Quick Guide to Effective KEYWORDS

Art buyers usually visit Directoryofillustration.com with a project in mind. They type specific words into the open search box or use our Keyword Specialty Search to quickly find and compare artists by style, technique, subject or other specialty.

The only way to ensure YOUR WORK will come up in these search results is for you to add relevant keywords and descriptions to each of your images.

You know your work best, so put yourself in an art director’s shoes to come up with both descriptive and conceptual terms you think will help them find imagery like yours. Directoryofillustration.com website is also Search Engine Optimized for external search engines such as Google and Google images.

This quick guide will help you get started!

Here are two very similar images; both are good examples of descriptive text, though only one of them will come up in a search for “waves” or “boats.” Notice the above image does not use the keywords “waves” or “boats” in the description. However, the image below does.

Effective descriptions/tags and keywords:

a) For description start with a simple, descriptive sentence as in the example above: “Conceptual depiction of the cyclical relationship between Humans and Nature.”

b) Next, add custom (comma separated) keywords. Include terms an art buyer would search for. Effective keywords describe such elements as: style, medium, subject, predominant colors, mood, materials, artists who inspired the work, and anything else that is distinctive or recognizable in your artwork.

TIP: Use your strongest keywords first. In search results, Google pays greater attention to the first several words in the title and description of your works – so make these words count. Also, Diversify your keywords and your artwork descriptions. Don’t use the same artwork description and set of keywords for all similar artworks in your portfolio. This targets just one type of buyer, and limits your visibility across other searches. For example, if you have added keywords, ‘citrus, botanical” to one artwork, for the next similar artwork consider swapping ‘citrus’ with ‘tangerine’ or ‘orange’ and ‘botanical’ with ‘floral” or “horticultural”

For our European clients: Consider adding American spellings to your titles and descriptions for particularly important words that you think an art director might search (example: “encyclopedia” is the American spelling for “encyclopaedia”).

c) Finally, scroll down to “Select Keywords” where you can select up to 10 pre-defined keywords — we recommend you use all ten. Under “Style and Technique” select two or three words and under “Specialty and Subject Matter Keywords,” select the remaining number of choices (to total ten) that best describe the market you wish to attract.

You can also try plugging your images into a free online hashtag picker like this to generate some ideas:


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