Keyword research is vital for success for any art website online. Keywords are what Google and other search engines use to find out what web pages are about. If you do not know what keywords you are targeting, then it can be difficult, if not impossible, to highly rank for them in search engines. People search for artists by typing in certain keyword phrases in Google Search.

build a keyword listFor example, hypothetically, a collector may be searching for a particular type of artwork, and type in realistic Newfoundland paintings of icebergs.

Typing that phrase in Google Search yields over 10 million results, of which my painting series Icebergia Triptych is fourth.

I think I can do better with that phrase, but a quick check in Google Keyword Tool shows that no one is searching using that particular phrase anyway.



Build an Art Website Series
Part1: Naming a Website with Google Keyword Tool
Part2: Fix Pictures in Photoshop - Reduce Image Size - SEO Tips - Watermark Photos
Part3: How to Make a Full Page HTML5 Slideshow with Wix
Part4: How to Build a Keyword List for an Artist Website
Part5: Coming Soon!

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Creating a List of Keywords for an Art Website

I am currently creating a series of oil paintings of fish. So, in preparation, I will create a list based on the keyword phrase fish painting. When I use the Google Keyword Research Tool, I get over 27000 global searches. A search in Google results in about 84 million results. It is highly unlikely I will rank high with this particular search term, but I will still use it and combine it with other words.

keyword tool advanced optionsNow, I will go back to the Advanced Options and Filters, click it, and adjust some of the settings.

Under Locations and languages, I will set it to All Countries. Language will be set to English.

Click Filter Ideas and set it according to the image at the right.

This will limit searches to no less than 1500 and no more than 8000. This will create a list of keywords which have relatively low competition.

First, I click on Global Monthly Searches in Google Keyword Research Tool to yield the top results first. Now, I have Google Search open in a different window in my browser so I can quickly and efficiently check how many results for each keyword phrase. What I am looking for are search phrases with lower search numbers, hence less competition.

I highlight each relevant phrase, then right click, and select copy. Then, I paste it into the Google Search bar.

This is what I came up with the phrase fish painting.

Keyword Phrase Competition Global Monthly Searches Google Search
fish painting low 27,100 84 million
fish painted low 6600 50 million
painted fish low 6600 59 million


This is a very disappointing result, as the Google search results are very high. But all is not lost yet. If I go to the bottom of the Google Search results for the phrase fish painting, I can see some suggestions of what others have searched for. There is only one there which I am interested in: fish painting artist

Here are some phrases I managed to find after a while of typing in different phrases and combinations of keywords.

Keyword Phrase Competition Global Monthly Searches Google Search
fish artwork paintings low 5400 6.5 million
fish painters low 3600 7.3 million
fish artists low 5400 122 million
cod painting low 1600 19 million
salmon art low 3600 54 million
whale painting low 1900 9 million
koi painting low 4400 9 million


Now, this appears to be a low numbers, but if I can get at the top for any of those particular phrases, I have the potential of a number of interested art buyers per month. Using this technique for every single page of my website for different keyword phrases can really add up.

The best phrases I see here with more searches and less competition are fish artwork paintings, fish painters, whale painting and koi painting.

how to search keywordsThe main thing I discovered from this research is that fish painting is a relatively unsearched genre of art, but I know there is a demand, especially in coastal areas and fishing towns.

You can see by the chart above that I began using more specific phrases near the bottom. These are different species of fish (except whale), some I have painted in the past, and some I plan on in the future. Some have reasonable results, so I will use them and may explore them more at another time.

I hope you realized the importance of keyword research. It is something that may take a lot of time and effort. Finding the right keywords is a combination of luck and well coordinated searching. But, the effort will be well worth it. It could be the difference from getting zero sales to multiple art sales per month.


How to Use Keywords in an Artist Website

When you have found your own list of keywords, here is what to use them for.

  1. keyword researchUse them to come up with a website domain.
  2. Use keywords in your website title.
  3. Spread related keyword phrases throughout a page, in content and headings.
  4. Meta keywords and description of your website.
  5. Keywords should be used for image file names, alt tags, and title tags.
  6. TIP: Use them to come up with ideas for artworks, to either find out what is popular or what niches of art are relatively unexplored.

I have already covered some of these areas, and will be writing about the other topics for using keywords for SEO in upcoming articles in this series (including using long tail keywords). If you do not want to miss anything, please subscribe.


Should you use keywords all the time?

Using keywords consistently is a very good idea, but can slow things down, especially when writing blog posts. I recommend not relying heavily with using keywords in blog posts and content. Some here and there is ok, but too many of the same keywords will not only make your content look unnatural, but it is also something that can get you penalized by Google. It is known as keyword stuffing, and is something you should avoid.


Create your own Website!Assignment

Create a new notepad document, name it Keyword List, then paste your keyword phrases in the document. Create several headings and organize them by topic, such as Basic Keywords, Painting Keywords, Drawing Keywords, Genre Keywords (eg. oil paintings of horses) etc.

Don’t expect to come up with a great list of keywords right away, especially if this is your first time working with them.



This is an ongoing process of seeking and experimenting with the right combinations which attract people to your art. But, if you begin now building your keyword list and continue to optimize your artist website with relevant keywords, you will find that the whole process is well worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Some great advice in your article, and love the idea of thinking up a title for your artwork to capture niche search terms, very cheeky! Many thanks for sharing!


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