100% of the money will go to the Cancer Research Institute. Why? Because I lost my dad to cancer on April 1st, 2015 and it sucked. My dad was my hero and this was and still is painful. I know so many others go through the fighting and the loss with their loved ones, so I want to support a cause that battles this terrible villain.
For the final phase of the SEO Hero Challenge, I'll be pulling only the top competitors and their positions at the exact time the judge does at noon and 8pm eastern on the 13th, 14th, and 15th and in the same way he does with desktop, Chrome, and Incognito in New York City. I'll record the top ones and their position at each check.
The results are in and can be found here. I was disqualified which you can read about below, while here are your top 3. What a terrible ruling.
As of now I'm officially out of the competition. I was disqualified last Friday for a bullshit video and I filed an appeal that the judge accepted yesterday. I was excited and I even tweeted about it:
Today I get an email where the judge can't even spell my name correctly telling me I've been disqualified and the decision is final.
Dear Patric Stox ,
Thank you for sending us your appeal.
Your appeal has been examined and reviewed and it is my conclusion that it should be rejected.
Therefore, your disqualification remains in force.
Pursuant to section 18.104.22.168 of the Rules the decision is final and binding.
Thank you again for participating in the contest.
It's a video that shows some domains that I do own redirecting to beanseohero.com. The thing is, they redirect to stoxseo.com and have for years now. Here it is in it's full glory.
See my video on making wix.com redirect to beanseohero.com
This shows wix.com redirecting to my website the same way as in the video provided as evidence against me. This was done with a combination of a local WinLAMP server and editing my hosts file. For hosts I simply added:
Which causes wix.com to resolve locally. In the index file where it resolves on my winlamp server I added:
This behaves as a redirect and causes the URL to change to the new location.
You'll see in the provided video against me on the bookmarks bar at the start some shortcuts like fb and m.fb. These don't actually work, but if you put them in the hosts file and create a shortcut like:
Then typing fb into the browser would take you to facebook.com because fb would resolve to facebook's IP address on the local machine. It seems he has experience with the hosts file and has setup shortcuts.
Another tell-tale sign this video is done this way is that when the websites resolve to beanseohero.com, the countdown timer is expired. This did not expire until after the competition as it was set to count down to each drawing period. This video was made AFTER the end of the competition, not during it.
My rankings have remained unchanged during this period. If a domain had been redirected, this would have taken me out of the suppression and put me on page 1, but that did not happen. The video shows these domains redirecting to beanseohero. Again, here are header responses from the sites during the contest period that show otherwise along with Google Search Console data, traffic data from CloudFlare, Google Analytics, ranking checks showing the site ranking alongside beanseohero.com, and please recall our Skype session where I downloaded server logs in real time to run through them with you for all of the days in question. I will detail these below.
You can see the sites in question ranking with a title that is not from my contest website, these were sent to the judge on March 21st.
Here are the header responses from the days pulled from GSC which also goes against what is shown:
***A note from me. We can clearly see these sites went to stoxseo.com now, the rest is me proving stoxseo.com was live and what's not shown here is I went through the server logs in real time with the judge on Skype.
My GSC data for some of my more popular terms proving stoxseo.com was ranking and showing during the time period this is claiming it was redirected.
You can even see a spike in searches for my name on the first day of the competition where stoxseo.com was returned in the SERPs:
Google Analytics also has data from the days in question showing the tag was firing on the domain, whereas this code wouldn't fire if it was redirected.
***A note from me. I realize this wasn't the best screenshot for analytics and in a further conversation with the judge I offered to turn over GA access for stoxseo.com to the judge, to which he replied:
"I will use the print screen that you have provided"
Please check your rankings for the days of the contest and you should see stoxseo.com ranking alongside beanseohero.com in the same search results.
You can even see traffic was flowing through cloudflare for stoxseo.com on the days in question.
I even tried to get an activity log from CloudFlare but unfortunately it isn't supported:
There has been a lot of dirty activities in the competition from this to negative SEO to SERP hijacking. I have done my best to be open and honest throughout the competition both on my website and with my interactions with the judge. I have done my best to investigate and spent way more time than I should have collecting evidence to refute the accusations. I hope this helps to overturn your disqualification decision of beanseohero.com.
After all this, the judge initially accepted my appeal and then the day of the competition sends me a disqualification notice. There is no justice in this as the top 3 all broke the rules by building a link network, building massive amounts of profile links, and even Wix themselves blatently bought links. This whole contest has been a joke from the start. The judge was looking for any little reason and asked about the hijacking, about various links, and even about the spike in traffic to my server when someone tried to take it down. He was hunting for anything to disqualify me on, and the worst part is in the end I don't know why he did as no reason was provided. He just sent an email that was like fuck you, you're disqualified and there's nothing you can do about it according to the rules. I even made a comment on skype at one point "It seems more like you're looking for any little reason to disqualify me at this point" which is true, that's what it felt like with a bunch of silly questions.
I've been busy at work and am just catching up. I have some insane tweets, threats, and all sorts of craziness going on. My tweets and even my inbox are filled with angry French people some mad that I support the blackhat French SEO Team and others that I'm against them, wtf? I had an article published on Search Engine Land so I have a lot to go through on Twitter. I've got an email from SEO HERO 24/7 saying I lick something naughty, while at the same time being accused of being this individual on Twitter. Ive got an email about the French using blackhat SEO and accusing me of cheating. There's an email with a screenshot of an SMX Advanced speaker pitch saying I'll never be invited to any conference in the US and saying I support black hat SEO while also saying "Patrick Stox is shame of US." The French really blow the smallest comments out of proportion. There are insults being thrown everywhere, which makes me feel like I'm in Monty Python with the French Taunter. I promise you guys, that account that was trolling was not me. I was busy in meetings and showing a new hire around the campus. The comment about the suspicious activity, well that was me but you dropped 90+ positions overnight Walid, just hours after the final rank check and to me that's suspicious. That's pretty suspect in my opinion but as I've said many times, I'm not the judge and won't be the one making the ruling. I really mean congratulations Walid and unless the judge says otherwise I consider you and seo-hero.tech the winner of the SEO Hero Challenge.
It looks like the judge may have had trouble getting into the accounts of seo-hero.ninja as well.
The winner of all the rank checks Walid of seo-hero.tech has received a disqualification email from the SEO Hero judge. It's not what you think though! The judge's email has Walid's website as sea-hero.tech with an "a" instead of an "o". Did Walid enter it wrong? Was this copied over to some entry by an intern who misspelled it? Did the judge just make a typo and all is well? Or is there something more to this? It could be the judge made a typo, but that he went to verify seo-hero.tech instead of www.seo-hero.tech which is what Walid shared access to. In the screenshot he provided, Walid shows only Full access not Owner level access given to the judge and maybe that is the problem. Perhaps the judge was trying to check for something fishy on the other version of the website but could not add it. With Walid's rankings drop 1 day after the contest, the judge may be looking for a redirected website in the other profile which could explain such a drop. By the time the judge gets access now, this would be cleaned up though. What will happen now? Only time will tell whether all is okay or we have a disqualification pending.
Yep, I'll be doing the tie-breaker check at 12pm Eastern today and then we have to wait up to 2 weeks to hear anything official from Wix. It's going to be a long 2 weeks of anticipating the judge's review.
It was nice to actually get a chance to talk to many of the SEO Hero contest participants last night on a Google Hangout. Thanks for inviting me guys.
Seriously, just hours after the last SEO hero rank check? I don't know if it's Google or he was up to something, but now seo-hero.tech is back with the rest of the competitors and behind me in the rankings. WTF? I said congratulations over and over to Walid and I meant it, but this still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Looks like ntsecrets.com was also used to hijack during the end of the competition. That brings the total count up to 5 websites. Dirty.
For those that don't know, this is a hosting provider out of France. Hat tip to TJ of penrodshero.com for pointing this out.
One last congrats to Walid. He made a clean sweep of the SEO Hero rank checks at least from what I have seen. We now wait for the official word from Wix. I'll be doing one more check tomorrow at noon in case of a tie break situation, but that's it for Be An SEO Hero.
Being the only website out of the bubble, I think this is no surprise that seo-hero.tech is making a clean sweep. He'll take the first position unless the judge says otherwise. Should something happen to him though, it looks like the race for second might be closer. seo-hero.ninja has already taken 2nd 3 times, and I'm now ahead of him and have taken it 2 times. Should I lead again in the final seo hero check tonight, and should seo-hero.tech be disqualified for any reason, then there are rules for one final draw tomorrow at 12pm ET to determine the winner. Looks like I'll be doing on more seo hero rank check than I expected. Please note that this is hypothetical and I make no judgements if anyone is disqualified or not because that is not my decision to make.
I went through their SEO Hero sites, the pages on Wix, and their social channels and they're silent. Maybe they forgot all about the SEO Hero Challenge?
As they should! They made a strong showing in the SEO Hero Challenge. I caution though that as I keep saying, my results aren't official and until we hear from the judge or Wix we don't know the official result. They could very easily disqualify pretty much everyone, even Wix. Call me a skeptic but I somehow think those ahead of Wix will be mysteriously disqualified and Wix will win even though they broke their own rules buying links. We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out.
According to Wix, "the winner will be announced within 2 weeks of the challenge end date," or "Sponsor or Moderator will announce the Winner on or before March 30, 2017". Note that one of these was changed as one originally said March 17th was when the winner would be announced. I guess they want more time to review the results.
Unless the judge rules otherwise, it looks like Walid has walked away as the winner of the SEO Hero Challenge, congrats Walid! It's been a fun contest and I'll continue to pull the rankings through tomorrow to document them.
seoremake.com which has hijacked my SERP twice now has posted "sorry it was a mistake". Ha! Remember where I said that it happened twice now? Does that seem like a mistake to anyone else?
seocontest.net looks to be another website hijacking the SERPs. Same pattern as the others. I didn't bother to look who it is hijacking.
With the massive snowstorm blanketing the northeast, I have to wonder if the SEO Hero contest judge even made it to NYC where he is supposed to be judging the competition. There's been no word from Wix at all, so we don't know.
This means at best another SEO hero could only tie Walid of seo-hero.tech for the win and go into the final rankings check as a playoff of sorts, but with no other SEO Heroes depressed in the rankings by whatever it is whether a filter, a bubble, or a sandbox, it looks like that won't happen.
The next check of seo hero rankings is only hours away and with it Walid will clench the SEO Hero contest barring any rulings from the judge. I'm still a bit skeptical and think the judge might do something dirty like disqualifying everyone but Wix to make them the winner, but we'll just have to wait and see.
I'm running several tests on Be An SEO Hero including this website as a one-pager so sorry about the load time. There's also a few attempts at countering the SERP hijacking in place now. It looks like it has been resolved for now, but it was terrifying yesterday morning, just hours before the first seo hero rankings check to not even find my website in the SERPs. A few paragraphs of new stories and a fetch and submit and I was back indexed, but most of my current content was counting for the hijacking website and not mine, so I wasn't as high as I should have been in the rankings. This is the fun part of the contest for me, getting to try out things and play around and hopefully my new experiments will protect the website for the next couple days. These changes could hurt my rankings or they could help, but I wouldn't know unless I try.
At the request of one of the French SEOs, Sylvain Vandewal, I have updated the rankings to include the top 20. It seems he and Julien Naufaulo have a fun rivalry going on. That's pretty cool and I'm happy to oblige. Because I wanted to get these out as fast as possible and there are now more, I setup some formulas and switched the order of he contest draws so the newest one will be first.
I comment from my point of view only on what I see and these are my opinions. I am not affiliated with Wix or the contest judge. My rankings are unofficial, my comments are my own. I make no determination of whether an SEO Hero will be disqualified for anything and I assume no one is disqualified unless I hear something official that says otherwise.
The French Team did a live hangout for the SEO Hero contest and they were nice enough to reach out and invite TJ of penrodshero.com and myself to one on Wednesday to celebrate the end of the competition. I'm looking forward to joining if I can find the time.
http://seoantihero.com/ describes themself as an SEO anti-hero and talks about this bogus contest. He encourages you to ingore the ridiculously bad advice out there, use common sense, and think outside the box. He says you should learn from these sources of information but take everything with a grain of salt. I completely agree with this mentality. There's a lot of bad information out there and I have enjoyed writing on this website so much during the SEO Hero Contest that I may continue doing so but in a different way, and that's critiquing articles out there for the information shared. I think there's a niche for this, but we'll see. Would anyone be interested in a blog like this that just kind of picks on the crazy stuff like CTR and unicorns and explains what Google has said and what RankBrain likely is *cough* Word2vec rather than some being that's constantly learning (it isn't)?
Walid of seo-hero.tech, with his second win. 2 more and he'll wrap up the SEO Hero contest!
I've been looking around Wix's SEO Hero websites and even Wix.com for some sign, some mention of the seo hero rank checks. I thought for sure they would post the winner of each check, or at least promote it on social media but there has been no word from them about the SEO Hero Contest which seems like it will end with a whimper rather than a bang. The contest will be a mere footnote in the SEO History books of the future.
Check out this massive spike of traffic all at the same time earlier today on beanseohero.com's Google Analytics. It looks like someone was gunning for me and tried to take down the website. Luckily the site is fully served from CloudFlare with not even a single request back to the actual server, and CloudFlare handled this attack like the champions that they are. SERP hijacking and trying to take down the server all in the same day, what will happen to Be An SEO Hero next? I spot checked a dozen or so of the referring pages and they were all in French, is this another move by the French Team?
It seems that many of the folks who setup "seo hero" rank checkers for the judge search events are off by an hour. They're not from the US so they might not know about daylight savings time or just might have missed that it started over the weekend. Either way, my SEO hero rankings are pulled at the correct times.
Congrats to all the SEO Heroes and a special shoutout for Walid of seo-hero.tech for taking the first one! 1 down, 5 to go!
Today is the day, the first 2 ranking checks by the SEO Hero judge happen at noon and 8pm Eastern from New York.
It appears seoremake.com is back in the SERPs where I was and I have dropped. If I search for phrases that appear only on my website, what shows up instead is seoremake.com. I guess they weren't actually sorry after the first time they did it, they were just testing and waiting to do it again but have likely added a nosnippet and noarchive from the looks of it, so there's no cache and I'd guess are cloaking it so that only Googlebot's IPs see the content. I haven't found which site the second one is hijacking yet but there's another I'll post below hijacking Wix's Gifted SEO Hero website.
There's another website besides seoremake.com that appears to be hijacking and it happens to be called frenchtaskforce.com which may indicate the hijackers are the French SEO Team. None of their websites seem to be hijacked and there's another one trying to hijack Wix's SEO Hero website as well.
The whois data for all 3 of the hijacking websites are the same, registered privately in the Bahamas with the same 3 name servers. While it is impossible to tell who it is, it looks like seoremake went up about 5 hours ago, or 3am Eastern adding more signals that this could be someone in Europe, possibly France.
Google, do you think maybe those paid links they're using are working too well? Maybe you want to do something about it yeah?
I said at the start that this contest will be impossible to judge. There are basically 2 rule sets to follow, those of Wix and Google's Webmaster Guidelines. The winner of this contest will be based on the judgement of the SEO Hero Challenge judge, as he gets to interpret the rules and disqualify anyone he wants to. How closely did everyone follow the rules? Did you know that when most of the SEO Heroes signed up they agreed to provide Google Analytics and Google Search Console access 9 months before the contest was announced? These rules are still alive here and are the ones that most contestants agreed to, yet they would be impossible to adhere to. I said it before and I'll say it again, I hope Wix decides to do the right thing and donate the money to charity.
Many of the contestants ran afoul of the rules due to Google's guidelines on link schemes. A Link scheme is defined as "Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines." 3 of the top 5 websites are from French SEOs (currently 1, 3, and 4 in the SEO Hero Challenge) who basically built a link network linking to the competiting French SEOs and also to other websites linking to those websites. The top 2 French competitors have 30 domains overlapping, the top 3 have 22 domains overlapping. Now not all of them are part of the network I described, but many of them are and these links are definitely made to boost the SEO Hero websites by manipulating PageRank, the exact definition of a link scheme as provided by Google. I'm not saying they will be disqualified because of this, as that will be determined by the judge and not me. I will assume they are eligible unless I specifically hear otherwise.
seoheronews.com out of the Ukraine and currently 5th in the SEO Hero Challenge has been one of the biggest sources of spam in the competition, mainly with profile links. I've seen many websites doing this get a penalty for "Unnatural inbound links".
Wix, the SEO Hero Challenge contest sponsor decided to break the rules as well. They are also using a link scheme "Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a "free" product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link". That's right the contest sponsor bought links for their entries. Worse, they also linked to and bought links for other SEO Heroes using Wix's platform in what is likely the most biased thing anyone running a contest could ever do! I have no sympathy for Wix and I hope Google will be looking into their link building practices soon and offering a smackdown as most of the websites showed a history of paid links for Wix.com as well.
As for Be An SEO Hero (currently 2nd), I flagrantly broke the rule 4.1.5 (must not contain) (viii) content that denigrates, disparages or reflects negatively on the Sponsor. I'm pretty sure calling Wix out for cheating in their own contest by buying links for their websites and favoring SEO Heroes using their platform by linking to them and buying links for them qualifies as content that reflects negatively on the sponsor. What I do hope Wix takes away from my website though is the review of their platform and the many SEO Heroes using their platform that I reviewed. I pretty much gave them a roadmap of things to fix if they actually want to be the best and I hope they use it to make improvements on their platform, because as it stands right now it is not the best for SEO, despite their claims.
seo-hero.tech made a tool that finds n-grams or co-occurring words and phrases. It's nothing new but it is moderately useful. Any of the count based models like n-grams, tf-idf, wdf*idf, and BM25 are somewhat useful in that they can analyze what's used in currently ranking content to find out what's important. They're a little more advanced than the old keyword density or LSI stuff that some people still tout, but still far behind search engines. A more useful tool would have been a predictive model instead of a count based model such as word2vec. With these models and a large enough data set, it's possible to actually have understanding of a topic and suggest things to include that aren't in any of the current texts. There are other models here that are useful and not just word level, but with labels as well as words like doc2vec, or lda that predicts globally whereas word2vec is local, lda2vec which tries to build both word and document topics, or lda2lstm which tries to model topics to sentences. Any of these would have been a more useful tool in that they provide understanding rather than just counting words.
Be An SEO Hero is my site. I've had daily rankings, contest news coverage, and even some in depth analysis for the contest. My strategy was to be the only place people would look for information about the SEO Hero contest.
seo-hero.ninja checks your rank on various Google datacenters. This kind of tool is a dime a dozen and it seems like every SEO tool website has one of these. He did design a fun little game to play while waiting though.
seo-hero.io has some information about the contest and about their SEO Heroes.
seoheronews.com wrote mainly general SEO news but finally added a bit about the contest and a rank tracker.
TJ of penrodshero.com had made a Google CSE that has unfiltered and unbiased results. It's showing most of the heroes at the top of the SERPs now but this hasn't been the case before. I'm thinking this may be an indication the bubble is about to burst in the last few days of the contest! Being that seo-hero.tech is already out, if even one rank check happens with him being the only one out, that gives him an advantage but doesn't make it impossible for others to win. The rules actually say whoever wins the highest number of the 6 search events.
Do we think Wix chose New York City as the final location check because that is where many of the comic book heroes reside?
All too well I'd say. I saw Wix's Gifted SEO Hero website hit a high of 4th in the competition yesterday. Looks like those paid links are working well for them. It wasn't long ago they were around 40th in the competition, it's just a shame they had to break their own rules to get a decent finish.
I wanted to give a shoutout to the other top competitors from the US, seoherofromzero.com coming in at 7th today and trueseohero.com who is 10th at the moment. That's 3 from the US in the top 10, 3 from France, 1 from the Ukraine, 1 from Israel (Wix), 1 from Brazil, and 1 from the UK.
The links in particular are telling. Most of the top websites are there because of link networks, spam profile links, and paid for links. It's sad that these are the kind of links that are still working. A few competitors have followed guidelines and I emphasize a few. Everything you can imagine has been tried in the contest so far by those leaning more towards the side of an SEO Villain, including directories, web 2.0s, press releases, blog comments, video links, and even PBNs. We've even seen some really dark side stuff like hijacking in the contest which Dan Sharp of Screaming Frog brought a lot of attention to recently by stealing the SERP for Google's SEO Starter Guide. It feels like we've taken a step backwards in the last few years and we're back to where Google says do one thing, but what really works is another.
One of the French websites is out of the bubble again and ranking 2nd in the SERPs overall and putting me a distant 2nd in the SEO Hero Challenge. He escaped before recently but was put back in with the rest of us. Will others escape? Will he be put back? Today and tomorrow don't matter, but how the SERPs are positioned on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will determine the winner of the Wix SEO Hero Challenge!
The lack of attention, not answering questions, telling everyone to follow the rules, then blatently breaking your own rules buying links over and over and even favoring competitors using your platform by linking to them and buying links for them has shown Wix to be a joke. Wix deserves a smackdown from Google for this, so let's continue the list that shows Wix has not only bought links for the SEO Hero contest, but also buys them on a regular basis for Wix.com.
If you read any of these by the way, they all read the same. Here's the contest, prize, split money, John Mueller says Wix is fine for search, reputation thing, this is a great resource, random links to Wix's articles on the website, Rand Fishkin, Matt Cutts, follow the rules, etc. Most have pages for advertising, most have a pre-existing relationship with Wix, some even remove sitewide links when posting about the contest to try and cover up this fact but they're still there in the cache and the wayback machine.
https://www.seonews.ru/events/kto-oboydet-wix-v-poiske/ A Russian article about the contest quoting one of Wix's SEO Hero websites as the source. There's a page for advertising with their whole media kit and many previous articles advertising Wix with keyword rich anchor text links.
http://www.adictosalared.com/2017/03/blogs-arma-secreta-cualquier-experto-seo/ Another one about the contest linking to giftedseohero.com. There's a page for advertising that even includes payment methods, previous articles advertising Wix with keyword rich anchor text, and even a sitewide link that was removed when this article was posted that said "Como crear una pagina web con Wix" and linked to es.wix.com.
http://www.vicious.com.br/competicao-seo-hero/ This one even calls Wix their partner. They have the page for advertising and many previous articles promoting Wix.
http://www.mobiledevice.ru/82926-mozhete-li-vi-prevzoiti-wix-ih-sobstvennoi-igre.aspx Advertises Wix's contest page, has a page for advertising on their website which includes "placement of direct SEO-links", has several previous articles advertising Wix, you know all the usual patterns that Google should be able to see and penalize...
https://lenta.co/kto-obojdet-wix-v-poiske-336304 Another one about the contest and linking to Wix's SEO Hero website, advertising with rates, previous articles advertising Wix. I feel like I'm repeating myself. Maybe there's something to this pattern stuff?
http://marcdezordo.me/concours-seo-hero-de-wix-comment-suivre-vos-positions/ This one is about the contest and links to Wix's Gifted SEO Hero website. I'm amused here they mention you must respect the rules of the contest and no black hat, like you know buying links?
http://www.zarqun.com/2017/03/puedes-superar-a-wix-en-su-propio-juego/ Another one on the contest linking to Wix's contest website. No surprise here, there are many previous articles advertising Wix.com.
https://www.creadictos.com/inspiracion-para-creativos-3/ Oh look, graphic design inspiration with a link drop to Wix's SEO Hero page. It might actually be believable if you didn't use exact match anchor text for this, but not even link to most of the others, or you didn't have previous articles obviously advertising Wix with keyword rich anchor text.
https://designzeroum.com.br/o-que-e-o-seo-hero/ Can you guess what I'm going to say by now? Something like about the contest, links to Wix's SEO Hero website, previous articles advertising Wix. If that's what you thought, you were correct!
http://www.designer-daily.com/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-become-a-seo-hero-59866 We talked about this one before as it was linking to one of the heroes in the contest on Wix's platform. It looks like the author forgot the link to Wix's SEO Hero website, but don't worry they went back and added it! The cached version shows the copy without the link to Wix.
The list keeps growing but by my count we're over 35 now and this doesn't include the links Wix has bought for SEO Hero competitors who use their platform...
Next week, I will be checking and updating the rankings the same time the judge does noon and 8pm each day, the same way the judge does in Chrome, incognito mode, desktop, and from New York City, and I will have a list of who won the search event as the judge will. While my results will be 100% unofficial, they should be the closest approximation to the actual results around.
On the support page, the blog, all of them. It took them long enough!
Good luck to everyone! It's been a fun contest.
The list keeps growing and Wix seems to be buying ~5 links a day on average so far this week, as well as many in the previous months. These are likely only a fraction of the ones out there but they are the ones I have found which are likely a fraction of the ones out there as these have all been from going through my feeds and I'm sure I missed things. I'll check in some actual backlink tools soon to discover more.
https://www.cmscritic.com/google-is-changing-the-game-with-featured-snippets/ A thinly veiled article about featured snippets that links to a post on Wix's SEO Hero website as if it's an actual resource that anyone would have found or cited. There's the usual page for advertising and many previous articles that appear to be advertising Wix.
http://www.speckygeek.com/wix-seo-hero-competing-rank-gain-trust-50000-bounty/ This one appears in an interview style asking Wix questions about the contest and of course links to Gifted SEO Hero. One interesting fact here is that they said that a few thousand sites entered the competition, but the most I've found is not even a few hundred! The website says they receive compensation from the companies they feature and they have a "write for us" page. You can probably guess by now that there are previous articles about Wix with keyword rich anchor text on this site that even advertise how great Wix is at SEO.
http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2017/03/08/seo-hero-wix/ Talks about the contest, links to Wix's SEO hero website, previous posts advertising Wix.
http://www.geekets.com/2017/03/concurso-seo-heroes/#more-67471 Links to both of Wix's current SEO Hero contest pages. Previous posts advertising Wix, the usual.
http://126kr.com/article/w2dq1gf1v Talks about the contest, links to one of Wix's SEO hero websites, lots of previous articles advertising Wix as well.
The list keeps getting longer and I keep getting more sad. Googlers, it seems like you need to start cracking down on this stuff or at least make an example or SEOs will continue with the bad habbit of link buying. Wix, cheating in your own contest is wrong, doing it to promote yourself and those in the contest using your platform is wrong. You started this contest to improve your reputation but you're trashing it and revealing that you buy links for SEO not just for the contest but for Wix.com as well.
The latest hero on Real SEO Hero has been live for a few days now. I mentioned they had copied a url but they fixed that but even after several days the description on the homepage is still wrong. Wix says the guy created his website on Wix in 2013, but it looks like the website has been around since about 2000. If I was a betting man, I'd say that move was in February 2013 when SEMrush shows they lost nearly half the traffic to their website. The terms Wix says he ranks for are branded or exceedingly niche in that the CPC for these expensive machines is less than $0.50. Like many of the other articles, these are filled with spelling and grammatical mistakes like "Google AdWorkds". He somehow checks his rankings with Google Analytics as well.
The website has many of the standard issues we see with Wix websites. This includes duplicate titles created by lightbox pages, mainly missing h1 tags although a few pages have multiple h1 tags as well, images were renamed, and alt attributes are mainly missing or generic with few that are correct.
I'm amazed that this late in the competition that new websites are still being launched. 2 websites I've never seen before today showed up with less than a week to go.
Yesterday we added 5 more websites that appeared to have paid links to Wix's SEO Hero websites to our list, and today we have another 5 already. They're desperate to make a good showing in their contest and willing to break their own rules to win.
http://ibrandstudio.com/articles/blogging-tips-from-zero-to-hero this one is subtle, disguised as an article about blogging tips it drops a link to Wix's SEO Hero outreach post. All the signs are there though like a page for advertising and previous articles about Wix promoting them with keyword rich anchor text. It's $50 for a sponsored post. They also just removed a sidebar link in their partner section that said "Wix Website Builder" and linked to wix.com.
http://www.domstechblog.com/can-outrank-wix-game/ Another one about the contest and linking to Wix's entry. Like the last one, they removed a sitewide sidebar link that said "Wix Website Builder" and linked to wix.com when they posted this article. They also have previous posts about Wix that look sponsored and use keyword rich anchor text.
http://xtendedview.com/news/a-pictures-worth-1000-words/3963/ A poorly disguised post on image optimization, they drop a link to Wix's SEO Hero tips about image optimization as if more than 5 people have ever seen that page and anyone would consider it an actual resource. There's again an advertisement page and many posts about Wix that link with keyword rich anchor text.
https://www.elitusdesign.net/single-post/2017/03/08/WIX%E3%81%8CSEO-HERO%E3%82%AD%E3%83%A3%E3%83%B3%E3%83%9A%E3%83%BC%E3%83%B3%E5%AE%9F%E6%96%BD this one is in Japanese and says the guy is a Wix ambassador. It talks about the contest and guess where it links?
https://wpaisle.com/articles/gifted-seo-hero/ A bit different than the others. This one links to both Wix's entry and one of the entries on Wix's platform. I guess it needs to go in the list of links Wix bought for Wix and the list they bought for SEO Heroes using Wix's platform.
There's more intent to cover up these links like we've seen them try in the past. I feel really bad for Wix's competitors that Google doesn't seem to have cracked down on Wix's link building practices. Just for a refresher, here are the links it appears Wix has bought for themselves and another list for those they appear to be buying for SEO Heroes using their platform:
seo-hero.tech is back in the bubble with the rest of us mortals. It looked like he had finally broken free, but now his rankings are suppressed like the rest of us. It's looking more and more like this is how the contest will end.
We're now in the last week of the SEO Hero contest and the madness has just begun. Thank you all for reading my website throughout the competition, all your kind words, and all of your support throughout all of this and sorry if I annoyed or offended anyone talking about SEO Hero stuff. Wix is buying links like crazy for their websites and for SEO Heroes in the contest using their platform. There's a ton of spam out there in general ranging from press releases to web 2.0s, PBNs, and even profile links. Everyone is trying their hardest to get that final push. Someone made some cool data visualizations of different SEO hero websites. We had one competitor who seemed to escape the Google suppression but as of today he's back with the rest of us, which should make the finish to this contest exciting!
Wix came back strong but it appears to be because they are buying links. They've made a few updates to the websites with the usual, more SEO tips, another blog, and more Real SEO Heroes, but are primarily focusing their efforts off-site.
I shared out some GSC and analytics data yesterday. Highlights include 10,856 sessions with 6,592 new users in Analytics all coming from many different countries that showed the worldwide audience of this contest. My website had 2,224 clicks from Google shown in GSC for the last 90 days with 775 of those being for "seo hero" and I've had an average rank of 20.8 for the term over that period. I've had 144,358 impressions with 35,366 of those being for "seo hero" alone. I was surpassed this week by a couple other SEO heroes after being in the contest lead pretty much since the beginning. It was humbling for me as I thought I could win with my own efforts, and after realizing I needed help I've been overwhelmed with the show of support. We have such a great community in the SEO industry and my biggest regret is my own hubris. I've been following the contest closely and have had a lot to write in the last week and I would imagine this last week will be even crazier! I had one scare with an email from the judge saying they didn't have my GSC access, but I checked and sent a couple screenshots and I'm all good there and not disqualified. I'm looking forward to this final week and then taking a break to recover from what has been a very time consuming contest.
It appears the links they are buying are giving them a nice boost for "seo hero", except it's on the wrong search engine. giftedseohero.com has hit #1 on Bing. We'll see how much of an effect it has on Google, but so far the links appear to have given them a significant lift.
"Wix seo hero" has shown up as a related phrase for "Wix SEO". It was just a matter of time I suppose.
Well, none of the SEO Heroes have hit page 1 for "wix seo", but many of the contestants and articles about the contest are lurking on page 2. I guess Wix couldn't wait for them to move up, so it looks like many of the top rankings posts which previously had negative sentiment about Wix's platform have updated their posts in the past few months and put a much friendlier spin on their articles. I wonder how much that cost Wix?
I'm blown away by the amazing response to my tweet asking for help. To my friends, acquaintances, and even random strangers, thank you! Even some of the SEO Heroes still within striking distance to win the contest are offering their support and I'm truly thankful for the kindness they have shown. Thank you so much for your support!
We've already seen Wix's willingness to purchase links for their SEO Hero websites. In fact, I maintain a running list of these and now I have a few more to add.
https://www.frogx3.com/2017/03/06/seo-hero-concurso-seo-ofrece-50000-dolares-premio/ Advertises both of Wix's contest entries in one! There's also a page for advertising your brand and all their demographic and stat data for the website.
http://www.noobpreneur.com/2017/03/06/exclusive-qa-with-wix-seo-team-lead-alissa-ludanskaa-on-their-seo-hero-competition/ An interview with the head of SEO at Wix, Alissa Ludanskaa. Yep, there's a page for advertising. Yep, there are previous articles that look like advertisements for Wix.
http://socialbarrel.com/who-will-be-the-real-seo-hero-of-wix/109767/ Sidebar link to WixStores, advertise with us, several previous articles promoting Wix with keyword rich anchor text. The same old story.
http://www.pixelbox.ru/blog/interesting/1343.html Another one talking about the contest and linking to Wix's SEO Hero contest website. Again there are previous articles on this website promoting Wix.com. Anyone seeing a pattern with these?
http://www.n4gash.com/2017/seo-hero-concurso-optimizacion-buscadores/ this one talks about the contest and says you still have a chance to enter before linking to giftedseohero.com, but you can't enter anymore. Again, there are other articles promoting Wix.com on this website.
See the running list below and keep in mind all of the ones above were in the last day, in what looks to be a final push in the SEO Hero contest. I really think Google needs to look into Wix's linkbuilding practices...
Two weeks ago we saw Wix update the blog on Wix.com announcing their SEO Hero to include links to some of the SEO heroes using Wix's platform. Last week we saw Wix appear to buy a couple links on different websites that already had Wix advertising on them, except they linked to the SEO Heroes on Wix's platform in the articles rather than Wix's contest websites. I was suspicious at the time but now more of these are showing up, and it does appear Wix is buying links for those in the contest on Wix's platform. Showing favoritism is about the worst thing the contest host could do. Check out http://www.designer-daily.com/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-become-a-seo-hero-59866 which is promoting the 3 different SEO Hero websites on Wix's platform. There's a sidebar link for Wix on the site showing an established relationship, also a page for advertising, and previous posts promoting Wix with keyword rich anchor text.
I've had many people tell me they come to my website every day and that I'm the only website they read to keep up with the contest. I'm honored, flattered, and humbled by your support and want to thank you all.