Reaching Billions as an Artist: Local Optimization

If you have been following my series about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I started with a general overview and followed with brief coverage about social media. This next installment of the SEO process will talk about local optimization.

Local Optimization

Local optimization can be explained away with the use of “techno-babble” (as you can see from the Wikipedia link that I have provided). Artists however, are NOT normally tech-savvy. So, how can I simplify what seems to be an insurmountable mountain of technical data and specifications? If you make a quick search of the web, you will find dozens (if not hundreds) of websites that simplify the definition of this terminology. I have provided 3 links to 3 different websites that I hope will help you to understand exactly what local SEO optimization entails.

So, we will start with what you can do to make your website stand out from the over one-and-a-half billion websites on the web.

Keywords

Keywords are very important words that you can insert into your website or web page that make it easier to find with certain kinds of search engines. Know that there are 3 specific kinds of search engines that people might use to find you:

Crawler-Based Search Engines

Google and Yahoo are examples of crawler-based search engines. Essentially, what you use frequently, to find information on the web, uses a “spider” or “crawler” to search the web. The method that the search engine uses is generally referred to as an algorithm. It is a complex structure that rewards certain words (keywords) to discover information that is relevant to what you look for. Let’s do this together, so that you can see for yourself how this works. Try any of these search engines:

Now that you have selected the search engine, we will use a keyword to test your results. How about using the word “home”, then press the spacebar, type the word “sale” and lastly, type your zip code. What are your results? What websites came up for you? Were your results different if you used a different search engine? Notice that I will not attempt to include a graphic to help you. My reason is that search results of any graphic I put up will be totally different than what you will see. This example should demonstrate to you, why keywords are so important for YOUR particular website if you want people to find your work.

Human-Powered Directories

Human-powered directories are online directories. Some of these directories require or employ a subscription of some type, some do not. TheArtList, for example, is an online directory listing coveted by many artists and galleries. Alexa,  owned and operated by Amazon is unique in that it offers you choices that you can utilize for your website, run by an internationally known brand. Arts Services Directories targets art organizations in general. Erected by Americans for the Arts this directory features specific art categories as well as books, registration and blogs designed to reach arts organizations that cater to the arts or artists.

Hybrid Search Engines

There are those on the web who consider Yelp an online directory of sorts, akin to a hybrid search engine, while many define this online juggernaut as a social media platform. A hybrid search engine combines the features of a crawler-based search engine with a human-powered directory. Yahoo and MSN/Bing are considered examples of hybrid search engines, though there is plenty of room for argument. Google has also moved in this direction with their business directory.

Meta-search Engines

Metacrawler, DogPile, Mamma, take the keywords that you input and transmit simultaneously to many search engines to offer your user a result. Results can be combined, duplications erased and subjects within search results can be applied by meta-search engines.

So, why use a meta-search engine? One can save time by searching in one place (kind of a one-stop shop), without using different search engines.

Adding Keywords to Your Website

You can add keywords or metadata to your website to make it easier for search engines to find. This technique is one that requires practice, research and a lot of patience.  Metadata can often be added into your website from your dashboard, a separate forms page reached by clicking on a link. WordPress is a very popular site for beginners, especially artists, that features help with SEO.

Next in the SEO series: Email marketing

Reaching Billions as an Artist: Social Media

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Using Social Media

Social Media such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat can be instrumental in locating markets for your website. There are other social media platforms that you may or may not be using, such as Flickr, Ello or TikTok. All of them work differently, so it is important for you to understand how they can help you.

Image by Simon Steinberger from Pixabay

Facebook

Facebook is probably one of the most influential social media platforms that you can use. Unlike many of the other social media platforms, it allows you to target specific markets. Recent political marketing on Facebook proved the effectiveness to reach specific markets; an excellent demonstration of how you can put its power to use.

Image by Tymon Oziemblewski from Pixabay

YouTube

YouTube is effective in delivering video messages directly to your audience. “Edutainment” can take on many forms as a video. An artist can demonstrate their technique (for example), value that may be inherent in the art that they create. A musician can reach tight niche groups by talking about their music and how it relates to their interests. A writer can talk about their work…break into the nuances of what they tried to say in their prose. A culinary artist can demonstrate the beauty of their presentation, even taking their audience to create exact copies of their work in step-by-step informational videos.

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

Twitter

Twitter offers exactly 140 characters to deliver a message. It is a unique social media platform that is utilized by celebrities, politicians and businesses. “You can create a hashtag unique for your business and use it in your marketing to help people find your company and the conversations around it. In fact, hashtags are a great way to use Twitter for customer service and support.”- Social Media Examiner Twitter offers an artist the ability to “Tweet” a quick notice about what they are doing at the moment, as well as include a quick image of their life, as a method to promote themselves. A writer can offer a quick tweet of themselves at a bookstore signing.  A musician can tweet what venue they are playing at, showing a quick snapshot of the audience to bring in a larger crowd. An artist can tweet the gallery they are displaying their latest work, even include a snapshot of the work everyone is vying for to attempt a bidding war for their art. A culinary artist can tweet which of their locations they are in and provide a snapshot of their latest creation that is selling out from the menu.

Instagram

Instagram is a visual social media platform that can be used in place of “a thousand words”. With 25 million business profiles worldwide, 2 million advertisers worldwide use Instagram to share their stories and drive results. -Instagram One of the most innovative ways I have found to utilize Instagram is to create an Instagram account and link it to your Facebook account. This method works very well if your desire is to set up an auction for a piece of work that you have completed.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Snapchat

Snapchat is unique among social media platforms in that messages created are short-lived. The “self-destruct” quality of a Snapchat message started as a way for millennials to stay entertained. With 150 million users, Snapchat is used by people in the 13 to 34 age range, more males now use the platform. So, how could an artist use Snapchat? A gallery show would be the best use, perhaps a giveaway that offers a limited amount of time for Snapchat users to attend the gala. Culinary artists can use Snapchat in the same way, perhaps a limited menu offering for a specific amount of time to drive customers into the door. An author can use Snapchat for a book signing in a specific bookstore at a specific time…perhaps the offer of a free book can entice Snapchat users to attend. Simultaneous draws on Facebook and Twitter can add to the excitement of a dwindling opportunity to meet the artist in question.

Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay

Flickr

Flickr cannot be used to sell a product. It can, however, be used to promote you or your work with photographs or events.

By Juancameneses, Berger Föhr – https://d324imu86q1bqn.cloudfront.net/uploads/asset/attachment/1724/optimized.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36588863

Ello

Ello is an ad-free alternative is existing social media networks. Ello is more of a “closed” kind of social network that is accessed by invitation only. Ello has become a uniquely relational social media platform in that it is “espousing a message of trust and cooperation, and the cornerstone of that is their insistence on not running adverts and not selling their user’s data to third parties.” – Make Use Of

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59456216

TikTok

TikTok is all about short form mobile videos. Launched in 2017 by ByteDance, it is an app that was created for markets outside of China. More like a YouTube for mobile devices, TikTok is meant to spurn creative videos developed, edited and streamed on a mobile device. Videos are limited to 15 seconds and it works like other social media. Followers can leave reviews or comments as well as likes and/or hashtags. Like Snapchat, quick videos from artists could serve as promotions for a new generation of users.

I covered a few social media platforms in this blog post. As of this writing, there are many more platforms that show increased popularity. Do you want to sell your work or simply promote what you have created? As you can see, each platform serves a purpose. My advice is to choose what platform (or combination of platforms) best fit your perceived needs.

Next…Local Optimization

Reaching Billions as an Artist

Billions of users on the web, oh my!

How Do We Reach Our Audience?

Have you ever been curious about the number of people on the web?

If not, why not? If you own a blog, have a Facebook or other social media account, own a website, or are thinking of developing one you might want to be curious about the number of people on the web. Why? You can take the optimistic approach in wondering about how many people are on the web. Think of the number of people you could reach. The flip side of the coin is the more pessimistic view. Think of the number of people you are competing with for attention to your particular site. Here is a website you can use that offers you a glimpse into the world wide web, courtesy of Internet Live Stats: https://www.internetlivestats.com/.

Search Engine Optimization – Getting people to your website

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become the craft of getting people to your website. It is reminiscent of the marketing process.

When Marketing was Simple

I learned about marketing by working at a marketing services company in the early 1990’s. We employed a particular process for our clients. In order to get customers, they needed broadcast ads (radio, television were all we had at that time), print ads (magazine, newspaper) and word-of-mouth advertising. Advertising (I found) was like owning a boat. You pour a lot of money into it, in the hope that you will get some use out of your investment. Our job was to save them money on advertising. Money on radio ads (for example), could be saved by purchasing time at night (after midnight), rather than during the day. You still reach a small spectrum of the people you want to reach, but you could reach enough people to offset the amount of money you were spending on advertising.

Social Media has become the dominant method to reach a large group of people

Social Media

Social media has taken the place of advertising. Websites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and even Snapchat have become havens for anyone to establish a market for pennies, often for free. Like the old marketing process, a part of SEO focuses on social media. Marketing however, focused on a kind of mix (“marketing mix”) to get people into the door:

  • Broadcast
  • Print
  • Word-of-mouth

SEO has the same kind of mix . Here is a very good definition, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Part of a series on
Internet marketing
Search engine optimization
Local search engine optimisation
Social media marketing
Email marketing
Referral marketing
Content marketing
Native advertising
Search engine marketing
Pay-per-click
Cost per impression
Search analytics
Web analytics
Display advertising
Ad blocking
Contextual advertising
Behavioral targeting
Affiliate marketing
Cost per actionRevenue sharing
Mobile advertising
How do you eat your steak? One bite at a time.

Eat Your Steak, One Bite at a Time

The process and methods that we have at our disposal have become complex and often seem overwhelming. If all you have is yourself and no advertising budget to speak of, how in the world do you reach your audience?

Thankfully, you don’t have to employ every part of SEO to find your audience. I personally feel that employing one part of SEO at a time is the best way to let people know you are on the web, a practice that requires above all else; diligence and patience.

Unless you have access to hundreds or even thousands of dollars, you are going to have to be satisfied with chipping away at your SEO requirements a little at a time. Not everything is going to be free, but you can build an audience for your work.†

“…slow and steady wins the race, till truth and talent claim their place.”

― B.J. Novak, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

To be continued…