SEO for an artist or musician is not the same as other websites

Photo credit - look by Ρanayotis - cc-by-sa

At some point I started to wonder about search engine optimization for my band's website. I've come to realize it's a bit different for artists.

In the last few years I've messed around with trying to setup my band’s website to rank higher in search engines.

Most articles tell me I need to find keywords or index terms relevant to my category and use them in my post titles, articles and stuff like that.

priority is given to words that occur in the title, words that recur numerous times, and words that are explicitly assigned as keywords within the coding. 
Wikipedia - index_term

Made sense to me as I read these explanations.

In my head it was like this:
People would search for words like "music" or "new music" or whatever other similar categories I could think of to use. And If I set up my keywords correctly, our music could show up in that search.

Seemed smart. So I wrote a list, thinking about what search do I want to try and rank better in?

But guess what? It didn't work

After a while, having tried a bunch of different search possibilities with no real results, I realized there is a flaw in this method when it comes to a creative genre.

It was this: I don't think that people fire up the search engine to just randomly find music.

Here's why it's different for an artist in my opinion.
I thought about it and when was the last time I just typed "music" in a search engine to find a band? Never.

For one thing, the results would be nothing I was looking for in most cases. It's a broad category and just silly to search for info on this as a general term., a site dedicated to things like search engine optimization, even says this about it:
For bands and musicians, the discovery path is flipped around. The search engine is more about reducing friction on the path to becoming a die-hard fan. 
Via MOZ - Music SEO - 7 Lessons in Brand Optimization for 2015 - Moz

Here's a scenario that may sound a bit more familiar.
Someone tells me about a band they like, I type that name into the search engine and see what shows up.

Sound about right? Does to me too.

Another example: I hear about music or artists on a blog, or their name is mentioned in a podcast or I see their name in the credits of a video. Again, I’ll type that name in the search engine to learn more about them, because now I’m interested in them.

I decided to optimize for our name instead.

After figuring this out, here is what I wanted to do. I wanted the right information to show up when people searched for us.

When I first started

I searched for our name to see what showed up and the results were confusing and inconsistent. The Facebook page was third or fifth on the list and the rest of the results were for an actor’s obituary whose name is similar to ours.

I didn't like that result.

Here is what I wanted to happen if I searched for our band name.
  • Top three results would be us
  • The first result should be our website
  • One of those artist showcase cards by Google should appear next to the search results
  • Video suggestions
  • Lyrics

Here are a couple of things I did that seemed to improve this.

Get albums listed in is a wiki site dedicated to musician album release information.
MusicBrainz captures information about artists, their recorded works, and the relationships between them. Recorded works entries capture at a minimum the album title, track titles, and the length of each track. 
Via Wikipedia - musicbrainz

MusicBrainz has been around for quite some time and is viewed as an authority site by google. So it would probably help to have my band information there. It was really easy to sign up for an account and add our album releases.

Just make sure you follow the instructions when adding your music. The site is maintained by a community and album information could be denied if you don't follow the rules. But mostly I've found that they will help you correct mistakes if it needs it.


Another site I found is I was able to submit album information there too. It’s a database for people to showcase their music collections both digital and physical. So I figured having our releases in their database couldn't hurt.

Proper YouTube channel titles

The analytics from our site showed that sometimes searches included the title for one of our songs. Which makes sense if they did hear a particular song of ours somewhere else.

Knowing this, I want to make sure they find whatever song they are looking for when they search.

Video Titles
YouTube searches are more likely to show up for these. And since all of our songs are already available on our YouTube channel, I decided I was going to change the video titles to match these searches. Originally each video just had the song title, so I added our name next to them all. To help relate the song title to the band name.

Video Descriptions
In the description section for the video, I added a link to that particular song on our site and not the website home page. I figured, they're watching the video and were interested enough in the song to click. So why risk losing their interest by making them have to find the song they wanted.

On that that page, I can put the download links for iTunes, Spotify, Amazon etc…

The reason for that?

I wanted them to visit the site first, get to know us, then choose how they want to get the song. If I put those links in the YouTube video description, they won't visit the site.

Include Lyrics With The Video
In the same train of thought, people may search for our song lyrics too. So I figured, why not put those in the description for the video?

After doing this to our videos for a while, I noticed, our lyrics started showing up on lyrics database sites. People were actually submitting our lyrics to these sites! Gotta love the internet.

Showcasing Song Use

I do searches on YouTube for our name all the time to see what shows up. We release our music under a creative commons license, and because of that, our music gets used in all kinds of videos because that license tells them they can.

If I find a video using a song of ours that has a large number of views? I'll post about it on our site.

In theory this helps create more backlinks. Also, I like showcasing these examples, I feel it encourages others to use our songs in videos they’re making.

These are just some of the things that I think have helped for my SEO when searching for our name. As of today we are the first 6 results on google for our name. Now it's pretty clear who we are if people type in our name, which is what I wanted.

What are some things that you have tried that helped you with this? I'd love to hear about them. Let me know in the comments below.
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