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Review of the Year (part 2)

August - in parallel with the completion and launch of the Multi-track store we went back to Wordtracker to look for more key word opportunities.

But the key move of the month was our adoption of Hitslink which has helped us see much more precisely what our visitors are doing on the site and where they have come from. There were some shocks when we realized just how much of the traffic we have comes from robots. It looks as if the big ones visit every day.

September saw the launch of some new pages prompted by the Wordtracker work and the iPod/iTunes pages are now after four months generating a lot of visitors. This month we also worked on the Ringtone collection and got it launched at the end of the month. Results have been pretty depressing really despite having reasonable positions on Google for keywords like 'classic MP3 ringtone' , the interest we saw in our samples earlier in the year and the growth of Mobile phones with MP3 playing capacity.

Through the months of October a…

Review of the Year (part 1)

We started the year with a partial list of composers and we used the blog to promote the individual composers and their pieces.

In February we started Podcasting and in March we announced that a complete collection had been published. In April the realization dawned that people were collecting our clips - particularly those which had been podcast and we engineered a substantial change to the site. We bought a Flash application to enable us to stream samples without revealing the samples URL - this doesn't stop those determined to record the streaming sample while it is being played but it does stop the easy rip offs and the volume of sample downloads reduced quite significantly. This change also resulted in nearly 200 new pages being added one day which had very similar content.

Over the subsequent months those files have progressively been differentiated from each other as we have experimented to try and find the optimum phrasing and presentation to encourage purchase from those pa…

Welcome to the new iPod owners

The most dramatic change in our search results since Christmas has been the number of visitors arriving at our iPod/iTunes pages - presumably people who got them as presents and were looking for advice. Unfortunately the changes we made to the pages have achieved only very modest success in luring these visitors into the rest of the site. However adding the automatic music has had some impact in the number of page reloads is anything to go by. Perhaps a little more explanation would be helpful.

Overall activity has been a little lower than usual. There is evidently some activity in the Google indexing system and we have experienced some ups and downs. Rankpulse suggests a modest upturn of this activity as does the MacDar data center analysis. The consensus on the SEO chatter seems to be that it is no biggy - maybe just a little post holidays bunching.

Seasonal Response

This was an interesting experiment and I suppose it is a little early to judge yet but on the basis of the first 24 hours we are wasting our time offering free gifts.

The only evidence of our lastminute shopping article to be found was using exact search for a five word phrase and that was still on the submission site. More keyword competition research needed if we were to try that again.

On the other hand our changes to the iPod/iTunes pages that launch music sample players have already had a noticeable impact with more visitors going on to explore other pages on the site. It is also possible that there is a different reaction to the two samples chose so there is some scope for further experimentation and development there.

Have a very Merry Christmas - review of the year next week.

Shopping Online – Protect Yourself

This article seemed very relevant to our last minute shopping theme:

Shopping Online - – Protect Yourself

These days, there are great bargains to be found by shopping
online. Many items that previously were only available in
stores are now being bought and sold online every day. Books,
CD's, DVD's and electronics are all growing in popularity as
online purchases. Then there are things like flights, hotel
bookings, car rentals and the like that are which are well
established in the online shopping world. More and more stores
are putting up websites that allow you to make online orders
and even supermarkets now let you do your grocery shopping
online and they'’ll deliver the goods to your door.

Added to this growth in stores and other big business websites,
there are also millions of small traders offering you goods
online too. Online auction sites such as ebay are experiencing
phenomenal success. These types of purchases however carry the
risk that you do not really know who you are deali…

Timing is Everything

Looking back at our first two article submissions we may have left yesterday's too late - I hadn't noticed the lag because the stats presentation is remarkably positive. We could miss the boat altogether with this one.

Some SEO chat suggests that Google may already be on to this approach and there could even be problems with duplicate copy so we shall not be going overboard on this one. The duplicate copy concern also attaches to press releases and cloned directory entries so I don't think that should be too much of an issue.

Speaking of timing I have also picked on a site called rankpulse.com which claims to keep the pulse of Google rankings by monitoring positions in the top ten for 1000 top key words it monitored the volume of change each day. It seems to run at about 2% per day with a couple of one day spikes of up to 10% during the course of the last year - those spikes don't very obviously coincide with Jagger's various phases but we know that Google release…

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Online

After those final delivery deadlines have passed and even after the shops have closed, Online stores that fulfil through downloads are still available.

These stores can give a whole new meaning to last minute Christmas shopping.

The goods available as downloads these days include a whole range of material, from software including games through movies and e-books to the ever popular music options and services including airline and cinema tickets, holiday vouchers, mobile phone airtime and ring tones.

In some ways there is nothing new about the principal of last minute shopping on line. Here in the UK a videotex system called Prestel introduced e-mail in 1981 and shortly there after online purchase and down load of software was introduced. (In those days before bloatware I could access an e-mail system using a 20 line Basic programme so the software downloads were tiny by today's standards.) That was handy because Prestel used very, very, very slow modems and clunky graphics but it was…

Is Google Analytics Good For The Internet Marketing Industry?

I have included this rather thoughtful article despite enjoying mixed feelings about the lack of user support from Google - see Catch 22 last week. We were not quick enough to actually get on the first wave of Analytics provision and so we are sitting in a queue with only a modest expectation that Google will respond when it becomes available again. However the opportunity to replace our paid for service with a 'free' one is of great interest:

Is Google Analytics Good For The Internet Marketing Industry?

First they gave us a good search engine. Then they gave us two gigabytes of free server space for email. Now they have given us a high quality web analytics system, for free. Let me just repeat that. They have given us a web analytics system FOR FREE. So whatÂ’s this system like? What are its features and how do I see it affecting the web analytics marketplace? This article explains all.

The Web Analytics Marketplace

For a long time now the market has been split into the companies…

Catch 22

And yes what a wonderful novel that was.

We appear to be caught in a Google's Groups Catch 22. I our first flush of enthusiasm over article publication we applied to join 26 Google groups but before the confirmation emails came in we thought better of it and didn't confirm our requests. Nevertheless we started to get multiple copies of emailed articles addressed to the group but because we never joined we can't get back in to the system to change the parameters to avoid the emails or un-subscribe.

Here's hoping that this is just a little undocumented feature of the beta software that Google are using and that they will respond sympathetically to my request to extract me from this mess. In the mean time a new rule in Outlook will dump all these messages into the spam bucket at the current rate of about a thousand a day.

Later that day:Google thanked me for my bug report and said that they couldn't respond to individual queries - so much for user support!

Have a great w…

Were we in the Google Sandbox?

Found a really interesting article today describing the current best understanding of the infamous Google 'Sandbox' effect.

While we have mainly stuck to 'trustworthy' directories we have succumbed to a couple of reciprocal link proposals that looked pretty innocuous but we also added large numbers of pages with the MP3 ringtones launch.

But looking at the chronology - we were doing less well on competitive keywords such as [composer MP3] on Google than we were on MSN and particularly Yahoo during most of this year. But our escape from the sandbox if that is what it was came during Jagger when we put some effort in to making our product pages more distinctive from each other and emailed Google about them.

So case not proven but strong hints to avoid confusing Google in future. I think that means continuing to avoid irrelevant back links and care over any reciprocal linking and making any sudden moves. Hopefully the article publication route with it's content emphasis …

Nine Proven Techniques To Stay Motivated Whilst Building Your Internet Business

We have been running for over a year now and visitor numbers are well up to expectations, the sample and product download bandwidth are running at close to the capacity of our current ISP package but we are still some way from financial viability so this article seemed particularly relevant to our situation:

Nine Proven Techniques To Stay Motivated Whilst Building Your Internet Business

It's a fact of life - sooner or later your motivation to
continue building your Internet business may start to drop.
Yet if you want to build the best possible business you
can't afford to let this self- destructive tendency get in
your way.

Here then is my own hotlist of methods that keep me
constantly moving in the right direction...

1) Monthly Subscriptions

There are a number of high quality membership websites
available which have the real strength of updating you
every month with new information. If you're like me it will
set your imagination going and give you a kick up the pants
to get going again…

Music for the Christmas Holidays

In our multi-cultural societies today the run up to Christmas is experienced in many different ways. The commercial version pioneered by Coca Cola's magazine advertisements which established the red suited Santa Claus image, washes over us all through the TV advertisements and the decorations in the High Streets and shopping Malls. They built on and reinforced the Victorian version of Christmas celebrations which was dramatized by Charles Dickens in 'A Christmas Carol' which consolidated many of the associated food and garland rituals in the public imagination - and helped Coca Cola promote their winter beverage sales. Much of this is accompanied by 'seasonal' music in the form of carols and hymns - often coral arrangements but sometimes instrumental - especially brass bands and the dreaded sentimental Christmas pop songs.

Music is often a subtle way of getting under the radar and evoking emotional responses from our subconscious. The commercial focus on Christmas s…

Opened a new vein of Spam

Away for the weekend and returned to 1300 massages in the inbox. Some are article submissions but the new feature are the junk advertising and 'get rich quick' scams - we obviously made ourselves targets for this by raising our heads above the article publication parapet - so if you are thinking along similar lines to us, it will be worth your while setting up a separate email address so that you can segregate the rubbish.

Having started however now seems like a good time to try a seasonal music piece so we'll have a go at developing that today and get it out.

We are still blind on the pages we updated last week despite trying several experiments - there must be some code on those pages which is interfering with JavaScript but We haven't managed to find it yet. We also noticed some browser specific issues with the IE on this PC which succeeded in registering hits a few times while none of our others would - so a fairly subtle interaction then - joy of joys.

Music for the Christmas Holidays

As the Christmas holidays approach we have seen definite changes in the patterns of interest in our music collection.

The most obvious benefactor is Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite with the Sugar Plum Fairy much in evidence.

Debussy's Children's Corner with it's 'The Snow is Dancing' is another favorite and forms the backbone of our Children's Classics Collection which includes several of our shorter and lower priced recordings.

Recordings like these are an ideal way to personalize those iPod or MP3 player gifts for a few dollars more - perhaps introducing children to the classics in an accessible, amusing and memorable way.

Google update

Here is a really comprehensive view of recent Google events:


Jagger, Google Analytics, and the Future of Search & SEO

By Glenn Murray | SEO Copywriter & Article PR specialist *

Two big things have just happened in Google-land: Jagger and
Google Analytics. Together, these two events may have
changed the face of search forever.

JAGGER

First, let's discuss Jagger... Just like hurricanes, Google
updates have names. (A Google update is a change to the way
Google determines its rankings. Google makes these changes
periodically, and they're universally feared because they
can impact dramatically on a website's ranking.) The latest
update is called Jagger, and it has search engine optimizers
(SEOs) all around the world in a state of panic.

Why was Jagger such a fearful update? Simple... With Jagger,
Google once again outsmarted huge numbers of SEOs. You see,
many/most SEOs spend their time (and their clients' money)
trying to trick Google into thinking that their websites are
more relev…

2 Blog or not 2 Blog

In the spirit of cooperation with other authors and just to show that I don't just delete all those emails offering articles except the ones that arrive 10 times over - here is a piece about the use of Blogs:

How Blogging Can Help Your Business – Ways to Use Your Blog


As a business owner who likes to stay up-to-date on the latest marketing methods and technology, you probably already know how blogging can help your business. There are many benefits of having a company blog, and a great many business owners have already discovered the advantages that are to be had. But if you aren’t sure how to use your blog for your business, here are some ways that your blog can be used.

Customer relations are one use for a company blog. Opening up the lines of communication with your customers is the first step to excellent customer service – and you can learn a great deal from your customers. Print the URL for your blog on receipts, business cards, and brochures to build interest. You can also use…

Playing Bass Guitar

As a former bass player - many years ago I couldn't resist the following article:

Playing Beyond Basic Bass Guitar

The drive and power source of many jazz, rock and pop
groups is the bass guitar. The bass more often than not
is the driving force in holding the band together.
Still, when the bass breaks clear of the mix, its
sound pulses through your entire body. Justifiably,
the bass is all-around one of the top emotive
instruments.

Yet more often than not the bassist is content to take a
laid back role in any group. There aren't many group
leaders that also play bass - Paul McCartney is a bassist
first and foremost, Phil Lynott led Thin Lizzy whilst
covering bass duties, and Mark King was singer and
bassist in Level 42 - but it is the exception rather
than the rule. The bass is also quite different from the
guitar in that you will hardly ever hear the bass played
solo except for short breaks or in jazz. Nor can you
very easily accompany your own voice folk singer style
with nothing but a b…

Article Publication off and running

Shortly after Friday's blog we found that submission has begun and the number of successes continues to rack up. Apparently our article is a little shorter than preferred by some sites but it was accepted any way. No sign on the links front yet - I'm assuming that we will see something significant on Alta Vista even if most of it gets filtered out by the others.

At the same time a massive slew of spam hit us. Some of it is of the targeted webmaster kind but there is a whole lot of 'money maker' stuff - so if you are thinking of doing this a separate email address and reader might be a worthwhile precaution. I am starting to get a handle on the submission groups now and will be leaving most of them later this week. It always astonishes me how much interest there is in pets and dogs in particular on the internet.

Apart from that our new home page design was release on Friday and has been picked up by Google. Our iPod and iTunes pages received the same treatment in the hop…

First Article Still in the Submission Queue

Yes it seems the effective cycle time for article submission is a little longer than advertised. In the meantime I'm drowning in other people's suggestions - have yet to find the relevant taps to turn off!

We are starting to see some seasonal impacts on the music searched for and listened to - Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and the Sugar Plum Fairy in particular are doing well but also our instrumental version of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. Around Halloween it was Danse Macabre and the Marionette's Funeral March that came to the fore.

November has seen a transformation in the visitor profile to this blog with humans probably outnumbering Robots at last. So we will be operating an even tighter editorial policy for the inclusion of other people's material - for example I decided that you wouldn't really want to read about the effect of music on plants!

The November results also show that we have double the normal share of sophisticated visitors using Firefox at…

Too Early to Say

First impressions of the article submission arena a bit off putting.

I have joined all these Yahoo and Google groups - many of which seem to duplicate each other and I've got to change my selection on some because I am getting multiple copies of recently published articles on a most extraordinary range of topics. The digests on the other hand look rather good - it is possible to quickly scan what is available and I'm sure we will be publishing some of them here.

The submission site we are using has a 24-48 hour update cycle so it will be a day or two before we see any impact. As with the PR sites there are upgrade options that you have to pay for but we'll wait and see what the free offering does first.

A quick look at our details on Google shows that they have picked up some of the new product info pages but they are jumbled in with everything else so I'm not sure what proportion have been picked up. As far as I can see each of these blog pages is included so I guess…

Google's New Search Quality Strategy

The Jagger changes on Google reflect a new more careful approach.At Least that is how it looks from Download2MP3.com - despite or perhaps because of the extraordinary impact these changes have had on us. It looks as if they have not only broken up the changes into bite size pieces, they are also running extended testing on a small number of datacenters. For example Jagger phase 3 had an extended testing phase - it looked likely that our Bach mp3 page might get moved back to the second page which is bound to impact traffic to that popular page but that most of our pages are un-affected. This is consistent with the comments that suggest that this was a spam elimination/correction phase.

On reflection it appears that Google may have the capacity to monitor searcher behaviour quite closely and I could imagine that they would develop indicators of search results quality by the extent to which searchers dig down into subsequent pages or make subsequent qualifications to searches. For exampl…

Article Publication 2

Now the boot is moving to the other foot.

Rather than publishing other people's pieces I am now looking at publishing my articles else where in pursuit of those elusive one way context rich links back to our site.

This blog should be a reasonable source of material for some articles and we could generate some new ones. It is not clear to me who read this stuff but I suppose it is a mistake to underestimate / overlook the very specific interests which some people follow because search engines provide the means to pursue them remorselessly.

This activity is competing for our time with updates to some pages that are performing less well than they might and where a bit of testing is now in order. But we do need to try it out soon.

Our index page has become rather difficult to format because of the laundry lists of spider friendly links so we have taken on a new template which uses the same topline but formats the rest of the page in a more helpful way. We'll probably use this on some …

Blog Readers (Audience Research)

Writing this blog is an odd experience - particularly when it became clear that the majority audience was robots. That has been compounded recently by erratic updates on Yahoo's listing of links to the site. It appears that Alta Vista is continuing to accumulate each entry in it's list of links but Yahoo is getting increasingly selective as to which it includes. Never the less these entries do get picked up in the search engines and occasionally match someone's search criteria.

Looking back at this month it has been very noticeable that we have attracted quite a few human readers. In particular our Google Jagger Update commentary has not only attracted visitors but the average viewing time of some of those articles has been exceptionally high (I didn't think that the text was that dense - perhaps it prompted some checking by the more skeptical). I'm not sure how to respond to this - it seems pretty clear that this aspect of our website development is of interest so …

Refining our copy

Now that we have a good volume of traffic from visitors interested in our product area the next task is to drive up the conversion to sales. Here is an article with some advice that we will be endeavoring to follow:

A 7 Step Program To Produce More Sales - Step Two

Part one of this series we explored 4 ways to increase your
sales. All 4 ways perform good but the second one
increasing, your conversion rates gave the best results
with less cost and effort.
http://www.mpstrategiesfirm/articles

If your traffic does nothing then driving targeted visitors
to your site has little value. You'll need a lot of
visitors with a low conversion. If you don't want to spend
more money or work part harder to make a sale then focus on
increasing your conversion rate.

How do you increase your conversion rate?
You will find the answers in the rest of the steps. So
moving right along... let us get to step 2

Step 2: The Most Important Marketing Technique

I'd like to tell you this method remains one of those b…

New Readers Start Here

Welcome to the human readers who have started to arrive in small but measurable numbers.

After nearly a year of addressing an audience primarily composed of robots it is a real pleasure to notice that some people are coming to read current postings rather than delving in the archives following a search result. I just hope we can keep things interesting enough for you.

The last few weeks have been the most exciting in the life of this business and its website - there is nothing like customer feedback to breath life into this sort of venture. Behind the scenes we are paddling like mad to update the product information pages in the multi-track shop to the new standard which looks like a Bag o Rags Ringtone . Almost all the Ringtones are done now - on with the composers!

The big five composers continue to dominate the search results - Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Mozart and our one hit wonder - Widor and the amazing Toccata from his 5th Symphony.

Traffic brings Sales!

After a lag of a few days our new found levels of traffic are generating sales at unprecedented levels. Purchases are often made on subsequent visits so this sort of lag is to be expected. I suspect that a presence on many Google first pages strengthens searchers perception of a site and encourages those return visits.

This is a most encouraging development to associate with our first birthday.

So to was the feedback from a customer who experienced problems setting up an account at our multitrack store. In our enthusiasm to simplify things we overlooked some end to end testing and it was not fit for purpose - thankfully the impact on potential customers has been minimal and it has now been fixed.

Happy days!

Article Publication

From time to time we include articles in this blog if they are reasonably relevant to topics we are discussing. They are obviously sent to us to help the authors promote their sites and I guess that bloggers all over the place get these things in the in box. Most are not relevant and get binned straight away - this is what you might call an editorial policy. Just see how I care for my robot readers!

Then today on the SEO fora I read about the sites that post articles from all comers - some without even a login. This looks ripe for abuse to me and I can see Google black listing them in no time flat or am I missing a trick. Will the person who is producing an automated submitter make a killing or become a heroic helper for the assiduous web site promoters?

Of course the objective is to embed links with targeted keywords in the text of the articles so that they appear to Google as natural links and enhance their ranking of the site linked to. There is a feeling that reciprocal links ha…

The Slog of Implementation

We do have a lot of product pages - which is a good thing.

Individualizing even the minimal text on the product pages is hard work - hence the slog.

The Classical and Ragtime Ringtone pages are almost done now and its on with the composers for the next few days.

It looks as if Google has settled down now and Jagger is complete - they have stopped talking about it in the fora and our probes on the google dance tool have nearly all settled down. We did slip a little on a couple of composers but our visitor levels are holding up well.

Multi Track Store - Product Pages Re-designed

Well it has taken a little while but hopefully it will be worth the effort.

The new design of the product page in the multi track store has just been completed - all the tricky little programming issues have been resolved to our satisfaction - one completed and only 208 to go.

Naturally we have started at the beginning of the alphabet and that means that the completed file is the page for the First Movement of the Second Brandenburg Concerto by JS Bach.

There is some risk that we are reducing the internal links to the 'htm' product pages but it is more important that the site works smoothly for our customers and we present our products in the best possible light or in this case sound.

Jagger3 - propagation underway

Nothing too dramatic for us but some adjustments on individual key words and no rhyme or reason that we can detect so far.

We resume the struggle with the MP3 player software in the the multitrack shop today.

Then we'll get down to making some music again.

Jagger3 - Forum Contribution

Just posted this and thought the robots might like to see it here too:

Not sure it is over yet

The Mac Dar Google dance tool is still showing potential changes for some of our keywords.

In contrast with others here we have seen dramatic shifts through the various phases of Jagger. Initially we were cast into the outer 700s and naturally traffic disappeared altogether then two weeks in - presumably Jagger2 restored good results previously seen together with a whole lot more so that our traffic is now consistently (for a week) 200% above previous highest levels.

We only took one set of panicky actions prompted by comments in this forum which was to reduce the risk of our 250 product pages being seen as duplicates by reducing the proportion of boilerplate text and inserting some variety for the sake of it. The modified pages were picked up before we saw the dramatic improvement so it is just conceivable that there was cause and effect.

The prospective Jagger3 changes that we have spotted so f…

Security Check

Strange behavior recorded yesterday. It looks as if one of the customers at the weekend decided to make extensive use of the generous download facilities his purchase offered him. No one had done this before so we had left them alone.

When we set up the first tranche of products the default on Bitpass was 100 downloads over 7 days. With experience this has come down but retrospective changes have to be hand crafted - tedious or what. But prompted by this anomaly we set to and have brought all our products down to 5 downloads over 3 days. Hopefully that will put an end to it - there are some indications in the log that we may have thwarted further downloads by this customer or his friends - so perhaps we don't need to worry too much. However - eternal vigilence and all that are obviously called for.

Starting on amendments to the product pages in the multi track store today - must be careful not to repeat the existing pages. The intention is to simplify the buying process for this rou…

Google Search Quality Strategy

I think that the Jagger changes on Google reflect a new more careful approach. Despite the extraordinary impact these changes have had on us - it looks to me as if they have not only broken up the changes into bite size pieces, they are also running extended testing on a small number of datacenters.

It occurred to me that Google probably have the capacity to monitor searcher behavior quite closely and I could imagine that they would develop indicators of search results quality by the extent to which searchers dig down into subsequent pages or make subsequent qualifications to searches. For example from their point of view if people are satisfied with what is offered on page 1 then job done - otherwise further refinement may be called for. In addition they could look at returns to the search page for more results and the timings of those returns. These sort of metrics would provide an objective means of assessing whether planned changes improve searcher outcomes or worsen them.

If this …

That was Jagger2 ... Now Jagger3

We got a bit ahead of ourselves again. According to the oracle, no database intended, Jagger3 has just appeared on the two 66.102.9.104 datacenters and a quick inspection suggest that some of our more competitive keywords may slip back a few places - possibly off the first page which will reduce traffic somewhat.

The links which Google recognise have changed again - still a very odd selection. The fora also includes some case studies of the impact of duplicate content pages being penalized in a big way for the first time in Jagger1 confirming the view that our efforts last week were not in vain but actually very timely and picked up in Jagger2. This has given me some fresh ideas for the way we display our products in the muti-track store and add more new pages but that is going to need some feasibility testing. The quality of the list of similar sites on Google is also getting better and that has given me an idea for a one way linking scheme that we might instigate.

This stuff really is…

Basking in Success

The scales on the traffic charts have had to be changed by an order of magnitude - I keep pinching myself to check that these results are real but it looks as if Jagger is really over and we have come out near the top on virtually everything we have targeted - even ' classical ringtones mp3' is at the top of the first page and visitor are starting to arrive.

The comments on the fora seem quite subdued now - it looks as if some are stunned and others have been virtually unaffected. When we look at the other sites on the first pages where we appear they are mostly the old familiar faces - it is just that we up there with them much more often now - nowhere to first rank in one year is not a bad achievement. But the events of the last week are a strong reminder of the fragility of an organic search based strategy. Now if we can get conversion rates up then it will be worth going for paid ads as well and that is the next challenge. However it is not clear that anyone else in this li…

Another 50% increase in visitors yesterday

All our composer pages bar Mozart are on page 1 now and our other collection pages are up there too for the first time. We can already see which pages need some development and there are clearly opportunities for more collection pages.

The commentators are suggesting that reciprocal links have been discounted out of existence by Google and that is in line with our link development policy which is probably why we have done pretty well. But it makes our inclusion of other peoples articles in this blog that much more valuable to them because they contain one way text links. So we shall be even more selective in future. We also need to keep the press releases coming because they seem to help - once again Google is able to rely on humans elsewhere to eliminate the spam.

It really does look as if Jagger is complete and we can get back to the business of making and selling music. But we've learnt a few things and we'll be better prepared next time.

Download2MP3

Wow - it was well worth waiting for

Yes folks it looks like Jagger3 has been propagated all round the Google world and we have done very well - not just for specific pieces but we even have decent showings in the most competitive 'composer mp3' results pages. Visitor levels are double the highest seen before.

We have also seen our generic pages picking up and even 'classical mp3 ringtones' has got to number 3. So we should start to see the impact of a lot of the site development work we have done over the last few months. The updates we did to the ringtone pages are up there now so it is just about feasible that they have made a contribution to this result. It is even possible that some one at Google read my email and acted on it - so I shall obviously have to abstain from using WebPosition Gold to check our positions on Google until they see sense and agree to reasonable levels of automated searching.

Was it worth all the agonizing - probably. Definitely, if we hold the gains and are able to build on them…

The Jagger3 Suspense Continues ....

According to the redoubtable Mike Cutts Jagger3 can be found on the Datacenter at 66.102.9.104

This threw me for a while because I had been using 'Gounod Marionette Funeral March' as my probe on the McDar's tool and it was down around 600th on that datacenter but First on some others which are probably at Jagger2. Further checking shows that some of our other targeted keywords are up on Jagger3 compared with Jagger2 and others are down and we can't really see any pattern. At least the whole site has not been relegated as it was with Jagger1. The data also suggests that Jagger3 has propagated to a few other Datacenters.

So it is wait and see for a few more days by the look of things.

It is also evident that our efforts on the product pages have yet to be picked up by Google so we may get some more benefits there in due course.

Webmasters hold their breath

It could be another flash in the pan but those Google searchers are back on the site this morning.

It is clear that another big change is propagating across the Google datacenters again and we have bubbled back up to several page 1 positions. But it is not here on our datacenters yet and the McDar system is overloaded again.

Word on the SEO street reflects the excitement and confusion this is causing.

The thing is that Google isn't just responsible for delivering around 60% of the search results - it is that Google users tend to be the more sophisticated searchers who are more likely to follow through their search to a purchase if they find what they want. This matches our strategy where we have pages targeted not just on individual composers but individual pieces that are likely to meet the needs of those rifle shot searches.

So fingers and toes crossed to see how it all turns out.

Download2mp3.com

Jagger3 arrived - I think

The search results available this morning suggested that our few remaining Google first page positions were sinking far and fast and that has been confirmed on the McDar Google dance quick checker.

This lines up with observations in the SEO forums although there is some doubt whether it is actually Jagger3. Net net we are disappearing off the face of Google for the time being at least.

Meanwhile back to the product pages....

Download2mp3.com

Jagger3 expected today

This is turning into an obsession but I suppose it will be over soon.

It was a great day for spiders yesterday with just 1 in 20 pages downloaded being seen by humans. In particular they were all over this blog so perhaps there is a new spider on the block.

The word on the street continues to produce a whole range of theories - none of which can be substantiated. But they provide company for us in our misery.

One helpful observation is that Google have gone back to using the description tag content if it is available so our efforts to smarten up that aspect of our product sample pages is obviously worthwhile. In the absence of a description tag the first line of paragraph text is being used which isn't always too helpful on those pages but at least that is under our control.

Download2MP3.com

Search Quality

This week we are supposed to start to see Jagger3 kick in. Apparently this is the search quality testing and improvement phase of this latest ranking upheaval on Google.

From my not very unbiased perspective here are a couple of related observations:

For the first time I can remember - over the weekend we got a visitor from the 399th search result out of 400 results. This gives a bit of a clue that people are not finding what they want on page 1 - as do the people yesterday who dived down to page 8 to find the Halloween music like Danse Macabre they were looking for.

For our own part the suggestions that a new filter may be catching sites with repetitive content pages has prompted more work to vary our product pages with in the limits of keeping them, relevant and helpful to visitors. When we started to produce these pages we did not expect them to feature is search results but we did a modest amount of optimisation around some target key words. On reflection some of this was a bit clum…

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.

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 mor…

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 datacente…

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 Go…

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.