Marketing

9 SEO Tips For Musicians – Simple Steps That Drive Traffic To Your Site

image from www.google.com This guest post comes from Lior Levin, a marketing consultant working with a psd to css company and also advises to  iAdvize, a live chat support tool for websites.

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.

Keyword Research

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

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.

Link Exchange

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

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.

Take Action

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.

Domain Name

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.

Update Often

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!

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24 Comments

  1. Great article, but the part about the videos is wrong. I realize the point (words are important) but Google can read video (there are ways that you can mark that up so the Goog can “read” it).
    The other thing about video to consider is that YouTube is the #2 search engine. Yes, people search more on YT than they do Bing, and let’s not forget that YT has become the destination for teens to discover music, so videos are very, very important.
    SEO used to be about driving traffic to your website, but these days it’s more about driving traffic to where you are (Youtube, Website, Twitter).

  2. Google CAN and does index flash pages (for two or three years now?)
    The iOS phenomenon is the real reason to avoid flash these days…

  3. That’s BS. Those that prance around saying that are the same @$$holes that will discourage you from getting your site SEO’d properly.

  4. That's what I thought when I first read it. Probably somewhere on wordpress.com forums, btw, but I'm not quite sure right now…
    Wysłano z BlackBerry® smartphone w Play

  5. Meta tags are not important with the major search engines anymore. Some of the smaller search engines may use them, but Matt Cutts came out himself and said that they are no longer used by google.

  6. A very odd SEO tip for musicians would be: Do not link from your website to stores where people can buy your product. Our Website Pearlicka.com thus got classified as a “Bridge Page’ which purpose is only to drive traffic to other websites. When you are now googling for any of our releases, 120 pirate sites get listed first.
    I thought, ok a mistake done by a bot, had a human at Google re-evaluate our page. The human also still thinks it is Bridge page and we still get punished.
    Extremely odd situation. Obviously it makes sense for a small label rather than building your own store, link to the existing ones. But Google disagrees.

  7. @Pearlicka Records
    Sorry to hear that. In theory Google wouldn’t ban you for having a couple of links to monetize your content.
    Have a look at this Google representative answer to question 10 (affiliate links) here:
    http://www.labnol.org/internet/google-answers-seo-questions/13731/
    Perhaps you have too many links on your site. I’m curious, did you nofollow them before sending the reconsideration request? Did you really got a response from a human?
    Perhaps they haven’t banned your site, it’s just that you have dropped in the results because of a general algorythm change and it’s a matter of having more unique content, not shallow pages, and good links; whatever Google thinks those things are.
    Caveat 1: I don’t know how long ago was the above mentioned article written and if in the meantime Google has changed its policy.
    Caveat 2: I take no responsability at all. Dofollow or nofollow your affiliate links or change your content at your own risk. I just gave my point of view. You’d better write to the Google Webmaster Help Forum for more help and if you are lucky enough you might even get an official answer from a Google employee. Sometimes it happens.
    And finally yes, I agree with Joseph McCullough about this being a generic SEO how-to article slapped with the word ‘musicians’ in the title.
    Good luck!

  8. This is generally good advice, but we don’t want to lose sight of overall marketing strategies in the face of online marketing strategy. I’ve seen one too many bands spend too much time on their marketing and not on their music – usually these bands either don’t get off the ground, or they don’t last long.

  9. Google can index Flash pages, but they still are not good at reading the content inside Flash and recognizing semantic hierarchy. That makes Flash a no no for SEO.
    It’s fine to embed Flash judiciously into a website, like an animation, video or sound player. However, creating your entire website in Flash is asking for SEO issues.
    If you do have a Flash site make sure the URL changes when you click on internal links. If your entire website is only one address (http://yoursite.com) then you are truly and seriously…well, let’s say it’s time to build a new website.

  10. “…keyword or 2…”
    Say what? Will texting codes begin to infect normal language? Inevitable, I suppose.
    “I’ve seen one too many bands spend too much time on their marketing and not on their music – usually these bands either don’t get off the ground, or they don’t last long.”
    Believe me, the music is the least important part of it. Heed or perish.
    A

  11. Articles like this really irritate me because, as Joseph McCullough, there is no advice specific to musicians in here.
    The key question is if SEO is relevant for musicians at all? If a potential fan doesn’t know you, what would they be searching for in Google that would result in the finding your site and being happy with that find?
    Cover versions and lyrics are the only areas I’ve had decent success with in the past.

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  14. There are now several ways on how to generate traffic directly towards your website such as blog commenting, forum posting, social bookmarking, press release and directory submission.

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