Keywording 101 for Art Sellers


Selling Online Requires Keywording

What if you had a great product to sell but it was invisible?  How would you describe it to potential buyers?  How about you get them to see how the wonderful qualities of the product?  How would you attract potential buyers to said invisible product?

Selling products like artwork and fine art photographs online is much like selling an invisible product, because people search the Internet by using text based search engines.  Sure there are image search features on search engines like Google but for the most part buyers search using text.

Even within an online gallery like Fine Art America, text searches are used to bring up a selection of artwork and fine art photographs from the massive database.

If a buyer can’t find your art, they can’t buy it.  It’s as simple as that.

Keywords are the key to buyers finding your work

One of the most basic ways for your artwork and fine art photography to be found is via keywords.  Keywords are descriptive words used to describe the image.

In essence  you are trying to guess what word or words a potential buyer would use to find your artwork.

Another word for it:  Index term, a term used as a keyword to retrieve documents in an information system such as a catalog or a search engine

Usually online art galleries or databases require anywhere from 10 to 50 keywords.  You should start off with the first words that come to mind when looking at an image.  What words would you used to classify the image on your computer to find it again in the future?

This quick, top of mind words are going to be the most valuable.  For example, this photograph of a dog taking a photograph in the studios.

Art Prints

Right off the top of my head I’m going to think: dog, camera

Then I’m going to start getting more detailed and try to describe the image further with more detailed description words like:

studio, Westie, press camera, vintage

Then I’ll start to think about the mood of the image – funny, humor, photographer

And I’ll use descriptive words about the medium: photograph, black and white

I might add framed, print, fine art, poster and other more generic descriptors.

Basically you want to cover the who, what, where, when, why and how of the image.

Pho Dog Grapher Coffee Mug
Pho Dog Grapher Coffee Mug

If the product was a coffee mug I might include: ceramic, coffee, java, mug, tea, beverage, gift, household.

Keywording is an essential component of selling online so be sure to take the time and effort to do so!