Wix’s Seo Contest Creates run on “Seo Hero” Domains

seo hero seo contest

Wix has unintentionally, or intentionally, created a run on domain names with the term “Seo Hero” in them. Why is this? $50,000 dollars!

Wix, a website hosting and builder, announced a few days ago they were running an SEO (search engine optimization) contest.  The goal of the SEO contest is to outrank Wix for the term “Seo Hero”.

We’re going to create a new Wix website optimized with the search term “SEO Hero”. You’re invited to create your own website (feel free to use any platform). If your site ranks the highest for that search term in 4 months’ time, we’ll give you $50,000. Yes, it’s that simple.

There have been lots of domain names with the term “Seo Hero” registered over the past few days.  If you do a search you will see a lot of SeoHero.TLD domain names created beetween November 16th – 17th.

When you take a look at the FAQs for the contest it totally makes sense why.  There is this important rule listed there.

1. The domain you submit must be purchased on or after November 16

Ahhh, that makes seyour

Everyone is buying up Seo Hero domains in an attempt to win this contest and $50,000 dollars.  Since the contest was announced on November 16th people are grabbing any Seo Hero domain as fast as they can.  

When I checked Dynadot it showed no common SeoHero.cctld domain names available. As you can see in the picture they have been or will be bought up.  I've even noticed even many common domain name modifiers have been bought up.
Many have been pondering this question about the SEO contest though…

Can you rank for “Seo Hero” and win $50K?

Many in the SEO community are questioning whether it is possible to outrank Wix for term “Seo Hero“. Can an individual or company compete with the marketing dollars in Wix's arsenal? In addition to the SEO experts and SEO gurus on staff?

My thought is, NO, you cannot be competitive in this contest.  That is unless you know a journalist at every single major news publication around the world. At each of them is willing to link to your newly created website with the term “Seo Hero”. Getting those links in 4 months still would be hard. 

There are plenty of SEO companies I know that could beat Wix for the term “Seo Hero” in Google. However, these SEO firms can charge much more than $50K per month for SEO services. 

I remember going to Affiliate Summit and talking with several people from SEO companies there.  One representative from a well known company there told me the minimum amount they charge per month is just above $10,000.  Most of the corporate clients they have spend much more than $10K a month. I've even seen SEO bills per month higher than that.

None of these companies will spend time trying to rank for “Seo Hero” though. If they wanted to participate, they'll just find a client to expense the time too. Some wouldn't notice or care. 🙂

Seems the only beneficiaries in this SEO contest are Wix and domain name registrars.

Seo Hero Contest

Still want to try to compete in this Seo Hero contest?  There are a few requirements to the contest that participants should be aware of;

  • Website must be in English.
  • Entries must be submitted between to Wiz between November 16th – December 16th.
  • You must follow Google SEO guidelines (no BlackHat or GreyHat SEO techniques)
  • You need to use Google Analytics.
  • In Google Analytics you must add the admin – judgewixseohero@gmail.com before February 16th.
  • You must use a newly created domain name, purchased after November 16th.

This is a genius marketing move by Wix.  Normally I would never write about or care about anything Wix does. I only use self-hosted solutions and WordPress these days. So even if someone or a company does beat Wix and wins $50,000, it will have been worth IT in free promotional advertising and links. Unless you are smart like me use rel=nofollow on Wix links. 🙂

What do you think about the Seo Hero contest? Is it possible to rank for the keywords “Seo Hero” against a company with so many resources? Will have a SeoHero.tld domain help to rank on Google? Do you need to be an SEO expert to outrank Wix? Could you do it just by writing good articles or producing good content? Is it possible to do this in 4 months with whitehat SEO techniques?

White Hat SEO Techniques, There are None

white hate seo techniquesAnother SEO article in response to a question I got asked recently.  This question was about SEO and more specifically what White Hat SEO techniques I use.

Friend: “Adam, what are your White Hat SEO Techniques? What tools do you use?

Me: “There are None!”

You might think this is a strange response but that is the reality for SEO companies.  I do mean that, there are virtually zero White Hat SEO techniques marketing and search engine optimization companies use to rank sites and build links.

Yes, White Hat SEO techniques do exist and people do use them.   However, most of them are ridiculously time consuming.  This includes guest blogging, submitting to article directories, social bookmarking, web directory submissions, straight up link requests, social media, etc.  You could do all this yourself and do it all manually, meaning you don't have a computer program or bot do it.  That's just not the way a lot of companies operate though and most will automate a lot of these tasks.

Big SEO agencies and firms that have a plethora of SEO tools and staff will still use programs to speed these tasks up.  The reality is it's a pain-in-the-ass and they can spend money on SEO tools and software to do it quicker.  The real question is why wouldn't you do the same thing?  Even if you feel it's Gre yHat SEO or Black Hat SEO, it's what people do.  Nobody is playing fair and it's not like it is a secret.  I'll give you an example.

Lately I've been working on a local SEO campaign for a client.  When I did a link analysis on the competitor ranking in the number 1 spot in Google I saw the company had a bunch of paid links in directory sites with the anchor text for the keyword phrase.  Technically it is against Google's guidelines to accept money for a link or pay for links, but why would the SEO agency or the company ranking 1st care?  They ranked the site 1st and did their job and the company is gaining business because of the favorable search ranking.  Even it is a Greyhat SEO or even Blackhat SEO technique it's not like Google has caught them.  I honestly doubt they ever will.  It's been at the number 1 spot for quite awhile and lots of people buy links.  It's been going on since the beginning of SEO practically and even the people in the 2nd and 3rd spot paid for links.  So, what am I going to do?  Recommend to this client we buy links from these directories and other sites to rank quicker, but I will explain Google's guidelines to him.

Get this through your head, just because Google says they don't like something or certain Blackhat SEO technique will not work, that actually is not always the case. Google tells you how they wished everyone acted and they wish the Google search engine worked.  The way Google's algorithm actually works can vary a lot from what they say and can be quite frustrating for those new to the world of SEO.  Follow all of Google's BS advice and you will not get anywhere.  Most professional SEOs are going to tell you the same thing.

I will be honest a lot of the tools and techniques I use are not considered “Whitehat SEO.”  I can't pull data in any other way without using some Google trickery.  If you read my article on “6 Questions to ask a Search Engine Optimizer Before you Hire Them” you will understand why.

The big issue with Google is that they are out there in California holding hands telling themselves how awesome they are since they build self-driving cars and Google Glass.  The believe everyone is in this internet thing together in a hippie commune and people will help each other out with links when necessary.  That is never the case and if Google search engineers, especially Matt Cutts, wanted a reality check they should step out of their Google bubble and get out in the ‘real world' of trying to build and rank a website.  They should also go read articles and posts that rank in Google instead of looking at fucking numbers all day, since nobody gives a shit about your algorithm.  They only care when it doesn't work.

You might think this is jaded, but I am only trying to convey what reality is.  If you want to compete I'd recommend you go out there and see what SEO Tools and Software you could buy to speed-up your link building.  There are White Hate SEO techniques just… nobody sticks to them.

Will you be Celebrating Thanksgivukkah?

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I hope anyone reading this already has their grocery shopping done and your travel plans are not affected by the bad weather on the East Coast.  Between shopping and traveling for a Thanksgiving meal you might have heard a new word going around the internet, Thanksgivukkah!  What the heck is Thanksgivukkah?

Basically you combine the words Thanksgiving + Chanukah.  (Or one of these spellings many spellings for the Jewish holiday Chanuka, Chanukah, Chanukkah, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, Hanukkah depending on who you ask.)  The reason for this is that tomorrow on Thanksgiving it will be the second night of Chanukah, a Jewish holiday.  This won't happen for another 70,000+ years making it a once-in-a-lifetime event for everyone reading this.  You can tell your grandkids about your amazing Thanksgivukkah experience.  (I doubt they will care though.)

I guess since Chrismukkah wasn't cutting it we just needed to throw in a new word this time of year.  Not sure what the obsession is with coining new words, phrases, and terms for the holidays but I guess if it makes people happy I guess I hope people have a  Happy Thanksgivukkah tomorrow.  Of course celebrities always seems to get their names mixed together a lot more.  Anyone remember when Brangelina and Bennifer were big terms?

The reason I thought I'd write about this is that as a blogger and writer I always find it interesting to see what new words people coin.  Also from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective it's interesting.  The term “Thanksgivukkah” according to this Google Trends screenshot I took is getting a huge amount of search volume currently.  It's a breakout terms and it spiked out of nowhere in October and has been on the rise ever since then up until now.

thanksgivukkahThe other thing I find fascinating is that most of the searches seem to be coming from New York City.  Also it looks like the rest of the English speaking world is not searching for the term.  Google Trend shows that the United States is the only country searching for the terms which makes sense since we are the only country that celebrates Thanksgiving.  (I believe there is a Canadian Thanksgiving which celebrates something different.)

thanksgivukkah 2013What do you think of these Google Trends screenshots for Thanksgivukkah and why do you think terms get so many searches so quickly?  Because of a news articles, blogs, social media?  All of them?  I'd be interested to hear my readers thoughts.

Whatever faith your are I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy Thanksgivukkah.

6 Questions to ask Yourself Before you Buy SEO Software and Tools

seo software and toolsIf you are a search engine optimizer, internet marketer, blogger, or small business owner you are probably always looking for ways to get an edge over your competition.  This makes you always on the lookout for new search engine optimization (SEO) software and tools to buy to add to your SEO toolkit.

Companies that build and sell SEO software and tools won't like me saying this but a lot of times I see people needlessly waste money on these SEO programs.  To be honest with all of my readers I've been one of those people.  If you have also wasted money on SEO software I can tell you that the issue, like buying anything, is that you don't ask yourself the right questions before opening your wallet.  To try to save my blog readers time, money, and hassle I've decided to make this list of “6 Questions to ask Yourself Before you Buy SEO Software and Tools.”

1. Do I need this SEO Software or Tool?

Sounds pretty simple and like common sense, right?  Not quite.  A lot of people will just buy any SEO program or tool because they saw on some forum or blog that it was supposedly really useful.

What you need to understand is that most SEO software and tools have fairly good affiliate programs.  Meaning the blog or site owner gets money if you click through their link to buy it.  (Just so everyone is aware I have nothing against affiliate links and use them on this blog.)  The reason I want you to realize when someone is using affiliate links is that most people don't.

Consider if the person is recommending the product on the merit of it's usefulness or if they just want to collect affiliate money.  Just because someone recommends something doesn't mean you have to buy it.

2. What will I use this SEO Tool for?

I guess this goes into question #1 but I'd recommend you ask yourself this anyway.  You need to have a clear idea of how that SEO tool or SEO software you are going to be paying for will be helping your online business.

If you can't think of an area where the tool will help you, then just don't buy it.  If the SEO tool seems legitimate, you know what you will use it for, and it's going to fill a specific SEO need you have, then go ahead and open your wallet.

3. Is there good Documentation and Tutorials?

Before I put any money on the table for SEO tools or SEO software I like to check the website and see if they have a reasonable amount of documentation.

For instance I want to know if the software has any bugs.  Issues with certain operating systems might be something you want to think about.  If you use Mac computer you will probably need to run most SEO programs in Parallels, which emulates Windows in a virtual environment.   Most SEO developer don't spend time making a version for Macs or Linux desktops.  Often times in the documentation they will state if there are issues of it's been tested in Parallels or WINE (like Parallels but for Linux).

I also like to understand how the SEO software works and what it does.  Is an SEO tool that can be used for whitehat or is just for blackhat link building techniques?  Consider who built and who the developers are behind it too.

The creators of any SEO software should have clear and easy-to-understand video and picture tutorials on how to use it and state specifically why you need it.  This will make your decision for question #2 easier.

4. Is this SEO program Easy to Use?

If you don't understand how to use the SEO program and software, you will have just wasted your money.  If you check the documentation and tutorials this should give you a clear idea of the difficulty for picking it up.

I've personally found that most SEO programs and tools have a learning curve higher than average.  So you will need to put time into learning but do consider how much time you want to put in. 1 hour or less?  A week?  Keep in mind a lot of SEO programs are built by programmers and NOT people that are great with intuitive design layouts.  Often they focused on making things easy-to-use, but failed miserably.

Most creators of various SEO tools will offer a short free trial period before you buy so you can see whether it's useful, easy-to-use, and will fit your needs.  They vary in length but usually are between 7-30 days for a free SEO software trial period.  Some don't but I'd take advantage of any free trials.

5. Is the Support Good?

If support is non-existent or isn't helpful, don't buy.  I've been surprised by how many times I've needed to contact support for an SEO tool due to an unexpected bug or issue.

I usually recommend you send an email after looking over the documentation, FAQs, and tutorials and see how long the response time is and what the response is like.  If they seem helpful and answer your questions clearly that's a good sign.  If not, you might want to move on and keep searching for another SEO software with the tools you need that has responsive and helpful support.

6. Can I afford these SEO Tools or SEO Software?

A lot of SEO tools comes with monthly subscription costs which can be quite costly.  The reason for this is that most SEO programmers know that marketing and SEO agencies often charge a king's ransom.

Most of us probably don't have a huge amount of money to drop on every single SEO tool that we feel we need.  So don't break the bank by overextending your finances.  Again, it's common sense but if you can't afford something don't buy it.  If you feel you need that SEO software with a monthly subscription cost for your toolkit ask some friends or family with websites that wan't better Google rankings if they want to split the monthly cost with you.  All of you could then save a ton of money learning and building links on your own sites.  You will have to all collectively ask questions 1-5.

I usually try to find SEO software that does not have a monthly or yearly renewal.  I like to pay once and forget about it.  That's just easier for me and my wallet.  Also I like to weigh whether the software will cover the cost of buying it.  Meaning can I make back what I spent on the SEO tool?  You should consider the same thing too.

Sometimes it might be worth it to check around first to see if there is something for free that can fill your SEO needs.  Honestly for something like basic keyword research you probably won't need much else besides the Google Keyword Planner.  If you want free keyword rank tracking all you need is Google Webmaster Tools.  Most of the time though you will find you need to spend money on buying an SEO tool, unfortunately.

Final Thoughts on Buying SEO Software and Tools

My final recommendation would be to just watch out for any shyters selling useless SEO tools or ones that will get you banned or deindexed by Google.  There are a lot of people selling useless products out there and I met plenty at Affiliate Summit.

I hope you've found my “6 Questions to ask Yourself Before you Buy SEO Software and Tools” useful and helpful.  If you want to refer to these next time you are considering purchasing any SEO Software and Tools feel free to bookmark this article.  If you have any questions or comments to add feel free to leave them below.

Paid Links, one of Blogging’s Dirty Secrets

paid links

A few weeks ago I was reading a few successful and highly trafficked blogs.  I was quickly looking through what I thought was a well written article when all of a sudden the article flow came to a halt and I noticed something interesting but not unusual… paid links in the article.

Was I surprised?  No, not really since paid links are one of the dirty little secrets in blogging and the SEO (search engine optimization) industry that nobody really likes to talk about.  However, I will since I am not afraid of touching on taboo internet marketing topics I will.

What are Paid Links?

Paid Links are pretty self-explanatory and sound exactly like what you think they are.  It's when a site owner or blogger agrees to place a link on their website in exchange for cash.  The link is mostly always a DoFollow link which passes pagerank onto the other site.  Sometimes the SEO company gives you the article content and other times they'd rather a blogger work the link into an article so it makes sense.

The amount of money a company has to pay is usually determined by a site's pagerank, age of the domain, authority of the site, amount of traffic, and the authority of the blogger.  I've seen some people charge as much as $1,500+ per year for a link.  Sounds like a lot but when you hear what some SEO agencies charge, some bloggers should be asking for more.

In case of of the big time blogger I was reading she probably charged a lot for the link since it was for freezing women's eggs (embryos).  More importantly her demographic seems to be women 22-40 years old.  The medical company was aiming for wealthy women 20-30 years old probably.  (Although the article and blog is not entirely aimed at women.)  Most people know that health (and fitness) is a very profitable internet vertical.  If you are in fertility and cord blood and can manage to get paid for a link for it, that's some serious money.

What does Google think of Paid Links?

Google frowns upon companies and people paying for links and it is against their Webmaster guidelines.  (It would be good to read them if you haven't by the way.)  However, few people that engage in paid link schemes get caught.

Since Google is not on the side of bloggers making any real money honestly… fuck them.  They are many ways to monetize a blog but few that pay well enough so you can make a living.  Paid links are one of the best and most profitable solutions if you are someone with an authority blog.  (Of course creating an authority blog nowadays is no easy task.)

The blogger in question will probably never get caught and will not face any Google penalties.  I don't like she was using paid links and misleading her readers, but quite honestly it's not like I don't understand why she was doing it and haven't seen it before.

Keep in mind Google employs engineers that can't read for shit.  Just look at search results for competitive topics like domain names, web hosting, medicine, etc.  Low quality spammy sites still rank 1st or 2nd in a lot of cases.

How Did You Know the article had Paid Links?

It wasn't like the blogger explicitly said, “Hey these are paid links.” but I knew immediately since;

  1. The article lost it's flow at that point.
  2. They were medical related sites for freezing women's eggs.  Which in turn made me say, “WTF is this?”
  3. The keywords used were highly competitive.
  4. It was deep linked URL.

When you add it all up it was clear this blogger's article on, “6 Things to do in your 20s to make your 30s good” had paid links placed in it.  At least that is my “expert” opinion.

Paid Links Conclusion

Next time you are reading one of the millions of blogs out on the internet I encourage my readers to be aware of paid links.  It's good to be aware of how other bloggers monetization and content strategies.  This is why I try to read a wide variety of authors and bloggers.  You get an idea of how they target their content and who they is reading them, especially when you notice paid links.

On this blog I've had plenty of link requests but since it is a personal blog, I do not accept any of them.  I haven't been offered money for this blog yet but if a person or company did, I wouldn't accept it.

What do you think of paid links?  Is it ok for a blogger to use them to cover the costs and time they need to put into a blog?  Should they be upfront with readers?  Have you been offered money for a link on your site?

Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in SERPS

Recently I've been playing around with adding Schema Markup to enhance certain posts on this blog.  Something I've just noticed and found out is that Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in Google's Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

In this picture you can see a NameCheap Review I posted awhile ago if you do a search for “NameCheap Review” in Google's SERPS.  I wanted to see if implementing Schema markup would improve my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings and give me higher Click-Through-Rates (CTR) to my sites.

schema markup removes google authorship

Indeed the Schema markup I put on the page was being picked up and read by Google but it was no longer showing my Google Authorship picture profile next to the post.  This means Google is cherry picking what Rich Snippet markup they feel is most relevant to show in a search query.  This kind of makes sense but I thought Google wanted to show as much Rich Snippets to a user before they click on a website.  They don't want to show the Schema markup (star ratings) along with the Google Authorship picture?

The fact that Schema Markup removes Google Authorship in the SERPs is just plain annoying and stupid in my opinion.  They make a big friggin deal about implementing Schema but for reviews if it is going to override your Google+ picture, why would put Schema data in a review post?

Since I hadn't ever seen anyone else use Schema data and Google Authorship in the Google's SERPS when doing searches before I guess I shouldn't be surprised it didn't work.  The thing is if it is the choice between Schema markup in a review and having Google display my Google+ Authorship profile, you'd go with the picture everytime.  It creates more trust and I almost guarantee it will give you better CTRs to your websites.

Here is a post in Google's SERPS about Google celebrating 10 Years of Google Adsense.  You can see my Google Authorship markup .

google adsense 10 years

If Google wants to improve search quality and help people find “High quality content” (still trying to figure what the fuck that means  to Google!) they should allow show both Schema data and Google Authorship in review posts.  I am tired of finding this shit out the hard way!

Let's hear from readers of my blog since I know I have some from my analytics.  Since Schema Markup removes Google Authorship would this encourage or discourage you from using it in posts on your blog and sites?  Does Google make you angry sometimes since they are not always clear about these things?

UPDATE: Some people have asked me how to fix Schema data and markup from showing up in Google SERPS for you websites content and posts.  It's simple, just remove all the Schema markup on pages and posts you don't want it showing up on in SERPs.  It might take Google a few days to over a week to update and show your Google+ authorship picture.

I removed Schema markup from this websites as it doesn't make sense to have it here.  If this was a review or ratings site it probably would be a good idea to have Schema data implemented on pages.