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Saturday, June 5, 2004

The Secret of Nigritude Ultramarine

If you arrived here entering the words Nigritude Ultramarine into Google, and you are looking for a secret to get good rankings, let me explain.


The last search engine optimization competition was for the word SERPs, which I came up with in the newsgroup


What was my strategy for SERPs back then? I wanted to see how a normal blog post announcing the SERPs competition would fare. Some people backlinked to my post entry, so it quickly made it into the top ranks. However it would not stay there and I got pushed out.

Shortly before the competition time ended however, competitor Sam cancelled his Blogspot account holding the number one position... and I created a Blogspot account by the same name, taking over his old place, and putting up a competition FAQ. You can still find my winning entry at So actually you could say Sam (a regular in won this round.
His strategy? Guestbook spamming, among others.

[Nigritude Ultramarine]

What was my strategy for Nigritude Ultramarine now? This time, I wanted my blog front page to compete. This is because it has a higher PageRank, and because it is much easier to link to than Everybody prefers linking to short URLs easily memorized.

But what actually makes me current number one? If you think it was the Wiki Sandbox strategy (as has been argued in different places), it was not. The crucial factor are backlinks from you, my readers, and I would not have had a remote chance without those.

In fact, if the Wiki Sandbox strategy would be worthwhile, the current number two (who says he “nearly sold his soul to this competition” and uses bots to edit the Wiki sandboxes) would still be on number one. I in the mean time gave up posting to Wikis after negative feedback and new insights into the issue.

Update: is back to number one. Another strong contender for next month has arrived on the scene, being linked from authority hubs like

[SEO Challenge]

The current events again prove three points:

  1. Google is heavily defending itself against any type of spamming mechanism or single-page optimization, or even closely-related linkfarms. That is why real links to real pages matter, and not a gazillion repeated variations of the keyword.

  2. Content still rules. Most other pages have nothing but nonsense text stuffed with the competition phrase. (The Nigritude Ultramarine FAQ being a noteworthy exception, and the only competing site I linked to.)

  3. Nothing counts as much as a bunch of single, high-quality backlinks from high-quality pages. This includes news coverage as well as blogs by friends (helping me out in this competition were Philipp Henkel, Dominik Schwind, Markus Renschler, Alexander Svensson, Paul, Maurice, Sebastian, David, Karthy and many others – thanks again).

I created a special VisitorVille bus for people who searched for “Nigritude Ultramarine”

The competition is nearing towards its first end, with nearly half a million pages in just a month. Let’s watch the official on Monday and see who wins – we all know how flaky Google results can be. Whatever happens, it was a fun ride teaching us all some good lessons.


So what’s the secret of Nigritude Ultramarine, and good rankings in general? The secret is that there is no secret... and realizing that is the best way to get you focus on providing good content, good products, good service, and whatever it is which drives visitors to your site.


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