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Let me state the obvious; when you search for something online, you’re going to use Google. In fact, Google’s search engine is so popular it’s chosen 92% of the time. This means over 90% of your potential fans will discover your music website via Google. So it makes sense to optimize your online presence for the Google Search Engine. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
Table of Contents
Related: Music Marketing Tips
What is SEO for musicians?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website so it can gain better visibility in search engines. We want to use SEO to help us rank higher in Google’s organic search results. This in turn will bring more traffic, leads and potential fans to our music.
The benefits of SEO include:
- Drive targeted traffic to your website from fans interested in your music and content
- Making your music more visible when potential fans search on Google
- Result in increased organic growth
- Give you a competitive advantage
The following ‘SEO tips for musicians’ will help you plan out an SEO strategy and help improve your search rankings. SEO is an ongoing process, so don’t get disheartened if you don’t see immediate results. As you build your SEO foundations your rankings will improve.
First, we’ll look at some SEO basics then move on to more specific SEO tips for musicians.
1. Music SEO Basics
Let’s get the basics sorted so that the following music SEO strategies will work. The first thing we need to ensure is that Google can crawl and index your site.
To do that, follow the three tips below:
First – check to see if your site is already indexed in Google. You can do this by typing “site:yoursite.com” into Google. This will show us if the Google bots have indexed and crawled your site.
Being connected to the Google search console has the following benefits for SEO:
Now that you have a Google search console account you can submit your site map to Google.
- It shows you how often your site appears in a search,
- Which keywords you are ranking for
- Which pages from your site Google has indexed
- Any Issues Google has when indexing, crawling, or rendering your pages
Third – Submit your site map
By submitting your site map you are helping Google find all and index the pages on your website. I recommend you submit an XML site map, these are generated in different ways according to the website you are using (e.g. WordPress, Shopify). You may have a plugin on your site that will generate it for you. If you are struggling, check out this guide to making a sitemap.
Once generated, submit the sitemap to the Google search console.
Now that we’ve gotten the SEO basics out of the way, let’s look at more music SEO strategies, starting with identifying your SEO goals.
2. Know what your SEO goals are
Before optimizing your site consider defining your SEO goals. Ask yourself who you want to find you through search engines and what they’ll want.
You may want to have your band name show up in Google search results, increase awareness of your band, boost music promotion, increase traffic to your website or generate more leads for your freelance musician work.
Add your goals into a spreadsheet and use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) method to further define them.Be specific about what the goal is, how you will measure it, how hard it will be to accomplish, if it is relevant to your music marketing and when the goal will be met by.
Once you have defined these goals you can target your music SEO accordingly.
3. Know your target keywords
OK, but what are keywords?
Keywords are the terms and phrases people use in a search engine to find things.
Keywords can be broken into two types, primary keywords and long-tail keywords. Primary keywords often are simpler, shorter phrases that have high search volume and higher competition.
Longtail keywords are often longer phrases that have lower competition and less traffic.
For example, primary keywords for a Music SEO company might be:
- Music SEO
- SEO for musicians
- Music Industry
The trick of a good music SEO strategy is finding & targeting the keywords related to your music. To make a start write down a list of keywords you think someone might use to find your band online. For example, the primary keywords for a metal band’s website would be:
- Metal Band
- Best Metal Bands
- Your Band Name
- Your Band Name bio
An example of Longtail keywords for a metal band would be:
- New metal bands from the UK
- Metal bands touring US 2023
- What are the best new metal bands?
Once you have your list of potential keywords put them into a keyword research tool such as SEMrush or KW Finder. Keyword research tools help you identify a keyword’s competition, how many times it’s searched (volume) and related keywords that you can target. This is really helpful if you’re struggling to find keywords related to your band.
TOP TIP If you are a freelance musician, offering consultation or music lessons, target the keywords for your local area such as “Metal drummer lessons Manchester” or “drum lesson Manchester”.
With the Keyword research data, you can then make informed decisions about which keywords you stand a better chance of ranking on Google. Once you’ve identified your keywords you can create content that matches the intent of that search query.
For example, a Metal band would write an article about “New metal bands from the UK” and include their band within the article.
You can often get a free trial with keyword research tools which is worth making use of to do the foundations of your keyword research. Once you’ve done your research and populated a keyword list you can export it, using it to inform your content strategy for months to come. You can use this free trial of SEMrush here:
4. Fill your website with great content
Now that you have a list of keywords to target it’s time to start making content that accurately responds to those searches and gives people the information they need. Choose 5 – 10 keywords from your list and decide which keywords you’ll create pages around.
It would make sense to include pages that have the following content on your music site:
- Band Name Tour
- Band Name Bio
- Band Name Merch
- Band Name Buy Album
If you want to rank for your band name then you will want to include your band name within your site. You should ensure that you have a page with a well-written bio.
In our example above we found the longtail keyword “new metal bands from the UK?”. An article this band could write is “10 Best New Metal Bands in the UK”, in which they also include their band.
If you have been using a Keyword Search tool such as SEMrush you will also know the intent behind the keyword. This allows you to craft content that matches the search intent. For example, if the keyword has commercial intent, then make a landing page. If the search intent was informational like in the Metal Band example above, then create a blog post.
You can ensure the SEO quality of your content by following the tips below on optimizing content.
If you have amazing creative content – feature it on your site! Give people a reason to want to visit your website, and provide web-only content. Having great content also gives people a reason to link to your site, which further helps SEO. (See tip on Backlinks below)
If you are stuck for content ideas, refer back to your keyword list for ideas, or look up your competitors’ backlink profiles using SEMrush’s backlink tool. Viewing a competitor’s backlinks (links from other sites) helps identify your competition’s popular content. Once you identify what content works for other bands you can replicate it with your own spin.
5. Choose a great domain name
If you are an entrepreneurial musician it’s essential that you have a website, it’s the hub to funnel all your marketing efforts towards. By choosing a good domain name that’s easy to read and easy to remember you are improving your chances of being found and seen as professional.
If you are able to get yourbandname.com then do it! Web addresses that end in .com are perceived as more credible by consumers. If you can’t get yourband.com then you could consider yourbandmusic.com or yourbandofficial.com. You can consider an alternative suffix but be aware this will impact the trustworthiness of your site. Many SEO companies also believe the .com addresses help with SEO and attaining backlinks.
The benefit of a proper domain name is that it makes your band look official and professional and that you take your music seriously. Having a website that is hosted on a subdomain name such as yourbandname.blogspot or yourbandname.tumblr defeats that objective.
You can get cheap enough domain names from reputable retailers that won’t break the bank. It is well worth the investment for the legitimacy of a .com address.
You can check if your band name is available via a domain name checker. If the address is not availble they’ll provide alternatives that might work. Have a look at Godaddy’s domain name checker here.
6. Get links from other websites
One of the major foundations of building SEO is establishing authority for your website. Google’s algorithm measures authority in a number of ways, one of the really important metrics is the amount of backlinks to your site.
Getting links from other sites (backlinks) helps Google understand that your site is a trustworthy source of information. Quality backlinks help provide your site with more authority which in turn helps your SEO. As your authority grows, so does your ranking.
Google recognises each link to your site as a vote of confidence, as long as the site linking to you is relevant and a quality, trustworthy site itself. The more sites linking back to yours, the better. You want to acquire as many authentic backlinks from relevant, quality websites as you can.
So, how do we get backlinks to our music site?
First, focus on connecting all your socials and any platforms you are on to link back to your site. Anywhere your band is mentioned, if you can, link back to your site.
You will naturally acquire organic backlinks. This can come in the form of music reviews on reputable blogs that point to your website. Get into the habit of asking for links to your site when you are covered by the press. You can also put a polite request to do so in your Electronic Press Kit.
Another way of acquiring natural backlinks is to provide resources that people will want to link to. This can come in the form of In-depth guides and tutorials or amazing music content that’s exclusive to your site. You can look up your competitors’ backlink profiles to find more content ideas that people will want to link to. You can do this with free tools such as SEMrush’s Backlink Tool.
You can also do backlink outreach campaigns where you approach people for links. First contact other musicians in your network and negotiate a backlink with them.
The next step is a more direct outreach campaign. You can use a tool like SEMrush to help you populate a list of websites to approach for links. Check out their guide on how to get backlinks here. Sign up for their free trial and export the list of contact information before your trial ends.
A word of caution. I strongly advise against paying any third-party service to acquire backlinks. These are often low-quality links that are not relevant to your site and risk you being penalised by Google.
You may SEMrush’s guide on how to get backlinks useful.
TOP TIP Connect with other local bands and review each other’s gigs or releases. This provides links for them and you.
7. Create Wiki entries for your band
Google use many sources of reputable information such as Wikipedia and knowledge panels to assess the accuracy and authority of the information they provide in search results. So as part of our SEO strategy, it benefits us to help Google understand who we are by submitting information to wiki sites. Google has recommended in the past that artists also add their band information to MusicBrainz.
Add band entries into the following wiki sites; Wikipedia, Wikidata.org, and MusicBrainz. Make sure you add as much detailed and relevant information as you can. Include links to your socials and website, and ensure everything is consistent across the sites.
You can read Wikipedia’s guide on how to create a page here. You can read the criteria for being added as a musician/ band here.
Wikipedia wants to ensure that the information added to its wiki is verified and notable. Notable means that the information of a new article is significant enough to warrant being on the site. For us musicians that means, is our band significant enough to be included? You can prove your significance by including third-party, reliable sources, such as press coverage, with your article application. You can read more on Wikipedia’s guide to musician’s notability here (see “Criteria for musicians and ensembles” section).
8. Edit your Google Knowledge panel
What’s a Google knowledge panel??
A knowledge panel is a space in search results where Google provides a quick snapshot of what you’ve searched for. Knowledge panels are for well-known ‘entities’ such as a person, place or organization.
That means the knowledge panel shows up when people search for you. They are automatically generated with information from across the web, so some information may be missing. Make it as complete as possible by including website links, social links and where to listen to your music on Wikipedia, Wikidata.org, and MusicBrainz.
9. Use your socials
Use the keywords you have researched to generate hashtags and share your content on social media. This will help you link your social media accounts to your website and help to funnel traffic towards your site.
Although SEO ranking is not directly affected by social media, consistently posting links to your site will increase brand awareness and traffic. Research by Cognitive SEO shows that the shares, likes, and comments your posts receive inform Google on how to rank your site. They are an indicator of interest and authority. So share your web pages and blog content on your socials!
You can read more in this SEMrush article on how social media can help your SEO.
YouTube SEO For Music Industry
Did you know that Youtube is the world’s second most popular search engine?
You should take advantage of the search traffic by promoting your music on Youtube. If you create a Youtube channel that you update regularly you will attract fans to your content and then onto your website (or any other links you promote).
Top Tip – If you use a smart link like Linktree you can promote many links just using one link. Great for use in social media profiles.
Youtube SEO optimization
Ensure that you have done your Keyword research as this will help you understand what fans are searching for. Once you know this you can provide the relevant content to ensure you are found in Youtube’s search results. When you create an Official Artist Channel you’ll also be able to access artist-exclusive insights.
You can also do YouTube-specific Search Engine Optimization with a tool such as Tubebuddy. Tubebuddy will help you research high-performing keywords and hashtags so that you can make searchable video topics that will benefit the growth of your Youtube channel. It’s also great at using search data to craft the perfect video titles and tags for your videos to stand out and be found.
Doing advanced keyword research with Tubebuddy also helps you to identify keyword opportunities with low competition that you can go after to help your channel grow faster. If you do a 30-day trial of Tubebuddy you can do a significant amount of keyword research for your Youtube channel in that time which can then be used to inform your content strategy for months ahead.
If you want to do a deep dive, you can read more about Tubebuddy’s Youtube channel growth strategy here.
Top Tip – Add playlists to your channel. Google favours playlists in their search rankings.
10. Technical SEO strategy
Use an SEO plugin
A lot of technical SEO can be made a lot easier if you add a plugin to your website. It will tell you the SEO needed for each page you publish, so you’re less likely to forget to update a meta tag or forget to include a page title. You don’t have to spend money on these, there are free options for WordPress such as Yoast, Rank Math or All In One SEO.
They will help you in completing the SEO tips below:
Optimize your page tags & meta descriptions
Google has certain standards for each website to help it search and crawl your site – music SEO is about helping Google understand what your site and content are about so it knows when to make it visible to people.
One way that the Google bots understand your site is with a page’s HTML tags. Two of these are the title tag and the meta description tag.
The title tag is the text that shows up in the search engine results and the browser tab when someone searches and opens your page. You want to ensure that the title tag is a clear description of your page and includes the main keyword that your page is about (such as your band name!). Use free plugins to help you do this in WordPress such as Yoast, Rank Math or All In One SEO.
The meta description tag is also used by search engine results pages, so you want to make sure your description is also clear and concise. Try to aim for under 160 characters and include appropriate keywords for your page. Using an SEO plugin can help wonders with keeping on top of this. (I use Rankmath’s free version for this site)
11. Optimize Your Blog Content
How do you make your content show up in Google search results?
As we’ve discussed, there are a number of factors that affect your search engine ranking. One method you should focus on to increase search engine visibility for your content is to optimize your on page SEO. This means evaluating content to ensure that all the appropriate and target keywords are included.
By implementing good on page SEO Google understands the article and can place it into relevant search results. This is why having your target SEO keywords is so useful for your site’s search engine visibility.
But how do you optimize your blog content?
When it comes to optimization, SEO for musicians is no different than for any other blog SEO. You want to identify target keywords for each article you write and then include them in the content.
Personally, I use SEO Surfer to ensure I’ve included the appropriate keywords and other SEO keywords I may have missed. I find using their Content Editor quicker and easier to optimize my content as it provides insights into what is missing. This includes headings, paragraphs, contextual keywords, keyword density, word count and links. I use it for this site and find it extremely useful for ongoing SEO too.