Arts Analytics: Title, Description and Keywords

It’s the first Arts Analytics post in a little while so I thought I’d go with something simple. I wanted to look at how many of the arts organisations in my sample group have been diligent in making sure their homepages have:

  • Title tags
  • Meta description
  • Meta keywords

I was also interested in seeing how they were using those things.

Finding this information is easy, if you want to do it yourself. Right-click anywhere on a web page and (in Chrome – other browsers may vary) click ‘View Page Source’. Then search for title, description and keywords to see what’s been added.

Here’s what I found, with organisations sorted alphabetically.

To explain the colour coding, I’ve gone with a traffic light scheme – green is good (only added here for descriptions of a good length), yellow means there’s room for improvement and red is bad (although you can ignore that as far as keywords are concerned for the reasons below).


  • 100% have a title
  • 9% of those titles are too long
  • 88% have a meta description on their homepage
  • 31 of those 88 meta descriptions are too long
  • 56% have keywords
  • If an organisation’s homepage has no meta description, it won’t have keywords either.

What it all means

Google announced all the way back in 2009 that keywords and descriptions have no bearing on search engine results. So what’s the point in looking at these three things?


This one’s very important. Definitely make sure this says the right thing. It’s one of the most important signals that search engines look at when working out what a page is about. It’s also the thing that shows up at the top of an entry in search engines. For instance, in the example below it’s the bit that says ‘Institute of Contemporary Arts’.

institute of contemporary arts - Google Search


Not important in terms of getting your website up the search results, but more relevant to persuade people to click on it when they see it. In the example above, the meta description is the bit of copy under the URL. If someone shares a page on Facebook there’s also a good chance this is the copy that’ll be used (if nothing else is specified).


This one’s really not important from an SEO perspective. In fact I only included in because I was interested to see what people are doing. The only thing I could think of is if your site was reported for dodgy SEO practices – having a surfeit of spammy keywords might not endear you to a human reviewer. Walsall Art Gallery go a bit overboard with theirs, but at least they’re mostly relevant.


Here’s what I’d do:

  • Make sure you’ve got a title tag. It should be less than 70 characters long and should describe the main thing about that page. In the present case I’d just go with the name of your organisation.
  • Add a meta description. Don’t go over 155 characters and bear in mind that it’ll be seen by people searching on Google or flicking through Facebook. Entice them to click your link!
  • Seriously, don’t bother with keywords unless you’ve got too much time on your hands.

I’ve only talked about homepages here. The only thing to add about applying this to other pages on your site is to ensure that titles and descriptions are unique for each page.

If you want to get into this in more depth (and there are all sorts of ways to complicate this) then there are plenty of guides out there. This guide from Moz is as good as any.

Backwards and forwards

I’ve been looking back at the past year of posts on this site to see what I want to carry on and what I want to rethink.

It’s pretty easy to bundle 2013′s posts into a few themes – arts analytics, big data, monthly links, thoughts on research and notes from talks/events. A loose kind of structure has worked pretty well for me, letting me settle into subjects more than I might if I was being a bit more scattershot.

The mailing list was a good addition too. I’ve not sent out as many emails as I should have, but sign-ups have far surpassed what I expected (in terms of quality and quantity).

Overall, I wrote fewer posts in 2013 but got roughly the same amount of traffic as in previous years. That suggests I’m either writing about more interesting stuff or I’m promoting it better. I’m reluctant to believe it’s the latter (I don’t think I go particularly overboard touting these posts around) and the former, if it’s anywhere near the truth, is a happy accident.

The outline plan for 2014

Firstly, I’m going to stick to broadly the same themes. In the immediate future I’m going to:

  • Publish a post explaining the Mitos21 talk I gave back in November. That’ll come out in four parts over Jan. There’s quite a bit to write and that’ll save me having to wait until it’s 100% done before releasing it into the wild.
  • Revisit and finish off the Big Data posts. Life got a little hectic around the time I was thinking about that stuff, but I’ve got a couple more things to say before I’m happy to put that to bed.
  • Pick up the Arts Analytics series again. Those posts tailed off in the latter half of 2013 but they were quite fun to do and I’ve got a stack of topics to work through.

An email to the mailing list will go out every couple of months. It’ll feature highlights from the blog plus some extra goodies. Sign up for that here.

I’m going to stop the monthly link round-ups. If you want to see the interesting stuff I come across then you’re welcome to take a look at my Pinboard account. Check in on CulturalDigital – I’ll be posting links to things on there and hopefully others will too.

Oh, and I’m just in the middle of sorting out a new theme for this blog. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause to your journey.

Finally, if there’s anything you’d like to see more do more (or less) of then let me know – I’m listening…

Links for November 2013

Gallery Analytics is:

a site specific installation by Swedish artist Jonas Lund, made especially for the Momentum exhibition as part of the Rewire festival.

Gallery Analytics

By setting up a mesh wifi network and combining it with custom made software, Gallery Analytics is able to track every wifi enabled device moving around in the exhibition area in real time. Similar to how a shopping mall is tracking their visitors to determine how well a window display converts customers, Lund will be able to provide in depth analysis of the exhibition visitor’s movement in the space and from that distill how well the works in the exhibition performs.

The wifi mesh network is connected to an online, openly available, gallery analytics website where the tracking data and analytics can be accessed. This interface is also installed in the exhibition space, to enable the visitors to detect that they are being analyzed.

Arts/digital links

Bad times at the Sydney Opera House hackathon but with some constructive advice here too.

MoMA Seeks an Audience Beyond Its Walls is the title of a WSJ article about a blog. Only, by the way they talk about it, you’d think they’d just invented the Internet or something.

Not read this yet, but it’s on the list: Museum transformation in the digital age Museum transformation in the digital age

In this paper I will discuss Tate’s approach to the delivery of its digital strategy 2013-2015, which emphasises digital as a dimension of everything, drawing on my own work as the Digital Production Lead at Tate.

Speaking of Tate, they put the metadata for ‘around 70,000 artworks and 3,500 associated artists’ on github. Here are some links to what people have done with or said about this.

From the depths of 2008:

As part of a larger Arts Council England funded project [several councils and a museum] are working in partnership to explore how viral marketing might be used to raise the profile of museums in Hampshire.

Please, someone tell them.

DIGITALMEETSCULTURE is “intended as a portal for gathering information about the digital culture in the world, taking into account the different approaches that science, cultural heritage and arts have to the digital age”

Arts Council of Wales have announced their first funded projects for their Digital Research & Development programme.

Alyson Fielding has been having some Digital adventures in theatre:

We’re looking at how technology can create new experiences for audiences, specifically for one of The Other Way Works’ shows which is touring in 2014.

The Other Way Works also featured on Sync’s list of Ten more digital arts projects we love.

Other things that fall under this heading:

Other links

In the past couple of weeks there’s been quite a lot of kerfuffle about how touring artists try to make a living. Bryony Kimmings started it with You show me yours…. The result was a whole lot of blog posts (it was like being back in 2004). Artsadmin have compiled them.

Fiona Romeo’s Can an exhibition be a story? is great and well worth your time, with lots of thoughts and observations on how the stuff that makes up an exhibition is experienced.

This video about the building of a new NFL stadium was intriguing, especially for the line: “Most NFL stadiums can’t compete with the high definition experience fans now get watching football at home”. They’re designing a new stadium not just for ‘fans’ but ‘fans with smartphones who need to be coaxed from their TVs’. But then you read about the effort that goes into an NFL broadcast and maybe it becomes clearer.

Just quickly:

What Screens Want by Frank Chimero is very good, even if I think the ‘we should all just make everything lovely’ sentiment is a utopian step too far from reality. And I don’t think the ‘grain of the screen’ stuff is quite right. Minor quibbles though – lots of goodness in that post.

Apps, services, etc


IDIOTS is a charming little send-up of our relationships with our devices.