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Thursday, May 5, 2005

Hommingberger Gepardenforelle Reaching New Heights

As far as I can see, the German Hommingberger Gepardenforelle search engine optimization contest is breaking all previous records in terms of Google page count by going past the 1 million hits barrier.

“Hommingberger Gepardenforelle” was chosen as non-existing nonsense phrase by the German Heise/ C’T publishing company. While there were no results in Google on the contest start at April 16 (mere weeks ago), today lists 1,540,000 results pages. Compare this to the previous SEO contests: SERPs lists 258,000 pages (some of them unrelated to the competition); Nigritude Ultramarine lists 111,000; Seraphim Proudleduck 299,000; French Mangeur de Cigogne lists 267,000; and the older German SEO contest Schnitzelmitkartoffelsalat and Kebabgraz (even more dishes) both have far below 100,000 entries indexed.

The following table courtesy of Wikipedia shows the evolvement of the competition by comparing the page count of different German search engines:

Date Google Yahoo MSN Seekport
April 18 2005 979 752 730 2
April 19 2005 104,000 18,900 41,023 57
April 20 2005 143,000 213,000 46,930 57
April 21 2005 202,000 341,000 19,755 57
April 25 2005 568,000 234,000 88,012 382
May 1 2005 1,020,000 423,000 26,062 44,022
May 3 2005 1,140,000 461,000 28,109 51,287

So what does page count actually mean? It does not per se equal popularity, especially when it comes to search engine contests. It’s easy for an experienced webmaster to automate content creation by serving a dynamic, interconnected array of pages. If all of these pages now have a link containing the term Hommingberger Gepardenforelle to artificially boost another page, a linkfarm is created, and all of its pages can be indexed by Google and others.
I do think the current page count craze is a mix of all the different factors: first, the contest is actually highly popular (it has been covered by Germany’s biggest online news sources); second, there are a lot of German webmasters who know how to spam search engines; and third, Google et al are getting better and better at indexing large link networks deep and fast.

While there’s 1,540,000 entries indexed, only one optimizer can win (or at least, only one per search engine). The first round’s winner will be chosen on May 15. Certainly the most watched results for this competition are those of and While the first two results in are the official contest pages which run out of competition, number three is currently inhibited by Tobias Schwarz’s – which does nothing but list search results in automated directory-style. Consequently the page itself has no original content of its own, only snippets from other sources. Usually, it is good style to not let search results be indexed from search engines themselves, because search results containing search results are considered spam. alone has 285,000 pages listed in Google.

Also see the history of search engine contests.


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