It wasn't that long ago I only had about 20 domains linking to beanseohero.com according to Google Search Console. Now there are 23.5k links from 624 different domains. To make it worse, I'm not sure how Google is counting these as many don't seem to be on the websites (or maybe they're hacked websites, I should check that) or show via intermediate links to different websites, or the websites don't seem to work, or have my website in their cache which looks to be attempts at 302 hijacking. Like this one where my website shows in the cache for a domain that's eligible in the contest and is trying to 302 hijack my spot in the SERPs, but if you actually go to the website it 302 redirects to seohero.ninja. This will be fun to explain to Wix and the judge and it's something I haven't seen much of since week 2-3. For the record, the content here is written by Patrick Stox for the website beanseohero.com, so if they do manage to take my spot in the search results Mr. Judge, please look through the content and find this message.
I was trying not to have many links to my website because I wanted to see if content alone could actually win. There's been some discussion on this lately and Twitter activity from Rand Fishkin, Gary Illyes, Cyrus Shepard and many others saying that great content with few to no links can win out over mediocre content with links. I'm not sure how much it will matter since we're all in some kind of bubble as far as where we rank, but beanseohero.com has been first for most of the competition so far and I've been covering what's been happening daily. I figured maybe some SEO news websites would pick up some of my content or possibly some of the larger news sites might cover it as has happened in past competitions and I would pick up links that way. I have many websites I could add links to as well and since Wix did it from Wix.com and said it was okay, I guess it would be okay if I did do that. Then of course there's all my author profiles at Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, etc, the Raleigh SEO Meetup group and website, Beer and SEO group and website, I could ask the 2,800 members of the Raleigh SEO Meetup to link to me, I could ask at conferences like Pubcon where I'll be speaking next week, I could ask for support on social like on Facebook and Twitter, I could ask my technical SEO slack group or ask on Reddit or the /r/bigseo Slack group, I could reach out to writers/editors, I could send an email asking for support from a list I scraped of agency and SEO tool companies, but I've decided I wouldn't do any of that. I really wanted this to be natural so that I could see if content truly would win or not. I did have some other plans like a big publicity stunt that hasn't worked yet and may not work before the contest ends, and also am in the process of building a tool that really would get a lot of attention and links but life has gotten in the way and I don't believe I will finish it in time. I wanted to do more with the SEO resources like a cliff notes version to each resource and tool and wanted to write more FAQs but I haven't found the time or the motivation. Basically this has been my weakness in the SEO hero contest, a lack of time. While I've planned out many things, only half have come to fruition and with no plans to do outreach or ask for links, if I lose the SEO Hero Challenge it will be my own fault.
I just received an email from Wix requesting access by the end of the day on February 15th, not 16th! See the message copy below.
We're sending a friendly reminder to make sure you do the following steps by end of day February 15, 2017.
- 1. Open accounts for both Google Analytics and Google search console.
- 2. Connect the accounts to your SEO Hero website.
- 3. Add email@example.com as an admin.
Please make sure your account name is the same as your domain name. If you've registered the account under a different name, change it by going to your Google account settings.
Note that to stay in the competition, in addition to any other terms of the rules, you need to follow these requirements or your website could be automatically disqualified without notice and no room to appeal.
The Wix Team
*The content of this email shall not be deemed as confirmation of participant's compliance with any of the other contest's rules. No further notice shall be provided.
I'm seeing lots of love for the French team on Twitter and with links to their websites. Other French SEOs are not only showing support by writing about and linking to the SEO Hero competitors but also to other websites who have written about the French Team. I worry that this might look like a small link network and wonder if this will actually help or if Penguin might step in and not count any of these. We'll see what happens with that, but it's truly amazing to see the support of the SEO community over there.
This amazes me that with a month left, that's 4 websites total in 2 days that have shown up. Some of them are normal competitors, some don't really seem to be trying, and others are doing bad things like the 302 hijacking mentioned above. One in particular deserves a call out for making me laugh, seohero.fish whose SEO Hero is a fish.
A Twitter user has reported Wix's editor is down which is a common complaint I see on their social profiles, but also said 99% of SEO tools report his website is too slow. I haven't really checked with any tools specifically for SEO but I wonder about their limits. The websites I checked using Wix weren't blazingly fast but they weren't slow either. They were fairly middle of the road and certainly not enough to cause any rankings issues.
@Wix Every single time I login your site editor is down. 99% of SEO tools also report my site as too slow. How do I request a refund?— Zaid Crowe (@zaidcrowe) February 14, 2017
I finally took care of it this morning. You have 2 days, that is until February 16th to give firstname.lastname@example.org "admin" access to Google Analytics and Google Search Console. We're not sure what admin access entails since neither GA nor GSC has that level, so I gave the highest level of access that I could in both cases. I'll remind all the SEO Heroes over the next couple days that you need to do this in order to stay in the competition!
One of the recent entries on Wix's real-seohero.com had the page as /copy-of-(another SEO Hero) and we've seen this before with some of the pages back on SEO Hero School. A quick site: search on Google with inurl:copy-of tells me this seems to be a problem on Wix's platform. The pages are getting indexed before people are able to change the URLs.
What I got was an error message "Error establishing a database connection". That's not good, maybe you should look into that Wix? I've tried a couple times now and written a lot of other stuff in the meantime but it's still down so I'm going to have to use Google's cached version.
At http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/02/how-these-3-ecommerce-sites-nailed-their-seo/, Wix wrote about these e-commerce websites. I'm surprised they didn't tie them into the SEO Hero contest or link to one of their contest websites which was what I expected when I came to the article. These may have been potential SEO heroes that didn't quite make the cut for their Real SEO Hero website.
First up is ageofbeard.com. Wix says they're at the top for "organic beard products" and they are, but with only 50 searches a month this isn't a competitive term at all. Wix also said they were at the top for a slightly more competitive term "organic beard oil" but in fact they're 6th for this when I checked. Wix's screenshot showing the rankings also shows a purple link, indicating they have clicked on this before and it's likely a personalized result. Most of the rest of the stuff Wix says here is fine except when it comes to image names. Yes, image names are a ranking factor but it makes me wonder if Wix doesn't know they rewrite the image names before being output, so whatever the customer saved as the name is lost because of Wix's platform. Like all the others on Wix's platform there are other basic errors like redirected tag pages, the image issue mentioned for the names, some unfriendly product URLs that seem to use random letters and numbers rather than words, titles that are too long, multiple h1 tags, no canonicals set, and remember this is an e-commerce store without HTTPS because it's not supported on Wix's platform. I took a link at the backlink profile as well and saw that this website is fairly new and jumped up about 6k links in a few weeks. The problem is that it all looks like trackback and pingback spam so I would expect this website to see a penalty in the near future.
This next one I won't even audit. yamajewelry.com ranks for nothing besides their brand and maybe that's why Wix decided to tout the fact that they have sitelinks on their branded search as the SEO win here. They make a mistake in saying that you can demote sitelinks you don't want to display as that feature was removed last year. I guess someone at Wix hasn't been keeping up with the times.
The last one is sawakofuruno.com and it as how Wix says, that's she's ranked on the first page for a lot of terms but most are 5+ and not driving much traffic. A few quick estimates put some of her competitors at more than 6x her traffic. She's been around a while and actually has good coverage and likely good outreach looking at the links. Even Wix has promoted her in the past. The website itself is a nightmare of duplicate titles, many of which are caused by lightbox images being pages. Then there's keyword stuffed meta keywords, multiple h1s, missing h1s, no canonicals, default image alt attributes likely based on the original names before Wix changed them and also missing alt attributes. There's so much wrong with the website and the reason this lady is doing well is because of her hustle and outreach.
I thought that Wix had simply deleted their SEO Heroes after the change from seoheroschool.com to giftedseohero.com as part of the strategy. What actually happened it seems is that they split the website into 2 and now, along with giftedseohero.com, Wix has another website that was registered before the close of contest entry that contains their SEO Heroes, real-seohero.com. According to the contest rules, each entrant could have up to 5 websites and this makes 3 that we've seen from Wix.
I am wondering why they didn't split the redirects between the 2 domains though. Currently all the SEO heroes go to 404 pages on Gifted SEO Hero. Is this just because they didn't want to map out page level redirects and did it at the domain level or is this an indicator of limited redirect capabilities on Wix's platform? I'm not sure of the answer to that.
I also have questions on why I haven't seen this website in any of my feeds and haven't seen Wix mention it on their social channels or anything. I actually spotted it because of a Facebook ad as seen below. They've even added a couple new SEO Heroes since making the move.
It's been a while since Wix's website migration which we still have no idea why they did. Finally, giftedseohero.com's homepage has replaced seoheroschool.com's in the search results. The only problem for Wix at least, is that the migration is done and their new website is currently not even in the top 25 SEO Hero competitors. They have a long way to climb and less than 30 days left to prove they are the best.
Why did Wix remove their SEO Heroes section from their website? This actually had a sitelink when searching for their brand so it was obviously a valuable page in the eyes of Google. Maybe ego bait wasn't working as well as they thought for links and social? I was having fun auditing these heroes and will miss them.
I was going to update my TF-IDF analysis of ranking pages for "seo hero", but with every eligible SEO Hero website being a filter/bubble/sandbox still, there's not much point.
Rand confirmed on Twitter that Wix asked him through an email for permission, but he is not associated with their entry which has changed from SEO Hero School to Gifted SEO Hero.
This is now the 9th link that looks paid for by Wix specifically for the SEO Hero contest. https://designzeroum.com.br/o-que-e-o-seo-hero/ has many of the same signs as the other links like the keyword rich anchor text to Wix's Gifted SEO Hero website. There's also other articles promoting Wix with keyword rich anchor text and this time they didn't even bother to remove the sitewide keyword rich anchor text link that Goes to Wix and says "Como montar um site" or "how to build a website". See the running list below.
It seems like the French Team isn't out of the game yet. They have big plans, perhaps a final push towards the end of the contest. Sylvain Vandewal says it's a French Revolution and Paul Sanchez has some kind of international SEO game coming. I look forward to watching the events unfold in the SEO Hero Challenge. The French Team is already strong, taking 4 out of the top 10 in today's rankings with 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th places.
@patrickstox French revolution is in progress ! At least, something is happening in this boring competition BTW, you've an eye everywhere^^— Sylvain SEO Hero (@SylvainVandewal) February 10, 2017
First it was dogs, and now it's old people and children. I think Wix is insulting grandpas and niece's everywhere as well as the SEO Heroes in their latest blog at http://www.giftedseohero.com/single-post/2017/02/09/The-SEO-Hero-Survival-Kit. They say if you are tech-savvy enough to upload the occasional photo to Facebook, that you too can do SEO. What does that have to do with it exactly Wix? They promote their SEO intro and technical SEO stuff talking about how good their platform is for SEO, so I'll go ahead and point people to my Wix SEO review to actually see the problems with the platform. They also promote several articles, many of which I already pointed out problems with in Wix is Wrong on SEO.
If you search for my name, Patrick Stox, you'll see one of the related searches for this is now SEO Hero. Way to go Google, this made me smile.
Guess that means the SEO Hero contest hasn't been cancelled! In this video, Rand Fishkin (Professor F) is asking the SEO Heroes to stop the villain Apocalinks who has decided to break all the links in the world. The seek out Matt Cutts who is found levitating in a monastary surrounded by cats. The SEO Heroes tell Matt the problem, but he only chants out SEO. He goes on with some organic mumbo jumbo and tells them to search around, which Evergreen takes to mean take pictures of the cats, because you know, the internet and cats and all. There's a photo taking session that actually had me laughing. People link to the article on Matt Cutt's cats and the world is saved!
There's a lot of nice touches in this video like the little Rogerbot zooming through at the start, John Mueller on the TV, the disconnected world is a 404, there's Mozcast on another TV showing the SEO weather, a poster that says "work hard, rank harder", a "hey girl" Ryan Gosling, and Evergreen is holding a beginner's guide book which is likely a tribute to Moz's Beginner's Guide to SEO. They also took the time to call out things Google has said in the whiteboard behind Rand, like "wix websites work fine in search", "websites are websites for google". There's also a spelling mistake where they have wich instead of which on the whiteboard. Check out the video for yourself.
Bill Hartzer shared on Twitter an email from Wix about the new video. Considering the video has only been live for a few hours, this had to be a coordinated launch and outreach effort.
I was looking at Google trends this morning and noticed for more than a week now, searches for seo hero are down 50% from what they have been. I commented yesterday the contest was kind of dead, but that was more of a feeling and not seeing much activity from competitors. The search trends show a lack of interest in the contest as well.
With only a little over a month left in the Wix SEO Hero Challenge, I've got to say the contest is kind of dead. The competitors seem to have lost motivation, I'm not seeing any new players, there's no buzz or announcements from Wix, and I'm not seeing Wix do much either. Seriously, both on-page and off-page activity is at an all time low in the contest at a point I figured things would be ramping up and people would be going hard towards the finish line. There's about a week left to hand over your Google Analytics and Google Search Console access to the judge, so if you haven't done that then take care of it. I'm honored that one of the competitors linked to my personal Facebook page with the messaging "Click here to see the one and only SEO Hero".
Wix finally updated one of their links from Wix.com to go to their new SEO Hero website rather than the old one. Their new website was also indexed finally after they removed the noindex tag (yeah, I pointed that out to them) and it's ranking, although pretty far back at the moment. They also updated their AdWords ad to point to the new website rather than breaking AdWords policies by showing one domain and redirecting to another (I pointed that out to them too!) There has already been a link that looks to be paid going to giftedseohero.com, which brings the total that appear paid for to 8 now.
On my end I haven't been super busy in the contest either. There's not a ton to report on and I've been busy planning a move. I wrote some fluff pieces on things to do in NYC and the evolution of heroes over time and also one on how Kim Jong Un is an SEO Hero and supreme leader of the contest. That's right, I had to resort to fake news because there was nothing to report. I also pulled some stats about Wix employees from Be An SEO Hero's Google Analytics account. I checked some of the other search engines to see how the SEO Hero websites were doing. Even though the contest will be judged based on Google SERPs, I would argue Yandex has the best search results at the moment.
The entire section of the website on Wix's Gifted SEO Hero related to Wix heroes has been removed. The menu item is removed, the pages are no longer in the sitemap, and the pages now 404. I'm not sure why they did this.