10 essential SEO tips for musicians (2021)

Image Credit: Patrick Fore

SEO can be stressful for musicians, but it doesn’t have to be. Try using some of these tips to bump up your SEO presence and get noticed as a band or solo artist online.

To be a successful musician nowadays you have to look at yourself as a brand, plain and simple. And brands need to be marketed. SEO helps you work the system so people can find your music project online. It also points fans of music of a similar genre in your direction. What’s a successful outcome from someone clicking through to your page? SEO should lead towards that. Website traffic is a means to an end, and that end is getting punters to invest in you as a musician.

No idea what I’m talking about? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it’s basically what the little search tool bots latch onto to decide where to put webpages in the rankings, making your band or music discoverable online. If you’re managing your music promotion yourself it’s very important. It’s a bit of a fine art, but there’s little things you can do to get started.

Check out the competition

Have a little creep on what bands or performers similar to you are up to with their online presence. Or, even better, what bands you aim to be as successful as are doing. If you struggle to find them, do the exact opposite.

Don’t have a website? Get one

A great website should be the go-to place for your music project. From there potential fans can find out everything they need to know about you – and where to find you, whether that is at gigs (virtual or not), on social media or through online content ready to be shared. Once you’ve got sorted with a lovely-looking site, you can fill it with metadata that will increase your traffic.

Use keywords

Keywords are absolutely vital for SEO. Do some research. What do fans search for when they want to find you online? Any similar bands or genres? Don’t forget synonyms, too – anything that relates to you as a band. But…

…Don’t just stuff keywords in

Beware of going crazy on the keywords. ‘Keyword stuffing’ is a thing and the search engines know it. You’ll end up getting shoved down the SEO rankings if you litter your music website copy with them just for the sake of it.

Add unique content to your band’s website

The search engine algorithms love original content – so be needy as them and update your site regularly so they know you still exist. Have a blog, new merch, a press page, easy-to-find contact details. Make sure band member biography pages use keywords and are up to date. Link to your Youtube. Which reminds me…

Put your music on Youtube

…And link out to your music videos from your website. Youtube music videos should be optimised for SEO as well. That’s hashtags, video titles and so on. Long descriptions of the videos help, with keywords that link to music genre and location. The same applies for any other sites that have your videos on them. Make sure your Spotify bios are up to scratch, too.

Use meta-descriptions

‘Use what now?’ …Meta-descriptions are stored in the HTML code of your band’s website, not visible on the site itself. It’s a bit like the blurb of a book; a preview, to tell people what to expect from the page. Less important for SEO, but if actual real people with eyes like what they see they’ll click the link to find out more about your music. Clickthroughs are a positive result to search engines, and they’ll push the site up the rankings.

Have great written copy on your website

Yes, you need amazing visuals on your band’s site, but you need good copy on there too. Headings should echo what people might search for to find the information about your music that they’re after – ‘Music videos by…’ for example, not just ‘Music videos’.

Get your band name in the titles

It’s going to come up first in search results, so get your name out there. Anyone who knows your name will be able to find out more about you with ease so the pages of your website – ‘About’ and so on – need to have your band title there too. And while we’re on the subject:

Choose a good band name

…And stick with it! It sounds incredibly boring to consider SEO when choosing a band name, but think about what else comes up when you search for your new music project; can it compete? Make the band or musician name unique, so it doesn’t get lost online. Do not choose The Band. Maybe one uncomplicated word, like Gorillaz. If the word or phrase also means something else, make sure you put (band) afterwards to set yourself apart.

The absolute worst thing is for someone to search for your band and not be sent directly to your artist page. It’s a drag, but try to get into the habit of always thinking about SEO. This is all just a taster – there’s plenty of further resources online to help you get to grips with SEO as a musician. All you need to do is have a Google.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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