Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Autoblog (link deliberately omitted) is an excellent blog; have it on my list of feeds. I don't click all the headlines, since I don't care about lawsuits and recalls, but some of the new car info on there is really cool.
So they've started running this contest. They're giving away an iPod Nano plus an FM transmitter to one lucky winner. To enter, you've gotta go on your blog (or start one), and then post links to ten (ten, no less!) posts you liked on Autoblog, with a "few words" about why you liked it (man these guys don't miss a trick). Finally, you're supposed to go back to Autoblog and post a comment on these posts, which will then link back to your blog. (Holy geez what an elaborate link exchange.)
Black hat or gray hat SEO? I like to think of it as "sparkling graphite metallic" SEO, which happens to be a really kickass color available on a BMW 325i. Incidentally, Autoblog is currently ranking pretty well on queries like "BMW 325i". They rank #7, nicely on the first page of SERP's, for this particular query.
No doubt this will work as an SEO tactic, short term. And because it will work, it will contribute to the muddying of the waters for SEO 6-12 months down the road, because the SE's will simply learn to discount these kinds of tactics. And/or everyone will be doing it.
Short term: if you've got nothing to lose (a low-traffic site with few inbound links, or you're just ballsy, like Autoblog), what's stopping you from running a contest like this?
Medium term: if the links really are relevant, then some of the benefit will last. It's actually a clever bit of PR. People need to be incentivized to link, and running a contest is easier (and less demeaning) than calling individuals up and offering them cash.
Long term: the whole SEO game will change and evolve because people are so good at SEO tactics nowadays, the major search scientists & companies will have to get creative.
Hmm, come to think of it, good idea, Autoblog. I think I'll try this. (Are you listening, Mr. Cutts?)
I believe the net beneficiary, in the end, will be Apple. ;)
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