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Is your SEO a booking agent or band manager?


Pure SEO as I like to call it is about making your site visible in search engines results. This means ranking for certain specific search terms that are related to your website. On the other hand when people ask for SEO what they are really asking for is that you will make their site successfully fulfill all of their goals in a certain time frame and make their business a success.

This is more along the lines of what “SEO” should be about, but there is a bit of a gap in understanding about the process involved, the time it takes and what the client should expect when. For SEOs there can sometimes be a bit of a “booking manager” mentality where it’s more about the number of people in the venue rather than making “the band” successful.

I’m in a Band

lout playing the annandaleI’m a musician and I’ve had quite a few years experience in the music industry so I thought it might be useful and entertaining to use an analogy about starting a band to illustrate this booking agent/ band manager difference as well as why it takes time to build your brands online presence.

When you start out, you’ve been practicing in the garage for 6 months (building the website) and you think your music’s pretty great. You get your first gig (launch your site) and your now out in the music scene (the world wide web). You keep getting gigs each month and people come to see you (site traffic). Some people love what you do and for others you’re not the answer to their musical leanings and so your fan base grows.  You get in contact with a booking agent (SEO guy #1) who knows the scene, he’s going to book you some gigs in front of some big audiences (SEO) and get your shows advertised in the right places (SEM). The press (search engines) start to pick up on your music and you get some more exposure and more people start getting along to your shows. Over time you build a following, you earn some respect in the local scene and people know you put on a good show (domain authority).

But there’s a problem, you’re not really selling any merchandise at the shows. This is for a few reasons:

  • The people getting along aren’t really into your style of music (untargeted keyword traffic)
  • Your band members can play well enough but your songs aren’t all that they could be (content strategy).
  • Your stage show and costuming needs a little work too (UX optimisation)
  • Your merchandise is hard to find at gigs and the buying process is a hassle (Conversion Rate Optimisation)

Now your booking manager is a nice guy but he has a bunch of other bands (websites) and his bottom line is “bums on seats” (site traffic) ‘cause that’s how he proves his worth and gets paid. Then you meet a guy who is a band manager (SEO guy #2) and he wants to manage your band for real. He’s been very successful managing other artists and managed to make them very well known and wealthy. He looks at all areas of their band (website) and works out how to:

  • Market you accurately in many areas to get people to shows (SEO/SEM/Social Media),
  • Refine the look and style of the stage show and your band to help make you accessible to more fans (UX optimisation)
  • Encourages you to take time to really write great songs that people will engage with (content strategy)
  • Sell your merchandise more successfully by making it simple and enjoyable (conversion rate optimisation)

Okay so maybe I’m stretching the analogy a bit but this next bit is what you need to understand when you are having SEO services conducted on your site:

  1. Just in the same way a brand new band doesn’t become a huge success overnight, your website isn’t going to beat those heavy weight websites – the rock stars – that make up the industry you’re targeting overnight.
  2. Your SEO guy should be a band manager, committed to seeing your website do well on all fronts and in the end get your brand seen and money in the bank.

You could apply a bunch of analogies to the internet marketing process but in the end clients and SEOs alike need to be looking for an agency or individual that will help them wholistically and set their expectations accordingly.

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