The “SEM Scholarship” contest has been announced, and this year the no-cash-value prize is described as “worth more than $10,000″. I’ll refrain from critiquing the assignment of dollar value to things like “One month of industry coaching and training from search marketing expert Andy Beal” and “The winner’s article will be published in the industry print magazine“, but I suppose free registration to a conference is worth something.
This “contest” is open to “the next generation of search engine marketing experts”. Your submission is judged by how much traffic it brings to the host web site, and then the top 5 traffic drivers get judged by a panel of SEM “judges” for things like “content, style, topic and many other factors“. Since no article will draw contest-worthy organic traffic in the short term of this schedule, it’s really about driving traffic the good old-fashioned way — the hard way. Ask for it, beg for it, or do like last year’s winner and buy it.
And so, in anticipation of the usual requests to “link to my article” and “highlight my article” and “mention my article on your blog”, I am calling all wannabe SEM contestants to step forward now, while it’s still early, and identify your own properties from which you are able to provide links in return. That’s right, I am throwing in, for free, apprentice-like training for SEM wannabes. I guess that has a value of… skip it.
Anyway, that’s how the real world works — you wants links? Show me what you’ve got in exchange. But do it now, in advance, because honestly once your article is in the hopper the traffic needs to be flowing if you expect to make the top 5. Tick tock, newbie. Better get crackin’.
What sites do you control, where you could place a back link? Each site has a theme, and a review will reveal the opportunities. I, like most competitive web masters, SEOs and SEM people, have web sites and clients and partners across numerous niche markets and I can use back links from all sorts of web pages. But it’s not willy-nilly, silly.
Good luck to you all, and I sincerely hope you emerge from this contest with at least a realization that yes, yet again you worked hard for someone else, for free, so they could get traffic and attention to their website, at your expense, and you did it for a chance at a prize that has no cash value, but an opportunity value somewhere between zero and $10,000, depending on how much you would already have paid for the rubber throwing stars and other stuff you were going to buy anyway. If that were the case. Which it is not. Anyway. Good luck. Let me know if you want to exchange links ;-)