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Tuesday
Oct262010

MySpace Still Rules Google Search Results for Music Acts

Facebook and Twitter are both more popular than MySpace, but based on my informal study, MySpace still rules when it comes to Google search results for music acts. Last.fm is also favored by Google searches.

Given that it’s pretty much dormant (and we never did much with it in the first place), I’m always surprised to see our MySpace page show up as one of the top three results whenever I do a vanity Google search for my band. I was curious to see the Google rank for the MySpace pages of well-known artists and conducted a quick search experiment last week. It wasn’t exhaustive — I just started with some of the bigger “indie rock” names of the past decade and threw in a handful of classic rock acts as well. Also, for band names of more than one word, I didn’t put quote marks around the full name, I just typed the band name and hit return, figuring that’s what most people would do when conducting a search.

For most of the acts, the Google Music Search player appears at the top of the results (no surprise there). And in almost every case, the band’s MySpace page was one of the top five search results. Of the 10 other artists I conducted searches for, Led Zeppelin was the only one where a MySpace page wasn’t one of the top 10 search results. Facebook only made two top-10 appearances (one of which was a search for my own band), though it was in the 11th or 12th spot for several acts. Last.fm made a surprisingly strong appearance and was a top-10 result for almost every artist.

Some artists (or their labels) are very active on MySpace, of course, so you’d expect to see their respective MySpace pages as top search results. But MySpace also has the substantial advantage of having been around longer than Facebook, Twitter, etc., and online articles and blogs posts have linked to MySpace pages for years. Incoming links figure highly into Google’s PageRank calculations, so even if some artists are transitioning their social networking efforts to other sites, MySpace seems likely to remain at the top of Google search results for the foreseeable future. And Apple’s new Ping network (I’ll be writing more about it soon), seems unlikely to become a top search result, unless iTunes is transitioned to a browser-based platform.

Below are the top 10 search results as of Friday, October 15, 2010. Click on the artist names to see the full search results:

Arcade Fire

  1. official site
  2. MySpace page
  3. Wikipedia page
  4. Google news results
  5. fan page
  6. Google video results
  7. Last.fm page
  8. label page (Merge Records)
  9. Amazon.com album page
  10. Twitter page

Band of Horses

  1. Google Music Search player
  2. official site
  3. MySpace page
  4. Wikipedia page
  5. Google video results
  6. Last.fm page
  7. label page (Sub Pop Records)
  8. Amazon.com album page
  9. artist site (album streaming page)
  10. Facebook page

Broken Bells

  1. Google Music Search player
  2. official site
  3. official site (home page)
  4. MySpace page
  5. Wikipedia page
  6. Google video results
  7. Amazon.com album page
  8. Last.fm page
  9. NPR story
  10. iTunes album link

The Layaways (my band)

  1. Google Music Search player
  2. official site
  3. MySpace page
  4. eMusic artist page
  5. Amazon.com page
  6. Facebook page
  7. CD Baby album page
  8. unrelated site
  9. post at this blog
  10. unrelated site

LCD Soundsystem

  1. official site
  2. official site (album page)
  3. MySpace page
  4. Google news results
  5. Wikipedia page
  6. Google video results
  7. Last.fm page
  8. Vimeo page
  9. Pitchfork interview
  10. Discogs artist page

Led Zeppelin

  1. Google Music Search player
  2. official site
  3. Wikipedia page
  4. Google video results
  5. fan site
  6. Google news results
  7. Last.fm page
  8. Amazon.com album page
  9. fan site
  10. MTV artist page

The National

  1. official site
  2. MySpace page
  3. Wikipedia page
  4. unrelated site
  5. unrelated site
  6. Last.fm page
  7. unrelated site
  8. unrelated site
  9. Google video results
  10. unrelated site

The Rolling Stones

  1. Google Music Search player
  2. official site
  3. Wikipedia page
  4. Google video results
  5. unrelated site (Rolling Stone magazine!)
  6. Google news results
  7. Last.fm page
  8. MySpace page
  9. Artist Direct page (dead link)
  10. fan club page

U2

  1. Google Music Search player
  2. official site
  3. Wikipedia page
  4. fan site
  5. MySpace page
  6. Google video results
  7. Last.fm page
  8. fan site
  9. fan site
  10. MTV artist page

Vampire Weekend

  1. Google Music Search player
  2. official site
  3. official site (music page)
  4. MySpace page
  5. Google news results
  6. Google video results
  7. Wikipedia page
  8. Amazon.com page
  9. Last.fm page
  10. Google image results

The Walkmen

  1. Google Music Search player
  2. MySpace page
  3. official site
  4. official site (news page)
  5. Google news results
  6. Wikipedia page
  7. Last.fm page
  8. Google image results
  9. Google video results
  10. NPR story

David Harrell has published Digital Audio Insider, a blog about the economics of digital music, since 2006. His indie rock band the Layaways have self released four albums.

Reader Comments (4)

Of course, if you don't want your MySpace page to appear on top, you can simply delete it. Bandcamp has a very good top appearance too, I noticed.

October 27 | Unregistered CommenterJ.B. Dazen

People can depend on an artist's Myspace page to have streamable music in a similar format. The same can't be said for other sites. I'd say it's the main thing Myspace has going for them.

October 28 | Unregistered CommenterDave Park

Google rankings are (as far as we know) based on page authority and relevance. As you mentioned in your post MySpace has been around a while and has enjoyed a large number of inbound links because of it. MySpace is still getting links along with FaceBook and Twitter even if the blog post or article is wondering out loud why MySpace isn't as popular as the other social networks these days. Still you would think that Google could figure out that the site isn't as widely used as the others. There is something obviously wrong with the Facebook page layout for it to not rank at all.

This is great information for deciding where to concentrate one's effort. I would add to this concept by pointing out that fans don't necessarily search for a band name. Often it is something about the band or a particular lyric. If you would like to be found for these search phrases you will have to optimize your site as such as well as post questions and answers in places like Ask.com and Yahoo answers (i.e. - if you wear clown shoes to every show you might post the question "who is the musician that wears clown shoes at every show" and then answer the question with a different user) as these sites tend to out-rank most other sites due to their strong page authority. Wikipedia (as shown in the OP) also ranks very well in general.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that a band's official website doesn't necessarily rank where it should. This is a lot more obvious with smaller indie acts as musicians don't generally know or want to know about SEO (search engine optimization). I spelled out a couple of easy steps for on page optimization in a post a little while back if that helps anyone.

Thanks for the post,

Tom Siegel

IndieLeap.com

October 28 | Registered CommenterTom Siegel

Nice steps Tom!

Your idea about using the top 10 on where to focus could be a great idea. Maybe even using that list as the order to prioritize content to push too, all from your own website first.

November 8 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

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