UPDATE: Note that the comment to this post by Keri Morgret corrects me on the importance of keywords, and explains both how the museum content attracts search engines and how a redirect the museum could do would be helpful. My thanks to Keri!
With apologies to the Armand Hammer Museum of Art, for picking on your gorgeous new Web site, here is a constructive suggestion: do some SEO (search engine optimization). As The Wired Campus reports the Hammer Museum has raised the bar for museum offerings:
On Monday, though, the museum surpassed itself — and every other museum I can think of, either on a campus or off — by unveiling a new Web site that all but vibrates with podcasts, videorecordings of presentations, blog posts, slide shows, and more. Many museums offer images of works in their collections or in special exhibitions, along with calendar listings, directions, and hours, but usually that’s about it. At the Hammer site, so much is available online that even those of us several time zones away have plenty to enjoy and learn from.
Yet the new Web site misses significant SEO opportunities that would bring the virtual public in as visitors. As the images from the exhibition Oranges and Sardines: Conversations on Abstract Painting illustrate, there are no keywords in the html for the individual pages. (To see this, enlarge the above image by clicking it.) This means someone looking for “Oranges and Sardines” will not be directed to the exhibit by search engine spiders who would have found the exhibit and given it juice at their search engine homes.
The urls of the pages are only identified by numbers. How is a spider to know that Hammer is exhibiting the gorgeous painting by Amy Sillman, U.S. of Alice the Goon, 2008? Those spiders are more likely to find the Sillman painting at Hammer from the post you are reading because I have put her name in my title, and thus this post’s url. Since the individual pages are in Flash, so they cannot be given urls, at least the Oranges and Sardines exhibit could have its name instead of “142″ in its url. To see the Sillman painting, click on the sixth thumbnail under the painting on the Hammer exhibit page.
Certainly the fact that the text of Hammer’s beautiful Web site contains painters’ names and names of paintings is bringing traffic to the Web site. There is, though, potential for much more by SEOing the inside pages that have individual exhibits and works of art. We will open vast and wonderful educational and cultural resources to the global online audience by optimizing them for search engines. I can’t resist saying that too many fabulous educational resources are stuck inside of unopened cans, like sardines.