onsdag, november 22, 2006

Old history

The nigritude ultramarine competition by SearchGuild is widely acclaimed as the mother of all SEO contests. It was started on May 7, 2004 and was won two months later by Anil Dash.

On September 1 of the same year, webmasters were challenged to rank #1 on Google in three months time for the search phrase seraphim proudleduck.

In the first quarter of 2005, people were competing for the term loquine glupe, spawning web sites ranging from shampoo advertising to holiday resorts. The page that won in the end looked rather boring, and used lots of questionable techniques like "keyword stuffing".

Internationally, in 2005 two major contests took place in Europe. In Germany the Hommingberger Gepardenforelle by the computer magazine c't spawned almost 4 million results. The goal was to find out how search engines rank sites. In Poland almost at same time the Polish SEO community organized the msnbetter thangoogle contest. It topped the 4 million but failed to reach its goal to promote SEO in Poland and to get search engines companies attention for the Polish market. Currently at least one contest is taking place in France.

A competition ran from January 1, 2006 to March 1, 2006 and carried the term redscowl bluesingsky, another set of made-up words. It was sponsored by SEOLogs. Shoemoney won this contest, and since he donated the winner's money, he donated it to the number 2 winner.

A contest that had been announced earlier - but only started on January 15, 2006 - is the one by V7N SEO forum administrator John Scott and another search engine optimizer, WebGuerrilla. In this particular contest, both competitions use the same search phrase v7ndotcom elursrebmem, but each has its own set of special rules.

The basics
All these contests appear to be based on a number of common factors:

In simple words, a SEO contest invites webmasters to trick the search engines. Some webmasters resort to spam, while others use white-hat optimization techniques (like providing good content covering the competition, or optimizing page titles).
While there are many search engines around, they all seem to focus on Google in particular. Google is known to be a difficult search engine to rank well on, especially for new web sites.
Most SEO contests expect people to optimize a single web page for a non-existent phrase of two silly words. The main reason for this is to keep existing web sites from getting a head start. But at the same time it makes sure that regular internet searchers won't be bombarded with "spammy" results when searching the web for "regular" information.
Blogs seem to do well at these challenges, indicating in a way that pages with valuable content are preferred by search engines over regular websites, especially when it comes to newsworthy and fresh information of a temporary nature.

The differences
Certain special rules and limitations are invented to set contest apart from the rest. Often, these limitations will make it harder to benefit from the ranking algorithm - including quirks - of the targeted search engine. For example, the January 2006 Redscowl Bluesingsky contest issued by SEOLogs is open for new domains only. That means that the contestants cannot benefit from the ranking advantage old web sites are thought to have over new ones. An example of that is the age advantage Anil Dash' blog page had over the well-received but brand new Nigritude Ultramarine FAQ - respectively ended 1st and 6th in the Nigritude Ultramarine challenge. Most likely, the Redscowl Bluesingsky game will be won by a domain of the style which is bound to attract natural links, and benefit from the fact that the URL is made up entirely of the search words.

Another special rule that fits well with the 'purpose' of SEO contests today is the obligation to 'link back' to the organizing body - often a search engine optimization blog or forum. Since a web document's ranking on major search engines like Yahoo!, Google or MSN Search is mainly determined by internet hyperlinks pointing to that document, forcing webmasters to link to a web site is quite a powerful way to increase its web presence... Good example are the contest announced by V7N and its counterpart by WebGuerrilla. While the first of these originally required the contestants to link to V7N forums, the second forbids its players to do just that. Instead a special link to Google engineer Matt Cutts' blog is imperative. Because of this rivalry, both the rules and prize money on both these SEO contests were updated regularly up until the official start date of January 15, 2006.

By Trey Pennewell (c) 2006 Links And Traffíc

If you are an experienced webmaster then you probably know that creating back links to your website is one of the best things that you can do to improve your Search Engine Ranking Placement (SERP). Google openly discusses the importance that their algorithms place on back links and even recommend that webmasters who want to increase their traffíc use back links. Both Yahoo! and MSN are starting to talk openly about the importance of back links in their search algorithms as well.
There are a number of strategies that you can use to create back links to your website. Some of these strategies include emailing webmasters and asking them to place a link to your website, submitting your site to directories, distributing free reprint articles, and paying for links. All of these have their pros and cons, and some have a better success ratio than others.

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