Running a Contest? Always Ask a Friend First

I generally steer clear of awards because they seem a bit gratuitous and self serving, but they are great for link building.

Loren recently created a 2005 search awards contest. The awards have been mentioned on most every major search blog and have even got a bit of coverage outside the typical search sphere.

When Loren did his recent contest he ran it past me first and I said that he should re-categorize some of the stuff and add at least one category that could go viral or would be inclined to be talked about.

The category which fit that profile well for me is

Matt or Jeremy: who is more likely to flame you for spamming?

Sure enough both Matt and Jeremy blogged about it.

I have never done a contest to build links, but if I did here are things I would think about

  • which people should I run the award ideas past before it exists so I can refine it? This could help improve the contest categories, and it gives those people a reason for them to want to help market it since they gave feedback on it. Plus asking for feedback is a bit more tactful than asking for a link.

  • Are there any official sounding endorsements that would make the contest seem official like?
  • Who do I REALLY want links from? Those sites should be listed in small categories that really fit there niche?
  • Will any of the contestants get pissed if I email them to tell them they are in the contest? If not which contestants should I email?
  • Can I make something funny or interesting that people would want to link at?
  • Outside of the problem of self selection can I get a consensus on something that generally has no consensus?
  • Can I relate this study to bloggers or any niche markets that typically link virally or link with authority?

There are probably a bunch of other good ideas with contests, please let me know which ones you like.

Published: December 15, 2005 by Aaron Wall in marketing


December 15, 2005 - 4:39pm

It's all about what the people voting remember, i.e. what was most recent - Matt attacks the linking networks so Matt gets voted for, and so on... And this would apply to every category.

December 15, 2005 - 5:53pm

And thanks for the advice Aaron. The awards are going better than expected and yeah, excellent coverage so far.

One extra step I'm adding is annoucing each category winner per day next week, to help build up to the final category.

This will also help to get some award images put together in time :)

I'll be on an International flight from Asia to US on Monday, leaving Japan at 3:30 in the afternoon, flying for 14 hours, then arriving in Baltimore at 4 pm on the same day.

Not sure how that will effect the contest, but if I can find an electrical outlet in the economy class section of the plane, maybe I can get those images and posts planned out.

Shucks, to build the linking, maybe I'll leak the winner... :p

Best, Loren

December 15, 2005 - 8:13pm

If you are going to be giving away something that has tangible value, you want it to be a sweepstakes not a contest. There are all sorts of legal reasons why that are two complicated to cover in a short space. Also if you are going to be doing this have a lawyer draft up the rules for the first one (reuse them for the others), again all sorts of sticky issues you can get caught in by people who professional sweepstakes entrants.

June 8, 2006 - 9:53am


Did you know there is a SEO Keyword Contest here in the Philippines (started June 1st 2006) started by with a total price of USD2600? I would like to ask if this is an okay entry: or maybe you have some suggestions for it? I am really interested to learn how this will turn out. :-)


Alfredo of Isulong SEOPH

June 8, 2006 - 2:45pm

Hi Alfredo
I think the ignorant wave of garbage comments from manual blog comment spam associated with said contest is embarrasing at best.

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