How Running A Contest For Bloggers Can Improve Your Search Rankings

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Blog Contests

When you first start blogging, the goals of your blog are pretty small and (generally) easily attainable.

  1. Figure out what to regularly write about
  2. Figure out how to get people to read stuff
  3. Figure out how to make some change for the effort

Once you have those three goals accomplished, however, the time comes to start expanding on each of those goals to improve your blog’s daily performance. For example, maybe you see a traffic spike every time you write about a certain subject, or maybe certain Adsense placements lead to better click rates.  Whatever the case may be, finding every advantage you can to make your blog more worth your time is a good investment of effort.

The most common way bloggers start to increase the visibility and performance of their site is through SEO, and one of the best ways bloggers can impact the visibility of their site in search engines is through link building.

A few years back, increasing the visibility of your site through building links was pretty easy… just trade a whole bunch of blogroll links with other bloggers and you’re good. These days, bloggers need to be a little bit savvier about their link building efforts. If you are reciprocal linking, it could very well pay off for you. When used in bulk as a link building strategy, however, reciprocal linking is generally not a long lasting way to secure quality search engine rankings.

In contrast to reciprocal links, one-way links are the preferred link of choice. In order to acquire one-way links from sites of merit in your industry, creativity is required today to entice the other bloggers to talk about your site and link to it. One of the best ways to do that in today’s webiverse is to hold a contest that provides an incentive for bloggers to get involved.

Leveraging contests as a method of link baiting is not a new practice, yet it remains very effective for building buzz about your site in the blogosphere and across social media networks.

If contests didn’t benefit websites with more traffic, more RSS subscribers, or better search rankings, then bloggers wouldn’t host contests.

Below are four important things to remember when hosting a contest where you’re asking bloggers to work for a prize and the goal for you is building links:

  1. Make sure the value of the prize is equivalent to or greater than the value of the work involved.

    A blogger likely won’t take the time to blog and link to you in exchange for a prize less than $50.

  2. Make sure that how you track the contest (whether its number of site referrals or number of links placed, etc.) is fair for all bloggers who get involved.
    For example, say you’re holding a contest that is referral traffic based in a large industry with varying levels of interest and tons of blogs. Say it’s football. Bloggers who write about NFL football would have a direct advantage over bloggers who cover the CFL, simply based on popularity.
  3. While it is perfectly acceptable to host a contest involving link building and have a prize as the reward, do not give money as the prize.

    Paying for links is always a bad idea, especially when improving search engine rankings is the end goal.

  4. Whenever possible, request contextual links in a new blog post over blogroll additions or advertisements with text links.
    Too many bloggers add/remove links from their blogrolls and take widgets or ads off their site. If you request that a fresh blog post be written and include a contextual link, however, not only are you getting the most valuable type of link for SEO… you also greatly decrease the likelihood of link attrition (aka losing the links you gained during the contest).

Anyone else have any great ideas for a blogger and link building contest? Have you ever been in one – how’d it go? I’d love to see some stories in the comments below.

Image Credit: Felicityblumenthal

Article by Jonathan Bentz

Jonathan has written 1 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sun Storage July 21, 2010, 3:00 am

    I have never run any contest before my blog, hope this can help me to start same for my site.

  • best seo company July 21, 2010, 5:05 am

    interesting way of improving the popularity of site.i am gonna apply it for my sites.Thanks

  • Andrew @ Blogging Guide July 21, 2010, 6:44 am

    Early on in the life of my blog I held a contest (with much help / direction from ZK!). It’s definitely worth doing…for the new visitors, links and new relationships.

    Andrew

  • jtGraphic: James Thompson July 21, 2010, 7:50 am

    I’m looking for some advice. I have a decent sized blog and readership (150 subscribers) and I’m running a contest for $1300 in hosting and consulting. Link here:

    http://www.jtgraphic.net/2010/07/jtgraphic-free-web-hosting-contest/

    I have had little to no response as far as actual contest entries. What am I doing wrong?

    • Mathew Day July 22, 2010, 5:41 pm

      You’re contest sounds really great, sorry I don’t have any suggestions but I will try spreading the word about though. 🙂

  • used tires July 21, 2010, 10:18 am

    Definitely running a blog contestant can do alot of things to your website. I’ve had experiences where the contest worked out in terms of increasing the number of subscribers on my blog, but it didn’t work out too well as a link baiting method, I guess mainly because I failed to carefully sculpt the contest so I would get the best out of it. Contests can definitely work, but just make sure you plan well ahead of time for all circumstances so you gain more than lose.

    Till then,

    Jean

  • Colleen July 21, 2010, 11:53 am

    #4 is a good point. We’ve sponsored contests to garner links, but have found some blogs simply delete the links once the contest is over.

    • evan schulte July 21, 2010, 2:54 pm

      We have had this happen too. But it has worked for a few though. Something is better than nothing.

  • Rob Poulos July 21, 2010, 12:40 pm

    Sounds like a great way to build links and increase your blogs popularity to me!

    • evan schulte September 9, 2010, 8:51 am

      It is. It is also a way to keep them engaged.

  • Mike July 21, 2010, 12:42 pm

    “If you request that a fresh blog post be written and include a contextual link, however, not only are you getting the most valuable type of link for SEO… you also greatly decrease the likelihood of link attrition (aka losing the links you gained during the contest).” Very good point, links are much more beneficial to your site if they are permanent.

  • Rob July 21, 2010, 12:46 pm

    “These days, bloggers need to be a little bit savvier about their link building efforts.” This is very true, nowadays you have to get links from a variety of sources and reciprocal linking isn’t as effective as it used to be either.

  • mpo101 July 21, 2010, 11:04 pm

    My idea of contest is to give a one month link to the person with highest comment on my blog. Do you like this idea?

  • Uzi July 22, 2010, 1:51 am

    Contests are best between professional bloggers. New bloggers might not understand the concept and cheat each other to gain more link juice.

  • Mathew Day July 22, 2010, 5:35 pm

    I’ve seen so many blogs benefit greatly from holding a contest. Especially because social media is so Huge right now it’s so easy for everyone to spread the word about a good blog contest. Plus you get all of those links pointing back to your blog.

  • Bidet July 22, 2010, 8:07 pm

    Running contests are a great way for a blog to get promotion and get more links. If the prizes are good other bloggers are bound to talk about it and give you a link on their blog.

  • Property Marbella July 22, 2010, 10:16 pm

    I’m a real estate agent and it is little harder to have a contest. On my last blog did I have some contests with no good result, so I’m going to see what I can do with your ideers.

  • Alveera July 30, 2010, 3:30 am

    I’ve had experiences where the contest worked out in terms of increasing the number of subscribers on my blog, but it didn’t work out too well as a link baiting method.

  • free stuff August 3, 2010, 12:56 am

    Hi Jonathan Bentz,
    Thank you for your tips to improve search engine ranking through blog contests.
    As you said, Blog contest is best for both backlinks and traffic from other blogs. There are some other uses with blog contests. On blog contest description page, you can add your twitter or facebook fan page link and tell your candidates to follow you on twitter and facebook for more updates on blog contest. I have seen a rapid increase in facebook fans of a blog that conducted a blog contest. I would like to hear comments from you .

  • evan schulte August 20, 2010, 7:44 am

    I didn’t realize this. It makes sense though. If you can get a company or two to sponsor the contest you can make the exposure even greater.

  • link building services September 2, 2010, 2:00 am

    my suggestion for bloggers contest is to find a person that can give best comments on blogs and with a certain amount of numbers . i think this will help people with quality content and lots of information in solving their problems.

  • SEO Marketing November 11, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Blog contest is really a good way to increase traffic. It keeps the interest and makes visitors come back for more.