PicassoMio Art Blog
Art Websites: What happened to Saatchi Gallery Site, Saatchi-Gallery.co.uk?
Over the last few weeks, we have been receiving a lot of emails from artists concerned about the results of the art site, founded by Charles Saatchi. The concerns primarily indicate a significant drop in visitors.
For those of us who do not know, saatchi-gallery.co.uk came about a couple of years ago and became one of the sites with the most visitors, in the art world.
As a privately held company, while most of the data is confidential, we were able to do some traffic-oriented research through free sources such as Alexa.com and subscription-based services, such as Nielsen. It came to light, that the Saatchi Website has indeed seen a drop in reach of approximately 96% and a decline in page views of approximately 95% (per Alexa.com, as of 02 April, 2009). Such a drastic growth or decline is rather unusual even in the fast moving Internet world.
We came up with a few theories, based on our own expertise and discussions with SEO experts.
Negative Impact from Change in Major Search Engine Algorithms
Major search engines, like Google and Yahoo, periodically revise the algorithms that define the rankings of Websites, when it comes to searches. The changes happen for two reasons: (i) technical improvements and (ii) to avoid people from gaming the search engine.
This reason is highly unlikely for such a significant decline. Usually Websites see a small improvement or a similar decline, when these algorithms are changed.
Change in Advertising Budget or Strategy
A lot of Websites gain traffic from advertising on major search engines. If the majority of your traffic is coming from such advertising and you suddenly stop advertising, you can see a major change in your site’s traffic.
We speculate that this may or may not be part of the reason of the seen traffic decline. Additionally, some followers of the Website noted that saatchi-gallery.co.uk received an unusually large traffic from countries like India and China, where it is usually cheap to acquire paid traffic. If that was the case and the Website reduced its advertising budget, a decline in traffic is likely; however, it may not explain the degree of decline that we noted earlier.
Impacts of Black Listing by Major Search Engines
Occasionally, Websites that try to trick the search engines (known as Black Hat Search Engine Optimization), can be black listed by major search engines and suffer a huge decline in their traffic. Sometimes, this is intentional and at other times, it can even be an unintended mistake, on part of the search engine.
Here again, we doubt that the Saatchi Gallery would have intentionally adopted such a strategy.In the end, due to the lack of information and no details from the company, we can only speculate on what may have caused this drastic shift.
On the other hand, like to any Website serving the art markets, we wish the very best and hope that they recover one day.