on the first page of a search engine’s results page. If one were to search Google for “Andy Warhol,” for instance, more than 1.3 million results would be returned. One would be more likely to visit a site that turns up on the first few pages rather than continuing through hundreds of pages. The numbers bear this out— a study by OneUpWeb.com found that a month after a website turned up on the second or third page of a Google search, traffic increased by five times from the previous month. But getting your gallery website to turn up in those searches is no easy trick, and many galleries are willing to pay to get there. That’s why there’s so much talk among Web developers about search engine optimization (SEO) these days. In fact, there’s a whole cottage industry of SEO consultants that has sprung up—firms that pledge to improve search engine performance with a mixed bag of tricks. While some SEO consultants are doing good work, many are peddling snake oil, claiming that they can guarantee number-one placement with little or no work required on your part, or promising instant results when it usually takes three to five months. Some use tactics frowned upon by search engines; the worst offenders can even get a client’s website banned from Google. The reality is that there’s not just one quick fix toward getting good search engine results. It’s a holistic process that must take into consideration everything from the site’s structure, to the copy, the technical components and the design. It’s best to have your site optimized for search engine ranking by the company that built it.
The Art World and the World Wide Web. Essays, Interviews and Case Studies.