Case Study: Should you run a contest for your blog?

I was thinking on the lines of a competition for my new top secret project: Shymz which led me to look around for fresh ideas. I found that a lot of sites are running new competitions for various prizes and stuff to be won.

With blog contests becoming a rage all over the blogosphere, I was wondering if it will help you in anyway to increase your statistics online.

By stats, I mainly refer to:

  • Google PageRank
  • Alexa Rankings
  • Technorati

These three are the main factors that determine how much your blog is worth on the internet. Also some other factors like your RSS feed count also matter to a extent. I had a look at a major competition that ran a few months ago at MsDanielle’s Blog. It was a simple linkback competition which had a lot of entrants and had special attention since she won it from JohnChow dot com. This is a long post folks, so get a coffee and join me as I do this case study.

Alexa Data for Ms. Danielle

MsDanielles Alexa Ranking - TheAnand - SEO Blog from Cochin Analyzes it

If you have a closer look at the alexa data, which though is meaningless in most cases, but is useful for spotting trends. There is a initial spike in May which is the time JohnChow announced the winner of his Microsoft Zune contest. This win saw the alexa rankings of the pink blog of Ms. Danielle run uphill.

When things started to slow down a bit, Ms. Danielle announced in June the contest for winning the Zune she won from John who in fact won it from somewhere else! (White Elephant anyone?). The alexa again had its second spike in June and continued its spike as she got mentions in popular blogs including many A-List Bloggers. Then a smaller spike came in as people checked in for the winner who was announced in July.

Okie folks, the contest is over!!! Alexa noted this downfall and it reflected in its rankings which has continued its fall till now. So if you had a look at the rankings now and before the contest, its almost the same. So what did the contest achieve in the long term? Technorati rankings? Pagerank?

Technorati Effects

Ms. Danielle Technorati rankings analysed by TheAnand’s SEO blog Cochin

Lets take the case of Technorati rankings. Though I wanted to keep track of that, I lost track at some point of time. But I am sure it must have brought in a lot of linkbacks in a short period of time, since the Technorati ranking currently stands at about 3k with a authority of 806. But is this rankings good in the long term?

Technorati calculates how many links are pointing at your blog from other blogs (your blog’s ‘authority’) based upon the last 6 months activity. This means that a blog that links to you today will be counted – but in 180 days it will not be counted any more.

Since technorati indexes links only for 180 days, this authority will be gone in a short period until you do another contest or have a solid linkbait. So with that decided, this brings us to pagerank, will a contest help your Google Pagerank?


Since the update has not happened yet, I cannot say for certain if this will happen or not. But as a SEO learner, I can say it will help. All the links are all permanent and will lie in the blog’s archive forever, which will help Ms. Danielle’s blog in Pagerank and for Search Engine Result Positions (SERPs). Her blog is in the first page as the 9th result out for 1,250,000,000 results for blog site. Pretty impressive! huh?

Conclusion: What does this mean? Is running a contest good for your blog? Some things I noted include:

  1. Does not help with Alexa, which indirectly means you will not get much of targeted visitors. Instead you will get a bunch of people who are more in interested in the prize than your blog.
  2. Technorati Rankings will soar, but thats not permanent either.Will be gone in 180 days.
  3. Pagerank and SERPs. Pagerank should be good. The only thing that stays for sometime? But with the Google dance, your blog can be buried too.

What are your thoughts on running a competition for your blog? Have you done it? What happened? Share in your thoughts and let me know if I missed anything here.

  1. hey anand, this is an interesting break-down. i’m not sure i even properly tracked the results. i think the one statistic you didn’t mention that is the one i look to the most is RSS numbers.
    if mine were a “make money” blog, and i took advantage of all the page views, and used the subscriptions and audience as leverage, then i could have made some money off the contest. but i don’t have a make money blog. also, i haven’t had a contest since, so if i had opted to roll over into another one, that would have sustained all the stats you mentioned. it’s a mixed answer.
    i also have to add that my content was stepped up at the time i announced the contest (frequency, depth of content, commenting, etc…) which i think had to do with me sustaining the spike in traffic.
    right now, i’m happy with the readership i have, and with the content i’m providing. although the stats you mention have been on the decline, my RSS total is at an all-time high. go figure 😉

  2. I mentioned rss too, but took it much lighter than the rest. Im sure that RSS readers should have increased, but only that I have no way of tracking it… 😀

    Yes, I became a regular reader of your blog after you won the Zune from John. 😀 The content was much more detailed and interesting. I had noticed the same and since you took some time to end the contest. A lot of people would have checked out your blog once in a while to see the updates on the contest.

    hehe, I was only analyzing the effects of a contest in general with the data available for the general people so I missed the RSS. Hope you get a good pagerank this update. 😉 Thanks for dropping by!!!

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