Update: The contest is over, and this entry did pretty well but didn't win the initial prize. So the best purpose this page can serve is to direct you to The Hunger Site. Go give it a click.
Update 2:With one day remaining, it looks like this page will will win the contest for July. See more on the contest in my follow-up post.
I've always had a pretty low opinion of the Search Engine Optimization industry. Though there are of course legitimate experts in the field, it seems chock full of people who are barely above spammers, and they taint the image of the whole group.
That being said, I do watch what they do from time to time, especially as they've become enchanted with the power of blogs, both from a comment-spamming perspective as well as their evny of bloggers' PageRank.
But they've been doing something interesting of late that I'm actually curious about. An affiliate network called DarkBlue and a forum called Search Guild have started SEO Challenge, a contest to see who is the first Google result for the (previously unlinked) phrase Nigritude Ultramarine. Everyone from link spammers to legitimate optimizers has popped up to enter the contest, displaying the requisite contest entry image (see below) and crossing their fingers.
I suspect, though, that those of us who've made content even when there weren't bribes involved have an advantage. For all the back-and-forth about how Google is or isn't evil, the end result of PageRank is that it's a hell of a lot more work to fake your way into being a top result than it is to just have high ranking as a fringe benefit of just being a person who loves writing. That's a good thing.
So, in order to prove that real content trumps all the shady optimization tricks that someone can figure out, and because I figure I deserve an iPod at least as much as the Star Wars Kid, I'm entering the contest. Do me a favor: Link to this post with the phrase Nigritude Ultramarine. I'd rather see a real blog win than any of the fake sites that show up on that search result right now.