Even Taylor Swift’s debut single had an extremely effective keyword for a title – the name of the Grammy award winning country singer Tim McGraw. While a fitting reference for a country song, the ambitious name-checking title has been providing a reliable draw of curiosity from country music fans just discovering the megastar’s music.
While we do not recommend relying on keywords when naming albums and tracks, submitting your music to music distribution and sales platforms, creating your brand profiles, publishing blog posts or social media entries, as well as your website need to be optimized with the right keywords to make it easier for your potential audience to discover your sound.
Let’s look at some of the keywords you may be better off using for various aspects of your online music presence.
Keywords when submitting your music
When you are uploading your song to streaming or music sales platforms, it’s important to add detailed description to your track and use keywords either in the description or a tags/keywords field when you are submitting your tracks.
This practice will help your potential audience discover your music as they search the platform.
This is what a music upload form looks like on Show4me:
Use keywords relevant to your track in the Extra info box. Think of this as a small ad for your track and highlight its best qualities and how and why it can appeal to the audiences.
Since people are usually just scanning the text online, it’s best to rely on keywords that can relay your story even if a person is not exactly reading very attentively.
Let’s look at this example of an album description by an alternative pop/rock band out of the UK All Hail Hyena:
They used genre keywords along with a few bands that can provide their potential listener with a frame of reference for what type of music they are about to hear.
Keywords to use on your website
While a band’s or musician’s website is normally relying on its visuals, you still need to include things like your brief bio or an intro to let people know what your music is about, what have you achieved so far, and maybe your goals, inspirations, and influences.
When it comes to keywords to use for your artist website, we’ve compiled a small selection you can use:
Musician to hire
Musician for hire
Musician near me
Concerts near me
Bands near me
Band near me
Musician for birthday party
Live musicians near me
Musician + [the name of your country or city]
Band that sounds like Led Zeppelin (this will also work for other famous band names, so if you are a cover band or artist, consider using a phrase like “musician like John Lennon” or “band like Metallica”)
Music band wedding
Music band shirt
Music band for wedding
Music band Chicago [or the name of your city]
Music band 80s [or other decades, 90s is also pretty popular]
Music band live
Music bands 2021
Music band poster
Music band Europe
Music band tee shirt (yes, that’s the spelling)
Music band photos
Image from DanDann website
You don’t have to use a lot of the keywords on your website, but if some really reflect what you do, e.g. you are a 90s cover band or work at weddings, it might make sense to use them in your bio or services description to get more people finding you and your work.
Keywords for social media hashtags
Social media hashtags are a beast of their own – they help people find new stuff to follow and discover accounts they never knew they needed in their lives. With hashtags on social media, it’s important to find the ones that people use regularly so that the content there is fresh and keeps people looking through them but not too spammed so that it’s all irrelevant images and nobody can use the hashtag to find what they are actually looking for.
The best way to find the hashtags that will get you discovered on social media is see which ones musicians in a similar niche are using. On Instagram, a good hashtag normally has upwards of 50K posts but not over a million and the content there is not spammy but relevant to the hashtag’s topic. Search for #coverband and #coverbands and you’ll see that these two hashtags have quality content in them and a lot of fresh posts.
Some other hashtag ideas are: #bedroomproducer, #homestudio, #homestudiolife, #homestudiosetup, #beatmaker, #beatmakers, #beatmakerlife, #electronicmusic, #electronicmusician, #musicislife, #musicmakers, #sounddesign, #sounddesigner, #songwriter, #songwriterlife, #songwriters, #singersongwriter, #songwritersofinstagram, #songwriterslife, #hiphopartist, #hiphopbeats, #indierockband, #indierockmusic, #musiciansofinstagram, #bandlife.
Keywords to avoid
There are a few groups of keywords you are better off avoiding when describing your work or listing your music.
The first is keywords that are popular but do not correspond with your content.
For example, if you are a band in LA but the popular keyword is “music bands chicago”, using an irrelevant keyword for your band bio, description, or as a social media hashtag with provide you with nill conversions as people finding your content were zeroing in on a specific thing they were after and even if you are amazing, chances are, they will not notice you.
Another type of keyword to avoid is popular keywords that might be relevant to you but reflect searches by people who are not your target audience.
For example, “how musicians make money” is a popular search query but this search is often performed by up-and-coming musicians or people who want to know more about the industry, but not by people who are looking for new music or bands to discover. Same goes for “musician ear monitors” or “free music uploader”.
You might be able to incorporate these in your content easily, but note that search engines like Google as well as social media and blogging platforms rate your website/blog/page, and if people search for something but they click past your page or stay there very little and come back to their search, the algorithm automatically marks your page as irrelevant to this type of search.
While an artist strives to bring something new to the world and interpret existing phenomena in a fresh, unexpected way, being aware of the general vocabulary used around the topics you work on can be extremely beneficial when you are creating any descriptive, marketing, or promotional materials for your music, as well as when submitting your music to the platforms that can help distribute and monetize your music.
Explore the keywords used by similar artists, use free keyword suggestion services, and browse through industry articles on the music and artists that’s similar to yours to build your vocabulary and use just the right words to help people understand what to expect from your music and make the discovery of your work that much easier!