Strategic SEO for arts and culture

Published on September 23, 2022 by Joshua Hearn

Climbing Tree’s very own Josh Hearn recently joined Supercool in their webinar to demystify SEO for the arts and culture scene.

Along with a series of case studies, he explained the fundamentals of SEO, offered practical tips on how to improve your organic rankings, track your performance and keep up to date with emerging SEO trends in the arts and culture space.

This SEO webinar is a great resource for Marketing/Audience Development Officers and Managers, Digital Marketing Teams, or anyone who creates digital content for your organisation.

You can watch the webinar below or scroll down to read the summary.

What is SEO?

SEO is the process of improving your website for usability and relevance to increase your chances of ranking highly. It involves on site, off site and technical SEO. It’s important to remember SEO is a long term strategy and needs continuous optimisation.

What are the three SEO pillars?

  • Authority – this is all about external linking, page rank and citation building.
  • Relevance – relevance looks at your content & online PR, on sire SEO and internal linking.
  • Experience – how is the user experience on your website? Search engines want to send people to sites on which they’ll want to stay. It’s important to consider your page speed, site health and accessibility.

Where to start?

Keywords on your site is what search engines look at first to see if your site is relevant. They will underpin your SEO strategy.

To conduct your keyword research you can use Google keyword planner, look at the questions searched by people, speak to your organisation’s key stakeholders, and look at your competitors. All of this will inform your onsite opportunities, content, and backlink opportunities.

How to improve off site SEO?

Having other reputable and relevant sites to link back to your website makes it seem trustworthy. You can do this through link attraction, which is creating high quality content that organically attracts others to link to it. The other way is manual link building, which involves approaching relevant sites with your content.

When creating content that makes a good external link, ask yourself: Is it relevant? Does it provide human value? And does it link back to our overall goal?

Another thing to consider is citations. This is any reference of your business online providing. Firstly, you want to make sure all your citations are up to date. And secondly, you want to increase the amount of citations. Both will ultimately help boost your ranking.

How to improve on site SEO?

To begin, look at your URL, title tag and meta description. Often search engines will reward you for optimising these with relevant keywords.

Content is a powerful way to improve SEO as it allows you to tell a search engine what you’re about and increase the amount of keywords on your site. See the resources below to find out how to do keyword and question research to inform your content.

Once you have some content, think about internal linking. Clustering relevant pages together strengthens the relevancy of your content and enables crawlers to understand the thematic relevance of each content piece.

How to improve technical SEO?

On average each page has at least one technical error which compromises the user experience. A good website audit is important for getting a holistic view of your site’s SEO health and sorting these issues is the foundation of any SEO strategy.

Page speed should be looked at first as it can quickly deter an audience. Some other things to consider are optimising images, broken links and accessibility.

How to track SEO performance?

You want to understand if what you’re doing is actually working. Tracking allows you to keep improving. Google algorithms are also known for changing, which will affect certain industries more than others. By tracking performance you will see how they affect you.

You can look at a variety of metrics for this, such as the amount of keywords, backlink growth, new users, or time spent on page, to name a few. Google Analytics is a great starting point.

What else to consider for good SEO?

With the rise of digital assistants, utilising Q&A’s on your site is a great way to include the questions people will be asking. If you are a regional business it’s also crucial to include your location in your citations and landing pages. And finally, images and video can be great at sharing what your brand is about but ensure they are the right size and format and don’t slow down your site.

What’s the impact of good SEO?

Josh also shared examples of how an SEO strategy can make an impact, referring to some of Climbing Trees’ clients.

This included Hawkstone Hall whose ranking improved from the 61th position to the 1st for certain keywords, as well as National Parks, whose amount of keywords nearly doubled, improving conversions as a result.

Josh ended the session with key takeaways and by answering questions about performance tracking, content, optimisation, as well as technical concerns.

If you’d like expert help with improving your site’s SEO, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Tools for Success & Free Resources


Impression: Each time a URL is served on the Google, it is counted as one Impression.
Click: Each time your website is clicked within the SERP.
SERP: Search Engine Results Page
CTR: Click Through Rate = Clicks / Impressions. Measurement of user engagement.
Sessions: How often did users come to your website through search engines.
Landing pages: Are the pages you worked on optimizing seeing an increase in sessions
Bounce rate: How many visitors left your website without viewing any other page.
Conversion rate: With increased traffic you also want to see an increase in the rate at which visitors convert.
Engagement: Did you lower bounce rates, increase session durations on targeted landing pages?
Conversions: Did you generate more conversions through the target landing pages?
Rankings: Did you increase the search rankings of the targeted landing pages?
Backlinks: Did you build more backlinks for your targeted landing pages?

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