How To Get Your Artists Site In Search Engines
This covers the basics of getting your website into search engines
Getting your site ranking well in search engines is a long term task. It can take several months just to get listed and then, depending on your resources, a lot longer to score well in popular categories. However, if your area is relatively niche, provided you don’t make any big mistakes, it’s quite possible that you will perform well soon after you are listed in search engines.
NB. If you’re not a member of The Artists Web, then you may have to do some extra work, as The Artists Web sites already take care of some aspects of Search Engine Submission and SEO.
Really there are two aspects to consider when ‘optimising’ your website for search engines, what you do on your site and what the rest of the internet is doing in relation to your site.
Your Own Site
Mainly, it is important that your site is properly accessible to all visitors, that the page titles are good, the site generally has good quality content and you have some relevent outgoing links to other sites of interest (see the section below about Search Engine Optimistation). If your site is not properly accessible to search engines, it simply won’t be listed at all.
The Rest Of The Internet
However, arguably of much greater importance is what the rest of the internet is doing in relation to your site! You can have the best website in the world, but if no other websites mention or link to your site then you will be buried at the bottom of the search engine results. You could consider the other websites linking to you, mentioning your site as your reputation on the internet. Even if your site is excellent, if you don’t have a reputation you won’t get many visits, just like if a very talented artist has no reputation then it’s hard to find buyers!
Submitting Your Site To Search Engines And Directories
Do I Need To Submit My Site?
For Artists Web Members, to a certain extent, the submission is taken care of because we link to your site from the Artists’ Directory, so it will be automatically picked up by search engines like Google. But feel free to read on for extra tips.
How Long Does It Take To Get Listed?
If you have submitted your site to a search engine or already have incoming links (as for The Artists’ Web Members), it will normally take about a month before your site appears in search results.
Firstly, it is perfectly possibly to submit your site for registration for free, so please think carefully for paying for any submission services. In reality, you’re mainly interested in being listed in Google, and you can do this for free.
If you do have a marketing budget, it would be wise to reserve it for some other services like Yahoo Directory inclusion ($300) and paid advertising (see below).
How/Where To Submit My Site
The most important search engine submission pages are here:
- http://ask.ineedhits.com/ (might have to pay to be listed)
- http://insite.lycos.com/ (pay to be listed on FAST and Inktomi)
- http://www.whatuseek.com/addurl.shtml (might have to pay to be listed)
Important directory submission pages (“‘Artists Web Members – be sure to submit here’”):
Getting More Incoming Links
Incoming links can influence your rankings in search engines, particularly Google. Google will like your site more if it has good quality incoming links, i.e. links from relevent sites and big well established sites. (This is also why having listings in the directory projects above are good).
Add Your Site To Directories
Apart from The directories above, there are countless other sites you can add your site to, simply by filling out an online form. Maybe you know of some already, but a little searching will unearth some of them.
Sites You Are Already Affiliated With
You probably already know a number of people and organisations with websites, e.g.
- Local art groups
- Arts organisation
- Other artist friends
Ask them to link to your site and maybe offer to link back to them in return.
Blogs, Forums, Wiki’s And Social Networking Sites
Another effective method is to post to other websites and link to your site as part of the article you are writing. E.g.
- Announce your site on Arts related forums
- Always include a link to your site in your signature
- Ask bloggers to review your site (e.g. Blogger:http://www.blogger.com)
- Add informative articles to wiki’s. For instance you could write about your technique or do a brief tutorial and then link to your site as a reference. E.g. [Wikipedia:http://www.wikipedia.org]
- Join social network sites like MySpace:http://www.myspace.com
- See Social_Networking_Websites
Paid advertising can also be effective and has the benefits of normal links. A simple place to start is Google Adwords and Overture.
- Overture $50
- Google $25
These services allow you to test your adverts safely with small budgets. Once you have tweaked them and have established that they are effective, you can invest more.
Search Engine Optimisation
This is a very large topic, but arguably the factors above are much more important, so this section is a brief summary. The external references at the end give a lot more info. Moreover, no doubt with research, you will find lots of ‘techniques’ for SEO, however it is unwise to try and ‘cheat’. With time the search engines change their algorhythms in order to produce results of the best quality – websites that use SEO to the detriment of their readers are often penalised by the search engines.
The Artists Web Members
Again, for Artists Web Members, we have done a lot of the work for you. We ensure your sites are already ‘search engine friendly’, and it’s really just down to you to decide on the content for your website.
Search Engine Friendly
Search Engine Friendly simply means that a search engine can access the content of your site. If your site is [W3C:http://www.w3c.org] standards compliant then you’re most of the way there.
Page Titles And Meta Information
The most important part of a website is usually the Page Title. This is not visible in the main body of the page, but usually appears at the top of the web broswer window. You should review your site and ensure that the Page Titles reflects the content of the respective pages they are on and also the type of ‘Keywords’ you wish to attract.
The Meta Keywords and Meta Description have apparently become of less importance. Again, these are elements not visible in the normal page body, but it’s worth putting together a list of 10 or so words and a couple of sentences of description for each page, if only because it helps you focus on what words you are ‘optimising’ your page for.
With the list of words you have used as your Meta Keywords, it would be sensible to include these in the text content of the page. This should be done in a naturally grammatical way. Do not use ‘key word stuffing’ and repeat the words unnecessarily. Just ensure they appear on the page in a natural fashion.
Similar to the suggestion of writing articles for other websites, not surprisingly, it’s also beneficial to write informative articles on your own website, particularly on the topic you wish to attract visitors for. If you regularly add new content to your site, you will attract more traffic from search engines simply because there is more content which is relevant to people’s searches.
Out Going Links
No website is an island! It is also good to make sure your website is integrated with the rest of the internet. Your visitors will benefit is you have links on your site to other places of interest, a links page often serves this purpose though it’s good to have links where approprate on the rest of your website.
Other Tips And Common Pitfalls
Your domain name is also very important. You should choose a domain name that relates to your chosen topic/keywords, as the domain name is a strong indicator for the subject of the site.
Also for .com .net and .org domains, it is wise to register the domain for as many years as you can afford, rather than one year at a time ([more info:http://www.virtualizeyourbiz.com/articles2/stoneevans-google.html]).
Using An Amateur Web Designer
Although having a friend, student or other amateur to design your website may seem beneficial financially, using a professional who should take into account search engine issues when creating your site will probably save you money in the long term. Amateurs are frequently blissfully unaware of these issues.
Of course, using The Artists Web to create your art website will save you money and give you the peace of mind that it will be search engine friendly.
Avoiding Flash Only Websites
Search Engines (currently) can’t read flash, so your content does not exist as far as they are concerned.
Don’t be tempted to use any of the ‘Secret Techniques’ etc. that you may read about as you may get penalised. Above all, the search engines are on your side and if your website has good content and is search engine friendly you will be listed appropriately.