Spending a week on a crash course in SEO training session taught me one thing – SEO is easy to grasp – but, it sure takes a lot of effort!
The first Malta SEO Contest was declared open and the details released to the public last June. This was open to all, including SEO professionals and amateurs. There were over 70 entries placed for the competition, which ended September 29th. Position in the Google Philippines Search Engine Results Page is the determining factor as to who comes out the winner.
The use of both White Hat and Black Hat SEO techniques took place throughout the contests, as contestants fought to secure their place in the top positions; watched closely by the SEO community and the contest judges.
As the contest progressed, Aaron Wall suggested that SEO Contests can lead to comment spamming and raised the issue as one of concern within the global SEO community. It was suggested that the contest may start to look more like a spamming contest as different contestants strive to reach the top. The contestants needed to be wary of this or consider altering their strategy in this instance, as spamming sites risk a Google ban.
So just what is needed to reach the top of the rankings? Here are several suggestions and SEO techniques that a number of contestants applied to start boosting their rank during the first month of competition.
1. On-Page Optimization – This is the way in which a web master or site designer aims to build a site that is as Google ‘friendly’ as possible. This will include correct use of Site Navigation, 5 to 7% Keyword Density, inserting Meta Tags, using the Google Site Maps and implementing Google Adwords. These are just some of the most important techniques to use to boost the ranking of a website. A lot of contestants would opt for WordPress to build their sites, as this is super easy to build and recognised as being optimal for SEO enhancement.
2. Link Building – Sites included in the contest were promoted via a wide range of forums, blogs and directories found online. Some even opted to link with unrelated sites (prompting the spamming comments). Linking to other sites is still a major factor in determining a sites rank and for this reason, the use of techniques to increase Google PageRank included building backlinks to increase Google page ranking.
3. Articles – The submission of articles to feeders and article sites goes hand in hand with backlink building. The error that some inexperienced SEO contestants made is that they violated copyright laws as they took articles written by others and claimed them as their work. Submitting articles undoubtedly helps the SEO and the page ranking, however submitting articles of one’s own is a must!
4. Black Hat – Unfortunately, there were a number of Black Hat techniques used in the contest. This included the use of spam blogging, duplicate sites and other unfriendly techniques to drive the site to the top of the page ranks. While it’s not hard to understand the occurrence, particularly with many SEO contestants being completely inexperienced, it is still critical that the difference between ethical and unethical SEO is understood. Mess this up and your site may be banned all together by Google.
Ultimately, Google-friendly sites are the only ones that will get to the top and stay there. Use Black Hat techniques and you are likely to be barred by Google.
Through watching the progress and looking at the techniques tried and the outcomes from the contest, it is clear that SEO can be learned, but implementing the necessary steps consistently to come out on top take extra effort and time.