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

France, “It means nothing really. This string was chosen to not pollute Google results.”

Jerome held the 1st place in this competition for the 15 last days, but then came in second. He told me Mangeur de Cigogne was “really a good experience ... in terms of HTML optimization and other technical things.”

Nigritude Ultramarine

“Nigritude Ultramarine” was arguably the biggest SEO contest that ever took place. It received enormous coverage including articles on and tech site Slashdot. The competition was started by SEO company DarkBlue (hence the name “Nigritude Ultramarine,” which is another way to say “dark blue”).

Blogger Anil Dash nearly won the top rank in the first round ending June 7, 2004 with a blog entry (the second round prize, a 17” LCD flat screen, went to the aggressive contenders of a web discussion forum). Anil’s post was linked from various other high-profile blogs who wanted to push a friend up the Google rankings. Anil wanted to prove that good old content – as opposed to sleazy optimization tactics – is king, and he was successful in doing so.

As I’m writing this, there are around 215,000 web pages containing the phrase “Nigritude Ultramarine.” Anil Dash is still number one.


A Short Guide to SEO

So how do you win these search engine optimization contests in the first place? This depends on the search engine, but for Google, heavy “on-page” optimization is futile in a competitive environment, and all depends on “off-page” optimization.

To explain, “on-page” optimization means you create a page which repeats the target keywords in a variety of places, in the meta keywords, in the title, in page headings and so on. What you do on your page might have an effect on the human reader – which is indeed important – but it’s of little value to the Googlebot and the way Google ranks your site. For competitive keywords, all that Google is interested in is this: how many important pages link to your page using the target keywords as link text?