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Is Your DIY Website Design Causing You Problems with SEO?

SEO Hero

Is Your DIY Website Design Causing You Problems with SEO?

The most commonly discussed element in SEO is backlinks. For a long time, backlinks were the central feature of SEO, determining whether your website design would achieve top rankings. Backlinks are still a crucial factor in the process, but there are other parts that play a key role. How does a DYI Website Design stand up against a Custom Web Design?

On-page optimization has grown in importance in recent years, with a negative user experience damaging any chances of long-term success. If your website has not been optimized properly, Google can detect this both through their crawling and the response of searchers who visit your pages. So, what are the website factors you need to consider for effective SEO?  Want more info on On-Page Optimization?

Speed

Website loading speed is not as commonly discussed as it should be. The time it takes for a page to load has a huge impact on reported user experience, with a matter of seconds between a positive and negative impression. Google have a page speed tool for testing loading times, while there are additional alternatives helping to get a broad picture. In the result of a problem, look at image optimization, quality of hosting, and using a CDN like Cloudflare.

You can check your websites speed over at GTmetrix and then check out the 6 reasons why website speed matters.

Content is King Bill Gates

Content

The content on a page is of great importance, but it doesn’t need to be the same style in every instance. The best type of content for SEO will provide the bulk of searchers with exactly what they are looking for. This concept is called search intent.  For example, some keywords will require a detailed article that goes into a lot of depth or niches only require a step by step guide that can be short and to the point.  At the end of the day what is the traffic to your website looking for in return?  Do they want quick answers?  Or do they want to gain a deeper and thorough understanding of a specific subject.  Get to know your traffic and your target.

Other queries, though, might only require a short answer to satisfy the search query. It is helpful to use your target keyword within the title and copy, while also including related terms. Dwell time is another SEO factor, so elements like video content can help increase the time spent on site.

mobile-first-design

Mobile First vs Responsive

Google has switched to mobile-first indexing, reacting to the increasing popularity in mobile usage. If your site does not offer an optimal experience for mobile users, you will struggle to maintain a great ranking. Most modern sites will offer responsive design, so they work across all types of devices. It is important to test your site using different devices, though, and run pages through the Google Mobile-Friendly tool. A great mobile experience won’t just replicate the desktop, but will instead be catered to the mobile browsing experience.

Here at Green Thoughts Consulting we find many clients have out dated and non-mobile friendly websites.  Having a website in this state is hurting you more than you know.  It’s simple really.  How much do you make on  your average sale?  If a client ready to buy comes to your site and can’t see it due to issues with mobile etc they bounce or leave and then find a competitor.  If we can redesign your site and get you just 2-5 new customers due to the design changes and optimization what is the worth to you based on your average sale?

Test your websites mobile friendliness with Google’s very own test here.

Social

Social media is a useful tool for promoting your website and blog content. Users might like and share your posts, leading to others seeing your content. This process can lead to greater visibility and engagement, creating backlinks for your site. The importance of social media for SEO is still debated.

However, the level of importance Google places on social links is not worth worrying about as there are plenty of indirect benefits to social promotion. The targeted backlinks you can gain on other platforms like industry blogs, often resulting from social media marketing, will play a huge role in ranking a page.

Nice post on how to use social media to promote your site.

internal and external seo links

URLs

The URL structure might seem minor, but it can have a high impact on SEO and click-through rate. Some content management systems use an awkward URL structure that isn’t optimal. These URLs might be long and feature dates or random digits to make them unique. This type of URL can negatively impact click-through rate, with the search engines lowering your ranking as a result. Various tests have shown shorter URLs are most effective, so try to use a keyword phrase that sums up the article content.

Bruce Clay has a classic post on SEO Siloing.  It’s a must read really.

Linking

Internal linking helps to pass authority around your site, increasing the rankings of certain pages. Wikipedia is the best known example of effective internal linking, with related pages helping users navigate around the site. This process also helps lower the bounce rate, avoiding a common SEO issue. Outbound links can be used to show the topical relevance of your content, with links typically going to authority sites within your industry.  If you are looking for a great primer on internal linking vs external linking look here.

SEO Audit Tool

Conclusion

On-page optimization can play a key role in an SEO campaign. Many site owners focus exclusively on the off-page factors, attempting to gain increased numbers of backlinks. Some quick changes to the way a site is set up, along with adaptations on individual pages, can often be enough to satisfy the search engines and individual visitors. When you can offer an exceptional user experience that satisfies the point of the original search query, you stand a great chance of maintaining top rankings into the future.

More on internal and external link significance for your site and SEO.

If there’s anything we can do to  help you out on your journey and increase your Return on Investment reach out to us.

SEO Quote

SEO Quotes for Search Engine Optimization

Expert SEO Quote: Learn from the Experts

So why an SEO quote article?

Quotes from experts tell a story. Most of us out there like stories so why not use expert SEO quotes to tell that story? What story do you ask? The story of Search Engine Optimization.

You probably know the importance of content. If not head over to this post on the importance of having a content marketing strategy and why you should ignore it at your own peril.

You should also know that it is the key to attracting, building, and engaging with a loyal audience. But where do you start? Start here.

Building an engaging audience starts with On-Page SEO. However, it also involves the Off-Page link building. Rand Fishkin originally from Moz.com made the following observation.

“Don’t build links, build relationships.”

Rand Fishkin

If you provide true, honest, value-added messages, customers will be more likely to trust your business and feel more connected to you as its owner. In fact, there is more: the more often you provide real, messages that are value-added and honest, the more likely costumers will show loyalty to your products, or services.

Building links is a key and still one of the largest correlations to rank. In other words, you should be actively building links. As Rand noted above in his quote to do so you need to build relationships. Reaching out cold to companies for links is a losing strategy although one an SEO company will and should employ. Rather, get to know and “hang out” with those in your niche to build these relationships.

Your message must be targeted rather than just anything, right? To define it, and make it resonate with your customers, you must optimize it.

“The success of a page should be measured by one criterion. Does the visitor do what you want them to do?”

Aaron Wall

Here is where content optimization comes in handy. So on-page SEO is more than just writing for keywords. Rather, it’s about relationships and moving a visitor through a journey. You can read more about this process here.

This requires taking into account both the science and art of attraction and content production. First, you must write for humans. Humans are your customers. However, you also need to meet all of the on page SEO factors for the technical side of optimizing your content.

“SEO is only not seen as rocket science by those who already know it.”

Danny Sullivan

While I understand what Mr. Sullivan is saying I’m not sure many of my clients, past or present, would agree with Danny’s sentiment.

So we are clear SEO is a digital marketing strategy that aims to make your content, or site more friendly to users, and search engines and thereby increase the traffic to your site.

If done correctly it will increase the presence of your content in search results on search engines like Google, Bing, etc.

There is a ton of research that has both been done and is being done in the area of SEO. At a meta-level, the “what to do” and “what not to do” are known.

The steps go like this. Do some keyword research. Optimize your on-page SEO. Earn some links to your page. Get more traffic.

However, many neglect to remember that all of the above steps should point toward answering the questions your customers need to hire you.

Do this consistently over time and you will win.

Duane Forrester, formerly the senior product manager of a search engine Bing, has defined the SEO strategy as a marketing tactic, precisely:

“On a broad scale, I see SEO becoming a normalized marketing tactic, the same way TV, radio, and print are traditionally taught as marketing tactics.”

Duanne Forrester

The idea here is that search engine optimization is a fundamental and necessary part of core marketing just as TV, radio, and print have been throughout modern times. You can’t neglect SEO within your business if you want to grow.

For Wendy Piersall, the founder of Woo! Jr. kid’s activities, a website for kids stats it well with this SEO quote.

“Google only loves you, when everyone else loves you first.”

Wendy Piersall

Wendy’s point in the above quote, I believe, is to say that you receive love from Google or any search engine, when and if you have created a user experience that really excites the user.

Technically this is measured by the amount of time your users stay on your page, bounce rates, pages/session, etc. In addition to on-page technicals and backlinks you need to create an over the top user experience.

Doing so will increase your rankings.

Adam Reimer from Search Engine Journal, added more to the argument commenting as to what makes great content.

“Focusing on quality over quantity is what can help to protect your site as Google updates.”

Adman Reimer

So, avoid putting your effort, time, and money into one of the biggest misconceptions about search engines- it’s not all about quantity. The quality of your products is the key, not the quantity. My own personal SEO quote follows:

“Better content outweighs more content.”

Jeff Green

SEO Quote article and the benefits for you and your business?

SEO when executed properly with the guidance of an expert will help you to create user-friendly content, which, consequently, helps bring more qualified potential customers for your products or services. It also helps build your brand’s awareness, and trust for your business.

The following SEO quote comes from Senior Vice President, Media Services, SEO Lead, Adam Audette commented:

“Today it’s not about just getting the traffic. It is about getting the targeted, and relevant traffic. For a small business owner, there is a bonus. SEO helps you to bypass your competitors, and to gain new customers.”

Adam Audette

I couldn’t have said it better myself. At the end of the day all that matters when it comes to the spend of your marketing dollars is do you get leads and customers. If you are failing here it’s time to examine the entire process. I feel obligated to say I can help you.

Don’t just believe me about your marketing dollars. NY Times best-selling author and digital marketing coach Gary Vaynerchuk provided the following SEO Quote:

“Content is King, but marketing is Queen, and it runs the household.”

Gary Vaynerchuck

To sum up, SEO is a crucial digital marketing strategy for your small business owners and entrepreneurs to implement. It helps you attract loyal costumers and feed your marketing funnel.

Now more than ever, in this new COVID time you must be online and firing on all cylinders. Digital marketing strategies are built just for this purpose and must be part of marketing tactics in your tool belt.

If you need help adding some tools reach out to us for help.

SEO for Artists

SEO for Artists

Intro to SEO for Artists

SEO for artists is for the most part very similar to Search Engine Optimization in general.  However, it’s been my personal experience having worked with artists on web design and SEO projects that there are a few particulars to keep in mind.

On Page SEO Definition

On page SEO is simply put the process of optimizing your website and individual website pages for search engine optimization.  First, this involves site speed which is made up of image compression or serving the correct size for speed and quality, SSL validation or the presences of https, and running the right type of website and using a decent host. 

Further, it involves using the right keywords and doing keyword research to understand and maximize value and traffic.  You will use these all-important keywords to maximize the SEO title, SEO meta-descriptions, URL, and SEO header tags (h1-h6). 

Setting up your artwork and site for success means following the process mentioned below so you “score” well with on page SEO.

Off Page SEO Definition

Off Page SEO is the set of factors that help your site rank that is not on your actual website.  These include link related issues and non-link related issues.

The link related issues involve the number of domains that link to your site.  The quality of these domains in terms of links that site has, the relevancy of that site to yours (niche).  It also matters how those links are technically linked, are they dofollow or “nofollow” links?  Further, on page SEO involves something called anchor text, which is the text you see when you click on a link.

The non-linking related issues involve your brand mentions, NAP (Name Address Phone) mentions, social signals (people sharing your content), and finally Google My Business existence for your business.

Both on page and off page search engine optimization are important for artist websites just like any other site.  Let’s dive into the specific factors in more detail.  But first, it’s important to start with an audit.

SEO Audit for Artists

As with any project that includes SEO you should start with a website audit.

A technical website audit will provide you with the details and underlying information to make decisions that will actually move the needle for your site in a quantitative manner.

An SEO audit should include on page SEO factors such as site speed measurement, SSL validation, on page factors such as title, meta descriptions, and header tags (H1-H6). 

Let’s work through a few of these and make comments both generally and specifically as it applies to SEO for artists.

On Page SEO factors listed

On Page SEO for Artists

Site Speed for Artist Websites

This is becoming a larger force in the search engine ranking world. Google announced in May 2020 that it would begin including several site speed factors in it’s ranking algorithm for sites.

Namely, it refers to these as Core Web Vitals.  These include how fast your website “paints” for the users and measures perceived load time or speed.  There are some other technical factors that I could mention here but won’t as it’s essentially about the speed of the site.

The best place to check your site speed is Pingdom and GTMetrix.

Pingdom Speed Test Tool image capture

As for metrics, Google is looking to have your site load in under 2.5 seconds and I would shoot for under 2 if it were me.  This can be a real issue for artists as their specific sites tend to be loaded with high-resolution images. 

No doubt this is an issue.  It simply means you need to build your site and specifically the images in a way that allows them to load as quickly as possible.  Don’t sacrifice quality for speed. 

As an artist one should not gut the quality of images in order to significantly increase page speed.  Rather, you should optimize these images so they are sized correctly.  Perhaps no bigger than the resolution of an average desktop.

If you are using WordPress there are several plugins available for this purpose. 

image compression example

Image Compression Plugins for WordPress

ShortPixel is the go-to WordPress image compression plugin for those looking to speed up a site. It is free to use, but only allows 100 image compressions per month. I advise you to spend the extra cash the first month or so and get your images compressed.

If you just aren’t feeling ShortPixel here’s a great blog post that will give you other options. For an artist, image compression is a must.

Use it regularly and run it after each post or update.  As an artist, the speed of your site will depend to an extent on your image compression.  Just keep balancing this with quality. Quality first when it comes to images and SEO for artists.

Alt Text example for an image in WordPress

Alt-Text for Images

Aside from the issue of image size all images have something called an Alt-text. I find like header tags the average bear that builds its own website is missing lots of alt-text.

For an artist that is showing their product, this is a no-no. You MUST include your Alt Text for each and every image.

If you think about it a robot, even a smart ai robot, can’t read an image. So what is it to do with all those images on artist websites?

Enter Alt-text or Alt Descriptions. Alt-text is associated with one per image. In WordPress, there is a box when you upload the picture that says “alt text (alternative text)”. Inside this box, you describe for the bots what the picture is of or representing.

As you may have guessed it’s a good idea to get your keyword, words, or lexically similar keywords into the alt text. However, don’t overdo it. If you over-optimize every area for your keyword in every image, every header tag it will look like it was written for a bot first and foremost.

Don’t do that. Do however put an alt text on every image. Do let most images on a post or page have the exact or a similar description to that of the main keyword.

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    SSL Validation

    SSL validation relates to whether or not a website has secure socket layers. This merely means is your site secured or not.  For the most part, this is free on the better website hosting companies. My favorite hosting providers are SiteGround or BluehostIt is non-negotiable for artist sites and non-artist sites.  Get the SSL certificate.

    This is a binary question.  You either have it or you don’t.  If you don’t have it you need it.

    You will know you have it if your website starts with https:// at the beginning of your website address, rather than just http://.

    SEO keyword research is the key

    Keywords & SEO for Artists

    Writing for the benefit of both readers and SEO is important.  When you sit down to write a post or blog about a finished piece of art do some keyword research first.  It will help a ton.

    When it comes to SEO keyword research is where it’s at. Learn to do it.

    Keyword research means understanding what real people are actually searching for in the area of your art.  You may think to yourself it’s obvious my piece is a 24×24 Stripes and Butterflies Acrylic Gesso.  But is that what people are searching for? 

    Many of us in a particular field or niche use technical language within our area of expertise. However, people don’t search for “stuff” that way.

    Often a keyword you as an expert feels is the right one to use in a technical sense will only yield 10 to 50 searches per month, which is low volume. This is a fail.

    On the other hand, a formal SEO keyword search will yield the actual volume or number of searches per month on given words and phrases.

    At the end of the day to achieve good SEO on an artist’s website it is a good idea to provide category headings that hit large volume keywords such as “Nature Paintings” or “Lifescape Photography” and then on individual piece pages use longer tail keywords like “dark purple nature paintings during dawn” or “lifescape photography in the western USA of cacti ”.

    What’s a good keyword volume? It depends. 

    Generally, you need some keywords with 500 plus visits a month and then many with 10 to 100 visits per month.  Remember you won’t get all of these searches because others will be ranking for each keyword too.

    If you need help with Keyword research just let me know.

    SEO Title Tags for Artists

    SEO Titles

    Title tags or SEO Titles are important to your SEO efforts.  Missing, duplicate, or poorly constructed title tags for SEO are damaging to your SEO efforts.

    Instead, focus first on actually having an SEO title tag that contains the primary keyword for that article or page.  For example, utilize a category page that contains a keyword that has search intent and volume that is around 250 to 500+ for a small site.   Look for keywords with lower keyword difficulty.

    Keyword difficulty is simply put how difficult it is to rank for that keyword.  It is a subjective measure to an extent as different SEO Keyword sites provide differing Keyword Difficulty metrics.  I prefer the KD of Ahrefs.com or KeywordFinder.com. Keyword Difficulty under 20 is a safe starting point for new sites.

    At the end of the day write an SEO title for humans that has the keyword you are optimizing that page for.

    Meta Descriptions for Artists

    Meta descriptions are important for SEO as well. They achieve several purposes.

    First, meta descriptions provide an overview or blurb about what your post or page is about to a searcher.  When you search you see the Title of the Page and a short paragraph about the page. 

    meta descriptions & seo title tags for artists

    Secondly, the meta description can help increase click-through rate and make your page get clicked on more than another search result that may be boring or just wrong for the search intent.

    If you don’t create meta descriptions for your site the individual search engine will choose one for you.  This is to be avoided.  Do you want a robot describing your art to a searcher?

    Rather, you should craft the meta description to be informational, contain the actual keyword you are ranking for on that post/page.

    Like most on page SEO items, none in and of itself will change your traffic dramatically.  However, each item ads a synergy to the total rank algorithm. 

    SEO Header Tags (H1-H6)

    It amazes me how many websites I run across that don’t have proper header tags setup.  I’ve found many people that build their own website believe header tags are just differing sizes for fonts within a text. No.

    header tags and font sizes

    While the aforementioned is true the point of a header tag is entirely different that font size.  Header tags allow search engine robots, or “bots”, to understand the structure of your post or article.  They create structure.

    Every page must have an H1, every single one. Every page must have only one H1, every single one. Not two, only one.

    An H1 header tag is the main or overarching idea of the article.  For example, this post has an H1 of SEO for Artists because that’s what the article is all about. 

    Digging a little deeper after the one and only H1 on a page you should try to break down your text into a few H2 or subheadings and if it’s a particularly long and wordy post it will help to use H3 tags as well.  These tags are crouched within each other as below:

    SEO Header tag structure diagram

    Notice in this example that one of the h2 tags “Best Season to Grow tomatoes” has not subheadings.  This is ok.  What isn’t ok is to have two H1.  Don’t stress about this structure there is no true right or wrong it’s about providing clear headings so the robots can understand what you are saying and “follow” the conversation.

    What should you worry about then?

    It’s becoming a refrain.  Get your page or post Keyword in *some* of these headers.  Do it naturally.  Don’t force a keyword where it doesn’t belong.  Use semantically similar keywords, which means words with similar meanings. 

    Search engines have a robust artificial intelligence.  So, use the words you would when you are talking to someone.  Always remember you are writing for the people and search engines.

    Practically speaking, artists should use keywords in there header tags that describe what one might search for when looking for that item.  Don’t forget your specific name for an item may have very low search and therefore require you to utilize a term that is broader which does receive search volume.

    Use categories and locations to start with.  So try things like “Chattanooga TN flower paintings” or “paintings of flowers” instead of more detailed descriptions.

    The aforementioned will work better and get seen more searchers eyeballs than Polka-dot with Blue and Yellow Spill Spot Dress made with re-engineered rawhide (or some super-specific name.

    URL breakdown image Domain, TLD, URL slug

    URLs for SEO

    When you create a new page or post on your website it’s important to build a URL that includes the keyword you are targeting

    For example, you could use the standard WordPress linking mechanism of https://your domain.com/?p=123 or https://yourdomain.com/2020/06/sample-post/.

    But it’s far better for SEO to use a something like https://yourdomain.com/seo-for-artists/This latter allows you to have your keyword in your URL, which studies have shown to help your SEO.

    Off Page SEO for Artists

    Off Page SEO for Artists

    Link-related off-page factors

    Number of referring domains

    This indicator is rather simple to explain.  It is merely a count of the number of domains (other websites) that link to your domain.  To be clear a domain is the main root path of your website. 

    For example, https://mydomain.com/some-blog-post/  in this domain the root domain is “mydomain.com”.  So you are counting how many different root domains link to you.

    There is no good number here.  It is all relative. However, as you will see below under relevancy it’s important to have domains that are related to your area of interst.

    Link Authority picture

    Link authority

    Dofollow vs. “Nofollow” Links

    In the technical SEO space, there is an HTML coding mechanism that essentially states how someone is linking to another site.  This has been complicated in recent years by a few other technical SEO linking tags, but I’m going to make this simple for my artist friends.

    In the HTML world, it looks like a snippet of code or tag like rel=”nofollow”.  There is also code nomenclature like UGC and Sponsored links too.  I wouldn’t worry much about these.  You want Dofollow links on your site. Why?

    Google doesn’t transfer PageRank across nofollow links (i.e., links with a rel=“nofollow” tag), so it pays to prioritize the building of followed (dofollow) links.  Simply put you want to gain or get dofollow links because this will pass more authority to your site.

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      I should note there is still value in nofollow links.  It can help with referral traffic.  Some large website providers and forums will “nofollow” all links, but the value of having a link on these sites overshadows this fact as far as the volume of traffic you get from that referral.

      If you are getting links naturally or building natural looking links you will not have any control over the type of relationship your link has so it’s better to relax and not stress over this point.

      Anchor Text example

      Anchor text

      The anchor text is the clickable visible part of a link.  So if there’s a link that says Green Thoughts Consulting then “Green Thoughts Consulting” is the anchor text.  If the link reads SEO for Artists then “SEO for Artists” is the anchor text.  Note that the link is the same in both cases. 

      Anchor text is all about the text people see when they click the link.

      One very important note.  You need natural anchor text throughout all your links.

      Why because an “abnormal” anchor text profile is consistent with poor SEO practices that are called “Black Hat SEO” and can lead to a Google penalty on your site or de-indexation.  De-indexation means Google no longer shows your site at all. It’s a death knell for SEO.

      It’s really all about the percentage at which types of anchor text occur. So what percentages do you want as artists?

      Generally speaking, the anchor text should be your Brand or website address.

      At the end of the day, you don’t have a lot of control over this.  Others are linking to you as they wish and you don’t control those links. 

      Paying for links or having agencies build links for your site that are highly phrase, partial or exact is a dangerous business practice that will result in a Google Penalty.  Let it happen naturally.

      Here’s the break down recommended by myself and Gotch SEO.

      Here’s a great blog post on Anchor Text from Gotch SEO if this is a subject you enjoy check it out.

      Relevance

      I mentioned relevancy above and it’s really important to any site.  When people link to you they are effectively voting that your site is the best ideal of what they are looking to link to because if it wasn’t they would link elsewhere.

      However, getting votes that are more relevant to your niche or subject is huge. Relevant links will move the SEO needle more for your site.

      Here’s an example: if you have a site that focuses on sculptures and you live in Dallas Texas.  Your relevancy would boost the most by getting links from sites that are art-related, sculpture related, fine art related, gallery related, art collector related etcetera.

      However, if that same site had links from restaurants, engineering websites, business websites or sports websites the relevancy would be much lower.  You want links from relevant niches.

      NAP for SEO name address phone number

      Non-link-related off-page factors

      NAP citations

      NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone.  These are usually directories on the internet or forums that have lists of people in the industry

      Citations of this sort are one of the top local SEO ranking factors and are very important if your business is trying to get clients in a specific area or region.

      It’s also important that your NAP information is as consistent as possible between citations, as this allows Google to effectively tie those citations together as part of your online profile. Local and area service businesses underestimate this issue with divergent NAP information.  It’s very important.

      You should have this on your contact page or in the footer too.  Check out a post on where you can post general submissions of NAP.

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        Brand mentions

        There is little mystery here it simply means you get bonus points in the rankings when your art or name (read “brand”) is mentioned.  This mentioning can be an actual link (hyperlink) to your website or an unlinked mention.

        For example:

        Linked: John Doe Art is having a sale this week. 

        Unlinked: John Doe Art is having a sale this week.

        So, you want to be on social media and forums so you can get mentioned by other brands.  Being mentioned by others is looked at as a vote by Google.

        Some examples of ways to get mentions include: get on podcasts, other video creators YouTube channel, guest post on other blogs, social media likes, shares, created posts from others about you.  The list can go on and on but the idea is to get your brand and name out there.

        Google my business image

        Google My Business

        If you are in business you MUST have a Google My Business page.  You can build one easily.  The optimization of a GMB page is a subject in and of itself that you can read about here, however, it will benefit small local businesses the most.  But just because it benefits local doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

        It allows you to have a “service area” this area can effectively be the USA or a State you sell in primarily.  You should go set one up today if you don’t have one but remember the NAP (name, address, phone) needs to match your website and be consistent across all platforms.

        You can set one up here

        Here’s a great guide on the subject of Google My Business by Search Engine Journal

        Google Reviews Image

        Reviews

        Another off page ranking factor that will apply to SEO for artists is that of Reviews.  Specifically, we are talking about positive reviews. There are many types of review software helpers out there but I’m not going to dive into that. If your interested check out this review of your options.

        The best practice is to get a link to Google My Business Reviews and/or Links to another site that holds reviews and add this to your new customer process.

        For example, let say Suzie Q purchases a custom tapestry from you.  When she clicks complete purchase she gets a tracking email and a receipt for her purchase.  A few days after your average delivery time and no more than approximately 14 days after purchase give or take Suzie Q needs to receive an automated request to review the artwork

        This could be a direct link to the review page with an email request.  It could also be an online survey that first asks if she is happy with the product on a scale of 1 to 5.  If Suzie Q rates you a 4 or 5 she is sent to the review link if not she is given the opportunity to email you about it.  This way you minimize the impact of negative reviews while automating the process of getting reviews.

        In my opinion, businesses should ask for reviews from customers in an automated fashion with logical forwarding based on their response as noted above.  Most if not all of your business online tasks as far as emails or interaction after purchase should be automated so you can focus on what you love creating great art.

        Wrapping Up SEO for Artists

        There are a few particulars that artists doing SEO need to keep in mind however, for the most part, SEO is SEO.  It can be a dry technical subject for some but it has a huge impact on your business.

        Download our checklist for free that will guide you step by step with a practical video walkthrough for that list.  Tackle one or two items a week and ask for help when you need it.  The most important thing is that you are making progress and creating every day.

        I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post so please post below.

        Top 112 Blog Submission Sites

        Top 112 Blog Submission Sites

        Top 112 Blog Submission Sites

        By submitting your blog to free blog submission sites you can increase your exposure to visitors that frequent those sites. This is a “no brainier” way to get more traffic to your site by taking advantage of these blog submission sites.

        I recommend that bloggers and business owners with a blog submit regularly to these blogs until the entire list of blog submission sites has been worked through.

        You can also check out our list of the top 150 citations for SEO, which is another great way to increase your visibility.

        One can tackle this list in chunks by simply scheduling an hour or 30 minutes per day to make submissions to blogs.

        The easiest way to chunk this list is to create a template for submissions that will be used to readily grab information from by users.

        You can take the time to create a blog submission template checklist or simply download ours for ease of.

        Blog Submission Site Checklist

        Get our free checklist in minutes.

          We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

          Powered By ConvertKit

          Creating your own Submission Checklist

          Start by identifying an email address to use for submission.

          It’s a best practice, in my opinion, to create one just for this purpose. Keep in mind some sites will not allow a simple Gmail or yahoo email address.

          I usually just create an email address at my domain like blog-submission-list@example.com

          Another best practice is to keep a copy and paste information log for the submission so you don’t have to create it each time.

          I find following and tracking my submissions to be helpful.

          It’s encouraging and motivating as you can see you are knocking out the list over time.

          I find it best to put this in excel and save it for reference when I’m ready to work on the blog submission sites list every few days.

          I’m always for saving money during particular phases of growth, therefore, I blog regularly about affordability in web design.

          You can learn more about those options by reading our article on the 3 Best Affordable Web Design Options.

          You can make one of these checklists yourself or simply download it below.

          Get our Blog Submission Site Checklist for Free

          Checklist with easy to use step by step instructions to get started right away. Get started in the next 5 minutes!

            We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
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            SitePage RankDomain Authority
            http://technorati.com/8590
            https://boingboing.net/8686
            http://alltop.com/8578
            http://www.blogcatalog.com/7977
            http://www.ontoplist.com5676
            https://www.ontoplist.com7776
            http://www.blogtopsites.com5775
            http://www.blogarama.com7974
            http://www.blogarama.com/7974
            http://www.blogadda.com5573
            http://www.blogflux.com5172
            http://www.blogtoplist.com4870
            https://www.indiblogger.in/5070
            http://www.blogrollcenter.com/4769
            http://www.blogrollcenter.com4769
            http://somuch.com4368
            http://www.1abc.org/submit.php3668
            http://www.bloggernity.com/5668
            http://www.submissionwebdirectory.com4668
            http://www.bloggernity.com5668
            http://somuch.com/submit-links/2868
            http://www.highrankdirectory.com4466
            http://www.blogdigger.com/index.html4165
            http://www.plazoo.com8463
            http://www.freewebsitedirectory.com/5663
            http://www.pegasusdirectory.com5662
            http://www.sitepromotiondirectory.com5261
            http://www.bloggingfusion.com/4761
            http://www.bloggingfusion.com4761
            http://www.blogs-collection.com5060
            https://blog.feedspot.com/web_design_blogs/5560
            http://www.promotebusinessdirectory.com4658
            http://globeofblogs.com/4457
            https://www.itechgyan.com/write-for-us/2656
            https://www.softwarebattle.com/write-for-us/2355
            http://www.usgeo.org4855
            http://www.bloghub.com5355
            http://www.the-free-directory.co.uk/5155
            http://www.linkpedia.net5054
            http://www.addbusiness.net5154
            http://www.bloggapedia.com/4954
            http://www.bloglisting.net5053
            http://www.bloglisting.net/5053
            http://www.alistsites.com4851
            http://blogville.us4549
            http://www.bloghints.com/4949
            http://blogville.us/submitblog.php1649
            http://www.cipinet.com4748
            http://www.prolinkdirectory.com5248
            http://www.freedirectorysubmit.com4748
            http://www.bedwan.com5047
            http://www.spillbean.com4047
            http://www.directoryseo.biz4746
            http://www.blog-search.com4546
            http://www.ellysdirectory.com4545
            http://fuelmyblog.com3945
            http://www.addyourblog.com3945
            http://www.jewana.com4844
            http://www.a1webdirectory.org4944
            http://www.topsiteswebdirectory.com4844
            http://www.bloggernow.com4343
            http://www.livepopular.com4742
            http://www.happal.com4642
            http://www.h-log.com4842
            http://www.9sites.net4241
            http://picktu.com4741
            http://www.info-listings.com5141
            http://www.blogdirectory.ws/3939
            http://www.blogdirectory.ws3939
            http://www.w3catalog.com4338
            http://www.gainweb.org4638
            http://www.linkroo.com4438
            http://www.freetoprankdirectory.com4137
            http://www.addfreewebdirectory.com3837
            http://www.ananar.com4236
            http://www.thecgisite.com/4136
            http://www.urlshack.com4335
            http://www.blogdir.co.uk/3734
            http://www.rocktheadored.com4334
            http://www.ranaf.com4533
            http://www.anoj.org3832
            http://www.bizzdirectory.com3832
            http://www.wilsdomain.com3732
            http://www.bocaiw.net4031
            http://www.bestbusinesswebdirectory.com3431
            http://www.link-minded.com3631
            http://www.blog-directory.org/4029
            http://blogscanada.ca/2929
            http://www.sites-plus.com4228
            http://www.aaf14.org3827
            http://www.onlinesociety.org3825
            http://www.mvomrat.com3625
            http://www.blog-collector.com/3825
            http://www.synergy-directory.com4525
            http://www.feedplex.com/add-url.php3223
            http://www.blogdire.com/3823
            http://www.blogdirectory.co2622
            http://www.blogfolders.com/3521
            http://blogdirectory.ckalari.com/2519
            http://homepageseek.com/3518
            http://homepageseek.com3518
            http://www.nexusdirectory.com4318
            http://www.worldweb-directory.com3017
            http://www.hottestblogs.com2815
            http://www.blogsthatfollow.com3715
            http://www.marketingwebdirectory.com3513
            http://www.findsites.net348
            http://www.informationcrawler.com336
            http://directory.blogaz.net/215
            http://www.blogginglist.com/314
            http://blogswirl.com293
            http://linksmaximum.com313

            I encourage you to work on submitting your blog to these in order to build your community and list. If you would like help with the submission process simply reach out to us.

            150 Local Citations for SEO

            Top 150 Local citation directories

            150 Local Citations for SEO

            Note: Updated on 12/29/2019

            We’ve put together a ready to use list of 150 local citations for SEO complete with sources and directories that we use for our clients. Work your way through the list, using the same information about your business at each listing location.

            For those looking for blog submission sites you can follow this link to Top 112 Blog Submission Sites post.

            Allow 1-2 hours per 5 listing at the beginning and then things will pickup. If this time commitment is unreasonable or not cost effective for you we can do this work for you

            Directory Submission Checklist

            Get our free checklist in minutes.

              We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

              Powered By ConvertKit

              If you would like to learn more about the importance of Local citations for Local SEO read here.

              In addition to this list, it is also a great idea to get your name and information listed in local directories, industry specific directories, with local newspapers, with local chambers, and with local or regional blogs and websites.

              Local Citation Pro Tips:

              Some of these listing sites will give you ton of “almost spam” in your inbox after you get the listing confirmed. My professional suggestion is to create another email address for these listings. Something like listings@yourdomain.com a simple yahoo or gmail address will not work.

              Also you don’t have to and shouldn’t post in every one of these. If you are not a hotel business then don’t post on hotels.com.

              Top 150 Local Citation Directories

              RankSiteLinks
              1Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/
              2Bing Places for Businesshttps://www.bingplaces.com/
              3Hotfrog.comhttp://www.hotfrog.com/
              4Yahoo Directoryhttp://dir.yahoo.com/
              5Yahoo Localhttp://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local-listings/
              6AOL Yellow Pageshttp://yellowpages.aol.com/
              7BizJournalshttp://businessdirectory.bizjournals.com/
              8DMOZ-odp.orghttp://www.dmoz.org/
              9BBB.orghttp://www.bbb.org/
              10MapQuesthttp://www.mapquest.com/
              11Yelphttp://www.yelp.com/
              12Booking.comhttp://www.booking.com/
              13tripadvisorhttp://www.tripadvisor.com/
              14Foursquarehttp://foursquare.com/add_venue
              15Yellowpages.comhttp://www.yellowpages.com/
              16CitySearchhttp://www.citysearch.com/
              17SuperPageshttp://www.superpages.com/
              18Yellowbookhttp://www.yellowbook.com/
              19OpenTablehttp://www.opentable.com/
              20MerchantCirclehttp://www.merchantcircle.com/
              21Mantahttp://www.manta.com/
              22Price Linehttp://www.priceline.com/
              23UrbanSpoonhttp://www.urbanspoon.com/
              24WeddingWirehttp://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-vendors
              25Yello Wikis Wikiahttp://yellowikis.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
              27Kayakhttp://www.kayak.com/
              28Virtual Touristhttp://www.virtualtourist.com/
              29Yellhttp://www.yell.com/
              30Frommershttp://www.frommers.com/
              31Insider Pageshttp://www.insiderpages.com/
              32Patchhttp://www.patch.com/
              33DexKnowshttps://www.dexknows.com/
              34Thumb Tackhttp://www.thumbtack.com/
              35Anywhohttp://www.anywho.com/whitepages
              36Mojopageshttp://www.mojopages.com/
              37HomeAdvisorhttp://www.homeadvisor.com/
              38Avvohttp://www.avvo.com/
              39DexKnowshttp://www.dexknows.com/
              40WhoWherehttp://yellowpages.whowhere.com/
              41Businesshttp://www.business.com/directory/
              42Kudzuhttp://www.kudzu.com/
              43Gazettehttps://gazette.partners.local.com/
              44Local.comhttp://www.local.com/
              45Best of the Web Localhttp://local.botw.org/
              46HopStophttps://www.hopstop.com/
              47True Localhttp://www.truelocal.com.au/
              48USCIty.nethttp://uscity.net/
              49Zoom Infohttp://www.zoominfo.com/
              50Yext.comhttp://www.yext.com/
              51ChamberofCommercehttp://www.chamberofcommerce.com/
              52Wedding Channelhttp://local.weddingchannel.com/wedding-vendors
              53Decidiohttp://www.decidio.com/
              54Judy’s Bookhttp://www.judysbook.com/
              55Project Weddinghttp://www.projectwedding.com/vendor/reviews
              56Zaba Searchhttps://www.zabasearch.com/
              57iBeginhttp://www.ibegin.com/
              58Caringhttp://www.caring.com/
              59Indeedhttps://www.Indeed.com
              60InfoUSAhttp://www.infousa.com/
              61Jayde.comhttp://jayde.com/
              62RadarFrog.GateHouseMedia.comhttp://radarfrog.gatehousemedia.com/
              63Jigsawhttp://www.jigsaw.com/
              64Local Yodlehttp://local.yodle.com/
              65PegasusDirectory.comhttp://pegasusdirectory.com/
              66Dealer Raterhttp://www.dealerrater.com/
              67DiscoverOurTownhttp://www.discoverourtown.com/
              68For Renthttps://www.forrent.com/
              69AreaConnecthttp://www.areaconnect.com/
              70FindTheBest.comhttp://www.findthebest.com/
              71Mac Raes Blue Bookhttp://www.macraesbluebook.com/
              72Wellnesshttp://www.wellness.com/
              73Brownbookhttp://www.brownbook.net/
              74Party Pophttp://www.partypop.com/list-your-business
              75SalesSpider.comhttp://www.salespider.com/
              76Supermediahttp://www.supermedia.com/
              77Tupalohttp://tupalo.com/
              79Yellow.comhttp://www.yellow.com/
              80Factualhttp://www.factual.com/
              812FindLocal.comhttp://www.2findlocal.com/
              82CityVoterhttp://cityvoter.com/
              83Gathering Guidehttp://www.gatheringguide.com/
              84ZipLocalhttp://www.ziplocal.com/
              85Allpages.comhttp://www.allpages.com/
              86City Squareshttp://citysquares.com/
              87Check Bookhttp://www.checkbook.org/
              88Express Update Usahttp://www.expressupdateusa.com/
              89PowerProfiles.comhttp://www.powerprofiles.com/
              90ShowMeLocalhttp://www.showmelocal.com/
              91Tjooshttp://www.tjoos.com/
              92B2BYellowPages.comhttp://www.b2byellowpages.com/
              93Biz Hwyhttp://www.bizhwy.com/
              94Companyhttp://www.company.com/
              95All Menushttp://www.allmenus.com/
              96Boulevardshttp://www.boulevards.com/
              97Goby.comhttp://www.scout.me/
              98LocalPageshttp://www.localpages.com/
              99EZ Localhttp://ezlocal.com/
              100Bundlehttp://bundle.com/
              101Biz Wikihttp://www.bizwiki.com/
              102Cylex-USAhttp://www.cylex-usa.com/
              103Page Insiderhttp://www.pageinsider.com/
              104Lacarteshttp://www.lacartes.com/
              105Directory Mhttp://www.directorym.com/
              106eBusinessPages.comhttp://ebusinesspages.com/
              107Tyloonhttp://www.tyloon.com/
              108City Gridhttp://www.citygrid.com/
              109Directory.AChttp://directory.ac/
              110eLocal Listinghttp://www.elocallisting.com/
              111Local Searchhttp://www.localsearch.com/
              112My Huckle Berryhttp://www.myhuckleberry.com/
              113Universal Business Listinghttps://www.ubl.org/
              114MatchPointhttp://www.matchpoint.com/
              115List-of-Companies.orghttp://companylist.org/
              116We Go Placeshttp://www.wegoplaces.com/
              117City Starhttp://citystar.com/
              118DirectoryM.nethttp://directorym.net/
              119Find It Nowhttp://www.finditnow.com/
              120Infignoshttp://www.infignos.com/
              121TheUSAExplorerhttp://www.theusaexplorer.com/
              122ThinkLocalhttp://www.thinklocal.com/
              123Yello Yellohttp://www.yelloyello.com/
              124Rate My Areahttp://ratemyarea.com/
              125Cherrp.comhttp://cherrp.com/
              126LocalDatabasehttp://www.localdatabase.com/
              127Yellowisehttp://www.yellowise.com/
              128Hello Metrohttp://www.hellometro.com/
              129ExportFocus.comhttp://exportfocus.com/
              130Yellow Assistancehttp://www.yellowassistance.com/
              131Zip Leafhttp://www.zipleaf.com/
              132Bola Listhttp://www.bolalist.com/
              133GetFreeListing.comhttp://getfreelisting.com/
              134Citi Servihttp://www.citiservi.com/
              135CityFos.comhttp://www.cityfos.com/index.htm
              136Fyplehttp://www.fyple.com/
              137Rank Spherehttp://www.ranksphere.com/
              138Best Service Placehttp://bestserviceplace.com/
              139Local Search Lighthttp://www.localsearchlight.com/
              140MakeitLocal.comhttp://www.makeitlocal.com/
              141My Sheriffhttp://www.mysheriff.net/
              142YellowMoxiehttp://www.yellowmoxie.com/
              143CornerstonesWorld.comhttp://www.cornerstonesworld.com/
              144Shop Locallyhttp://www.shoplocally.com/
              145MyLocalServices.ushttp://www.mylocalservices.com/
              146Home Owners Circlehttp://homeownerscircle.com/
              147I Got Bizhttp://igotbiz.com/
              148CBSYellowPages.comhttp://cbsyellowpages.com/
              149PetesDirectory.comhttp://petesdirectory.com/

              150 local SEO citation sites can be overwhelming at first, however we’ve made it easy for you by sorting the list based on Authority

              If you would like help with creating a checklist to get all of these submitted you can signup below.

              Get our Directory Checklist for Free

              Checklist with easy to use step by step instructions to get started right away. Get started in the next 5 minutes!

                We won’t send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
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                If you’re interested in professional help with your search results for Local Listings and personalized search engine optimization check out our Local SEO Service or Talk to Us about your challenges and business goals.

                Local SEO for Your Business

                Local SEO for Your Business

                Local SEO for Your Business

                How Citations Improve your Local Search Rankings

                In what follows we will first discuss Local SEO proper and it’s importance for your business.

                From this point I’ll discuss how citations fit into that strategy and finally I’ll give you a quick solution for the citation problem. You can jump to the end here.

                Let’s talk SEO, search engine optimization, and how to build your local presence on Google and the SERPS.  A big part of off page SEO is still backlinks and it’s important to get some naturally.  Don’t pay for your links this can give you a penalty from Google and cause you to lose rank.  It’s tempting but don’t do it.

                New to link building?  Moz has a great beginners guide I don’ t have the time or resources to emulate so here’s the link.

                In that article link building is defined as “the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own.” That same article goes on to suggest that links are one important way that Google and other Search Engines decide how to rank a site.  Generally, the thought is that more links and better quality links are important for ranking

                The importance of Local Citations for your business

                Local SEO and the Importance of Citations

                I agree that link building and link acquisition is important for business and thus I encourage you as a website owner to work hard to produce content that will be linked. However, today I want to focus on link building for local SEO and namely local citations.

                This is a Real non-Rhetorical Question:

                Do you ever find yourself wondering about your competitors and why they are ranking for local key words and on Google Maps higher than you? 

                If so the quick answer lies in something called a local citation aka a business citation or sometimes called a business directory listing.

                Essentially a local citation is made up of one of the following:

                • Company name.
                • Company name & phone number.
                • Company name, phone number, & address.
                • Company name, phone number, address, & website.
                • Company name & website.
                • Company phone number.
                • And so on.

                When you think of Local Citations think NAP:

                • Name
                • Address
                • phone number

                Darren Shaw of Whitespark.ca has a nice summary of What a Local Citation is and how to get them.  https://whitespark.ca/blog/what-is-a-local-citation-for-local-seo/

                While we started this local SEO discussion talking about links it’s important to note that a local citation doesn’t need a link to your site to help with your local SEO.  A citation validates and confirms your business is real and valid with or without a link.  Citations help build the following a case for verification, trust and prominence.

                Local SEO citations

                Why your Business should Care about Local Citations

                Google and other Search Engines like Bing “read” these third party business directories and listing sites (the one’s that hold local citations) and take the data into account when determining which business/website to show for Geo-targeted searches. 

                Simply put Local Citations will help you to gain ground on your competitors in the Local Rankings.

                Local SEO Action Items

                The list of local citation and business directories is huge with literally 1000’s of niche directories.  How should you attack the list?

                You have two general options: do it yourself or hire someone to do it.

                Two General Options

                DIY Local SEO Citation Option:

                This option is definitely cost effective.  However, it’s like all things that are repetitive and boring—time consuming.  You must ask yourself if your time is worth more to you than the amount of hours it will take to submit individually to each list.

                Sure you can hire a virtual assistant or someone online, a college student, etc however, the quality of work is important here to.  Google and the Search Engines do not like it when your NAP doesn’t match.  So make sure that you check the work of VA’s and other low cost “helpers” before going all in with them.

                Do it Yourself Game Plan?

                If you decide to go this Do it Yourself Option I would simply set up a plan to hit 4 to 5 a day for 30 days or 60 or whatever.  Create a scheduled time each day to do the work. Sit back and do it.

                In my experience expect each 4 to 5 listings to take around 1 to 2 hours at first.

                Hire or Outsource the Local Citations

                Here at Green Thoughts Consulting building local citations is part of the Search Engine Optimization we do daily for clients.  

                If you are interested discussing that get in touch with us today.

                contact us button

                Finally, we have put together a list of 150 of the best and highest quality business directory listings for your convenience. Enjoy.

                You can find the list here.