SEM & SEO for Art

SEM & SEO for Art

Art vs SEO & SEM

Why do I need SEO & SEM for art? The art business is based on representing the right artists and attracting the best possible collectors. For many years galleries have often survived locally, but then art fairs came in providing great business opportunities and fierce competition.

Traditional marketing was just enough for many galleries, however, nowadays this strategy is not sufficient to remain afloat. Why? A global market introduced mainly by the internet, combined with the increasing number of international art fairs, have built the need for the best online presence to face competition, which is where SEO and SEM come in.

What is SEO & SEM for art?

First of all, let's clarify concepts: do we all know what SEO and SEM are?

As a digital marketer, I know these two concepts can be very confusing to most people. Basically, they refer to the ranking achieved by your site on a determined search engine, which you want to be as high as possible. Both offer endless marketing strategies designed to attract visitors to your site and hopefully get sales if understood and used correctly. Although rooted in the same subject, SEO and SEM are completely different:

Organic vs paid search

SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is the top red area. Here you can publish an advert and pay for a higher position on a search result based on a bid on the keywords you want to be found by.

I am using Google as it is the most popular engine. If you want to advertise on Google Adwords you will obviously need a budget -completely customizable- and some skills. The right advert can be very effective in terms of driving visitors to your site and make it rank higher on a search engine so it appears on a higher position in paid search results.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which basically means making your website 'appealing' to search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo... So they make your site appear higher and hopefully on the first page of the organic search area.

The so-called organic search area is marked in green. If you manage to get on Google's good books, you will appear on this much-wanted first page when a potential customer searches for the right terms or keywords. Here is where you want to be as a business, research shows that 67% of clicks occur on the first page of an organic search.

So, SEM or SEO?

I would say, you need a good combination of both. SEM is paid search and SEO -if you are computer savvy- can be free, why should you pay for an ad? Well, here is where your marketing strategy comes in. Google Ads offers endless possibilities and strategies.

Keyword research is the first and foremost important step to your strategy. What is a Keyword Strategy?   Think: How would you like to be found by your potential clients? There are so many ways... Hereby some examples you might want to start considering:


Say you are an art gallery based in London. There is so much competition you will most surely struggle to make the first page of the organic search if you don't combine SEM with SEO, sure if you google your own name your site will hopefully turn up, but that means very little. Here are some ideas you might want to consider in terms of how you appear on a search engine:

Geography: You need to think of the keywords local collectors maybe using: 'art galleries in London', 'London art gallery', 'contemporary art gallery in London'... If you need some examples, Google will find them for you.

Artists: If someone googles one of your artists you need to be up there, whether is paid or unpaid. That way you will be a referent and any collectors will know that if they want to purchase that particular artist's work, your gallery is the place.

Art Fairs you will be attending. You want people to find you near the time the art fair will take place so your collectors know you will be there.

Think strategically

Such marketing strategies can attract people from all over the world to your website and increase considerably your client database. The internet is huge, take full advantage of it!