Ever since the start of their collaboration with Bonzer, at the end of 2019, Artland had a bold objective — to become a top player in the art world internationally. Founded by two tech-oriented brothers, the team at Artland understood that SEO was the way to succeed at a large scale, step by step.
When they chose Bonzer, the SEO agency that supports the best get better, Artland knew they would get a creative strategy to match their vision and objectives.
“We knew we had to focus on increasing their share of voice and needed to analyze the most competitive market to understand what users want”, says Thomas Bogh Rasmussen, Bonzer’s Partner & Managing Director in Denmark.
What follows is a story of scaling SEO tactics and data-driven creativity to spark innovation and deliver fast growth in a rather traditional industry. The collaboration involved:
- Deep diving into search intent and creating a strategy in accordance.
- Using automation and leveraging existing brand assets.
- Adapting to a fast-changing landscape after the start of the pandemic.
The first steps — A deep understanding of the users’ intent
Artland needed to reach a broad target audience at an international level, defined by their love for art — people that either seek to buy, sell, be inspired by, look at, or learn more about art. A narrower segment they wanted to reach was that of art buyers, as their platform had much to offer.
The agency realized that the target audience had a shared search intent and that focusing on the US market, which was the most competitive, would yield the needed insights to fast-track the client’s campaigns.
“To understand why we did as we did, we will start with Artland’s overall mission. Since 2016, Artland has had a vision to become the world’s go-to art platform whether it is art buying, selling, or knowledge as intent.”
With this in mind, the agency decided to focus on the ‘Artist space’ category on Google’s SERP. Also, with the client’s link profile in sight and after the initial keyword analysis, Bonzer understood they could leverage existing content to reach that objective.
“Content and link building needed to work together. With our agency’s content department and the client’s internal content writers, we decided to update or repurpose existing content in the art movement sections of the site.”, Thomas added.
Combining the target audience’s intent with machine-assisted content for an effective strategy
Apart from the challenge of covering an international space, the agency had to adapt their strategy to limited resources.
“We lacked resources to produce unique artist profiles for all known artists out there. But we knew that the audience, especially art buyers, wanted information on those profiles, including facts and popular art pieces. So we focused on fulfilling the search intent by delivering the information collectors/buyers want. We made sure to feed the transactional intent as well by presenting art pieces for sale, signed by the artists the target users searched for.”
That’s where technical innovation took over — Bonzer’s development team found a creative way to generate +31.000 artist profiles aided by an automated process and their proprietary frameworks:
- The team started with competitor analysis in order to identify the specific set of rules and the content framework needed to correctly automatize profile generation that could win top-ranking positions.
- Using Artland’s artists’ data points, they developed several models and various structures for the machine learning-assisted content in order to avoid potential duplicates and to enhance diversity in the artists’ profiles.
“It was a successful implementation due to no technical errors or duplicate content challenges. This framework now also applies when new artists are added to the catalogue.”, Thomas mentions.
After iterating on the frameworks, they managed to have 1690 organic artist-related keywords on the 1st page, while getting featured in SERP features (snippets) in a rather short period of time (March-October 2020), as the client desired.
Adapting to sudden changes — The Digital PR campaign for art, while at home
When COVID-19 impacted the art world in the spring of 2020, people couldn’t go to art galleries anymore. The 3D galleries that Artland had developed throughout the years seemed a good solution for those hard times.
Based on the specific landing page for all Artland's 3D exhibitions the agency used a large scale outreach tool in order to get the message out fast to over 300 of the largest online media (international media in the art world, news outlets, fashion magazines etc.) with the creative angle — Visit art gallery exhibitions - even when in curfew or self-isolation. The implementation of the outreach campaign from idea to execution all happened within 2 days, as Bonzer recounts.
“We wanted our message to be short, concise, and simple, whilst appealing for the media.”, Thomas adds. Apart from the targeted exhibitions, the agency listed various benefits of attending a 3D exhibition.
In the 2 months following the outreach campaign, which garnered the attention of such publications as Washington Post, Elle Decor Italy or Designmilk, Artland’s site grew consistently — the daily organic traffic increased from approx. 1.500 to more than 5.000 - in just 2 months.
The results that mattered
The overarching goal was to reach 1 million in estimated organic traffic before 2021. This was already a reality in September 2020, as Thomas argues.
With the two main strategic pillars following their creative use of automation and Artland’s existing content, the agency managed to:
- Increase the website’s overall organic traffic, one of the main KPIs that Artland focused on, with an important peak in the spring of 2020
- Increase overall search real-estate for Artland and scaling the monthly impression share from 2019 to 2020:
- +255.353 new users for Artland’s /artists section during the campaign (March-October 2020).
- Organic artist-related keywords on 1st page during the timeframe: 1.690.
As part of Bonzer’s tech stack and strategic approach on search campaigns, the team included:
- A proprietary tool based on machine learning to help with content development and creatively scaling the process.
- The Google Suite for data collection, research, and project management.
- Hunter as a key outreach tool for their PR campaign, including email collection and progress tracking.
- Inputs on domain status, the backlink profile and organic traffic analysis from Ahrefs.
- The collaboration between the art landscape and the innovation inherent in current technology underlined, once again, the importance of a digital-first mindset and openness to adapt to a constantly changing digital world (even in a more traditionally set industry).
- The agency jumped on the opportunity to work on a big scale from scratch, which drove the strategy — the impact of using machine-assisted content for the brand showed there is room for growth in a space with so much competition.
- “Keep an open mindset and support your client to do so as well — it’s important to keep the strategy flexible, work together within this mutual understanding, especially since SEO is changing every day. Focus on what users want now.”, Thomas argues.
- He also adds that the Nordic mindset that focuses on agility and fast alignment across different levels of the company is beneficial to the enterprise environment — if strategy moves faster, the results get there quicker.