Search Engine Optimization for Indie Bands
By James Moore - 09/13/2010 - 09:20 PM EDT
Search engine optimization
typically arrive at websites in three ways: through the use of search
engines, clicking links from other websites, or simply by typing in the
website address. Even though search engines alone will not complete your
promotional arsenal, they will be important.
One thing to make sure of is that in the title tag of your webpage is
the name of your band or the keyword you would like to be found with.
The title tag is similar to the title of a book. It has to say who you
are and get people interested as well. The title tag is used by almost
every search engine that uses spiders to crawl your website. It's also
the most effective Meta Tag and is used for conveying the theme of your
website to the search engines.
For example title The Anarchist Cowboys - American punk rock
Here you've listed the name of your band clearly (The Anarchist
Cowboys), and you've specified the style or description so people
searching the term "American punk" or "punk rock" are more likely to
find you. Your influences or an original phrase can also be added to the
description. Just keep it concise. A full html example is below (the "
and < tags are removed for this example):
title Title of Your Webpage Here /title >
meta content= Brief description of the contents of the page >
meta content= keyword phrases that describe your webpage >
The main search engines you will need to be listed on are:
1) Google (www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl)
2) Yahoo (http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html)
3) MSN (http://search.msn.com/docs/submit.aspx?FORM=WSDD2)
These sites generate the results for all the primary search engines.
Dmoz (www.dmoz.org/add.html) feeds thousands of smaller search engines
so be sure to sign up there too.
Don't waste your money on services promising to provide submissions to
thousands of search engines. They don't help much and can have a reverse
effect, ruining your search engine ranking.
Things that will attract search engine traffic include a site index,
footers, and XML feeds. Frames repel them. This is another reason to go
with a service like HostBaby (www.hostbaby.com) or Bandzoogle
(www.bandzoogle.com) if you are not familiar with html. They will help
you create a simple, search engine friendly website.
If you hire a webmaster, all the better. Like we said before though,
just tell them you don't need all the bells and whistles (flash is not
necessary! It will hurt you more than it will help you). You want a
website that's simple and will attract people. The last thing you want
is your new potential fan being bombarded with unasked for music and
digital chaos when clicking on your site link.
Choose effective and clear keywords. (Free music, metal band, heavy
metal music, etc) Be sure to mention these terms on your site to
strengthen them. Don't go crazy with irrelevant choices either (Kim
Kardashian photos, Disney movie clips, Paris Hilton, etc). There are
many books dedicated solely to the topic of search engine optimization. "Search Engine Optimization for Dummies" by Peter Kent is a good one.
Information found online or via these books can be a big help, but for
now, as long as we choose the proper keywords, label our site correctly,
and submit to the proper search engines we should be off to a good
To find out how to improve your Google page ranking, go to www.google.com/support.
Update your website frequently!
Blog, blog, blog. Maintain a relevant blog and you'd be surprised at the
results. Outside blogs can also feed into your main website for extra
traffic. Wordpress is an excellent way to go. Google picks up on their
keywords. Hint: the magic number of posts on Wordpress is 10. Once you
hit this number of posts, Google will start picking up your blog and you
can sit and watch the traffic pour in. Of course, it's highly advisable
to keep writing now that you have a growing audience! You should also
be using your social network accounts to feed into your main website,
and vice versa.
Be sure to promote your band (and website) to popular music blogs,
podcasts, websites, and zines that cater to your style. The more your
website and band name get posted, the more you become known, the more
your name gets searched, the bigger you get and the more places there
are for people to find you. Many bands feel that if they have a good
product and a professional image, people will find them. Nothing could
be further from the truth. You must reach out. It's as simple as that.
Provide free copies of your album (digital or physical) to anyone who
can help you spread your music to more people virally.
These are all starting points, but I hope they give you some ideas and get you on the right track.
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