A common misconception, when people first become conscious of their presence to the search engines, is that just be getting inbound links and acquiring page rank (of the type found on the Google toolbar) you will magically be found by people looking for you. These things certainly help, but you’re not going to get found by the people that you want to find you without thinking a little first about how you want to be found.
Assuming you have reasonably distinctive name, then you’ll probably rank well against people typing that term into a search engine (if it’s at an early stage, then this is most likely with your Myspace page). This covers getting found by people looking for you (more on this in later articles) but doesn’t really help getting eyeballs on your pages from people not looking for you specifically, but stuff like you. Many people look to track down new music by looking for bands in the genre occupied by other bands they like. It’s worth giving some thought to what genre and sub-genre(s) you belong to.
Now this may outrage some bands who consider themselves ‘outside’ any genre. This may be the case, but it’s worth considering that a) other folks will not see it that way and, if you don’t begin ‘branding’ your band in a specific genre, will do so for you and b) you are shooting yourself in the foot in the short to medium term. Bands like Opeth and The Dillinger Escape Plan may be able to eschew the genre constraint these days but they started out as progressive death and hardcore (or any number of over *cores subsequently) respectively.
So if you’re Funeral Doom, Glam Rock, Blackened Thrash, Deathlike Thrashy Dronecore with Crunk tendencies then call it – loud and proud! For a while at least, this forms a vital part of your band’s identity.
So what’s the aim here? When someone types in “blackened countrycore” into Google, you turn up in the first page of results. Depending on the prevalence of the genre to which you belong, then it may be advisable to niche down to the closest sub-genre. If you are just ‘rock’ you’re unlikely to rank well against that term unless you sell a few million CD’s – better to be ‘hard rock’ or ‘melodic rock’ or whatever. It’s possible to go too far here. If you are the only ‘vikingpiratecore’ band out there, then people aren’t so likely to searching for that term, and you loose the benefit of genre proximity.
Once you’ve decided what this is, then start advertising it. Myspace is good place to start. Resist the urge to state ‘other/other/other’ as your genre. Find the one that closest suits your band, and if it still doesn’t fit, the state your true genre everywhere else on that page. Search Engines have a concept called keyword density – basically they use the frequency of a particular word or term to divine what a page is about. So you shouldn’t be afraid to mention it a few times. Be careful with this though, as Google expects to see human readable text, so cramming your blurb with your chosen term will likely cause your page to be delisted as spam.
Secondly, the search engines will give precedence to words and terms in prominent place on the page. So, assuming it doesn’t screw up the design or flow of the page, it’s worth stating your genre in any or all of these:
- Page title
- <H1> and <H2> tags
- Description tag
Next, search engines try to divine what your pages are about by the company they keep. So if you link to, and are linked from other Depressive Drone Hair Metal pages then that will have an influence on what terms you rank for (more on link building in later articles).
Finally, get people talking about you in the context of your chosen genre. Search engines pay attention to the words used to link to your site, and those surrounding these links (also pictures and video of your band), and if you leave it to other people to decide which genres you belong to then when they do they may use different terms. This means that you’ll struggle to gain pagerank against any specific term and end up spreading your search engine love too thinly.
As ever with SEO, there’s mountain of ambiguity, differing permutations and exceptions. What’s certain is that it’s different for everyone. If you find something that works, then do more of it. The key to SEO is consistency. If you’re clear about who you are and what you represent then this will come naturally. If you prefer to appear obscure, then from a search perspective that’s the way you’ll probably remain.SEO