At the recent Search Engine Strategies conference in New York, I discussed one of the hidden benefits of participating in Web site award programs – search engine optimization or SEO.
Most people recognize award programs, such as the Web Marketing Association WebAwards, are a great way to receive third party credibility for your Web development efforts and demonstrate to clients and senior management your high level of expertise. Participants also receive valuable feedback in the form of judges comments and benchmark data comparing their site to their industry average.
However, some overlook the real benefits winning awards can have on search engine rankings. Much of successful SEO focuses on gaining links from authoritive sites in “good neighborhoods”. Search engines believe that if a site is linked to from trusted Web sites, then it is more likely to have valuable contact and deserves a higher ranking.
WebAward.org has a Google PageRank of 8 out of 10, recognizing that it is a very authorative site. And talk about a good neighborhood, the only way for a site to receive a link from WebAward.org is to have been recognized as an award winning Web site!
Another important SEO tactic that award winners can use is the press release. Winning a Web site award, such as a WebAward, is a newsworthy event. Many award winners will distribute press releases over Internet-savvy wire services, such as PR Web, in order to have the releases picked up in the search engines. These releases provide additional links to the site as well as are indexed by the search engines and show up in search results.
Releases are also popular fodder for social media sites such as Digg, Technorati and many industry bloggers and poscasters. But as Lee Odden from Top Rank Marketing reminds me, never just post the release – It’s the kiss of death in social media. Instead, write a blog post with the information and link to the release for more information.
If you would like to have your Web site considered for the best web site award in one of the 96 industries covered by the 2007 WebAwards, you have until May 31st to enter your site at www.webaward.org. Remember – you can’t win if you don’t enter and even the most amazing Web sites remain invisible without the proper recognition.