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Showing posts from November, 2006

Why not use Open Directory?

Yes it has taken a few days for us to hit on this resource. We have been included in DMOZ almost from the outset and it supports our position in Google but drives next to no traffic. So we should be piling up the human checked sites into our search engine at a much faster rate now. This exercise also highlights the benefits of the focused system we are seeking to develop - there really is quite a lot of dross and repetition in the Google listings which makes me think that they probably focus their effort on cleaning up the first three pages which would make a lot of sense. We've doubled the number of sites included to 36 now.

Search Engine _ Instrumental MP3s

Instrumental MP3 has not been a very productive seam for new MP3 sites - we have stopped after page 7. The level of site duplication in these listings is quite substantial - might be an interesting topic for exploration some time but anything below page 3 is of academic interest really. But there are some possible promotion sites which we will need to investigate. I have excluded Karaoke sites on the grounds that they are too specialists and can do their own search engine if they need too. So it is off to the specialist areas around our own sites content - classical, composer names, percussion and ragtime then I think it will be time to raise the profile a bit. In the mean time an update on Google - signified by a modest one day spike on Rank Pulse and reduced linking sites and like us sites on Google it self - but little in the way of impact on visitor volumes so far and not picked up on the forums.

Progress with Site Inclusion

This little project has given us a reason to look afresh at the MP3 scene on Google and it is evident that this has improved. There are still some rubbish sites out there but the proportion in the first few pages of search results is much reduced and since that is all that most people ever see Google can be well please. Never the less our editorial approach still seems worth while - we are up to 18 sites included now. Collaborators would be very welcome!

Search Engine Progress

To begin with we just had a look at what Google produces for "MP3 Download" and started a selection from there. To our list of exclusion criteria we have added portals that point to other sites, so far we have included one Russian site that appears to charge prices that are not too ridiculous. We also exclude sites that say "delete after 24 hours and buy the CD" - don't think that would stand up in court. It now produces 443 results for 'mozart mp3' and we are number 10! Should we refine the focus on to instrumental music - another area to explore...

Customised Search - Call for Contributors

We have made a start on a customised search engine: Legal MP3 Downloads This is raising lots of issues: commercial, legal, organisational and time. So we intend to use the blog to air these and invite participation. The focus of the search engine reflects frustration experienced in the past with sites which quite obviously ignore copyright so we are going for a positive inclusion approach rather than a black list. This has the disadvantage that we won't pick up new sites very quickly and it will take time and effort to be comprehensive but the search results will produce legal MP3 files for download. Not subscription sites are being included they can fend for themselves. However we will include some of the big boys whilst putting most of our effort into the independents and self publishers. The idea is to help searchers find the available versions of specific pieces of music or examples of particular music genre no matter how obscure, without hooking them in to broader or l

Legitimate MP3 Search Development

We checked out the OS Commerce site and it is evident that there is a new milestone release on its way so we are going to sit on our hands with that for the time being. However yesterday there was an interesting development by Google which came to our attention - this is the new Google Co-op service which enables webmasters to develop specialist search facilities based on Google's infrastructure. This opens up interesting areas for possible cooperation between the smaller independent MP3 distributors or between the 'legitimate' to provide a valuable service to their visitors. So we are going to experiment with it here on this Blog and see if we can generate some interest and support for it. Naturally we'll keep you updated.

Tools for Webmasters

Google have pulled together quite a decent set of indicators to help webmasters check how their site is working with Googlebot and the indexing system. For example a regular reader might recall that we set up a sitemap file for Google's benefit using a website offering a free solution. This included submission to Google - what we didn't know until last week was that that submission didn't appear to have worked. So we used the Google facility to submit the file which had been sitting in the appropriate directory for months without being looked at by its intended audience. More reassuring was sight of the Google reading of our Robots file which has been there for much longer. The listings of frequently used keywords seem to be a bit at odds with our Google analytics results but we have yet to dig into that - it could easily be a timing issue because there is a constant churn in the popularity stakes for this site. It has now joined my daily checklist.

Blogger Beta's OK

After a couple of days boldly trying the new Beta version its seems to be OK. The new spell checker is neat and it is one less click to post which is cool too. Looked at Link Popularity Check for the first time for ages - not much change but modest improvements on Google which must be helping - which led to looking at Google's new tools for webmasters. We have a little tidying up to do but nothing too serious.

Formating Fixed

At last our little local formatting problem has been resolved. The presentation of our main pages is based on a template developed from a commercial package and over time we have experimented with the left and right marginal columns. This is always tricky because of the interaction between the fixed and %age width and height of tables and their elements. The logic of these arrangements sometimes escapes me so there is always some trial and error involved. But at least it doesn't seem to be a compatibility issue for the different browsers just my incompetent coding.

False Alarm

Good job we didn't panic - it was a reporting problem. Unusual because it was spread over a three days. We have migrated to the Blogger Beta this am so we'll see how that goes. We're going to try to fix the Firefox presentation issue today so wish us luck!

Google Hitch

Over the weekend Google analytics indicates a significant fall in visitors from Google so we shall have to investigate. It is too early to panic because it could still be an Analytics reporting problem. There is nothing on Rank Pulse to suggest a wider issue so we just need to go to heightened awareness for a few days we hope. Keeping your posted as it happens or some times even if it hasn't happened!

Blog Resumption

Starting this blog was quite difficult - for one who is not used to putting thoughts down "on paper" on a daily basis. But after a while you get into the swing of it and the daily monitoring and development of the site, the search engines and our visitors provided a steady feed of ideas. Over time the monitoring has been cut back as things have got into a reasonably steady state and some of the tools which we used to monitor individual key words and pages have become unavailable or been terminated by Google. So after our sabbatical there seems to be much less to talk about. The absence of daily contributions doesn't seem to have made much difference to anything so I think you can expect more irregular but hopefully still interesting contributions from now on.

Home Again

Yes we're back from the South Pacific. The lap top we carried enabled us check into our email and monitoring web sites from time to time. The spread of wifi and lap top access in hotels and internet cafe's meant that we could deal with most contingencies that might arise. As it turned out there were no customer problems raised during the period and visitor numbers increased significantly with out any action on our part. But we are back in a new era of browser compatibility problems because the latest version of Firefox renders our margins in a rather unattractive way while IE is fine with it. So that's our first repair task - we'll keep you posted.