Nigritude Ultramarine: What We Will Learn
Copyright 2004 Mark Daoust
Recently DarkBlue.com initiated a competition to see who could rank #1 for the keyword nigritude ultramarine. The idea of the competition is to see what works and what does not work in search engine optimization of websites. To aid in creating useful findings, the competition has two winners. The first winner will be announced in early June and the second winner will be announced in July. The idea is to see who can get to the #1 position in a short amount of time as well as to see who can optimize the best for the long term.
But what will we really learn from Nigritude Ultramarine? Will there be a great epiphany among SEO experts which show us how to obtain that coveted #1 ranking with Google?
Although the nigritude ultramarine competition is good in theory, it has inherent flaws. Unfortunately these flaws are big enough to discredit any findings from the entire competition.
Spam is the Answer?
Do a search for nigritude ultramarine three months ago and Google will answer with one of those blank stares. There was nothing for this keyword, which is why it was chosen. The people over at DarkBlue.com did not want to interfere with the good work of commercial websites. Do a search today and the result is nearly half a million results and climbing. But what about the top 10 results? These are, after all, the most important results.
Currently, the top 10 listings are filled with search engine spam. The official winner of the June portion of the contest won using a series of links all with the word nigritude ultramarine. The result was a “spammy” page that, to the average user, looked horrible. No webmaster with any level of concern for the appearance of their website would resort to these spam filled techniques. Furthermore, any webmaster who did resort to these techniques would find that they do not work with established keywords.
An Inherent Flaw
Nigritude ultramarine came with an inherent flaw. Because DarkBlue.com did not want to interfere with commercial companies that are working to obtain and retain that #1 position, they chose a keyword that previously did not have any results in Google. This produced an unrealistic view of the SERPs (search engine results pages). After all, no one knows if Google takes into account the history of a website or the competitiveness of a keyword or phrase.
Take a look at a highly competitive keyword that has been competitive for some time, such as “web hosting”. The results for this keyword have remained largely the same for quite some time. There may be some shifting here and there, but the same players seem to appear on the front page month after month after month. In addition, we know that there are plenty of websites that attempt to spam the keyword “web hosting”. On occasion we may see a site succeed in breaking the top 10, but this is a rare and usually short-lived event.
One Lesson We Can Learn
Because nigritude ultramarine previously returned zero pages, all of the pages that Google indexed were relatively new. It is obvious that Google treats relatively new pages differently than pages that have been around and established for some time. This can be attributed in part to the fact that Google is forever in a quest to retrieve the most recent information put on the web. When Google obtains new information, they try to rank the page based on what they can calculate immediately. Because they cannot calculate pagerank “on the fly”, they are forced to treat new, young pages, in a different manner than long-time established sites.
The lesson that we can learn from this is that we should not apply the nigritude ultramarine techniques to traditional SEO. It simply does not happen that we find a business that general population is searching for, but no one is listed for. We also know from simple common sense that spamming the search engines does not result in top rankings, but usually in being banned from Google.
One theory that could be expounded is that Google looks at a website over time. We already know that Google will visit a website more often if it has determined in the past that it is an important website. We also know that Google treats new pages and sites differently than established websites.
Think about how Google was originally founded. The pagerank formula was a formula developed to measure how important a website was through a simple voting system. Every link from one site to another counted as a vote. The idea was to find websites that were deemed important by other websites.
As time has passed, Google has changed their formula, but not the basic idea of letting the web vote on what sites are important. In their latest major changes, the Hilltop algorithm was implemented on top of PageRank. Hilltop looks at a set of “authority” websites, or sites that have already been deemed as highly important reference websites, and sees who they are linking to. The goal again is to determine which websites are really important by using a voting system.
With their history of relying on a democratic system of ranking websites, does it not make sense that they would also look at the history of a website over time? It seems to be a possibility that websites who have a history of being linked to by other important websites would do better in Google than a newcomer who is just beginning to receive high quality links.
When applying the lessons of nigritude ultramarine to traditional SEO, we must question whether or not these lessons are valid. Because the competition ran over just a few months on sites whose only goal is to rank #1 without regard to the appearance or sales ability of their site, the results cannot effectively be applied to SEO. Furthermore, we have not allowed Google enough time to “settle” the results over time.
Although nigritude ultramarine is an interesting competition, it yields little to no value for traditional SEO.