A recent slashdot article brought to my attention the DarkBlue SEO Challenge, a contest with the goal of getting a webpage to the number one position in Google’s results for the search phrase “nigritude ultramarine”. I decided to take a whack at it despite the unfortunate choice of words (most people I’ve mentioned it to seem to think nigritude has a vaguely racial-slur sort of sound – it actually means the “state of being the color black”.
The first step was to grab a domain, so I grabbed nigritudeultramarines.com from GoDaddy. The name was picked up by the root name servers last night and now I’m on the way. Most of the other pages I looked at were jokes or meaningless tangles of links connected to parasitic link farms. The link farms seem to be a typical trick used by SEO “experts” to attack Google’s Page Rank trust metric. In much the same way as if a user created hundreds of fake mod_virgule accounts at Advogato or robots.net and tried to certify their main account. Google’s page rank is somewhat resistant to this type of attack but if enough trusted sites link to the the attacker’s link farm, the attack can be successful. A favorite ploy is for the attacker to add domains to the link farms that are recently expired domains with ODP listings. ODP links have a very high trust value (as high as 9 or 10) and just a few such domains can boost the page rank of a parasitic link farm tremendously.
ODP has been putting a lot of effort into combating this and other SEO attacks. Google also expends a lot of effort tweaking their page ranking algorithms to untangle the mess SEO experts make of things. Thinking about this gave me the idea of making a purely information site built in the traditional Internet style to see how it would compare in the Google rankings to a typical “expert” optimized page. Would it be overwhelmed by link farm boosted pages? Would the Internet community favour links to it over the contentless pages? Would anybody even care? ;-)
To this end, I’ve created the Nigritude Ultramarine FAQ. It contains, you guessed it, frequently asked questions about the whole nigritude ultramarine thing. If you have a question about the subject, serious or not, feel free to stop by and ask it. And if you’d like to help me out, I wouldn’t mind a few more links from other sites. Just a simple contextual link with the text nigritude ultramarine – nothing tricky please; no contentless link farms, link spamming, referrer spamming, or the like.
The site has been up for a full 24 hours now and is already getting a fairly steady stream of visitors. The referers seem to be personal blogs, so someone noticed and began spreading the word before me. I have submitted the URL to Google but haven’t been visited by GoogleBot yet. I did get an unsolicited visit from the Ask Jeeves/Teoma spider within hours of going live and was also hit by the QuePasa.com robot today (not sure how either discovered the site).
So far I have aquired inbound links from several PR7 sites, so hopefully I’ll start out with a reasonably high placement in the search results. But on the other hand, some of the SEO folks out there have pages with 4,000+ inbound links from their link farms so this may be a futile exercise. Time will tell.
Update: As I was writing this entry, Googlebot hit the site. We’ll see if I make it into the results by tomorrow. I’ll make some webalizer stats of the traffic available if anyone is interested.