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 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 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 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.
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