Google is gradually finding ways to reduce access to information about keywords used by searchers and keywords that lead to one's website. Combined with other changes, some feel that the age of optimizing for particular keywords is fading in the distance. But, if you're interested in being found for something other than your band's name or you're working with an act and trying to find other ways to draw people in through search engine optimization (SEO), there are a variety of tools and approaches for finding keywords on which to focus one's efforts
What Are People Searching For?
Keywords refer to words and phrases that people use most often to search for particular subjects. It's one proxy for figuring out what people want, how they ask search engines for what they want and how search engines give them what their math thinks they're asking for.
Google used to provide a keyword tool for keyword suggestions and let you know how many searches were made for that keyword or phrase. However it had some quirks that undermined its usefulness and now it's no longer available.
Some other tools worth exploring:
Google Trends - compare the popularity of search terms
Bing Keyword Research - Bing continues to grow its user base and there's a good chance that their tools will give you what you need.
SEO Book Keyword Tool - a variety of features for free, including keyword suggestions with additional paid resources available
Your Site Search - Carrie Hill shows you how to use searches on your site to identify what keywords people who've already found you are using to dig deeper.
What Keywords Did People Use To Find Your Site?
If you're blogging or using a content management system like Wordpress, analytics are usually built-in. There are various limitations, keywords are not always part of the puzzle though often the top keywords are shown, and that's a good place to start to see if it meets your particular needs.
Google Webmaster Tools - provides partial info on keywords used to find your site.
Search Results from Bing and Yahoo - Other search engines still pass keywords through to analytics services so check and see if that's available in your analytics software.
I used to use Quantcast on my sites as an alternative to Google Analytics but they've gone towards increasingly limited info unless you pay. Understandable but disappointing nonetheless.
Top 30 Web Analytics Tools - A lot of analytics alternatives are available and some of them are free. This overview is a good place to start.
I'll be looking for more such tools and trying to find a robust alternative for analytics that's free or cheap and relatively easy to use. Pros will already be on this and may be opting for paid alternatives and increasing complexity but, for most musicians doing DIY marketing and for many music marketers who aren't specializing in SEO alone, there should be a best of breed tool that fits your needs.
[Thumbnail image courtesy Richard-G.]
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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.