Google Keyword Alternatives For Music Marketing

Keys-richard-g-flickrGoogle 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.]


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.

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  1. Sorry but I don’t agree. The changed tool offered by Google still provides some of the best information on keywords. Market Samurai and my favorite Keyword Blaze still get the information needed. The challenge for musicians is about exposure not keyword specifics. A marketing plan or a plan to be where your listeners are is more important than keywords. If you are selling watches then keywords are still very important if you are looking for fans then you need a different approach to organic traffic.
    Social networks and your presence on YouTube is important more than ever. Also I hate to say this but the sites like Rdio and Spotify have a place in your marketing plan. Yes they don’t pay but, people spend a lot of time on those a sites. If you are too small to actually get on those sites..Bandcamp, and Soundcloud are very good places to start. As an artist you have to either hand off your marketing duties to someone who likes the challenge or get in tune with what music’s role in our everyday lives. The days of just throwing up a site or blog are gone. Artist have to tell stories share them and to talk to those who are paying attention. Organic traffic while not hard to do is more challenging for the novice webmaster. Understanding analytics is big time now, more than ever. Also a great song is super important, that’s where it all begins. As someone who builds sites I can tell you the experience you give your fans is super important. While Google has taken away a tool many have used they haven’t taken the ability to found effectively away. Keywords are important but content creation and marketing is what’s important craft powerful content and the organic traffic will come.

  2. I read them and thanks for pointing that out. The information you are sharing is valuable and very important. While a part of me also misses the way old Tools we both know that the web is fluid and changes at more than the speed of sound. I’m glad I’m not a musician but I am a big time fan. Problem today is that there is so much out there. Fighting for ears and eyes is tough, keep up the good work I look forward to more of your post.

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