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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

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BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Complete drop of sales

In february it was the worst month ever with 1/3 of regular sales

Downloads are the same, no cracks on the internet, no bugs...
What is happening?
Take a look at the site,maybe you see something I don't:
http://tinyurl.com/c72apb4
alexandar Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013
 
 
Actually this February was our worst month for the last 5 years!

Like you our sales are one-third of normal.
DontTreadOnMe Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013
 
 
Google pushed out some changes to their search algorithm in late January 2013. I saw some articles about it. Usual Google fan-boy stuff about how wonderful Google is and how wonderful their changes will be for the whole Internet community!
DontTreadOnMe Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013
 
 
Downloads are the same. I assume, the is the same traffic too. So much for the Bully Google theory.

I tried to download the app and run it. No problems noticed. (Since my musical senses are as developed as ones of a bear, I had to uninstall it then: no use for me).


A couple of suggestions though:

1. Run it automatically right after the install. It is a minor pain to look an app up through the Windows menus. After all, people download it to try it, why delay that happy moment?

2. On your web page you use a blue colour for a text that is not a link. I clicked a few times there expecting to see something, and was upset at my browser for "being so slow".

3. On the same page you use red text that looks like a warning. Causes  immediately to think of viruses and such.
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Sunday, March 03, 2013
 
 
Hmm, February was our best month ever.  (We're making audio related software too.)
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Monday, March 04, 2013
 
 
I've been running a successful software business for 8 years.

Our natural Google search ranking has fallen dramatically in the last month.

Slowly our cost per click has increased. It is looking more and more like Google is consuming more of our gross revenue via Adwords to make up for the loss of our natural search ranking.

Our ranking on bing.com is far ahead now of our Google ranking.

It was only last year that we were number 3 on the 1st page of Google.

** IMPORTANT NOTE **
When we create further software products they are going on a totally new website and domain with no connections to our current website. WE WILL NOT USE GOOGLE ADWORDS. WE WILL NOT USE GOOGLE ANALYTICS.

As one of the two founders of Google said himself they have an inherent conflict of interest between advertising revenue and creating good search results.

BEWARE!
DontTreadOnMe Send private email
Monday, March 04, 2013
 
 
@ don't tread me
I wrote about this here a year or so ago,I'll just copy paste here:

"I used to be on the second page of google serp.
After using adwords for a while I dropped to who knows what page...

Is it possible that once they (google) know they got you on adwords, that they might deliberately lower your rankings so that you are forced to buy more ads?
Similarly like drug pushers give you free stuff until you are hooked..."

And thread (last couple of comments):
http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?biz.5.841597.7
alexandar Send private email
Monday, March 04, 2013
 
 
If you sell B2B, all of the talk of the fiscal cliff and the sequester in the US might have businesses a bit worried.  Don't know if it would have enough impact to be noticeable or not...
Doug Send private email
Monday, March 04, 2013
 
 
I saw one of my sites drop significantly in the SERPS so I expect there have been some algorithm changes.

I don't believe Google manipulates the search listings depending on what you spend on Adwords, if news of  that ever got out it would be the end of them.

I do believe most of us (myself included) are too dependent on Google for our traffic.
Tony Edgecombe Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
 
Tony, you may be right about that. I have nothing tangible in my hand to judge either way, except what Alexander has said here and Shawn in a previous thread. Both seem to believe the opposite.

A drop in natural search rankings has forced me to look again what I am spending on Google Adwords.

I've come to the conclusion there isn't a proper, open auction going on.

Unless of course you have to pay more to bump up your quality scores, but I fail to see why Google Adwords says my keywords and adverts are low quality when they accurately describe all the text on my website. My software and website is about a certain niche. My website well described that niche. My adverts and keywords are just reflections on that.

Yet Google Adwords says "low quality" which means I have to pay more.

I've said it before but in my niche nobody is advertising on Google search page except for me. So I don't see why there is a fairly large minimum amount I need to pay to get adverts to show.

Assuming 1 - 5 sales per 100 download or visitor, then simply paying 60 cents to 1 dollar per click, does not make sense if your software sells between 40 - 100 USD>

Google has messed up the Adwords auction in my area. In a pity they have changed their algorithm as well and bumped my website down as well.

Google are losing it.

Their behaviour (either greed or programming incompetence or messing up in some unknown manner) is putting me off. I'm a long-term Adwords customer and have put large amounts of money their way over the years. Now Google are just being silly.

I am serious thinking of seriously cutting back my budget or ending it altogether.

Google just cannot be sensible.
DontTreadOnMe Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
 
>I don't believe Google manipulates the search listings depending
>on what you spend on Adwords, if news of  that ever got out it
>would be the end of them.

Tony, you are correct that there is no hard evidence in our hands that suggests this apart from feelings/suspicions from Alexander and Shawn.

But Google isn't whiter than white. Back in 2005, my whole daily budget got used up within seconds at the start of the day when I was advertising on the Google Display Network (website owners get a share of the revenue if you advert shows on their website). When I turned the Display Network off, my daily budget was evenly spread through the day on the Google search page. So $10 USD went in a few seconds on the Display Network, but took a whole day to be used up on Google Search!

That was in 2005. Since then I hope Google have cleaned things up.

But Tony, if you still believe the Google bots are nice and huggy, I strongly suggest you read the below URL.

** IMPORTANT MUST READ URL ABOUT GOOGLE **

http://www.benedelman.org/news/010510-1.html
DontTreadOnMe Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
 
@DontThreadOnMe

> but I fail to see why Google Adwords says my keywords and adverts are low quality

May be it is time to show us your keywords? May be what you fail to see will be obvious to someone else here?
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
 
@DontThreadOnMe: Have you made sure that your ads do not show up for irrelevant searches?

For example, if you are selling a to-do list app for Windows, you better not have AdWords display your ad on SERPs for queries like "best todo list for iPhone".

You may want to show your bids to a specialist.
Dmitry Leskov @Home Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
 
What specialist for God's sake...
This whole thing about adwords  needing a master degree to be used properly is blown up over all proportions...
It is and should be the simplest thing...
Put your keywords up (no one is full to use "potatoes"  if they are selling flowers...), exclude everything but Desktop platforms...and you are in (or should be)
Specialist...C'mon

And they (Google) obviously don't know what they are doing...
alexandar Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
 
+Dmitry

Negative keywords are hugely important.  As well as configuring your match type (broad is detrimental in many cases, though not all).

Oh, and be SURE you're targeting the correct geographies -- I was spending 80% of my spend on 3rd world nations that haven't ever purchased my software.

Of course, as you fix these things and start targeting your real customers, you'll run into more competition (if there is any) and CPC will rise.
Doug Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
 
My sales are OK, but the google ranking thing is a noticeable change when I am shopping. I used to be able to find stuff *which I actually want to buy* much more easily. A lot of the time I just give up now.

I can't see how this new ranking system is helping me even as a user of Google.
Scott Send private email
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
 
 
Ah, so Scott has noticed as well.

These Google bots are something else!

I really don't think they can write software anymore.

The auctions in Google Adwords must have been written by someone completely drunk (not to be interpreted literally). I can't think of any other explanation. Stupid. An agenda. Who knows? I don't. Your guess is as good as mine.

After Web Search all their software is bought it. Android. StreetView. Chrome. All bought in with their check book. In the case of their web browser Google Chrome it is based on multiple Open Source modules and the web browser Konqueror. Konqueror was doing very well back in 2001 before the Google creatures came along.

I've seen these Google fools put up big physical boards outside shopping centres and on televison advertising how fast their web browser is.

You might think the Google fools are smart for writing such as fast web browser.

But no! Chrome is based on Konqueror, which back in 2001 as a fast web browser.

What are these people doing? Apart from search, none of their projects makes any money and all their substantial new software has to be by acquisitions.

If you want to know about the Google I suggest you read the below web page.

http://www.benedelman.org/news/010510-1.html
DontTreadOnMe Send private email
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
 
 
And if you want to know what to do when even dominating search results is not enough, read this:

http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-one-number-45-that-explains.html

(BTW, the source is a 2012 BoS conference talk.)
Dmitry Leskov @Home Send private email
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
 
 
My sales are up.  Doesn't mean much. Do you track app usage at all so you can tell how many of those downloads are run and how often? Any chance you are having payment processor issues?

Couple comments
1) replace the download trial version link with a big button. You really want that to stand out to a person that has read that far.

2) Is there a reason you can't embed the youtube videos?

3) Your UI looks pretty low contrast. Could just be because of how my monitor is calibrated (and my eyes) but I found it painful to look at your screen shots.

4) The text wording is a bit off to me. For example don't say "is an answer". Say "is THE answer".  "Though soloist will find it most useful bass players and drummers can benefit from it too." is a bit awkward also.  Something like (and I apologize if I totally mess up the music terminology) "Soloists will find the backing tracks indispensable and  bass players will find minus one tracks (baseless or drumless)  make jam sessions more enjoyable. Not really happy with may sample but that idea is that you want to stress the strengths to each group. You text to me implies that your program is more target at soloists with minor benefits to drummers.

Now I don't think word munching is going to radically increase you downloads

Good luck
Foobar Send private email
Friday, March 08, 2013
 
 
Foobar, listen to what Scott has said.

The Google fools have changed their search algorithm. I see declining quality.

Rubbish links occupy the whole first page of results in my niche.

Adwords costs are going up and up and up....

With worse natural search results, the Google fools can make out like bandits.

Their whole model has flaws.

The Google bozos only make money when an advertiser with a good, well-liked product is victimized with bad natural search results and so has to pay the Google bozos more money for adverts.

Think about it. If a manufacturer creates a wonderful product that everybody likes, people will naturally link to the website.

It will have a wonderful natural search ranking.

When the money starts to flood in, the fools want their cut of the cash.

So the search ranking does down, so the Google fools can make out with their Adwords revenue.

Or maybe not. Maybe the Google fools don't mess with natural search results.

I don't know. I am suspicious, but I have nothing tangible.
DontTreadOnMe Send private email
Friday, March 08, 2013
 
 
Not to brag, but Feb was my best month. Ever, in 7 years.
I attribute it to an aggressive content marketing strategy I started last June after getting bitten in the butt by Google's changes. I realized that the techniques I had been using were no longer working very well; my content really needed an update.

There were lots of problems that my products solved that I had not obviously pointed out in my content. I had been too conservative. So I started writing articles about everything that my products do well... I wrote about about 90 articles (hired a little help) and published them mostly on my own sites.  After 2 months of that, suddenly I started to see that organic traffic is up, and best of all, it is better traffic than I had been getting before.

If traffic is down to your site, don't forget to think about your content. Is it fresh? Is it interesting?  If I come to your site, will your product solve my problem? 

It's really hard to write 90 articles, but it's easier than seeing my company fail.
Darren Send private email
Friday, March 08, 2013
 
 
+100 Darren.
Dmitry Leskov @Home Send private email
Friday, March 08, 2013
 
 
Here's a few things you can consider. I think they will have a big impact on your traffic over the long haul. I'm not trying to embaras you. I hope these ideas will help you.

Checking OpenSiteExplorer, your most authoritative link comes from your Youtube video www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBRlJDuavk0

I’m showing your page rank is 3. That’s not bad, and gives you a bit of authority to work with. I think you’re being hurt by simple mistakes that you can fix with a little work.

You also have some crap links pointing at your site, but I don't think they are hurting you; it doesn't seem that you've been engaging in bad link schemes.  Overall you don't have too many links and that can be a good thing, because a few good links can be important.  Stay away from buying links and comment spam.  Make sure when you do find a good place to put a link that you link back using a brand name, your url, or a variety of anchortext.

BIG Problem with your home page: Fix META Description NOW!   
<meta name="description" content="" />

Your site is sloppy in terms of its overall organization, and your content is very thin, but you  can fix these things and they will make a big difference to your traffic.

A  lot of your images do not have descriptions. Be sure to add accurate describes for every IMG tag. Do not stuff keywords, but describe the image accurately using your keywords where appropriate.

Youtube videos are great. Keep this up, but add more content to the Youtube description. Do a better job describing your software. There’s not enough content here right now for Youtube or Google to really understand what your video is about.

Along with a better video description, add one link back to your product page from your youtube video description.

Embed your youtube videos into your own site, where appropriate. 

The organization of your site may be a problem.  When I type www.(domain).com, I am redirected to http://www.(domain).com/c5/index.php/products/chord_sequencer/
Why not just “www.domain.com” ?  The URL can convey information about the page to search engines, and if you have redirects all over the place or long weird url's, it just makes things harder.

That said, if you clean up your site structure be sure to capture all of the broken links and point them to the right places.

Do you have a Google Webmasters account? If not, get that set up immediately.  Make sure that you fix all of the errors relating to broken links that Google knows about.

Your title tag reads like spam
<title>Chord sequencer-backing tracks creator-auto accompaniment- chord progressions generator-backing tracks maker-backing tracks software</title>

Your page titles contain some of the most important text on your website. Use your best keywords in this tag, and then use those keywords again in the top 1/5 of your website. Reinforce these words by putting them in <h1> and <H2> tags, but not gratuitously.  Make sure it makes your site more readable for humans.

You use “Meta Keywords.”  This tag is no longer used by Google or Bing and is not important.  You can remove it, unless you want all your competitors to know what keywords you are target.

I checked your home page against http://validator.w3.org  .  13 errors came back. Fix these errors NOW! Google sees this and thinks, “this site is crap because it has lots of errors.”

Your domain name expires on 3-June-2013. You last updated it in May-2012.  Right now, go register your domain for at least 5 years. Year-to-year registration is a signal to Google that you don’t plan to be around very long.    In your domain contact info, use an email address at that domain (not a @yahoo.com address).

Are you social?  If so, link back to your twitter/facebook/linkedin/google+ pages

Pay attention to the little details, because Google is!  “© 2013 DesktopMetronome.    All rights reserved. All rights reserved.”  Why repeat yourself?

On your FAQ page http://(domain.com)/c5/index.php/f_a_q_/  the most dense keywords are download/program/vista/rights/order/purchase/email/link  …. They don’t accurate describe your products and what they do. You should fix this page.  FAQ’s don’t have to be all negative connoted words (like “crashed computer”). 

On your contact form,  the most important word on the page is literally “SPAM” because you made it large, bold, and red.  Again, on this page there is the opportunity to put at least the brand of your product, and make it a more positive message, such as “If you are a musician and have a question about <brand> or our other music software products, please contact us. “  You could also ask on the form, “What type of instrument do you play.”  These things a subtle, but they all send signals to Google about what you are about.

Generally, your content is very thin.  I'm not surprised that you're having some problems. Fix these things and you'll be well on your way to recovery.
Darren Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
Read what the Alexander said.  Downloads are still the same. If google was attracting poorer matches you wouldn't expect to see downloads of such a specialized product. People are downloading it and not buying it. The question is why. Are they not running the program? Are they repeat downloaders who didn't buy the product the first time (I assume you don't allow the user to just keep downloading the trial version)? Are the same number of people starting the payment process but only 1/3 are finishing it? Maybe it crashes on windows 8? If you have the stats you can figure out where you are losing customers. The other thing is if you don't have a couple of year history it is hard to say if these type of drops are just cycles.

I know you have issues with google since you can't seem to get your business model to fit the services they offer at the price it is being offered at. But don't think your google paranoia is everyones problem.


--
Foobar, listen to what Scott has said.

The Google fools have changed their search algorithm. I see declining quality.
Foobar Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
+1 @Foobar

Same downloads, and I assume the same traffic (alaxandar somehow doesn't to answer this). Nothing to blame Google of.

@Darren: good review! A lot of ready action items for alexandar (and me :) thanks! ).
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
@DontTreadOnMe

Please stop blaming Google. It is not going to help.
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
>> @DontTreadOnMe

> Please stop blaming Google. It is not going to help.

Hi Vladimir. February was a bad month for us. However last week we had a spurt of new sales and back to our old record of multiple sales per day.

I think we have enough existing customers that know our product and enough natural search engine traffic to still do well for some time to come.

Even if we have a low level of recommendations from existing customers and upgrades, our customer base is enough to sustain us.

Although our web traffic is done since the end of January 2013 it is still high enough.
DontTreadOnMe Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
@DontTreadOnMe

I think it's time to take of the tin foil hat and to man up. Crying out loud on a low traffic forum won't change anything for your business.

Put all that energy into your business.

Adwords works for us - but we put a lot of effort into getting our campaigns up. (News at 11: Google Adwords isn't a real auction system.)
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Saturday, March 09, 2013
 
 
@ Darren
You now what? I think you talk to much for one who has site with only 2 paragraphs... Also I validated you site (those 2 paragraphs) and guess what?  43 errors came out...
You actually have more errors than words in your site.
Having said that (and i couldn't help saying it) I thank you for such an in deepth examination of my site and some very good tips/ideas/directions
alexandar Send private email
Sunday, March 10, 2013
 
 
@Alexandar
Yeah, that is one weird site of Darren's considering he runs an SEO business; kind of bizarre with that 6 pt font at bottom, zero links, and kind of e.e. cummings look to the text.  "Interesting" set of choices there.

But, that said, I also agree that is a nice big list of things for optimizing one's site; so, thanks, Darren.
Racky Send private email
Sunday, March 10, 2013
 
 
@Alexandar thanks for the feedback.  My signature site is just calling card.  I hope my advice was helpful. I'm not trying to be a show off... just wanted to help a fellow developer get proper traffic for looks to be a pretty decent little niche product. He should be doing better than he says he's doing.  You could have probably offered the same advice.
Darren Send private email
Friday, March 15, 2013
 
 
I guess your/our website ranking depends on over 200 factors          http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors

So why not post your query directly in the google webmaster forum and someone there  maybe can enlighten you  what you are doing wrong etc
Web Developers Send private email
Sunday, March 24, 2013
 
 

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