Active SEO contest competitors know that the French SEOSphere team is a team hard to beat in SEO competitions and they are a current competitor at the Busby SEO Challenge. There were a strong team in previous SEO contest such as the SEO World Championship in 2007 that I was fortunate enough to win this contest. I myself must agree that I received a lot of help from many people who were not competing in the contest.
Just a few months back, our industry SEO friends in the UK organized by UK Webmaster World also ran an SEO challenge early this year, 2008 that ended on April Fool’s day although this was no joke. The SEOContest2008 where I won 2nd place, was an SEO challenge won by the French team, SEOSphere.
SEOSphere is a French SEO forum where I believe Kad aka Eclipsis has been running this forum for quite some time and Paul aka Tiger is one of the main personalities in this forum and they are in love with SEO contest. Knowing that they are a big challenge in this contest since they won in the SEOContest2008 early this year, a group of Filipinos have decided to do the same.
Gary Viray had a blog post during the SEOContest2008. He talked a lot about how Filipinos help each other as a team but not really as a team working on a single site. I believe it is better if I quote him directly:
We are the microscopic instance of what is happening in our country. I am sure the other races who joined the SEOcontest2008 are probably nodding their heads about what this post is telling everyone.
Our callousness and self-glorification is eating us all up. Look at the country we have. I am not an exemption here.
This is not sermon rather this is just my personal observation on how we- Filipinos are taking this SEOcontest2008. Like I said before, SEOcontest2008- the Filipino way.
My thoughts on a large team effort on SEO Contest
I personally like SEO contest. First of all I love SEO. All aspects of it, from making money out of it by monetizing sites, doing consultancy, working as my job, and everything including joining SEO contest. I joined the following contest in the past:
- Isulong SEOph – 2006 by SEO Philippines, 11th place on Google.
Prize: nothing *lol*
- Vorgermilten – 2006 by the fake Ares/Hoax, Overall 1st Place (1st Google, 5th Yahoo)
Prize: nothing because it was a hoax! *lol*
- Ituloy AngSulong – 2007 by SEO Philippines, 10th on Google
Prize: I think PHP1,000, I can’t remember.
- SEO World Championship – 2007 by Get Updated, Overall 1st Place (2nd Google, 4th Yahoo, 7th MSN/Live)
Prize: Cash value or a car!
- SEOContest2008 – 2008 by UK Webmaster World, 2nd on Google
Prize: Just $100 USD.
Big prize, or small prize, I love contest mainly for these reasons:
- The Learning Experience – In every contest I joined, I learned something new. Sometimes the lesson I learn are not that earth-shattering and are just some simply ideas that has minor effects in search engine ranking, but still lesson or big lesson, it is still something learned and it helps in my overall knowledge of SEO.
- The Prize – I know SEO and I don’t know Poker. I don’t know NFL Football. So why bet on things I do not know how to control? And I know how to control SEO. Might as well gamble on something I have a greater odds in winning than something else.
- The Proof of Concept – Selling SEO may not be that easy to the closed-minded potential client. And I can say that my previous win in the SEO World Championship and now with my 2nd place win in the SEOContest2008 is enough proof for a potential client that I have what it takes to make a website rank high in search engines. My previous wins help me get new clients as they trust me that I can help them do good in their search engine rankings. But ask any professional SEO that has been in this industry for several years, not the newbies, they might say SEO contest winnings really prove nothing. Which I agree to some extent but still, winning a contest still helps me in my sales efforts for getting personal consultancy clients for SEO. Usually SMEs since bigger SEO clients are not easy for a single person like me and I’d rather pass it on to companies like BusinessOnLine for larger SEO corporate clients.
- The Fun – It is just nice seeing how well can you do with many others going against you trying to rank high in the search engines. Since this is the same thing as what I do in my real life SEO with my own websites. And it is just fun competing with others, win or lose.
Now going back to working as a team on a single website to win this contest. What is my opinion on doing a group effort to win SEO competitions like the Busby SEO Challenge? Taking a look back in the reasons why I like doing SEO contest, I’ll check them out again one by one.
- The Learning Experience – For me SEO is really a good combination of on-page and off-page SEO. I take pride in my previous SEO competitions that even if I won or was 2nd place, I did not have the most number of links when the contest ended. Since when you work on your site, you have a controlled environment of on-page factors and has some control to some extent for the off-page factors since you can’t control every link that goes to your site. But still with the efforts you do, that you did alone, you know what helped you rank higher and what did not. The more people that work on a team with everyone doing something, the more you have less control on what happens. Let’s say you even win in the contest as a team, you were not 100% aware of all the efforts thus you will not be sure on what factor contributed well to the ranking. You get a lesser feel on how each factor helps in the ranking. And all of this ranking factors that help in your learning experience is the same knowledge you will use for your own SEO clients, your SEO job, and your own websites. The more knowledgeable you are, the more you can give better recommendations to SEO clients, do better decisions in your SEO job and do better work with your own websites. Your team in the SEO competition will not be your team at work, nor your team with your own SEO clients. So what I learn in a team effort may not 100% be applicable in my real life SEO.
- The Prize – Wow $5,000 AUD is some amount of money with is the current first prize of the the Busby SEO Challenge. The bigger the amount, the better. The more people in a team, this prize money will go down. Now what work is involved in an SEO Contest. Often I design a new site, and then work on on-page SEO and then work on link development. I hate designing a site and companies here in the US can charge as low as $10k minimum and it goes up from there. For freelance clients, a plain brochure type I usually start at $3,500. Adding SEO as a service will definitely have a price tag over $5,000 AUD. So getting a new client will definitely give me more money and I get new inquiries all the time that I sometimes turn down since I barely have time to get them done. Working as team will decrease the prize and not that I look like money, but I can’t deny it that I have a lot of bills to pay. Winning a larger amount of money will help pay the bills even more.
- The Proof of Concept – SEO Contest help me out in proving to potential clients that I have what it takes to make a website rank high. My previous wins in SEO contest serve as my testaments that I can make a client website rank high for their targeted keywords. Now let’s say if I win as a team or 30 or more people. Can I tell my own clients I have what it takes to win? Can i even say I won? I won as team, but that was not me. This team of 30 or more people will not be present in every SEO client I have. Winning as a team cannot be used in selling SEO to my potential SEO clients. It may help a little bit, but the impact is greater if you won by yourself, it does not even have to be a win. Any rank from 1 to 10 is good enough to tell a potential client and if you did the work all by yourself, the sale is just a lot more easier to close. The more a potential client will trust you, especially for larger corporate clients where there are more people in the decision making process.
- The Fun – Winning as a team is definitely fun. But winning by as a single person is even more fun! Imagine playing in a 5-man basketball team and your opponent is only one. If you win and you are part of the 5-man team, what fun is that? Let’s say you are in a Taekwondo match and you won as a team of 3 fighting 1 person. What fun is that too? I don’t know but the fun just died down.
My idea of team work in SEO contest that can be applied in the Busby SEO Challenge
The more Pinoys on Page 1, the better – Still play individually, but just like in all previous SEO contest I joined, not sponsored by SEO Philippines, I helped each and every Filipino I can. I even shared my own tips, told them how they can improve their on-page SEO, I gave them links. I tell them what to do to improve their ranking. And if I see something they are doing that is not that good, I tell them to avoid it. I sincerely just help the Filipino people out. It was my objective to have an all Filipino page 1 results in the SEOContest2008 but only 3 got in, Me, Eli Tapiador and Ed Canape. Elmer Claveria was very near by and Gary Viray was doing a good job as well, but it just did not make page 1. The more Filipinos in page 1, the better for me. And for Busby SEO Challenge, I still want the same objective, the more Filipinos in page 1, the better.
Pinoys help Pinoys – I have experienced this even in the past, as much as I worked hard to help my site rank high in the SEO contest, I still really work hard to pull other Pinoys to rank high as well. I believe many of the members of SEO Philippines know this. That I even created special threads and tips in the SEO Philippines forum dedicated to helping other competitors. Sometimes Eli Tapiador during the SEOContest2008 would IM me and we share a great deal of information and tips. I was 2nd and he was 3rd in that contest and I was not threatened in teaching him things I was doing, and he was so close in even beating me. He could have gotten 2nd and mg 3rd but I really didn’t care. Same goes with Ed Canape who I also chat with. Even Gary Viray too. In fact many of the SEO Philippines competitors during the SEOContest2008, I bought the domains for them and simply just gave them away because I wanted Pinoys to win. seocontest2008.com, .net, .org, .biz, .info I all gave away. I even told them I will give you the domains for free as long as you link to me sitewide. And honestly, not everyone was linking to me sitewide, and I still didn’t care.
Choose the Pinoy carrier of the win in the last month of the contest – Honestly, I am not 100% sure I can exert the same amount of effort I did in some of the previous SEO contest. I am not 100% sure I can reach page 1 in this contest. But if ever I do, then good. But if I don’t and it is already August, I will give my all out support to who ever is the leading Filipino in the contest. You might say that it sounds self-serving since I have won several SEO contest in the past and I will lead the pack anyway so people will help me. But that is actually not true. In SEO contest I was not active and did not achieve any significant ranking, I helped out others like how Leo Mirabuna was doing in Shopautodotca. Not only have I helped link to his site, I encouraged others to help out and make him win. Unfortunately, Shopautodotca was a hoax contest. But still this is my idea of Pinoy teamwork. Play individually, then help the leader at the last month.
So am I participating in a team effort SEO Contest Entry?
Funny things is, contrary to everything I said above, I will participate in a group entry. But that also does not mean I will stop working on my own individual entry. I will still work on my individual entry and I will also still help the group entry but if the group entry wins and even if I am part of the group, I will not be that enthusiastic about it. As I have said above, the fun just died down. But if it will help in making others experience a win in a SEO contest, then it is still worth helping out knowing I help others win. But even if I am going to participate in this group effort, I would still prefer to help 10 people try to get them into page 1 individually, than join a group of 10 and win with one entry.