As a musician, SEO may be the last thing you think you need to be doing. However, what if I told you that some basic SEO techniques could help you grow your audience and spread your musical influence? Contrary to what you may think, these SEO guidelines for musicians can be done quickly and easily- and the rewards you’ll get will make the effort well worth it.
1. Keyword Research: Smart keyword research is the basis of all smart SEO tactics. By putting yourself in your listeners’ shoes, you can eventually work your way into their headphones. You can conduct free keyword research with Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner (all you need is a Google account). Input potential keywords like [your band’s name], [your city] + [your genre], shows in [your city], and more.
2. Put These Keywords to Use: Take a good hard look at your website and determine where you can include your target keywords. Some prime locations? An “About the Band” or “Biography” page, your discography, or a list of upcoming shows.
3. Add Your Lyrics to Your Website: The highest volume of music-related searches are for song lyrics. Give the people what they want, and post your song lyrics in their entirety on your website.
YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, attracting over one billion unique visitors per month. Your current fans are already on YouTube searching for your videos- but there are ways to capture the attention of those who have yet to discover your music as well.
4. Optimize Your Video Title: Not too long, not too short, and including your target keywords. In general, keep your YouTube titles to 65 characters or less. Include the name of your song and any other details that your audience may be searching for (is it the official video? A live acoustic performance?). If it’s a video of a concert performance, try to include the venue and location if you have enough room.
5. Optimize Your Video’s Description: Go beyond “A video of our band’s performance at the local pub.” Focusing again on your keywords, write a 2-4 sentence description of the video. You may also include a transcript in the description (if it’s an interview, for example), or the lyrics of the song you’re performing. This strategy will help capture more phrases that your listeners are searching for.
6. Optimize Your Video’s Tags: Discovering new music on YouTube is easily achievable with the “related videos” sidebar. To ensure that your video shows up, include at least 5-10 relevant keywords as tags for your video- things like your band’s name, the venue you’re playing at, your musical genre, and any other details like “official video,” “acoustic,” “live,” and more.
Especially if you’re just starting out, local SEO techniques will be especially helpful for spreading your musical influence. Local SEO connects you to people who are searching for your music in your area, making it much more likely that they’ll come out to a show or an album release party.
7. Use Local Keywords: To expand on the first point, combine your targeted keywords with your location to attract more page views. For example, try to use “hip hop show in Central Atlanta” rather than just “hip hop.” Being more specific helps your SEO’s effectiveness.
8. Subscribe to Local Websites and Directories: Many websites have directories where local bands can list their information and possibly link to a website or social media page. One especially smart tip? Create your own Wikipedia page. Doing this allows you to link your page to bigger directory-style pages. For example, you could add yourself to the “Atlanta Hip Hop Artists” category to increase visibility and local SEO.
Blogging and Bloggers
As a musician, you know how important it is to get press. With blogging, you can make your own press; reaching out to bloggers is crucial for publicity as well.
9. Blog for Yourself: Blogging goes far beyond the content that you can share on social media. You can announce tour dates or an award you’ve won, link to a great article about your show, answer fan mail, share your thoughts on the music industry or your particular genre, and more. This is your golden opportunity to use those target keywords we’ve been talking about so much. Plus, blogging means you’re creating content that your fans will likely share with their networks.
10. Blogger Outreach: If you want something, ask for it- this is especially true when it comes to reaching out to bloggers. But don’t send mass e-mails to a bunch of bloggers and hope one of them will bite. Instead, craft your pitch to each blog’s specific focus, maybe throw in a compliment on their work, and let them know why their readers need to know about your music.
Simply put, SEO gives you a leg up on other musicians and gives you the tools to reach-and eventually perform for- a much larger audience.