Captcha Advertising via SEO Trivia

Jan 3rd

Recently we lightened the background color and increased spacing between keyword results in our keyword tool...making the results look more aesthetically appealing.

While playing with it I wondered how hard it would be to change the captcha questions to make them relevant and SEO oriented rather than having them ask generic questions. The big issue I had with it was the need for structured answers (as the PHP coding was not yet set up for fuzzy matches)...which sorta forced me to ask really generic questions or give away the answer. An example captcha is below

The links in the various captcha questions lead to various sections of the training subdomain, which should cause a few people to click through and consider joining. At the very least it should help some people new to SEO get some of the basics, and is a reminder "hey, this is over here." :)

It seems like a pretty cool marketing idea...it is relevant and free, much like advertising on your own search results. I am not sure how well it will work, but this is yet another one of those 1 hour conversion improvement hacks that can pay for itself for many years.

The good news is that captchas can be a legitimate part of any interactive website...so this idea could apply to blogs, forums, web based software tools, etc...anything where people comment and/or interact. But will users find it useful or annoying? What do you think of the idea?

Update: Some people have considered using brand images as captchas, but I sorta like the trivia angle more. :)

Published: January 3, 2009

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Comments

January 4, 2009 - 9:25pm

I generally consider captchas to be annoying, especially those that are too hard to read, the captchas produced by the reCAPTCHA service come to my mind immediately when thinking of bad examples.
Using captchas like a quiz that relates to the content of the site seems like a smart idea and may reduce the annoyance.
As a user I certainly would not miss captchas no matter how “entertaining” they are, as a webmaster I would not want to miss the benefits of using them.

websitedesigner
January 5, 2009 - 12:51am

Hi Aaron,

...how hard it would be to change the captcha questions...

Changing that wouldn't be too difficult. Probably could have the whole thing changed over to that in a few hours or less.

To make it simple for PHP to accept a correct match you could put the choices for the answers in the question or use a dropdown.

Example: Did you know most new websites will not rank well for competitive keyword until after they _______? Answer with either "build links", "buy Google ads", or "add a YouTube video".

I love the idea, thanks!

January 5, 2009 - 2:06am

That is a good idea with the drop down...I did not think of that. :)

January 6, 2009 - 7:56am

A dropdown would invalidate you putting a link over the words though.

I think this is a great idea but you would have to restrain how much you put in, no-one wants to struggle to enter a capthca.

January 10, 2009 - 11:37pm

Aaron, on your keyword search tool page, one of your links to Wordtracker isn't using the affiliate code.

January 11, 2009 - 12:51am

Thanks for the heads up :)

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