Backlinking for Music Festivals and Other Off Site SEO Tips

Backlinking for the music industry

Have you ever taken a look at the rankings for your music festival in Google and wondered how you can get that extra push to increase your presence on the first page of the search results? Once you’ve taken care of all your on-site optimization, the next step in your digital marketing journey is to start an off site SEO strategy that will help boost the authority of your music festival’s web presence through backlinking, which in turn will increase your rankings in Google.

What is Backlinking

Simply put, a backlink is a link to your website that appears on a different website. Backlinks are one of the ways that Google and other search engines determine where to rank you in their search results. The higher the quality of your backlink profile, the more likely it is that your website will appear higher in the search results. The higher you are in the search results, the more traffic you’re going to get to your site. The more traffic you get to your site, the more people are going to buy tickets to your music festival.

In learning that links to your website are really good, many music festival marketers make the mistake of going out and plastering a link to their website everywhere they possibly can. In the dark ages of SEO… so a few years ago… this used to be the strategy. However, in the golden age of the SEO world, this practice will get you a big ole penalty.

It’s important to think of a backlink as a sort of endorsement from the website it appears on. If these “endorsements” are on really low quality websites, Google will look at this as a poor endorsement and may penalize you for having a link on that site. If your backlink is on a really reputable, high quality website, Google will see this as a very positive endorsement and will likely reward you in the search results.

Building Backlinks on Music Festival Partner Websites

The key to finding good quality backlinks for music festivals is to find various articles and pages from reputable sources around the Internet and finding opportunities to get a link pointing to your festival site. For a lot of industries, this can be incredibly tough! But as a music festival, you already have media partners that you work with, articles being written by local and national news outlets, press releases being distributed, and bloggers writing about your festival. Every one of these sources provides you with an excellent opportunity for a backlink.

When working with your media partners, bloggers, and other types of people covering your event, you can ask them to include links to your site in everything they produce. These sources are likely already doing this, but it would be a great idea to be involved in suggesting which pages on your site for them to link to. The key is to ensuring that they are sharing out different links from your site, not just your home page – this will tell Google that your entire website is relevant, not just the home page.

It’s easy to add a backlink to the press releases that are being distributed since you, or someone else in the organization, will be writing them. Just be sure to add a relevant link, and preferably a link other than the home page (where appropriate).

There may be a lot of chatter around various blogs about your music festival that you aren’t aware of. These would be fans of your festival that either weren’t accredited, or were covering the event as a fan. These can be tricky. Some of them might be poor quality sites that are linking to your site, or are great quality sites that aren’t linking to your site – neither of which is totally ideal. The odd poor quality backlink here and there shouldn’t hurt you, so I wouldn’t worry too much about those (unless there are a number of really poor quality links out there, in which case, contact the webmaster and request that they be taken down). The real opportunity is to reach out to the authors of the articles that are mentioning your music festival and asking if they would include a link back to your site – most of the time, they’ll do it happily.

Create Citations on Music Industry Directories

The other form of a backlink is called a Citation. As with any backlink, a citation is a link pointing back to your website, but specifically from directory listings. It’s really important for your music festival to be on various industry-specific directory sites. There are so many directories out there that list various music festivals in specific geographies, genres, etc. A quick Google search should bring up some great directories to add your music festival to. Even sites like Yelp, YellowPages, and FourSquare are great places to add a profile to.

Similarly to the backlinks discussed in the previous section, the key is to finding great quality websites to add your music festival to. There are a lot of really bad quality directory sites out there, and the last thing you want to do is add yourself to a directory that operates like a link farm (a website that is basically all links designed to game the search engines – there’s more to it than that, but it’s not important for this article).

One way to find high quality websites is to use a Google Chrome Extension called the MozBar. It’s a great tool that gives every website a score out of 100 for both their overall domain authority, and the authority for the specific page that you are on. To use this tool, first install the MozBar extension here, then click the little “M” in your browser

Using the MozBar to determine the quality of a backlink

Once the MozBar opens, you’ll be able to see the authority of both the domain (DA) and the page (PA). Generally, the DA is the metric that is more important to look at. If it’s over 20 it indicates that this could be a decent quality website.

Examples of the MozBar Domain Authority and Page Authority for Google Chrome

From there you’ll have to use your judgement on whether it’s a site that you want your brand and music festival associated with.

Is Backlinking Worth it for Music Festivals?

As with any SEO for music festivals, yes, backlinking most certainly is worth your time! Music festivals have a great advantage for backlinks, since there are already many people talking about the festival online, so a large part of the backlink process is done for you. You need to monitor it, and add to it in places that provide high quality opportunities.

It’s important to remember that there are many – many – contributing factors to a good off-site SEO strategy. Backlinking can take some creativity to find new, relevant, and high quality sources for backlink opportunities. Some examples for creative music industry backlinking opportunities are:

  • Adding a backlink to your Spotify playlists,
  • Creating an Infographic and distributing it on various Inforgraphic websites,
  • Writing an article on BuzzFeed that links back to your site.
  • and more… the possibilities are endless!

One thing to keep in mind, is that it can take some time for Google and other search engines to pick up on these backlinks, so don’t give up, but continue to slowly add new backlinks to your web presence, and you will see the benefits – I promise.

As always, if you need any help, suggestions, or feedback on your current backlink profile, I would be more than happy to help you out! Get in touch and I’ll be happy to take a look for you.

Song of the Day

I’m all about sharing new music that inspires me, or helps me get through the workday. That’s why each blog post includes a song that I’m really into right now, in the hopes that it may do the same for you.

James Barker Band – Chills

James Barker Band Song of the Day


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