One of my favourite bands is chamber music trio featuring a Cello, a Double Bass and a Beat Boxer on Flute.  I first discovered the band when I watched a video on YouTube that had gone viral of the flutist from this band playing the theme from the popular computer game Super Mario Brothers whilst simultaneously beat boxing.  After looking further, I discovered his band which was named Project.  Having watched a few modern takes on some classical pieces I was hooked and immediately downloaded their album entitled Brooklyn.

The video currently sits with a view count of over 22 million.

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to take a look for other albums by Project and after purchasing the only other full album I could find, iTunes gave me a suggestion that I buy a third by a band called “Project Trio.”  I was a little confused as it appeared that this was the same band with a new name.

I performed a quick search on Google for “Project Trio” the top result was for their website which confirmed to me that this was indeed the same band, complete with a listing for the Brooklyn album only now stating that it was by Project Trio.

Project Trio gave a link to their Twitter profile that I could follow and after doing so, I decided to write a quick tweet asking them about the name change.

@thePROJECTTrio When did you guys change your name? Trying to decide if I should change your name from Project to Project Trio in iTunes.

The original Brooklyn Album still shows the original band name on its cover.

After downloading their albums I was wondering if I should simply change the name of all three albums’ artists in my iTunes library to read “Project Trio” as I often enjoy listening to an entire artist’s discography in order of album release.

When I woke up this morning, Project Trio had replied to my tweet explaining that the name change actually came from something that as a computer scientist, I was already very familiar with.

@wormholer693 We are officially PROJECT Trio. Changed it about a year and a half ago. PT is way more google searchable!

I had been pondering whether the band had had a reshuffle or perhaps felt their name wasn’t descriptive enough, it had crossed my mind that the name Project had clashed with somebody’s copyright but the entire thing came down to SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.

Search Engine Optimisation is the act of refactoring code and page content on a website so that it can be found easily in web searches.  Often I have found myself investigating what would be the best name for a web project so as to make sure that it could be found easily online.  How many other things could you be meaning if you do a web search for the word twitter?  If you think of a nice catchy name that you know will bring your project out on top on Google, you have a better chance of getting your brand out there.

I had not actually considered how this might affect projects that are not necessarily web based.  Bands have, in the past, not had to think of how well their band’s name could be searched because the World Wide Web didn’t influence our lives so much.  This meant that we would get some really strange names popping up for bands that would be a nightmare to search for.

I find it really interesting to see how people are now thinking of SEO when not even working on a web project anymore.  It’s interesting to see that Project Trio felt they required a name change to work in our new web based world.

Indeed, a search for “Project” on Google places the band on the second page of listings compared to “Project Trio” which returns the band as the top result.

I wonder how many more non-web-based ventures out there have picked their names based entirely on how well a search for them would appear online.

You can find out more about Project Trio by clicking here.

As with any change of web address, there comes trouble with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).  If I change the web address of my site, then any search engine that has listed it will now go to the wrong web address.  I spoke about this a couple of posts ago when I moved my blog post from the old blog.andybarratt.co.uk subdomain to be on my main page at www.andybarratt.co.uk.  Well now I had another problem, WordPress Permalinks.

I’ve been running this blog since 2007, back then it wasn’t the blog of a computer scientist but just the general rants of a nearly 20 year old (note that the oldest post you’ll find is from early 2008 due to an incident that caused all blogs before then to be reduced to 10 words each).  Over time its evolved and I like to think that now, from time to time, I post something that someone spots and finds useful and perhaps even interesting to read.

As such, over the years, Google has been watching my site keenly (not really keenly, I’ve just got the opening paragraphs of a certain H.G. Wells book stuck in my head) and what does google see?  It sees lots of posts all with a web address ending like www.andybarratt.co.uk/?p=580.  As you might imagine, this isn’t very informative.  If someone puts that on a twitter feed or instant message that you read, would you open it?  Not having a clue what the link contains?

This is an aspect of wordpress called permalinks and specifically, this /?p=580 style is what wordpress uses by default.  Now if I changed this to use the name of my post as the url so you can reach me by using www.andybarratt.co.uk/changing-wordpress-permalinks-and-google and you received this in a message, would you more likely click it?  Knowing what the title of the page is before you even went to it?  Assuming you’re interesting in the title of course, I suspect you probably would.

But here lies the issue, now google has all these listings made for the old structure but I’ve changed to the new structure.  Anyone who’s ever posted a link to my blog on facebook has just had their link made useless.  Or they would if I hadn’t installed the Platinum SEO Pack, a plugin that you can install which as its top function will write the 301 page redirects for any permalink changes that you make.

This was all I wanted but Platinum SEO even goes as far as restructuring your title and adding the meta tags needed for your page too along with a whole tonne of other SEO stuff.  Don’t be fooled by the name Platinum, it’s entirely free to download.  I highly recommend it whether you’re changing your permalinks or not.

It’s times like these that I should probably write a conclusion…