I started promoting an artist’s online portfolio site one week ago. I have no prior experience in this area. This is about my struggle to move the site up in search engine results.
In this first week I've optimized the site for search engines, registered it with directories and search engines, promoted it on free portfolio sites, social media sites and online sales sites. I've also eliminated some of my competition in the search engine results.
You might think that having a website with your name as the domain name, your name writ large at the top of the page and a bunch of photos of your work labeled “ ‘Title’ by Your Name” would be enough. You would think that when you typed your name into a search engine, your site would be the first on the list. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.
So, follow along as I promote a new portfolio site on a new domain and improve search engine results. I’ll be irregularly posting updates on my progress.
Search Engine Optimization
My first step was to re-educate myself about Search Engine Optimization. It’s been twenty years since I built a website. Brian Dean, creator of Backlinko.com has the best videos on the subject that I have found. His entire YouTube channel is packed with useful information.
After applying all the Search Engine Optimization possible to the format of a clean and simple portfolio site, I began the process of promoting it. You want as many sites linking to yours as possible.
First Steps to Search Engine Listing
The first thing I did was old school. I went looking for directories. There are a huge number of these and it’s easy to find lists of directories. Skip any that want payment, or even a link back. It’s not worth it. You could probably skip this step altogether these days with no loss.
The second thing I did was list my website with Google, Bing and Yandex. This is a rather involved process requiring you to validate your ownership of the site by adding text files to your site’s directory.
I used Hostwinds for this website. They have help chat window to connect to real helpful people. I had a minor issue with this step and got it resolved in under a minute. It's a tremendous advantage to a beginner like me.
The next step was to sign up for as many free online artist portfolio sites as I could find. At this point it’s still an ongoing process. Again, don’t pay any membership fees. There are too many free opportunities.
It seems redundant to sign up for portfolio sites when you’ve paid to have your own portfolio site under your own domain. There is a point. Most of these sites allow you to link back to your own site, or they allow you to link to images on your own domain. Even if they don’t, they are still a place to post your work. Make sure you always use your name in the description and tags when you post your work.
Many of the online portfolio sites are Print On Demand sites. They sell prints of your work and pay you percentage. Some of them sell your images on coffee mugs, throw pillows and T-shirts. Most will host your images even if you opt out of their sales. I take advantage of the sales opportunity. It’s not much, a dollar or two per item, maybe ten dollars for a large print. But that’s ten dollars in the Paypal account in exchange for uploading an image. Do be careful and read the terms on each site. Never agree to any exclusive deal.
I use a link to my FineArtAmerica account from my Artist’s portfolio site to sell prints. It makes the whole process very easy.
If you haven’t already, sign up for Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and any other social media that will let you easily share photos and links.
Pinterest is an especially good resource for artists. I recently did a search for one of my keyword phrases and a Pinterest board came up third in the results. I contacted the owner of that board and asked if I could post original artwork on it. He agreed and instantly, some of my artist’s work is in the top of the search results for my selected keywords.
Well established social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are always going to rank high in a name search. Make that work for you. If you have these already ranking high in a name search, clean up the accounts and make them work for you. Post photos of your work in progress, share any upcoming shows. And post a link when you ad a new artwork to your portfolio.
Ebay, Etsy, Amazon
I use Ebay, so I posted several original artworks for sale. I use the same rules as for any other site I post artwork on. The artists name is in the photo filename, the title and description. Ebay ads get automatically re-posted all over the internet. I see the same thing happening with Amazon and Etsy ads. You would have to work really hard to match the exposure these sites give you.
Knocking Out Some Competition
If you do a name search, you usually come up with results for sites offering to sell personal information. (United States. This practice is illegal in most of Europe). These results are difficult to top in the search results. The sites have been professionally optimized. You can however, erase them. They all have some method for you to have your information removed. I’ve been actively erasing these. With some of them, it may take persistence to get your information taken down. Be aware that search engines cache results, so you may see these come up for a while. Reputation Defender has a good article that will serve as a primer.
Results This Week
So, that’s been my first week of promoting a new portfolio site. As of the time of this writing, searching Anastasia Overton on Google brings up eight links either to social media or to gallery/print on demand sites. A Google Image Search returns either profile pictures or images from online galleries or print on demand sites for six of the first ten images. A Bing search brings up the portfolio site (http://anastasiaoverton.art/index.html) and useful links to the work/social media in five of the eight slots on the first page. I still have yet to see a single Anastasia Overton image show up in a Bing Image Search.
I’m seeing my best results with GotArtwork.com, FineArtAmerica.com, and Art-3000.com. They showed up in a name search within 48 hours.
What I’m working on this week:
More portfolios, I try to fill out at least one profile and portfolio every day. I think it will be interesting to see which ones pop up in the search results.
Using social media to promote the site. If you’ve read this far, I’ve been very successful at it, thank you.
Figuring out why my images are not coming up in Bing Image search and how to fix it.
There's more to the story.
Follow me to the top of the search engine ranks!