If you are a creative professional and have a website showcasing your talent, you are probably just as much in need of targeted search traffic thought ‘SEO’ as any other businesses which have an online presence. While you may love designing and creating graphically rich content is it important to get a sound handle on how you too can optimise your website through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
The SEO Process
SEO is generally made up of ‘On Page’ SEO and ‘Off Page’ SEO. I have discussed below the ideas behind both of these processes and how you can best SEO your website as a creative professional.
‘On Page’ SEO
‘On Page’ SEO comprises basically of web page factors which will in-turn influence your website’s search engine rankings. Creating quality content for your website is essential for better search engine rankings. Search engines still rely heavily on text based content to evaluate the relevancy of a website against others in the same niche or industry. For portfolio website owners or for those in the creative profession this needs to be a big focus as it is not naturally a big part of their website. Adding some text to the bottom of web pages as a creative professional can make dramatic changes to the search engine presence of your website.
Quality content comprises of optimising a number of ‘on page’ factors, that is, HTML code related factors. However before optimising your content for search engines you will need to do some keyword research to ensure you know which keywords you need to optimise your website for. As a website owner I would become familiar with using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool as part of your continued SEO strategy.
Page ‘title tags’ look like this in your HTML code <title>PAGE TITLE HERE</title> and sits within the <head></head> part of the HTML page. Title tags should contain your industry keywords (that is the keywords you are deciding to optimise for based on your keyword research). Title tags are normally shown as the blue clickable text in the search engine results pages. For the sake of a higher click through rate (CTR) from search engines into your website, it would probably pay to include call-to-action text in your title tags too. Title tags are best limited to around 68 – 71 characters to ensure your text is not truncated in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
The HTML META Descriptions tag will look something like this <meta name=”description” content=”WEBSITE DESCRIPTION GOES HERE” /> and sits within the <head></head> part of the page. Just like the ‘title tags’ you should optimise this for your industry keywords and mention them in a logical sentence structure. The META description (if relevant to keywords searched by the visitor) should be displayed underneath the Blue title text in the SERP. Ensure you include any unique selling points in here too.
Page heading tags look like this <h1>HEADING TEXT TO GO HERE</h1>, <h2>HEADING TEXT TO GO HERE</h2>. Priority given to those headings with a lower number i.e. your main heading would sit in a <H1> HTML tag on your website pages. As with the Title and META description you would include your page keywords inside these heading tags.
Page body copy is what people read when they arrive on a web page. For creative professionals this might be quite limited, hence my reason for sharing this information with you. Body copy should be optimised for keywords. For websites which naturally don’t have a lot of room or provision for typed content on the page, you can do this easily by elaborating on your ‘META Description’ tag above.
Internal linking structure
Finally as part of the ‘on page’ optimisation process creating an internal linking structure is good SEO practise. This means that you link to relevant pages within your website using keyword rich text in the process. Linking back to your home page with keyword rich links from other pages in your website will enable search engines to better understand what your website is about and rank your website accordingly in the SERP.
‘Off Page’ SEO or external SEO influences
Beyond completing or optimising for ‘on page’ SEO, you can also look at external influences. Search engines are interested in how others view your website, not just how the owner views their own website. To get the best impression of how the public view a particular website search engines look at external influences such as but not limited to ‘Incoming Links’ and Social Media’.
Incoming links is an important factor in the world of SEO. The idea here is that, if your website is linked to on the web from another website – it acts as a vote of confidence that your website is worth linking to and is an ‘on topic’ resource to that of the website who is linking. This is generally a natural process which occurs over the years or during the life of your website, however you can also quite easily list your own website in popular website directories to increase your website’s visibility on the web and to the search engines. As search engine’s find your incoming links to website your website credibility will probably be recalculated and depending on how other websites are valued, your website may increase in search engine presence. Remember search engines try to return the most relevant results to the ‘Searcher’. Naturally websites with the most relevant content and have good quality incoming links are likely to be returned in the most prominent positions. Having said that there is no reason why you can’t work on increasing your relevancy and begin to obtain quality incoming links to your website to obtain more targeted visitors both through referrals and through search engines.
Social Media is another really big indicator of how your website is viewed by other parties on the internet. If there is a lot of hype, chat or discussions about your website, your resource becomes an area of interest for the search engines too.
As a creative professional there is plenty one can do to ensure your website is geared towards generating more targeted search engine traffic. You may be in anindustry where you only have to ensure your ‘on page’ SEO is done correctly in order to reap the benefits. In more competitive industries such as online retail the competition can be a lot higher and you may need to look at generating a larger link and social media popularity to reap the rewards of prominent search engine positions.
For creative professionals it is important to ensure your services are clearly defined and that the most relevant and well searched industry keywords are strategically placed on the website. A link or two from a few trusted website directories will go a long way insuring not only that your website is fully indexed in the search engines, but also that you received some level of credibility
Remember you only need to be doing a better job than your competitor to reap the rewards.