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55 Ways to Have Fun With Google. Go to Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom.

rankings. At times, there were also prizes up for grabs during the contests. Some of those even got handed over to the winner (not all, mind you – it’s a fun sport in a shady environment!).

Today, there are so many different SEO contests going on at any given time it’s hard to keep track of them all. I’ll list some of the first, some of which I participated in myself with the weblog “Google Blogoscoped.”

2004: SERPs

SERPs is short for “Search Engine Result Pages” (completely coincidentally, it also means “State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme”). It was the target keyword for a search engine optimization contest. A group of people, myself included, started the challenge in a search engine discussion group and came up with the term “SERPs” on January 16, 2004. The term was both self-referential, which was fun, and relatively harmless (presumably not a lot of people were searching for it, as there were only 30,700 pages prior to the contest – that may sound much, but it’s only about 1/10th the page count a search for pink speaker manuals yields).

I started my own entry as a normal blog post in “Google Blogoscoped,” wanting to see how it would fare in the contest (it was pushed out of the top ten pretty soon). However the leading entry on Google’s blogging community Blogspot was deserted by its owner, Sam,  and I was able to open up a site with the same name, thus sitting on his top-ranked page now. Sam’s tactic (which included leaving a lot of links in website guest-books,  an approach rightfully deemed spam) made his page the winner on February 16th, 2004.

Kebapgraz

The “Kebapgraz” SEO competition owes its name to “Döner Kebap,” a Turkish dish popular in Germany and Austria, and the Austrian city Graz. Most of the participants of this challenge were from Germany or Austria, using German-language pages. The contest started on June 16, 2004, as a follow-up to a previous challenge for “Haltezeitmessungen.” Linkfarms (a large group of interlinked websites trying to increase their Google PageRank) or other kind of spam were not allowed in this contest. The end date was September 10, 2004, and the amount of web pagescontaining the word went from 0 to 167,000 later on. A German wiki entry (a wiki usually is a