SEO for Musicians: Take Advantage Of Your Audience!

April 28th, 2011 by Search Influence Alumni

With a little SEO sauce, your website can go from air-guitar...

If you’re involved in any kind of creative endeavor, chances are you’re waiting to be discovered. The duty of the artist is not just to make art, but to share it with others; this goes doubly for musicians, whose opportunities for media expansion have exploded in the last several years.

Getting discovered by an agent who happens to be at your show is so 90’s. With sites like Myspace, BandCamp, Twitter,, Facebook, Soundcloud and others, bands now have a wealth of tools to choose from to stay in touch with their audience, as well as personal sites and blogs where they have full control over the message. While maintaining all of these entities can be an overwhelming amount of work, practicing basic SEO and maintaining a strong, cohesive media profile throughout a few selected ones can be just as or more effective than spreading yourself thin.

It’s important to remember that people aren’t just searching text these days; make sure that your music samples, videos and other media knick-knacks are available for your audience. Allowing for streaming makes your music accessible for the casual web-surfer, while putting up a selection of singles for download can increase loyalty and brand retention among those who enjoy your sound enough to hang on to it. And please — if you’re making tracks available for download, make sure your ID3 tag ducks are in a row. You don’t want your listeners to download a track, listen to it once and delete it a few days down the line because they have no idea where it came from. Everything should be consistently titled and formatted for maximum ease of consumption.

On-page SEO is a must, particularly if you’re a hometown outfit. This doesn’t have to be an involved, link-intensive campaign, but covering your touring area is necessary if you want to be seen by the casual Googler. Basic keyword research from AdWords can help with this. Additionally, backlinking from community sites such as Digg, Reddit and various music forums (both local and non-), while not particularly weighty as far as pagerank, can contribute to visibility and drum up community interest — your music connecting with the real ears it needs to find. Similarly, maintaining an active profile on Youtube is a must. Even if you don’t have a full-on music video, the ‘tube is another place to put up tracks and offers more opportunity for keyword insertion.

... to rock star!

On the more tech end of things, hreviews are a new and trendy kind of metadata that’s easy-to-implement and offers more bang for your buck than the traditional flavor. Avoid Flash whenever possible, as Google doesn’t index it (and everyone hates unnecessary Flash interfaces anyway), and consider making your site mobile-friendly with HTML5. Making the switch is less difficult than it sounds, particularly for less complex sites, and it allows for the possibility of listeners checking out your product anywhere — on the street, at the gym, and on the way home from the (hopefully) impressive gig you’ve just played. If you’re a smaller band, chances are you’re friendly with other acts in your immediate hometown and greater touring area. Find out whose links are worth more and offer to swap — this will both boost your pagerank and draw in new views from areas you may not have made a significant impression on yet.

Once your flagship .com site is up and running, utilize the wealth of free tools at your disposal to figure out where your traffic is coming from. Google Analytics and Urchin are invaluable to help figure out what you’re doing wrong, what you’re doing right and where to concentrate your efforts. Sonicbids will allow you to connect with the right promoters for your sound, as well as develop an EPK — electronic press kit — which will lend you a great deal of professional appearance and credibility.

Lastly, blog blog blog your little heart out. Besides being an excellent way to stay in touch with fans and a good creative outlet in general (stimulating the old writing muscles can only help your lyrics!), blogging is a fantastic way to continually update your site with fresh information — which, as we all know, Google loves. Let your home base languish with nary an update or new media for eight months and you’ll surely see a drop in both ranking and pageview.

The scary and exciting thing about contemporary music marketing is the immense egalitarianism that presents itself in the face of all these tools. A fledgling band should first and foremost know its audience; the younger and more tech-savvy your ideal crowd is, the more you should invest in your Internet presence. While a good marketing campaign won’t win you mass fan adoration or an instant record deal, it gets your product out there in the public eye (or ear!) to be reviewed, discussed and enjoyed.