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« In Defense Of 1,000 True Fans - Part VII - Ellis Paul - 300 Fans = $100,000 in Contributions The Ultimate Testament to Fan Loyalty | Main | Some good, old-fashioned advice »
Wednesday
Mar102010

Three Steps To Inexpensively Winning The Search Engine Game

Sites that are interlinked together are subwebs (subsets) within the World Wide Web.  Search engines rank and score websites by measuring the authority and the authenticity of every subweb on the Internet.
 
The stronger your subweb is, the higher your site will rank against keywords, phrases and concepts (as categorized and tagged) that occur on both your site and within your site’s ENTIRE subweb.
 
Authority and authenticity are weighed and measured by search engines that use complex and evolving algorithms that size (metaphorically speaking) the entire width, height, depth, complexity and the population density of your entire subweb.
 
The question every marketer should have is: how do I strengthen my subweb?
The answer is: you have to gather authority by delivering authentic value that real humans link to.  This sounds more complex than it really is.  Here are three steps that will get you there:
 
Step 1 - Create something valuable and people will share it.  Internet users share and embed links to original, high-value content (information) that genuinely informs, educates or entertains.  The amount of link sharing and embedding that occurs is proportionate to the value that your content delivers to a specific audience.  The sum of all this linking becomes the schematic of your subweb.  
 
Step 2 - After you have created something valuable, step two is to deliver it to places where it will acquire the most authentic and authoritative links, as determined by how search engines weigh and measure subwebs (see third paragraph above).
 
With this in mind, the best places to post your content are on open, unbiased and focused (genre or topic-specific) sites that aggregate serious and engaged audiences that include contributors, readers, viewers, and listeners that have common (generically speaking) values, interests and desires.  Placing your content elsewhere has lesser value, as the linking (as measured by search engines) simply weighs and measures less.
 
It’s a matter of trust: sites that are open to comments (diversity of opinion); that are unbiased (not beholden to sponsors); and where audiences have shared values, interests and desires (your niche) simply generate more authentic and authoritative linking (to and from) than random, dissimilar sites around the Internet.
 
Step 3 - Now that you have strategically placed your content creation, simply make sure you have embedded a link to where you live on the Internet within it; by doing so, you will have increased the authority and authenticity of your own subweb; and the next time search engines weigh and measure (index) subwebs, your site’s search ranking will increase because of it.  Moreover, you will also be able to count on the visitor traffic that will surely originate from these same links back to you!


This post does not have a lot to do with music, and I am not an expert on how search engines work.  A lot of the ideas and concepts in this post I randomly borrowed from others, and I am looking for feedback from MTT readers that know more about this subject than me.  

What this post is however, is a brief description of how Music Think Tank works for me.

about Bruce Warila

Reader Comments (9)

Thanks for the post! Hearing how the process actually works helps to figure out what has to be done next. I'm not as web-adept as many, so I got a lot out of this.
Thanks!
Samantha Harlow

You've covered the fundamentals, although I would add a bit of research into what you are looking to rank for, including researching your intended audience. SEO for music is a lot different than for corporate sites, but there may be search terms potential fans may type in more than others. Include those words in your TITLE tags and anchor text of your internal and external links and you are away.

March 10 | Unregistered CommenterGuavaMarkeD

Expanding on the anchor text... First let me say that I am no expert, but the way that I understand it is that your anchor text should be tied to your target keywords. Example: if your niche is search engine optimization and your text reads "click here to find out about search engine optimization" you shouldn't anchor the words "click here" you should anchor "search engine optimization" that will improve your ranking with that keyword.

I don't know much but I thought that I would contribute what I do know.

Tom Siegel
www.indieleap.com

March 10 | Registered CommenterTom Siegel

As someone with a rich background in SEO, you hit the nail on the head!

March 11 | Unregistered Commenterevolvor

Inlinks from authority sites are probably still the single most important factor in ranking, but keyword research is also key. Knowing what your target audience is specifically searching for allows you to target those exact phrases with specific on-page SEO...

March 11 | Unregistered CommenterDan Foley

Most people fail to complete Step #1.

March 11 | Unregistered Commenterscottandrew

Right on. In terms of content, I would add that oftentimes simply doing the most thorough, cleanly presented version of something that already exists is enough to start getting SERP (_earch _ngine _esults _age) traction. Embed a popular video, provide a useful 2 paragraph summary and then offer links to...all your competitors. Do that 20 times in the space of an hour and you've just padded your portfolio with something that will keep gaining value and delivering you traffic. Do that twice a week and you'll have a small empire in your hands by 2011.

I'm glad I don't do SEO as a job anymore because it was personally conflicting. Good SEO, most of the time, is bad internet. This ties back into the Unspoken Truth of Social Media: everything loses value after it scales up past a certain point. If you got on Facebook in 2010, so did Dawn dish detergent and McGruff the Crime Dog: you are too late and your actions will now have negative ROI, even while pundits with flashy videos full of statistics are telling the world otherwise right in front of you. They're not wrong per se -- they're just not talking about the present. (Few of us do.)

This relates to SEO because SEO in 2006 was Facebook in 2010, or getting into hip hop in 2001, or realizing how cool Jimi Hendrix was in 1975. SEO is no longer an edge, just like guns are no longer much of a tactical advantage in a barfight. Everyone is doing the same cheap tricks because all 10,000 SEO gurus learned from the same 50 or so people who started the field. This means that the entire system is losing value every day, and will continue to do so...meanwhile, the internet is still billions of people looking for something useful, original, entertaining, every second of every day. The only sustainable SEO is built on good content.

And the reality is, Google and Bing and every other channel is now flooded with bullshit because of the money I was making in 2007-08. I was way too small time to claim responsibility, but I was a smiling, happy part of it. And in definitely related news, over the past year I've seen a huge and constant shift towards shit in my search results now. When I need to find information, I'm more likely to find the top 5 results above the fold are all sites with really, really professional SEO -- which is to say "no useful or original content and about 10,000 ads per page."

So please, musicians, you dumb little bastards, don't embrace SEO like you embraced social media. The internet is already in rough enough shape with you guys treating Google SERPs like it was Myspace.

Your Friend,
Justin "Smiley" Boland

March 11 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

I really didn't think of this post as SEO. It's Music Think Tank-ish. It's easier than SEO.

^^Indeed, and I hope musicians will come here and read this instead of reading Aaron Wall's stuff. He's right and all, but so was Goebbels.

Musicians are definitely better served weaving content from their lyrics, their interests, and their favorite media -- especially movies and books -- into their web presence. I'm always telling rappers I talk with to make reading lists and do blog posts on their favorite movies. It lets your fans connect with you and you can work in affiliate links and add some passive income to the war chest.

There's also huge, obvious benefits to linking your web content to your personal interests and causes. Be vocal about what you believe in. You would be amazed how little effort it takes for a musician to help out a local or national cause. If Bono can do it, hopefully you realize a chimpanzee could get the same results. If you're too shallow or ignorant to have a cause, just put up some links to Doctors Without Borders and talk about how great they are -- you'll look smart.

Overall, I think this is a really good compliment to the "Don't Go Over the Self-Promotion Cliff" article. I can think of no better concrete example of a "self-promo cliff" than the endless recursion of SEO and A/B testing and the never-ending feedback cycle of analytics and link-chasing.

March 15 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

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