Category Archives: Search Engines

How To Issue A DMCA Takedown Notice To Google

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)

And do remember also that this process is very much the same whether you’re finding your images used, videos or anything being shared or exploited, without your permission. There’s a separate process for infringement on YouTube.

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)

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)

Buzzsonic Musicbiz Search Directory Updates

I started the Buzzsonic music industry directory about ten months ago after importing the database from an older music directory at my other blog at 99th Floor Elevators. The old script I was using there, PHP Links was getting a little dated and had these unwieldy session ids and a creaking admin area.

the buzzsonic.dj music industry directory

I upgraded to a much sleeker, streamlined script called Indexu which has proved to be much easier to look after, edit and customize. I was thinking that old school directories (including the granddaddy of them all DMOZ) are just that, old school. Well, you’d think. But even in the age of a million and one bookmark organizers, social networks and web 2.0 hype, I have still to find anything that has made the Buzzsonic music directory obsolete.

That would be backed up with the fact that the visitors have kept increasing month by month so there is certainly a demand. Its not millions, far from it, but the first months visitor count of just over 600 uniques is now closer to 5000 unique visitors a month and 50,000 page views.

So, I’m painstakingly updating the directory entries right now, but with 3000 entries in there already its going to take a while. Hopefully we’ll have things tidied up pretty soon. We’re also working on music industry specific RSS news aggregator, which has been heavily ‘influenced’ by the brilliant PopUrls. Watch out for that one as the early version (Beta?), should be around in a couple of weeks, its called MusicFizzlr.com.

Google Search Bot Indexing This Blog Within Two Hours

I’ve heard lots of stories and theories about how to get your website indexed by Google and the other major search bots, (which basically boil down to Yahoo and MSN) in rapid fashion and my record up to yesterday from starting a new site to seeing search bots/crawlers activity on my server stats has been two days.

That record was trashed yesterday when the Google bot came a calling (crawling?) within two hours of my first post going up on the Musicbizhacks site. And I got a hit from a search query, “how do i get my cd distributed on itunes” that someone Googled, minutes after I’d posted this.

That’s pretty good going by any standards and is a good indication of how much faster and efficient the indexers have become. How did they do that? One simple method actually. I posted an incoming link on my MySpace profile and another in the header of my music directory, Buzzsonic.dj and that was it.

So. Anyone who tells you you need to submit your site to a search engine, or tries to sell you a submission service is living in 2002! Though you can still submit just to make sure of course. Cant get anyone to link into your website (basically all you need is an inbound link from another site that has already been indexed). Then add a link to one of your social network profiles (you have one right?). It really is that simple.

Related Reading

Search Engine Watch (Searchenginewatch.com)
How To Get Indexed By Google (Problogger)
5 Ways To Get a New Site Indexed Within 48 Hours or Less (SEONoobs.com)
Search Engine Optimization Forums (Sitepoint.com)
Search Engine Optimization (Digital Point)

Domain Name Search Gets Ajaxed

Back in the day, Ajax was better known as a household cleaning product, or even a leading Amsterdam football (as in soccer) side, nowadays its an overused buzzword for (hold your breath) Asynchronus JavaScript and XML a Web development technique for creating interactive web applications. The first use of the term in public in this context was by Jesse James Garrett in his February 2005 article Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications.

There's a bunch of search servcies using Ajax

Anyway, I’m one of those people that buys a lot of domain names so I know searching for a new name has always been a little ‘clunky’. Of course there’s an increasing amount of search solutions using Ajax to make the experience a bit more aggreable. Squurl.com seems to be the nicest looking so far with a number of options from the neat drop down under the search box. Opinions at community tech news site Digg seem to suggest that Squurl is a carbon copy of the similar featured InstantDomainSearch.com . They both point to Yahoo domains for suggestions (should your search prove fruitless) and they both point to the useful ‘hack’ site Xona Domain Hacks which suggests alternative URL mash ups.
Domain Resources

Whois Domain Tools (DomainTools.com)
AlexaHolic.com
Ajax Powered Domain Searching
(Lockergnome.net)

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]

Yahoo Working On Music Search Engine

No great surprise to learn on Friday (via CNet’s News.com) that Yahoo are working on a music search engine for finding downloadable songs and music data from across the Internet. The specialty engine will let people search on an artist’s name, and retrieve all the available songs from other music services, as well as album reviews and band information from Yahoo Music. The Launch name was ousted in favour of a rebranding to Yahoo Music in February.

Yahoo are working on a music search engine say insiders

Concrete details are scarce at the moment with Jeff Karnes, Yahoo’s director of media search, declining to comment on the development of the audio search engine last week. Two of Yahoo’s search acquisitions, Alta Vista and All The Web are still destinations for MP3 file seekers with their specialist audio search options, though both have been made somewhat redundant by the more streamlined P2P search options from people like Kazaa, Limewire and Grokster.

Yahoo have been investing heavily in music for a while now with the $160M purchase of the MusicMatch jukebox software and download site late last year and in the buyout of pioneering UK music portal Dot Music from British Telecom eighteen months ago.

“It makes sense because Yahoo’s got access to all this music to begin with,” Gary Stein, an analyst at Jupiter Research told CNet. “Music needs better search, and by looking at the structured data of music–title, genre, etc., they could provide a better experience.”

An estimated 24.5 million people visited Yahoo Music in March, according to market researcher ComScore Networks. The new Yahoo search service will compete directly with other search services like AOL’s SingingFish, GoFish and the CNet owned MP3.com.

Related Links

Yahoo Developing Music Search Engine [SearchEngineWatch Blog]
Yahoo Developing An Audio Search Engine [CNet News.com]
Yahoo Search Blog [YSearchBlog.com]
Yahoo Readies iTunes Rival for Launch [CNet News.com]
Yahoo to Challenge iTunes With New Acquisition [NY Times]
AOL Revamps Audio Video Search [Buzzsonic News]
Legal Download Search Engine GoFish to Launch [Buzzsonic News]

Podcast Search Engine Goes Live

We mentioned Podscope, the search engine for Podcasts last week. Connecticut based TV Eyes, the real-time broadcast search provider behind the venture had promised a launch this month and sure enough they kept their promise.

Podscope.com, the internets first search engine for Podcasts went live this week

Pretty neat it is too, a very basic front end with just a logo and search box. We did a search for ‘new wave’ looking for a possible MP3 blog that was micro-broadcasting old punk chestnuts from the 70s. Nine results came back. Next to each search result you get a + sign, click on that and a drop down reveals a couple of buttons to play a clip, a link to the podcast site and another link which opens the originating site in a framed page with the choice of playing back the show via Windows Media or Quick Time players. Theres also a link to the RSS feed URL so you can plug the feed straight into your podcast software of choice and a link to download the whole show. We thought it was pretty cool.

Related Links

Podcasting [Wikipedia.org]
iPodder [Sourceforge]
Podshow [Podshow.com]
Podcast Alley [PodcastAlley.com]
How to Get Podcasts and Also Make Your Own [Engadget.com]