Here are some key points I get from Thing 13: SEO – My top 10 Tips from The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online:
What is SEO? It short, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is pretty much what it sounds like – a method of positioning your website so that it is favored over other similar sites by search engines. When most people do a search on Google they only look at the first page of search results. Therefore, it would put you at an advantage if you can get your site on the first page of results (a little caveat here – it probably won’t do you much good if you’re on the first page of results for a completely unrelated keyword, unless you’ve also snagged some other relevant keywords).
Dubber’s 10 tips for SEO are as follows:
- Take advantage of meta tags. Metadata is generally split up into 3 categories including: Title, description, and keywords. The title is one of the most important parameters. When a search engine digs up your site, it uses your title in order to figure out what your page is about. A simple Google search will turn up some great articles about writing great headlines. Having the same title on each page of your website is a no-no. The description metadata is generally displayed along with the search results (below your site’s link). Keywords are where you would list all the words and phrases you would consider relevant to your business or music. You can’t cheat, however, so don’t clutter your keyword metadata with repeated words or phrases.
- Search engines are also looking for header tags, bullet points, bold text, or emphasized text and will treat anything in that regard as important. It pays to consider what phrases and keywords you want people searching for. Again, don’t clutter your site with too much emphasis, because it will be considered spam by search engines.
- Link to other similar sites. The idea of linking to your competitors may not appeal to you, but it helps to place you in a particular network. Furthermore, make sure to use descriptive text when linking to other sites (not ‘click here’).
- Create a site map for your site. A site map is a page where you lay out all the links and destinations on your site in one convenient list. This helps significantly with navigation. It also helps the search engines to do the same thing.
- Having relevant inbound links is immensely helpful. In a sense, this isn’t really within your control. Certainly, you can exchange links with other sites, but if people are not clicking on them, you are no further ahead. The best thing you can do is offer the best content possible so people will want to link to your site. Ultimately, the inbound links will make your site more authoritative in the eyes of the search engines, which brings us nicely into the next point:
- Create content. Use words. Your site should contain more than just mp3s, pictures, videos, or tour dates. Talk about things. Images are useful if you take full advantage of the ALT tags. Lace them with plenty of relevant descriptions and keywords.
- Make sure to choose your keywords well. “Anticipate unfocused thinking”, as Dubber says. You can use various (usually paid) tools to search your keywords, but if you can come from the angle of someone who is about to make a search, you are more likely to hit upon some good phrases and keywords.
- Update your website. If you have a blog, all the better. Google will not send you visitors if your site has not been updated recently and frequently. Update at least weekly if possible.
- Use Flash and Java in moderation. Generally, they do nothing for your SEO because the search engines can’t pick up any of the content. Search engines require text. While it is true that search engines are working to index more multimedia elements, it is still best practice to make text your primary content.
- Keep your domain name. The longer your site has been around, the more trusted it is by search engines. Changing domains is not a step to be taken lightly.
One final bonus tip from Dubber: It’s hard to be sneaky with search engines. You can’t just infuse your website with thousands of keywords (white text on a white background, for example) or click on your inbound links thousands of times to boost your ranking. In fact, it can actually do more harm than good. Simply write with your target audience in mind. Create great content.
The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online was written by Andrew Dubber, and all credit goes to him. I do not claim any ownership over the book, nor am I quoting any information verbatim. If you would like to download your free copy, please follow this link, and don’t forget to visit New Music Strategies as well.
Author: David Andrew Wiebe
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.