The importance of SEO and SEA for the music industry
SEO and SEA are two of the most underestimated parts of online marketing for musicians and record labels. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a shift toward advertising on social media instead of other ad giants like Google. Let’s take a closer look at how the music industry can contact a stunning 95% of all internet users.
So what does SEO stand for?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of changing content on your website in order to appear higher on search engines. When making a website, having an SEO strategy is very important.
And what does SEA stand for?
SEA stands for Search Engine Advertising. Where SEO is about improving your website, SEA is all about placing ads on search engines and partnering websites. For example the Google Search Engine, YouTube and its partners. Search engine ranking is very important; there is fierce competition for the top spots on search results.
Websites: who needs them anyway?
Why focus on optimizing your artist website if you don’t use it in the first place? The most used media of artists are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and of course YouTube so why spend time generating traffic to your website? These media are all easily accessible for fans (they are already scrolling Facebook so they might as well check out your message) and used by billions of people.
There is, in fact, a downside to focusing on social media instead of your own website: the content on social media is not yours. Media on your website is yours to post, control and monetize. Modern websites can have data collection tools: big data and customer relationships are key to online marketing success. Social media come and go; your website is yours to control. That’s why it should be central in your music marketing plans.
On the other hand, using a website is brilliant internet marketing whereas a blog post and good content help to build links.
Why should I promote my website?
An artist’s or label’s website can be the focal point in digital marketing activities. Smart tools can be used to collect data from fans (with their consent of course) and grow a solid relationship with your fanbase. Promoting your website makes sure that a potential fan finds your website and of course, your YouTube channel, which has all your music videos, as YouTube is part of Google.
How should I promote my website?
Apart from social media ads, Google offers a wide display of advertising tools for improving online presence. The best way to promote a website is by using Google tools instead of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It is an easy-to-use hands-on advertising tool with limitless possibilities and comes with Google Analytics to measure success.
SEA: the tools at your disposal
Let’s focus on some Google ads tools here:
Ads are available on Google Search Engine, partnering search engines and YouTube.
These are text ads, made up of information about your website or product, site extensions and descriptions of services.
Image and video ads on all websites connected to Google’s worldwide network and of course including YouTube. In-video ads, normal video ads and images of your brand. Various targeting methods and strategies are available including spreading awareness of your brand.
The images can show a piece of your music website for example. The landing page experience is very important; the image people see in the Display ad should also be seen on the website when people click the link. Google ranks ads based on several metrics including landing page experience.
Your products displayed on Google and its partners, displayed next to other products or search results. For example merch, CDs, DVDs and concert tickets.
To find the right keywords to use in your ads, you can use Google Keyword Planner.
How to win at Google Ads
One of the best ways to start doing Google Ads is to use an SEO reporting tool. It offers insights into how you can improve a website to rank higher on Google. SEO tools like Yoast SEO show you paid search campaigns of competitors, keyword research and inform you on how search engines work.
Another important factor when creating a website is technical SEO. Tools like SEMrush can help you improve this. Technical SEO means making sure that the website follows all rules set out by search engines when it comes to finding content in the best possible way. This includes minimizing the number of errors on your website: 404- notifications, pages that contain duplicate content or are cluttered with keywords. Pages should always contain a title tag too; search engines scrape the internet to find indexed pages. There are many different SEO services around, but SEMrush is one of the best.
Another important online strategy to use is piggybacking. It basically means using the success of your competitors to improve your own marketing strategy. It sounds like something intangible, but we can help you do this.
A good piggybacking strategy means downloading referring sites of competitors. A referring site is a site where people were right before they clicked on the site of your competitor. For example; a fan visited Billboard.com and from there he went to your website. Something made him decide to visit the site of your competitor instead of your site.
You can use SEMrush to download all URLs of referring sites, and as a next step you can upload these into your Google ads account. You can then target your ads to be placed on these referring sites only, serving your potential fans with an impression of your brand.
Another way of piggybacking would be to place your ad on the YouTube channel (or video) of your competitor or a fellow musician. In Google ads, you can select all YouTube channels of competitors and place your ads there.
Having a website is very important in online marketing activities. Focussing on social media platforms alone is tricky; it is not your own content. Making a website that you control helps you to be more visible on search engines. Ranking for the top spots means more traffic to your site.
As a last note; be sure to keep in mind changing policies on data collection and the use of third-party cookies. This will surely change in the near future, making it even more important to be in control of your own data.