In today’s music industry, having talent is not enough. Anyone with dope lyrics and sick beats can create a hip-hop track in a couple of hours. What’s going to set you apart is how people discover you online.
Unlike products or services, people won’t discover your music via search. It’s more likely that they read about you on their favorite blog or stumbled upon one of your videos on YouTube or Instagram.
It’s only then that they will go to the search engines to try to get to know more about you. When they get to that stage in the funnel that they’re using search to find you, that’s when you know you got yourself a fan.
Think SEO and rap music don’t mix? In this article, you’ll learn how rappers are promoting their music and getting more views with a little help from Search Engine Optimization.
But, what is SEO anyway?
Search Engine Optimization is the process of directing traffic to your website through search results.
According to SEOexplode.com, Google gets more than 3.5 billion searches from users all over the world daily. Whenever a person types a keyword or phrase in the search bar and clicks on the results, that’s SEO in action. SEO makes it possible for people to find you, your product, or your brand online.
Heard a new song recently and wondering who the artist is? Just enter the lyrics you remember into the search bar and the search engine will find the song for you. And the way the search engines work these days, it won’t just give you the title of the song, it will also show you the artist’s information, lyrics, video links, Spotify playlists and a couple of interviews for good measure.
If you’re an artist trying to get that big break, you have to work on audience retention. The longer you can keep their attention, the more views and shares you get. If you can get 10,000 people to search for your music online every day, then who knows how far your music will reach.
For realz? Are there rappers who are actually using SEO to promote their music?
One rapper who search-optimized himself to success is Lil B. His videos and songs have gotten millions of reviews online, with one of his famous dance moves being copped for an NFL victory dance. So, how did he become viral? By keeping his audience engaged.
For one, Lil B got a bunch of blogs buzzing by rubbing elbows with stars like Kanye West and challenging NBA superstar Kevin Durant to a one-on-one game. As his site’s link profile grew, the higher he ranked in the SERPs.
Next, he continuously produces an insane amount of content, satisfying not just his fans, but also search engines. Google’s search algorithm favors fresh content because the more recent information is, the more likely that it will be relevant to your target audience.
But probably his best technique yet is naming his tracks after famous celebrities. It’s a smart move, especially since these tracks also function as keywords. So when a person searches for information on Oprah Winfrey for example, there’s a chance that person will come across Lil B’s Oprah Winfrey track.
Just to show you that we’re not kidding, here’s “Oprah Winfrey” by Lil B.
Isn’t SEO just for nerds and geeks?
The great thing about SEO is that it can be useful for just about any niche. Of course, the best way to get results faster is to hire an SEO specialist, but you can get started with just a few tweaks. SEO is not just for nerds and geeks anymore. Even rappers are trying to get a piece of the action.
Case and point rapper C.KHiD. His most popular videos on YouTube have millions of views because early on, he already figured out how search algorithms work.
By having websites embed or link back to his videos, he dominated YouTube’s Hip-Hop genre for 4 years. He even wrote an eBook explaining how to rank YouTube videos in 2008, but SEO professionals just laughed at it. At that time, ranking videos was unheard of because Google still prioritized keyword-stuffed content.
Today, YouTubers and independent artists alike rely on different SEO techniques to promote their content. And since there’s plenty of profit to be made off ads, content creators are investing heavily on SEO services.
Owning an independent hip-hop artist’s videos is pretty much like owning masters. Why? Because companies that produce them will still earn revenue from YouTube ads decades after.
Any ideas on how I can use SEO to engage my target audience?
By now, you already have a better idea on the role of SEO to your overall success as an artist. So, how exactly do you start promoting your music?
Well, first, you need to know who your target audience is. By understanding their behavior online, you should be able to figure out the best avenues that will work best for them.
So, let’s say, you’re targeting a younger generation of rap enthusiasts. Those who like to watch reaction and review videos on YouTube. You could create these types of video content and embed them in your social media accounts to get attention from your audience.
Another thing you can do is to collaborate with other up-and-coming artists and create remixes of your old songs. Not only will this generate a new interest in content that you already have, but it will also give you access to your partner artist’s fanbase. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!
Animated lyric videos are also quite popular so having a few in your repertoire should bulk up your content portfolio. You’re not just spoiling existing fans with great content, you’re giving about-to-be fans more chances to discover your music online.
Ultimately, for you to rank in the SERPs, you need content that will offer value to people consuming it. Whether it’s entertainment, information, inspiration, or even controversy, your material should resonate to your audience.
If your songs are trash and your content are so-so, don’t expect to reach the 1-million-view mark organically.