If you’ve ever searched for “SEO tips” before, you’ve probably seen a plethora of information come up in the results. And to be honest? Some of it is downright confusing.
You’ve worked hard on your website, writing copy, finding pictures, and learning the ins-and-outs of whatever website service you’re using. But what good is a website if you aren’t being found?
That’s where SEO – search engine optimization – comes into play.
If you want to be found by new clients, you need to be searchable. And that’s what we’re breaking down here: What the heck is SEO and how can you make it work for your studio?
Without spending hours and hours researching the interwebs.
Let’s make SEO simple.
(or as simple as it can be.)
First, let’s unpack what SEO means.
Think of the internet as a library and search engines as the librarians. They thumb through websites looking for things that tell them “what is this about?” Then they index that information by subjects, and when someone types a word or phrase into the search bar, websites are brought up in order of relevance.
Adding one more layer to this analogy: these search engine librarians also ask themselves “how would someone search for this information?” Essentially: what keywords or phrases would people be most likely to type into the search bar?
That’s why it’s important to have good SEO on your website — you want the search engines to list your website under the right subjects so that you show up in the appropriate search results.
These simple tips will help you do just that.
Researching Service Keywords
The first step in search engine optimization to figure out what keywords people are using. These are your service keywords For some types of music lessons, it will be pretty straight forward. For example:
Also consider that instead of searching for “lessons,” a potential client might use phrases like “guitar teacher” or “guitar instructor.”
Voice lessons are a slightly different animal, as there are many phrases that clients might use instead, such as:
The industry terms that WE use aren’t necessarily the terms that potential clients use. But before you toss your hands up in exasperation, I’ve got good news for you. There are websites that specialize in analyzing what people actually type in search engines. Here’s one of my free favorites.
Let’s take a quick look at how to research SEO keywords. Here’s a 2 minute video that shows you how to use Wordtracker:
If you’re teaching in person, you’ll want to include keywords that indicate your service area. These are your location keywords. If you’re teaching online, you’ll want keywords to indicate that as well. Now the phrase “piano lessons” would become “piano lessons in Pittsburgh, PA.” Or it might be “online piano lessons” or “piano lessons on Zoom.”
One more quick tip: If you live in a very small town, try including the cities in your surrounding area. And conversely, if you live in a big city, consider focusing on specific areas of the city where your ideal clients tend to live. This will help you beat those competition numbers mentioned in the video above.
Once you’ve made a list of your potential keywords and phrases, then it’s time to apply them to your website.
Using SEO Keywords on Your Website
Applying SEO keywords and phrases to your website isn’t as tricky as it sounds. Let’s break down the places that you can include these words so that those Google librarians can find them.
- Page Titles
- Page URLS
- Headings and Subheadings
- Paragraph content
- Meta descriptions
The first place to consider using a keyword is in the title of your page. For example: the title of this blog post is “SEO Tips for Music Teachers: Get Found on Google” This includes two words / phrases that I think people would be searching for, plus it identifies my audience niche.
Let’s apply those same ideas to what YOU can put on your website. When possible, the page url should include the phrase “piano lessons” in it, like this:
(Please note that you do NOT need to get a new domain for your website just so that a keyword can be in the url of the home page.)
Another place Google librarians will look for keywords is in your headings and subheadings. Making sure that keywords are present here is key! Here’s an example of what this might look like:
Singing Lessons at Sara’s Music Studio
Ready to get into that high school musical? Trying out for a solo or prepping for District choir? Perhaps you’re a seasoned singer, but find yourself struggling with some recent vocal changes, or you’re ready to up your performance game.
If so… you’ve found the right place. The studio provides voice lessons and vocal coaching for a variety of singers…
The colored text are the keywords. (No need to highlight them on your site, the search engine librarian will find them regardless.)
Further down the page, I’d include info about where the studio is located and the areas which it serves. This means we’d hit both the service keywords and the location keywords in the headings and in the paragraph content.
Finally, let’s take a look at that 5th item… hold onto your hats, ’cause it’s a little more high-tech.
SEO + Meta Descriptions
What exactly are meta descriptions? Here’s what Yoast has to say about them:
“The meta description is an HTML tag you can set for a post or page of your website. In it, you can describe what your page is about. If you’re lucky, Google will show it beneath your page’s title in the search results. It brings you an opportunity to convince search engine users that your page will offer what users are looking for.”
Here’s an example of a great home page meta description from Julie Duda:
In this description we see “piano lessons” and “Bethel Park, PA” — and since Julie also makes resources for teachers, we see “teaching resources” and “piano teachers,” so she’s hitting all the keyword points!
Meta descriptions are typically around 120 – 155 characters long. Short and to the point! Each page on your website can have its own meta description, so you can tailor the words to reflect what is on that specific page.
Here’s an example of this from Melanie Bowes, the creator of KeyNotes Music:
In this example, Melanie has included the name of the program “Little KeyNotes,” what the program is “group piano curriculum” and who it’s for “ages 4-5.” And we see the word “teachers” in both the url and the page title.
Now that you have an idea of what a good meta description looks like, let’s examine how you set them up.
How do you set meta descriptions?
Every website building / hosting service has a slightly different way to do this, so here’s a short list of how-to websites and videos for some of the more common ones. If you use a different service for your website, just try searching “name of your website service + meta descriptions” in Google or on YouTube.
Meta Description Instructions:
My Music Staff doesn’t have a specific FAQ on this, but you can turn on Advanced SEO options by selecting “Show Search Engine Optimization Options” found under “Studio Settings” > “Options”
SEO Tips Summary
First, if all this information has your head swimming… I want you to take a deep breath. Improving your SEO isn’t something that you have to do all at once. Start by making a checklist of SEO items you want to work on, and then chip away at a little bit at a time by building it into your admin business hours.
All that work? It’ll be well-worth it in the long run. Because you deserve to get found in search results. (And those potential clients deserve to find you, because you’re awesome!)
Final note: If website stuff like this isn’t in your wheelhouse at all? It’s a great task to hire out. Ask around your business owning friends to get a good reference!
Got additional questions about SEO? Pop them into the comments below!