Google and meta tags

If you have a website which you use to promote your act or any other business, you’ll probably know that an important part of search engine optimization is the meta tags you display in the code of your webpages (if you haven’t come across the term search engine optimization it simply means designing your website in a way which makes it attractive to search engines so they will pick up your website and rank it high in their search results).

But did you know that Google have stopped paying attention to the keywords meta tag?

Now any keywords you put in to the keyword meta tags on your web pages are completely ignored by Google.

I suppose to be fair, it was only a matter of time before Google did this.

For years people have been abusing keyword meta tags trying to cheat the search engines in to giving them better rankings.

In fact I remember the bad old days of the internet when, if you were a singer and you put the word singer in your keyword meta tag 100 times, you could get to the top of Google for the search term “singer”.

However if your competition put the keyword “singer” in to his keyword meta tag 101 times, well, he would then get the top spot!

Of course we’ve come a long way since those old days. Google stopped rating web pages purely on the number of keywords you stuffed in your meta tags many years ago and instead compared your keywords with the page content to make sure you weren’t trying to cheat them.

Of course the cheaters then adjusted their game plan and would use the word “singer” dozens of times in their web content AND in their keywords in the hope that Google would be fooled. And they were…for a while, but Google soon caught on to that ruse too.

For years it’s been a game of cat and mouse between the cheaters and Google.

So it’s no surprise that finally Google have stopped playing keyword cat and mouse and now completely ignore keywords you place in your web pages meta tags.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use keyword meta tags in your web pages though – many other search engines still read them and index them – it’s just that Google no longer do.

Here’s what Google themselves have to say about it:

Those of you who know me well will know that my advice regarding search engine optimization has always been the same – don’t try to cheat the search engines. They’ll find you out and will hurt your ranking (in severe cases they may even ban you from their search results).

It’s simply not worth it.

If you want better Google rankings then the best way to do it is be relevant.

For example, if you are a guitarist and you entertain and live in Wales, then your website should be all about a guitarist who is located in Wales. You should have a Welsh address and a Welsh phone number on your website where people can contact you, a list of places in Wales where you’ll be performing, perhaps a little bit about previous gigs you did in the Wales area, what type of guitar you play, what type of songs you sing.

Be relevant.

Don’t have a website which has lots of lovely pics of your family, talks about your pet labrador, and has some funny stories about what happened when you and a few guys from the office went to a stag weekend in Blackpool and then expect Google to send people to your website who are looking to book a Welsh guitar player…

Believe me, Google are smarter than you are when it comes to this sort of thing, so stay on message with your website and Google will be your best friend.

If you try to use any underhand tactics to raise your profile on Google or any other search engine, you’ll get a severe slap on the wrist and it could be enough to kill your career in one foul swoop.

Don’t do it.

If you would like some more information on how to properly go about getting your website up the Google search results the right way, have a look at my eBook How To Improve Your Websites Google Ranking

Don’t use illegal backing tracks!

Thanks to Billy who asked a question about backing track licencing:

Hello Kenny,

As you know all acts now have to have reciepts for there tracks and must be from a reputable source, will these tracks be ok?

We have to have a £250 licence now, pro sub or something.

I have loads of karaoke tracks but they have to be accounted for.

Can you help?

Cheers mate

Hi Billy
The tracks you buy from us have had all the full royalties paid on them (we pay royalties directly to the MCPS) so you can use them for your own personal use. Personal use means that you cannot sell, distribute or make derivitive works from them (i.e you can’t sell, share or swap them with anyone else – only you can use them) but you can use them at your own gigs to sing.
There is another licence required to play live music or pre-recorded music in a venue but you don’t need to worry about it – that particular music licence is required by the venue, not you the act.
If you use karaoke tracks at your gig then you must first obtain permission from the karaoke company you bought them from.
The venue must also hold the relevant licence for karaoke performance.
Any backing tracks or karaoke tracks that have not been purchased by you personally are illegal for you to use. If the MCPS/PRS do a spot check, you can be prosecuted for using illegal copyrighted music and the venue could have their music licence revoked, so it is a serious issue.
If you are a professional entertainer and only use professional backing tracks bought from a licenced backing track supplier (like us, MP3 Backing Trax), you have nothing to worry about.
In the event of a spot check by the MCPS/PRS you can simply show them your receipts from us to prove that you bought all the backing tracks legally from us and that all rightful royalties were paid by us, MP3 Backing Trax, at the point of sale.

1000w of Bose versus 2000w conventional PA

Received via email:

Hi Kenny

I have just read your really brilliant article on the mp3 backing trax web site about the Boes L1 Classic P A System

I am looking at buying the new L1 Model 2 double bass package with ToneMatch audio engine, please can you tell me if this also produces only 500 watts the same as the newer L1 classic you mentioned in your article, you said your friend bought one but it was putting out a lot less volume than the original L1 classic of 750 watts.

I have been playing the clubs and pubs for about 28 years now and have just about had enough of carrying 2 bass bins and top cabs and really heavy power amps around.

Would two of the new Model 2 system really produce the same effect as my old 2000 watt pa or could i get away with just 1 system.

I have been calling around a number of shops that are selling these but got nowhere with any answers to my questions, just by reading your article it has made everything much clearer.

many thanks for your help with

Hi Daren

All the new Bose models are 500w versions now – Bose don’t produce the old 750w models any more, so unless you could get your hands on a second-hand original L1, it will be a 500w version you get from the shop if you buy one new.

Sadly, buying two Bose L1 Model 2’s will NOT give you the same volume of sound you were used to with your old bass bins + tops 2000w PA system.

Two Model 2’s will only put out 500w x 2 = 1000w.

It is true that the Bose system is very unique in the way it disperses the sound, so you don’t need as much volume to reach the audience at the back of the room.

But asking even a 1000w Bose system to sound as loud as a 2000w conventional PA with bass bins and tops is just asking too much and you WILL notice the lack of power (especially at gigs where towards the end of the evening the crowd get a bit lively and noisy).

Adding an extra 2 packlite amps and 4 extra subs in to the equation would probably give you the “kick” and “oomph” you used to get from your 2000w system, but you also have to consider the expense. Two L1 “poles”, 8 subs, and two packlite amps won’t come cheap…



Honesty is the best policy…

They say honesty is the best policy…well here at MP3 Backing Trax, Honesty is our ONLY policy. See what I mean below:

Hi Kenny
I’d love to introduce new songs and arrangements and freshen up my set list. You’ve been in business for many years and I’m sure you must have a large library of bespoke tracks you’ve produced for others. I live in <withheld> and never play in the UK so could I perhaps buy some of these tracks and medleys from you?

Hi <name-withheld>

Yes, you’re correct, we actually sell more specially commissioned tracks than we do off-the-shelf stuff.

But a large percentage of our special arrangement customers who order bespoke tracks from us choose to pay us an extra premium on top of the production price so that they can have exclusivity to those tracks (i.e. they pay extra for a guarantee that their track will not be made available to anyone else).

Now, I do realise that if you happen to go to a live music venue and hear a fellow entertainer singing a particular medley of songs or a particular arrangement of a song that you really like, then there’s actually nothing to stop you going to any one of the thousands of backing track companies out there and asking them to make you a similar backing track. Nobody can stop others from copying their act. In fact singers will often sing a song just because they heard another singer sing that same song and it went down well with the audience. Comedians also often “steal” jokes from each other. It’s not a nice thing to do, it’s not a professional thing to do, it’s not an ethical thing to do, but it’s not illegal (hey, welcome to the back-stabbing world of showbiz)!

But when one of our customers pays us a premium to have their track created as a unique one-off and we make an agreement with that customer that we will not sell those tracks on to anyone else, then we honour that agreement.

Our customers have an absolute guarantee that if they do happen to be unfortunate enough to hear a copy-cat sing their special one-off idea, then it wasn’t us who produced it. The copy-cat must have heard them sing the song(s) in that way and asked another backing track company to create a similar track.

Yes, I know that this means lots of great one-off songs and medley arrangements are left sitting in our recording studio archives, and that’s unfortunate.

But we have been paid in full for every hour we spent recording all those archived songs AND we received a premium on top to produce them exclusively for the customer and keep them out of our general catalogue, so we have no right to complain about it, nor do we have any right to try and re-sell them again, even years after.

Hope this explains…

Best Regards


The demise of midifiles

Lonell asked me a question about midifiles…

Since you guys sequence, why don’t you offer the Midi tracks for sale?

Hi Lonell

There are a few reasons why we don’t supply midifiles,  mostly it’s down to time and quality issues associated with midifiles:

1. It would add quite a lot of extra time on to our production schedule if we had to chop and change and convert every single arrangement we create to “fit” in to a standard GM midifile format.

2. We would have to spend a lot of extra time trying to find GM ways of creating many of the sampled sounds and and sound fx we use in our arrangements – GM sounds are very limited and not very good compared to the studio sampled sounds we use on our backing tracks so midifile backing tracks wouldn’t sound anywhere near as good as they should.

We wouldn’t consider supplying a poor GM backing track to customers when we know we have the equipment, technology and studio capabilities to make a far better track.

3. Midifiles only sound as good as the equipment they are being played on so different customers get differing sound qualities from their midifiles and a consistent quality for every customer is impossible with GM.

Considering that a GM midifile will always sound poorer than a backing track that has been created with studio based sampled sounds, it makes no sense to create a product that you know is going to be inferior before it even hits the market.

4. Midifiles have been around for about 20 years now and are becoming less and less popular (mainly because of the advent of mp3 and it’s sonic quality advantages over midifiles).

If we are going to offer any new backing track formats in the future we would prefer to invest in a new type of music format than an old type of format like midifiles which are on their way out (note – even many midifile companies have now been forced to offer mp3 backing tracks because of lack of sales of midifiles).

There are still lots of companies out there who sell midifiles so there’s certainly no shortage of places where you can buy midifiles on the internet. In fact I have a couple of friends who are professional entertainers who still use the old midifile format when they gig and they refuse to change because they are happy working that way.

But their overall sound on stage is very dated because of the limitation of midifiles. They also agree that some midifile companies are better than others so they often have to spend a lot of time trying to tweak and fix midifiles they buy before they can use them on stage.

To me, it just seems like a lot of work and a lot of wasted time when they could achieve a much better sounding backing track without any messing around by simply downloading an mp3 of the backing track…but they are happy and that’s whats important I suppose (secretly I think they both enjoy tinkering around with their tracks and that’s really why they still use midifiles)!

I think there will always be a market for midifiles (which is why so many companies still sell them) but in the future I think you’ll see midifiles only really being used by those artists who like to tinker around a bit with their tracks – especially people like guitar players or people who have at least a bit of musical knowledge and who know how to edit the midifiles, re-arrange them etc.

These types of artistes are very much in the minority when it comes to backing track buyers though (which explains the sharp reduction in midifile sales in recent years)

Most artistes nowadays who use backing tracks are solo singers (non musicians) and they will ALWAYS get a much better sound and with much less hassle by simply buying a ready made mp3 backing track.

That way, when they play their mp3 backing track on stage, they instantly get the exact same sound the track had when it left the recording studio. There’s no compromise in quality – it sounds EXACTLY as the musicians who created it intended.