Instrumental+Music Percussion+Music Classical+Music

Friday, April 28, 2006

 

More Company

On the SEO forum there are often cries of pain from people who can see competitors using 'unfair' tactics etc.

Our arena has been relatively free of that but there is quite a lot of rubbish in the SERPs when you look at it from the point of view of someone looking for particular Classical MP3s to download. You can put up with the modern stars who share part of their name with a famous composer but it is the sites that lure you through from an innocuous front to another site when you click that download button that are disturbing and frustrating.

Looking at Chopin MP3 and Dvorak MP3 this morning on Google there are also a few broken sites and a charming one that reports "Dvorak 0 files found" surrounded by other useless automated content. And you also tend to find that the 'Free' sites don't actually work.

The Chopin MP3 check was also a dramatic example of how Google adapts the SERPs to individual searchers because on Reladvance this morning we are between 35 and 45 for that phrase across different data centers whereas on my search we came in at 15. This is independant of whether I have signed in to my Personalised Google page or not!

Serendipidy being what it is I also found a Classical Portal site of which more later.

In other words there is not much legitimate competition selling individual tracks - the Russian sites are more of a worry because they undermine our value proposition so seriously. We just have to live with the subscription sites like eClassical.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

 

Old Cache is being Updated at Last!

A further delve into the pages from the site listing showed that in fact Google has - on some kind of selective basis been replacing the old cached pages of our streaming samples progressively over the last month or so. It still has quite a way to go but at least it is making some progress now and our efforts to avoid duplicate content should be evident.

Rankpulse is showing a modest spurt of activity so there is clearly something going on but the scale is not obvious yet let alone any impact on us. Reladvance is showing some variation between data centers for key words in the 30's but the page 1 and 2 examples that we check each day seem to be holding their recent gains and remain pretty steady across all centers.

Having had a look at the way our left panel impacts on the text that spiders see and more significantly the order in which they see it. I think we could usefully convert it into images so that the optimized body text has maximum impact. There will be some impact on initial loading of a page from the site but there after cached images should be quite quick to load and in any case most of our visitors are on broadband now.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

 

Why Site Map?

The Boys Own A-Z of website development page 1 - include a site map. This will help visitors overcome any short comings in your on site navigation facilities - won't it.

So along with millions of others we dutifully include a site map - but no one comes - not for over two months! Can't believe our navigational aids are that good - so why do we bother?

Well - the beings that do use sitemaps are the spidering robots - I am assuming that is what the 101 requests so far this month for our site map were about.

I got onto this topic because I've been trying to think of ways of enticing the Google bot to come and visit our streaming pages and update their cache because I hope that the improvements we have made will improve our performance. Now that I know that humans are not involved with this page I can add links to the streaming pages without considering their sensibilities. Cut and paste here I come .....

The next step might be to have another go a Google's site map facility but I'm not feeling stroong enough for that yet.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

 

The Company you Keep

It is always instructive to keep an eye on the competition on Google.

Take Bach MP3 as a popular keyword phrase for example - there we are most of the way down the first page. Our regular companion Classical Cat catalog of free mp3 organised by composer almost always to be found on composer mp3 first pages near the top. Some of the others are reputable expert Bach sites but their MP3 offerings are a bit thin. There are one or two of these automated content directory pages that are no use to anyone and some subtle and not so subtle fronts for some of the Mega MP3 sites which ofetn appear two or three times in these results. There is also a performer using MP3 recordings to promote his concerts which is cool by me.


There are no other independent publishers and no sign of iTunes but I guess that they don't need to bother. You don't get to the very cheap, Russian based, album download site till mid page 2 and then there is the prolific pianist who is offering his recordings quite cheaply - some album length files for as little as a Euro.

By page three we are starting to get more of the quirky results which don't refer to JS bach at all and more russian sites - not that we are predjudiced you understand. One includes an album of guitar arrangements which sounds quite nice. No wonder everyone gives up before they get to Page 3.


In some respects we stick out like a sore thumb in this company but surely some of the comparisons make us look pretty good. In particular access to our samples is straight forward and our offering is clear but in this company we look expensive. It is also interesting to note that the visitors accepting help from our iPod and iTunes pages hardly ever delve further into the site even after they have been on the page for two or three minutes.

Monday, April 24, 2006

 

Site Overlay Blues

One of the best features of the Google Analytics package is the Site Overlay which allows you to see what intra site links are being clicked or not!

For some reason that I cannot fathom our visitors are ignoring our blandishments in all directions except to hear our music samples. This has definitely got worse lately and is consistent with the higher bounce rates that we are seeing from the index page and others.

This is a most salutary experience for your dedicated web master who is trying to make site visits as interesting and interactive as possible.

Luckily the quiet drift up the Google SERPs rankings for lots of our key word phrases is being rewarded by increasing numbers of visits and most of our composer pages are doing their stuff.

Friday, April 21, 2006

 

New technology, New Ring Tones

It's time we mentioned ringtones again:

New technology, New Ring Tones

Who ever invented the ring tone is probably sitting on a
beach, drinking something with a little umbrella in it and
will never have to worry about paying the bill again. Most
of us know that ring tones are the sound our cell phones
make to alert us of an incoming call. It was first just a
tool used so one person could distinguish one cell phone
ring from another, however, now you can make your cell
phone make any kind of noise you can think of, from the
voice of a favorite band or singer to everyday sounds of
street traffic to barn animals.

Some ring tones make a nice sound and don't annoy the ones
around them. Other sounds are just down right annoying and
rude and those are the ones that are usually the loudest
and can be heard from blocks away.

Birds too have picked up on ring tone music too and a
German study has found that many wild birds are excellent
mimics. Starlings, Blue Jays and Jackdaw' are especially
good with ring tone tunes.

If you want a different ring tone for your cell phone all
you need to do is go to a website that caters to down
loading ring tones to cell phones. Find a website and
choose the kind of ring tone you want for your phone. Some
sites give up their ring tones freely, while others charge
a fee for their ring tones.

Once you have chosen a ring tone, you will probably need to
contact that websites administrators and give them your
phone number. They will in turn send you a text message
with the download. Another way of receiving a ring tone
download is by using a SMS gateway site. There you choose
your ring tone and find its code then copy it as a smart
message. You now should have the ring tone of your dreams.


Larry Brindler operates the website
Free Ringtone C
which is the complete Ringtone research center providing
easy access to absolutely everything you can possibly
imagine Ringtone related. Please vist it
http://www.freeringtonec.com for any questions or comments
about this article


Unlike Larry's Article based site, at www.download2mp3.com you can hear streamed versions of our Classical MP3 Ringtones and our Ragtime MP3 Ringtones and make up your own minds.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

 

Google Update Acknowledged

There has been some acknowledgement of the recent Google Update on the SEO forum but not much excitement.

However the flux continues according to my daily checks on Reladvance.

The most disturbing aspect of recent results is the lack of response to our Spring Sale.

Time to change Composer of the week ... Gounod this time I think.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

 

Customer Feedback

One of the disadvantages of an internet business is that it is hard to elicit feed back from customers let alone visitors to your site.

Regular readers of this blog will know that it attracts very few comments and the same is true of the wider website.

So that made the e-mail from a customer who likes our recording of Saint Saens Danse Macabre so much that he wanted to tell us and suggest that we try and get it on Classic FM's Playlist. Not confident that our approach to them will have any success but it was most encouraging to have such positive and thoughtful feedback.

We have looked at this whole issue of customer communications a number of times but we have yet to come up with a productive approach. Mind you even offers of 50% discounts appear to stir no interest amongst our visitors so I'm not sure what kind of sledge hammer it will take.

Perhaps we just have to become more creative musicians and hook people by their ears!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

Freefall Halted - for now

Much relief over the weekend - the steady fall in visitor numbers has arrested and volumes have plateaued out.

The results from Rank pulse suggest that the "Google Update" activity has ceased now - with quiet days all over the weekend.

But our Reladvance observations are showing continuing changes for us - mostly gently positive. It has also been interesting to see the consistency of results across data centers varying over time. Most days there is some variation on the small sample of keywords and pages we have been watching. Then every so often all variation is eliminated and a day or two later the local experiments/changes start again. Not only SERPs but also pages indexed are showing this sort of variation.

It is tempting to think that this is Big Daddy at work but perhaps it was always like that and we just didn't see it because we weren't using Reladvance or MacDar's Google Dance pages.

And we've had an e-mail from a satisfied customer - more of that tomorrow ....

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

Unacknowledged Update Continues

My response to the latest Update thread in the SEO Forum killed it dead!

So it is quite clear then - we must be being singled out for cruel and unusual treatment - or is that the paranoia kicking in?

Rankpulse activity was relatively high again yesterday and we had an even higher number of visitors coming in on very individual keyword phrases from Google. Reladvance is also showing continuing activity on SERPs results across different datacenters. The movements are not all adverse and things are a little less consistent than they were across data centers. Apparently there should be different results for our home territory in the UK but I haven't found out the address of those centers yet.

Found to my surprise that Google is still caching last August's versions of our streaming sample pages which is a bit ironic given the effort we have been putting into them over the last month or so and Googlebot is obviously skimming our site and not following the many links to our streams directory - no obvious way to fix that as far as I can see. Robots.txt is just an exclusion device for well behaved webcrawlers - there doesn't seem to be a way of inviting them in. The naughty ones come and go as they please.

Have a nice Easter or equivalent Spring festival!

Monday, April 10, 2006

 

Google Updating - We're Still Sinking

The consistent data center wide movements have continued over the weekend in a largely downward direction with visitor traffic and bounce rates to match.

Rankpulse shows a relatively high level of search results churn for 5 of the last last 6 days - not as high as the spike in late February but the next best think and this time we believe not based on a data center flip flopping but a global changes. This latter point is based on daily observations at reladvance.com which has shown global step changes for two SERPs (Search Engine Rank Position) until today when one has a range of results from 37-42 randomly spread across the data centers.

If anything Yahoo is holding up so it is becoming clear that the visitor volume reductions we are seeing is the impact of the Google update and changing SERPs results. As ever there are movements both ways and some 3 and 4 word phrases are bubbling up into the top 50 while relatively popular 2 word phrases are sinking fast.

The update has not raised a profile elsewhere so you heard it here first - even if I am wrong!

Friday, April 07, 2006

 

High Anxiety

Yesterday we reported a Google update which apparently had modestly depressing impacts on some of our search positions only to find the next day that visitor number are collapsing faster than ever and worse still bounce rates for our most popular entrance pages have gone to 100% or there abouts. This pattern has kicked in over two days.

The modest site wide updates we did on the second of those days can't possibly be responsible so we are now very confused and anxious. There is no real keyword pattern that we can detect and Yahoo seems to be moving down with Google.

Very very disturbing or is it the start of school/college holidays? I don't think we've seen a marked Easter effect before.

So let's see what the next few week bring - there may be a bit of a blog gap while we have a break in the run up to Easter and try and collect our thoughts.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

 

Latest Google Update

This one hasn't got a name yet but something has happened overnight because almost all the inconsistencies between data centers have been eliminated according to the Reladvance report I have been using to monitor this aspect of Big Daddy's roll out.

Rankpulse is showing unusual but not spectacular changes in rankings for the last couple of days so that tends to confirm this is an update. As yet there has not been much comment in the SEO Forum so you may well have heard it here first.

It looks to me as if we may be seeing some first fruits of Big Daddy - you can understand that Google may have been uncomfortable about the use of the term 'Google Dance' as a description for their updates - we may be in for much more uniform step changes in future.

The impact on us seems to be a modest with some downward drift on 'composer mp3' search results. This contrasts with Yahoo where we are continuing to see broad upward progress including some break-throughs. There is also a sharp reduction in the reported back links but I think that is largely arbitrary and is unlikely to have a major impact. Some other sites I monitor have seen dramatic increases in Google backlinks today but most have not changed much.

If Google has settled down a bit now it may be time to re-check our optimisation and see if we can claw our way in to some of those more competitive areas.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

 

Spring Sale - Slow Start

Initial impact - zero.

Given an discount increase from 20% to 50% we seem to have a pretty price inelastic demand function here. The new discount offer is pretty clear on the streaming sample pages but perhaps we need to beef it up on the main pages.

Perhaps a link nearer the top of the panel will help and some work on the discount page itself. We might also try some explanation of the basket pricing calculations to help give people the confidence to build up their shopping basket.

We could also try some additional messages/links built into a few pages to see if that achieves a greater impact.

Try, try and try again!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

New technology, New Ring Tones

I thought it was about time we said a few words about Ringtones and then this article came along:

Who ever invented the ring tone is probably sitting on a
beach, drinking something with a little umbrella in it and
will never have to worry about paying the bill again. Most
of us know that ring tones are the sound our cell phones
make to alert us of an incoming call. It was first just a
tool used so one person could distinguish one cell phone
ring from another, however, now you can make your cell
phone make any kind of noise you can think of, from the
voice of a favorite band or singer to everyday sounds of
street traffic to barn animals.

Some ring tones make a nice sound and don't annoy the ones
around them. Other sounds are just down right annoying and
rude and those are the ones that are usually the loudest
and can be heard from blocks away.

Birds too have picked up on ring tone music too and a
German study has found that many wild birds are excellent
mimics. Starlings, Blue Jays and Jackdaw' are especially
good with ring tone tunes.

If you want a different ring tone for your cell phone all
you need to do is go to a website that caters to down
loading ring tones to cell phones. Find a website and
choose the kind of ring tone you want for your phone. Some
sites give up their ring tones freely, while others charge
a fee for their ring tones.

Once you have chosen a ring tone, you will probably need to
contact that websites administrators and give them your
phone number. They will in turn send you a text message
with the download. Another way of receiving a ring tone
download is by using a SMS gateway site. There you choose
your ring tone and find its code then copy it as a smart
message. You now should have the ring tone of your dreams.



Larry Brindler operates the website
Free Ringtone C
which is the complete Ringtone research center providing
easy access to absolutely everything you can possibly
imagine Ringtone related. Please visit
http://www.freeringtonec.com for any questions or comments
about this article.


As a once and former telephone man my memory goes back to when phones had bells and the new fangled electronic warblers were viewed rather suspiciously. One of my most successful telephone development projects involved the inclusion of a new cost and space reduced bell in a modern telephone design. The thing is that people can hear bells - the sounds they produce penetrate and they are not easily confused with ambient noise. Just think of the way church bells travel across a rural landscape on an English Sunday morning.

But with mobiles the predominant issue these days is identification in multi-phone locations and for this reason we have emphasized distinctiveness in our collection while maximizing the use of percussion to ensure audibility. To use our tones you will need a phone that is able to down load MP3's from your PC using the cable and software that came with it - enjoy!

Monday, April 03, 2006

 

The Lost Weekend!

No - not lost in a fog of alcohol - a weekend without streaming samples!

In our enthusiasm to launch or Spring Sale with it's 50% volume discount - up from the 'Launch' Discount of 20% - we made extensive use of the powerful Find and Replace command in Dreamweaver and stupidly omitted to test the streaming sample pages after we had uploaded them!

So what did we find in the failure log this morning but a lot of sample files with odd characters in the filename. It took a moment or two to cop on because we often see the results of failed unauthorized attempts to download these samples in this log. Then a quick check with four OS/Browser combinations convinced us we had a problem Houston.

Thinking back to Friday afternoon's activity and the rush to make those changes and a penny began to drop. A test on Widor's Toccata confirmed the diagnosis and we have now reversed the evil spell and restored streaming happiness!

Because of the way the files are organised/named we avoided this problem on our Ringtone files so at least they were streaming.

Finally, I'd just like to say a belated Hello! to the five RSS subscribers to this blog. After a rather slow start I had stopped monitoring our Feedburner account some months ago and the id and password got misplaced. It took a number of retries to regain access.

It is nice to know that you are there and provides that bit more motivation on the slow news days to try and come up with something interesting.

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