Confusion Is Next Part 4

July 11th, 2013 by David Fransen

Confusion Is Next: A 4-part Look at Music SEO In A New Era Of The Music Industry

Part 4 – Same As It Ever Was?

There is much already written about how and why we use schema and microformats for SEO purposes, but most discussions of this practice tend to revolve primarily around address/contact information and compilation of online reviews. Schema, in essence, just more clearly isolates exactly what a search engine should extract from a site, page or – most importantly for this particular discussion – media item. Our own Doug Thomas offered a fascinating look at the basics of how schema can be used for many different purposes in a post last year. I want to make it clear that I can only speculate as to the actual direct contribution of schema to Internet radio. It feels pretty safe to assume that as this market becomes increasingly competitive, however, the more descriptive information there is associating an artist’s material with other more firmly established artists and genres across the internet, the more likely a musician is to reach a wider audience.

The important distinction to make is for microdata’s use in the presentation of music is in regard to the desired function of the information being processed. When listing a business address or embedding a video testimonial or compiling reviews for a company’s online ranking, the most important content that needs to be targeted for extraction from the formatting is basic information about the business, its location and its purported quality according to consumers. The goal is to get a search engine to pull a relatively simple assessment of an item or page of content that points as directly as possible to the business or source website. As we discussed in Part 2, this is not necessarily the focus for musical work.

As you can see, between the schema properties available for the CreativeWork classification and the MusicRecording classification, there is a great deal of information that can be provided to a search engine for any function. Obviously, the data provided through schema should include standard title, album and technical information. What I think could be of increasingly great importance to aspiring new artists, however, are the more relative and subjective microformatting properties available within the CreativeWork schema. A handy way to think about this is as a contemporary substitute for the “Recommended If You Like…” stickers that came on CD’s for radio and promotional performances back when CD’s were still actually real things people used.

“Genre” is obviously a key component that should probably be used with as much specificity as possible without descending into comically pompous territory. “Pop” is probably not specific enough to help anyone, but some exceedingly overwrought and ultimately marginalizing mega-description like  “Neo Nerdcore Post-Synth-Wave” wouldn’t really tell anyone anything either (unless that’s an actual thing, in which case, sorry. I’m getting old).

More intriguing, though, are CreativeWork schema parameters like “audience,” “discussionURL,” “isBasedOnURL,” “reviews” or “typicalAgeRange.” These all seem to provide great opportunities to associate a band or musician’s work with something a listener might actively search for, either on a standard search engine or on an internet radio provider. Again, I can provide no certain evidence that any of this will lead to any direct boost in profile on any music-centric site at this moment. I can say, however, that using schema is a really simple and effective way for descriptive information about a work or its creator(s) to be transmitted and received. Simple and effective is generally considered good for business, so it shouldn’t seem outlandish for schema or some similar style of microdata-driven assessment of material to be used in the development of new music dispersal services.

Furthermore, if there’s one thing we DO know, it’s that schema is utilized very effectively already within standard organic search results. If Daisy is indeed about to usher in a new era of Internet radio that incorporates a more hands-on human element, then organic search results may suddenly become much more important for artists than they had been to this point. In short, forming clearer connections and associations for musical material through the inclusion of a few simple schema properties whenever a media item is linked or embedded by an artist just seems like a solid practice all around for artists (as well as marketers) looking for rewarding careers.

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

Click here for Part 3