After much deliberation, our judges have voted on which of our five scholarship contests should win the $10,000 scholarship contest.
I could provide a flowery summary and in-depth analysis of the contest, but I know you’d just skip over that anyway, so here are the results.
The Winner: Increase Conversion Rates with the Google Website Optimizer? by Jeff Horsager
Congratulations to Jeff who wins the fantastic scholarship with 4 votes from our judges. Jeff barely won, as we actually had a tie, with CK Chung’s Have Your Top Competitors Do Some Of Your SEO For You article also receiving 4 votes. However, Jeff won via the tie-breaker, achieving 3,385 visitors compared to CK’s 1,094.
The Prize Package
Here’s a reminder of what Jeff’s won…
- A full conference pass to the Search Engine Strategies conference held in San Jose, this August.
- The winnerâ€™s article will be published in the industry print magazine, Search Marketing Standard.
- Enrollment in a â€œCertified Search Engine Marketer Pathwayâ€ course at SearchEngineCollege.com
- One month of industry coaching and training from search marketing expert Andy Beal.
- One year of AdWatcher.com service (ad tracking and click fraud monitoring) and one year of AdScientist.com service (bid management).
- One year subscription to WebmasterWorld.com.
- One year premium membership to SEOmoz.org.
- A free web analytics account from CrazyEgg.com.
- A one year Bizwatch account from BizResearch.com.
- A one year subscription to the SEO project management site, SoloSEO.com.
- A copy of Aaron Wallâ€™s â€œSEO Book.â€
- A copy of Jennifer Laycockâ€™s book, â€œSmall Business Guide to Search Engine Marketing.â€
- A copy of Andrew Goodmanâ€™s book, â€œWinning Results with Google AdWords.â€
- A copy of Kim Krause Bergâ€™s books â€œPlease Ring Bell for Serviceâ€ and â€œHow to Quench Your Web Site Visitors’ Thirst.â€
- A cash prize ($100) courtesy of Cre8asiteforums.com.
- Link-ninja sword (wooden), throwing stars (rubber), clock, t-shirt and $100 cash courtesy of WeBuildPages.com.
- A full pass to the Fall SEO Class seminar for search marketing.
- A full pass to Future of Online Advertising conference in June.
Jeff’s going to be a busy boy! And I’m going to be busy connecting him up with all those great prizes!
Praise for the Finalists
Praise for Jeff’s effort included…
“The â€œthis is the plan and here are screen shots to helpâ€ sealed the deal”
“Well written, with concise sentences and not overly technical”
“A good example of how he can do product reviews and present them to general readership”
“Very nice article. Nicely laid out and organized, I also love screenshots to better explain what to do. Nice reference links as well for further information.”
“The information is timely and unique…good screen grabs to support the content”
All entries received praise from our judges, including…
CK Chung – aka Kid Disco
“…he’s not afraid to put his personality into a piece…He certainly rattled the troops with unethical practices but that comes with SEO territory”
“Great post, plus they talk about marketing and how it was used to help others. The other thing I liked about the post was good comment interaction as well as good trackbacks.”
“Timely and unique…gained attention for an important issue”
“This article was not only informative and insightful, but Paul made use of the scholarship contest to further propagate the goal of the article itself, which is clever thinking and good viral marketing.”
“I liked his a lot and would have voted for it if not for Jeff’s…I LOVED his links to tools. He wrote a useful article. I could see myself using the advice and even better, understanding it.”
“It has a catchy title that uses the effective “list” tactic and addresses the target audience…I learned something new from reading it – actually – several things. That’s difficult for an article to achieve for an SEO veteran disenchanted with the pulp and propaganda pushed in this industry.”
“Marios has a good start…He tackled a somewhat dry topic, but it’s also an important one”
“Thought-provoking content that encourages you to approach your business in a new way”
“…had to go with it, because it’s such a great subject, along with good writing and specific examples”
So, on to sharing more details of the scholarship. As with last year, I’ve compiled a list of visitors, page views and top 3 referrers for each entry. Here are some interesting observations:
- The article with the most actual visitors was not our winner, but had more than 3x the traffic of the winning entry and almost as much traffic as all other entries combined!
- The two most visited entries took advantage of social media sites. The bulk of Daniel Tynski’s visits came via a strategically placed link at the end of a story that made the Digg homepage.
- Some entrants bought some of their traffic. PPC and pop-under traffic was popular among those that decided it might be worth it to spend some money.
- Our winning article took advantage of both Slashdot and organic traffic from Google, to achieve success. Perhaps demonstrating that a good organic campaign needs a balance of traffic sources.
- Google dominated organic referrals. Yahoo made the list just of top referrers just one time.
Thanks to all that entered! Thanks also to the company’s that donated prizes and our awesome judges for donating their time. Lastly, thanks to all of our readers for their support and participation!
UPDATE: Each of the four runner-ups will receive a full pass to Future of Online Advertising conference. Thanks to the organizers for the prize!