Say No To SEO Contests & Black Hat SEO Methods

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2006-10-2516

I came across an SEO contest, which is rather a bizarre online event. Why do people waste their time on black hat approaches to gain search ranking? Why do they engage in such bad online experiments?

In the world of online business, there’s such a thing as “SEO” or “search engine optimization”. It’s an important element required to make money online. The more you know about this aspect of the online world, the better equipped you are for possible success as an online publisher.

Now I stumbled upon this rather strange sight (pun intended) the other day and I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. This was a blog that I thought was in some foreign language that I was unfamiliar with, or maybe I was just dense and this was beyond my intellectual capacity to comprehend. But no, I stumbled upon another curiosity birthed by cyberspace — an SEO contest. What were some people doing? They were trying to win money by gaming the search engines.

For the chance to win anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand in cash and prizes, you can join this contest which allows you to show off how skilled you are with Search Engine Optimization, the practice of rigging your website or weblog so that your site ranks well in search engines. The main focus of optimization is for a site owner to attempt to get a high page rank in a web environment for a given set of keywords, using various methods such as keyword utilization. However, many webmasters turn to terribly desperate measures such as keyword stuffing, spamming or outright plagiarism of the exact same posts. Let’s look at a few aspects of this set up:

Why SEO Contests & Black Hat Methods Are A Waste Of Time

Here are some reasons why SEO contests suck.

1. They don’t make sense.
Just take a look at how lame this looks. It’s gibberish, plain and simple.

SEO Contests, Black Hat Methods Don't Work

As a first-time beholder of such an event, I got curious about how seriously some people took the experience. Then again, this is just another example of how the internet can be a means for some people — even the underhanded types — to exploit its vulnerabilities in order to make a buck. Some of these contests involve using nonsensical phrases that are used by sites for ranking purposes. Those who make it to the top of the ranks for these made up phrases end up winning.

What possesses people to spend their time fussing over their blogs and keyword stuffing the heck out of it? The same thing that consumes people to hang out in chat rooms, message boards and even to write in their blogs compulsively: the lure of the net, and in this case the lure of competition and perhaps the wish to win a bit of quick money. Overseas, this money can mean a lot to people who live on little income.

2. Black hat methods don’t work over the long term.
These days, however, search engines are getting more sophisticated. For instance, it’s become more apparent that Google can identify those engaging in questionable tactics to try to spam the Internet with poor material and content. Those who resort to cheating, stealing, spamming and fraud (or scams) won’t have much of a presence online for long. They may find themselves in the ranks or SERPs for a wee bit of time, but eventually, they are cleared out and removed. So don’t bank on these methods to get you far; your online reputation now matters a great deal to how well you will be found and perceived in the search world and other online communities.

My suggestion to all publishers is this: STOP making shortcuts. You’ll make better money by attending to an online business that is legitimate and respected. Build an online reputation and stick to honest practices, and you should do better.

Copyright © 2006 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

George Chernikov October 25, 2006 at 9:28 am

Wow, this is really, really weird… But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people take SEO seriously given how much money a top place in Google results is worth. Still a bit funny to see that expertise carry over into such contests.

engtech October 25, 2006 at 10:16 am

I wasn’t voting for Sandy (a spammer) to win when he decided to spam all of the blogs on

Sandeep Kumar aka Turbo October 25, 2006 at 11:42 am

Hey, I am sorry for that. I have stopped spamming and have apolozized for that ( Now I am only spamming (keyword spamming) my own blog. Well.. I got to do that much at least if I am participating in an SEO contest.

This is the first time (and may be the last time) I am participating in such a contest. That’s why I am putting so much effort into it. This contest has already costed me dearly during my exams. That was when I first came to know about it and ignored my exams due to it.

Tom Hall October 25, 2006 at 12:32 pm

Frankly, this is very bizarre to me.

As a pro in the space, I find it a little humorous that there is even a contest for one’s professional SEO skills. Meaning, if someone is so good at optimizing they should “compete” in a real market where you get paid legitimately for your efforts.

These faux terms don’t represent an accurate portrayal of what pros in the space are asked to accomplish. For example, anyone can rank for a random, made up concept. But only the talented can rank for “car” or “real estate”.

Furthermore, any robot can automate gibberish into a blog posting a gazillion times per day. That practice is NOT SEO. It’s spamming, and generally looked down upon.

It takes someone with a very good understanding of semantics, Internet technology, marketing behavior, and usability to have a natural feel for doing reputable “white hat” SEO work.

I hope we can treat the web with a little more respect as search and the Internet continue to grow.

Silicon Valley Blogger October 25, 2006 at 1:16 pm

Tom – I appreciate your chiming in on this subject. I learn something new about the net every day and I can see how perhaps many people are unaware of what they’re really doing when they enter the world of the web as webmasters. I for one am learning the “hard” way by just experimenting and researching issues on a daily/weekly basis on what works/fails/is or is not acceptable online. Many times, “rules” are broken without one’s knowledge. So your expertise is highly appreciated in forums like this.

I also have a small bit of interest in learning more about stuff like this. What are some of the debatable issues that can be controversial among webmasters? What is appropriate online community “behavior”? We need resources to enlighten webmasters who may not be aware of such things.

vibhash October 25, 2006 at 2:30 pm

Hie there.
I am vibhash.

Well you haven’t seen the complete pic…

The organizers of this event are crazy, they didn’t allowed to use our own domain or hosting, so i can’t do certain on page optimizations. I have to use the default template with no plugins, and i can’t help it out.

Now the second question is about spamming…. Well this event was started earlier with different keywords, and they forced us to take free hosting services like blogger, or wordpress… and bec. of spamming blogs, most of the participants were banned by wordpress & blogger… but my blog on Forex survived and i was at the top for most of the keywords.

So after that when they provided their own servers, then everyone started spamming heavily, and they got to the top, and i was there at 4th position…

If you’ll see my earlier blogs, i wasn’t using any of the keywords. But now its just 4-5 days left, so i have no option but to do what others are doing.

I was at the top last time, so whatever i do, everyone copies exactly the same…even my blog posts… You can check out the same blog post in sandy007smarty and i guess saarang too.

So now its just 4-5 days left i have only few options…if you can suggest me anything which will work fast, then it will be great.


Sandeep Kumar aka Turbo October 26, 2006 at 7:01 am

Most of the Shaastra Contest sites are banned now by Google! Read

Sandeep Kumar aka Turbo October 26, 2006 at 9:01 am

Hey… I have a small question. My blog site has been banned at digg. When I try to submit a story of my blog, it says users have reported that site, so I can’t submit that url. Can you please tell me how to get it un-banned.
(This all happened when I was spamming wordpress and digg and … But now I have stopped. I am sorry for what I did before.)

Silicon Valley Blogger October 26, 2006 at 10:02 am

Sandy — I am sorry about your predicament. The best thing to do is contact Digg or read their FAQ that may tell you what to do about your situation. If you explain your situation they may reinstate you. A lot of actions done by well-meaning people are due to ignorance and “overenthusiasm” and you can only go so far with certain behaviors. It’s always wise to check on the policies of websites before participating in their community.

Justice December 12, 2006 at 2:50 pm

I am looking for someone that can give me a hand with mod_rewrite for WordPress. Or any tools or articles that someone may know of that can help me in SEOing my WordPress blog. Please any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Marc Miller February 17, 2007 at 12:30 am

I am not even aware that such contests exist. And it is really funny in some way. Isn’t the purpose of Google’s ranking to place the site on their search engine? I think repeating the keywords over and over again is, yes, a way to get indexed (?) but the site is meaningless.

What’s the price of this contest? Do you have information on this to fill me in? I don’t know why I suddenly became curious about this. Well, perhaps because it’s quite odd. And might be because Shaastra Thamesportal Zalecenia Autophytes Invernesshire is hard to pronounce. Haha

Marc Miller

Ue Kere April 9, 2007 at 3:46 pm

My ‘big beef’ now is the same as it has been since the beginning of the net… there seems to always be people to tell us how to ‘beat’ the search engines, but rarely have I even found those people under the natural search results for the very keywords they are touting.

I use software for my SEM… it doesnt get you top spots over night for the top positions, but it makes it easy to get the low hanging friut, and so far, that has been good enough for me.

frank August 16, 2007 at 4:37 am

I don’t understand this either. You can see why such SEO contests are frowned upon by many today. They seem to bring out and promote all of the worst SEO tactics.

The funny thing is…by the time you put all of the time , energy and effort into such black hat strategies… you could build a website, with good content and staying power that you can be proud of.


Ecommerce Solutions September 20, 2007 at 10:35 am

SEO contests may be profitable for their initiators. They could have contest rules that request to all participants to put a link to organizer’ website. In this way the organizer make a lot of IBLs at a fairly low price (i.e. the contest prize amount)…

Janixia September 27, 2010 at 6:49 pm

It’s not easy to be on top and it’s kinda fair if we all use reasonable tactics with regards to SEO. In that way, we can see how hard to work for success. In all fairness.

Silicon Valley Blogger December 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm

It’s been a while since these contests were the rage. I think it’s all died out now, especially with Google Panda updates being run per month. So what’s the score? Using black hat techniques is a losing proposition. The best way to go is to build a useful site that readers love to return to. If you try to game the system, you will simply be wasting your time.

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