SEO is all about setting up your website so that its pages are easily found and highly ranked by search engines like Google. This Musicians Guide Search Engine Optimization SEO will show you how. While traditional marketing avenues like radio airplay and social media promotion are great for getting new people interested in your music, an SEO strategy around your music can help you gain new fans from a marketing channel that is generally underused within the music industry.
So, how do you get started with SEO? First, it’s important to understand what Google’s ranking factors are. Here’s a list of 200 of them.
While the list of ranking factors is certainly helpful, here are the things I’ve noticed help improve rankings and search engine traffic the most, in order or importance:
• Backlinks (links pointing toward your website’s pages)
• Large number of pages.
• Website formatting and speed.
• Using searchable keywords.
• How much time visitors spend on a particular page.
Musicians Guide Search Engine Optimization SEO
Here are some things you can do to help improve the above metrics for your website to increase traffic from search engines.
Format Your Website Properly
If you want your website’s pages to be found by Google, you need to make it easy for Google to read through them. To accomplish this, be sure to implement the following on your website:
Use Searchable Titles
Many musicians use general, single word titles for their pages like merch, about, tour, etc. If people are looking for your merchandise or tour dates, they’re likely to include your artist name in the search (for example – “Bring me the Horizon tour dates.”)
Because of this, a better approach to titling your pages would be to include your artist name in the page title. This makes it really easy for Google to know that the information on the page should be attributed to you as a musician.
Use HTML Header Tags
If you have a blog on your website (and you should), often times, your articles will contain headers and sub-headers. Many new blog authors make the mistake of bolding and increasing the text size for these.
Don’t do this. Use HTML header tags. This will make it much easier for Google to understand the content hierarchy of your page.
Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
More than 50% of searches are from mobile devices, and when it comes to mobile search, Google de-ranks sites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
It’s important to make sure your site works well and is easy to use on smartphones and tablets not just for search engine rankings, but because a majority of web traffic is from mobile devices anyway. People are more likely to purchase your merchandise and event tickets if it’s easy to do so.
Bandzoogle websites are optimized for SEO. They automatically add things like image alt tags, header tags, clean HTML and schema markup (to help you get Knowledge Graph results in Google). Bandzoogle websites are fast and mobile responsive.
Have Your Own Domain
When you work with a website provider like Bandzoogle, they usually default to hosting your domain as a subdomain to theirs (for example, yourbandname.bandzoogle.com).
You don’t want this. You want to have your own domain name. This way, when people link to your site, you get the benefits of that link when it comes to search engine rankings on your entire website rather than just the page being linked to.
If you choose to go with a website hosting provider like Bandzoogle, be sure to choose the option for a custom domain so you get all of the SEO benefits.
Have a Blog on Your Website
Starting a blog is a great way to increase the number of pages on your website, and the number of search queries your website will show up in. It’s also a great way to create valuable content that people will link to, which increases your website’s overall rankings.
As mentioned above, when you start a blog, you don’t want it to be set up as a sub-domain of someone else’s platform. Use a blogging platform, like WordPress since it makes it easier to get things going and publish content, but put the blog under your own domain.
It’s important that you choose blog topics that resonate with your audience. If people find your articles on Google, you want them to be likely to check out your music and convert into fans.
Here are some blog topic ideas to get you started:
• Travel stories.
• Music gear reviews.
• Review music from other artists in your niche.
• Making of your album.
• Songwriting stories.
• A passion outside of music.
• Something you care deeply about.
Whatever topic you decide to go with, pick something that excites you. It’s much easier to write about your passion than something that’s just for SEO purposes.
When you write blog posts, make sure they’re easy and fun to read. Each sentence you write should convince the reader to move to the next.
Here are some things to keep in mind when publishing a new article:
• Use lots of white space with small, 1-2 sentence paragraphs.
• Make use of bulleted and numbered lists.
• Write longer posts. These keep people on the page longer, and are more likely to rank well in Google.
• Put your target keyword at the beginning of the article.
Your blog can be a great tool for building your email list. Integrate apps like Sumome into your blog to collect emails, set up a newsletter for your blog, and include a link to your latest release at the bottom of every email you send out.
Bandzoogle websites have a built-in blog feature, and other promotional tools like mailing lists.
In my experience, I’ve found that the single most important ranking factor Google looks at is the number of links pointing to your site. Each link is like a vote for a page on your site.
Very few links will come naturally, so it’s up to you to go out and get them. There are tons of link building strategies available online, but here are three I’ve found work best for musicians.
- Get Your Music Reviewed on Music Blogs
If you’re able to get your music is reviewed by music bloggers, the review often contains a link to your music or website. If your music is reviewed on a valuable blog, this can vastly improve rankings across your websites pages, and even send a good amount of referral traffic.
- Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a simple and effective way to get press coverage for your band, and links to your website. Just create an account, and they’ll send you multiple emails every day from reporters looking for help with a story. Just scroll through the options and respond to the ones you can add the most value to.
- Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is still one of the best ways to get backlinks. The reason is because you have complete control over where the links are and what anchor text (the words used in a hyperlink) is used, which Google also factors in when ranking different pages.
To get started with guest posting, you want to find blogs that write about topics similar to what you write about on your blog so that links pointing to your blog provide real value to readers of your guest post.
To find blogs in your niche to reach out to, just head over to Google and use one of the following search strings:
“keyword” + “write for us”
“keyword” + “guest post”
“keyword” + “post was written by”
Once you find a website that you think is a good fit for your writing style, brainstorm 3 ideas and send them an email similar to this one:
My name is [Your Name], and I’m a member of [Band Name].
I’m reaching out because I’d like to contribute a guest post to your blog.
I’ve been brainstorming some ideas that I think your readers would like:
To get an idea of my writing quality, here are some of my recent articles:
Please let me know if any of these interest you.
Using the email above to pitch guest post ideas to blogs, I was able to get about a 1 in 5 response rate, almost all of which converted into my guest posts being published. Not only is guest posting a great way to build links to your website, but it’s a great way to generate awareness for your music in an engaging way.
This “Musicians Guide Search Engine Optimization SEO” is a guest post from Nick Rubright.
Nick is the founder and CEO of Dozmia, a music streaming service currently available on iOS. He has a passion for helping musicians understand various marketing concepts, and creating the perfect playlist. Sign up for Dozmia’s mailing list to get music marketing hacks straight to your inbox.
To learn more about setting up your musician website and creating a plan for success in music, check out the New Artist Model online music business school.