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August 29, 2009

Links and Linking - The Dark Art

Filed under: SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 9:09 pm

You asked "Band Needs Help With Promotion - how can we promote our band’s website to get our name out there and get more fans?" I looked at your band’s website I found two common problems, poor content and a poor linking strategy. I often rant on about content, content and content (take a look around my Blog) so now it’s the turn of Links and Linking!

Have you got a linking strategy? I couldn’t find one! A linking strategy is Your way of getting backlinks to your website that will help you to achieve your aims and goals - it’s all about planning and the big picture.

What are you aiming to achieve by promoting your band’s website? You said, "to get our name out there and get more fans", so I’m going to go with that.

A word about content: you’re going nowhere with zero content, who’s going to link to bollocks? Fix your content problem first - I see you’ve got a blog, make it your opening page, that would be better. For content think conversations.

O.K., basically there are three types of links: Outgoing links. Incoming links. Internal links.
Outgoing Links are links that lead Away from your website. They are important partly because the hypertext becomes a keyword.

Incoming Links (also called: backward links and back links) are links that point To your website. They are very important and represent one of the main ways future fans will find you.

Internal Links are links that point To your website from Within your website. They help to define the understanding of your website.

Linking in my view should be organic. Organic linking is natural and balanced, it’s linking with websites that are relevant and related to yours using a wide variety of different methods. Organic links tend to receive more traffic than non-organic (unrelated) links. Try to link with like minded websites. For a very basic example of content and linking in action see: Garden Lighting Berkshire (the page only has about 20 back links).

A Mini ‘Brainstorming’ Session

Well not really true brainstorming, but, discuss with the band…

Set Your Goals

To get our name out there - build a brand: name promotion.
To get more fans - build a fan base: invite friends, start a mailing list.

Do Some Research

Keywords be found for something else other than your band’s name:
Genre: indie rock band. Location: Wandsworth Common, London.
Other Ideas: favourite venue name. album and song titles. …remember the long tail.

How will your future fans discover you - Online or real world and how will you mix it?

Who are your existing fans and who are your target fans - what are their interests, lifestyles and how might they be attracted?

Your geographic location - local colleges & universities, independent record shops, fashion shops, cool coffee houses, pubs and nightclubs, etc. have they got websites? Will they let you put up a flyer, swap links? Do you know someone who works in one of these places?

Find Local Bands To Link And Gig With - for linking think networking
electronic rock bands London - on Google
rock bands - on Google Directory
"add your link" "rock band" - on Google
site:profile.myspace.com electronic rock band - search MySpace for ‘electronic rock band’ on Google

Do - Action

Take a look at your genre, your music and the people who listen to it, then target websites that fit-in with the "lifestyle" e.g., you are an electronic rock band, try approaching Urban Clothing &or Headphone websites like WeSC (We are the Superlative Conspiracy) - sorry about the poor example Julian, but you know what I mean.

Make your band’s website The focal point, Link To Your Website from all of your ’social media’ profile pages: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, ReverbNation, Wordpress/Blogger, YouTube, etc.

Keep a record of what you are doing by creating a link directory.

Create simple, bold and easy to recognize: avatar or logo, banner image, flyers - think branding, consistency and identity.
</brainstorming_session>

The What, Where and How of Back Links

The wide variety of different methods…

Reciprocal Links To get links you have to give links, it’s called reciprocal linking. Reciprocal linking with like minded, complementary websites (esp. other local bands) that fit your genre, is a good way to start promoting your band’s website and should be a matter of course. Each time you come into contact with a ‘compatible’ band start networking and swap website addresses (get some business cards). If you’re an SEO expert or an Internet marketing guru you might now be thinking ‘balderdash’, but I disagree, reciprocal linking is still alive and well - just don’t go mad with it and be very selective with whom you swap links.

The One-way Back Link An un-reciprocated link. This is the type of link fans, friends and family can help you with by including forum signatures, contributing to blogs and linking to you from their websites - not to mention social networking esp. Twitter. Make sure they don’t spam or more harm than good will come of it. Venues often link to performing bands’ MySpace, get them to link to your website.

The Big Bertha Link Just one link from a powerful site like the BBC.co.uk or the Guardian.co.uk could do it for you, of course they’re almost impossible to get, but if you keep chipping away you should get a link somewhere i.e., the BBC’s Onemusic or BBC London (BBC local).

Media Links Following on from the Big Bertha link, links gained from the media are invaluable for obvious reasons. The best places to get links are: local radio and TV. local newspapers. specialist, niche, genre magazines. online radio, podcast sites. You can get these types of links by promoting yourself through and on-the-back-of your chosen charity (instead of doing ‘free gigs’ ask for a donation (+link) towards your charity), local media are often looking for ways to appear philanthropic! Keep your eyes on the news and be ready with a story!

Press Release Links And following on from the media link… A press release is written and sent by you to a press release submission service or a journalist (if you know one), in order to highlight an important gig or pass on information that describes the who, what, where, when, why and how of your story. There are quite a few free press release submission websites, as for the journalists, look for journalists and publications interested in your genre. Obviously we’re talking about quality newsworthy information that journalists can get their teeth into.

Directory Links Google Directory, DMOZ and Yahoo are the most well known, but there are many specialist music directories and "lists" you just have to look around. Some directories ask for money, personally I wouldn’t pay for a link!

TLD Links Top Level Domain links are worth making the effort for because they usually transfer a little of their higher ‘trust’ and ‘page rank’ to you. What I’m talking about here is getting links from established websites with domain extensions like: .edu .gov .net .org. To qualify for these types of links your website needs to contain high quality content.

Signature and Comment Links The classic way for a band to increase the number of links pointing to their website is by using signatures in forums and commenting in genre related blogs. Forums, blogs, guestbooks, message boards and newsgroups - there are many thousands of these. You will get the best results if you become part of the community, spend some time reading before posting, don’t just blatantly plug your band, it’s bad for business. Create a very short signature that includes a link to your website. The true promotional value of forum, newsgroup and blog, signature and comment links is very moderate at best, what you actually have to say, your input, has a much bigger bearing on the result - so that’s content again!

Wheel Links This is taking internal linking to the extreme. You create twenty or so totally independent websites with their own domain names and hosting, they all give one-way links to your band’s website - The Authority Hub. This method does work, but it’s very time consuming and expensive - it may not be worth the time, effort or the money. It can be done with free webhosting sites like FreeWebs, Yahoo! GeoCities, LYCOS.tripod and from social media profile pages too, but unless you’ve got time to kill, I wouldn’t bother! You’ve got profile pages but you’re linking to your MySpace - ‘Think Website’.

Crème de la Crème Not to be confused with a profile page, the cream of the crop is a hosted content link or a presell page, which is a stand-alone HTML file dedicated to you and your band’s website. I make them, they’re called Micro-Sites and they’re a marketeer’s linking dream. You get textual links placed within targeted relevant content that promotes the band’s: url. name. genre. venue. Encouraging organic human click-through traffic, the page is an additional, dedicated entry point to your website. The Micro-Site should rank for itself and will add rank to yours. Your adverts and content are included on an established and trusted website (UnsignedBandPromotion.com). Plus, bands can own ALL the adverts, which has a number of important spin-offs. This type of link is almost impossible to get, especially as I’m not making them anymore, well, they’re by invitation only.

Avoid… In My Opinion Websites selling paid text links, Free For All links pages, Automated Link Exchanges and Webrings, they could bring a massive surge of traffic to your website, but not through genuine inquisitiveness or interest and they almost always increase spam email to beyond the limit. The only person/website to benefit is the person/website that set up the scheme in the first place. Handle with kid gloves. And if they are asking for money, run away as fast as you can. Buying links should only be done in very special circumstances - there are plenty of free linking opportunities.

Linking Notes

SPAM Don’t do it. When I read the words, "Sorry about the shameless self promotion, but…", rightly or wrongly I think Spam and I don’t read on. And in a way that’s the problem with spam, the actual and the perceived, for instance, here’s the entire contents of an email I received, verbatim, "We have a professional produced CD. If you have interest in listening, please send name and address and we will pack it off" Was that spam? I think bands walk a narrow path when they are in the act of marketing and promotion. If you’ve enlisted some promo. help from fans, friends and family, warn them about spamming or it will cost you dearly.

Content Keep your website up-to-date, don’t let it get stale and do your best to come up with original ideas. Content is always the keyword in website promotion. Good content means other websites will want to link to you.

Page Ranking There’s no need to worry about PR, unless it stays at 0 for a long period. PR will improve with the quality and quantity of Content, in combination with the quality and quantity of Back Links, and Time. Pick your linking partners based on quality, relevancy, traffic, and how they fit in with your lifestyle and aura.

The Linking Mix You wouldn’t put all your eggs into one basket, so don’t rely solely on one method of linking, vary your linking strategy as much as you possibly can.

Oh, and don’t forget Julian I can give you a reciprocal link, see: Band Promotion Links.

In Conversation With Bands,
Unsigned Band Promotion
~ helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own ~
http://www.unsignedbandpromotion.com/

August 13, 2009

The Arabella Question

Filed under: SEO, Band Promotion — ian @ 4:21 pm

Arabella blues pop band coventry - Kasbah nightclub West MidlandsI received an email from James (Vox, Guitar) of Arabella a dirty blues pop band from Coventry, West Midlands asking: “Please would you explain how micro-sites help SEO so much as the results seem pretty remarkable”? My answer: “An UBP Micro-Site is almost the perfect link”.

Yeah, but there’s more, SEO is a method of increasing the amount of visitors to a website by targeting the website specifically to a particular search engine, ensuring the website will be found in the result pages for targeted keywords - that’s one of the definitions anyway. There are two main directive headings; Content and Linking, and each of these have many subheadings all with tomes written about them and industries built around them. Unsigned Band Promotion’s Micro-Sites are reasonably well placed within most of the SEO criteria.

Of course I could just give bands a backlink, but compared to a simple text link a Micro-Site offers much more…

  • Links placed within highly targeted relevant content that promotes the band’s: url. name. genre. venue.
  • Organic human click-through traffic - an additional dedicated entry point to your website.
  • The Micro-Site ranks for itself and will add rank to yours.
  • Your adverts and content are included on an established and trusted website (UnsignedBandPromotion.com).
  • Bands can own ALL the adverts, which has a number of important spin-offs.
  • The Micro-Site is ‘a presell page’ or ‘hosted content’ - a marketeer’s linking zenith.

I am not making Micro-Sites by request anymore, only by invitation, sorry. Don’t be downhearted though, you are welcome to copy a Micro-Site and alter it to include your style and information. Please include a link back to me.

Arabella blues pop band coventry - Kasbah nightclub West Midlands Arabella blues pop band coventry - BIOGRAPHY Arabella blues pop band coventry - MUSIC Arabella blues pop band coventry - PRESS Arabella blues pop band coventry - MEDIA

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