The ultimate guide to SEO for musicians


SEO tips for musicians, huh? Working with SEO and digital marketing for years, I thought it would be fairly straight-forward to transfer my skills from the corporate realm to the music realm. It couldn’t really be further from the truth, and I had to struggle with trial and error for quite a while to get a hold of successful SEO strategies.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a marketing tactic to gain free deserved traffic from Google through digital content. Success is often acheived by creating in-depth content about topics related to what you are promoting.

Organic search

Coming from a field where many people are actively searching for a solution, it was mostly a game of finding popular topics to rank high for. In the music field, it’s completely different. Relatively few people are searching for music genres on Google, something that would be straight-forward to write an article about, and your website will find itself competing against massive sites like Wikipedia, Last.fm and Rateyourmusic. So, what can we do to be a little bit smarter and steal some website traffic anyway?

Branded organic search

My insight so far has been to aim for branded searches, which in my underground music world has been about bands that influenced my band. I haven’t taken this to the extreme yet, but the articles I have posted with this strategy has worked better than the ones aiming for full music genres.

Long-tail SEO for musicians

Long-tail SEO for musicians

The solution that has worked out for me is to cater to the overall development of Google SEO; the long-tail searching. I could probably never steal a high spot for a brand name search such as “Katatonia”, but an in-depth article about my favorite Katatonia songs could get there for “best katatonia songs” or “which katatonia songs should i check out?”. Don’t forget to specify a good meta description (which I didn’t do in this case) if you want to increase your clickthrough and get better chances to rank higher for your terms.

Keyword research

Even if you’re aiming for long-tail traffic, keyword research is extremely important to uncover what your potential fans are actually searching for. Using a tool like KWFinder could give inspiration for several articles, or maybe a whole section on your site.

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Facebook, Twitter and Reddit for musicians

An additional traffic driver beyond the Google SEO for musicians is social media. Facebook is a solid way to drive traffic to your homepage. It’s often a balancing act between having the flashy headline that gets the click, and not being clickbait. Make sure to provide valueable website content that delivers on the promise that the posts headline on social media had. Posting my content in niché groups for bands and genres is something that has worked well for me, and I have received minimal or no slack for performing my content marketing there.

YouTube and Spotify playlists

YouTube playlist SEO can be an interesting way to promote music for several ways. You could actively place your own songs in playlists (if they fit in, of course) or make popular music playlists that drive subscribers to your YouTube channel, giving your band exposure when you, for instance, post a new song. The same principle applies to Spotify, though I’m yet to try it out myself as an SEO strategy for my music.

YouTube tags

Make sure to tag the crap out of your YouTube videos for maximum SEO effect. Add an appropriate genre tag (see death/doom metal in the video above) in the video title, as well as genre and similar bands in the video description and other tags. This will allow your music to show up for listeners who might be interested in search and similar suggestions.

Bandcamp and Soundcloud tags

The tags on Bandcamp are extremely important. Make sure to put accurate genre tags as well as country of origin, influencers and other possible visitor drivers. They can also drive more traffic to your Bandcamp page directly from Google. The same applies for SoundCloud, even though the platform seems to be declining in popularity these days. Image Below: tags for Soliloquium on Bandcamp.tags on bandcamp are important

Don’t forget the conversions

For me, being a musician has never been about making money, but a vital part of the SEO process is converting your visitors. So don’t forget to link to your Bandcamp and/or Facebook in your content in a natural way. It could be also be a way to drive subscribers to your newsletter. Don’t overdo it, but make sure the option is there when you have someone reading about your top 10 songs by a similar band. It’s also important to measure the conversion success regularly, and tweak it based on the statistics.

Read more:

Digital marketing and online promotion for musicians ->
How to market your band on Soundcloud ->
Help my poor conversion rate, check out my death/doom metal band Soliloquium ->

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Online Music Marketing | SEO for Musicians


The internet has made cosmic changes in the music industry with respect to its marketing. But what matters the most to you when it comes to Online Music Marketing? Huge fan community and music sales, right? These targets can be achieved by only a few, who master the art of Online Marketing for Musicians.

Anuva Technologies is a one-stop solution of Online Marketing for Music industry. From branding, inbound marketing, website design, development and maintenance, Music SEO, Social Media Marketing and much more, we provide expert advice and services for music brands of all sizes. We provide the most relevant and advanced Marketing Strategies for Musicians to establish your brand on a very high level. Marketing Music Online is a niche of not everyone’s cup of tea and of which we are the Guru’s.

Music SEO

Even if you are a great musician, that doesn’t mean people will buy your music. The most important part is that your music needs to be heard by the right and interested people. SEO for Musicians and Bands, when performed strategically can generate a gigantic fan base for any artist.

We are a Music SEO providing company with more than a decade of experience in providing excellent online marketing services to various genres and a client retention rate of 98.6%. As your Music Digital Marketing Agency you get guaranteed successful Music Online Marketing Success. And this is not just our confidence speaking, but it is what our customers speak too. We take pride in ourselves, because our customers vouch for our excellent result oriented services. We are a team of more than 100 SEO professionals having successfully delivered SEO for Music to many Musicians and Bands.

No need to wait anymore! Call us now to tune your Online Music Marketing and get in contact with your new fans! Hurry now, and get a FREE SEO AUDIT REPORT

Music Search Engine Marketing.

Internet Marketing for Music doesn’t limit to Music SEO. Sometimes, including paid marketing in your Music Digital Marketing strategy pays you results outside of your expectation and beyond your imagination. Music search engine marketing uses a powerful service called PPC. Pay per click services are very advantageous and are our expertise too.

Our more than 60 PPC experts are all certified by Google Adwords and immensely experienced in delivering successful Music Search Engine Marketing campaigns in super-competitive niches.

Music Social Media Marketing

One more platform other than search engines that help in Online Music Marketing is Social Media. Social Media for Music lovers plays the role of being the bridge between them and their musicians and bands. The use of Social Media for Music Promotion is the fastest spreading way to promote your music. The purpose of Social Media for Musicians is to:

  • Increase your popularity
  • Connect with your fan base
  • Pioneer your reputation
  • Encourage more sharing for increasing your loyal fan base
  • Sell your music

Social Media Marketing for Musicians and Bands, if done tactically, can connect your name and music to thousands and millions of listeners. But these tactics are time consuming and require continuous efforts. Therefore, hiring a professional for Music Social Media Marketing can help you connect with all these listeners and fans.

Anuva Technologies is the name that should strike you when it comes to Social Media Promotion for Musicians. We comprehend that Social Media for Music Marketing is an incredible platform to reach each and every one of those fans, you have painstakingly cultivated. We also appreciate that as a musician, you should focus your time in creating your music and not in your Online Music Marketing.

Therefore, our methods of Music Promotion via Social Media ensure you the connection with each and every fan of yours. We have a team of more than 50 social media marketing experienced professionals who have successfully tuned every campaign of Social Media Marketing for Music Artists into a victory.

With our art gallery social media services, we take care of your social media profiles and connect it to the necessary people and communities which can be or can bring you art buyers. Our fine art SMO experts have all the skills required to offer you digital success.

Music Artist Web Design – Development

Website Design for Music Artists cannot be designed with the perspective of solely being informative. A very good Pop Art Website Design is the one which is visually creative and unique, easily navigable and converts visitors into fans, and fans into buyers.

Anuva Technologies is the leader, when it comes to Music Artist Website Design. Our experienced web designers create an aesthetic design for your website and develop it using advance codes so that your website never crashes; is speedy and easily navigable.

Anuva Technologies is the leader, when it comes to Music Artist Website Design. Our experienced web designers create an aesthetic design for your website and develop it using advance codes so that your website never crashes; is speedy and easily navigable.

So, wait no more! Contact us now to avail our Music Digital Marketing services — be it Music SEO, Music Artist Website Design, Social Media Marketing for Music or any other service. Ask for a FREE SEO AUDIT REPORT, and decide for yourself whether you can find anyone better and efficient than us.

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SEO for Musicians: 2018’s 4 Step Guide to Market Your Music


In 2018, having a digital presence for your music is more important than ever. You have a website, you have social media, you have streaming platforms, and you can use all of them to your advantage for the most visibility. At Stem, we want artists to be able to focus on creating, but we also want to arm you with the tools to maximize your online presence and drive downloads, streams, concert tickets, merch sales — you name it.

You may be wondering, “What is SEO”?

SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) is a type of marketing focused on increasing the quantity (and quality) of your website traffic through Organic Search results. Cool, sounds great, but what are Organic Search results? When you perform a Google search, you see a list of websites and articles. Most of those are Organic Search results.

organic-search-stem

SEO, when leveraged, helps attract website visitors from all over the world who are interested in your product (so in this case, your music). Owning your band or artist name in the Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) when people are searching for your new music, upcoming tour dates or just your “about you” as an artist, is important, and you want to show up as easily and clearly as possible.

To help artists master this huge portion of their marketing strategy, we compiled a 4-step guide to SEO for Musicians. Read on to learn more, and also check out more posts on the Stem Blog for help with boosting your marketing and release strategy.

1. Set Up Analytics & Tracking

Before we even dive into the nitty gritty, the first thing you should do for SEO — and any form of digital marketing — is set up your tracking and analytics platforms.

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Google Analytics

Google Analytics will become one of your all-time best friends as you continue to dive deeply into music marketing. It shows you how your digital channels work together and how much site traffic is coming from each channel — from users and bounce rates to custom goals (like clicks on your Spotify Profile) and demographic data. You can also isolate specific landing pages on your site. Just announced a tour? You can isolate your tour page and check out the traffic it’s getting! Routing a tour? Analyze the location and demographic data Google Analytics provides.

If you’re unable to place the Google Analytics tag directly in the code of your website, look into Google Tag Manager for streamlined implementation.

Google Search Console

Also known as Webmaster tools, Search Console is your one-stop shop for all things SEO.

Search Console will allow you to see what pages of your site are being indexed, any crawl or site redirect errors and (hopefully no) penalties you may be dealing with.  For the record, crawl errors are when Google cannot fetch specific pages of your site, and to crawl, in this instance, is when the Googlebot (with Google’s algorithm) discovers (or fetches) pages to add to the Google index.

2. Understand Ranking Factors

You have a website, but you want to make sure it will help drive value for your music. You need to bear in mind factors that will help you rank (or show up) higher in the Organic Search Results.

Here are three ranking factors to keep in mind with your SEO music marketing:

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Content

Consistent, unique content on your website is key. It’s what Google’s algorithm looks at to understand what your website is about and when to show your pages in the Search.

Keep your tour page updated. Have a news page or a blog where you can update your fans about new music you’re working on or new merch you’re releasing. Even updating the content on your site with keywords you find valuable can help. Embed your YouTube videos in blog posts or have a page dedicated to new videos, as SEO also applies to YouTube (surprise!).

There are SEO strategies for YouTube that we’ll discuss in future blog posts.

Mobile Friendliness

Another ranking factor is mobile friendliness. It should come as no surprise that Google loves and prioritizes sites that are optimized for mobile (meaning that your site works just as well on a phone or tablet as it does on desktop). Make sure your mobile site has the same content as your desktop site, your site and images are responsive and your site loads quickly.

If you want to check the page load time of your mobile (or desktop) site, you can use the Page Speed Insights tool. Bookmark that tool! If a page takes too long to load, it can negatively impact your site’s SEO. Always keep an eye on your page speed — for ranking, conversion and engagement reasons — even once your website is mobile friendly.

Adapting AMP pages (Accelerated Mobile Pages) can help with the load time of your mobile site, as these pages exist for mobile optimization. If your website has WordPress hosting, here are some plugins that’ll make your life simpler:

Once you’ve implemented mobile optimization changes, you can check to see if they are working. Google helps you find out with this tool to check if your hard work paid off and your website is deemed, “mobile friendly.”

Backlinks

If you’ve looked into SEO, you’ve probably heard something about “backlinks”.  Another top-ranking factor, these are tricky to obtain, but very impactful when you do. Backlinks are when another website references your content in their posts by linking back to your post or content. These are important because backlinks help your site credibility with Google (think of it as the SEO version of word-of-mouth).

An easy way to try to obtain backlinks is through the help of your PR team. For example, you could be announcing an upcoming album, and in the press release, include a link back to the post on your news page. When publications pick up the release, they can use this URL to link back to you in their post and help boost your SEO credibility.

3. Conduct Keyword Research

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Earlier, we stressed the importance of new, unique content on your website. Alongside that, make sure to do research on which keywords to target to make sure that this content provides value to you as a musician.

Think about keywords that describe your music, your genre and other artists that are comparable to you. Also think about keywords that describe the actions you want your fans to take on your website. For example: artist name + upcoming tour dates is a good keyword (i.e. Frank Ocean upcoming tour dates).

Deduce your target keyword (the keyword you view as the most valuable for that piece of content) and expand on it. Mention it several times, and make sure to include some synonyms scattered throughout that post, because this will help Google understand what your content is about. Here’s a nice and free tool to help you come up with synonyms.

4. Pay Attention to On-Site Optimizations

On-site optimizations can help you hit a SEO home run.

SEO metadata is what appears in the search engine result page, so you’ll want to tailor this to you as an artist. Make sure you include your most valued keywords (your name and/or album name) in the header and in the title of your article (or page).

Here are the two main component of SEO Metadata:

Title Tag

This is the title you see in Google when you search for stuff. The general rule of thumb is to keep a title between 55-65 characters.

Meta Descriptions

It’s recommended to have your meta description be between 50-300 characters.  They’re not a direct ranking factor for SEO, but they help with your click through rates for overall site traffic because they can give context into what a page contains.

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Headers

Headers are your in-post/article titles. You can only have 1 Header 1, but you can have as many Header 2s or 3s as you want. For example, in this article, SEO for Musicians: 2018’s 4 Step Guide To Market Your Music is our Header 1. Each individual step is a header 2, and the smaller dividers are the header 3s.  A simplified or organized structure like this helps Google crawl, understand your content and rank your website more easily.

For overall SEO help if you use WordPress, checkout the plugin Yoast.

For strong SEO for music marketing, make sure you have your analytics set up, keep creating new and updated old content, research value keywords and review your on-site presence.

Keep an eye out for more music marketing tips, including SEO for YouTube.  If you’re interested in learning Social Media tips to market your music, make sure to checkout our 3 part series on making the most of your socials: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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SEO Keyword Research For Musicians – MTT


This post was written by Wes Walls and originally appeared on the Bandzoogle Blog.

Want to do your own SEO as a musician? Before you start optimizing, it’s crucial that you get to know your keywords. This is always Step #1 in any SEO project, and it’s no exception for musicians.

Before you read this, head over to Chapter 1 of this multi-post guide to get familiar with your SEO strategy and the Fan Journey

OK, let’s go.

There is nothing more fundamental to search engines than keywords. Keywords are how we humans directly communicate with the search engines.

There’s a reason the Google homepage is a search bar and nothing else.

It’s important for us to think about keywords first because some keywords get searched more often, or less often, than other keywords. 

Later on, as you carry on doing SEO for your band, you’ll work on things like optimizing your website pages, creating new content for your website, getting backlinks, and stuff like that. It’s really important to know what keywords people are using to search for your bandwhen doing that work.

SEO is hard work, and knowing your keywords up front will help you make the most of it.

Basic Law of SEO: No Two Keywords Are Equal

No two keywords are equal. Let’s give you an example.

Say you’re a piano teacher in Albany, NY. Without doing any research, you might assume that getting high search rankings for a keyword like “piano teacher albany” will bring traffic to your website.

But actually, people are more likely to search for “piano lessons albany”. And they’re evenmore likely to search for “piano lessons albany ny”.

How do I know? Google told me:

(We’ll show you how to get this data yourself in a minute).

What this chart says is that there are roughly 70 searches per month for the exact keyword “piano lessons albany ny”. There are almost no searches at all for “piano teacher albany.”

So… that makes it pretty clear which keyword is going to bring you more visitors, if you have high search engine rankings for it. Right?

Obviously your top priority keyword is going to be “piano lessons albany ny”, because that’s what will get you the most visitors to your website.

If you put in a bunch of hard work to rank for the keyword that no one searches, you’ve kind of wasted your time. That’s what we want to avoid!

Even if you’re not a piano teacher, if you’re planning to do your own SEO, this lesson applies to you no matter who you are.

The Most Important Keywords for Your Band

We’re going to talk a little about “brand” vs “non-brand” keywords here, because this is where a lot of musicians go wrong with SEO and waste their time.

As a musician, a “brand” keyword is any keyword that includes your band name, the names of people in your band, track titles, album names, tour names. Anything that relates specifically to you and your band and your music. It could even be lines from your lyrics.

An example of a brand keyword is “elephant stone discography”.

These are the keywords that matter to you most as a musician!

Remember the Engagement and Purchase steps of the Fan Journey? If not, go back and read this post. The basic idea here – which is really important to you – is that people are not going to find you in search engines until they’ve already heard of you. Once they have heard of you, they’re going to look specifically for you or something to do with your music.

On the other hand, a “non-brand” keyword is any keyword that doesn’t include anything specific to you, your band or your music.

An example of this would be “indie band in toledo”.

As we explained in the previous post, non-brand keywords are not useful to you as a musician.  (Unless you are a music teacher or another kind of local business, in which case your SEO strategy is going to be more typical, like most businesses).

How To Research Your Band Keywords

Keyword research is what every SEO expert in the world starts with before they do any actual SEO work. Without it, you’re just working blindly. Keyword research lights the way.

We’ll give you a quick lightning tour of how to do your own keyword research using the Adwords Keyword Planner tool.

Step #1: Access the Google Keyword Tool

The Adwords Keyword Planner is the keyword tool of choice for most SEO experts. It’s free, but the catch is that it’s accessible only from within an Adwords account, so you’ll need totake a few minutes to create one. It’s kind of a hassle, but it doesn’t cost you anything.

By the way, if this feels like a hack to you…. it is! Welcome to SEO!

Once you’re in the Adwords account, go to the “Keyword Planner” from the Tools menu, as you can see below. When you click on it, you should get something like this.

Choose “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.

Step #2: Enter Seed Keywords

In the next screen, we can plug in some keywords under “your product or service”. We need to seed the tool with some ideas to start with.

We plugged in “tame impala” as our example:

Click on the “Get ideas” button. 

Step #3: Sift Through to Find Your Keywords

Click on the “Keyword Ideas” tab, around the centre left of the page, to find your keywords.

Based on the seed keywords we entered, the tool gives us data on the number of searches for them, as well as a bunch of other ideas.

So in this image, Google is telling us that there are 246,000 searches per month for the keyword “tame impala”.

You’ll also notice all of the suggestions and ideas Google provides below your seed keywords. These suggestions are useful, but you’ll notice a lot of irrelevant keywords that you’ll need to sift through. Google tends to leave out a lot of really good keywords too.

So you’ll have to dig for for keyword ideas yourself, by adding different seed keywords and sifting through the suggestions. This is the “research” part of keyword research, and it can take some time.

Be patient, and keep digging.

Building Your Master Band Keyword List

Here at Bandzoogle we brainstormed some ideas about what people might search for, to come up with seed keywords: 

  • People looking for tour dates (tour, live, tickets, concerts, etc.)

  • Lyrics and tabs

  • Specific albums and songs

  • Wiki and discography

  • Merch, like vinyl, tshirts and posters

  • Torrent, Youtube and download (to listen, legally or illegally)

This list could apply to just about any band. So let’s check out what people are searching for, using the Keyword Tool, with Tame Impala as an example.

We plugged all kinds of keyword seed ideas into the tool, and then spent a fair bit of time sifting through the data that comes out.

This was the end result of our research.

We grouped our keywords together based on what we think the searcher is trying to accomplish (and where they are in the Fan Journey).

For example, someone searching “tame impala tour” is trying to do something fairly similar to a person searching for “tame impala tickets”. So we group those together.

Now give this a try with your band name.

Plug keywords into the tool that you think are relevant to your band, keeping in mind all you’ve learned up to this point about your audience and fan journey.

Make a list in Google Docs, Excel, or whatever you like. Record the keyword and the monthly search volumes, like we did in the screenshot above.

This is going to be your SEO Master Keyword List. These are the keywords that are most important for you to pay attention to, and you’ll refer back to it often.

Other Ways to Brainstorm Band Keywords

The keywords you get from the Adwords Keyword Tool are only as good as the seed keywords you give it. It’s also incomplete and imperfect. It won’t give you all possible keywords people actually use.

So, you’ll need to spend some time digging around and coming up with other seed keywords that you think people may search.

Some places you can dig around are:

  • Google Suggest. Basically, start typing ideas into Google, and see what other keywords it suggests.

Plug all of your ideas back into the Adwords tool to find out how much search volume there is. Whenever you find something with volume, add it to your Master Keyword List.

What To Do When You Get No Searches

If you’ve just done this exercise and you’re thinking well, this isn’t helpful because no one is searching for me, that’s ok! 

If your band doesn’t have a big following yet, not many people will be searching for your band name.

Not much of a surprise there, right?

We went to a show recently by a really talented folk singer called Devarrow who was on a tour. We checked the search volume on his name and came up with… nothing.

If that sounds like you, that’s OK. Don’t be deterred!

If you’re still relatively unknown – maybe you’re just starting out – you still want to make sure that even if just one person searches for you, they can find you in Google.

Just because no one is searching for you right now, doesn’t mean they won’t be later.

So, for now, just focus on looking professional in search results for your band name. Don’t worry too much about other keywords yet, unless there’s something specific you think people might look for, and don’t spend too much time time on SEO just yet.

As you’re building your fan base, every now and again go back to the Keyword Planner tool and check your keyword search volumes to see if people are starting to search for you. 

What To Do When Your Band Name Isn’t Unique

Let’s just start here by saying: it’s a good idea to Google your band name ideas before you commit, to make sure no one else already has it.

Sharing your band name with other things (other bands, or famous people, or famous things) is going to be a problem for your SEO.

Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid though. Like these examples.

Solo Artists With Common Names

Unless you have a really unusual name, chances are someone else has the same name as you. So if you’re a solo musician using your own real name, you might end up competing in search engines with people who aren’t even musicians.

There’s a talented local Montreal artist who goes by his own real name: Andrew Johnston. He actually happens to share his name with a few other notable people, including musicians.

A few months ago, we searched his name and found that the most “prominent” Andrew Johnston was actually a musician from the UK who appeared in Britain’s Got Talent and has charted singles.

The UK Andrew had a lot more press, so he ranked higher than the Montreal Andrew – who appeared as the 3rd result with his website www.thisisandrewjohnston.com – at the time.

Since then, another Andrew Johnston has risen to fame as a golfer, thanks to a recent big tournament win. This Andrew Johnston now totally dominates the search results for his name.

Now the Montreal musician Andrew Johnston shows up on the second page of search results, instead of being in the 3rd spot like before. This is a great example of how rankings work when it comes to the names of “notable people”. Basically, the most famous person wins.

For fans of the Montreal musician though, this is kind of inconvenient. So they might modify or refine their search term to be more specific, like adding the hometown. In this particular example, they would actually get the results they want.

So if you’re an artist using your own name, this is something you’ll need to be aware of when you’re researching your keywords. You might want to look up search volumes for those modified or refined keywords as well.

Band Names With Words of Famous Things

Some band names include a word that also happens to be a word used for something else.

The band Of Montreal has this problem. Montreal, of course, is a city. The only thing that distinguishes the band from the city is the word “of”.

So when you search the band name, Google also shows results for the Bank of Montreal, the City of Montreal, and the latest Montreal news.  

The band actually dominates the search results page for this keyword because they’re a pretty popular band, and Google is smart enough to realize you’re probably looking for the band because of the “of”.

Band Names With Common Phrases

Broken Back is a band whose name also happens to be a pretty common term.

So when you search for their band name in Google, the first page page of results is filled with articles related to back injury.

Broken Back does actually rank at the top of the page, but they’re going to have to work extra hard, and be more patient, if they want to have more of their pages ranking on the first page for their band name.

If any of these issues apply to you, you may have more difficulty just getting rankings for your own band name. There’s not much you can do about it, except get more famous (easy, right?).

The main point here is that, when building your Master Keyword List, you’ll need to keep in mind that searches for your band name might be mixed in with searches for the “other thing”.

If you’re an unknown band with 10,000 searches a month for your band name, chances aremost people are searching for something else with the same name, not your band. But you might be able to do a bit of refinement.

Let’s take “broken back” as an example again, and add a little refinement to the search term in the keyword tool.

It seems pretty obvious here that most searches for “broken back” are by people who are actually looking for information about the back injury, not the band. But with a bit of refinement, we can get a bit of a sense for now many searches there might be for the band.

So, keep this in mind when building your Master Keyword List.

Understanding The Long Tail Keywords

We can’t close off an article about SEO keywords without mentioning the long tail.

SEO people like to categorize keywords into three main groups:

  • Short tail (or Fat Head in the graph below). For example “alabama shakes tour”.

  • Medium tail (or Chunky Middle in the graph). For example, “alabama shakes show toronto”.

  • Long tail. For example “when does alabama shakes play next in toronto 2016”.

Here are some other examples of long tail keywords people might use instead of “alabama shakes tour”:

  • “when is the next alabama shakes show happening in toronto 2016”
  • “what is the next concert date alabama shakes toronto”
  • “alabama shakes tour dates toronto may 2016”

And we could probably make a list of another 10,000 variations of those examples.

It’s important to understand that, when people search in Google, about 80% of the time they’ll use a keyword that only ever gets searched once or twice. Which means they’llnever show up in your keyword research. These are the long tail keywords.

Here’s what your typical long tail graph looks like, courtesy of Moz.

What this graph is telling you is that the top keywords people use to search for your band – in that yellow area to the left – makes up only a small part of the total keywords people useto actually search for you.

So even if you do a super thorough job building your Master Keyword List, it still won’t fully encompass every single search that ever happens related to your band. Because your Master Keyword List only includes short tail keywords.

The rest of the searches, in the medium and long tail, will be for keywords that, on an individual basis, get searched very rarely. That’s just a reality of SEO that you need to know about.

But your Master Keyword List will still give you a pretty solid understanding of what people tend to look for when it comes to your band, based on how the short tail keywords are searched.

The Takeaway: Build Your Master Keyword List

Now that you know what keyword research is, why it matters, and how to do it, it’s time to research your own band’s keywords!

In follow-up posts, we’re going to dig deeper into SEO. You’ll want to have your Master Keyword List handy any time you work on your band SEO, and refer back to it so that you know what keywords are the most important to you.

And if your band just doesn’t have any keywords with searches yet, then don’t worry about it – there’s still plenty you can do.

Wes Walls is the Head of Growth Marketing at musician website & marketing platform Bandzoogle

SEO Keyword Research For Musicians

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SEO for Musicians: It Starts With the Fan Journey




This is an excerpt from the free eBook “A Complete Guide to SEO for Musicians” written by Wes Walls of Bandzoogle. Download the eBook free.

When we talk to musicians about music marketing, search engine optimization is a topic that comes up often.

And why not? It’s free, it’s known as a highly effective marketing channel for millions of businesses, and it works.

The downside is that it’s complex, time-consuming, slow to see results, and it’s known as a bit of a dark art.

SEO is not particularly easy to do well, and as a musician you just don’t have time to become an SEO rockstar. You have songs to write, tours to plan, rehearsals to organize.

A lot of the SEO advice out there for musicians skims the surface: optimize your title tags, get backlinks, create content, and such. This is all relevant and useful advice, but we need to address the critical strategic aspect that makes SEO for musicians a little bit different than SEO for everyone else.

So the big question, which is: “How can SEO actually help me as a musician?

This is a question you need to have the answer to, in practical terms, before you start investing your time in your SEO. Just because certain SEO strategies work for millions of businesses, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for musicians.

Musicians need a unique SEO strategy with its own unique set of tactics. In this article we’ll define a strategic framework to start from.

The Fan Journey 

It all starts with your fans.

For artists, SEO is all about using search engines to help create a positive experience for your fans.

As you build your fan base, your audience will move through some series of steps to eventually reach whatever goal they had in mind. Throughout those steps, they will have experiences online as they engage with your music.

Some of those experiences will involve search engines. So, what we need to do first is understand where search engines get involved.

To help us visualize let’s adapt a classic marketing framework, the customer journey, and apply it to the average music fan, as it relates to a typical band. We’ll call it the Fan Journey.

We made a fun colourful graph for you (yay!).

The Fan Journey

So, now… “At what point do search engines come into play?”

OK, let’s break it down by phase.

Discovery

In marketing, this step is usually called “Awareness” and it’s where SEO does its magic for most businesses.

Here’s an example: say you want to build a website for your band, so you go to Google and type in “band websites”. There, you’ll find Bandzoogle. Now you’re aware of our company. And that’s very important to us.

But, what if you’re a band that plays original music? How are search engines going to help you here?

Well, they’re not.

Nobody discovers new bands by searching on Google. Nobody types in “new band i’m going to love” and expects to actually find a new band they’re going to love. Nobody searches “indie band in toledo” to find new local music in Toledo.

For bands, the Discovery phase of the Fan Journey is probably the hardest – just getting your music in front of people who want to listen. Search engines are not likely to help you directly with this.

Exploration

Exploration happens after a fan discovers you, likes what they hear, and wants to hear more.

This is where search engines start to really matter for most bands.

Ask yourself: “What will most people do after they hear my song, and they really love it, but they don’t know my band yet?

They’ll probably want to know what you look like, where you come from, what other people think of you, what your other music sounds like, where you’re playing next, etc.

One of the first things they might do is Google your band name… Or maybe the song name…. Or maybe some lyrics that got stuck in their head….

So this is where SEO first comes into play for you, in a big way. It’s your opportunity to show your new fans everything you’ve got. You want to make sure that when they search for your music, you’ve got a really pro selection of content for them to check out.

Your audience, at this stage of the Fan Journey, are really potential fans who want to get to know you. Help them out by making sure they can easily find things like:

  • Your website, so they can learn about you
  • Your social profiles, so they can see what kind of things you say
  • Music to stream, so they can sample your sound and decide whether they like it
  • Videos and images, so they can get a feel for what you look like
  • Interviews and reviews, so they can get a sense for who you are and what others say about you
  • Tour dates, so they can see that you’re active and whether you’re playing in their town

You want potential fans to be able to easily find all of that wonderful stuff you’ve poured your heart, soul and bank account into.

So the Exploration phase of the Fan Journey is where search engines can really help you the most, and it’s where strategically you should spend most of your SEO efforts.

Purchase 

SEO Guide for MusiciansThe Purchase phase of the Fan Journey is – no surprise – hugely important for any artist who wants to build a sustainable career. Like any business or entrepreneur, you have a bottom line. You need to make money to keep going.

Search engines can help you here.

The key is making it quick and easy for fans to spend their money on you, when they’re ready. As it happens, search engines are really useful when people want to find things online quickly and easily.

So pave the way for them. Heck, sprinkle a little trail of skittles if that’s what it takes!

Of course, this is about more than just search engines. You have to sprinkle skittles all over the place, like on your website and other profile pages. But sprinkle some on the search engines too.

So you want to make sure your fans can easily find:

  • Tour date information and concert tickets
  • Somewhere to buy your music online
  • A store to buy physical music formats and merch
  • Your profile on major streaming services to easily sync your music

For the Purchase phase of the Fan Journey, you can use search engines to help your fans find different ways to spend money on you, without having to do any digging around.

Retention

In today’s music industry attention spans are short, fans are fickle, and thousands of talented artists are constantly releasing great new music and content. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll keep the attention of your hard-won fans, even after they’ve downloaded your album or gone to your show.

Which makes fan Retention more important than ever.

As far as search engines go, though, there isn’t a lot that SEO can help you with here. Once your fan has gone to your concert and downloaded your album, most of your Retention is going to happen everywhere else but search engines.

Things like: signing fans up to your mailing list, or growing your audience on social media. Maybe fans follow you on Spotify. That sort of thing helps you with fan Retention.

As long as your fans can still find you when they do look for you, that’s all the search engines need to do at the Retention stage of the Fan Journey. So it won’t be a focus of your SEO strategy as a musician.

Advocacy

The Advocacy stage of the Fan Journey is where you’ve already won your fan over to the point where they become a super fan. He or she follows you, and you’ve created some sort of relationship with them. They feel invested in your success. They want to share your music with other people, to help build the movement. They’re the ideal, devoted fan.

Of course Advocacy is a very important Fan Journey stage for your band. But search engines probably won’t be especially useful to you here, because at this point your super fans don’t need Google to find you – they already know where you are.

The Takeaway: Get To Know Your Fan Journey

At this point you’re probably thinking “Great, this makes sense and all, but how do I actually start doing SEO?”

You should focus on the Engagement and Purchase steps of the Fan Journey. But look at the other steps too. Maybe there is something specific to your band where SEO can help with your Discovery, Retention or Advocacy strategies.

Hopefully you now have an understanding of where you need to start with your SEO.

Download “A Complete Guide to SEO for Musicians”

We did an immense amount of research and prepared a comprehensive (and free) SEO guide just for musicians.

It’s written in a way that’s easy to follow and actually use. There’s no fluff. Just pure, practical substance that you can sink your teeth into.

Here’s what you’ll find in the eBook:

  • A strategic marketing framework to apply to your band
  • Detailed technical advice with concrete examples
  • Easy-to-follow, step-by-step advice and direction
  • Illustrations and screenshots to help you absorb the ideas
  • Specific to-do items and takeaways for your band

Download the eBook FREE

We hope you put this eBook to good use to improve your band’s presence in search engines!

Wes Walls is the Head of Growth Marketing at musician website & marketing platform Bandzoogle




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SEO for Musicians – Online Digital Marketing


Most musicians seem to find digital marketing irrelevant but the truth is that most of their target audience is online. Like any business, the music industry needs exposure, promotions, and business optimization. SEO for musicians makes it simple to drive ticket sales, get in front of a larger target audience, and build a remarkable online image.

Online Music Marketing

Michael Jackson used to play his studio recordings on a small radio instead of a boombox because that is what most of his audience used. That was the business optimization that was needed for that time in the industry. SEO for musicians is what is needed today and AIS Technolabs will help you get there fast. There are hundreds of ways to do SEO for musicians. The easiest way is to release lots of press releases that drive traffic towards the website. With our help, you can actually use more solid methods to do online music marketing and keep driving sales. Here are some of the things that everyone at AIS Technolabs usually recommends for musicians:

Local SEO:

This may seem a bit counter-productive as the general idea is that music knows no barriers. But the point of doing local SEO is not to limit exposure, but to build a solid following at one location quickly. This is a good tactic for struggling artists in order to gain a lot of traction. It is also recommended for established artists who have a website for each event that is hosted at one location. In either case, you can never go wrong with it.

Press Releases:

While this is something that might seem unnatural to some of the fresh blood, this is a sound tactic. The media can be brutal when they start to press for negatives. So, it is always better to get in front of them beforehand. Also, many people think that more press releases mean spending a lot of money. But all you need is a really good article.

Social Media Marketing:

Having millions of followers on Instagram is one thing but selling millions of tickets via social media is something else entirely. The best part about social media marketing is that the target audience is already primed and clamoring for art. All anyone has to do is to give them a link to click on to book tickets to the concert directly.

Genuine Backlinks:

There are several magazines that cater exclusively to celebrities and these magazines often issue feature articles. Having a full-length feature article on one of these websites with a link back to the musician’s website can lend a lot of authority. The best part is that this kind of authority and SEO is permanent with zero black hat penalties.

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Music SEO for Musicians and Bands Search Engine Marketing


Music SEO for Musicians by FusionFusion Music SEO is a fusion of music marketing with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Internet marketing, bringing about a whole new world of success for the musician. Internet marketing brings a musician, his music and his products into homes around the world.

Fusion uses the best and most advanced Internet marketing techniques to promote a musician and gets his music well-known, while he focuses on what he does best – his music!

When a team of experts in advanced Internet marketing techniques take on the promotion of the musician and his talents, things happen! Word gets out, the musician is heard, fans flock together, shows sell out. All this is taken off the back of the musician, his label and management.

They will have enough to do to keep up with the increased sales resulting from successful promotion.

A Worldwide Audience Means a Worldwide Fan Base

Per report, as of 2011, there were more than 3 billion people using the Internet. That is a huge audience! A musician needs the opportunity to reach these potential fans. Professional Internet marketing strategies make the difference.

As a musician’s fan base increases, so do sales – of music videos, sound recordings and other merchandise. Internet marketing strategies, put into effective action, bring the musician a high level of success. Fusion Music Marketing gives the musician the opportunity to achieve the success he has always dreamed of.

SEO for Musicians and Bands: The Amazing Power of the Internet

Internet strategies applied with Music SEO (search engine optimization) expertise results in increased numbers of people visiting the musician’s website. With more visitors comes more interest. With more interest, more loyal fans result.

With more loyal fans, more sales! Combined with other marketing strategies, such as Mobile Marketing and Social Media Marketing for Musicians, a juggernaut (huge, powerful, or overwhelming force) is created.

Internet marketing makes monetizing fans easy. Let Fusion Music SEO for musicians take the your career to a whole new level, using advanced Internet marketing strategies. We get the musician in front of people, soaring in popularity, sparking an increased fan base of diehard fans and making sales.

With Fusion, and a proper Internet marketing and SEO strategy in place, the world is truly at the musician’s fingertips.

Contact us for a free analysis.

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5 SEO Tips For Musicians – MTT


So, you just created a website so your fans can learn more about you and your music, but you don’t know how to get fans to your website without paying for ads. As a musician with a website, you should practice different SEO (search engine optimization) techniques to make the website experience better for your fans and help you to gain new ones in the process. This is something many artists go through because they’ve never explored the world of SEO. SEO is all about generating organic traffic to your website, which can be done through optimizing your website and will improve your rankings in the SERP (search engine results page).

We’ve put together 5 SEO tips for musicians that can help you climb up the search rankings and gain more exposure.

1. Keyword Research SEO for artists is all about branded keywords. Branded keywords can include your stage name, album names, song names, lyrics, music style, performance dates, interviews and more. For example, there is a high search volume around Coldplay’s branded keywords. Even if no one is discovering these keywords in organic search, it doesn’t mean there’s not an opportunity. You can create original content around these search terms to better serve what your fans are searching for to enhance the fan experience. A good amount of keywords to strive for is between five and 10. The Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Keyword Tool are good tools to use to get started. The keywords you choose for this will be used within your META tags. Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 12.21.34 PM2. META Tags META tags describe a page’s content and are only found within the page’s HTML. The keywords you discovered in the previous step could be plugged into your META tags. META tags also include a relevant title and description for your page and are shown when people enter a query into Google. This usually determines whether or not people will click on your link, so it is vital to be descriptive. Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.05.49 PM3. Link Building Building up your backlink profile is very important when it comes to SEO. Your backlink profile contains every link that someone has ever shared of yours. Authoritative links are a must when it comes to a good backlink profile. These are links that have a high domain authority and are linking to your website. Exchanging links with high-authority websites, such as industry websites and relatable blogs, can be a part of your link-building strategy. Google uses backlinks to improve your search visibility. Anchor text is another major factor when it comes to link building. Making sure the link has keyword-rich anchor text is a great way to get a page ranking for a targeted keyword. According to MOZ, anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web. Here’s an example: 

Link Anatomy

Follow and no follow links are important to look out for also. For SEO purposes, all links pointing back to your website have to be “follow” links to share the SEO juice. Follow links also boost your page rank and help your page move up within the SERP. A no follow link is a link that does not boost your page rank or help your page’s ranking in the SERPs; search engines do not count no follow links.   You should be creating link opportunities through your content to build a great backlink profile. Link building can help increase your exposure among fans, and you can use social networks to build up your backlink profile. You can also use this as an opportunity to create relationships with other musicians and industry stars.

4. Fresh Content Creating new and unique content is key when it comes to SEO. Updating your site as often as possible will signal Google to crawl your site more. As an artist you have the advantage to create unique content that is only yours, but you have to put it into words because Google can’t interpret audio, video, and images. Creating content about upcoming shows, album releases and new merch can all drive traffic to your website, and putting together a content calendar can help you to manage everything from blog posts to social media posts.

5. Analytics Monitoring the traffic your website receives is very important. Knowing which pages get the most and least amount of traffic can help you better optimize your site. There are plenty of free analytics tools out there that can help you analyze your site. Now that you have the basic SEO tips, you can start optimizing your website, create unique content, and expose your music to new fans.

5 SEO Tips For Musicians

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SEO for Musicians: It Starts With The Fan Journey


SEO for Musicians: It starts with the Fan Journey


When we talk to other musicians about music marketing, search engine optimization is a topic that comes up often.


And why not? It’s free, it’s known as a highly effective marketing channel for millions of businesses, and it works.


The downside is that it’s complex, time consuming, slow to see results, and it’s known as a bit of a dark art.


SEO is not particularly easy to do well, and as a musician you just don’t have time to become an SEO rockstar. You have songs to write, tours to plan, rehearsals to organize.


A lot of the SEO advice out there for musicians skims the surface: optimize your title tags, get backlinks, create content, and such. This is all relevant and useful advice, but we need to address the critical strategic aspect that makes SEO for musicians a little bit different than SEO for everyone else.


(Except this excellent article that you should read)


In this article we’ll cover the bigger picture – the abstract and conceptual. We’ll address the big question, which is: “How can SEO actually help me as a musician?


This is a question you need to have the answer to, in practical terms, before you start investing your time in your SEO. Just because certain SEO strategies work for millions of businesses, doesn’t necessarily mean they will work for musicians.


Musicians need a unique SEO strategy with it’s own unique set of tactics. In this article we’ll define a strategic framework to start from.


We would consider this critical reading before you jump into reading any other tactical SEO advice.


The Fan Journey


It all starts with your fans.


For artists, SEO is all about using search engines to help create a positive experience for your fans.


As you build your fan base, your audience will move through some series of steps to eventually reach whatever goal they had in mind. Throughout those steps, they will have experiences online as they engage with your music and brand.


Some of those experiences will involve search engines. So, what we need to do first is understand where search engines get involved.


Wait…. don’t get bored!! Check it out.


To help us visualize let’s adapt a classic marketing framework, the customer journey, and apply it to the average music fan, as it relates to a typical band. We’ll call it the Fan Journey.


We made a fun colourful graph for you (yay!).


The Fan Journey for musicians
Click to open large version


If you’re feeling ambitious, you might want to take some time to map out the Fan Journey for your band, taking into account your unique circumstances.


So, now… “At what point do search engines come into play?


Take a second to stop and think about it…


OK, let’s break it down by phase.


Discovery


In marketing, this step is usually called “Awareness” and it’s where SEO does its magic for most businesses.


Here’s an example: say you want to build a website for your band, so you go to Google and type in “band websites”. There, you’ll find Bandzoogle. Now you’re aware of our company. And that’s very important to us.


But, what if you’re a band that plays original music? How are search engines going to help you here?


Well, they’re not.


Nobody discovers new bands by searching on Google. Nobody types in “new band i’m going to love” and expects to actually find a new band they’re going to love. Nobody searches “indie band in toledo” to find new local music in Toledo.


Ever played to an empty room? Yeah…..


This is what an empty room looks like in SEO.


No search volume when doing SEO for musicians


Womp womp wommmmp.


Not only would you go through a lot of pain trying to rank for a search term like that, you probably won’t manage to do it.


And most importantly, that just isn’t how people discover music right now.


For bands, the Discovery phase of the Fan Journey is probably the hardest – just getting your music in front of people who want to listen. Search engines are not likely to help you directly with this.


Exploration


Exploration happens after a fan discovers you, likes what they hear, and wants to hear more.


This is where search engines start to really matter for most bands.


Ask yourself: “What will most people do after they hear my song, and they really love it, but they don’t know my band yet?


They’ll probably want to know what you look like, where you come from, what other people think of you, what your other music sounds like, where you’re playing next, etc.


One of the first things they might do is Google your band name… Or maybe the song name…. Or maybe some lyrics that got stuck in their head….


Let’s say you just discovered this awesome song you’ve never heard by Elephant Stone. You search their name and…. ding!!!


Search engine results page for band SEO


Awesome, so much great stuff!!


So this is where SEO first comes into play for you, in a big way. It’s your opportunity to show your new fans everything you’ve got. You want to make sure that when they search for your band or music, you’ve got a really pro selection of content for them to check out.


Your audience, at this stage of the Fan Journey, are really potential fans who want to get to know you. Help them out by making sure they can easily find things like:


  • Your website, so they can learn about you
  • Your social profiles, so they can see what kind of things you say
  • Music to stream, so they can sample your sound and decide whether they like it
  • Videos and images, so they can get a feel for what you look like
  • Interviews and reviews, so they can get a sense for who you are and what others say about you
  • Tour dates, so they can see that you’re active and whether you’re playing in their town

You want potential fans to be able to easily find all of that wonderful stuff you’ve poured your heart, soul and bank account into.


So the Exploration phase of the Fan Journey is where search engines can really help you the most, and it’s where strategically you should spend most of your SEO efforts.


Purchase


The Purchase phase of the Fan Journey is – no surprise – hugely important for any artist who wants to build a sustainable career. Like any business or entrepreneur, you have a bottom line. You need to make money to keep going.


Search engines can help you here.


The key is making it quick and easy for fans to spend their money on you, when they’re ready. As it happens, search engines are really useful when people want to find things online quickly and easily.


Bingo.


Let’s look at Delaney Gibson as an example. If a fan searches for “delaney gibson tickets” or “buy delaney gibson music”, that fan is probably ready to spend money on her.


If you, as a musician, want money from your fans (and we know you do) then you had better be sure they can spend it on you without much hassle.


So pave the way for them. Heck, sprinkle a little trail of skittles if that’s what it takes!


Of course, this is about more than just search engines. You have to sprinkle skittles all over the place, like on your website and other profile pages. But sprinkle some on the search engines too.


Let’s see what Delaney did.


Search results for buying music


Nice.


Delaney has done the legwork and provided her fans with a wealth of different ways to spend their money on her, in whatever way is most convenient, useful or interesting to them. It’s all very easy to find by doing just one Google search.


[How To Create a Perfect Page to Sell Music on Your Website]


Skittles…..


So we want to make sure your fans can easily find:


  • Tour date information and concert tickets
  • Somewhere to buy your music for download
  • A store to buy physical music formats and merch
  • Your profile on major streaming services to easily sync your music

And here are some skittles you can start sprinkling around.


Skittles


For the Purchase phase of the Fan Journey, you can use search engines to help your fans find different ways to spend money on you, without having to do any digging around.


Retention


In today’s music industry attention spans are short, fans are fickle, and thousands of talented artists are constantly releasing great new music and content. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll keep the attention of your hard-won fans, even after they’ve downloaded your album or gone to your show.


Which makes fan Retention more important than ever.


As far as search engines go, though, there isn’t a lot that SEO can help you with here. Once your fan has gone to your concert and downloaded your album, most of your Retention is going to happen everywhere else but search engines.


So, for example, stuff like this comes into play for retaining your fans.


Social media icons for musicians


Things like: signing fans up to your mailing list, or growing your audience on social media. Maybe fans follow you on Spotify. That sort of thing helps you with fan Retention.


[9 ways to build your mailing list]


As long as your fans can still find you when they do look for you, that’s all the search engines need to do at the Retention stage of the Fan Journey. So it won’t be a focus of your SEO strategy as a musician.


Advocacy


The Advocacy stage of the Fan Journey is where you’ve already won your fan over to the point where they become a super fan. He or she follows you, and you’ve created some sort of relationship with them. They feel invested in your success. They want to share your music with other people, to help build the movement. They’re the ideal, devoted fan.


Of course Advocacy is a very important Fan Journey stage for your band. But search engines probably won’t be especially useful to you here, because at this point your super fans don’t need Google to find you – they already know where you are.


The Takeaway: Get To Know Your Fan Journey


At this point you’re probably thinking “Great, this makes sense and all, but how do I actually start doing SEO?


In follow-up posts, we’ll dig deeper into the technical and tactical advice you can use to create a positive search engine experience for your fans.


In the meantime, get to know your Fan Journey. Map it out and explore it. Poke holes in it, and find out where you’re weak and where you’re strong.


As far as SEO goes, you should focus on the Engagement and Purchase steps of the Fan Journey. But look at the other steps too. Maybe there is something specific to your band where SEO can help with your Discovery, Retention or Advocacy strategies.


Hopefully you now have an understanding of where you need to start with your SEO. Next time we’ll explore tactics that you can take action on.


Read other articles in this series:


Bandzoogle lets you create a professional website in minutes with all the music promotional features you need including SEO tools, a blog, mailing list, and social media integrations. Try Bandzoogle free now!



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Music SEO – 7 Lessons in Brand Optimization for 2015


icon-bookicon-closeicon-conversationicon-deltaicon-envelopeicon-externalicon-houseicon-pencilicon-productsicon-searchmoz-logo

Bands, music, and SEO – A different paradigm


For B2B or ecommerce, people often
discover your brand with commercial queries like “dining room lamps” or an informational search like “how to fix a dishwasher”. 


Then they look around your site, your social profiles, get retargeted—before ever making a purchase—but in many cases that journey started with an non-branded organic search. Search is certainly not the
only discovery channel. But important enough that investment in non-branded keywords is essential.


A (very simplified) illustration of this discovery path might look something like this:


content discovery path b2b ecommerce


The above is NOT the case for musicians and bands though.
When’s the last time you discovered a band with a search engine? Probably never.


For bands and musicians, the discovery path is 
flipped around. THIS is probably more realistic:


discovery path for bands


The search engine is 
more about reducing friction on the path to becoming a die-hard fan. I don’t think many people are discovering their new favorite band like this:


searching for bands on google


But you HAVE probably tried to learn more about bands and musicians
after the initial discovery with searches like this:


current fan search



(No, I am not a Lumineers fan—just so there’s no confusion 😉 )


I don’t think many musicians, bands, record labels or managers are looking at this aspect of search. Sure, you can hope that users and Google “just figure it out.” Or you can be proactive and create the best fan experience possible.

SEO for bands = The branded keyword experience


So the REAL opportunity in keywords for bands and musicians is the fan experience here:


google autosuggest band search terms


It’s their “branded” terms (or what I like to call “PropWords“—proprietary keywords):

  • band name
  • musician names
  • album names
  • song names
  • lyrics
  • performance dates
  • interviews
  • etc…


For example, there’s a TON of volume around Lupe Fiasco’s branded terms—and this is only the tip of the iceberg:


branded search terms lupe fiasco


Just because no one’s discovering Lupe Fiasco in organic search, doesn’t mean there’s no opportunity. It’s just not in the normal places you’d look for B2B or eCommerce opportunity.


So that’s the lens through which the rest of this post should be seen through. SEO for bands is primarily about the
fan experience searching their branded terms

Search result opportunities for bands

1. Event listings

1.1 Optimize your own site for general tour searches


As a band, it’s important to keep fans and potential fans in your ecosystem. You should keep fans on your properties (website, social etc) as much as possible—so as not to give up extra traffic to third party sites. Being visible for your own event searches is a critical way to keep them there. 


Let’s use on of my new favorite bands, 
Sylvan Esso. Here’s an example of what Google typically shows for a tour search—for the query “sylvan esso tour dates”:


search results sylvan esso


I imagine for this query,
fans are trying to get a list of all tour dates. So what is Google doing now? They are providing the list front and center


You notice that Sylvan Esso only has one result—everything else goes to a third party site. This is already a lost opportunity to drive more fans to
their site. 


They could
optimize for clicks by aligning the likely user intent with their appearance in the SERP. Using the SEO Mofo SERP tool, I came up with:


sylvan esso tour dates search results


This listing may perform better because:

  • It aligns with most likely user intent (browse all dates/location & purchase)
  • The URL is more informative
  • It promises something exclusive (as long as they deliver—maybe with a group discount, a meet and greet etc).


This is the start to funneling fans through your website instead of a third party. 

1.2 Create pages for individual shows (with caution)


Some fans may opt to click a tour date Google has provided. What does Google do next?


tour dates serp


Google then returns a page like this—with a TON of stuff:


band serp


This SERP is packed! It includes:

  • A date carousel
  • A large AdWords ad
  • A map card 
  • Knowledge Graph card
  • Top result has 4 site-links
  • 7 more normal organic results, some with date snippets and extra links


Here’s the kicker. There’s only
one tiny little link to sylvanesso.com—in the map card. And it goes to their homepage. They have a pretty poor shot at driving users to their website here.


Let’s look at a result for a specific Dave Matthews Band tour date:


dave matthews serp


They’re doing it a little better. Few observations with this one:

  • Their link in the map goes to their tour page
  • The #1 organic listing goes to their website—because they have a specific page for that exact show.
  • The amount of stuff in this SERP is still immense. The first organic result is way below the fold.
  • The “with caution” part is that—you don’t want to just create individual pages for every show, without trying to add something of value to them—like information about the venue, past show pictures from that venue, etc. These pages can get quite “thin” and this isn’t a good thing either.

1.3 Tag your site to get official ticket links


Finally, the biggest change in Google is the addition of official ticketing agents. To use one of their examples, let’s look at 
Google’s example of “ariana grande tour” (and no, definitely not a secret Ariana Grande fan—although some of the production is decent):


Not only do the tour dates show up at the top, but check out this
preferred ticketing link showing prominently in the Map Card:


official ticket agent in band serp


Google 
first announced this capability about a year ago. And they have recently expanded this for comedians and concert venues as well. Here is Google’s official developer documentation on event markup for performers: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/events/performers I want to note, they are giving preferential treatment to official artist websites:


event markup for performer sites


You have three options to specify event info:

  1. HTML—code it directly into your page
  2. Plugins or Widgets
  3. New “Delegation” Markup—indicate Google to source it from another webpage

2. Make an app (or several) and index them


For those not aware,
App Indexing is getting pretty real. I think this is a major opportunity for bands and musicians. Let’s look at mobile search volume for a few albums that have come out recently:


mobile search volume for recent albums


According to my small sample, at least 44% of album name searches are on a mobile device (not even including tablets). Recent claims are that Android has 
almost 50% of the smartphone market share. For Alicia Keys, that would mean about 18,500 searches a month for “girl on fire” on an Android.


Are you seeing the opportunity? No? Well, Bjork did:


bjork app


She had an app developed just for her new album, Biophillia. Now, Android users searching Google for this album will be able to purchase and experience the “multimedia exploration” in this app.


If I was a label, I’d be experimenting with making apps for all albums by artists—filling them with an exclusive experience—and seeing what happens.


Google put together their 
4-steps to appiness—and easy to follow guide to get your Android app indexed in Google search.

3. Get a Knowledge Graph result


I know we’ve look at musicians who have already reached a threshold of popularity. They are likely to have a Knowledge Graph result already.


But what if you’re an up and coming musician? You may not have a Knowledge Graph result—but perhaps with a little nudge you can get one. For example, a friend of mine (and old bandmate)
Lost Midas is now a solo electrofusion producer and songwriter. He is signed to an independent label and even just performed at SXSW—but unfortunately Google does not show a Knowledge Graph result:


missing knowledge graph in serp


What could someone like him do to get in the Knowledge Graph?


One thing I found interesting was Google’s suggestions for how performers specifically can get in the Knowledge Graph. It’s
buried at the bottom of the event listings page:


3.1 Get listed in Wikipedia


This is easier said than done. Be sure to read their
inclusion criteria for music.


If you feel the band or musician is notable enough to get into Wikipedia, you can then 
start the process here. That is the official page to add an article request for bands and musicians. Please note, Wikipedia does not want you to list yourself. 


As Google states above—
be sure the official homepage is recorded correctly. I take this to mean—list the exact (“canonical”) version of your homepage URL. The one you would verify in Webmaster Tools.


You may also find this article on how someone claimed to
sneak through Wiki’s notability test interesting (although I can’t officially say how good that method is).

3.2 Get listed in MusicBrainz


The other site Google recommends getting listed in is 
MusicBrainz.org. I don’t have much experience with this site, but you can go here to learn about making contributions.


musicbrainz

3.3 Upload audio to Archive.org


Note, this is
just my hunch. But if Google is using Wikipedia and MusicBrainz to inform their Knowledge Graph results—perhaps they use Archive.org. Why not? It’s one of the most authoritative sources on the web. 


With Archive.org you can
upload entire concerts to their site:


archive.org

3.4 Create and verify a Google Plus page


Right, I know. “No one uses Google Plus.” “Google Plus is dying.” Perhaps there are elements of truth there. But I’d be surprised if having a Google Plus page verified with your website doesn’t somehow impact Knowledge Graph listings.


My friend does not have a Google Plus listing currently:


searching for band's google plus page


For those needing to create and verify a Google Plus page:

  1. Go here and choose “Brand” to create a page. (Note, you are not creating a personal page. This is a mistake I see many organizations making).
  2. And then link your website to your brand page by following those instructions.

4. Customize your Knowledge Graph


Once you
have a Knowledge Graph listing—that’s just the beginning! Google recently added ways to control what appears there.

4.1 Specify your logo


For bands (and all organizations really) branding is an essential element of success. Google now gives you the opportunity to
directly control the logo users see in your Knowledge Graph result:


customizing a band's knowledge graph result


As you can see above, the jazz group
The Bad Plus has a random picture from an article showing—when perhaps there is a better photo they would prefer. This may be especially important from a consistency of branding standpoint.

4.2 Specify your social profiles


In addition, you can also
directly control what social media links show in the knowledge graph. As I’ve mentioned, getting users to follow you on social is a key goal for bands in terms of audience development. Your audience is everything. And for bands, most search activity is going to come from their brand name. Why not make it easier for them to discover your social profiles?


For example, the amazing “Livetronica” Band (live electronica music)
The New Deal could get all of their social links to show in their Knowledge Box:


missing social profiles in knowledge graph


As you can see they are missing a huge opportunity to get more fans to their Instagram, Twitter and Soundcloud profiles. There’s at least 1,700 searches a month for “the new deal music” and “the new deal band”.

5. Have a crawlable and indexable site


For some reason, I have noticed sites in the music industry tend to be pretty inferior. This could be due to labels using poor frameworks, or the band/artist needing to just get a website up the quickest, cheapest and easiest way possible. This can cause some issues though.


Let’s check out my friend’s site again. He’s currently on the Flavors.me platform. It looks like there’s several “pages” to the user, but to Google his website is just all one page:


cached band page


As mentioned, this is a common yet often overlooked issue with music websites I see. In fact, despite Bjork getting it right by having an app—her website has the same issue:


cached webpage for bjork


Her
website (which actually does looks like an impressive creative endeavor) is built with hashes # in the URLs. Which makes the individual pages uncrawlable.


This shows up as an issue if I try to find her mailing list in Google:


serp for uncrawlable band page


The first result goes to her record label’s page. That’s fine right? Well, not really because she has her own mailing list:


page visible to searcher not search engine


Because of how the website is built though, that page is basically invisible to Google—and users can not easily find it from a search.


The absence of Bjork’s mailing list in search results is a
critical oversight. For an artist, your mailing list is one of your strongest assets.

5. Leverage your own YouTube channel


As it’s often said, YouTube is the second largest search engine. And there’s no doubt music queries make up a huge percentage of their overall search volume.

5.1 Create a YouTube channel


I’m sad to have to say this, but many bands don’t seem to even have a YouTube page of their own. Again, they are missing a massive opportunity to funnel fans searching for their content to their YouTube account—where they can grow subscribers, promote music and cross-promote other channels.


For example, that band The New Deal does not have their own YouTube channel:


branded youtube channel


Their live performances are a core selling point. This drives a ton of activity around their band in YouTube (people looking for concert footage). If they added some of their own on their own channel, they could capture a lot of this activity and engage with the fans.

5.2 Add video content fans are looking for


Having a channel is great, but fans are often looking for specific pieces of content. It’s really nice to have lots of fans that upload this content for you for fun, but capturing some of this activity is important.


For example, another new band I have been liking a lot -
Made In Heights—could be doing this:


search opportunities on youtube


Fans are looking for live performances, and the only ones there now are all fan uploads.


You can use YouTube search suggest to find other things fans are searching for. I don’t see it mentioned often, but KeywordTool.io allows you to get
YouTube search suggestions:


keywordtool.io youtube suggestions


This can quickly give you ideas of what content to add to your band page in YouTube:


keyword suggestions youtube


The above screenshot shows the most common searches around “Made In Heights”. They mostly look like song names. If I were that band, I’d make sure they have video or content for every one of those songs. 


You can use YouTube directly of course to find search suggestions off of the band name. For example, there are a lot of lyric searches. This makes sense. People want to listen to the song while reading the lyrics:


lyric search autosuggest


Wow! Yet, what happens when we look in YouTube for “made in heights lyrics”?


search results lyrics youtube


Never mind the band not having any lyric results—NO one has any lyric results. This is definitely an opportunity to provide content that doesn’t exist within YouTube.

5.3 Create playlists


Playlists are also overlooked in YouTube. They have many benefits:

  • Make your content easier to discover by organizing it.
  • Keep viewers on your content, in your channel
  • I’ve heard it rumored that creation of playlists can help you rank better in YouTube search only if your channel helps YouTube keep viewers… inside YouTube. Playlists can do this.
  • You can organize videos from any account into your playlists.
  • You can also rank in Google search with playlists (more on that below)


I started using playlists on my YouTube
music channel (where I mainly post covers and tutorials of hip-hop songs on piano)—and at least anecdotally—have seen my view count rise faster than usual:


youtube playlists


(I sure did use the word “content” a lot in that screenshot!)


Many popular artists in YouTube don’t have any playlists though—for example 
Flying Lotus:


missing band playlist youtube


You can also
curate playlists of videos about your band no matter who uploaded it. For example, let’s say you’re Drake (OK, maybe Drake’s record label or social media manager). You could curate playlists of the best Drake interviews, no matter who uploaded them:


drake seo suggestions


Then when fans search, they may discover the playlist on Drake’s channel which could earn subscriptions and also get them watching their chosen interviews.


Speaking of Drake—remember when I mentioned you could rank in Google search with YouTube playlists? Take a look at this:


drake serp


That’s a random 
fan playlist ranking #1 for “drake playlist”—which gets 1,600 searches a month. That’s not an outlying case though. I barely had to look further for another example:


john legend playlist serp


“john legend playlist” gets 720 searches a month—and two fan playlists rank at the top.

6. Contribute to Medium.com


While the idea of “guest posting” is saturated in many industries, I don’t see this being done a whole lot in the music industry. That’s why I was impressed when I noticed a DJ named
A-Trak posted this compelling article about rap in 2014:


guest posting for bands on medium


A few months later, this article has earned:

  • 254 recommendations on Medium
  • 1,480 Facebook shares
  • 470 tweets
  • 336 Google +1’s
  • Including shares by Fred Wilson (380,000+ followers) and pianist Chilly Gonzales (40,000+ followers and high relevance)


It even ranks #2 for [rap in 2014]:


serp for rap in 2014


Although not super high volume, it potentially ranks for a lot of long tail—and will bring in consistent brand discovery from a relevant audience.

6. Provide exclusive content about your lyrics


The SEO world is no stranger to lyric searches. Just last year, Rap Genius (now just “Genius”) was
caught up in a Google penalty. And back on December 19, Glenn Gabe was the first to notice Google displaying full lyrics in search results:


band-provided lyric content in serps



Glenn Gabe’s screenshot from December 19, 2014 of Google displaying lyrics in search.
 


Glenn also recently published a pretty 
in depth study about lyrics in the SERPs I highly recommend you check out.


In his article, Glenn astutely points out that when you add the word “meaning” to your lyrics search—the lyrics box goes away—which I found to be true looking at Sylvan Esso “Coffee” lyrics:


lyrics meaning in serps


As a band you could release exclusive content about your lyrics such as:

  • A photo of where they were originally written (on a napkin while on tour etc)
  • The story about how/why they were written
  • An explanation about their style (rhyme patterns, metaphors, references to history etc.)
  • Share old/original versions of the lyrics or a certain line and the process of revisions


Fans and music publications could also create exclusive content about the lyrics. They could interview the band about their meaning—or publish their own in-depth interpretation of the meaning.


I also want to point out—there can be a
lot of search volume for a single line of a song lyric, if the song and artist are popular enough. Check out the volume for this one line by Drake:


lyric search by line


That’s 1,000 searches a month (certainly skewed all towards February, when the album came out) for “runnin’ through the 6 with my woes”.


And I want to point out, 65% of those searches are being done on
mobile phones


mobile lyric searches


Check out search volume for Adele lyrics from years ago now:


adele lyric search


“But I set fire to the rain” and “watched it pour as I touched your face” both get decent volume and have a good share of mobile share.


Yet there is only one result in this SERP explaining the meaning to this line:


lyric search opportunity


There’s definitely value to be found by:

  • finding lines from lyrics with search volume
  • creating content to satisfy the user intent


Both the artists AND third party publishers have an opportunity here. Genius.com is really the only true player in this space right now!

7. Optimize for real name searches


Remember my friend “Lost Midas”? This is obviously not his real name. It’s Jason Trikakis. Not a hugely common name. So a search for it should return his website #1 right? 


real name searches in serps


Wrong. You can’t always rely on Google to “figure it out.” The problem here stems back to the fact his website is not very search-friendly. His name is on the website but very hard for Google to find.


Solution in this case would be:

  • Ultimately to be on a better web platform. 
  • But also adding his name into the title of the page (if possible on Flavors.me) would certainly be a step in the right direction 🙂


Also—remember Sylvan Esso? What if one were to be searching around for “Nick Sanborn” who makes up 1/2 of the Sylvan Esso duo?


real name search for band member


Now, I’d never argue something from sylvanesso.com should appear at the top. But there’s nothing from their domain on the first page. As a fan, I’d probably enjoy at least one result from one of their own domains.


Here’s a few ideas for them:

  • Create a bio page on their own site
  • Have a personal website which can then get people to the band website etc


There’s SO much more I could have mentioned in terms of marketing music these days. When I 
played in bands it was the days of MySpace 🙂 I don’t even think YouTube was out yet. 


There are so many opportunities out there now with social media, platforms like Soundcloud and Bandcamp. I left a LOT out of this post.


If you have any questions at all, please ask in the comments below! And I also love to chat about music!

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