I went back through the SEO Hero Competitor List and updated information on some of the websites as well as added information on some of the new websites that had turned up since my last update. There were a few nice additions in the bunch and I have a feeling we have at least a few more potential top competitors who haven't launched yet.
One of the newer SEO Hero competitors is really laying it on with the crappy links. I'm seeing profiles on almost any website you can imagine, classifieds, and even old article directories. This makes me sad honestly to see people still doing this, but it will be interesting to see how it changes their rankings now that we have a real time Penguin algorithm. So far I'm seeing some of their profiles ranking, but not their actual website.
This was in an email I received from what I assume is another SEO Hero competitor since he specifically asked about this website. Sorry to disappoint you, but no I am not. I've been transparent throughout the contest and have shown my rankings and even traffic data. If there is something you want to see, just ask. The judge will see it all anyway and it's not like you can hide your PBNs from Google right? What would be the point? As for my links, see the screenshot below from Google Search Console. 17 links from 13 different domains, most of which are SEO Hero competitors.
Absolutely! When seoheroschool.com even registered in my rank tracking, it was 144th on December 18th. It just got worse from there but was 144-150th or so and at least one day didn't register in my rankings. That is until Wix posted lots of links in a blog on their powerful website back on December 22nd. I'm not saying one link made a difference, but when I search for that blog it looks like people either scrape their content or they possibly have a network of websites distributing their content as is common with many media companies. Some of these appear to be full text and others appear to have a short snippet that links back to Wix's blog itself, which would make that an even stronger link to their SEO Hero contest entry.
As of yesterday this put them in 101st position with the highest eligible competitor being 68th. The more important part is that this one blog bumped them 40+ positions in the rankings and they could very easily do it again or worse, put a link from Wix's homepage. What's even worse is they set a dangerous precedent by building a link to their own SEO Hero entry. This means that it should be okay for anyone else to build links to their entries from any websites under their control, potentially an entire network of websites. It could also mean that Wix disqualified themselves from the competition by placing a keyword rich anchor text link that is followed right in the first sentence of their blog. I guess they need a reminder:
"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."
And "Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites"
Unfortunately we don't know what this means for the competition as any attempt to contact Wix or email the judge is met with a canned response to that links to their FAQ page and doesn't actually answer the questions. So much will depend on the judge's interpretation of the rules and his own analysis.
High praise from Cyrus Shepard says so, but with the caveat of "so far". It seems that Cyrus is helping with a group effort likely to raise money for some cause. I've heard about a couple of these group efforts now but in rumors, so I'm glad to hear of something more formal.
Still the best "SEO Hero" site out there (so far :) https://t.co/mg5FXsu38p— Cyrus Shepard (@CyrusShepard) December 26, 2016
@Ozaemotion Helping out a group effort for a good cause. Should have more news announced after the new year.— Cyrus Shepard (@CyrusShepard) December 26, 2016
I'm really glad to hear this and I wish them the best of luck. There are a few other competitors out there that are planning to donate the money and I want to thank them all for their selfless and heroic efforts. You may recall early on that I wrote about how hard it will be to determine an SEO Hero winner and how I hope if there is controversy over the winner that Wix does the right thing and donates all of the money to charity. Who has decided to donate?
Did you see that coming? As the SEO Hero contest leader and likely winner, I'm not donating money as a publicity stunt or a cry for links. I won't turn down links of course, so if you want to help you know what to do, but I have planned from day 1 (while scheming with friends at Internet Summit in November) to donate the money to a good cause. Cancer Research Institute is that cause for me. I lost my dad to cancer on April 1st, 2015 after many months of fighting. Needless to say, he was my hero and it was a painful experience. He never gave up and neither will I.
Wix has added a couple more villains to seoheroschool.com including Bounce who looks to be a sloth and Duplicate Man who looks like 3 different men who are impersonating Elvis? I think they may have been drinking some kool-aid to think that bounce rate has anything to do with SEO and they make some pretty wild claims on duplicate content. I think they need to read my article The Myth of the Duplicate Content Penalty to learn how it actually works.
I just can't help but thinking that a keyword research course using Rand's name and image hits a little too close to home. I feel if Wix does actually make this into a course that they would have issues with Rand Fishkin since he was the one behind Moz's Keyword Explorer tool.
I just realized that if the competition becomes more popular and an SEO Hero actually becomes a thing that we'll start seeing it on more and more resumes along with things like ninja, jedi, guru, and growth hacker. We'll start to see services, terrible courses, and maybe even articles containing SEO hero like:
Yes, this is the future I predict.
What kind of Christmas tree does an SEO Hero have? How about one topped with Rogerbot? My wife and I made this little Moz themed wall tree for my office. I hope everyone has a great holiday season!
Ouch! One competitor had not just his SEO Hero website corrupted but all of his websites. Looks like they got in through his SEO hero website though. With such a short competition I'm sure many websites were put up without adequate security measures to lock them down. Hopefully he gets everything back up and running.
Edit: When I actually wrote this up last night, I had checked the tools and only Ahrefs had volume. Moz had a lot of related data, but not search volume. Russ Jones reached out and said they have it and when I checked it's true that they do. He said this may have been a database issue. My apologies to the Moz team, I'm a huge fan of Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMrush as they all have great products that make my life easier and I'm happy to make this correction. Screenshot is below.
Ahrefs with Keyword Explorer 2.0. I also checked Moz and SEMrush like I did before, but nothing from them yet. I thought SEMrush with their recent update that greatly expanded the words they were tracking would have caught SEO Hero. Congratulations Ahrefs! They show a US search volume of 200 and worldwide of 300, but have no click data as shown below.
Another interesting note goes with what we said yesterday and many times before, about the SEO Hero contest being an ORM campaign. In the "Also rank for" section, the contest participants #1 related phrase is "wix seo". Before the end I expect the first few pages for "wix seo" searches to be filled with contestants or news stories about the contest, and I think that's what Wix is counting on as well.
I wanted to see what AdWords showed now as well for seo hero searches. Oh yeah, they're grouping and doing the stupid range stuff now, 100-1k...
We wouldn't know anyone who wrote about a workaround for these numbers in AdWords would we? ;) Now we see ~6,730 average impressions for the month.
How close are Ahrefs and even AdWords to reality though? I created a property set early on for the different versions of my website and here I'm looking at Nov 22 - Dec 21 and only for "seo hero" searches. You'll see I've had ups and downs, but when I was on page 1 there were usually 900-1000+ searches every day for seo hero. 300 from Ahrefs seems low but this is 3rd party data making guesses, and the data is still new. AdWords should do better but I would think page 1 should be 25,000+ searches a month for seo hero, so I wonder if they aren't filtering out a certain amount of bots and maybe assuming that ads won't always show?
We've come a long way since I first looked at the number of search results returned for SEO Hero. Back then it was only 120,000, and by November 23rd the number had risen to 785,000 which put it higher than the number of results returned for Wix SEO. 1 month later, this number sits at over 9 million results returned. Do we thinking there are 9 million competitors or have competitors been not following the competition rules and you know, spamming or something?
Every time someone asks a question about the contest Wix sends them to the support page that has a couple small sections about the contest. I've been on the receiving end of this a few times now through email and Twitter. Wix, your page doesn't answer the questions or clarify the rules people are asking about at all. Oh and a second option of emailing them, yeah the email response will send you to the same page as well...
In addition to the blog on wix.com earlier today that links to their competition website, it looks like Wix has added another blog to seoheroschool.com on "How to Become an SEO Outreach Hero". They've also added another menu item and page about the SEO Hero contest itself. One of the interesting pieces of information here may confirm what I've mentioned a couple times that this may be an Online Reputation Management campaign for Wix. They specifically say "we decided to tackle this reputation problem head on and prove, once and for all, that Wix SEO isn't just good, or good enough..." Another interesting item is that it looks like Wix does now have Rand Fishkin's blessing to use his name. There was controversy over this and I don't believe they did have his permission when they launched the website, but looks like it's all okay now.
Now that the deadline for entry is closed, what's next? Besides doing whatever it is you're doing to win, you need to make sure to setup Google Analytics and Google Search Console and add email@example.com as an admin by February 16, 2017. This is your next deadline folks. Don't miss it.
One SEO Hero wants to know exactly how the judge will search because they believe rankings are case sensitive. It doesn't matter, rankings are not case sensitive and here it is straight from Google themselves https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/134479?hl=en&rd=1.
No one could have seen that coming. Wix is using keyword rich anchor text from their powerful domain to link to their contest website, check out the blog http://www.wix.com/blog/2016/12/revealing-wixs-very-own-seo-hero/. Sorry for the lack of a link. I refuse to link to them even with a nofollow. They again claim they have the best SEO for your website, so I guess that means they didn't read my Wix SEO review. They also talk about all the features of their website that I've already covered, but they didn't cover their mistakes in the making like I did.
Entries are now closed for the Wix SEO Hero competition. There's been some drama over whether some domains are eligible or not. Andrew Shotland took a shot at Wix with his NSFW post Wix's Real SEO Heroes. Wix made some updates and added some content to their website and they made it into my rank tracker for the first time coming in 140-150th. They also had a forum that it looks like they didn't mean to have and took it down when called out on it.
The most interesting thing to me this week was the shift in the autosuggested terms which added things like "seo hero contest", "seo hero wix", and "seo hero challenge". Within a couple days of these being added Wix's website went from one page ranking 6-9th each day to having the top 3 spots.
As for me, I've had a lot of people calling the website bean seo hero, but it's Be An SEO Hero. Some came up with elaborate backstories, with one of my favorites being about a bean eating SEO. I looked into which SEO Heroes are on HTTP vs HTTPS and found the majority still using HTTP. I was surprised since they're all new websites, and however much you want to attribute to it, secure websites do provide a rankings boost. My rankings also tanked from page being 2nd-6th all the way back to ~60th. I was thinking this was because the website was getting so large so I've now separated the website into weekly pages with updates. I also changed how I was pulling in the rankings because the Google Sheet was adding a lot of heft and slowing down the website. We'll see what happens now, but still have a long way to go in the competition.
At least one competitor is saying he's seeing spam comments and negative SEO. I haven't seen this yet in my GSC or even from feeds coming in, but I suppose it's possible. There's a lot of other spam, but again I haven't personally seen anything I could identify as negative SEO.
If the Wix SEO Hero contest has proven anything, it's that for a new website your content really doesn't matter. It would be hard to question that I have the content people searching for "SEO Hero" are looking for. I have daily rankings, news, contest updates, competitors and their strategy, useful research, and even information on different ways people are cheating. Yet here we are now 5 weeks in, and not one competitor that's eligible is in the top 50 websites. So what's letting other websites rank above newer ones? Is it domain age? Google says it's insignificant. Is it links? We know Google uses links, but some of the pages are too new to even have links unless they are internal links and they're so new I doubt many internal links were picked up.
Let's look at some of the quality websites Google has ranked above the competitors:
https://imgflip.com/i/1gcl5y is already ahead of every competitor and was posted just a couple hours ago as I'm writing this. The page is literally a pie chart of the traffic location for one of the SEO Hero competitors. Sure it says SEO Hero in the title, in the image, and in the description, but is this the kind of quality content that deserves to rank within hours after competitors have put in a lot of hard work? Apparently Google thinks it is more deserving.
How about a lookup for the DNS servers of one of the SEO Hero competitors? Yep, http://www.dnsinspect.com/seo-hero-challenge.com is exactly that, and yes it ranks above anyone in the competition.
Let's not forget Acts and Laws Passed by the Legislature of the State of Vermont. You can't make this stuff up. Somehow this is more deserving than any SEO Hero competitor.
Okay, but those examples are pretty far down in the search results, you know, back where all the SEO Hero competitors are. Let me tell you about a few websites doing a few pages better in the results like the LinkedIn profile of the fake company who included SEO Hero in their name, the Disqus profile of an SEO Hero who has left 2 terrible comments, a crunchbase profile made by another SEO Hero, a css website where an SEO Hero submitted their website for an award, a Pinterest board for SEO Hero, a Reddit thread on /r/seo that got downvoted to 0 and people are making fun of the poster for dropping a link, a Facebook profile, a Twitter profile, some YouTube videos, Google Sites spam. This is all the quality content that Google chooses to show above anyone with real insight and the information people are actually looking for.
One ranking page deserves a special mention as well. This guy has sent a lot of SEO Hero spam around the web and his page is ranking, except he still doesn't have a website. Yes, he ranks 3 pages better than any SEO Hero competitor and his page is still parked courtesy of GoDaddy. I'm sure this is exactly what people searching for SEO Hero were looking for...
Wix has a few spots, which they probably deserve since it is their contest. Their top 2 pages though are an FAQ with only 2 questions (I tried to ask more to the judge and @Wix, and they actually sent me here where big surprise, I didn't find the answers) and one with a few paragraphs announcing the contest. Some of the other websites that have found their way to page 1 include an ineligible competitor who is using an expired domain that used to be owned by Marie Haynes who had created an SEO quiz, a couple guys trying to drum up business who have nothing SEO Hero related on their website (one is ranking using PBNs and the other has links all referring to SEO Hero and even changed a forum I guess he runs to point links here), and finally a company announcing their entry into the contest with a few paragraphs, but really I think they're trying to sell their tool that helps you index backlinks.
Do these results just look wrong to anyone else? It's obvious Google counts links way more than content and way more than they should.
I talked about this enough already, but now Wix has confirmed the guy is eligible.
@mlepisto Our team looked into this & we're happy to note that both your sites are successfully registered in the competition. Good luck!— Wix.com (@Wix) December 21, 2016