How to Be a Google Rockstar: An Introduction to Search Engine Marketing

 
 
googlepizza 1st May c/o Evolver.com What is $#%& is Search Engine Marketing? Search Engines are one of the most popular methods of finding information in the 21st century. The latest comScore report shows that U.S. Internet users conducted 11.7 billion searches in August of 2008. Gone are the days of opening an encyclopedia to find the answer to a question or skimming the yellow pages to locate a local specialist. Search engines are helping us tackle every conceivable problem that we happen to face in our daily life. Need to do research on the Civil War? Car having problems? Curious about evolution? The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Search engines provide a means to possibly answer any question that anybody has at any time. So how can this help us in promoting your music?   To start let’s discuss how search engines work without boring you with too much technical mumbo-jumbo. Search engines consist of a number of very sophisticated software programs that gather and organize information from the internet. The first important program is called a “robot spider” that is used to index or “find” pages posted on the internet. The search engine then uses an algorithm or mathematical equation to determine how important a web page is in relation to a particular word or phrase (referred to as keywords or keyword phrases.) Let’s use an example to better understand this concept. Say you went to Google.com and entered the words “los angeles pizza”. The results are numbered starting with #1; Google is telling you that based on its very sophisticated mathematical equation that the number one listing is the most relevant web page for the words “los angeles pizza ”.
Hopefully that # 1 listing will provide you with the information you are looking for. googlepizza Now imagine if you were a prog rock band in Los Angeles and your website just so happened to rank in the top ten Google results for “prog rock band Los Angeles. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how this listing is an important marketing tool.  

Now before you jump out of your seat hold on because it gets better. There are software programs available on the web that will show you how many times a word or phrase is being searched. This is where the dynamics of search engine marketing really start to shine.

  In traditional marketing like television or radio demographics are used to determine what audience you should target your business to. A commercial for a kid’s cereal would probably be shown during a children’s television show. TV companies would charge more for an ad spot that ran during a show that attracted more viewers for a specific “target market”. Super Bowl ads are the most expensive because the program attracts the attention a millions of 18-35 year old men who tend to spend quite a bit of money on consumer products thus the crazy amount of money that is spent of advertising. With search however the information that is collected helps us target our websites (which are a basically commercials that run 24 hours a day) to a more specific audience; we can actually pinpoint roughly how many people searched for the words “prog rock band Los Angeles ”. Now if you are someone in a prog rock band this information is very important to you. Ten years ago the only way of marketing your business would be to purchase advertising that probably targeted a large number of people usually in a local fanzine. You would have a good idea about your audience but you didn’t have any real numbers of how many people were looking for your product. With search engine marketing it’s possible to focus marketing campaigns on just people that are actually looking for the kind of music you create or where you are located saving you precious time and money that would otherwise be wasted on those not interested in you. This is why search engine marketing is especially important to musicians who usually do not have deep pockets to spend on marketing and advertising to begin with.   Another important concept that musicians need to consider is whether or not they rank in search engines for their own band name. Let’s face it many who come to see you play live may not remember your website address or MySpace URL and the only way they are going to be able to find you online is by “googling” your name. If you rank in the top ten of Google for your band name then you’re money. If you don’t a potential fan may just decide to give up searching for you and move on to something else. This is perhaps the most important reason why search engine marketing tactics need to be applied to your website and marketing strategy. If no one can find you online your potentially losing out on sales and fans. Plus if you rank # 1 for your name (which can be an easy thing to do or a very difficult thing to do based on the words in your name) it adds a bit of legitimacy to your music and proves that you are the “real deal”. Search Engine Marketing has taken the business world by storm and has propelled search engines like Google to become huge billion dollar corporations through their advertising revenues. Traditional media has begun to transform as the barriers between television radio print and the internet begin to blur. The internet has introduced a new performance-based marketing and advertising platform that has spilled over into other forms of advertising. Understanding the actual process of marketing your website through these search engines is crucial in understanding how the marketing industry is evolving but requires a balance of research and continuous implementation. To discuss more about how search engine marketing works we’ll have to dig a little bit deeper.   The Myth of the “Flashy” Website: Why Search Engine Optimization is Important to Your Website. We know how important getting your website listed at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) can help in marketing your website. Now we’ll discuss what actions need to be taken in order to rank high for specific search engine results. Sometimes referred to as natural placement or rankings search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing or getting the most out of each and every part of your website. When I talk about your website I’m talking about everything—every word every graphic every piece of HTML code that is used to build your website contributes to where you’ll show in search results. Understanding the search engines’ ranking algorithm or mathematical equation is necessary in order to determine how to properly construct a website.  

Let’s use an example to explain this concept. Let’s say you build two websites to promote your band:

  Website # 1 features lots of flashy graphics and a few words but no Articles,Resourcesor content about your band. The titles of your webpage are “Welcome” and your pages feature links to “About Us” “Contact Us” and “Buy Now”. Website # 2 features some graphics too and each graphic contains “alt text” (words used for text-only based browsers) in the HTML source code. This is used in case the graphics don’t load properly in the browser. The title of the site is “Prog Rock Band Los Angeles - The Proggers | Home”. The site also features a lengthy article about your Los Angeles-based prog rock band known as “The Proggers” making sure to use those keywords frequently when necessary in the text. The page also features links to other pages online like “the history of prog rock ” and “where to see us in Los Angeles ” in addition to the Home About and Contact links.   Now imagine doing a search in Google for the keywords “prog rock band los Angeles”. Which website do you think will have a better chance of appearing at the top? If you guessed # 2 congratulations; website # 2 has been properly optimized for the keyword phrase because each part of its HTML code features one or more of the words in that phrase. It’s as if the website is talking to the search engine telling it “I know a lot about prog rock in Los Angeles!” Now this example is just a very simple exercise to show you how search optimization essentially works; the actual process is far more complicated then just adding a few words. As a matter of fact in the early days of search it was that simple and many took advantage of it for a little while. However as search has evolved so has online optimization and now has become a complex process of keyword density and placement. Some spammers try to “stuff” keywords in their websites hoping to achieve high rankings for their websites; search engines have advanced software to know when keywords and keyword phrases are being over used and actually penalize these sites and “kick them out “of any search results. As a sometimes delicate art search engine optimization is just one step in climbing to the top of a search result. An even more complicated task perhaps the most elusive of any internet marketing tactic around needs to be addressed.   Tips &Articles,Resources for Optimizing Your Website Site architecture - the first thing you’ll need to address if you want to rank is how your website is constructed. This directly influences what the search engine spiders see when they crawl your site. For example if your site is made entirely in Flash a search engine spider will never see the text and links that are involved in your content. While recently Google has made it known that it is getting better at crawling Flash documents it’s still not a good idea to build a site completely in flash. The key in having good site architecture is having a simple design and simple navigation throughout your website. A search engine spider should be able to arrive at your site and immediatley read the content on your site - your meta information your text your links (which should always be text as well) etc. We could talk for days and weeks on all the different things you can do to create better architecture for your site. Hopefully you’ll decide to use a simple CMS like Wordpress to make things a little easier on yourself. While Wordpress out of the box isn’t entirely perfect for SEO it’s half way there when it comes to having a crawl-able site. Understanding Important Tags in SEO - The next important thing you’ll want to understand is how to use the proper tags in your website. and how each relates to your rankings. The first important tag you’ll need to learn about is your “title tag”. This tag should reside in your header file. Here is what it looks like in your html code: Here is what it looks like when viewing a web page: And here is what it looks like in Google: You can see now right off the bat why having a proper title tag is so important. Not only does Google use this as one of the major ranking factors it also uses your title tag in it’s results. Doing Keyword Research - One of the major points I’ve made is how important your keyword research is and how it will ultimately affect your rankings. Fortunately for you there are many wonderful tools out there that will not only show you how many times a specifc keyword phrase was search in a given time period but also how competitive that keyword is and whether or not you even have a shot at ranking for it. Listen to me when I say this - ranking for keywords is big business so get any crazy ideas out of your head that your going to rank for “Van Halen” or some other band’s name. You’re not going to rank for “rock n roll” not without a huge budget and a few years of serious link building. I’ve been doing this for years and can tell you this is a tough very competitive industry. Focus on the “long tail” and more importantly your band’s name each band member’s na e your song titles lyrics and target keywords geographically. You’ll have a much better chance and be happier with your work if you start off small with targeting these kinds of keywords and can use that to build and hopefully rank for some more competitive words as your site grows. Here are some very helpful blogs forums andArticles,Resources I have been using for years to learn and understand SEO. I have picked some different topics from each site to give you a general idea of the different concepts involved in SEO; however please spend some time using each site as they are some of the topArticles,Resources out there where much of my expertise in SEO is based on.   Why Getting Links to Your Website is the Secret Key to Ranking in Google these websites deal with information relevant to rap or electronica music.   So which one will achieve higher search engine rankings? search engines strive to produce highly relevant results to a keyword search. As more people understand and manipulate these results the more complex the search engine ranking programs become. Ultimately it is quality content that proves to be the only lasting factor to real search engine success. With highly optimized relevant content that is updated frequently your website will get the attention it deserves. People will read and use your quality content and if it’s good others will link to it from their websites and your search engine rankings will improve. It’s easier said then done and can take weeks if not months to begin seeing results. So while you’re waiting for your rankings to skyrocket there is one to do in the meantime: enter a little form of advertising that’s made the search industry the new 800-pound gorilla in advertising: PPC.   Tips andArticles,Resources for getting highly optimized inbound links to your website their niche)
  • age of links
  • time frame of links aquired
  • number of links pointing to main domain/index page
  • number of links pointing towards internal pages
  • number of outgoing links
  • many other link factors
  • Creating viral content - a very effective way to obtain links to your website is by creating engaging viral content to entice bloggers and webmasters to link to your website. There are many different factors involved in creating a piece of viral content but when done right can work wonders in getting you ranked fairly quickly. A piece of viral content can be a number of things - a blog post an article a list a tool - anything that others on the web find useful funny or entertaining can become viral and get highly relevent links to help you improve your search engine rankings. Usually viral content requires a lot of creative thinking and research combined with thr right timing and utilization of popular social media tools. Constantly creating good content is key if you want to play in the search engine sandbox! Networking your content and understanding anchor text - Perhaps one of the most tedious yet valuable ways you can go about aquiring links is through a very simple technique - asking for them! However it’s not as easy s it sounds. People all over the ‘net are begging for links every day and it will be up to you to learn how to approach a webmaster or blogger into giving you a link. Utilizing social networks learning how to approach those on the web who control links and understanding how to get the right anchor text in your links will either make you or break you in the link aquisition department. Here are some awesomeArticles,Resources to help you get links to your site. Again I have picked some different content to get you started but each of these sites have some of the best content out there on the subject and are considered the experts on the topic.
      Buying Your Way To the Top of Google with Pay-Per-Click Advertising advertise their products and services alongside large c