Search Engine Optimization for artists and crafts people. Feed

404 Information & Great User Experience

The first step for creating your own 404 Error page is to have an idea of unique content that represents your unique work. If your 404 page is delightful, entertaining, or engaging, this is an opportunity to engage with your viewer . . . and most likely that viewer will not abandon your site. 

Beyond the great idea (a topic covered in a previous post), a primary consideration is the user experience on your website. 

User experience is the future of web design. As the web matures in the information age, it is no longer simply about providing information. More and more, the user seeks an engaging experience while visiting every website. So, even when the visitor arrives at your 404 error page, this can be an opportunity to re-engage and help the use get back to the information or items they were looking for.

Beyond the aesthetic content, what information should your 404 page include: 

  1. Acknowledgement that the link or URL did not work;
  2. Header with your website identity;
  3. Contact information so visitors can either report the problem, or ask you where to find specific information;
  4. Search box that can guide the viewer in their search;
  5. Website navigation options should include a return to your home page along with standard website navigation header and footer;
  6. Optional: an automatic re-direct return to your home page. This will be covered in a future post. 

Here are some examples of 404 error pages with the information that creates success!

Pinterest-404 pageThe Pinterest 404 error page takes the simplest practical approach. It acknowledges a mistake and suggests other Pin boards that are popular, engaging options to look at. It can't get any easier than that while it still keeps the viewer on Pinterest, their primary goal. 


Check out this 404 page for  Audiko 404page

Audiko (right.) The graphic image is so great you don't even care whether you can't find the page you wanted. The search box is helpful for getting back on track to find what the visitor was looking for on this website. Their objective is to keep their customer on the site. 


Below is the 404 error page for the Computer History Museum.404-computer-museum

404-computer-museum-oopsThis satisfies all the important criteria with the acknowledgement "Oops!" and explanation of the mistake. The error page keeps  museum identity, thematic graphic, search box, and a link back to the home page. It could be better with more graphics, but it does the job. 

404-art-biz-coach-makevoer-lostAlyson B. Stanfield uses a personal and effective graphic with a profile shot of herself lost inside of an art installation by Tobias Rehberger at the Denver Art Museum in 2010. This image is inserted into the 404 page along with the acknowledgement "Oops your are lost now."

This error page contains the important components for the best user experience on a 404 error page - a  graphic, clear website identity, link for contacting her directly, along with navigation bar at the top with promotion for her upcoming workshop. Functionally it is a great user experience. Alyson has changed an error into an opportunity.

A personal profile approach (as demonstrated by Alyson Stanfield) could work for any artist's or maker website. 

Caren404-Beaded-Garden-Flowers-Click, from Beaded Garden, has allowed me to share her 404 error pages. She purchased the sad flower picture from istock photo. 404-Beaded-Garden-FlowersShe said, "I believe respecting copyright is important so I purchase images if I need them.  There are some pretty inexpensive [images]."
She also said that "whenever the 404 page is landed on, I get an email that tells me what page the user was trying to access so I can fix it." What a great idea.  

The image of the sad flower relates to the Beaded Garden style of the work, and offers a text explanation to the user about how they landed on the 404 error page, giving navigation options to her website. There is also a Google search box at the top. This 404 page effectively keeps the user on her site for potential engagement and possible purchase. 

The final 404 example for an artist's 404 error page is this outstanding example from Thematically consistent with the site, it is a real treat to find a comic that explains where you have arrived. The navigation at the top will take you back to exploring more on the site.

P.S. Click on any images including the Dilbert cartoon to visit the 404 page.

OOPS! When Something Goes Wrong - Broken Links & 404 Errors

OOPS-FLOWER-404 series
Does your website have a 404 error page? 
A custom 404 page takes your website to a more professional level. 

What is a 404 page?
A 404 page shows up when something goes wrong on your website such as a broken link or an incorrectly typed URL. Google offers their own explanation at length here.

Why do you need a custom 404 page?
A custom 404 page, can make a problem with your website into a fabulous experience. It is an opportunity to keep your customer, client or fan from becoming frustrated and leave your website. A great 404 page can reinforce your identity as an artist, maker or brand. This presentation below by Renny Gleeson, "The Story of the Page Not Found" explains many of the issues. 

Why did I create a 404 error page?
In an effort to improve my website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) I changed the URL for about 50 pages.  Many more changes are in progress. Changing the URL to an SEO optimized format drastically increased the risk that I might make a mistake resulting in a broken link. Though I created redirects for every change (more information on this soon), even a mistyped URL mistake by a future customer can create a 404 error.

404 To Direct or Redirect?
That is a question.
Without knowing what I was doing, I created a 404 Redirect. In other words, my 404 Error page goes back to my HOME page. This is optional. My 404 Error page could just be a custom page which lets the viewer decide where to go. Think about either option for your own 404 page. 

Future posts will offer examples of great 404 page ideas and cover the technical issues along with optimizing your website for SEO and greater visibility.

"Screaming Frog" Free Unlimited Analysis of Your Website SEO

Screaming-frog-logoI've recently discovered an easy to use and free SEO analysis tool for your website -- Screaming Frog. The free version works on up to 500 pages which I'm  betting will work for most every artist and maker's site.

The best part is you can use it over and over. So you can fix a few problems, then you can analyze your website again. It catches all of the most important issues right away for website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) such as duplicate content.

Duplicate content may include URLs, titles, and descriptions.   Considering how many mistakes I've found on my website .... yikes!  

You can download Screaming Frog here with options for Mac and PC users. Their analysis shows you all your pages and the most important information you need to know. If your website SEO isn't working, your website isn't working for you.

Website SEO performance is an issue that extends beyond just an evaluation. If your website has problems, search engines will reduce your page rank in search results. 

ASK Harriete has more specifc explanations for the major issues with SEO analysis with this previous post.

10 Tips For Artists and Makers to Attract Web Traffic to Your Site.

10 Tips For Artists and Makers to Attract Web Traffic to Your Site.

Your website works for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,  365 days a year -- but some websites are rather lazy and ineffective, while others are really smart and productive. The same goes in regard to specific pages on your site.  The goal, of course, is that every page can be effective at gaining visibility.

Over the past few years, I've spent quite a bit of time learning easy and effective website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for artists and crafts people. These have all been described at one time or another in posts on ASK Harriete.

My goal has always been to find the easiest and most effective tips that any artist or maker could implement to create effective web pages and sites without looking at numbers or charts.

Berman-Fine-SilverworkRecently, I tried an experiment in which I took my own advice for all the easiest tips and applied them to one page of my website. 

Berman Fine Silverworks is my business which is not glamorous work nor does it cater to typical artistic aspirations. I use my technical skills to repair and polish sterling silver and silverplate. It generates revenue without the frustrations, travel, or cash flow problems of art and craft exhibitions, consignments, or shows.

Customers who find my website bring or send their silver to my studio for repair or polishing. I fix the pieces and the customers pick up the work in a few days.   

Berman-Fine-Silverwork-Candlelabra-repairs My website is the primary marketing tool -- and I meet customers only by appointment in my studio. There isn't even so much as a sign or street location. I do not advertise. I started this website experiment in early 2013 and have been adding the best SEO practices ever since.

In the first six months of 2014, my silver repair revenue has already exceeded last year's gross revenue.  I attribute all of this significant increase in revenue to the improved one-page on my website. Since then I kept adding content.

2017 Update:  In 2016 I completely did both of my website for mobile. Your website must be mobile friendly for the best ranking in Google search. The reality is that more than 50% of traffic on the web is mobile including both phones and tablets. Mobile friendly for different devices is now part of Google search engine algorithm. 

To be fair, this could be attributed to an uptick in the economy or an increase in the Internet search as a tool (no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore.) (2017 update: I have eliminated my business phone and yellow page listing. Everyone finds me on the web.) There is no doubt in my mind that my customers are finding me online. They are calling me from farther away and mailing me their silver repairs. They call and tell me they are looking at my website. To be more specific, my customers were finding my page of silver repair examples.


So here are my simple SEO tips that artists and makers can implement with only the most basic web-savvy tools. No charts. No numbers. Each tip will link to a post that will offer more information on the particular topic, as necessary.



TRY FIXING ONE PAGE of your site.
Do your own experiment and see if you can increase traffic to one page of your website. This won't take too long and you may see that SEO can really make a difference.

1) Spelling and grammar are important. Google admits that this is a search ranking criteria. 

2) Image File Names should describe the image. (Read the entire post or listen to the Youtube lecture. This is super important for image-heavy websites.) Help search engines find your images. 

3) Image descriptions as text on your page should include words that your potential customers may use to find your site. Art speak and artist statements should be clear and understandable to your customer. Each image needs a unique description. 

4) Provide image ALT tags for every image.  (If you are using a template website, this option may be buried in an advanced level SEO, but the image ALT tags are absolutely necessary.)

5)Every page URL should briefly describe page content, topic or theme.

6) Every page should have a unique title and a unigue description in the HTML code. (Template sites may require using the advanced SEO section.)

7) Use one H1 Header tag per page. This is kind of like a chapter title at or near the top of the page. Use it effectively to improve SEO. 

8)  Update page content instead of creating new pages. I try to add images regularly along with new content.  

9)  Avoid all Black Hat SEO practices.  Do not trade links. Link to only quality, authoritative sites relevant to your content. 

10) Edit comments.  Comments on your blog are adding content to your site. Edit for spelling, grammar, and authority. Do not let people leave spammy links as comments on your website or blog.

Yes, I think your website can do wonders to bring in business. Let your images and website information travel for you at the speed of light.
Pick one page, just one page, and fix it up. Do Your Own SEO Test. Craft a better web page with these 10 tips for Artists and Makers to attract web traffic to your website.

Poor Quality Comments Are Your Content


Google-HangoutsRecently I was watching a Google Hangout about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when . . .  

A participant asked this question:
"There are occasions when I see comments on my blog that contribute nothing of real substance such as "I am so glad I found your blog." And if you check out the person, they leave the "exact same comment on other websites." These kinds of comments are more like spam. Although even worse are comments that leave links to the commenter's website. I've always wondered if poor quality comments affect my website ranking."

The answer from Google was very clear. 
Google considers "comments" from other people on your blog the same as your content.
This is because you have control whether or not the comments appear on your blog. Therefore all comments are considered  your published content.

Comments with poor spelling, bad grammar, lacking authority, or disreputable quality will be associated with your site.  The bottom line is "it is on your website." Google recommends that you "take action" to maintain the quality of all content on your website, even if there are no spammy links.  

With this insight, as the publisher of your blog, you should edit comments for grammar at a minimum, correct punctuation or spelling, remove all links that are unrelated to the post content, and actually delete comments that do not add content to your post.

Image File Names for Better Search Engine Optimization

Your image file name is an important tool to increase the visibility of your images online. Learn the four tips in six minutes for improving your image visibility. 

I just learned how to convert this presentation to YouTube. The steps for "Making Videos from PowerPoint Presentations"  can be found by clicking on the title. It took me hours to find this resource, but I can highly recommend this solution. 

P.S. You might be wondering why I had to learn how to convert PowerPoint to video? All my previous PowerPoints were uploaded to SlideShare as SlideCasts with recorded audio. Unfortunately, SlideShare has decided not to support SlideCasts any longer. All my presentations were silent. While SlideShare presentations without audio can be great, my content was not designed for no audio.  My choice is either delete presentations, or updating past presentations to video. 

Stay tuned for updates. 

Looking For Copycats of Your Work

As mentioned in previous posts.....the copycat problem is every where and it can happen to anyone.  So how can any of us find out if someone is copying our work?  Well, in our techno media enriched world . . .  there is an app for that.

In story after story there has been tool that has helped discover copycats - Google's Reverse Image Search. 

There are four ways to use Reverse Image Search. I practiced with all four for several hours in preparation for this post and tomorrow's revelation....and found a multitude of discoveries. 

The four ways to use Reverse Image Search are:

  • Drag the image into the search box:
  • Upload an image;
  • Paste image URL into the box;
  • Right Click the image to use a Firefox or Chrome App

THE BIG SURPRISE IS: CHANGING THE METHOD for the Reverse Image Search CHANGES THE RESULTS!  In fact, the results may vary widely! 

BermanConv2ZazzleFor my own test, I decided to use this image of my teacups.

My reason for selecting this group is that they were used on the cover of the book The Fine Art of the Tin Can, but my name would not be associated with any images of the book. I thought this would be a great test.

Furthermore, I have two images of the same group (one with a graduated background and one on a white background). Would the background impact the Reverse Image Results?


Start your Reverse Image Search by CLICKING on the camera icon in the Google Image Search Box.

A SEARCH BY IMAGE box opens up.


Dragging an image into the box or uploading an image produced the same results if you used the same exact image. When I changed between a PNG and a JPG, I got different results.

Uploading a PNG image produced the following Reverse Image Results.  


Uploading a JPG image produced another set of Reverse Image Search Results!

Uploading a URL for an image from my website shows a different set of images.
The results included the book, one of my bracelets, another group of my teacups, a few other unrelated images of my work, and 100 more images that have nothing to do with me or my work. It seemed to show images with similar colors and unrelated content.



The final test uses an APP for Firefox. This APP is available for both Chrome and Firefox. This option is a lot faster to use, but produced the smallest number of results.

After downloading the Firefox APP for Reverse Image Search, right click on any image.  As an example, I am using these cups as a test for how the effectiveness of reverse image search.


Right click on the image.... do you see how the Reverse Image Search is now an option? With the Firebox APP, I only got three Reverse Image Search Results (the fewest number of images) for any method.

However, this method did include an image "borrowed" by a person with a Google+ profile without attribution, name of the artist, or link to my website.


I visited the page..... which turned out to be a Google + profile. What irritates me is that people borrow the image without an attribution or link back to my website. 


I am not going to worry about this now, however this has been a stunning or even shocking revelation from Reverse Image Search.

My observations of Google Reverse Image Search.

  • The size of the image affects search results.
  • Type of image (GIF, PNG, JPG ) affects search results.
  • Method used for Reverse Image Search produces different results.
  • Uploading an image or dragging an image into the search box produced nearly identical results.
  • The Firefox APP produces the smallest selection of images.

Every variable of image type and size changes the Reverse Image Search Results.
Reverse Image Search is still in a development phase. The results are inconsistent, but it seems to be improving, and it is another tool for protecting your art or craft from copycats.

Are you concerned about preventing copycats? Read the post "Copycat, copyright or coincidence - simple steps for prevention for suggestions to protect your work. Use the Google Reverse Image Search frequently to be proactive doing a few tests for the most effective results.

Stay tuned to tomorrow's post about another example of copycats and what we can learn.


Copyright and COPYCATS

To let your work "speak for itself," someone needs to be "listening."

"If a tree falls in a forest, and no one hears it,  . .  ?"

If you held an exhibition for your artwork and no one came, how can your work "speak for itself?"  So of course, invitations, announcements, and other promotion efforts are necessary.

Similarly, if your art or craft work is simply posted online, does it automatically speak for itself?
How can the work speak for itself if no one can find it?


Google+ profile for Harriete Estel BermanThe potential audience out there on the Internet is just a crowd speeding past your website. How would they know to come to your website?   


FACEBOOKprofileThis is where social networking can play a larger role. Not only can people find your website by meeting you online, but social networking is now playing a significant role in SEO.

Search algorithms are looking at traffic and links from social networks as an indication of authority.

Thinking about joining a few social media sites is no longer an option.
Action is required.


GoogleimageOn the Internet, your images can't "speak for itself" until viewers come to see it.  Search engines have no vision. This is why your images also need:

CLICK on the links above if you don't know what I am talking about here. I continue to see images without the information required to attract anyone from that huge potential audience.  They need some choice words to make the connection.


"Purple Cow" Visibility . . . Yes, Yes, Yes,

Holstein-cows-on-fields.purpleStanding out from the herd, or "Purple Cow" visibility, is about finding and developing an audience outside your familiar pasture. By this I mean outside your comfort zone or outside your normal audience. It could be anything or anyplace but it is reaching beyond your usual audience to find visibility.

For me building purple cow visibility is an adventure...and being willing to take a few risks.  I can try just about anything for visibility once to see what happens (as long as it doesn't cost money). This is about finding those guerrilla marketing opportunities that are not obvious but might work.

In this post, I will share a recent "purple cow" example that I tried.

Colored Pencil Magazine featured a post about shipping (based on an archived ASK Harriete post). The article gave visibility to my name, website, blog, along with all the shipping information on ASK Harriete (not just the one post).

Colored-Pencil-cover-shipping-article ColoredPencilShippingColored Pencil Magazine was new to me, but the article included a link to my website and blog. This increased traffic.  And more traffic = higher search ranking for my site.

The next step is to leverage that first opportunity into another opportunity.

When the editor of "Colored Pencil" Magazine approached me about the shipping article,
I realized that he might also be interested in my installation from Pencils.  In subsequent communications, I reminded them again and included an image and a link to my website. This sculpture fabricated from pencils was a perfect purple cow for the magazine.  Magazines are always searching for interesting content for their readers.

Pick UP YOur Pencils, Begin is an installation from 1000's of pencils about the impact of standardized testing on education
They jumped on the suggestion and now the installation Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin will be a featured article in an upcoming issue of Colored Pencil Magazine.

Will this generate an exhibition opportunity? Who knows, but it might.  It sometimes takes years for exhibition opportunities to develop.

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin an installation about standardized testing and its impact on education

If I have learned anything in years of experience,
it is to stretch for every opportunity. Have your photos ready because publishers always want them yesterday.

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin is 28' wide and 15' tall constructed entirely from pencils.

Will the article result in sales? or money? One never knows, but this was not my priority.

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin in progress
In my opinion, a purple cow opportunity can not be developed with a set expectation.
Having a fixed idea for the outcome does not work? The possibility is your objective.

How can you make this work for you?
Approaching Colored Pencil  Magazine would be a great opportunity for all those makers working in metal that use Prismacolor pencils for a surface finish. Or what if you use work with colored pencils as your medium in a sculpture, as an image in your ceramics, or in your prints.

If you study your work, what kind of "purple cow" visibility would fit your work? What is your new pasture for opportunity and visibility.

P.S. In case you want to purchase a copy of Colored Pencil Magazine CLICK HERE.

Don't Get Hurt by Black Hat BAD & UGLY

Bad-GUY-BLACK-HATcu In the "wild west" of the internet, search professionals AND Google refer to BAD & UGLY SEO practices as "black hat."

Black hat reminds us of the bad guy that wears a black hat in spaghetti westerns (as in this photo above left from the movie "The Good, Bad, and the UGLY").

Black hat in regards to SEO is a person or approach that tries to manipulate search results or computer security.

BadUgly72Google updates its search algorithms to identify BAD & UGLY BEHAVIORS and counters them in a variety of ways including lowered ranking or even removal from search results.

What scares me is that many artists and makers have been participating in behaviors (such as trading links or duplicate content) that search engines now consider black hat. Be prepared to avoid reduced page rank.

Here is a recent video from Google spokesperson, Matt Cutts titled,"What should we expect in the next few months in terms of SEO for Google?" .


 SEO RECOMMENDATIONS for Artists & Makers:

  • Use social media to develop your professional identity. If you are serious about your artistic future make deliberate business decisions.
  • LINKS need to be high quality authority TO your website or blog,  Focus on quality not quantity. I know this runs contrary to the friendly, supportive environment of social media, but personal is professional when it comes to your identity online. Read Jill Whalen's newsletter to understand the ramifications of your actions.
  • ADD "Rel=Author" to your website and blog. This starts with a Google + profile. It is an absolute must. ASK Harriete offers you step by step instructions. Use the free Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool to verify whether or not Google Authorship has been set up successfully
  • Image File Names are important for improved visibility. For artists and makers "a picture is worth a 1000 words" but not to search engines. Make sure every image works hard for your Internet visibility with unique titles, descriptions, tags, and keywords. 
  • Remove duplicate content from your website or blog. This includes duplicate page titles , duplicate meta descriptions, and even duplicate descriptions of similar items on your website. Search engines look at duplicate content as a SEO manipulation and 'black hat' practice. If you don't fix duplicate content on your website...the page may be removed from search results.
  • REALITYCHECKRemove any content you "copied" from other websites. This is also considered  "malicious" duplicate content and it will hurt your visibility in search engine results.



GOOD Increases Your Visibility with Search

The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY in the AGE of the Internet has exceeded 10,000 views in 9 weeks!

Discussions inspired by this lecture on the ethical and legal boundaries have been all over the internet. Just recently I discovered a post on Search Engine Watch titled,"SEO Guest Blogging vs. Guest Posting - Imagine a World Without Links" using the  Good, the Bad, and the UGLY metaphor for SEO professionals about boosting internet visibility.

The important issue for all artists and makers is that
GOOD ethical and legal practices

can increase  visibility
of your blog and website.
Google (and all the major search engines) reward original, quality content.

GOOD-Visibility-is provided by quality contentcolored

Following the GOOD path by writing your own original, quality content for your blog or website will benefit you and the craft community. Examples of GOOD content could include an evaluation or review of a workshop, tutorial, instructions or book. Offering insightful opinion that is informative for your audience's path to success.

GOOD practices honor the original source and boost the "authority of the content" on your website or blog.

  • Link to the original source/website.
  • Include the name of the artist, author or workshop master.
  • Provide resources relevant to your content.
  • References to a magazine publication, or book should include the publisher/volume/date.
  • Shared images should be small with a link to the original image.
  • Ask permission before sharing content you did not write.
  • If you write content - include your contact information so it is easy for others to ask for your permission for future contacts.
  • What else? Can you add some good suggestions in the comments?

Become a force for good.
Good practices include how you post images on Facebook, Pinterest or other social networks. Provide complete information with a link to the original source. Be a force for good by establishing new social mores.

Finally, I wanted to honor an example of GOOD shared by Lindly Haunani. She discoverd an example of good in a post on Beading Daily titled, Do You Keep a Beading Journal? by Jennifer VanBenschoten. Check out her recommendations. 

Being a force for GOOD has many benefits.

BadUglyP.S. Changes in search are increasingly focused on BAD & UGLY internet practices that will penalize your site. (More on this in another post.)


Ethical SHARING Honors Original Content

In response to a previous post, Kathy Loomis posed a question.

"Suppose the tutorial in question appeared not in a magazine but on somebody's blog. Do you also disapprove of people sharing that info?
If so, why?

For me, Kathy's question raises at least three issues: 

Ethics   SEO  Motivation

To answer the question, I will briefly address each issue.

The first issue involves Ethics .
Ethical sharing adheres to copyright law and respects ownership of original content.  
By this I mean that original content is owned by the author - and taking other people's property without permission is unethical.  Information and images are property whether on the Internet, in a gallery, or in a studio.  For example, while anyone can view content in a gallery, museum, or artist's studio, a visiting viewer would never take the property for themselves without asking.  Just because the information and images are on the web (and easily copied) doesn't mean the author has given permission to viewers to copy and take it for their own use.

ASK-GREENEthical sharing of content from a blog requires permission from the author. So if you want to share theLinks-gold information, ASK first - or write your own original content (e.g. a review) and link to the original source.



The second issue involves SEO.

Since 2012 Search engines  began to devalue duplicate content. Google and other search engines are increasingly recognizing that duplicate content is cluttering search results and of diminished value to the users.  Consequently, search algorithms devalue or even remove duplicate content.

If content from "BLOG A" is copied and pasted in "BLOG B",
this is duplicate content. This means that search engines will likely devalue BLOG B since the copied content has a later date.  Or worse, both sites will be devalued.

Search engines might also remove the page or the web site from search results completely. A very big penalty. The future of the Internet is all about original content. More about this issue in future posts.

Links-goldIf you find information that you deem worth sharing ... write a review or  write your own opinion about why this information is so interesting. Create your own original content and link to the original source.


The third issue looks at  
Motivation .
What is the motivation behind sharing?

Some people rationalize copying and sharing as a "service" to their community to help disseminate knowledge.  I think this rationale is misguided and will undermine our communities in the long run.  It is highly discouraging for original content creators when their property is copied and distributed without permission.  Instead, our community should honor original content creators with appropriate recognition and respect by linking to and crediting the original author.

In very practical terms, why copy information that is already on the Internet?  There is no need to duplicate information to facilitate sharing. The original blog is readily available, so link to it. 

In contrast, the act of copying information and re-posting all or part of it as one's own content is behavior that I can not comprehend or rationalize at all.

Links-goldLink to the original source instead of copying. Citing a quote with attribution and a link is also completely acceptable which generates recognition and traffic to the original source.

This practical, ethical, and legal action honors original content while providing the best search engine ranking for both your web site and the original author's.

The issue is NOT a prohibition on sharing of information.

THE ISSUE is about SHARING INFORMATION while honoring the original content in the most respectful, ethical, and legal manner by linking to the original source.

*Kathy Loomis commented on the ASK Harriete post titled, "The Guild of Unauthorized Sharing"Read all the comments and responses by clicking here,

"Image File Names Improve SEO"

Today's post is about "Image File Names for Better SEO" (Search Engine Optimization). Effective file names are essential for artists and makers who want others to find their images on line. A few simple techniques can improve visibility for your work.  Here is an SlideShare presentation about naming files. 

The video will automatically forward the images with the original audio recording.  Just click on the "PLAY" arrow. 

REVIEW for Image File Names:

Use REALWords
    (No numerical code from your camera or computer.)

Use Keywords
that describe your image.

Use hypens -  betweeen words.

Avoid capital letters.

Let me know what you think of this presentation or this format, or tell me how to make this better. I just learned how to convert PowerPoint to video with a recorded audio file by listening to Making Video from PowerPoint Presentations.


4 TIPS to Improve Search for Your Images

Know your digital image file extensions and how to use them?

Best sizes for images and what format?

How to "name" your digital image files for distribution.


Know your digital image file extensions and how to use them? - See more at:


H1-HEADER tag for better SEO for artists and craftspeople
In my webmaster series for artists and makers
, I noticed that both Google Webmaster Tools, and bing Webmaster Tools identify multiple H1 tags as a problem.


Search algorithms frown on anything that could be misconstrued as manipulating search results.


What are H1 tags?

Search engines evaluate the content on each page using the "header" tags. It tells the search bots what is important.


The header HTML code affects the size of the font, and the empty space above and below the text. This is shown below:

H1 header example.

H1 headers are the most important. Most likely it should be similar or match the title of your page. Search engines think this is really important to verify quality content. One H1 tag is best.

H2 header text example.

H2 are like chapter titles. If someone just wanted to look at the headers to skim the content, they should be able to gather some insight on the information. Search bots do the same thing.

H3 header text example.

H3 is more like a topic within a chapter.

H4header text example.

H5 header text seems more likely to be integrated into a paragraph.
H6 header text gets really small. Don't know why I would even use this?




Organize the content on your website or blog using the formatting tools to create "headers" throughout the page. Headers tell search engines and readers what is important content on a page and verifies quality information. Learn to prioritize your content with headers for better SEO.

HTML Code for headers is written like this list below.

<h1>This is heading 1</h1>
<h2>This is heading 2</h2>
<h3>This is heading 3</h3>
<h4>This is heading 4</h4>
<h5>This is heading 5</h5>
<h6>This is heading 6</h6>

In this video below from Google Webmaster Matt Cutts answers, Is "More than one H1 on a page good or bad?"?

Update Content or Create a New Post/Page?

I have always wondered if I should update old posts with more current information or write a new post as fresh content?  Have you wondered the same thing?

How about pages on your website....especially pages about work in progress or a continuing series? Does it work to keep updating the page?  Will people come back to the same page over time? What do you think?

UpdateTOMORROW2A recent Google Webmaster Video answered this  quandary referring to a news room site, but I think the information applies to all websites or blog posts offering information.

Watch the video on the bottom of this post, but to summarize Google recommends to update, revise and build on one page for the following reasons:

Wikipedia is an excellent example of "one page" that just gets richer and more developed" with "updates or more information".

I followed this practice of updates over time on my pencil page for the sculpture "Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin." Mostly, I did it to document the progress over the five years it took to construct the work, but it was a significant factor in building visibility for this sculpture. At the time from an SEO perspective, I had no idea whether it was a good idea but action was based on instinct rather than fact.

The day it was finished American Craft magazine committed to a story about the work. Do you think that would have ever happened if I had waited to write about the work until it was done?

If you are concerned about continued visibility for a single URL over time, artists and makers can always write about it on Facebook, other social networks with updates or place a link on your home page.

Consider this approach for your blog posts or websites.  I regularly go back and update older posts with current information occasionally going back as far as 2008 for this blog. Now I know that this is the "right approach"  for many reasons.

The Google Webmaster video recommendations with Matt Cutts is at the bottom of this post. Subscriber can click on this link: Do you have any specific tips for news sites?

This post is part of an on going series on Search Engine Optimization for artists and crafts people.

Find ERRORS with Bing SEO Analyzer

Bing Webmaster Dashboard

Bing Webmaster Diagnostics ToolsSEOAnalyzer


This post continues with bing webmaster using a tool that finds errors on your website that may affect SEO.

Enrolling in bing Webmaster Tools is easy. I recommend that you give it a try.



Look under
Diagnostics & Tools.


The tool we want to try is called the
SEO Analyzer
on bing.







The SEO Analyzer (shown below) reveals problems with a page using the eyes of a search engine. (Click on the image for a larger view.)   Problems such as images without ALT tags, missing H1 headers, or meta-descriptions that are too long are revealed.
Bing Webmaster SEO Analyzer

Instantly apparent are flaws in my web page code that I didn't know were so important to SEO. There may be more problems than you expect. It is amazing (i.e. somewhat discouraging) to realize that my website has so many mistakes, but SEO is affected by code errors.

Fixing one page a day is a realistic goal.

Below is an example of a page in SEO Analyzer.
Bing Web ALT Image Tag

If you click on the problems listed in the
SEO Suggestions
it will show you the page of your website and where the problems are on the page with a blue dot plus sign.

The blue dot plus sign indicates the problem. (This is shown below.)

My website has quite a few errors. Most of these problems
are not obvious to the human viewer, only search engines, but my website may be penalized if there are too many mistakes. In this case, I knew images needed ALT tags, but I didn't know these images were missing ALT image tags.

Another thing that will show up is a missing H1 header tags. Frankly, I had no idea that this was so important. Search engines prefer a clear hierarchy of H1, H2, H3 tags. If you don't know what this is...I will explain it in a future post.

The bing SEO Analyzer is very limited in its scope. Use it for what if finds, and then keep working with other diagnostics tools provided by bing or Google Webmaster Tools to optimize your website or blog.


Images on your website, Are they lost or found?

Search Engines Have No Vision!So Help SEO See Your Images?

Simple, Sensible, Sensational, SEO Improvements.

Trading Links and Lies = Poor Performance

"You link to me, I link to you."  I've seen such requests to trade links frequently and everywhere.

Fine, great way to make friends, but bad news for your web site.
This is serious.

Lie detector rmachineThe reality is that Google is getting smarter about search. They can now figure out which links are relevant to your site, and which are not. Consequently, and with increasing accuracy, those superficial links that were merely traded are becoming more like little "white lies" -- and search engines are becoming more like lie detector machines.

There are three concepts to affect links:

  • Link Juice
  • Measure of credibility
  • Content

Link Juice leaking juiceLink Juice
"Link Juice" is an SEO concept. Think of your website as a container of juice. Links to other sites from your website essentially leak "link juice." This is especially true if the links are not perceived as relevant to the information presented. Thus a random link not relevant to your website is not working FOR your site.  Instead it is working against your site by draining or leaking "link juice."

Measure of credibility
Links to your site that are NOT relevant, important, or generating traffic are considered weak or bogus by Google. In fact, links to your site that are weak, not relevant or without authority may even have a negative impact on your website.

Links ideally should offer additional relevant content. Thus an article about fashionable hand knit scarves and current fashion trends that link to a knitter that makes fashionable hand knit scarves would be great. In this example, the content and link are relevant.

A link from your best friend who likes your work, but is otherwise unrelated, is not relevant content. A link like this may actually hurt your site as a weak leak and lacking authority. It could also hurt your best friend's site (because it is leaking their "link juice" as well).

In an age of information, search will become even more refined. Search will be more accurate. Search will discount superficial or fake links.

Lots of links to your site or from your site that are not relevant or content based information will not be considered credible. Trading links are like little white lies that just keep accumulating negative points.  Links should be about content and based on merit, not trading links.


  • Make sure your links are authentic and sincerely related to the content of your site.
  • Seek high quality links from relevant sites with high traffic.
  • Do NOT pay for links or trade links in the future.
  • Remove all weak or irrelvant links.

Below is a video from Google about links. Note that the speaker makes a specific reference to what Google calls organic links. The term "organic" (in regards to search) means naturally fitting into the context, not artificial.

Links need to relate to the content.
Links that you buy or share are not organic.
They will not help your SEO.
P.S. Do not look at any information or YouTube videos about link building from before mid-2012 when Google Panda and Penquin algorithms changed search.

Another video about links building.


Spam Comments Hurt Your Site

Crafting Better SE0 - Guide to SEO TOPICS on Metalsmith BenchTalk Whaley Studios

This post will be a summary of information and links to relevant posts discussed in the Jay Whaley interview on Blog Talk Radio "Crafting Better SEO."

Artist and makers can be the Webmaster of their own domain. There are many free tools AND easy fixes that can improve the visibility of your art or craft reaching a larger audience. Just knowing basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) skills can make a difference in riding the long tail.

Understanding online tools is as important to the savvy artist as the paintbrush, scissors or saw. Improving web site performance and SEO increases the chance that your web site will be found by customers, collectors, curators, writer, stores or galleries.

The  information is organized by category or topic. Basic fix-its  and best practices are at the top.  More advanced skills are further down on the list. Just click on a link and start learning how to be a web master of your own domain.

Yes, this is too much work for one day...but try one post every other day, or one a week. Subscribe to ASK Harriete for more SEO information coming soon. Take small steps to the huge potential of the long tail.

Did you know Spam Comments Hurt Your Site?
Yes, this is true, for lots of reasons, but all you need to know is don't leave comments with spammy links. This post explains why.

Copyright_symbol2COPYRIGHT DATE
Your next "fix" is to make sure your website copyright is up to date
with New Day New Year 2013 Website Copyright. In addition to the legal protection copyright notice offers, no customer is going to feel comfortable buying from a site that looks like it hasn't been updated in years.

are the foundation of visibility for all artists and makers.
This is true for your entire online presence including 2.0 social networking sites along with your website and blog. It is incredibly important to do everything possible to give your art or craft the visibility it deserves.

Images files should be written for better SEO. Learn the 4 TIPS to Improve Search for Your Images .

Simple, Sensible, Sensational, SEO Improvements

Tag your it
Search Engines Have No Vision - Play TAG, Your IT - Create Tags for better SEO from 2.0 sites

Search Engines Have No Vision - SEO for 2.0 sites.

Search Engines Have No Vision! So Help SEO "SEE" Your Images

Images on your web site, Are they lost or found?

A URL is the address for each page on the web. Learn how to create the best URL for each page. Avoid URLMistakes I Have MADE   by reading this post.


Did you realize that site performance affects your visibility in search results and customer satisfaction.  Google uses 200 or more criteria, but one of their most important is speed in downloading the page, images, and original content. Artists and makers do not have to be professional level webmasters to make huge improvements in the function of their website.

Your Site Performance Improves SEO

Does Your HOME Page Load Quickly?

Google Guidelines For the Best Your Site Can Be


GoggleWebmasterToolsVerifying your website with Google Webmaster Tools is an important steps that everyone can do. These free tools reveal mistakes on your website that need to be fixed, and tons of information about keywords and links to your website.

Don't let all the information overwhelm you. Tackle one problem at a time. Learn about one skill set and apply it to your you gain skill and familiarity.

Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools?

Google Guidelines For the Best Your Site Can Be


SEO Success: Fix Those Duplicate Titles

Titles RULE - Title EVERY ONE of Your Website Pages Differently


The meta description is the information that shows up in the search results. It describes the information on each page. Create the meta description for better search results. Google Webmaster Short Meta Descriptions
REWRITE Short Meta Descriptions for SEO

Finding & Fixing Duplicate Meta Descriptions



Has Google found your site? Every page?

Create a Sitemap and Submit for Visibility

Create A Sitemap For Your Website Using a free 3rd Party Website

Artists: Submit Your Sitemap to Google


SubscribeSubscribe to ASK Harriete to learn how to become the webmaster of your own domain. More information is coming in the next few weeks.










Engage in the conversation.
Leave a comment.(Comments require approval so give me a few minutes to post it live.)

Artists, makers, jewelers, metalsmiths, crafts person or creators can benefit from increased visibility as search is refined and original content is more important.  Advances in search technology will also make images searchable in the future. All of these reasons and more make optimizing your images, blog and website more important than ever.

P.S. At the end of the program I mentioned three additional resources.

ASK Harriete posts on Search Engine Optimization for Artists and Craftspeople

GOOGLE Webmaster Videos on YOUTUBE


ASK Harriete RED lettering

CRAFTING Better SEO - online interview

ASK Stay tuned for "CRAFTING Better SEO for Artists, Makers and Metalsmiths"  -- Thursday (Jan. 31) at 3:00pm PST, this is one hour with Jay Whaley on Blog Talk Radio.

If you have been following the Search Engine Optimization for artists and crafts people series on ASK Harriete, this online interview will help get your website up to speed.

Scared to start SEO? Feeling overwhelmed, and out of touch? This information will get you started.

SEO  isn't that hard to do. We will start with basics and very easy skills to improve visibility for your work. Just knowing how to create file names for your images and website pages can make a huge difference.

Fundamental webmaster skills are well within your powers and can improve visibility for images, blogs or websites.

ASK QUESTIONS LIVE during the show in the chat room. My recommendation is to register with Facebook. It is much easier and more reliable as the Blog Talk Radio site can be temperamental. Don't' wait until the you will miss the interview.

EMAIL ME AT: harriete [at]


After the show there will be an ASK Harriete post with links to the topics we mentioned for follow up  & review.


Bing Webmaster Submit More Pages for SEO

The previous post suggested verifying your website on  bing Webmaster Tools and submitting a sitemap.

BingWebmasterDashboardThis post will show a useful tool on bing webmaster for submitting the URL of individual pages to bing search. 

This could be helpful because search engine crawlers do not always catch every page.  Seldom viewed pages are less likely to be found and indexed on search engines.


To show how a webmaster might submit URLs to bing, I will use pages from my website (that were missed in my sitemap) as an example.


First look over the list of bing Webmaster tools.


Bing Webmaster SUBMIT urls close upsWe want to use the Submit URLs.












The Submit URLs looks like the image below. (click on the image for a larger view.) 

Bing Webmaster SUBMIT urls

Submit URLS gives you an opportunity to submit the pages from your website  that get less traffic.

A URL is an address for a page on a website.
Less important pages on my web site do not have as many links so they are not on my sitemap. By submitting the URL of these pages, I know they will be indexed for search. This means more traffic.

I want all of my artwork to be found in search. Don't you want all your art or craft to be discovered?

Submit URLs is a fantastic quick tool. You can cut and paste 10 URLs in one window! Love that efficiency. Another day I will come back and do 10 more for up to 50 URLs in one month.  

Bing Webmaster URL submissionI


Thursday 3:00p.m. PST is one hour with Jay Whaley Blog Talk Radio

Crafting better SEO.

We will start with basic and very easy skills to improve visibility for your art and craft. Fundamental webmaster skills are not hard to learn and can improve whether your images, website or blog are lost or found in search.

ASK YOUR QUESTIONS live during the show in the chat room,
or ask me your questions in advance.
EMAIL ME AT: harriete [at]
LISTEN LIVE or on the recorded podcast later.

After the show, I will create a post with links to the topics we mentioned for follow up review.

Related Post: Avoid URL Mistakes I Have MADE AND the post below.

The Final Step for Rel=Author

Adding Rel="author" to your website or blog takes several steps and it is confusing....this is why I broke it up into several posts. It takes multiple steps to make rel="author" work, but the outcome is improved visibility and credibility as the author or artist for the content on your site. Go back to the previous posts if you missed a step.

We are at the final step Link your Google+ profile to the content you create.

You need to submit your email address to Google Webmaster.

For my web site it was easy. My email address matches my web site. (this is illustrated below.)
E-MAIL:   bermaid [at]

I just put my email in the box on this page and I was done verifying authorship (shown below.)
Google rel author bermaid

For my blog it was much more complicated since my email does not match my blog address. I clicked on the Google link that says: Use this method to link your content to your Google+ profile)

Look for the instructions shown below....or click on the picture for instructions.

Google rel-author-blog-option

Create a link to your Google+ profile from your webpage, like this:
  <a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL, like this:

  <a href="

That is one choice. I also added a link to my Google+ profile in the left column on my blog.

Another option is to add a link to my ABOUT page and/or at the bottom of every blog post. This was a suggestion from the Jill Whalen article and it worked.

I found that my search results for my name changed with a couple of days, it can take longer.

Related articles

The First 3 Steps to ADDING Rel=Author to Your Sites

Did you watch the Google video in the previous post about rel="author"?

The important nugget is that for every website or blog you need to add Re="Author". I am going to review the first 3 steps all discussed in a previous post.

Google Plus for Harriete Estel BermanSTEP 1.
You must have a Google + profile.
No getting around this. It is a must. Google is not going to give up trying to push its own social network. It doesn't mean you have to be active on it all the time, but you have to have a Google + profile.

UNDER YOUR Google + PROFILE  information:  Add all your websites or blog in the  Contributor section.

SUPER Important STEP 3.
Add the following code to your website or blog.

<a href=" http://your blog/about.html" rel="author">your name</a>

<a href="http:// rel="author"> your name </a>

Below are my examples:

Now every time I sign my blog I add my rel="author" code to the HTML of my post as my signature.

  • The HTML code looks like this: <a href="" rel="author">Harriete Estel Berman</a>
  • The rel="author" signature looks like this:

My signature now links to the "about" page on my blog and tells Google search who I am. I used the "about.html" because my Typepad has an "about" page. (The link is in the left column below my profile picture. Maybe your blog has an "about" page or something similar?


On my website....I linked to my resume* page....because that is where I put the link to my Google profile.  (*Just so you understand...I used my resume page on my website...because I don't have an "about" page on my website.)

  • My resume URL is this: (this example uses the URL for my previous website)
  • The code looks like this: <a href="http://" rel="author"> Harriete Estel Berman </a>
  • The rel="author" signature on my resume page looks like this: Harriete Estel Berman

ADAPT THE CODE to your own circumstances, changing the URLs as appropriate.

There is one more step.
This is the next post.

Artist Author on Your Website in Meta Tags

 Jill Whalen, my website SEO guru wrote a post titled "6 Reasons Why You Need to Use Rel=Author on Your Content"

She says, "If you are not already using rel="author" (or don't even know what it is), you are doing a huge disservice to your website and all of your online marketing efforts. I heartily suggest reading this article ASAP, but more than that – implement it already!"

Google AUTHOR results for Harriete Estel Berman

Jill Whalen offers helpful instructions in her article. 

I recommend reading both the Google Webmaster instructions supplemented with the Jill Whalen article.

COMBINED together
 they reduce the confusion. More tips are coming on ASK Harriete...but start by reading the information.

I managed to add rel="author" to my blog and website.
You can too!

The rel="author" options reflect the future of the internet.  You can either jump on the train and gain momentum with search engine visibility or you can sit in your studio, quiet as a mouse.

BrainexerciseExercise your brain
with these new SEO skills.

Engage in the conversation.
Leave a comment. (Comments require approval so give me a few minutes to post it live.)

Related articles

GOOGLE + Profile is a Rel="author" MUST!

GoogleiconA Google + profile is a must for all artists and makers.
This has nothing to do with whether you want to participate in another social network. Google+ is a tool, just like any other in your studio.

Google Plus for Harriete Estel Berman

Even if Google+ may never be the Facebook it wants to be, Google is making Google+ an internet networking obligation because (as mentioned in the previous post) Google is connecting your Google+ profile to search results.

Google is connecting search to your Google + profile with  Rel="author" HTML code.

Google AUTHOR results

If you want improved visibility for your website or blog in search results, put the rel="author" in the HTML for your website and blog.  I know that sounds challenging but it is within your skill set as a webmaster of your own domain.

GoogleiconThe first step is creating a Google + profile (if you haven't done this already) and completing your profile information.

MOST IMPORTANT, under Contributor...  (scroll down to find Contributor in your Google + profile)...
GOOGLE+ PROFILE contributor ASK Harriete and Harriete Estel Berman

ADD your website and blog under the Contributor heading as your first step to adding Rel="Author" for improved search results. Tomorrow's post will take you through the next steps.

P.S. I also recommend adding all your other social networks to your profile.  (An example is shown below.)

Google+ profile LINKS for Harriete Estel Berman

Are YOU the rel=AUTHOR of your Website?

The internet of the future is about authenticity and original content. This is why Google wants to know if you are the real author of your website or blog.

This is written as rel="author" in the HTML code and is one of the new (beta) criteria that Google search is using for determining search results.
  Google Plus Profile for Harriete Estel Berman
It could be seen as a way for Google to push its Google + social network (my old Google+ profile is shown above).  Or it could be an effort by Google to screen for spammy sites on the internet.

The impact:
Since Google controls a huge percentage of search results....either you participate on the internet by their rules, or you risk poor placement in search results.

Google plus iconThe positive side is being up to date on current and future trends in search can boost the visibility of your art or craft.

Google Webmaster Tools (now Google Search Console) provides instructions to LINK your Google + profile to the content you create on your website or blog.

Google Authorship Link Instructions.

Watch this video from Google.

KnightAbsorb the information and consider what Google is trying to accomplish with this approach. Keep in mind that this is the future of the internet and should be a strategic part of your internet planning.  

Since the publication of this post, Google has continued to value rel=author and your Google+ profile.
 If you want your content to be found in search results a Google+ authorship is a must. 

"Authorship is also going to put a greater emphasis on high-quality content so that authors that write higher-quality content are more likely to have their authorship with image displayed."

The Google lady makes it sound so easy to verify the rel="author" of your content. It is not. I stumbled around for days...but ultimately have been successful in confirming rel= "author" status on my website and blog.

Below are the current search results for my name with the addition of rel="author" to my sites.
Google AUTHOR results for Harriete Estel Berman

GoogleaAUTHORresultsNote that my Google + profile automatically is shown on the right side of the search results.




Looking more closely at the search results (shown below) you see a small gray silhouette icon next to the entry.
Google AUTHOR results  for Harriete Estel Berman

The silhouette icon is next to search results for posts or entries with verified authorship. To add rel="author" to your sites you need to verify your site(s) with Google Webmaster Tools. 

As stated in the video, verifying your website on Google Webmaster Tools does not impact search, but fixing mistakes on your website (that Google Webmaster Tools helps you find) will improve your website performance and improve your visibility in the future.

 Goggle Webmaster Tools

If you have not yet verified your website or blog with Google Webmaster Tools (now Google Search Console) this is highly recommended for improving performance and search. Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools? will help you step by step. It is worth the effort. These internet skills build on one another. 

The next posts will help you link your Google + profile to the content you create.

4 TIPS to Improve Search for Your Images

Google says: "Tell us as much as possible about your images"  in their Image Publishing Guidelines.

Google image search
Describing your images with words is especially important for artists and makers
because search engines can only see words -- not images.  

Google also recommends that the image's file name should be real words (NOT NUMBERS). This principle is the same as covered in a previous post about website URL addresses: Avoid URL Mistakes I Have MADE.
Below is a bad example of an image title currently on my website.
The image is called:  b98-99a.gif

I know better now, but this is an old image on my website. A much better image file name might be tin-bracelets-1998.jpg  or better yet  red-rose-almond-nuts-tin-bracelets.jpg

Try to make your image file name describe the image.
I did not realize how important a descriptive name could be when I first established my website, but from here on, all my new images will be given much better file names that describe the images.

Below is a better more recent example.
The image title is candyland.jpg

A better title might be candy-land-flower-metal-brooch.jpg.

Image file name recommendations:

  • Image titles should include descriptive information.
  • Use a hyphen between each word.
  • Do NOT use numbers for your image file names.
  • Do NOT use underscores in the title. Underscores are hard for people to see and are not considered separated words in file names.

Candy Land Flower Pin Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman

Candy Land Flower Brooch (back view) from post-consumer recycled tin cans. Domestic iron stamped in the back is my hallmark. Visit my studio online.

Related articles:

Avoid URL Mistakes I Have MADE

REWRITE Short Meta Descriptions for SEO

5 Google Webmaster Tools Improve Sites

This post was updated on July 28, 2022, to provide current links.

Artists: Submit Your Sitemap to Google

Free Sitemap GeneratorIn the last post, we went over instructions for creating a Sitemap using a 3rd party website.

Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps search engines crawl your site. If there is anything that I can do to ensure that more pages of my site are found...I'm doing it!  Learning how to use these Google Webmaster Tools is as important as making your art or craft.

For this post, you need your
Sitemap URL to submit it to Google (or any other search engine such as Bing.)

If you aren't sure which file is your sitemap file....the file name should look like something like this example:

I found my sitemap URL (but just in case) and tested it in a browser.
To test your sitemap if you aren't sure that you're doing this right (like me)
Copy the URL and paste it into your browser.

If you CLICK on the link will show you what my Sitemap looks like.

Sitemaps look like nothing except code and URLs.
Sitemap HEBexample


READY to submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools?

GO TO Google Webmaster Tools OPTIMIZATION for your website.  GoogleWebmasterSitemapsLINK

CLICK on Optimization > then CLICK on Sitemaps.

Google Sitmap submit page
CLICK  on the button that says:
ADD/TEST SITEMAP,  it looks like the image below.Google SITEMap BUTTON





Paste the site map address from your blog or website provider in the window on Google Webmaster Tools. It should look like the image above.

I pasted my website's sitemap URL into the window (the image shows the URL from my old website).

Keep in mind that I didn't paste in the whole URL ...just the part that was missing........from the box ..... sitemap.xml

CLICK on the Submit Sitemap Button that looks like the image right. GoogleSubmitSitemapButton




I was a little I used the Test Sitemap Button. Hey it worked!





I DID IT!!!!!!
You can too!!!!

SUCCESS for Harriete Estel Berman 

Related articles

Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools?

Create a Sitemap and Submit for Visibility

Finding & Fixing Duplicate Meta Descriptions

This post was updated on July 28, 2022, to provide current links.

Create A Sitemap For Your Website Using a free 3rd Party Website

Google recommends submitting a Sitemap for your website.
A Sitemap is a map of your "website".

Map San Francisco, CA SitemapHEBexample
Map of San Francisco, CA    Sitemap of my website

A sitemap is supposed to help Google find every page of your website and increase visibility, especially for websites with a lot of pages. You can also submit your website to other search engines.

This post is how I created a Sitemap using a 3rd party free website. Following these instructions may help your website gain visibility. I've known that sitemaps were important for a long time....but was scared. It seemed too advanced for a webmaster novice like myself, but using Google Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) gave me the insight and instructions I needed. (The next post is how to submit your Sitemap to Google.)

Consider reading the previous post if your website is more of a template type hosted by a web service. Most likely they will help you create the Sitemap. It will be easier than these instructions.

Step by step, this is how I created and submitted a Sitemap for my website. You can too!
Harriete Estel Berman website HOME page

First read all the Sitemap tutorials on Google.

The page Creating Sitemaps has links to a number of free third-party tools that can help you generate a Sitemap. (I thought creating a Sitemap on my own was just too much for my inexperience.)

I tried two different websites for making my sitemap. It seemed a little scary to try this for the first time.....but taking a risk is what it takes to survive as a "Webmaster of your own Domain".
Free Sitemap Generator

(This site was used for the tutorial in this post.)

I tested both sites and saw no significant difference in the results between the two sitemaps generators.  was faster.

Create an account with Free Site Map Generator and enter the URL of your site. I came back the next day and a Sitemap for my website was done.

  • DOWNLOAD the SiteMap
  • SAVE to your computer
  • UPLOAD to your website using your FTP (FileTransferProtocal) service. 

Free SiteMap Generator RESULTS

GoogleSubmitSitemapButtonNow I am ready to submit my sitemap address to Google. (This is the next post. )

This post was updated on July 28, 2022, to provide current links.

New Day New Year 2013 Website Copyright

As we enter the bright potential of the New Year don't forget to update the copyright notice on your web site to 2013. A small but important task, it shows your customer that you keep your website "fresh".  In addition, search engines read a current date as an indication of a well maintained site which improves your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings. Just update the date on every main page with a copyright date. This is easy to do.

I include the first year of publication and this calendar year. I found examples on websites for major manufacturers done this way. Figured if the big bucks companies do it this way it was good enough for me.

  • © 2003-2013 Harriete Estel Berman
  • copyright 2003-2013 Harriete Estel Berman

I was looking at major websites on New Year's Eve 2012. They all said will be interesting to see when they change the date to 2013.

P.S. If you missed the recent SEO series for improving your website/blog visibility, start with the post Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools?

Oranges on a Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman

This post was updated on July 28, 2022, to provide current links.

Create a Sitemap and Submit for Visibility

It is recommended for better website/blog visibility to  

  • Create a Sitemap 
  •  Submit a Sitemap to Google for better SEO.

Map collage by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans.
A page from the art book
"And Let There Be Light"
steel, riveted.
Artist:Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

This post is about how to create a Sitemap and submit a Sitemap. These instructions may work for your blog, and maybe your website, too, especially, if you have a template-type host.

I will be the first to admit I am afraid.

Step by step, this is how I submitted a Sitemap for my blog.






First I read all the Sitemap tutorials on Typepad and Google.

If you aren't on Typepad, find tutorials for your blog or website host.

Next, open all the windows you need to keep all the various instructions and sites open at the same time. I just can not remember these tech instructions. It is like complete gibberish the first time.

Blog ASK Harriete Typepad (the host for my blog) says it will create a Sitemap for you and submit it to Google.
This is shown in the image below.

Typepad Sitemap SEO

The problem... is that Google Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) said there was no sitemap.

So I decided that I have to try and do this myself.
I went to my Google Webmaster Tools OPTIMIZATION.  GoogleWebmasterSitemapsLINK
CLICK on Optimization > then CLICK on Sitemaps.

Google Sitmap submit page

CLICK  on the button that says:
                        ADD/TEST SITEMAP,  it looks like the image below right.Google SITEMap BUTTON


GOOGLE add test button window
Paste the site map address from your blog* or website provider in the window on Google Webmaster Tools. It should look like the image above.

I pasted my sitemap URL into the window. The URL below is the web address for my blog ASK Harriete Sitemap.
*AT the beginning of this post, I found the URL on Typepad.


Keep in mind that I didn't paste in the whole URL ...just the part that was missing........from the box. (Look at the image below.)
Google Webmaster Tools Submitting Sitemap URL

CLICK on the Submit Sitemap Button that looks like the image right. GoogleSubmitSitemapButton



You can too!!!!
In the box below you can see that Google Webmaster Tools now says I have a Sitemap submitted.
 Google Sitemap SUBMITTED
P.S. If your website is on WordPress here is a tutorial.

How to submit your website sitemap is coming a future post. It involved asking a 3rd party website to make me a Sitemap.

More scary stuff to do.

Hands hiding face before scary job
This post was updated on July 28, 2022, to provide current links.

REWRITE Short Meta Descriptions for SEO

Using Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) I discovered nine "Short meta descriptions" on my website. You can see this shown in the image below. Google says: "Meta description information can give users a clear idea of your site's content and encourage users to click on your site in the search results pages."

Google Webmaster Short Meta Descriptions
The right column shows the URL for the page.

What's wrong with Short Meta Descriptions?

Short meta descriptions are considered bad SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Did you ever notice when you do a search that there is a description below the URL?

Below is an example of a Google search results for an HTML page on my website with a short meta description.


Because this had a Short Meta Description Google just took some text from the page. Boring.....boring....boring. My mistake.

Sometimes if Google does not like your Short Meta Description it will make up its own.
One website authority called them "snippety snippets". They were jesting of course, but would you rather write the description for your web pages or let Google do it?

Google Search image of Alphonse Mucha Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman

I rewrote the Short Meta Descriptions shown in the Google Webmaster Tools.

My preference both from an SEO standpoint and human interest is to use keywords that discuss the concept behind the work and relevant information about images or materials in my work.

Embossed Oval Alphonse Mucha Bracelet is about how famous paintings are made into souvenirs in museum gift shops and printed on candy tins as an indication of good taste by Harriete Estel Berman.

RECOMMENDATION for best website SEO Practices
Try to write original descriptions, keywords, and titles on every page. Not only is it boring to your customer, clients, or collectors if everything is the same, but variety in your descriptions and keywords might capture a new or more diverse audience.

An additional factor is that Google now recognizes if you copy and paste the same description, title or keyword onto every page. Google downgrades your website if they find duplicate content.

Three art jewelry bracelet in guilt frame of tin cans as a commentary on ART Jewelryt J
ART Jewelry Bracelets with Tin Gilt Frame      2007
The Alphonse Mucha Bracelet is part of this series.

Art jewelry Botticelli Birth of Venus from cookie tins as an indication of good taste.e

Renoir Art Jewelry Braclets printed with famous paintings as an indication of good taste.c

Museum Art Jewelry bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans printed with famous paintings

Berman bracelet based on Britto style tin can

Britto Original Tin Art Jewelry from post consumer recycled materials

This post was updated on July 11, 2022, to provide current links.

Finding & Fixing Duplicate Meta Descriptions

Registration on Google Webmaster Tools* (now called Google Search Console) has opened up a tremendous resource for me. Don't let the term "webmaster" hold you back. There is a lot of information that a lay person or SEO novice can understand and use to improve their site.

Today we will discuss Meta Descriptions.
Meta descriptions show up in Google searches. The meta description is the text description below the link.

Google search results Harriete

Watch this Google Video first..... and then I will tell you how to find your Meta Descriptions in Google Webmasters and the SEO goal for artists and makers.

How much time should I spend on meta tags, and which ones matter?

Our Goal in today's post is to consider writing fabulous Meta Descriptions (as described in the video) and FIX DUPLICATE Meta Descriptions. Google does not like duplicate content.
Finding and fixing duplicate meta descriptions is similar to fixing duplicate title tags in the post SEO Success: Fix Those Duplicate Titles.

Go to your Google Webmaster page. (The photo below shows my HOME on Google Webmaster Tools. This will be the example because I can't look at your Google Webmaster Tools.) 


CLICK on your website URL. (In the image above it says:

Look at the image below.
It shows the Google Webmaster TOOLS.
In the left-hand column find where it says: Optimization


In your Google Webmaster Tools CLICK on

It shows you a whole list of tools (like in the image below).

GoogleWebmasterOptimizationListCLICK on
HTML Improvements.

 We want to look under
HTML Improvements
       for the



In the image below:

HTML Improvement says that my website has 27 Duplicate Meta Descriptions.

This picture is very small (click on the image for a larger view.)
27 Duplicate Meta Descriptions is very bad news!!! 
Google does not like duplicate content of any kind. 

Google wants original content
on the internet on every single page. Duplicate content is considered spammy, lazy, and fake. If you have any duplicate content on your website, change it as soon as possible.





Below is the list of URL pages on my website with Duplicate Meta Descriptions. (CLICK on image for larger view.)


I didn't know about any of this duplicate information on my site....
and I do all the work on my site myself. This is why Google Webmaster Tools is so helpful.

In the Google Webmaster Tools, you can click on any one of these listings. It shows the exact pages with duplicate content. BELOW is what Google Webmaster Tools said about my website. It lists the URLs.

Harriete website image of Cubist Futurist KitchInArt Cuisinart applianceIcubistEach one of the URLs in the list (shown in the above image) represents one HTML page on my website.

On my website they open smaller "pop-up" windows. On my Sculpture page, if you CLICK on the images this is what it looks like.

 I had to go behind the scenes on my website and rewrite the Meta Descriptions for each page.

   Harriete website Greek style modern 20th century KitchInArt Cuisinart appliance


I spend hours fixing the Duplicate Meta Descriptions for all 27 pages, but it is an absolute necessity. Original content is the internet of the future.

Google is clearly establishing that original content is a priority in every respect.

Harriete website image for Social Realism KitchInArt Cuisinart appliance sculptureOriginal content on every page, for every item, object, piece of jewelry, painting, sculpture, or ceramic work.

Original content for your Titles, Meta Descriptions, and the content on your website and blog is an absolute necessity for top SEO. Artists and makers that are creating original content can make this an advantage and an asset with careful management of their website content.

*The post Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools? will help you register and verify your site with Google Webmaster Tools.

This post was updated on July 11, 2022, to provide current links.

Spam Comments Hurt Your Site

ASKHarrieteGREENS72For the past year, or so, the increased visibility of ASK Harriete has generated more  spammy comments. (Spam is unrelated comments containing links.) I didn't like feeling "used" so decided to require approval before publishing, or I edit the comments. This seemed like an unfortunate choice as comments generate feedback and discussion.  It is also wonderful to hear from readers of ASK Harriete.

It turns out that my intuition was correct. Research into improving SEO has revealed that spammy comments can hurt your website or blog.


Tat Roach Motel Flower Pin in red, white, and black from Harriete Estel Bermano
Tat Roach Trap Flower Pin 

Since spam comments are from a marauding pack of internet "roaches" Google is devaluing spam comments with links.
If those spammy links are on your site, they will devalue your website or blog! 

Tat Roach Motel Flower Brooch Pin back view by Harriete Estel BermanControl over comments is considered your job....and now you know that you have to do it.




Google is calling this User Generated Spam.

My action: Require approval of comments consistent with Google recommendations.


  • Require approval of comments for your website or blog.
  • Remove the URL links in spam comments. (Lots of times the URL link is not obvious in the comment. Only when I go to edit the comment is the HTML code revealed.) 
  • Read Google recommendations and don't leave spam comments on your website or blog.

Poor Quality Comments Are Your Content

Poor Quality Comments Are Your Content


Are YOU the rel=AUTHOR of your Website?

Crafting Better SEO - Guide to SEO TOPICS on Metalsmith BenchTalk Whaley Studios

This post was updated on July 11, 2022, to provide current links.

Google Guidelines For the Best Your Site Can Be

Google offers concrete suggestions on their page Webmaster Guidelines: Best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your site. I think you can read this first page in about 5-7 minutes. The ideas are not technical "geekery", but common sense suggestions for improving your website.

For artists and makers with image-heavy sites, SEO and behind-the-scenes HTML code are critical issues for your website to be found and great performance.


Study and learn the easy way to improve your site and understand best practices for functional web design.


Information is divided into three categories....that is when it gets a little tougher. 

  • General Guidelines
  • Content Specific Guidelines
  • Quality guidelines

Watch this video below. Even if you can't fix everything this week, read the information, and ask me your questions based on what you don't understand.

Don't feel like you have to learn everything at once. A website should be constantly evolving.

A website is never finished unlike a painting or a teapot. 

I have a week more of tutorials. Look forward to making your website of 2013 the best it can be.

Patchwork Quilt: Small Pieces of Time was constructed in 1988. It is just as true today as it was 30+ years ago. Take those small pieces of time and use them effectively to update your website. Significant changes with Google search criteria during 2012 have made review and updates to your website essential.

This post was updated on July 11, 2022, to provide current links.

Become A Webmaster of Your Own Domain

Today's post will help you catch up on the ASK Harriete 2012 Series of improving SEO for artists, makers, jewelers, metalsmiths, crafts persons, or creators. The links are below.

We still have several more days of tutorials and lots to learn so I want to be sure you are up to speed.  ASK Harriete has great posts coming up with amazing information that will help you improve your website.


Whether you have a blog or website understanding online tools are as important to the savvy artist as the paintbrush, scissors, or saw.

During the holidays, ASK Harriete is doing a daily series of basic fix-its that everyone can do to improve the chance that your website will be found by customers, collectors, or curators.

SEO series 2012:

Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools?

SEO Success: Fix Those Duplicate Titles

Titles RULE - Title EVERY ONE of Your Website Pages Differently

Has Google found your site? Every page?

Avoid URL Mistakes I Have MADE


SEO series 2011:

The best website or blog evaluation!

Does Your HOME Page Load Quickly?

Simple, Sensible, Sensational, SEO Improvements.

Your Website HOME page is Like The Front Door of Your House

Search Engines Have No Vision - Play TAG, Your IT - Create Tags for better SEO from 2.0 sites

Search Engines Have No Vision - SEO for 2.0 sites.

Search Engines Have No Vision! So Help SEO "SEE" Your Images

SEO 2009:

Images on your website, Are they lost or found?

This post was updated on July 11, 2022, to provide current links.

5 Google Webmaster Tools Improve Sites

This post will start with a great video from Google titled, What are the 3-5 most important things I should pay attention to in Google Webmaster Tools? (update 2022: Google Webmaster Tools is now called Google Search Console). Then I will illustrate the examples from the video in case the information went over your head.

I would be the first to admit that sometimes it takes me hours to figure out what they were talking about on the Google Webmaster Tools. Don't let that stop you.

We covered Google Webmaster Tools in a previous post: Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools?

Goggle Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is the foundation for this series on improving your website performance.




Google Webmaster Tools - All Messages allows Google to inform you about your site's status if there are critical or important issues detected with your site. Make sure you "Enable email notification" in Google Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster Messages



How to find  "Site Configuration Settings" (This took me an hour to figure out.)

  • On your Google Webmaster Tools HOME page (shown below)
  • CLICK on the blue website URL (in the example image below it is On your Google Webmaster Tool, it would be your website or blog.


This reveals a whole new set of tools!


This is a little overwhelming. We are only going to cover the topics mentioned in the video.



Set preferred domain, if you want. (I decided not to do Set Preferred domain at this time. It was really scary and involved several steps. I also couldn't decide which is better   or Are people ready for URL without www? Opinions anyone?





Set the Geographic Target

Setting the Geographic Target seemed an easy decision. Shipping my work internationally is expensive, and the economy worldwide is no better than in the U.S. My primary audience is in the U.S. People in other countries can still look at my site.




The next item in the video was URL Parameters. You can find this in the left column of the Google Webmaster Tools.


I did not use the URL Parameters tool.  It said, "Currently Googlebot isn't experiencing problems with coverage of your site, so you don't need to configure URL parameters."
This also looks like a very advanced tool for an amateur like me.



Keyword Report is under OPTIMIZATION.
Fascinating information!
Compare this to the information below on Queries.

KEYWORD REPORT  is mentioned next in the video. As the video says, "It's the top keywords that appear on your site. So it's really interesting to compare that list to what you think your site is about."




There is also tons of information under traffic.

Scroll down and look under the list of Search Queries

Lots to learn from this information.




Links to Your Site was interesting to me.
It shows what people found interesting.





Moving on to the next topic in the video...HTML suggestion.
From the video:
"what that [HTML] feature does is it lets you know if we've detected any possible issues with your meta descriptions or your title tags. And those are pretty important because those two things can directly influence how your search result appears on that search results page. The title tag, for example, is often what we'll use to show the title of your site, and the meta description will often prefer that, if you've written one yourself, over us just trying to generate a snippet automatically as the description of your site. And the things that we detect are if you have a bunch of duplicate titles or meta descriptions."



OPTIMIZATION is under HTML Improvements.


There is lots of work for me under this category but this tool is fantastic. I fixed the duplicate Title Tags a few days ago. Obviously, Google hasn't searched my site since I fixed the duplication.

Note: there are 10 duplicate meta descriptions that I need to fix right away.

I have 0 Long Meta Description but 9 Short Meta Descriptions that need repair. I will cover this in another post.




SITE PERFORMANCE is the last item mentioned in the video. "Site Performance lets you see how fast your site is relative to other sites on the Web. Since site performance has a lot to do with user experience, users enjoy browsing faster pages. It's good to know which end of the spectrum you are on. Is your site one of those that people have to wait to load?"

Guess what? I can't find it, but I will..... and SITE Performance will be a future post.

That was a lot of great information that will take a couple of hours at least. That is why I like learning this information during the holidays when the rest of my world is dormant. Long hours of quiet time and cold rainy days to work intensively.


This post was updated on July 2, 2022, to provide current links.

Avoid URL Mistakes I Have MADE

Today's post is about URLs as part of our holiday series on improving your website SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)

Howdoor72What is a URL?  URL is the address to a specific website or a page on the Internet. It is just like the address of your house. The URL tells the Internet how to visit your website.





Using my website as an example:

The URL for my website is

Each page has its own URL.
Below is my main Jewelry page...with the URL:

Now you know what a URL is.

Google says: "A site's URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers).

Below is a page from my website with art jewelry bracelets that have numbers for the URL. This is NOT good SEO by current standards. Learn from my mistakes. Improve for the future.

If you CLICK ON ANY IMAGE a page opens up (as  shown in the photo below.)

Look at the URL(below). It is a series of numbers:  4-10-07.
This is exactly what Google says NOT to do.


I should have given it a URL like wasabipeas.
Even better it should have been wasabi-peas-bracelet.

My website had a lot of jewelry pages that are numbers rather than words from years ago when I didn't know any better, but what astounds me is that I still see websites with numbers for a URL. 

DO NOT USE LISTS OF NUMBERS for the URL of pages on your website. Google doesn't like it.

Below are the BEST PRACTICES FOR URLs on your website.

  • Consider using HYPHEN punctuation in your URL.
    The URL is much more useful than
  • Use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs. Underscores are hard to see and cause mistakes. 
  • Use only lowercase letters. Using only lowercase helps avoid mistakes.
  • Use four to five keywords relevant to your site and the specific page.

While 10 years ago short URLs were recommended this is no longer the case. Most people are cutting and pasting URLs. The benefit of better SEO with a descriptive URL outweighs the benefit of a short URL.

Below are Google videos about URL related to searches on your website.

Underscores vs. dashes in URLs 

Is it better to have keywords in the URL path or filename?

This is answered in the next video "Does the position of keywords in the URL affect ranking?"

Does the number of sub directories in a URL affect its ranking? 

This next video offers an answer:

This post was updated on July 2, 2022, to provide current links.

Has Google found your site? Every page?

Did you ever wonder if Google found your website? Even if you know your site comes up in search results, do you wonder about which pages will show up? Do you wonder if Google has discovered all your pages?


BermanFineSilverworkFor my website, I was really worried that my silver repair business pages were not being found. In 2012 I wasn't prepared to make another website, so these pages were added to the website for my artwork. Still,  I wondered if people could find my business Berman Fine Silverwork. 

By doing a test in Google search, and looking through the search results...

I confirmed that Berman Fine Silverwork pages will be found in search results even though they were separate pages on my artist website. That is the way I built my business on the web for years. 

UPDATE 2016: In 2016 I built a whole new website for my silver repair business Berman Fine Silverwork.
 My first step was to buy a separate domain keeping the domain name as short as possible hence   Short domain names with key search terms are the current trend since so many people are using phones and mobile devices. My new website is now mobile-friendly. The outcome with a new website:  I doubled my business gross revenue in one year. 

Here is how you can check your website in search:

STEP 1. Go INCOGNITO in your web browser to eliminate past search history.



Type in your website into the search box like this:   [ ]

For my website I would type in:

For your  website  type in:

CLICK SEARCH and see what comes up. 

You could also try search terms that you think a customer might use to find your site. 


This post was updated on July 2, 2022, to provide current links.

SEO Success: Fix Those Duplicate Titles

Harriete Estel Berman web site home

Every year I work on improving my website during the quiet of the holidays. This is the perfect time to catch up and ramp up for the new year.

Google search results Harriete Estel Berman

My suggestions for improving SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website are always free basic fix-its that everyone can do to improve the chance that your website will be found by customers, collectors, or curators.

No baloney. No manipulation of search results with tricks.

Today's post is about duplicate title tags.

The important issue is that the title is unique for every page. Even if you are using WordPress, or a template for your website, every page has a title.

Tins RED in the studio of Harriete Estel Berman

Tins RED stored in my 1,000's of tin cansin Just like you would not post two identical images, you don't want to duplicate title tags for different pages. I wrote about this before on ASK Harriete.

Duplicate page titles are NOT good for 3 reasons:

  • Search engines think every page is the same.
  • Google now penalizes websites with duplicate content.
  • Duplicate titles will hurt SEO for your website.


Below is an example of duplicate titles on my website, and how I found the mistake.  The correction was easy, finding the duplicate titles was hard until I found this great tool on Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools).

It turns out that I had three pages (show below) on my website  all with the SAME title: "In My Studio - tools used to construct my work."




A recent newsletter from Jill Whalen
(my SEO guru) told me how to find duplicate page titles using Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools).


If you aren't already registered with Google Search Console this is a free service and your first step.

This is really important. The tools of Google Webmasters are all free diagnostic tools for improving your website or blog. I am going to spend the next week learning how to use these tools with the readers of ASK Harriete.  

To get started, read the previous post. Learn how to add your site to Google Search Console (previously  Google Webmaster Tools) and verify your site.

Next read this article: SEO and Duplicate Content Issues that Hurt Google Traffic


More information about writing titles can be found in Titles RULE - Title EVERY ONE of Your Website Pages Differently   TitlesRULE

This post was updated on July 2, 2022, to provide current links.

Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools?

Goggle Webmaste rTools

Yes, I know this sounds a bit overwhelming, but a productive website is an ongoing task, always with room for improvement.  Google Search Console (previously called Google Webmaster Tools) is a very helpful tool and registration is completely free.  (Embedded videos don't show in the email subscription of ASK Harriete. Go to the actual post.)

Every year, during the quiet of the holidays, I work on improving my website. This is the perfect time to catch up and gain more visibility for your work online.  Over the next couple of weeks,  ASK Harriete will offer easy tips to help your website achieve better SEO (Search Engine Optimization).


Whether you have a blog or website, one site, or 1,000 sites;  Add your site to Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools).   Learn with me as I discover how to use these tools.  They can be as important to today's online savvy artist as the paintbrush, scissors, or saw.

Verification of your site can be "tricky" for amateurs. It took me several tries.

These tools are not just for professionals. I am largely self-taught, learning by using tools and services on the web.  If I can do it, just about anyone could.  The Google Webmaster Academy has tutorials for reference as well. Below is an older video Google Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) that describes some of the webmaster tools and how they benefit your site. (I noticed that the videos don't show in the email subscription of ASK Harriete. Click on the link provided instead.)

Now time to improve my website's visibility and find mistakes with me on ASK Harriete.  (I already fixed 13 errors this afternoon.) 

Related articles:

SEO Success: Fix Those Duplicate Titles

Has Google found your site? Every page?

Finding & Fixing Duplicate Meta Descriptions

Did You Register Your Web Site on Google Webmaster Tools?

Become A Webmaster of Your Own Domain

REWRITE Short Meta Descriptions for SEO

5 Google Webmaster Tools Improve Sites

Google Webmaster Tools Security Breach Fixed

This post was updated on July 2, 2022, to provide current links.

The best website or blog evaluation!

Years ago I was looking for ways to evaluate my website.  

I tried different websites to test for my website and blog, ASK Harriete, . . .  and then learned the harsh reality - my website needs work. Welcome to managing a website yourself.

Sitebeam results  for Harriete Estel Berman

What distinguishes a website testing service?  I no longer have any idea, but the issue is still important. Google is not as transparent as it used to be about search ranking. Security, spelling, images, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are still important but cloaked in more secrecy to avoid people gaming the system like they did in the past. 

What is important now?  Updating your website. Avoiding stagnant content.   

SiteBeam offers a whole list of web site or blog evaluation criteriaThe free test offers information on multiple categories:

  • broken links
  • content keywords
  • headings
  • printability
  • twitter
  • W3C compliance
  • social interest
  • stylesheets
  • broken files
  • incoming links
  • spelling
  • poplularity
  • url format
  • link states
  • freshness
  • search engine results
  • facebook
  • readability
  • analytics
  • alternative text
  • speed
  • visual interest
  • image usage
  • links
  • search ranking

Look for a website testing tool every so often.   See what happens.

While I am a rank amateur in web design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), this test raised my awareness of many SEO evaluation standards. I didn't know that links from social networks, spelling, titles, headers, or image ALT text (descriptions of your images) had such an important impact in evaluating my site. (Since this was a free test, many results were withheld.)  Still, I have lots of information to work with in the next weeks.


UPDATE 2013: This post was created in January 2012. Since then I have learned about free tools provided with Google Webmaster Tools (and changed again more recently.) Find all ASK Harriete posts on Search Engine Optimization for artists and craftspeople with this link.

In February 27, 2023 I tried  

I am always willing to try an experiment.

This post was updated on February 27, 2023

Recommended Resources for SEO and Website Information

To keep current, I follow several newsletters and blogs to learn more about SEO and Internet issues.

Spice_frontBHow else can I learn the secrets to traveling on the Internet at light speed in my studio? These resources (listed below) are a great way to build your Internet marketing and business savvy. No one has to read them all, just pick and choose depending on your time and energy, or save the link for a later date.

Go ahead, sign up for their newsletters, none of them cost a penny. 

UPDATE as of 2017: SEO has changed dramatically in the last 6 years. The best SEO practices of 2017 are based on quality, authentic content, and a website that works for your customers/readers. I have no idea how to be up to date in 2023.

Many of the websites and newsletters I recommended in 2011 are outdated or obsolete so I have updated this post.

Your primary guide should be Google Webmasters . Registers and look around. This doesn't cost you anything except some time.

10 Tips for Artists and Makers for Attracting Web Traffic to Your Site includes links to simple and effective ideas you can implement for your site that work. By work, I mean generating traffic for your site. No need to be an SEO guru to create an effective website for your art or craft.


Search Engine Land
Search Engine Land has a variety of authors, I recommend Jill Whalen. There is also has a super post called: The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! A quick tutorial worth reading. 

Outspoken Media 

SEObook (This is advanced information so skip it if you are new to SEO and web.)

I think that I should study my own website platform for hints. It provides tutorials that may be helpful   The standardization of the web with website platforms can be used to our advantage. 

Harriete Estel Berman teaching at a workshopWORKSHOPE-mail me your questions about SEO. 

Let's talk!


Spice_frontB This is one page from a book "And There was Light" constructed from post-consumer spice tins and tin cans. View the entire book on my website.









Does Your HOME Page Load Quickly?

Have you ever tested how long it takes to load your website or blog? The HOME page of your website should load quickly to satisfy viewers.  How long does it take your web site to load? Watch the clock. If it takes too long, readers may not wait!

A super simple, easy test for upload speed is (no registration required, thank goodness).

Factors that can influence load time are the size of images, number of images, podcasts, and videos. Advertisements and widgets that require contact with another site also delay the upload speed. 

Sure, different pages of your website may load at different speeds. Viewers may consider waiting for a video or slide presentation to upload AFTER they have discovered that your website has something worth waiting for.  But your HOME page is their first introduction.  It needs to make a quick impression without being burdened with heavy content. 

Use your HOME page for the initial introduction only and let the viewer click through on the content that they wish to pursue.

Time how long it takes for your home page to load.  Alarm cllockredThis is a consideration for ongoing improvements. It was brought to mind because I've noticed that ASK Harriete is taking longer to load.   I've been including a lot more images that are much larger as an experiment, and this is influencing how long it takes to upload. In the future, I need to make the images smaller and compress them a little more for a speedier upload.

Check your website and blog to see how long it takes to upload.  Maybe people are leaving your website before they have a chance to view your work.


This post was updated on February 17, 2022.

Simple, Sensible, Sensational, SEO Improvements.

Harriete cheering on SEO for artists and makersLook for easy ways to boost SEO for your website and blog. I don't know about you, but who has the time or patience to make Excel lists of keywords.  Just can't do it. I prefer to find SEO plans that are simple, sensible, and easy to implement.

Today's suggestion:
Use image descriptions or ALT Image tags that match the content in your post.

Why didn't I think of this before?
I always try to label my images on my website with ALT Image Tags to create Internet visibility for the images. On blogs and 2.0 social networking sites, upload the image and create an image description so the images will be found by search engines.

The methods are different, the end result is the same. And it makes the images searchable.  What I hadn't realized was that if images descriptions match the title for each page or blog post with the same words, it can increase the SEO ranking for your website, blog, or image search!

Megaphone cheering on the importance of SEO titles.


Engage in the conversation.
Leave a comment. (Comments require approval so give me a few minutes to post it live.)



Image labels generate Internet visibility.

Search Engines Have No Vision! So Help SEO "SEE" Your Images

Finding The Orange Lifeboat - Will Your Images Be Lost at Sea? by Brigitte Martin

This post was updated on February 17, 2022.


TYPEPAD BLOG Performs SEO Seasonal Miracles

Every year in the past, I spent a quiet week between Christmas and New Year in a marathon of website corrections and updates.
December 2011

The problem is that I work on my website myself.   I never really have time to study properly.

Harriete Berman websitehome Do you have a similar problem?

Yet, every website needs to be maintained or updated from time to time.  My first website was designed in 2003. It continued to function, even though newer versions and new capabilities had come along.  

Years ago, I have to create a whole new website compliant with current standards. Using a website platform seemed a little too cookie-cutter for my taste, but this is the current reality of web design.

Search engines, however, are constantly updated with the latest in code and compliance. Correct code improves the SEO.

If your website is filled with incorrect code, search engines rank your website as "amateur," dumb, stupid, or incompetent.  Keep updating your website the best you can, all the time.  Add new content, improve your images, and share your experiences as an artist.


updated this post on February 27, 2023


Finding The Orange Lifeboat - Will Your Images Be Lost at Sea? by Brigitte Martin

Today's post about tagging your images is by Brigitte Martin, curator, book author, and administrator of Crafthaus.  Martin begins by taking us on a rescue mission to stress the importance of tagging your images on the Internet.  Will your images be lost on the Internet? Are they drowning in an ocean of information?

Note: The opinions expressed by the author, Brigitte Marin, in this post are hers and hers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is implied.

BMartin1WilliamPilotImagine you are a military helicopter pilot charged with a rescue mission in the choppy seas off of Wales. (Prince William of England generously offered to be our model for this edifying story. Thanks, Will.)

BMartin2screenSomeone fell off a fishing boat and is now missing at sea. Prince William must find this person within minutes. (If he does this right, he can keep gallivanting around England a bit longer with the new wife. If he fails, he’ll need to return to London and sit in the rain for 3 dreadfully long parades with grandma.)

So Will decides he doesn’t enjoy parades all that much after all, waves bye-bye to Kate and takes off to find the lost sailor.

And this is what he sees: Water.


A great big sea of water. Lots of it and then some more. The minutes are ticking by and he just can’t find the person he needs to save.

Then finally, after 29 minutes, Will sees something. A bright orange spot in the wide-open sea! Brilliant. The sailor can now be rescued by our hero!


Martin5WilliamWithQueenWill goes home and tells his grandmother that she’ll have to ask someone else to sit through the parades.


The End. Well, almost...
Now, what on earth is the point of this story?

BrigitteMartinprofileCHAIRImagine: Instead of royal Will on a rescue mission, there’s a charming, good looking, and very smart editor/curator out there (theoretically speaking, it’s no one we would know personally) who urgently needs to find a photo of one of your pieces on the Internet for a groundbreaking story she wants to write about you and your work! But the photo our editor is looking for is - literally - lost at sea.

Oh no! Why, you ask? Well, because YOU FORGOT TO TAG YOUR IMAGES. That’s why!

See, the thing is, the Internet is kind of like the huge, blue ocean. Without tags on your photo, the image is just LOST AT SEA, it is invisible. BMartinHAND

HANDI found this image of a hand on Crafthaus. It has no tags. This image is lost. No one can find it. In a minute it will be drowned.

Lifeboat with tagsHowever, with tags on your photos, your tags become the orange lifeboat, the one thing the editor can now see against the blue waters. That’s how it works!

So, will you start tagging your images now? You can easily tag images on crafthaus, Flickr, and other image-sharing sites.

Start with the photos you have uploaded already and continue tagging as you go along.

Suggested tags are:

  • your name
  • title of piece
  • material
  • what object it is (ring, necklace, vase, etc.)
  • location
  • descriptions or keywords that would help someone find your work
  • name of website

If you tag your photos, others can find them. It’s that easy. You are doing this for yourself!

Your charming, good looking and very smart editor thanks you sincerely.

Brigitte Martin


Ring by Aline Battengay

Appropriate tags for this photo might be:
Aline Battengay (artist name), ring, hand, doll, jewelry, found object, plastic,






POSTS on ASK Harriete about Image Tags.

Search Engines Have No Vision - Play TAG, Your IT - Create Tags for better SEO from 2.0 sites


Mail without an address? Titles, tags, and descriptions for Search Engine Optimization.

Images on your website, Are they lost or found?

This post was updated on February 17, 2022.

Titles RULE - Title EVERY ONE of Your Website Pages Differently

Every page of your website should have a DIFFERENT title. This is called the "title tag" and looks like this <title> in the HTML of your website. On a template site, it may be a line you need to fill out.

The title of every page is basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and is very important to the success of your website.


Title tags are also the easiest SEO feature
to understand and do effectively. No one knows your website, your work, and your audience better than you do!

Unfortunately, all the time I see websites for artists and makers where the title for every page says exactly the same thing...the person's name. I used my name in the example below to protect the innocent (or guilty):

<title>Harriete Estel Berman</title>

<title>Harriete Estel Berman</title>

<title>Harriete Estel Berman</title>

<title>Welcome</title> (another bad example)

Titles that are the same make it look like every page of your website is the same which isn't true. Right? Search engines think every page is exactly the same.  That's right! Every page looks exactly the same because the titles are the same. Welcome is no better. It says nothing about your site. 

Sometimes it isn't even the whole name or identity of the artist. Here is a super bad example especially since my last name is so common.

<title>Berman Jewelry</title>

<title>Berman Jewelry</title>

<title>Berman Jewelry</title>

On a practical level, this means if a person bookmarks a page of my website (because they want to come back) every page says the same thing....they can't tell which page has earrings or rings, paintings or prints, sculpture or jewelry.

What is worse?
Search engines currently use titles for finding your website pages. If you don't title the pages on your website with accurate and useful information the chances of people or search engines finding your work is less likely.


If you are using a template site, change the title of every page. If you are using a website editing software look at the very top of the HTML code for the <title> tag.

Here are some guidelines for the <title> of your website.

  • A UNIQUE TITLE for each page of your site.
  • The first 59-60 characters will show in search results including spaces. (Updated March 2014.) You can add extra words if you want, but make sure the most important words are at the beginning of the title. Jill Whalen says, "I'm a firm believer in longer titles, rather than exact matches with just one keyword phrase. Title tags are given so much weight, in my opinion, that it's critical to have 2 or 3 keyword phrases contained within them, not just one."
  • DO NOT repeat words. (Example: TIN, TIN CANS)
  • Consider geographic location IF this is important to your business.
  • Think like a person, not a search engine. (HINT: Search engines don't think.)
    Optimize your page for people with interesting and informative phrases. So if the page of your website is about gold rings it might be better to use the terms "gold rings" in the title instead of the name of the series.
    EXAMPLE:  <title>Gold Rings by Harriete Estel Berman</title> instead of <title>Orbit Series by Harriete Estel Berman</title>
  • Your company name or artist name is important to build name recognition, but irrelevant if people don't know it.  A compromise would be including your name after important keyword phrases that would be used to look for your art or craft.

I am spending the entire day checking (or rewriting) the titles for every page on my website. As I learn more about SEO I try to improve my website, one feature at a time.


PREVIOUS POSTS in this SEO series:

Your Website HOME page is Like The Front Door of Your House

Find the entire series of Search Engine Optimization for Artists and Craftspeople

This post was updated on February 17, 2022, to provide current links.

Your Website HOME Page is Like The Front Door of Your House


Your website starts with your HOME page. It's like walking through the front door of your house.  This is where you want your guests to enter your home, neat and tidy with a positive impression.


First impressions are important.  The HOME page ideally establishes a signature identity or impression that should align with the style of your art or craft.


Does your website do this?

PatternsToo many websites (and blogs) look like a flea market with clutter and advertising. It really bothers me. When the HOME page of your website is the first thing people see, I think this clutter is costing far more than the potential revenue from affiliate advertising.

Looking beyond or behind the appearance of a website, on a practical level, the HOME page of your website is given the most weight by search engines because it has the most links. So even search engines enter your website through the front door of your website, the HOME page. I wonder if filling your HOME page with clutter is the most effective message to send for SEO (search engine optimization).

Tomorrow...HOME page navigation...a map for your website.


This post was updated on February 17, 2022.


Search Engines Have No Vision - Play TAG, Your IT - Create Tags for better SEO from 2.0 sites

TAGS can be confusing when it comes to 2.0 social networking sites. 

Tag-your-it Most 2.0 sites allow tags for images (such as Flickr, Crafthaus, and marketing sites like Etsy and  Some are less accommodating (see The Facebook Exception below). 



Do your own test. Go to your favorite site, use the search box, and type in words that describe your work. If YOUR images don't come back as results, no one else can find your images either. 


Some 2.0 sites allow only a fixed number of possible tags., for example, allows five tags per category.

Etsy allows 14 tags in total.

Flickr and Crafthaus seem to allow a huge number, but I recommend that you prioritize your tags by using the most important tags first. Then keep going with variations and options.

SEOtagsimages What should be your priority tags?  Begin by thinking about how people are likely to search for work like yours.  What are the most important words your friends would use to describe your work? This may likely be redundant to your title and description, but that is good!  In the logic of search engines, redundant words add to their credibility.

HEB1.72gr For example, both the title of the work and my name are in every text box available

 Yes,  in the title text box, again in any description text box, and yet again in any tags text box -- for each and every image.  For every image use your most important words. For your work, it may be a business name, medium, or subject that is your "signature."

Lind Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Berman uses post consumer recycled tin cans from chocolate.
Tags for this Flower pin look like this (box below):  Seo.tagkeywords copy

 Pretend you are a gallery owner looking for a particular kind of work.  Go to any of these 2.0 sites and pose some queries to look for YOUR work. What comes back in the results? Can you find your own work?

Try several variations or combinations of words.

Lind Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman in peach, tan, and soft pastel chocolate motif. Strategy is everything for tags. Consider mixing up your tags, "tin" on some images, and "tins" on others, Harriete and Harriet, green, eco, recycled, ec0-friendly, post-consumer.  People don't know exactly what to look for, so give them as many paths to find your images as possible.

The Facebook Exception
Facebook, unfortunately, uses the phrase "tag this photo" but tagging images on Facebook is simply identifying your friends on Facebook photos. It is not about SEO for your images. Therefore, we are not talking about Facebook in this discussion of images.


Next week?
Coverage of CraftFORWARD on ASK Harriete.


P.S. The top image titled, "Tag Your It" was found at SodaHead

This post was updated on January 28, 2022.

Search Engines Have No Vision - SEO for 2.0 sites.

In the previous post, we discussed how search engines can not see your images. In this post, we move on to the titles and descriptions for 2.0 sites.


Braille Search engines only read text.  To a search engine, images alone are just blank space.  But images can have text titles and descriptions that enable search engines to match your images with queries. If you want your images to be found, they need titles and descriptions.

Search_engines TEST THIS RIGHT NOW. OPEN A NEW WINDOW and do an image search for your art or craft. What do you see?

It is very difficult to get images posted on 2.0 social networking sites to show up in a search for images. If you don't add titles and/or descriptions for your images, they will NOT be found.  Don't miss every opportunity for search engines to "see" your images. Google Image Search for Harriete

Title your images with your name (or business name). 

After you upload the file, change the file name to the title of your work AND your name. (Etsy now adds the maker's name automatically.) Every title should be different, otherwise, search engines think every image is the same.

Kisses Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman I have discovered that search engines find my work posted on 2.0 social networking sites only if I put my name in the title.  In other words, titles should include the name of the item/object/artwork/painting AND the name of the artist and maker.

Yes, title your images on 2.0 sites should include your name (like in the box below.)

Including your name in every image title may seem repetitive, egotistical, or unnecessary, but search engines need to connect you (the artist or maker) with every image.  Images posted in your albums, sets, or collections are NOT automatically linked to your name.

(Facebook doesn't allow you to title your images, so include your name in the description. See below)

Harriete Estel Berman pin says my name. In the description, include your name (or business name).  Then add other information that describes the work, such as materials, techniques, style, color, or type of item (i.e. painting, bowl, purse).

The Internet is not the place to think that your work should "speak for itself."   Search engines can not see your images.

Kisses Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman If you want people to find your images, you must add text descriptions.

Here is a sample description (below) for this Kisses Flower Pin.

  SEO Image descriptions
Testing, testing, testing...
do a GOOGLE Search for your images.
Study the results

On all 2.0 sites, add text for the titles and descriptions whenever and however possible.


The next post topic is a discussion of TAGS for images on 2.0 sites.
Next week?
Coverage of CraftFORWARD on ASK Harriete.


This post was updated on January 28, 2022.