How to make your group easy to find online with SEO

It can be very difficult to get new people to discover your music group. But with our handy resource for beginners, you too can start using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to improve your website’s search rankings.


  1. What is SEO?
  2. Create a Google account
  3. Keywords 
  4. Implementing keywords
  5. More technical bits
  6. Tracking web traffic
  7. Content is king
  8. Conclusion

1. What is SEO?

You might have heard of SEO before, but how could it help you and your music group? SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is how you might modify a website in such a way that makes it rank very high (if not the very first result) on a Google search (i.e. you 'optimise' a website for a search engine). The higher it ranks, the more visible your website is, and the more visits it’s likely to get.

While there are other search engines out there, for the purposes of this resource we will refer to Google, simply because it’s responsible for most of the search engine traffic in the world, and it is the engine most people know about. Google has its own rules on 'ranking' websites (deciding which websites get top billing in their search results). 

So how does Google’s algorithm work? You type in your query in the search bar, then Google will scan all public webpages, and look for pages that contain high-quality, relevant information related to your query. They do this by 'crawling' (technical term for 'reading') a webpage and evaluating its relevancy to the query, mostly based on the keywords it contains.

There are many, many ranking factors that Google uses, but for our purposes, we’ll distinguish them in two categories. The first is the uncontrollable – it’s all the way people engage with your website (reading articles, clicking links, sharing on social media). You can’t force people into spending time on your website or sharing it around, so there's little point in focusing on these. This brings us to the second category, the controllable – these are all the little changes you could make to your website that will bump you up in the Google search rankings, which we’ll cover in this resource.

It’s important to note that SEO is a massive topic and an ever-developing industry - this resource only covers the basics. These are unlikely to change significantly (we will review the resource periodically to ensure it remains accurate) and doing the basics well will help you improve you SEO. But there is more to explore if you want to do further research into SEO (see Google’s SEO Starter Guide).

This resource assumes you have a website already and are looking to improve SEO. However, SEO is about making sure people read the story you want to tell about your group - so it’s important you are happy with that story before you start thinking about SEO. We have some other resources that might be useful to look at before you start to think about SEO:

  • our Website Health Check tool will help assess the strengths and weakness of your site in recruiting new members  
  • our Branding your group resource will help you think about your group’s branding from the beginning

If you don’t have a website yet but want to set one up:  

  • Making Music Platform - a template website for your music group with lots of support along the way, plus extra features like member database, subscription management, sheet music catalogue and more.  
  • our 3-part resource on designing a website  

2. Create a Google account

The best way to start exploring SEO for your website is with a Google account, which will give you access to extra tools and resources that will help you with your SEO ranking.

To create a Google account, navigate to the main login page and click on 'Create account' – you have options of 'for my personal use' or 'for work or my business'. Since you are representing your music group, it might be better to go with the latter option.

screenshot of Google login page
Select a name that will be associated with the Google Account (ideally, your music group name), then fill in basic information like gender (you can select 'Rather not say') and birthday (this is compulsory, so that Google knows you are not underage).

Then it will ask you to create a Gmail address for your email, but you will also have the option to use an existing email address, which can be a non-Gmail address. So if you already have an email address (e.g. you can use this to register your Google Business account. 

screenshot of Google Business setup
Create a strong password (a mix of numbers, letters and symbols) and save it somewhere safe (we recommend using password manager software with encryption features – popular examples are Keeper, 1Password or NordPass). Then add a secondary, recovery email (one that is not Gmail, in case Google decides to lock you out – alternate email providers are Yahoo, Outlook, or one set up by your internet provider, like Btinternet) and a phone number – we strongly recommend you don’t skip these steps, they help keep your account secure and as Google takes account security seriously, not doing so could lead to problems down the line.

Finish setting up your account and now it’s ready for use! We’ll come back to specific Google tools a bit later.

3. Keywords

As we’ve explained before, Google 'crawls' all webpages to bring you the most relevant search results to your query, and the way it establishes how relevant the result is by comparing keywords.

So for example, if you search 'join choir in Birmingham', Google will check all websites that have the keywords from the query ('join', 'choir', and 'Birmingham'), as well as any other keywords that are related to them – so 'choir' can be related to 'singing group', 'chorist', 'vocalist', 'soprano', 'alto' and many more. The more specific the better – a search for 'choir in Birmingham' will bring up thousands, if not millions of results! If you tailor it further to 'no audition casual lower voice choir Birmingham', you will get fewer results, but they will be more tailored to your specific combination of keywords.

The key point here is relevancy! If you overload your website with as many buzzwords as you can think of, then Google might think you’re spamming and refuse to list you in the search results, so it’s important not to go overboard.

Keywords exercise

Since you’re the best person to ask about your music group, try to come up with a few starter keywords. Have a think about your music group and what makes it unique, then set about defining a list of characteristics.

What type of group is it?

  • choir
  • orchestra
  • brass band?

Does it target one or more social groups?

  • male, female, mixed gender
  • over 60s, under 18s
  • people living with long-term respiratory conditions
  • people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community?

What is the music standard?

  • non-auditioned
  • auditioned?

What is your common goal?

  • making music for fun
  • raising money for charity
  • socialising, meeting new people
  • developing musical ability?

You can have multiple characteristics at once.

For more information on figuring out your group’s unique selling points, read our recruiting new members toolkit.

You might also find that you’re having trouble coming up with relevant-enough keywords yourself. Google has a great tool called Keyword Planner. While it undoubtedly helps Google to gather data to sell advertising space, it’s also useful for finding new keywords based on pre-existing Google search results.

For example, if I look up 'choir near me', I can see that its average monthly searches is between 1k-10k results (based on results from May 2022 to April 2023), and there are alternative keyword ideas that yield fewer results (like 'casual singing group near me' only has between 100 and 1k results). You want to go for keywords that hit that sweet middle spot – not too many results that your website gets lost in the midst, but not too few results that only a handful of people will look you up.

screenshot of Keyword Planner
Another good Google tool is Google Trends, which looks at trending keywords, plus it offers filters by location, search history and category. You can also use it to compare different searches to see which one scores higher.

screenshot of Google Trends

4. Implementing keywords

So you’ve got your keywords! Now where to put them? Obviously, in all the places it makes logical sense, and where it’s relevant, on your website. But first, let’s have a quick look at how a well-designed, well set-up website should look in a Google search result:

screenshot of Google search results of Making music
We’ll use the Making Music website as an example (not to toot our own horn!). Here are all the things that are working for us:

  • clear title that’s also descriptive
  • title is also in the website link
  • a version of our logo appears to the side of the link (called a ‘favicon’)
  • title and then a descriptive tagline
  • meta description (the bit underneath the title) is clear, to the point and short enough that it doesn’t get cut off

The following should be easy enough to add or update, but they might be in different places, depending on how you built your website – if you’re stuck, contact your website admin, hosting support, or Making Music for Platform websites.


The page title (this isn’t the website name, this is the specific page title associated with a single page on your website; for example, the title for is 'About Us') is one of the most important things for SEO. This is the first thing that appears in a search result listing. Keep it short and sweet (around 30-60 characters or fewer, so it doesn’t get trimmed down in the results list).


Google will also use the text of the URL (the unique address or link of a webpage, usually structured like this If there are keywords in your URL, it will help your ranking – but remember to keep it relevant and descriptive.

For example:

Notice how the category (also called 'subdirectory') is easy to understand, and how the actual article title (also called the 'path') is descriptive and succint (try to keep your path to only a few words). Even better, the URL contains relevant keywords that will lead to a higher ranking!

Meta description

A page’s meta description is the bit that appears in the search results right underneath the title. Use your keywords, make it short enough that it doesn’t get trimmed, and make it descriptive.

As in the screenshot above, the meta description for Making Music’s homepage is:

'The UK’s organisation for leisure-time music. Advice for non-profit music groups and individuals. How can we help?'

You can look at other music groups’ website to get inspiration about what a good meta description is! Let’s take this example from the GSA choir:

'The GSA Choir is one of the largest choirs in Glasgow; we are non-auditioned and open to all.'

It’s snappy, to the point and tells you the most relevant and important thing about that homepage.

Here is Maldon Orchestra’s:

'We are a community orchestra which gives local amateur musicians an opportunity to play music in an orchestral setting with like-minded people.'

With a bit of work, you can come up with a great meta description for your group!

H1 text

H1 refers to Heading 1, which is the largest typeset available in most text processors. In this context, H1 is usually the format used for webpage titles, and usually also the first paragraph of the page. If you’ve noticed on the Making Music website, our first paragraph is usually a little larger than the rest – this is intentional. A well-written H1 has keywords and a clear description of what the article is about. Both the text in the title and first paragraph should be relevant and to-the-point – don’t be afraid to repeat yourself!

Here's an example from a news item on the Orchestra Tax Relief rate. We kept the title and first paragraph short and descriptive, with relevant keywords, then went into more detail in the rest of the article.

screenshot of OTR news item

Use keywords where logical and relevant on all webpages, but be careful to avoid excessive use (also known as 'keyword stuffing'). Best practice is just to write naturally, in a way that is easy to read – can you always review the finished piece and see if there are any places where keywords can be added in without being overbearing for the reader.

5. More technical bits

Here is where is gets a bit more technical, but only a little! The following are changes that can be done relatively easy.

Inbound links

Inbound links is the marketing term for 'other websites linking back to your website'. The more reputable, trusted websites that link back to yours, the more Google will like you and bump you up in the rank. What Google considers 'reputable and trusted websites' is a combination of high-quality content mixed with its own SEO rank. For example, reputable news organisations usually also have trusted websites (like BBC News) – so if you happen to get interviewed or mentioned in an article, try to get them to link back to your group’s website as well, because it will help you a lot.

You might have noticed that Making Music always adds links to member groups’ websites and social media channels in relevant places (our blogs, resources etc.). If you’re just starting out with your group’s website, a feature in our news section would be very helpful in your SEO journey (you can always email us if you’d like to be featured on our blog).

One idea you can try is to join forces with another group for a joint project (rehearsal, performance etc.) that you can then write blogs about respectively, and link to each other’s website – it’s a great way to help each other out!

Loading speed

The faster your website loads, the better for your SEO rank! Website loading time is dependant on lots of factors, but the most important are: 

  • how many (and how big) are the images, videos and other media files on the page
  • how many themes/plugins/widgets are installed
  • specific coding issues that might slow down the website

An easy way to check your website’s speed is with Google’s PageSpeed Insights, though you might need to be a little tech-savvy for this.

Media files

Never upload images/videos in their raw format, because they will be gigantic and cause loading issues. Always edit the images’ size and format (a rule of thumb is to not have an image larger than 1000px on its largest side, either width or height or 2Kb filesize; good image formats are JPG, PNG and GIF) and for videos try to embed them from a different website (like YouTube) rather than uploading them directly, because it will eat up a big chunk of your bandwidth.

Many photo editing programs will have a 'Save for the Web' export setting that will save you time when editing.


Depending on what you use to create your website. If you use Wordpress, there’s a plethora of plugins you can install, but going overboard is a nightmare for your loading speed. Some good practice: don’t have multiple plugins that do the same thing installed at once; don’t have two tracking scripts running at the same time (either a Wordpress plugin or Google Analytics, but not both); always keep your website updated to the latest version.


This just means 'is your website as easy to view on a mobile (smartphone or tablet) screen as it is on a desktop computer?' These days this isn’t as big of a problem, as most new websites will have a 'responsive theme', meaning it’s designed in a way that will automatically adjust the website depending on what device it’s viewed on. 

To test the mobile-friendliness of your website, check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly test.


Google will rank your website higher if it meets minimum accessibility requirements for a website - meaning, 'is your website optimised to be viewed by people with disabilities (e.g. impaired sight, dyslexia etc.)'? To do this, you should ensure that the design elements are not making it more difficult to read (e.g. don’t have yellow text on a pink background), use a font that’s clear and easy to read (most sans serif ones like Arial are good), make sure to use alt text and captions on all multi-media files (alt text is used by screen readers used by blind and partially sighted people), use captions/subtitles on video files if possible.

For a great intro on this topic, read W3C's Introduction to Web Accessibility.

6. Tracking web traffic

By tracking your website metrics, you can see which pages are the most visited, which pages are the most 'bounced' (users leave very quickly, likely without reading), and various demographics of your visitors. While these don’t directly affect your Google ranking, it’s still very useful information to know and can offer you important feedback in terms of design and usability so you can improve your website’s navigation.

Google Analytics (currently called GA4 version) is a very useful tool that tracks user engagement with your website, once you connect them both. The way you link them is a bit technical and depends on how you set up your website, but there are many tutorials available.

7. Content is king

You might have read this far and wondered – 'is there a way to cheat at this'?

Depending on who you ask, you might get advice like buying/selling links, building multiple websites and interlinking them, and other tips to trick Google into ranking you higher.

We don’t recommend this approach, mostly because there’s no evidence it works. Trying to spam/cheat your way in the rankings is against Google’s T&C and might get your website banned from appearing at all in the search results. And at the end of the day, if the visitors to your website don’t receive anything of value from you, then they won’t return.

So the best strategy to get people to come to your music group’s website is to be genuine. Write blogs about your rehearsals, performances and pub drinks! Add (embedded) videos and (optimised) photos of you having fun making music! Collaborate and share with other groups and musicians – just remember to add in those meta descriptions and keywords!

Show how passionate you are about the things you do, and get the other members in your group involved – maybe there’s an aspiring photographer/videographer/blogger there that’s just waiting for their time to shine. People are much more likely to respond to that kind of energy, rather than buzzwords and spam.

8. Conclusion

While SEO can seem complicated, there are a few easy first steps you can take to use it to its full potential, and we hope it’s inspired you to improve your website’s SEO ranking (or even create your very first website!)

Here are some other useful resources:

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.