Ten SEO Tips for Musicians (in no particular order)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a pretty complicated subject. If you’re a musician, you’ve probably got better things to be doing than worrying about SEO, like writing songs, jamming out with other musicians, playing shows, and recording albums. If you’re on Facebook, you might feel like it’s okay to simply create a fan page, but then you’re at the mercy of Facebook. If you were on myspace 5 or 6 years ago, you’ve probably already experienced this mercy. Without getting too technical, I would like to share ten SEO tips for musicians with you. If you watched the slide show (up above), you’ve witnessed the outline for this post. Also, this advice could apply to any music business, but it seems easiest to look at it from the perspective of a musician.
Build a Website for your Music
Having your own website is the first step. All of the work that you put in to promoting this website will make you more important to Google over time, and you’re in charge of your own destiny. If everyone suddenly stops using Facebook, you will still have your website. It really doesn’t matter how you get a website as long as it’s something you’re in control of. Beware of free solutions because you want to be in control. So, you need a website that’s self hosted (This means you’re paying to keep this site online). I use Hostgator, but you could use GoDaddy or any other popular hosting platform. Once you have hosting, WordPress is the content management system (CMS) I recommend because there’s a plethora of plugins and themes that can enhance the appearance and functionality of your website.
Blog About Any Shows You or Your Friends are Having
Okay, so you probably agree that you should blog about your own shows, but your friends are part of your personal network. By blogging about their events, you will make them happy, but you will also have opportunities to link out to their website (or Facebook fan pages is they’re not as organized). Either way, this gives you something to put on your website other than just your events, and it will keep you updating your site regularly if you don’t have any shows scheduled. Google likes websites that are updated regularly.
Use Titles and Meta Descriptions on All of Your Posts and Pages
The title is the blue underlined link you see when you search for something on Google (or any search engine), and the meta description is the snippet of text below that, which helps you decide if you’re going to click that link or not. You get 70 characters for your title and 155 for your meta description, so choose your words wisely. If you’re posting about a show, you should try to get your artist name, the date, venue, and time in the title. Include the rest of the acts in the meta description. Perhaps, you would rather list the bands in the title and include the details in the meta description. That works too. Just make sure the title and meta description are very clear about what a potential searcher can expect to see when she arrives.
Link to Other Bands You’re Playing Shows With
Surely, you’re playing shows with other bands, so when you blog about the show that’s coming up. Put a link to their websites and some of their music in your blog post. Linking to other bands that you play with establishes them as part of your network. It’s also helpful for people that might be thinking about going to your show. Furthermore, a search for those bands could potentially land someone on your website to learn about the show, where said searcher will have an opportunity to learn about your music because you’ve created a great place to showcase it.
Also, Google favors websites with lots of links. By linking out to other websites regularly, you give them a reason to link back to you because people like to show off when others have mentioned them in a post. It’s a great way to network, and it helps you in the search engine department. Speaking of links, that brings us to the next tip in our ten SEO tips for musicians.
Submit Your Album for Review With Relevant Blogs
I suppose this tip is assuming you have an album, so get one. Either way, you should be following a bunch of music blogs that write about the kind of music you like. By commenting on posts from your favorite bloggers, you can establish a rapport with them (ever heard someone in the biz talk about networking?). When you establish a rapport, said blogger will be more receptive to your album when it arrives. If you can get a well known blog to write about your album and link to your website, that’s a great way to get exposure to readers of that blog. That’s not all. Google will now see that a well known blog is linking to your website, so you will be more likely to pop up in the search results when someone searches for music that’s similar to music featured on that blog.
Post Videos to YouTube and Embed them on Your Website
YouTube is one of the most popular ways that people listen to music. You should have your music on YouTube for that reason alone. Another reason to have it on YouTube is so that you can embed it on your website. When you embed a YouTube video on your site, you can show up for relevant video searches. Additionally, after you post the video to your blog, you can share it to your favorite social networks, but instead of sharing the YouTube link, you’re sharing the link to your website. If people decide to share that video with others, they will be sending traffic to your website instead of YouTube.
Here’s an example of a music video I made of a Rolling Stones song:
Put Your Lyrics on Your Website
You should have a section of your website devoted to your lyrics, unless your music doesn’t have lyrics. The reason for this is simple. If someone hears one of your songs somewhere, and the lyrics get stuck in her head, she can type them in to Google and find, guess who, you. This is a great way to connect with fans that saw you at a show, but didn’t buy anything. If she truly loved your music, there’s probably at least one lyric that stuck with her. Capitalize on that!
Tag Your Photos with Alt Text Describing Them
Using alt image text is easy if you’re on WordPress. The screenshot to the left shows the dialog box that pops up when you add an image to a page or a post in WordPress. As you can see, there are a number of fields: title, alternative text (alt text), caption, and link URL. You don’t have to fill out all of them. Just know that if the picture doesn’t load, your alt text will be displayed. This is important when considering search engines because the search engines can’t SEE, they can only read. Speaking of not being able to see, blind folks use screen readers. Guess what the screen reader will read when it gets to the picture… alt text. So by using alt text, you’re helping search engines, and you’re making your site more accessible.
Link to Venues You Play At
Okay, so earlier I was talking about linking to bands you play with, you should also link to the places, where you’re going to play. This is another way to put your music in the network (networking again!) of local places and people, which helps search engines determine that you might be a relevant search result when a local search for “concerts in [your city]” or “best local bands” happens. Granted if you want to show up for “best local bands,” it might help to get a local influential blogger to fall in love with your music.
Use Google Analytics to Track and Improve
Throughout this post, I’ve highlighted a number of easy, natural ways musicians can use SEO to become more visible in search engines. As you can see, there’s not a magic potion that will help you rise to the top. You still have to network with people and play shows. These days, it’s really hard to build a following using just the Internet. Instead, you should consider your website a log of all the things you do online. The concept of logging your musical efforts brings us right into the final tip of the ten SEO tips for musicians.
Setup Google Analytics on your website. It’s free, and it will help you to determine which of your efforts is the most effective. This will then allow you to replicate those efforts and maximize your efficiency. It will also allow you to see when something isn’t working. No worries. Simply try something a little bit differently. Often times, it’s the littles things that make the biggest differences.
That being said, I hope you’ve enjoyed these ten SEO tips for musicians. I’ve included some helpful links below. Also, feel free to share your thoughts in a comment. Thanks for reading.