Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical online marketing strategy when building, developing, and maintaining a music store website. Whether you decide to bring in an SEO consultant or try it yourself, you should understand what’s required to optimize your marketing investment.
You are no doubt aware of the term SEO. SEO gurus probably spam your business email inbox with all kinds promises to drive your website to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), drive traffic to your site or store, and boost sales.
Those emails drop in every day because SEO is something every online business must consider. According to a Safari Digital article, 61% of marketers believe SEO is the key to online success and businesses with a marketing strategy allocate on average 41% of their budget to SEO.
Before we go further, here’s a brief primer on SEO.
Techtarget.com defines SEO as the science of improving a website to increase its visibility when people search for products or services. The more visibility a website has on search engines, the more likely it is that brand captures business. The main “visible” component is copy though images can also play an important role in SEO.
SEO is not paid advertising and should not be confused with SEM, or search engine marketing. SEM is paid advertising; SEO relies on content that appeals to readers and search engine algorithms to move up on the SERPs.
To illustrate the distinction, Google “music stores near me.” The results at the very top of the SERP are paid advertising, SEM; What follows are SEO ranked in order by how well their content and other elements appealed to the Google’s search algorithm.
They say if you want to hide something where nobody will find it, put it on the second page of Google’s SERP. When was the last time you clicked off the first page to find what you want? The point is, whether you’re a DIYer or bring in a SEO agency, do it sooner rather than later.
Whichever way you choose, here are five tips to get you going on your way to improving SEO to get better search results and increase traffic, attention, sales, or all of the above! (Note: Google controls 90% of the search engine market so we’ll use it in our examples even though there are platforms that do not track searches such as DuckDuckGo and Brave.)
If you sell saxophones, your website should mention “saxophones.” But don’t overload your pages with the word. That’s called “keyword stacking.” Google’s AI sniffs it out easily, and once you’re caught, you stay caught. It’s a tough road to get in Google’s good graces. What makes it even more difficult is that Google regularly changes around their algorithms to combat such attempted trickery. There is a “sweet spot” for keyword or product listing with the rule of thumb being the longer the content is, the more you can use any given keyword.
Even if the SEO rules didn’t change all the time, the information that Google does make available about them is full of incomprehensible jargon. That means it’s probably a good idea to retain an SEO expert who is fluent in Google-speak. Get a referral from a trusted source instead of taking a shot with one of those unsolicited emails we mentioned earlier. Most of them talk a good game but don’t deliver. A credible SEO professional relies on their reputation, reviews, referrals, and quantifiable results to make their case.
If you want to do it yourself, you will likely have to spend a fair amount of time researching which keywords to use and how often.
Write for People Not Ro(bots)
We just told you to target certain keywords, which means your 300-word product description may have the keyword “saxophone” in it three times. Normally, if you were talking to someone, you may say, The Yamaha YAS-480 Intermediate Alto Saxophone saxophone makes a great gift … and then later say it features hand-engraving … For SEO, you wouldn’t say “it,” you would say some iteration of the Yamaha YAS-480 Intermediate Alto Saxophone, either the full name or a distinct part of it, like YAS-480. Having said that, always write for your audience vs. Google bots. If your content earns you better search results, you want the person searching to have a good experience when they review your content. If you write just with bots in mind, you’re going to turn off your readers and potential customers. Make your content interesting, concise, and relevant.
A good strategy is to first write your product description or blog article without editing. Then ask yourself these questions … Is the content compelling? Did I mention the features and benefits? Did I provide all the information needed for the reader to take the next step? Now, go back and count how many times you used the targeted keywords. Could an “it” be replaced with a keyword? If so, do it—but not too much! Google is watching …
Integrate Link Building
Google bots crawl around on links like spiders going from page to page. They want to know if the pages are relevant to one another and if both are related to the search term. This applies equally to external and internal pages. For instance, linking from content in your product description to a relevant blog story on your website will earn points. When you link to an external site, you can also approach that site and ask for back-linking—just like it sounds, that external site will link back to your website.
Use external links judicially. If you’re SEO campaign is luring prospects to your site, you don’t want to give them too many chances to get out of it. Linking them out to authoritative resources, though, builds your credibility, enhances your own content, and give visitors a good reason to spend more time on your website.
How does a bot know the difference between a title header, body copy, etc., and rank content accordingly? That’s where metadata comes in. It’s more technical but if you’re serious about your SEO, then it can’t be ignored. The good news is that if you’re using a website builder like WIX, the templates often assign the correct meta tags to the respective content.
For a quick and easy breakdown of how metadata works in regards to SEO, check out this Search Engine Watch article. (Note: did you notice the external link that takes you to an expert site? That’s an example of link-building to improve SEO.
Update Content Regularly
Think about a new book on a shelf. When the book first appears, it gets noticed a lot. The information is new and appealing to a lot of people. Over time, the information becomes dated and grows stale. The cover fades and collects dust. With neglect, the book becomes overlooked. Website content functions in the same way. Don’t let the content get stale. Update it regularly, and that includes refreshing evergreen content like product descriptions, which remain on the site indefinitely.
The more advanced next step would be to conduct an SEO audit. This is an involved process but important to do over time so your website, and business for that matter, doesn’t become another neglected book on the shelf. Semrush provides an article that walks you through the critical steps.
SEO is a critical consideration when building, developing, and maintaining your website, significantly influencing who and how many people find it through Google search. In light of that fact, SEO will play a critical role in your online marketing strategy. The tips provided should help you get started. Even if you decide to outsource your SEO efforts, you should now have a better understanding of what’s required to optimize your marketing investment.