So you finally have a website for your group or band, but you have no idea how to get traffic there. This is an issue that many musicians go through because they have no real knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization). In order to get traffic to your site, you have to properly optimize your website which in turn will improve your rankings and move you up higher within search engine results. Contrary to what many believe, it’s really not as hard as it seems. With a little hard work and persistence, you’ll have your website at the top of those results before you know it. Here are 9 tips you can use to help you get there.
When it comes to optimizing your website, you really have to choose your keywords wisely and make sure they’re a good match for your site. A good amount of keywords to strive for is 5-10 and really no more than that. Put yourself in the minds of those searching for content likes yours. What kind of keywords do you think they will enter? It’s also a good idea to include your name (stage name or band name), music style and even location as keywords. You want people in your local area to be able to find you when they search.
If you need help try using a keyword tool like Google AdWords. It will show you relevant keywords related to your niche and genre of music, you can also see how many times per month that keyword is search for. These are keywords that you’ll want to use throughout the content of your website and within your META tags (see below).
META tags are inserted into the HTML of a website within the header. These are important not only for inserting keywords (see above), but also for entering a relevant title and description for your website. When your homepage shows up in Google and other search engines, this is what people will see; so it’s very important that you have both filled in correctly. It’s also important to have something descriptive, yet catchy here since this is what will help people decide whether to visit or not.
Exchanging links with other related websites is very important because it helps to increase backlinks to your site. Google uses backlinks as way to measure how important a web page is; the more the better. Do your research. Find sites that appear within the top 1-2 pages of Google when you search for related keywords. Try to find sites that have good page rank (PR 3 and up) and decent amount of traffic. You can then have a separate page on your site for links or a small section in your sidebar.
Social networking is definitely one of the best ways to get the word out about your music. There are plenty of social networks out there for musicians, but the ones you’ll benefit most from right now are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace (yes, it’s still great for musicians). Use these as an opportunity to connect with other musicians and network. Of course you should also post about your music, but don’t just promote your own content. Interact with your friends and follows and share content from others as well.
Don’t just add music and other content to your site and then sit back and expect the traffic to start pouring in. You have to get out there and be active. Sharing on social networking sites is good, but once is never enough. More than likely, your tweet or status update will be pushed down in your friends’ timeline within minutes of you post and they’ll miss out if they’re not right there to see it. You have to continuously post and promote your content and at different times of the day. You won’t get traffic from just sitting back.
If you find it hard to keep up with daily posts, use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule tweets and Facebook updates so that every day you have something going out about your content. Remember, don’t just post the same thing every day; you really should change it up! Hootsuite also has integrated tracking, so you can see how many clicks you’re getting on your updates and see which content is performing best. This is a great way to improve what you’re posting about.
Use Real Words
Many musicians think it’s OK to just post videos or mp3 players on a website and have no real words, but this is extremely bad for SEO. Google can’t read videos and mp3 players. Google can only read words so without real words Google has no way of knowing what your website is about. You have to add some content and mix in those keywords your researched where you can.
Another popular thing among musicians is building websites strictly out of Flash or images. thing musicians While both are pretty to look at, they will hurt your SEO tremendously because Google cannot efficiently read either, so your website will just appear empty and you won’t get indexed. No indexing of course means no traffic for you.
Analytics and Statistics
Keeping track of and analyzing your website traffic is very important and can help you greatly improve your website and SEO. There are a lot of free analytics tools out there that you can use to view statistics about your site and see what users are searching for and how they’re getting to your site. One of my favorites is Woopra because they offer real-time tracking. Best of all, you can see recent search queries on Google and the page on your website that they were taken to from that search. This can really help you improve your content and see what visitors like and don’t like about your site.
Many people don’t realize how important a domain name is. This has a lot to do with how and where you show up in Google search results. You should choose a name with a keyword or 2 in it so that your site will show up more often and higher up in search results. It’s tempting to want to use your band or stage name as your domain, but if no one knows who you are then they definitely won’t be searching for you by name. So be sure to choose your domain name wisely so that you won’t hurt your traffic or rankings.
This is another really important tip to remember: update your site as often as possible. If you have a blog, you should create at least 2-3 posts per week with unique content. If you have a website, keep it up to date and try to add new content on a consistent and regular basis. The more you update, the more Google will crawl and indexes your site. Crawling also depends on page rank and backlinks among other things, but updating often helps as well. This is why you need to work on all of these things to help increase your traffic. Remember, an out-of-date site is a dead site and yields very little to no traffic.
The importance of SEO really cannot be stressed enough. It’s not something that you do once and then you’re done. You have to keep it up on a regular basis. Building a website is hard work, but getting and keeping traffic is even harder. In the end that hard work will really pay off, especially if the right person finds your website. You never know, a simple search from a record label executive that leads to your website could just be the big break that you’re looking for. Good luck!