If you’re a musician who cares about your SEO it’s a very good idea to get familiar with your SERPs, or "search engine results pages." In this post, we’re going to dive into why they matter and what you can do to optimize them.
Before you carry on we suggest that you first read our previous posts to get familiar with your SEO strategy, starting with the Fan Journey, as well as SEO keyword research. This will all make a lot more sense if you do.
So let’s get into why SERPs matter to you as a musician.
"SEO for musicians is about optimizing your online fan experience."
When most people think of SEO, they’re thinking about getting good rankings for keywords. That is important, but as a musician you also have an opportunity to create a richer experience for fans when they search for you in Google (there are obviously other search engines, but we’ll focus on Google in this post).
When fans search for you in Google they can do more than just find your website. They can also explore your music and content right in the search engine results pages before they even reach your band website or social profiles. Google offers SERP features - such as tour date listings and album track navigation - that are specific for music fans.
You can optimize your content to take advantage of these features. And that’s really what good music SEO is about. It’s less about simply ranking well, and more about creating a content-rich experience for fans right in the search result pages.
Let’s drill that point in: SEO for musicians is really about optimizing your online fan experience at the point when they are searching for your music and content.
You could almost consider your band keyword SERPs to be a kind of online profile, just like your band website or Facebook page. But unlike your other online profiles, search results pages are created automatically by Google, and your fans are going to visit those pages every time they search for you, whether you pay attention to it or not.
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So now that we’ve established what SERPs are and why they matter, let’s take a look at some.
Your Band Name SERP
The SERP for your band name is the most important one to you.
This is because your band name is probably the keyword people will use most often when searching for you. That’s exactly what we found when we researched keywords about Wolfmother for our previous post in this series.
So let’s see what Google gives us when we search for Wolfmother:
This is a pretty typical-looking SERP when you search the name of an established band.
On this band SERP we see a lot of content about Wolfmother, including:
- In the center column:
- A bunch of images of the band
- The artists band website
- A Wikipedia entry
- Video results with preview images
- The band’s Twitter profile
- Various other listings
- In the right column, a Knowledge Panel which has:
- Links to the band’s music on major streaming services
- A link to the band’s “official” website
- Artist information that links to Wikipedia
- Other Wiki-style information like genre, hometown, and members
- Featured songs list
- Upcoming events listing
- Featured album list
- Social profile icons that link to those profile pages
- In the left column, an extension of the Knowledge Panel that links to other Google SERPs for the band
Here you can start to see what Google can offer when you have content that is properly optimized. The band name SERP can have a ton of interesting content for fans to explore during the Exploration stage of the Fan Journey.
When it comes to SEO, this is really the ideal scenario for you. Your fans can see what you look like, browse your music, and get other information about you before they even click to your website or other online profiles.
"Fans can explore a lot of your content right in the search engine results pages."
The thing that really sticks out on this page, is the Knowledge Panel, which includes everything in the the left and right column on the page. The information displayed there comes from Google’s Knowledge Graph.
The Google algorithm automatically chooses what to put in the Knowledge Panel and how it’s displayed based on content that’s available around the internet. Google frequently changes and updates what is displayed in the Knowledge Panel for any given SERP.
We explain in another post how to optimize your content to influence what appears in your Knowledge Panel.
For now it’s a good idea to start by just Googling your band name to see what your SERP looks like, and compare it to other established artists to get a feel for what’s possible.
Your Tour Date SERPs
Google can show your tour dates directly in SERPs, which offers a great experience for fans who want to see you play live. There are multiple ways these can show up.
There can be a list of tour dates in the band Knowledge Panel on your band name SERP, like we see in the image below. Fans can click on a tour date and land on another SERP that provides more detail about that show.
Your tour dates can also show up when a fan types in a search term like "wolfmother tour dates."
Let’s take a look at a tour date SERP.
A great example of a tour date SERP.
So we see a lot of great info about their tour, including:
- Event listings that show all tour dates. Each one links to another tour date SERP
- If the search is for a specific event, you get an Event Card that has:
- Event date and time
- Venue address with map
- Links to 3rd party ticket vendors
- There may be a link to your band website if you list your shows there
- The same Knowledge Panel that appears on your band name SERP
- Regular search results from 3rd party vendors
You may sometimes see other content depending on the event, such as:
- Paid Google ads, which may appear for major shows when ticket sellers are willing to compete to pay for traffic
- Your band website, if you list your shows there
- Results for ticket resellers
- Results from the venue website
- Opening act artist website
For a fan who wants to go to a show, there’s a ton of great information here to explore before they even carry on to another website.
"Google has made it possible for bands to create a rich fan experience in search engines."
We explain how to optimize your tour information in another post but in short the best thing you can do is to have your tour date information on your official band website and optimize it with schema. Bandzoogle does this automatically when you use our built-in Calendar feature.
If you use a third party tour calendar or ticketing platform, such as Bandsintown, make sure the tour date information is consistent and up-to-date across all websites.
If you have tour dates coming up, take some time to Google your event names and dates to see how they look from a fan’s perspective.
Your Album Name SERPs
Google can provide a rich experience for your fans in SERPs when they search for your album names as well.
If you’ve discovered, from doing your keyword research, that your fans are searching for your albums, this is going to be particularly useful to you. Even if they don’t though, you can still optimize this assuming you have at least one album released.
"The album name SERPS are today’s version of what Tower Records used to be."
There are a couple of ways fans can come across your album name SERPs.
If your albums are listed in the Knowledge Panel for your band, fans can click on them and land on your album SERP.
They could also get to the album SERP by just searching for something to do with your albums, such as the keyword "mudhoney albums".
A typical SERP when you search for a band’s discography.
In this case we searched for Mudhoney’s albums in general so we get information about their entire extensive discography. We found:
- A listing of all of the band’s albums including cover art
- The band’s Knowledge Panel to the right
- Wikipedia entries
- Places to buy and stream the album
As an artist it’s ideal for SEO to have a result like this, where fans can more easily discover, browse, and maybe even buy your music. In a way, you could say that the album SERPs are today’s version of what Tower Records used to be.
Most bands - who have fewer albums and are less famous than Mudhoney - will see a version of this page that looks more stripped down, like this:
This is likely closer to what your album SERP will look like.
Now, if a fan clicks on one of the albums in the album listings at the top of the general album SERP, we get to another SERP for the specific album.
This is a typical SERP when you search a specific album name.
By clicking through the album listing, you now land on the SERP for the name of the album, which even appears in the search bar at the top. A fan could also reach this same page by simply searching "mudhoney digital garbage" in Google.
"For a fan this is kind of a perfect experience for exploring your music."
This SERP shows results and a Knowledge Panel with a really helpful selection of content and information about that particular album. This is kind of the perfect experience for a fan who is exploring your music, and it can help you move fans through the Exploration and Purchase phases of the Fan Journey.
We get into the details in another blog post on how to optimize your music for SEO, but in short you need to provide Google with structured data, and generally just get your music out everywhere you can. Bandzoogle adds structured data to your website automatically when you use our built-in Music feature.
Like before, a good place to start here is to Google your album names and take a look at how your SERPs compare to established artists.
Your Song Name SERPs
Google provides content-rich SERPs when fans search for your specific song titles, and there are two ways fans might reach these SERPs.
They can click on a track name from the album or band name SERP. Or they can search for a specific song in Google.
A typical SERP when you search for a specific song name.
A fan landing on this SERP can find all kinds of great content beyond just the track itself, such as:
- A song list navigation card showing all of the tracks on the album
- A Knowledge Panel for the song that includes:
- A video cover image with a link to Youtube
- Wiki-style information about the song, with links pointing to other SERPs
- A link (in the left column) to another SERP that shows services where fans can stream the song.
- A variety of other website results, including press reviews
This is the kind of page a fan might land on if they heard your song somewhere - maybe on the radio or in film - and searched the name in Google to hear it again. It’s a great idea for you to have a lot of great content there so they can explore your music at that point.
We share more detail in another post on how to optimize your tracks, but essentially you need to provide Google with good structured data for the Knowledge Graph and generally try to get as much content online about your song as you can, such as videos, lyrics, and press reviews.
The Takeaway: Get To Know Your SERPs
Google SERPs can be a really powerful tool for you during the Exploration and Purchase phases of the Fan Journey.
By optimizing your band’s SEO to enhance your band keyword SERPs, you can offer a rich online fan experience that can encourage fans to explore your music and content, get to know your band, and maybe even buy a concert ticket or download an album.
In the following post of this SEO series, we’ll dig deeper into the technical details for optimizing your structured data and getting nice Knowledge Panels. We’ll also explain how to optimize your band website, videos, and other SEO best practices.
In the meantime start by Googling your band name, tour date names, album and song names, and anything else you can think of. As you go, look at things from the perspective of a fan. Do the same thing for other more established artists and make some notes about what kind of SERP features you think you could get.
Hopefully you’ll come out of this with a strong understanding of where you need to go with your band’s SEO. In the following posts of this series we’ll get into the nitty gritty on how to do it.
Read other articles in this series:
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