Category Archives: Google

Google Respond Within 24 Hours To My DMCA Takedown Notice

Its always exciting when an artist has a new release go public, but these days (and I’m old enough to have had vinyl/CD only releases in the 90s) its often tempered by the fact that the same day your release gets out it also appears on P2P networks and the endless pile of borderline legal filehosts. So, to try and keep an eye on things the first thing I do is sign up for Google alerts for new mentions of both my artist name, 99th Floor Elevators and the title of any new release, in this case ’99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP’.

99th Floor Elevators Hooked EP

Of course the very next day of my latest release I did my usual Google search query and although the Beatport (they had the exclusive option on the release for the first few weeks) entry was top of the SERPs, and my own 99th Floor Elevators MP3 page was second, queuing up in the majority of the results underneath was a swarm of outlets offering that very same release, free, most even showing the official MP3 artwork, one even having the cheek to use Beatports widget so ‘freetards’ could stream the tracks first!

First things first. I contacted the offending websites in the top 20 results (and this really is like playing whack-a-mole*) and issued DMCA’s (here’s a sample DMCA takedown notice), then I (for starters, I’ll be repeating the process today) filled in Google’s online DMCA takedown submission form with a sample of offenders from the top 10. Be aware that there is a separate process for YouTube.

Anyway, to cut a long story short the results from the first page that I had submitted to Google were gone less than 24 hours later. Bravo.

99th Floor Elevators issue DMCA takedowns to Google

Of course, the very same day those links that were removed were now being replaced by a whole host of new parasites (to which hopefully the same process will remove them as quickly!).

If you want to go through the same process yourself , read this piece from IP Watchdog, which will help you write a template DMCA notice to issue to individual websites (separate to filling in Google’s online submission form).

Sample DMCA Takedown Letter instructions. You’ll generally find that the file hosts are much less responsive than Google, if they respond at all, but issue them anyway. Then, get them removed from the Google SERPs. Start here:

Removing Content From Google (Google Help)

Related Reading

Safe Harbor Not Loophole: Five Things We Could Do Right Now to Make the DMCA Notice and Takedown Work Better (The Trichordist)
Google URL Takedown Requests Up 100% In a Month, Up 1137% On 2011 (Torrent Freak)
The DMCA is not an Alibi: The Googlization of Art and Artists (Music Tech Policy)
Pirate Bay block effectiveness short-lived, data suggests (BBC News)
Stock DMCA Letters (Plagiarism Today)
Game of Whack a Mole Continues as Big UK ISPs Block More Pirate Bay IPs (ISPReview)
DMCA Takedown 101 (Brainz.org)

Conquer Google with these SEO Tools & Resources For Bands & Brands

SEO is something, that as an artist or a band or record label, you may not have had time to consider, or, maybe you thought that SEO was something that didn’t apply to your website, or it couldn’t help (or you didn’t have a clue how to implement it).

Well, what prompted a ‘need’ for this post for me was the absolutely bewildering array of information, services and resources (good and bad) I found online, infact search Google for SEO and they will return upwards 0f 800 Million results. Phew.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation, to none believers!) is something you really should be thinking of for your bands blog or website just so you can make sure your website is on the first page of search results, if not at the very top (better).

I had to get my arse in gear when I discovered that my artist blog, 99th Floor Elevators, wasn’t appearing until the second page of Google results (and no-one looks beyond the first page right?) for some search terms, which meant, crucially people looking for official MP3 downloads were finding illegal file sharing lockers instead of my download page (and more about DMCA takedowns in another post!). So.

Do this, Google a few search terms for your band/label and see what the results throw up. Search for “your band name mp3”, “your band name, best known song MP3” and even “your band name” that kinda thing. If you’re not at, or pretty damn close to the top of the search results, you have some work to do. Thats where SEO comes in……read on.

Learn To Love The Google

Fittingly, it isn’t an SEO company that returns the top result either but the Wikipedia entry for SEO, followed by Google’s own  ‘Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Webmaster Tools Help‘ guide.

What else? Well, I sifted through a whole bunch of good and bad stuff and came up with a pretty effective reading list for those of you who either want to set about doing your own SEO, or, read up on as much background as possible so you’re not completely bamboozled when that SEO guru you were recommended tells you how quickly he can dominate Google’s SERP’s.

Call it your very own SEO bullsh*t detector if you like. And when you think of SEO results, think long term not short term gains, there’s a few SEO horror stories that’ll make you think twice (or should make you think twice!) about using any ‘black hat‘ methodology or any kind of the more nefarious short cuts.

Here’s some quotes pulled directly from Google’s own SEO for webmasters page.

  • Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.
  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
  • Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.
  • Choose wisely.

Where To Start With SEO

SEOMoz SEO Expert Quiz.75 Questions

OK, its a little bit geeky and it will test you to the limit, but definitely worth a try is the SEOMoz SEO Expert Quiz. According to SEOMoz, “The SEO Expert Quiz has 75 action-packed questions and takes 30 minutes to complete.” It was pretty tough and I missed the ball with several answers in my rush to finish but the great thing is there’s a post-score analysis where they tell you where you went wrong. Brilliantly useful and educational.

Google SEO Guide for webmasters. Free PDF

Needless to say, all webmasters should heed to the ‘law of the Google’  and a good primer on what you should be doing and shouldn’t be doing to help position your website as high as possible in the search results is both Google’s own  webmaster resources  page and this PDF download on the basic’s of SEO, from choosing the right title tags, improving the structure of your URLs, Optimizing Content and even SEO for mobile phones.

Bing also have a thriving webmaster resources page, including detailed instructionals on SEO best practices.

Another bulging arsenal of SEO resources is from SEO Book and their Search Engine Optimization Tools page which features a pile of free and premium SEO tools from Firefox extensions through to web based SEO tools including things like a keyword suggestion tool and meta tag generator.

SEORGY

The authorative Search Engine Watch have the concise guide, ‘Back to Basics – SEO 101‘ whilst SEOMoz get a little more indepth with their ‘The Beginners Guide to SEO‘ which digs deep into every corner over ten very extensive chapters which you can follow in the web based version or hand over your email for the PDF download. Superb.

Free Beginners Guide to SEO

Other essential and detailed resources include, ‘SEO 101 Resources: Beginner’s Guides and Tutorials‘ from Search Engine Journal, which is a roundup of the best resources from around the web (and which mirror’s some of my choices here).

ArtDriver.com have another brilliantly curated list of tools ‘38 Free Online SEO Tools‘ which put me onto the Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool. Basically a killer little desktop app which, to quote the website itself:

“spiders websites’ links, images, CSS, script and apps from an SEO perspective. It fetches key onsite page elements for SEO, presents them in tabs by type and allows you to filter for common SEO issues, or slice and dice the data how you see fit by exporting into Excel.”

Very handy, oh and there’s a great free version too (actually I’ve concentrated on free resources all round in this piece). Very simple and straightforward to use.

SEO Glossaries & Title Tags

If you’re baffled by the terminology and search engine definitions (hell, I still am) then SEOBooks, ‘The Search Engine Marketing Glossary‘ should be a massive relief as should be the HighRankings  ‘SEM/SEO Glossary‘ A to Z.

Dont forget the importance of your title tags with this ‘Title Tag SEO Best Practices‘ guide from SEOMoz either. Search Engine Watch also have a brilliant guide, ‘How to Write Title Tags For Search Engine Optimization‘ and sum things up well here:

Title tags are part of the meta tags that appear at the top of your HTML inside the < head> area. Think of title tags like the title of the chapter of a book. It tells people and search engines what your page is about.
Title tags are also part of what makes people decide whether to visit your site when it shows up in the search results. The title tag should contain important keywords to help the search engine determine what the page is about.”

Desktop SEO & WordPress Tools

A few more desktop based tools that are worth trying are the browser extension/toolbar SEOquake which is available for Firefox (where it holds top spot for most SEO downloads), Chrome, Opera & Safari.  SEO Doctor is another popular SEO extention (for Firefox only), there’s a detailed overview here.

There’s full lists of SEO extensions for Chrome here and Firefox here.

If you’re using WordPress (and millions are) then the ‘Best WordPress SEO Plugins For 2012‘ guide from iBlogZone is a great roundup, there’s even a ‘Part 2‘ and it covers all those SEO plugins you’ve heard of and some you haven’t. Nice.

Of course Yoast have one of the best and most popular WordPress SEO plugins around and their official SEO guide is equally as comprehensive, ‘The Definitive Guide To Higher Rankings For WordPress Sites‘.

SEO Audit Checklist

And, where would we be without an infographic . Search Engine Journal have a ’20 Minute (Or Less) SEO Audit Checklist’. Put together by  Inmotion Hosting.

The 20-Minute (Or Less) SEO Audit

The guide is broken into the following components:

  • Adjusting your browser
  • Evaluating your homepage
  • Testing the site’s global navigation
  • Reviewing category and subcategory pages
  • Checking for optimized content
  • Analyzing your site’s off-page SEO

And finally (phew!) from Kunocreative.com is their neat PDF printout ‘The Search Optimization Cheatsheet‘.

Kunocreative.com SEO Cheat Sheet
PS. Just as I was finishing, came across this,  ‘33 Free SEO Tools You Should Know About’ from WebGnomes. Great stuff. As always, please leave recommendations for all those hundreds of things I’ve probably missed in the comments. Enjoy!

Further Related Reading

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Musicians (Ryan Tanaka)
SEO for Musicians Who Feel Like They’ve Been Left Behind (CD Baby)
SEO for Musicians: Understanding Search Engine Optimization and How It Leads to Sales (CD Baby)
SEO For Bands: Tips to Use Google to Increase Fans and Book More Shows (LinchpinSEO)
SEO For Musicians: Handout PDF  (Music Marketing Manifesto)
A Musician’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (DiscMakers)
Link Building Guide: 26 methods to help boost your search engine rankings in 2012 (Dave Cain)
SEO, Why You Are Doing it Wrong (Search Engine Watch)
The Power of Keywords (SEO Book)
Five Common SEO Mistakes (and Six Good Ideas!)  (Google Webmaster blog)
Free SEO Advice & Marketing Tips for the Music Industry  (SEOMoz)
Some Key SEO Tips From The Top (Area239.com)

How to Become a News Ninja Using RSS

RSS has been much maligned of late but still remains one of the easiest and most convenient ways of keeping in touch with breaking news and subscribing to new content on your favourite websites and blogs.

My Overworked Google RSS Reader

Social Media Today, summed up RSS very well here: “using RSS in combination with Google Reader can be a very powerful option if you do content curation or disseminate information to a determined audience. I use RSS very actively as my primary channel for receiving information instead of having to remember every site I have to visit every day to get news.”

RSS Still A Killer App

There has been talk that Twitter and Facebook are replacing RSS as a key broadcaster of news, but thats something of an over statement, RSS is still a key app for me as I curate/read an extensive array of news feeds daily and Twitter is still way too ‘noisy’.

Subscribing to a specific RSS feed in Google Reader is still the best way, at least for me, to stay on top of any key developments in my field of  choosing and certainly in the Music Industry, Tech and Social Media field there isn’t a key name out there that isn’t blogging and syndicating that blog with an RSS feed. Fact.

RSS enables me to skim hundreds of article headlines in minutes enabling me to click only on those that are of key interest to me. This would highlight the importance of writing those killer article titles too!

My RSS Toolbox of Choice

I use the Chrome browser pretty much exclusively these days and there’s a couple of browser extensions I use that enhance my usage of RSS and my content curation in general.

RSS Subscription Extension adds one-click subscription to your toolbar and shows the familiar orange RSS subscription icon when a RSS feed is detected on the website you’re browsing making it an easy click and go to subscribe to a feed.

Postponer Manager is a pair of extensions that add extra function to Pocket (aka Read It Later). The Postponer Adder adds an icon next to every article in your Google Reader to add it to your reading list.

So, if you’re short on attention span or time you can simply click on the Adder icon next to the article you’re interested in, in your reader and the post will be saved automagically on your Pocket page for you to return to and read at leisure. Lifesaver! Sign up free here.

Postponer Adder Chrome Extension

Postponer Adder Chrome Extension

Feedly is basically a news curation plugin of sorts and syncs with your Google Reader to become your ‘Social News Reader’. Basically it does what services like Paper.li and Twylah do to your Twitter feed, turns them into personalised newspapers from content you’ve collected yourself (in this case from your collection of RSS feeds).

My Social Media RSS Feeds via Feedly

My Social Media RSS Feeds seen thru Feedly

You can use Reeder iOS app to sync your Google Reader account to your iPhone or iPad too.  For more tips there’s a great post from last month at Lifehacker that digs around for resources to customise your Google Reader experience here: ‘Supercharge Google Reader with Styles and Extensions’.

I’ve kind of moved away from desktop RSS readers simply because my reader is so busy it was using 70% of system resources at times and slowing everything else down! Not everyone is an ‘info freako’ like me and if you do want to read offline too then Feed Demon is about as good as it gets and syncs with Google reader too. Brill.

Your OPML Starter Kit!

Acronyms you’ve never heard of? We got em! OPML is, in laymans terms is a portable data format with  the most common usage being to exchange lists of web feeds between web feed aggregators. So.

Here’s a quick and easy lesson in how you can use it to move your collection of feeds around (or indeed back them up). I try and export my list of feeds from my Google Reader account monthly at least, then if for some (unlikely) reason my reader settings get corrupted I can simply re-import my original list.

To export your OPML list of feeds (which is actually a very small text file so its quite practical to share via email) in Google Reader go to Reader Settings, then the Import/Export tab then right click and download under OPML download (natch!).

Downloading your RSS feeds as an OPML file in G Reader.

If you have a specific category and want to grab just that collection of feeds, you’d click on the subscriptions title then ‘Folder Settings’, scrolling down to ‘Create a Bundle’ then save. You can see my collections below with several sharing options.

You can grab the OPML and download, email to your friends, get the HTML to post your collection as a widget in your blog or simply add the bundle as a link on your website.

RSS Bundles in Google Reader

Getting Started With Stuff to Read!

Lets assume you already have a Google reader account (and if you use GMail then you do). Here’s three OPML (XML) files for you to download from my own RSS reader account.

Search and SEO (right click and save as..) 36 different feeds,
Social Media  30 different feeds
WordPress  21 different feeds

After you’ve saved one or all of the files, fire-up your reader of choice and go to reader settings, then Import/Export and it’ll ask you to import your subscriptions, select an OPML file>Choose File>Upload and done. You’ll now see your categorised folder in your reader and you have more to read now than you can possibly manage!

Do comment below if you use any particular reader, RSS tool or browser extension that hasn’t got a mention here (and there is many!).

 

Related Reading

Supercharge Google Reader with Styles and Extensions (Lifehacker)
RSS is dead… long live RSS! How to replace your Google Reader shared feed (SocialMediaToday)
Replacing your RSS reader with Twitter + Hootsuite (ItsWorthNoting.com)
The War On RSS (Vambenepe.com)
Will Twitter Replace RSS? (Twitip.com)

The Buzzsonic.com Ultimate Guide to Digital Music Distribution, Extra

Phew, well now I’ve actually finished a blog post for the first time in over a year (hey I’ve been too busy over at Twitter) I thought I would ‘weld’ together my three lengthy posts on digital music distribution and put them out there as one lovely PDF!

Now take into account that I haven’t reorganized anything so you’ll be getting them in chronological order from the top. I’m going to post it at Google Docs so feel free to grab. This is just the rough’ beta mix’ as I do intend to tidy it up and reorganise very soon. Feedback please!

Grab it here: The Buzzsonic.com Ultimate Guide to Digital Music Distribution Extra!

Alternative Domain Name Tips For Music Websites, Bands and Labels

With all the hype about ‘music 2.0’ tools, hosts and websites for musicians, bands and artists, its quite possible that you could easily forget one of the most important aspects of having an online presence as a band/label/DJ/creative. Its strictly old school too. Its your own domain name.

I wrote about it last month here and this is just to expand on the advantages. OK, you have your MySpace sub domain name, one at iLike, Multiply, iMeem and all the other free social music sites. Great, but unless you’re paying for a premium service there’s a possibility that any of these services could disappear down a dotcom black hole. OK then, maybe not MySpace, but its a crowded marketplace and sites do go dark.

dj-website-domains

“Dec. 2, 2003 was doomsday for independent music. As of noon Tuesday, Mp3.com closed its server and deleted its roughly 750,000 files, marking the end of the largest catalogue of free Internet downloads from hundreds of thousands of unsigned bands..” (from the Eagle Online)

Continue reading

Get Your Own Pro Blog Running In Minutes For Less Than $20

Hit Singularity have a great article on how to market your band without having to spam MySpace. ’10 Fast and Free Strategies To Market Your Band (Without Resorting To Spamming People On Myspace)’, in it they highly recommend starting your own blog.

“In 2009 the single most powerful bloc of people in the music industry are music bloggers. If you are written up by 40 blogs then your album will sell twice as much as it would otherwise. Music blogs are a far more powerful promotional tool than MySpace.”

So says a study by New York University which you can download as a PDF here

If you’re wanting a bunch of MP3 blogs to approach with a promo drive there’s a list of over a thousand MP3 and music blogs at aggregator Hype Machine.

The Buzzsonic.com blog runs on the latest version of WordPress, which if you didn’t already know is a beautiful piece of open source freeware. You can get one of these on a sub domain via WordPress.com or, better idea, you can host your own WordPress install on your own domain name.

First things first. Buy your own domain name (if you don’t already own one). I’m now using Google Domains, not just because its Google (they actually go through Godaddy anyway) but because the domain (a worthwhile spend of $10) comes preconfigured with Google Apps and email.

You’ll need a webhost next. We use Hostgator, simply because they’re very fairly priced, are reliable and more importantly have great support if something goes wrong. A lot of people make the fatal mistake of choosing a webhost on lowest price and then discover that the only support is via an email address that never gets answered. You get what you pay for.

A typical hosting account here will cost from around $5 to $13 for multiple domain hosting. Another important part of Hostgator’s (and many other hosts too by the way) service is that they use the online website manager CPanel which has a really great add on called Fantastico.

Fantastico is basically is a script auto-installer, so forget any messy FTP uploads of source code. A WordPress install is literally ninety seconds away.

For a more pro look you’ll need to add a nicer looking theme/template to change the WordPress default look. Thousands of freebies around, start here.  We use one from the rather cool Design Disease.

The only other thing we did here was add a few plug-ins like Sociable, Social Homes Widget, the MyBlogLog and Last FM widgets. Most of the other stuff I’ve added using the built in WordPress text widgets which you can drag into the sidebars in the admin area.

And that’s it. Buzzsonic.com cost less than $20 to set-up, the only other cost is time and imagination.

Related Blog Promotion Resources

Fantastico!Installing WordPress in CPanel (Information Marketing Central)
NYU Researchers Study Music Blog Buzz (Coolfer.com)
Does Chatter Matter? The Impact of User-Generated Content on Music Sales (NYU-PDF Study)
Hype Machine Top Music Blogs (HypeM.com)
20 Tips For Pitching Bloggers (TheFutureBuzz.com)
5 Remarkable Things You Should Learn From Music (And How You Can Apply Them To Your Blog) (DailyBlogTips.com)
Tips For Starting Your Own Music Blog (Squidoo.com)
Hit Singularity (Hit Singularity)
100 Social Media Resources For Musicians (GenYRockStars.com)
Social Networks For Musicians (SocialNetworksForMusicians.com)

Google Gone Wild!

Google is broken this morning, EST 10.18am.

Was looking around for Pro Tools 8 M Boxed/LE prices this AM and headed to Google search to check the shopping comparison for the iLok USB key. Surprised to find that the manufacturers site had been tagged with the dreaded Google malware ‘kiss of death’ page. Searching around for other terms brought up the same results.

youtube2

Even Google’s own paid shopping links were being redirected to the malware page. Last gasp try to search for my own music as 99th Floor Elevators. Every search result for that term got the malware redirect including the link to my video on YouTube.

Headed to Twitter to see what people are finding.

Breaking:What’s The Matter With Google? (Geekbrief.TV)
The Day Google Broke (The Next Web)
Google Broken (Google News Search)

Google Add New Beta Gmail Service for Website Owners

Google have quietly added a new Beta service to their wildly popular email service Gmail. Gmail for your domain is a free beta service giving website owners the chance of offering Gmail services to their readers. Simply put you can soon be dishing out email accounts @yourwebsite using Google’s hosted service, complete with 2gb of storage, calender and chat features.

Get a Gmail account using buzzsonic.com

The only difference from the main Gmail accounts is that the storage allowance is fixed at 2gb whereas the Gmail accounts storage increases automatically as your space depleats. We’re testing the service right now here at Buzzsonic . All the best email names at Gmail are gone by now of course so if you’d like the same service but with an easier to remember email address contact us here (email at buzzsonic.com) with your preferred email name (@ Buzzsonic.com, not Gmail remember !) and we’ll get back to you asap.
Related Reading
Gmail vs Windows Live Mail vs Yahoo Mail betas (The Inquirer)

The Video Search Challenge

I was given a good excuse today to put some of the newer video search options through a stiff user test. My wife is a massive fan of the Fox TV medical drama ‘House ‘. Starring as the lead character is English actor Hugh Lawrie. Back in the UK, Lawrie is more famous for his comedic character acting and plummy English public school accent.

Yahoo Video Search came up trumps with the clip I was looking for, in Russian, bizarrely

A culture shock for me then trying to take him seriously with the American accent that is layered on thickly for his latest character Dr. Gregory House, after spending years watching him make me laugh hysterically in ‘Jeeves and Wooster’. Getting to the point, I thought this would be an excellent challenge to try and find a clip from ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ to prove to my wife that yes indeed, he really was English.
We simply entered, Jeeves and Wooster in the search box and waited.

Engines Running…

Yahoo’s much vaunted updated video search was first. Four results and bingo, a clip with Hugh. Unbelievably the clip with him is from a Russian P.G Wodehouse fan site and is dubbed in Russian.
The AOL owned Singing Fish (also used by MSN for their video search) turned up two results, one a ringtone. Blinkx TV had nothing, their TV search and archive was limited to mainly US programmes. The new Google Video search option fared no better returning one result, a mention in a news clip.

Where too next ? Alta Vista and All The Web are both now owned by Yahoo and as such returned the same four results as their owners. And here’s where the options start to get thinner on the ground, outside of trawling P2P networks.

Talk of tentative connections (or is it degrees of separation, now we’re bombarded by social networks?). ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ was based on characters, Reginald Jeeves and Bertie Wooster from P.G Wodehouse books. He is the quintessential “gentleman’s personal gentleman” and is Wodehouse’s most famous character and also where search engine Ask Jeeves sourced their name.

Related

Yahoo and Blinkx Launch New Video Search Options [Buzzsonic News]
Search Battle Heads For Video [Wired.com]
Will Video Search Pay Off? [Internet News]
AOL Revamps Singing Fish Audio Video Search [Buzzsonic News]

Google RSS News Scraper Appears

News search experts have long been wishing for Google News search results to be dished out as RSS feeds. For a company usually renown for its forward thinking innovation Google have been slow to usher in any serious useage of RSS feeds, mainly because the search power house has been actively supporting the rival syndication format Atom.
ScrappyGoo offers unofficial RSS feeds from Google News
No sooner said than done. ScrappyGoo is an unofficial app that lets you search Google News and generates a unique RSS feed of the results. By default, each feed has sixteen entries and uses standard boolean operators.

ScrappyGoo uses Gnews2RSS, an open source, experimental PHP script developed by British programmer Julian Bond . He’s already run fowl of Google when he was hit with a cease-and-desist order last year.

And then there was two. Just as I was finishing this post another Google RSS news generator came to my attention. The GNewsfeed from Justin Pfister also offers geo targetted results.

Thanks to John Batelle’s Searchblog

Related Links

Google Moves to Block RSS Scraping [Internet News April 2004]
Google News RSS/RDF Feed Generator [XML Mania] now blocked
Google Mulls RSS Support [CNet News]