough articles usually outrank shorter articles.

Going out and “building links” isn’t as effective anymore. Most links should be earned through good content as well as content marketing (eg. participating in groups, discussions, and forums and linking to your article when it’s appropriate and relevant to the discussion.

Link Building

5 easy ways to get links:

  • List your website in your social profiles and online directories
  • Use links in your pages/posts to link to your other pages/posts (internal linking)
  • Write blog articles about FAQs or topics your customers frequently talk about
  • Share that article with customers and on social media, email, etc
  • Mention people in your article through status embeds, interviews, etc

 

#7. Not Reading The Right SEO Guides

 

#8. Hiring Someone Who Doesn’t Know What They’re Doing

SEO Joke

Your SEO person should know what works and what doesn’t. More importantly, they’ll be honest and not try to take your money for services that won’t yield results. They will help you get your keywords and strategy down, not run your website through an automated SEO tool and send you a laundry list of 100 things to do. This is all too common in the industry.

That’s the difference between an SEO pro and an SEO shmo. I offer a variety of WordPress SEO services but I will NEVER suggest a client pay for something they don’t need.

 

Well those are the top SEO mistakes I see! If you enjoyed my article and found it helpful, please share it with a friend who might like it too. I would really appreciate that.

Cheers,

Tom Signature e1367146208251