John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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SEM Scholarship - Show Me Your Links

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 ;-)

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6 Responses to “SEM Scholarship - Show Me Your Links”

  1. Natasha Robinson Says:

    LOL. Happy Monday to you too. And thanks, because there I was pressing the snooze alarm (it’s about 6am here) thinking I only want 15 more minutes sleep when I read this post and laughed so hard that I have no choice but to wake up. BTW: I haven’t had my coffee yet, so I’ll refrain from really commenting (I’ve learned the hard way to save all blog comments and post until after i have had my morning drug, I mean coffee). Cheers.

  2. eric hebert Says:

    It’s socially generated content, and Andy has had success with it. Is it really a bad thing? I learned a lot from it when I entered the first one, which prepared me for some of my current work. Before that contest I didn’t work for myself. I do now. So if anybody reading this doesn’t think it’s work it to write 1 little 500 word article that could change your career, then fine. That’ll be more a chance for me to win.

  3. Andy Beal Says:

    So does this mean you’re not entering? :-)

    Please do go thru and add up the value of the prizes - excluding my consulting time - and you’ll see that they really are valuable.

    Also, you certainly can generate great organic traffic within 4 weeks. Remember the article will be hosted on a site that is already an authority - no need to worry about any fabled sand box here. Many of my own articles rank in Google in just a few days of posting, so organic traffic can be achieved.

    Anyway, I noticed you didn’t share a link back to the contest. Those interested can click on my name to get there.

  4. john andrews Says:

    @Andy: No doubt there will be traffic, Andy, because the articles are posted on your site. But *all* of the articles are posted on your site, and when it comes down to competing for traffic volume to win, nobody will win based on your existing audience alone. “Great organic traffic” in 4 weeks…. well, I must have a different definition of “great” or “organic”.

    When it comes down to promotion, which is what you need to drive vast amounts of traffic in a short time frame like this, I’m not sure I understand why driving traffic to this contest (and your site) is more profitable than doing the same work to drive the same traffic to an owned site. I find it anathema to the tenets of organic search marketing… where one wants to do the work for the long term benfits of links, branding, etc. Except, of course, for you. Which is what I think I wrote.

    @Natasha: I’m having trouble connecting the dots here. You wake up and consider hitting the snooze button but before you can you’ve read a blog post? Is there an LCD projector beaming your RSS reader onto your ceiling over your bed? Or maybe you use your mobile device as an alarm clock, and have the unlimited data plan? Do tell… how wired are you over there??

    @Eric: no offense, but you sound like a card carrying member of the Religion of Andy. Is your current gig promoting AGLOCO? I have to say, if participating (not winning) the last “scholarship” contest was cause for you to become gainfully self-employed, your transiton was opportunity based. Good luck to you.

  5. Natasha Robinson Says:

    John -

    I wish I had an CD projector beaming your RSS reader onto your ceiling over your bed. And I can’t say just how “wired” I am on a public forum; a woman never tells - lol!!! I kid. I often fall asleep working with my laptop next to my head. And like a true Search Marketing Nerd, when my alarm comes on, the first thing I do is roll over onto my laptop (and always think, “I should really just not work before bed”) and usually my RSS reader is open and I never turn off my alarm until I am fully awake - this must annoy my neighbors.

  6. Jill Says:

    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 ;-)

    At the risk of sounding like a gushing fan (yet again), that’s got to be one of the best paragraphs ever written! :)

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