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.

This post originally appeared on Buzzsonic.com.

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)

How To Crush It With These Awesome SEO Tools,Tips & Resources.

OK, apologies in advance for ‘stealing’ the title of this blog post from Gary Vaynerchuk’s ‘Crush It!’ book, but it just seemed like a good idea at the time! Anyway, what prompted a ‘need’ for this post was the absolutely bewildering array of information, services and resources (good and bad) out there, infact search Google for SEO and they will return upwards 0f 800M results. Phew.

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‘.

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 PDFNeedless 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 easy 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 hold 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.

Full list 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!

Download this whole article as a PDF.

Further Related Reading

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)

Some Key SEO Tips From The Top

I was lucky enough to be in Brighton UK last month for the increasingly influential Brighton SEO search marketing conference. There was a wide range of attendees, the majority seemed to be from London and the south (naturally) with a handful of Northerners and overseas attendees. And much talk that the 1000 tickets for the event sold out in 13 minutes!

Brighton SEO conference infographic-April 2012
Brilliant Infographic via ShellShockUK

It was a great start with the soundtrack of choice Sabre’s Of Paradise ‘Smokebelch’ welcoming us into the Brighton Dome.

Organiser Kelvin Newman introduced the first panel, which was also one of the best, ‘Ask The Engines’ which included  Pierre Far from Google Europe, Dave Coplin from Bing UK, Martin MacDonald from Expedia and outspoken independent consultant Rishi Lakhani.

The organisers already have video archives of the conference live.

Plenty of questions were raised like is SEO doomed? How does it need to evolve? With responses like “seo will never die, its constantly evolving”, “it’s very much in its infancy, much more fractured organic marketing and skills will evolve”.

Rishi was quick to point out there needed to be a more formal structure to SEO as there is no real recognised industry body, no standards and no ethics board and the people practising SEO services were unqualified.

Bing’s Dave Coplin also pointed out that there was a real passion for SEO and that practitioners were ‘alchemists’ with no rules or career paths.

Google guy Pierre was eager to warn against link buying schemes, warning that Google search algo’s use over 200 ‘signals’ to filter out spam in search results.  There was talk of ‘rich snippets’ becoming more important.

Philip Sheldrake was up next and delved into ‘the Semantic Web and the Internet of Things’. Things got a bit ‘geeky’ at this stage as the stage echoed with discussion of ‘Web 3.0’, RDF’s (Resource Description Framework’s) and Tim Berner Lee’s four principles of linked data. I left for a coffee break with the term IPv4 spinning around my head.

Samantha Noble from Koozai digital marketing was next with great pointers on relaunching a brand online.  She said branding was more to do with the customers perception of the brand and a strong example of a great brand was Virgin, with multiple business ventures but one brand name. When she brought up the question of who had trademarked their brand, only around 10percent of delegates raised their hands.

One of the most useful practices to protect your online brand is to make sure you buy up all the top level domain names. Another great tip she mentioned was to reserve your brand name on all the major social networks  using social profile search tools like Knowem.com.

I used this trick for my Buzzsonic brand and dominate all the SERPs. A unique brand name is key. Consider that some of the biggest online brands, Ebay, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Facebook are known for the brand name, not the keywords in the name.

As I scribbled away on my wirebound reporters notepad the people either side of me were stroking their iPads like extra’s from ‘Minority Report’.

Black Hat Microformats? Oh My God!

And we were off again with Glenn Jones and Google rich snippets, microformats, RDFa, extra semantic content and social graph API’s. Blimey, and no mention of OPML after all that!

Thanks to the brilliant Katie at iSayDigital for sparing me one of those magic Wonka tickets!

Related Reading

15 Top Quotes & Takeaways From Brighton SEO (ScreamingFrog)
BrightonSEO Conference 2012 – A Round Up (SEOFoSho)
Brighton SEO 2012 Round Up – Top 5 Takeaways from Every Talk (SiliconBeachTraining)
The Best Brighton SEO Round-up Articles (ShellShockUK)
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool
Welcome To The Koozai Blog
SearchBots: Lost Children or Hungry Psychopaths (Cloudshapes)