Can't say I didn't warn them about exposing their content.
It looks like they made their SEO Hero blog live and updated their sitemap to remove the second blog and one of their posts (the one that isn't live now). They made the second blog 404 now as well.
Personally, it looks like a link drop to me but that's the question that was asked on Quora. I was a little surprised that 2 people had already responded to this. They both agreed it's not a scam, but were cynical of the contest and how it would be judged.
Hey Wix, I know you give this advice so often to your customers. You're firing analytics on a page on my website that hasn't been there in 5 days. Please try clearing your cache to get the proper 404 response code.
I was tipped off by a fellow contestant on Twitter of some interesting happenings in the seoheroschool.com (Wix's official SEO Hero entry) sitemap file. Not only did this uncover a second blog, /blog-1 instead of /blog, which might be their test environment. It also revealed a couple unpublished articles full of spelling and grammatical errors. Things like "What differentiate an SEO hero for a villain?", "thean your intentions are in the right place", "practice quickening your reflects" (pretty sure they mean reflexes here).
Note that this content has not been picked up by Google. An SEO Hero looking to become a villain might pick this up and get it indexed on their own website first, leading Google to believe Wix is the one putting out duplicate content. This is dangerous for Wix to expose the posts like this.
It seems the only one promoting the contest these days is Wix. Good for them. They say they want a good challenge. I say they have a lot of work ahead of them after their late start.
I don't think anyone will be shocked by this. There are more than 5x as many websites built on WordPress as there are built on Wix entered in the Wix SEO Hero competition. One thing I was a little surprised by was all the websites without a CMS. I'm one of those of course, but still I was surprised to see twice as many without a CMS as were built on Wix.
I dug through all the websites I've seen and updated my SEO Hero Competitors list with information on the content strategy for each website. I'll do a link analysis closer to the end of the competition, but as for content it can be boiled down to a few categories. There are those who haven't built their website, some who write about the contest, some who write about SEO in general, some who write about their SEO Heroes, and some who are just looking for business. I noticed there's a lot of copying of tactics, tools, and content, especially stuff I have made and rarely is it done better.
I'll give credit to a few competitors though. seohero.center for their creative little hero personas, seo-hero.org for making an attractive looking ranking system and making me make mine better, penrodshero.com for detailing his progress, making tools, and even a little game, seo-hero.pro for having a comic strip which I thought was very much in tune with the competition, and lastseohero.com for having an awesome Star Wars theme and a lot of creativity. I'll give Wix's website, seoheroschool.com an honorable mention for creativity on design and characters, but I still think it's shady they seem to be using Rand Fishkin's name and likeness without permission.
People still have time to enter and I'm sure there's a lot of websites out there I haven't found yet or are still waiting to make their debut. It will be interesting to see if anyone puts in some real effort and comes up with a truly innovative strategy.
Look what I dug up in my closet. I think I was destined to be an SEO Hero.
I wanted to see how many of the people competing had changed or created SEO Hero social profiles. On Facebook I found 13 people and 86 pages that appear to be contest related, and on Twitter I found 47 profiles.
I won't call them out by name, but if you check out #SEOHero on Twitter you can't miss them. It looks like someone might be drip feeding or bought a fiverr gig for social signals promoting their crap. I expect more of this as the contest heats up. At least the random account names related to dating gave me a laugh.
First up we have Joe Hall, who may or may not be talking about me and this website. I did search "Joe Hall" "SEO Hero" and found him on a few sites, one of which of course is my SEO Heroes and Heroines.
Do not call me a "SEO Hero" so you can enter a dumb contest. ESPECIALLY if you don't know ANYTHING about SEO. Its an insult to both of us.— Joe Hall (@joehall) December 9, 2016
Russ Jones also sparked an interesting conversation and brought on a lot of opinions on the contest being a publicity stunt or an ORM campaign. This thread is worth a read. On a side note, Russ is also cheating at SEO Heroes and Heroines.
Barry Adams picked up where Russ left off, and he pulled no punches.
Then there are those who think I should be out of the competition because they see me bouncing around in the search results? It took a little digging, but that seems to be the complaint of this guy, that my site was going from page 1 to page 8 and back and forth. I wrote about this in my 3 week update that it seemed to be caused by the addition of SEO Hero research and the switch from HTTP > HTTPS. Things have been calm for me for 4 days now and I've been seeing myself in 2nd-4th since, but apparently for him I'm still bouncing around. Could be personalization or maybe his local server is still caching my HTTP version or just hasn't picked up the latest changes. Either way, haters gonna hate and others are apparently going to jump on the bandwagon. This guy likes to respond to his own tweets. Someone please talk to him, I think he needs help. Sorry guys, but I won't be out of the competition anytime soon.
@YourSEOHero something seriously wrong there! So obvious— SEO Hero Lab (@SEOHeroLab) December 9, 2016
One Twitter user asked this question. I'm pretty sure the rules allow it, but I'm not sure at all from Wix's confusing answer.
@ALEXANDRA_URO If you're a "legal resident & are physically located & reside in a jurisdiction in which this type of contest is permitted"— Wix.com (@Wix) December 9, 2016
Entries close December 16th, so make sure you are entered before then. If you need a reminder of the rules and how to enter, check out our SEO Hero Rules page.
Someone has been busy on my website the last few days either admiring my website or scoping out the competition. Wixpress Ltd. was the previous official company name of Wix. They have changed this since to Wix.com Ltd. although apparently not for their network provider. I hope they at least took some notes on how to improve their platform from my Wix SEO page.
It's been a crazy week. 3 weeks in I'm now the only eligible website in the top 50 (currently 4th, even above the Wix SEO Hero competition announcement) but now Wix has released their SEO Hero website. They have some catching up to do but there are still 96 days. seoheroschool.com launched as I said, though not without controversy over the use of Rand Fishkin's name and face possibly without his knowledge, Joost de Valk of Yoast SEO fired a shot at Wix for using WordPress on their own blog and has kicked off a major conversation on Twitter, we had a competitor start over, and we've seen a ton of new competitors and a lot of support for French and German SEOs.
My strategy at the start was a little scattered. I went for controversy and failed. I went for shareable and timely assets and failed. Somehow along the way I managed to start writing news and making resources that people in the contest would find useful and people writing about the contest will find useful. These linkable assets like daily rankings, news, a competitor list, a game, and even in-depth research are obviously my strategy now and going forward. I want to be the only resource that people need to check for information about the competition. I'm not done yet with ideas and I'm still motivated. It's actually been a lot of fun covering the Wix SEO Hero competition.
On my own website it's been a crazy ride with a lot of updates and a few mistakes. I updated my rankings to show deeper into the SERPs and pull from New York, partly because one competitor made a better looking system than I have, but now his rankings haven't updated for most of the week. I wrote about previous SEO competitions, I added to my SEO Hero research section with some visualizations of Twitter data, I made a map of server locations for the websites in my SEO Hero Competitor list.
As for mistakes, it was a little over a week ago that I had hit my highest point in the competition at that time coming in 6th for SEO Hero. I had switched my website over to HTTPS as it grew and around that time I added a lot of research into the SEO Hero contest. The thing is, it was the HTTP version of the page cached on November 26th that was ranking. I was having a lot of trouble getting the result shown to switch to HTTPS and I think that's because the research I added probably looked like giant lists of keyword stuffing to Google and my HTTPS version didn't seem to be as high of a quality as the HTTP version they had cached. When the results finally switched, I found myself ranking in the mid 80s for SEO Hero. I was debating leaving it a few more days to see what happened, but after checking over the HTTPS migration and not seeing any issues, I figured it was the research. Since then I've stripped some content and have moved other content to different pages. My intention was to have a single page website, but as I keep writing more and doing more, the page was getting really long and scattered. I started moving some assets off the main page like the SEO Hero research to start with and this immediately jumped my ranking back into the top 10. I've experimented the last couple days with how much I can move off the main page and still maintain the ranking. I wait until Google has picked up the new page and changes to the current page and then check my rank for SEO Hero. So far nothing has had a major negative effect, a position or two or some fluctuation here or there. I really wanted to leave a couple things I wrote about Wix SEO, as I'm almost sure that before the end of this competition that that Wix and SEO Hero will be strongly related, in which case that content would likely help, but for now the association has not been made so in order to up the relevancy of this page, I've moved items about Wix SEO to their own page. Almost all that is left after this morning's test, unless I put something back, will be SEO Hero Rankings, News, and Rules. I may even try taking my writeup on the rules of the SEO Hero contest off the main page as well.
My biggest weakness right now is links. I currently show links from only 3 domains in Google Search Console. It's not much, but at least it's not spammed to death like I expected. I guess it's still early though, and I'm sure the spam will come. I was actually hiding my website in my rankings report for a while because I didn't want to be dealing with spam this early in the competition. Now that others have started to report on rankings as well, that doesn't do much good and being on the first page there's really nowhere to hide. I am prepared for that and will be disavowing any links I don't think are appropriate and have lists from some of the automated software where if I am able to identify the culprit, I can disavow at the domain level the websites where they build links. Having done plenty of work with Penguin recovery and manual spam actions, I have the tools and experience I need to combat this through the end of the competition. I've also got a Google Alert feed being pulled into Google Sheets with any new websites for SEO Hero. This is one way I keep my competitor list so up-to-date and I can later use this for more analysis on cheating and also as a resource for disavowing.
While I don't want to go spreading any fake news, I did ask a Mozzer about this and I'm hoping he wasn't trolling me. He told me that Rand is not involved with the Wix entry. He's literally the name and face they use and even has his bio on the website on their about page. Their classes page is coming soon and after seeing the website, I thought maybe Rand teamed up with Wix to teach some SEO classes, the news of which would have launched a major PR storm and blown the competition out of the water. Instead, it looks like Wix may have used Rand's name and face without him knowing. I'm not sure how he'll feel about this.
The guys from Yoast SEO are just trolling Wix at this point.
On the Twitter hashtag for the contest, #SEOHero, there's now a bot that just posts random news articles with the hashtag. Spammers seem to be picking up the hashtag now as well to share their crappy crap. Oh well, it was bound to happen.
That's what Wix said on their social channels. By my count it's still 9 days until the 16th, so you have 9 days left to enter the Wix SEO Hero Challenge.