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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.

Do you rank high on google? Why most art dealers don’t, why they should and what to do about it

Posted by artradar on July 30, 2009


Getting a super-high google ranking is critical for anyone who is interested in promoting art. In this post we focus on the particular challenges facing dealers and give simple starter steps to help improve rankings massively. 

Neglected area of arts marketing

This is an area of marketing which is often neglected by gallerists who have no idea that they are missing out on engaging with valuable contacts and prospective customers. Think about it…if you learn how to harness Google, it can be your 24 hour online salesman who never goes sick and never needs to be paid. 

Google: the ideal salesman

Google attracts pre-selected interested buyers who are actively seeking information and Google provides these pre-qualified buyer with information about your gallery and artists. And what is more Google is selling to your customers wherever in the world they are day or night whenever they want the information. That is service!

Test your own keywords

Would you like to get Google selling for you? Then let’s try a test right now:

Open a new window, go to Google search and type in your gallery name and after that the names of your artists. 

How high up does your gallery name feature when you do a Google search on those terms? Does your gallery name get linked directly or is it mentioned in a press piece on the results page? Perhaps you cannot see your name at all? Take a good look at the other sites which are ranking on the first page for your artist names and other search terms – these sites are your competition so examine them carefully.

Research shows that customers increasingly seek information on big-ticket purchases from the net and this is a growing trend for art buyers too. Four or five years ago there was little art information available but today collectors go straight to the net to seek out reviews, prices and bios to help them decide who, where and what to buy. 

Now imagine…if a prospective customer is doing some pre-purchase research on an artist you represent, wouldn’t you like to be right there on the first page of google ready to help? If a museum curator or researcher is planning a show and wants information on potential artists to include and is researching one of your artists, wouldn’t you like to be their first port of call?

The next step is to take a look at how your results compare with the norm. So how did you do? Are you on the first page?

Most people do not click beyond the first page of Google’s search results – in fact many people do not take the trouble to scroll down to the bottom half of the screen. Is your gallery name listed “above the fold” for your artist names and other relevant search terms?

If it is not, then there is work to do. But don’t despair, improving your ranking is surprisingly easy and even better in many cases, completely free.

Most dealers will find that their gallery name is probably up on the first spot on the first page of Google but it will be hit and miss whether they rank for the names of their artists. Generally the artists’ own sites (if they are web-savvy) will rank top of the page for their own names and that is right and proper. However what dealers should do is take up as many spots as possible on the rest of Google’s first page for each of their artists. 

 Although this is a large topic – whole books have been written about search-engine optimisation – this post is going to give you an easy-to-implement tip and actions steps to get started. (If you would like information on several more techniques keep subscribing – we will be covering more techniques for making the most of the internet in future posts.)

TIP: Comment on high authority sites

For instant results leave comments on websites which already have a high page rank. These may include blogs, information sites, newspapers online and online forums and discussion groups.

Get into the habit of reading your newspapers online and subscribe to art-related feeds so that you can spot opportunities to comment. Sign up to google alerts so that you are alerted when your artist is mentioned.

When you find somewhere to comment, make sure that your comment is relevant and not merely promotional though.  Weave in your artist name, your gallery name and  – this bit is very important – try where possible to include the gallery link in your comment.  These words are your keywords which Google will use for indexing your comment in its database.

Three reasons why you need to leave comments

Leaving comments helps you boost your page rank and the higher your page rank the more likely you are to achieve a good position on Google search results.

Why is commenting so useful?

First,  make sure you leave a link to your website when you make a comment. Linking from other sites to your own can boost the ranking of your site. Google assigns page rankings based on a secret algorithm, part of which is concerned with how many websites of good standing link to yours. Websites with larger numbers of inbound links and with links from high authority websites are assumed to be more important and are given higher rankings. 

Second you are reaching people who will see your comment and click through your link to reach you. The more visitors you have, the higher your ranking. 

But the third reason is the most important, Google searches and indexes comments. This means that if you leave a comment on a high authority site, it is possible to achieve high visibility on the first page of google for your comment. For example recently there was an online feature in the travel section of the New York Times on the Hollywood Road district of Hong Kong which is developing into an interesting area for the arts. Readers left comments adding to the recommendations included in the piece. If you recommend a gallery in the area and if it was not already widely-written about in high authority sites (rare!) it is likely that your comment would appear on the first page of Google’s results for that gallery name. If that gallery name was yours you would be very pleased:  not only would you draw New York Times visitors, you would also have boosted your google ranking in three ways all in one go (attracting more visitors to your site, creating a high authority inbound link to your site and taking up another slot on Google’s first page for your gallery name).

Of course it is important that your comments are not blatantly self-serving; often administrators are employed to screen out pure promotion. However as long as your comment adds value to the article with extra information or by generating discussion, you will find that publishers love comments and are only too pleased to receive your input.


If you are interested in reading more tips on art business management and the use of the internet for art promotion, please rate this article and/or leave a comment below.

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2 Responses to “Do you rank high on google? Why most art dealers don’t, why they should and what to do about it”

  1. Thank you for keeping me up to date on developments on the Asian Art market. Some interestingt news there !
    Christian Ogier
    Galerie Sepia Paris

  2. koultura said

    Totally true. I wish more dealers and galleries (specially in Asia!) would acknowledge the importance of online art marketing and spend more time doing it. There are little facts of asian artists found on the net, and some artists’ info don’t even get updated for a while.

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