Instrumental+Music Percussion+Music Classical+Music

Friday, October 28, 2005

 

Jagger2 continues

When you've been knocked out of the rankings it is quite hard to tell what is going on with the Google ranking activity but now and again you get a clue.

Today we are number one & two for 'Marionette Funeral Gounod MP3', with or without the 'Gounod' but appropriately enough not without the 'MP3'. 'Gounod MP3' is in at number 10. Other pages do not appear to be moving which tends to undermine the site wide penalty theories but we are often up against the same competitors on our composer pages so you'd expect 'Dvorak MP3' to be in the same results ball park for keywords with similar levels of competition and it is well down - past the thirties.

Still very confusing but while there is activity there's hope.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

 

I say Radetski you say Radetzky....

For those of us somewhat challenged by the English spelling Google provides those helpful little hints when they think you may be mistaken.

That's how I spotted the Radetzky issue the other day. The material our arrangement is based on came with the Radetski spelling and I didn't think to check and it took a moment or two to get to the bottom of it because Radetsky is in wider use than Radetski but less that Radetzky.

Our dilemma is that people find us with Radetski so we are covering our bets and have updated to Radetzky on the Strauss page but kept Radetski on the streaming sample page and in the product details.

Similar issues can arise with French spellings and we tend to use both if the opportunity arises. German spellings can be a bit more of a challenge but we get some visitors because we spell Erlking: Erlkönig - but that approach obviously dosen't work here.

Be it spoken ever so softly we are number 1&2 for Sicilienne mp3 on a Googledatacenterr somewhere this morning - how tenter can the hooks get?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

 

Jagger2 started this week.

It's not that we are obsessing about this - it is just that without any visitors from Google there is little else to focus on.

We did a general tidy up across the composer and arrangement pages yesterday. Things like replacing "Payment" with "Ordering" and "Tracks" with "Recordings". We also moved the order process details to follow rather than precede the product listings. This is intended to back up the changes made last week on the sample and ringtone pages to make ordering as simple as possible by removing any barriers. What we need now is feedback!

But back to Jagger1,2 and believe it or not 3. Apparently Jagger1 is the algorithm revamp which is followed by a spam clean up team in Jagger2. The excitement today is that the first signs of Jagger2 have been spotted on a few Google data centers and it has been confirmed by a Google spokesman. This will be followed probably next week by the first signs of Jagger3 on perhaps only one datacenter which will be conducted by the search quality team.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

 

Is it the Sandbox?

The myths and legends which are growing up around Google are becoming more and more bizarre as the years go by and their power grows and their eccentric PR tactics dribble half clues and hints into the public domain. When they were just a rising star amongst several powerful a players their reticence was respected along with their commitment to serving the best possible search results but now that they dominate the natural search results for many businesses we have become more nervous.

And yes Google driven traffic is not a sound basis on which to build a business and if your livelihood depended on it you wouldn't go there. On the other hand the opportunity to use it as a source of feedback and testing of website developments is overwhelmingly attractive. In the long run a combination of natural and paid for search is the answer but you have to have an attractive well positioned sales pitch before the paid for route has any chance of viability.

The sandbox is a construct which Google observers divined last year where it appeared that younger sites were being subjected to re-wighting, sometimes called filtering, to keep them out of the top pages of the results because of the way in which their content had been optimized. Apart from the newsgroup chatter there is a site which offers a test which attempts to discern the symptoms of Sandbox for a site. Tried it yesterday and we came out with a relatively low probability but as they point out the results are not definitive not least because Google are thought to amend the criteria for inclusion from time to time and the test might not keep up.

We owe all this nonsense to the greedy 'black hats' who try to bluff and bamboozle Google's algorithms into giving them high ranks. Google's core idea about the use of links from authoritative sites to relevant content as an indicator of quality has been particularly susceptible to abuse of this kind but they have fought back bravely. Unfortunately some of us seem to be getting hurt in the cross fire. On the other hand it may just be that our pages are particularly susceptible to some minor adjustment in the main algorithm that has knocked us off the top spots - we have three different types of page design on our site and it seems unlikely that all three would have been impacted at the same time - so we get drawn back to the sandbox idea again. In any case the wise advice is always - don't panic - continue to develop and improve the content of your site for the benefit of visitors rather than the search engines.

Monday, October 24, 2005

 

Oops is right

They call it "Jagger1" and on the Google optimisation fora theories about its nature and purpose abound. It appears that the impact has varied across different topic areas - local estate agents have been hit apparently and I guess that we may have been swept up in an MP3 focus.

The big established sites like Classical Cat don't appear to have been affected but small scale outfits like ours have been knocked right back after having been raised very briefly to dizzy heights. From my, only slightly, biased point of view Google seem to be worsening the searcher's experience with this change so we have to hope that their long established policy of preferring the searcher's interests will be restored and this aberration corrected.

In the meantime a couple of straws in the wind suggest that the improvements made to our sample pages have improved conversion rates.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

 

What Google giveth Google taketh away

It was a flash in the pan - no Google driven visitors so far today.

The SEO forums have conflicting reports but it is obviously not just us - the best advice available is to wait and see.

No visitors means not much to talk about so we'll probably be off the air for a while.

Ta ta!

Monday, October 17, 2005

 

Quiet Sunday

After last week's excitement it was quiet yesterday and I was prompted to look at the navigation analysis.

It is true that most of our main composer pages have greatly improved sampling by visitors. This is a primary goal of the site because the music really has to sell it self - in some ways it is a lot to ask from a single hearing but with the well known pieces that is less of an issue. We were working on the streaming pages last week to see if we can improve their conversion rate but it is much too early to see any results.

It is also evident that our supplementary information pages have a very limited appeal and some of the generic as opposed to composer pages see rather ineffective. There are also some composer pages such as Bach that need a bit more work.

Let's see what today brings...

Friday, October 14, 2005

 

MP3 Players Support

Looks like this weeks growth spurt is topping out now. Can't let all those number one slots go to our heads because someone else could be up there next week and the really competitive heights of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart + MP3 have still to be reached.

Looking around at competitive sites I realised that there is scope for a bit more MP3 player support besides our iPod and iTunes pages. However, the idea that there are PC's out there without MP3 players is a bit hard to believe. The evidence of browser editions strongly suggests that the vast majority have reasonably up to date operating systems which include an MP3 player. I don't think that the folks who are still using windows 95 are doing any browsing on the internet. The old PCs are moldering in cupboards and landfill sites which is a shame - if you are in the UK and you were moved to do something positive about your redundant PC's please visit www.free-computers.org and see if you can help.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

 

It was Google wot done it!

It is now clear that we have been widely promoted up the Google results pages in the last few days - coming to the fore on individual piece names and composer + mp3 search terms. The impacts are still coming through as this change propagates through the Google databases. There is no guarantee that we will retain this but it does feel like a good reward for a lot of patient work.

We even saw our first two successful ringtone queries today and the start of some cross over from main stream recordings to listen to ringtones. So far Google has only picked up four of the individual ringtone pages but I expect that Googlebot will hoover the others up soon.

A couple of visitors spent a long time rattling round the multitrack store without buying so we may need to have look at that. In the mean time we are progressively revamping some of the text and layout of the individual streaming pages to retain visitors and improve sales conversion rates.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

 

Another good day for visitors

As ever not sure why and it could be a flash in the pan - most of the growth is coming from Google with the customary wide distribution of search terms.

Started to re-look at the BitPass explanation/introduction we use on the site and have one re-draft up and running now. It is probably worth trying some alternative and maybe some variations for alternative locations.

It is evident that at least some of the new ringtone pages have been registered by Google now because we have been getting some hits on Air on a G string by Bach which is the only one where we have yet to publish the HiFi track.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 

Record Numbers of Visitors

We returned from a weekend in Budapest to a record day for visitors yesterday.

Budapest was enjoying balmy Indian summer days and was delightful. A visit to the opera and spotting the school where Liszt taught music were among the musical highlights although the restaurant musicians had their moments.

Looking at our visitors in the round over half have their system set up with US English followed by 15% UK English and another 75 system languages since early August.

We have more than our fair share of Firefox browsers at nearly 15% compared with the general level at about half that - sensible people we'd say as it is our browser of choice. JavaScript and cookies are OK with nearly everyone so we're not too paranoid.

Google is continuing to deliver growing numbers of visitors with the most specific enquiries while Yahoo brings in some broader ones like Steel Drums MP3 and Ask Jeeves the "listen online to ...." type of query. MSN as ever is a law unto itself and very occasionally delivers a composer based query.

If these trends continue there are some clear steers for the future direction of the site and specifically the next priority for experiment and testing.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

 

No Niche too Narrow?

As we see the effects and importantly the absence of results from the site development actions taken over the lass couple of months a pattern seems to be emerging.

We appear to be really quite successful in attracting people searching for a specific piece that is in our collection and the second rank of composers + MP3 but we are just not making headway on the broader topic areas. Rather than a very wide net we seem to look like a long line of individual baited hooks where the interests of potential visitors constantly fluctuates from one specific kind of bait to another - many very narrow niches.

It looks as if this is due to the competition for the broader keywords - it is not just the slow progress we have made with Google links and consequently Page Rank because there is a comparable pattern on Yahoo whilst MSN gives us very little coverage at the moment.

Once they get to the site most visitors listen to at least one sample which wasn't happening before we spotted this issue with Hitslink and rectified it with some clear calls to action. Perhaps it is time for some experiments with simplifying the next steps before we try to tackle the wider competitive issue.

We are off to Buda Pest for a little break now - back this time next week and in the mean time here is a Hungarian Rhapsody MP3 Ringtone by Liszt.

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