In this article I’m going to share a few things the other SEO for musicians guides do not tell you.
If you go to Google and search SEO for musicians, the front page will fill with articles and eBooks about the subject.
I read through these articles and they all pretty much gave the same information. Some were years old and other sites were just trying to work the SEO game.
Those articles talk about meta-tags, back-linking, alt and title tags, images and other technical information that will make the average musician say uuuggghhh.
These are all elements of proper SEO but I have some practical tips I see no one else discussing.
Let me start from the beginning. If your band has a website, you need to follow this advice immediately.
Understanding how search engines work
Whether you like it or not, Google is the #1 search engine. Therefore, anything they do related to search engine results affects you and your band’s website.
I want you to think of search results as free advertising.
This alone should emphasize the importance of a blogging / content marketing strategy, but I will save those topics for a future article. For now, simply think of your content as your SEO. Try not to get caught up in over-thinking keywords, meta tags, and other technical aspects of search engine optimization.
It is important to keep in mind that Google is not the only search engine. You have Bing, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, and a long list of other engines indexing, cataloging, archiving, and connecting every single page that is published to the web.
The job of search engines is to organize and display all these pages to us in a way that provides the most value. Billions of pages are published to the web every single day so I dare you to imagine how complicated it is for search engines to organize, retrieve, and then display websites in a way that matters to the user.
For now, I am going to focus on Google simply because it is #1.
Google+, Verified Authorship, and Author Rank
Search results are based on algorithms designed by the search engine companies. Google changes their algorithms daily, typically on the low, so you can imagine how search engine optimization quickly becomes an infinite abyss of torture.
We will avoid this.
If you have ever heard of Penguin or Panda, these are examples of major algorithm updates. Updates of this magnitude are typically publicized by Google and then thoroughly analyzed and criticized by the SEO community. Many big sites took large hits with Penguin and Panda.
The purpose of these changes is to consistently improve the value of search results. Google wants to give you exactly what you are searching for and they want to provide the most valuable pieces of content possible on the front page.
In other words, they want your life to be easier. This requires weeding out spammers and those who game the technical aspects of Search Engine Optimization.
Google also rakes in major revenue with their Adwords platform so this is another reason for them to work extra hard at delivering the most valuable results possible.
If you do not have a Google+ profile you need to go create one right now. Seriously…go to plus.google.com and follow the instructions; then come back and finish this article.
Author Rank and Verified Authorship
Google’s newest update to the algorithms is author rank and verified authorship. (This may or may not be in full effect depending on when you read this.)
What this means is that instead of ranking sites simply based on keywords, content, back-links, etc; Google will be paying much more attention to the individual publishing blog posts (aka the author).
A Google+ profile allows you to signal to Google you are the author of your blog.
In the About section of your profile, you will find a box titled Contibutor To. You will want to add a link to your band’s blog in this section. This is how Google connects You to Your website.
You will need to make some modifications on your site which will verify your domain (www.yourbandname.com) and complete the process of linking your site to your profile.
If you use WordPress, this process is fairly simple. If your WorPress site runs on the Genesis framework (affiliate link), all you need to do is paste the URL of your G+ profile to your user profile in the WP Dashboard.
At the end of this article you will find a list of links to helpful resources that will provide instructions and more details.
Once you’ve completed these steps Google will be able to display your avatar next to search results for your website. This makes your listings more engaging, personable, and visually appealing (depending on your avatar of course). This [obviously] gives you a significant advantage over listings without an avatar.
Bing and Google both offer a service known as Webmaster Tools. (Links at the end.)
Books could be written going over the details and features of each service but I only need to mention a few key points.
Opening an account with both and linking your website to each is one of the best things you can do for the health of your website’s SEO.
These services not only give you an advantage by bringing your website even closer to Google and Bing’s processes, but they provide you with valuable analytics about your website’s performance in their search results.
You have access to information such as:
- The keywords and phrases your site is ranking for as well as how many queries each is receiving.
- How your pages are ranking for each term or phrase and whether your position has moved up or down.
- Whether or not your website has been the victim of malicious attacks.
- If you have any broken links or missing pages, they will tell you which ones.
- Tips and advice for optimizing your SEO in order to rank better in their results.
- …and a lot more.
A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like…a map of all the pages published to your domain. It is typically an XML file which can be submitted to search engines.
By submitting site maps, you are giving the search engines’ robots and crawlers the perfect guide for discovering and indexing your website.
When you connect your site to Bing or Google’s Webmaster Tools, you will have an option for linking your sitemap. Simply paste in the direct link (URL) to your sitemap and submit it.
Google Search…Plus Your World
Google has implmented a feature known as … Plus Your World.
When you are signed into Google+ (with Plus Your World turned on), Google will deliver results to you based on your network of friends and colleagues (aka your Circles).
Instead of providing you with Global Results for your search phrase, Google will provide you with personal results.
With that said, being active on Google+ can significantly alter the search results presented to you (as well as everyone else).
Theoretically, your pages will rank higher in searches conducted by friends or fans who have added you to their Circles (if they have Plus Your World turned on).
I have additional tips I could share with you but I am saving them for a future post.
SEO is a monster. Those who have no clue and try to get a clue are often scared away because it becomes quite daunting. Especially if you are technically challenged when it comes to computers, the Internet, or “code”.
As promised, below are links to helpful articles and resources to further your knowledge.
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Search, plus Your World via Google
- How To Get Google’s Verified Authorship For Your Blog via WPbeginner
- Google Plus SEO: Everybody Talks About It, How Do You DO It via Mark Traphagen
- Google Sitemaps: Are They Really Important For SEO? via Barry Schwartz
- DMCA: Guide, Tools, Resources