Image optimization (SEO) of artwork images is very important for artists who promote their art online.  If they are optimized correctly, they may be easily found on Google Image Search.

Many times people who find you on search will click through to your site, especially if they want to see more of your art.

There are many art buyers who use Google Image Search as a reference to find artists, or particular types of art. Typing in a particular artist usually brings you a bunch of results by that artist. Try it for yourself!

Go to Google Image Search now, input my name “Graham Matthews” in the box. You can see quite a few paintings and drawings by myself there, as well as a picture of me. But, the other people named Graham Matthews who are there rank lower.




Now, try inserting “entwined abstract painting”, which is one of my best paintings, into the box.

The results which come up show my painting in the number one spot!



Try the same with your own name and names of artworks to see how you rank.

How did I do this? Well, I was not always using SEO for my images, but after I made a few essential changes, I started seeing my drawings and paintings pop up in search results.

Read on to see some of the SEO (search engine optimization) tactics I used to help others easily find my artworks just by searching for them.


How to Make Images of Artworks Show up in Google Image Search


  • Have a short descriptive file name for your art image

    Create your own Website!There are some important things you must follow here for proper SEO.

    Try to not have the file name too long, no more than two or three words. Google spiders might automatically pin your image as spammy, and not list it at all.

    Use a name that describes the artwork, or what people are searching for. Imagine what a person would type in to find your particular artwork. 

    Here is a formula you can use, and modify to your liking.

    Filename = [title of artwork]-[medium or type of art]-[style].png

    In the case of the above formula, Graham Matthews’ “Squids – Hung Out to Dry” abstract oil painting file should be named squids-painting-abstract.png

  • Use of the alt attribute to summarize your artwork

    Whatever is entered in the alt attribute displays when your artwork cannot be shown in web browsers. Naturally, you will want to make it descriptive of the artwork, so people will clickthrough to see it. Having the alt attribute there also helps with the SEO.

    Here is an example of how an alt tag is inserted into HTML.

    <img src=”picture file” alt=”abstract art”>

  • Proper title tags for your artwork images

    Titles appear when you hover your mouse cursor over an image. The common SEO practice is to make this the same as the alt tags.

    <img src=”picture file” alt=”abstract art” title=”abstract art”>

  • The rel attribute for keywords

    The rel attribute is what search engine spiders look at, to further categorize your image.

    Use a specific search term by which you want others to find your artwork, something that you can imagine them typing in.

    <img src=”picture file” alt=”abstract art” title=”abstract art” rel=”abstract art”>

As you can see above, I used the same phrase for the alt, title, and rel attributes. This is considered a good practice for SEO of images. If you have other words that describe your artwork, simply include them in your content near the image.

Some HTML editors allow you to enter this without a knowledge of HTML.


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But, if you are one who needs help with html to optimize your art images, please let me know by leaving a comment below.

I will do my best to help you!

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  1. Your welcome... thanks for visiting!

  2. Great article! SEO for art/artists is extremely under-appreciated. I am always surprised at how many art sites don't optimize their image file names --even the larger sites fail to do this sometimes. We use all these tips you listed on our blog to rank highly for art-related image searches, and with great success. Also, I think a lower-priority, but still a helpful tip is to consider the text content surrounding an image (just as with links), and making sure it's all relevant.

  3. I will be buying in fully to your SEO recommendations for the images on my website.

    what approach do you use for optimizing the webpage itself - especially in relations to meta title , meta description, and keywords?

  4. @Dan Goldstein
    For posts I focus on these areas...

    Try to have a the same keywords in the post title, and a few places throughout the article. I also try to use variations of the keyword.

    Post titles should not be too long.. no longer than 70 characters..

    I try to write long posts more than 500 characters... the more ORIGINAL text the better your ranking will be

    Headers (H3-H4) for main topics inside of posts. These are filled with keywords also. For this blog, the blog title is H1, post title is H2, all that is left is H3,H4, and H5

    Lists also help with SEO...

    All of these involve text formatting, which also makes it easier for visitors to read.

  5. Great article, thank you! Re alt & title -- I thought they presented an opportunity to use twice as many DIFFERENT words, so many of my alts don't match the associated titles. Should I change them to match each other?

  6. @Jessica Maring
    In this case, the alt and title should match. Alt is what shows up when no image is displayed. The title displays when hovering the cursor over the image. They have different purposes but are used to describe the same image, so the text should be the same.

  7. I just don't want to have the same or even remotely similar website template set-up, colors, fonts & overall design theme as someone else who also uses your website hosting services. I want to know that I can make it all my own and a visitor won't think 'oh she didn't even design her site - she used a web host so that must mean she doesn't really know how to do website coding & HTML formatting...' I want the visitor to be like, 'Oh cool, this chics website design & layout is rad... I like how she did this & that- its unlike any other portfolio showcase I've ever seen!' Basically I just want to know if even though I take advantage of making my life easier by using a web host service to get me all set up & going with my own domain and all... Will I still have complete creative freedom to design the actual site as I like - besides just posting my uploaded work and blogging every now and then....??? Make sense at all?

  8. @Stacy Forez Yes, Stacy... it does make perfect sense to want an original website with a unique template, one which you can change anytime. I wouldn't pay for any service myself unless I had full control over the look and layout.

  9. I am not familiar with alt and rel. Where in WIX do you enter these things? Or can I add them to the pictures in Lightroom? Thanks!

  10. @Jutta Blühberger
    Title your images in the lightroom. This is automatically converted to the alt tag.

    There seems to be no option for rel.. but it can be included by using a html app instead of text or image.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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