One of the most effective ways to get attention to your work is to create controversy! Just look at some of the great artists of history and you will find an abundance of it. Today we had some minor controversy ourselves – the folks over at Fine Art Views gave us a gentle slam for suggesting (in our article Artist Website SEO: Dont Ignore The Pink Elephant!) that Google is a major foundation for online art marketing.
First of all, they were a bit nitpicky (their words!) because they took our comments out of context – suggesting that we were saying that optimizing your website for Google is the most important part of (all) your art marketing. I think we were very clear in our article that we were referring to the importance of SEO as a foundation in “Online” art marketing – “online” meaning website, email marketing, search engine marketing, social networking, etc.
Of course, as Fine Art Views suggests, creating great art is the first important thing an artist needs to do – that is a given. And no question that face to face offline art marketing of your work and your art website together with having a great story counts more than anything. You will find all of these themes very much supported in a number of articles on our site.
But when we talk specifically about ONLINE art marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is very important. Most artist’s websites perform very poorly in response to search engine queries and it doesn’t need to be this way.
Today’s art market is very diverse and while a big segment of it is served through the traditional relationship model (especially in the high-end original works) there are also times when a buyer knows exactly what they want and may use Google or Bing or Yahoo Search as their starting point.
Some specific examples are:
- The Market For Reproductions (prints, limited editions, etc). And we’ve often seen buyers of limited edition works turn into original buyers over time.
- The Tourism Art Market – Example: “Bill, I miss Tahiti so much – where can we find a beautiful luxurious Tahiti Ocean Painting for our cabin?”
- Some Commissioned Works & Architectural Works – Example: Where can I find artists who specialize in Architectural Stained Glass Art?
- Specific Subjects – Example: Where can I find an artist who specializes in Owl Sculptures?
Why would you as an artist exclude a potential market or a way of being found when you don’t need to?
From the above examples you’ll also see that it is not enough for an artist’s website to show in search results when a search on their name is performed. It is equally important that their website shows in results when a search on their style of art is made. As an example, an artist who specializes in Owl Sculptures would do well to have their website rank highly in search engine results for “Owl Sculptures” and “Sculptures of Owls”.
Summing up: When you market your art ONLINE, optimizing your website for search engines should be a key part of your marketing plan.