Are you a gigging musician?
Want to learn how to rank your website to book more local events?
If so, this guide will show you how making a few tweaks to your website can help.
As an up and coming artist, you face many industry challenges yet the biggest challenge of all can be the financial aspect of making money from music. It’s extremely hard to build a career as a musician if you’re struggling to pay the bills.
One solution for any local band, event band or cover band is to learn how to rank your website for keywords that will generate leads and help you book more local events.
Why would a musician need a website?
There’s no doubt that you can use social media to promote yourself, however, owning a website is always a good idea to demonstrate a higher level of professionalism. If people search your name or your band’s name having a website for your music and what you offer can land you a steady stream of paid events.
Keep in mind that by relying on social media you limit your audience to only those who are actively on social media. Google’s search engine is the number one source to drive traffic. Why not capitalize on being found by people who are looking to hire a band for an event?
This article is geared towards musicians who would like to know how to optimize their website to rank for a specific keyword. The example used is a real-life example of how we optimized AvrilVictoria.com to generate leads for weddings and corporate events in Toronto.
Follow the basic blueprint for how to rank your website to supplement your income and give yourself a better chance of establishing a career in music.
Who is Avril Victoria?
Avril grew up taking countless technical voice lessons in Mississauga from her father, Ian Garrett. Ian has one of the best vocal coaches in Canada for over 40 years. He’s worked with Shania Twain and many other well-known artists, which afforded Avril many benefits of learning music from an established mentor. Avril has written and produced her own music and was the lead singer in a band called Side One.
Due to the fact Side One is based out of Vancouver, there weren’t enough events to provide consistent work. The goal was to generate more leads for the band to book more events in Toronto.
Avril made a deal with the owner to receive a 7.5% commission on every event that was booked, plus she would get paid her regular rate per performance. If the band could book 3 performances a month, all her expenses were paid solely from music allowing her the freedom of a regular 9-5 job.
Here’s how we did it.
A crash course in optimization
Google uses over 200 ranking signals (that we know of) when they rank websites in the top 10 results on the first page. Although it helps to use as many signals as possible, you only need to focus on the content you publish and how you optimize your site.
Step 1: Keyword research
This can be a fairly simple process when you know what to look for when researching the best keywords for your business.
Start by writing down the phrases you would type into Google to find the service you’re offering.
Our goal was to book more weddings and corporate events. As an example here is the brainstorming process:
- Wedding band Toronto
- Cover band Toronto
- Event band Toronto
The next step to get more keyword ideas is to type each of these into Google. You’re going to look in three places to get Google’s suggestions on keyword ideas.
One place is the autosuggest drop-down menu. Here’s what appears when you type in wedding band Toronto:
Which you can also find the same results if you scroll to the bottom of the page under “Searches related to [your keyword]”
The reason this is valuable is that Google is showing you popular searches that are also being made that are associated with the keyword you’re typing. Some of the search terms may prove to be a better match for the keywords in which you want to optimize your website.
Write down any phrases that seem like a good match for your website.
The third place to look at is the results themselves. Are the results that show up direct competitors? Do they offer the same service you’re offering? If the websites that show up in your results are comparable to your own then it’s an indication that the keyword you’ve picked will bring you the right kind of traffic.
Sometimes one word in the search term will give you a completely different result. Here you can see how “wedding bands” (without the city attached) turn up engagement rings and non-musical wedding bands.
Choose a keyword that is the most descriptive to what you’re offering and that seems to have the most relevant search results.
Step 2: Publish content that gets you ranked
When you think of the difference between websites it all boils down to content. After all, the content you publish on your site is what represents your business. Google will rank content based on a number of factors but the biggest is how your content “satisfies search intent”
When someone performs a search, Google will display the websites that have the ability to answer the question in its entirety. That means that Google will take into account what related topics and questions the user has and how authoritative is the site answering these questions.
Analyze your competition
Your first step to writing content that satisfies search intent is to research the pages that rank in the top 10 results. You want to get an idea of the type of content that these sites have published to get them a first-page ranking.
This doesn’t mean to copy what they’ve done-in fact, duplicate content won’t rank on the first page. Use the “Skyscraper method”, which is a common tactic used to outrank other pages.
This means to take what exists on the first page of results and make your pages 10x better. Just as skyscrapers are built taller and taller, make the quality of your content better than anything that’s already out there.
Significant factors to look for in your competitors content
When you’re analyzing the content that ranks on the first page take note of:
- Word count of the pages
- Titles and subtitles
- Use of video and images
- Keyword optimization
You don’t need to copy what a website has done, however, there may be similarities between sites that provide you with the clues to identify what will help rank your page.
Although a word count isn’t a direct ranking factor, it can indicate whether “thin content” will rank or whether in-depth content is required to make a first-page appearance. If your page has 150 words describing your service and every other page is over 500 words, it could be an indication you’re missing something in your service description.
Related titles and subtitles
Check the page that ranks for how they’ve sectioned off their page using subtitles. Titles and subtitles are typically tagged with h1 and h2 tags (we’ll get into that in the next section) so they indicate the level of importance of the subsequent content.
Videos and images
When most of the pages have videos and images, you should probably match what they’re doing. Often the best descriptions are done using media. Video tends to hold the attention of visitors so it’s never a bad idea to incorporate some sort of media that lengthens the time users spend on your page.
(P.S. To get access to the Vault for 10+ resources to help your music career, click here or the image below)
Step 3: Optimize your content
Search engines have evolved to the point where they are able to understand the context of a page. If you’ve described your business very well you’re already more than halfway there to make sure your page is optimized.
Google ranks pages-not websites, which means each page on your website should target a specific keyword. In Avril’s case, we targeted the keyword “wedding singer Toronto” because there was a minimal amount of competition and was specific to Toronto. Here is a list that details the correct placement of your keyword for proper on-page optimization.
- In the first paragraph of your page
- In the alt tags of any images
- Do NOT keyword stuff
Including the keyword in your title is pretty self-explanatory. The title is the main heading of your page and should indicate to users and search engines the most important aspect of your content.
The URL should also reflect your keyword. Make your URL no more than 5 words. The more words in your URL the more diluted your optimization will be.
Use your keyword at least once in a subtitle throughout your content. The subtitles should be tagged as h2, h3 or h4 to indicate the level of importance of the content that follows. You can do this on a Google doc or on a WordPress site by selecting the text and choosing the correct tag under the style or format tab.
Keyword in the first paragraph
Using your keyword in the first paragraph of your page shows the importance that the keyword plays in your content. It can be the first or last sentence but needs to be in the first paragraph to get a stronger optimization signal.
Image alt tags
Despite the sophistication of search engines, they do not interpret images. Considering that people can interpret images differently, Google relies on the alt tags of an image for the most accurate description of what it is. This presents a good opportunity to include a keyword within your description in order to enhance the optimization of your page.
Don’t over-optimize by keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing is repeating your keyword unnecessarily throughout your content. This used to be a way of improving optimization, but Google has long since done away with this tactic. Excessive use of your keyword will have the opposite effect of ranking your site, as over-optimization will cause a decline in rank.
Step 4: Develop authority with backlinks
Depending on your competition, optimized content may be all it takes for your site to float to the first page. However, if you’re not ranking, you may need to build authority by linking to your site.
The authority of your site determines the ranking ability your site has for the keywords in which you’re optimized. Think of backlinks as votes of confidence from other websites. This perspective should give you an idea of who you will give you the best type of backlinks.
For example, if you wanted to get nose surgery, and you got a reference from your butcher and a reference from another plastic surgeon-whose advice would you take? (I think we’ve all seen a few people who listened to the butcher!)
When you can get other websites to link to your own, you will build your ranking ability. The sites that link to yours should be websites that already have authority. This means sites that have been around for a while, have good backlinks and are in the industry (or a direct vertical to it).
There are 4 types of links you can get and it’s important you understand the difference because if you do this incorrectly, it could get you penalized by Google. There are anchor text links in which you can use text to describe the link. There are naked URL links which are the actual URL that takes you to the website.
When you link to your site you want to mostly use brand links, naked URL and a few anchor text links with your keyword. For example, the name of your website would be a brand link. Avril Victoria is a brand link that takes you to her website.
A naked URL link would be https://www.avrilvictoria.com
An exact match anchor text would be wedding singer Toronto. It describes the content of your page and is made up of your exact keyword.
Link your page with an exact match keyword anchor text link as your first link. It may be all you need. Use brand and naked URL links and keyword synonyms for the next links you add. You can repeat this cycle but do not keep repeating exact match anchor text links. Too many links with your keyword will have a negative effect on your ranking in the search results.
Hopefully, you’ve already figured out where you see yourself in five years and have a clear idea of what needs to be done to make that happen. If you’re a local band that wants to pick up some extra events and score a few weddings, it won’t be the tips to improve your vocals that will help you as much as getting your brand out in front of a larger audience.
Follow the steps in this article to learn how to rank your website for realistic keywords. With the right execution, you can add some additional events to your yearly schedule.
Although Avril has officially left the band at Side One, she is still writing and producing her own music. She came out with an EP titled Little White Lies. Her website is still ranked on the first page of Google and generates leads for the keyword wedding singer Toronto.
Guest Post: Christian Carere is an SEO consultant and the founder of Digital Ducats Inc. His company specializes in SEO services for small to medium-sized businesses. Christian is a regular contributor to the digital marketing community and has been featured on a number of well known digital marketing sites offering expert SEO advice.
(P.S. To get access to the Vault for 10+ resources to help your music career, click here or the image below)