This post is maybe one of the most important that I have ever written. You maybe know it already, recently I won the SEO Hero contest by Wix, a worldwide SEO Challenge launched by WIX in November 2016.
To win the challenge I’ve entered the game with a great SEO tool. I’ve said great, not perfect. I’ve offered something new, a different way to look at words within a SERP. I get a huge amount of positive comments on Twitter, Facebook, by email, on Youtube, everywhere. Great comments from many countries.
A lot of people want to help me (for free) to translate SEO Hero in different languages. I received natural citations and links from many websites and I get top rankings on Google.com.
I m the incontestable winner of this contest, SEO-Hero.tech has more than 80 positions ahead of the second in this competition, but unfortunately, this seems to don’t be enough for the Judge that decided to disqualify my website from the competition.
I have the right to appeal this decision and that’s what I’ve done because « We are the champions, my friend and we’ll keep on fighting till the end ». Yeah, till the end!
The main reason why the judge decided to disqualify my website is that many web marketers and search engine optimizers from France decided to support the french people engaged in the Wix competition, adding a link to our entries on their professional websites or personal blogs.
Many people in the SEO Industry say that Google guidelines are not clear and open to interpretation. At least it’s clear that the webmaster guidelines never blamed solidarity.
I never thought that one day I will have to fill a reconsideration request to someone other than Google. Now that I’ve done it, i thought it was interesting to publish it on my blog, remembering that we are not talking only about backlinks and websites, we are talking about real life of real persons.
One of the blamed links comes from Laurent Bourrelly’s blog. He’s well-known here for several reasons. This is one of the sentences he often uses : « the truth is on the screen ». Here under, the incontestable truth:
Knowing that this is a long document, I tried to make it funny sometimes, sincer but funny.
Edit : At the end, the following apeal was accepted by Eran, the person in charge to controll that the SEO tactics used within the contest were fair and in accordance with the Google guidelines on search engine optimization.
Finally, I m the official winner of the Wix SEO contest. Many people asked me if Wix has paid me, yest they sent me the prize ($ 50 000) so as promised Wix paid that monney !
My appeal to the Judge decision on the SEO Hero contest
Before going into the details I want to clarify some very important points. Following what you told me in the discussion we had together on Skype and what you wrote to me by email, I am not surprised that many competitors have tried by all means to tarnish not only my SEO strategy but also the SEO made in France, and attempted to make disqualify the best SEOs.
It is obvious that the importance of the prize or the reputation that can be derived from the victory of such an international competition encourages some to use all means to win, even to eliminate all the competitors placed before them.
I also understand that your position as a judge is very delicate, and despite all I can say about some competitors, remember that during this contest you never received a single mail from me denouncing anything or whomever. Your mission is already quite complex for you to send you such emails and my mission was to get the victory in the SERPs and not by trying every possible way to get rid of my competitors.
As you said to me, the file with the backlinks that are blamed here was sent to you by one of the competitor. To respect for its privacy you didn’t mention his name. But looking at the link mentioned in line number 8 of this file (https://raiseupconsulting.blogspot.ru/2017/03/soutient-seo-hero.html) we have a good indication about the competitor we’re talking about and his country.
Infact, blogspot plateform has a particularity, it always redirect the user to its corrispondant local tld. If I try to reach this URL from France Blogspot server will redirect to blogspot.fr instead of blogspot.ru.
The competitor that sent you this file most probably comes from Russia and looking at the rankings for the SEO Hero contest on the 13th, 14th and 15th of March I understand better who can profit for these unfair investigations.
That said and before talking about SEO strategy it is fundamental for me to get this message across. The SEO done in France is much better than what some have tried to make you believe.
Behind all the links you have questioned it is essential that you know that there are real sites and especially real people, assets in the French and international SEO. They are all women and men who are passionate about their work and who, on a daily basis, are leading entrepreneurs towards success.
I will not let anyone tarnish their reputation or their image, so I will not just talk about links or websites, I will also tell you about the people and their true story. Now I m going to talk about the links and webpages pointed in your attached file.
Overall, what is blamed for all of the sites below is that they contain links to several French participants in the WIX SEO competition. Isn’t it natural for French actors in the digital economy to support French participants in an international SEO competition? Google has never banned this. Not only is in perfect agreement with Google’s guidelines, but it’s also quite natural and understandable.
Search Datalogy is the professional website of Aysun Akarsu. Aysun is an SEO specialized in big data analysis. She is the person you have to count on if your website has issues with crawl budget for example.
The post she wrote about the SEO Hero contest contains an amazing work of Data Mining of Tweets with the hashtag #SEOHERO and it’s just crazy that someone could think for one second that it’s not in accordance with Webmaster Guidelines. Her work and her support are absolutely fine with Google and the rules of the Wix SEO Hero contest.
Raisupconsulting.blogspot.com is Hervé Arnaud’s blog about webmarketing.
Arnaud is specialized in SEO and Conversion rate optimization. I think Arnaud is a bit crazy because he signed the longest podcast I’ve ever seen about the seo contest.
His podcast lasted 8 hours, yes, 8 hours and you can see it here.
What’s the matter if Arnaud decided to quote french seo hero contestants ? As you can see he did a real job promoting the contest and what he did is perfectly fine with Google guidelines
This is the website of a well-known SEO agency from Lyon who’s name is « TOP 10 Strategie ».
This website is designed to present and promote their SEO services. It’s clear that it’s absolutely not a website made for link purposes.
The web page is also linking to other challengers from France, and it’s clear to anybody that it’s not against Google guidelines that some french SEO agencies or digital companies show their support to french SEO engaged in the Wix SEO Hero contest.
I m really surprised that I need to justify this organic link because any search engine expert can confirm that this referral is perfectly fine and in accordance with Google Guidelines.
E-Works.fr is a job search solution specialized in web marketing. E-works helps candidates and recruiter to connect and it was founded by Smaïl Maakik. Smaïl is also a speaker and is passionate about human resources and online marketing.
This is his twitter account https://twitter.com/Smaility in case you need to connect with him to figure out why they linked to my website, I guess they did it also because he appreciate the huge work I’ve done.
E-works helps companies to find the best candidates also for search engine optimizer positions, don’t you think it’s absolutely natural that they publish a news about French SEOs engaged in an international contest?
Whatever the reason why they decided to talk about the contest, it’s clear enough that this website is not online for link purposes and that is absolutely in accordance with the Google guidelines.
This is a detail but you can also note that this organic link was done on the 10th March 2017, 3 days before the first ranking check. At this time I was already the leader of the competition. Do you really mean it’s fair to disqualify my entry for these legit links?
This is the website of a web agency based in Biarritz and founded by Kilian Pariso. Kilian is an entrepreneur from the « pays basque » that chose Biarritz for many reasons, probably also because he’s a windsurf lover.
Neither this website is made for link purposes and as you can see it presents the online services of Kilian’s Agency. What’s the matter if Kilian, a man who has the spirit of competition in the blood and that loves SEO, decides to support french SEOs engaged in a worldwide challenge like the Wix SEO contest. This is absolutely fair in terms of Google guidelines.
Samuel Hounkpe is another well-known SEO Consultant that started its online career in 2001. Everyone in the French SEO Industry knows Samuel.
Some people call him the intellectual because Samuel is also passionate about literature and philosophy. I’m not sure that it’s a smart idea to tell you this but I have to confess that when Samuel says me hello on Skype, I often do like I m away from keyboard because I know that he’s going to make me waste 1 hour of my working day talking to me about Noam Chomsky.
I feel very guilty to confess this also because I really like Noam Chomsky and I love in particular this Chomsky’s quote:
« To live a life of honesty and integrity is a responsibility of every decent person »
That said I really appreciate Samuel and I’m very proud and happy to know that he decided to support my tool because he’s a great search engine optimizer. Samuelhounkpe.com is his professional website, it was not made for link purposes and I’m sure that even Matt Cutts would say that it’s in accordance with Google guidelines.
You’re an administrator on my search console and as you can see this domain do not appear under « links to your site ».
I just checked and this website is not even indexed by Google. I suggest to you to make a further control on my search console to see by yourself that Google has not any history about this link.
You can even check this search query using the site operator to see that this website is not even indexed by Google:https://www.google.com/#q=site:agof.fr/&*
How can any link frm this website help me in getting better search engine ranking?
How could I Disavow this link if even the search console does not mention its existence? It’s evident that my SEO Hero entry can’t be disqualified for that link.
This one is the professional blog of Sylvain Vandewalle. Sylvain is living at Caen in Normandie and is a Project Manager at DesignProduction (designproduction.fr). He’s also a speaker for SEO Camp the most important SEO Organization in France.
I met Sylvain in real-life and for the first time two weeks ago at SEO Campus Paris. There I knew that Sylvain hides many secrets, he’s very good also at « table football » and he’s passionate about pastry, (I recommend to anyone who wants to discover French pastry to taste its Paris-Brest). That is to say that Sylvain is another real person, with a real story, and a real website, not made for link purposes and in accordance with the webmaster Guidelines.
lereferenceur.fr is Marc San Emeterio’s website another SEO expert. Marc comes from Paris and started his career at Resoneo one of the most important SEO agency in France. His twitter nickname is @le_referenceur he often tweet about search engine marketing, and his website that is online since 2011 is not made for link purposes.
As you can see the website promote his SEO Services and host an interesting blog where the last published post is titled « SEO, growth hacking and inbound marketing ». I feel lucky that I’ve gained a citation from his website and in accordance with Google Guidelines.
This is the Arnaud Yhuel’s Blog a freelance SEO from Rennes. I don’t know if you ever heard about Rennes but you can pronounce it like « rain », in fact, at Rennes It rains all the year. In the autumn it’s raining at Rennes, in the winter it’s raining at Rennes, on the spring it’s raining at Rennes, and in the summer it’s raining at Rennes. I don’t really know what are the best business opportunities in Rennes, but there’s one thing I m sure about, at Rennes is better to sell umbrellas than solar panels. Arnaud will agree with me on that point.
That said and apart from this true story, Arnaud’s blog is another true website, with a true history absolutely not made for link purposes, and perfectly in accordance with Google Guidelines.
This is another great SEO blog, this one is made by Sebastien Thibert an SEO Consultant from Marseille. When Sebastien isn’t working on a search engine optimization project and when he isn’t writing on his blog, for sure he is drawing.
Sebastien started his career as an illustrator. He worked for Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Bros, and he curated project like Gaston Lagaffe, Hello Kitty, Pucca, Dragon Ball Z. He has also an important knowledge on comics. He has also some fun making caricatures of SEOs. You can enjoy his draws in his authentic SEO Blog, of course not created for link purposes and perfectly fine with the webmaster guidelines.
Laurent Bourrelly is well-known as the “SEO Rockstar”.
He is a member of the jury of the UK Search Awards (http://www.searchawards.co.uk/judges) and for the European Search Awards (http://www.europeansearchawards.com/judges). If you ever heard about it, Laurent is the father of the « topical Mesh » (cocon sémantique in french). The Topical Mesh is one of the most used On-site SEO Strategy in France, and you can take a look at http://www.frenchtouchseo.com/ if you want to know more about that strategy.
Unfortunately for Laurent, he’s also starting to be known for his epic bike crashes (Laurent that lives in Andora is passionate about VTT and Down Hill). I swear that everything I say is true, you can have a look at some of his crashes here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUYxFJWO5i8
Anyway, Laurent’s blog is the most read SEO Blog in France and this since 2009. Of course that this link is legit and in accordance with Google Guidelines.
Loic Helias started his online career as a community manager, but fast he fell in love for search engine optimization. Today he’s living in Bordeaux, but he’s born in Auvergne a region of the center of France known around the world for its dormant volcanoes.
As you can see his website presents his online services to get more traffic, and it host an SEO Blog. Another website that is not created for link purposes. The link coming from his website and from an article that discusses the Wix SEO Hero contest is perfectly legit and in accordance with Google Guidelines.
You’ll maybe laugh about this one because you have two points in common with Julien Berard the guy behind this website: French SEOs call him “the Juge” and he lives in Canada (Vancouver).
After started his career in France, he worked as “Head of Search” at NetBooster UK, then he left Europe for the United States where he worked for ContentActive a company from Texas.
Actually, he’s the SEO Manager of coastal.com. Julien’s Blog is online since 2010 and as you can see it was not created for link purposes and it’s not part of a link network. This is another link absolutely legit regarding the Google guidelines.
Internet-Job.fr is a Benoit Mercusot’s project that helps companies in the digital industry in finding the best candidates. Benoit Mercusot is a WordPress expert and a speaker for several events like the famous Wordcamp.
Benoit is one more guy that naturally supported French SEOs engaged in a worldwide challenge with a useful website. This website was not created for link purposes and the mention from internet-job.fr is in complete accordance with Google guidelines.
I didn’t know that Idewan was linking to my website because the link doesn’t even appear in the search console for seo-hero.tech
That said, I m honored to discover that Idewan linked to seo-hero.tech because it’s a great web marketing agency with a large and brilliant team. Obviously, this is absolutely legit, and if one day their link appears in the search console I will not disavow it as it’s perfectly fine regarding Google guidelines.
That’s a too long true story to tell but Mickael is also known for the most famous hashtag in the french SEO Industry #purqyoii. Everything started with this tweet
— Mickael Challet (@mickaelchallet) 30 octobre 2015
More seriously, this is what I can tell you about Mickael. He’s the founder of an SEO Agency from Lyon, this guy is incredibly skilled in on-site optimization, so humble and very helpful at the same time.
Everyone agree here (in France) that working with Mickael is a great idea if you want to rank a startup. Nobody here can forget his greatest SEO conference ever done at the #BWSEO (another of the greatest French SEO Events).
Mickael-Challet.com is his personal blog in which he talks only about SEO Stuff. Perfectly on-topic and legit website, absolutely not made for link purposes and obviously fine with Google Guidelines.
WebAndSEO.fr is the professional website of Maximilien Labadie. In 2009 when Maximilien made his first steps in the SEO world he’s only 18 Years old and probably one of the youngest entrepreneurs in website edition.
Today he lives in Thailand and he’s a happy website editor, he decided to link to my website within a perfectly legit professional website in accordance with Google Guidelines and I thank him for that.
CanYouSEOme.com is the personal blog of Madeline Pinthon, she’s an SEO Consultant at iProspect. Madeline also speaks at several SEO conferences.
This is her SEO Blog where she shares all search engine optimization stuff. On her blog, she discusses things like Google Tag Manager, SEO Benchmarking tools, Google search console API.
I believe that you had too many pages to control and that led to a judgment mistake about Madeline’s post, as a gentleman would never say that Madeline work is not in accordance with Google guidelines. As you can see her citation is perfectly legit and in accordance with the webmaster guidelines.
MyDigitalWeek.com is the first website that brings together the events of the digital economy in the following sectors: SEO, e-Commerce, Digital Marketing, Mobile, IT, e-Health, Fintech, e-HR, Smart City, Internet of Objects, Innovations, E-Education, e-Tourism, Startups, Media.
MyDigitalWeek team is composed by Annie ABELA-LICHTNER (Journalist & Founder), Alain LAIDET (Counselor), Alexandre ZAKARIAS (Contractor & Editor-in-Chief), Juliette FAUCHET (Journalist), Cédric MORIN (Journalist), Jean-Eric PELET (Marketing Research Teacher), Irène LOPEZ (Journalist), Christine SOTO (Consultant), Jérôme BOUTEILLER (Journalist & Consultant).
As you can see this is another very serious website and it was not created for link purposes. Absolutely in accordance with Google guidelines.
The disavow file
Now that I have justified all these links please note that I had as a sixth sense with regards to the links coming from the French sites. I was sure that some competitors would have mentioned these links and that is why I anticipated this maneuver by uploading to the search console a disavow file containing the vast majority of the sites you have quoted here. This is the last formal proof of my sincerity to remove any doubt about my amply deserved victory.
But please Eran keep in mind that my line of defense is not focused on this file but on the fact that the links we discussed here are perfectly in line with Google’s recommendations. I may well not have used the disavow file for these links and remain in full agreement with the Google rules. What matters most to me is respect for all those people who have experienced this international SEO competition.
Please let me add a last point about all the links discussed above. According to what you wrote to me by email this backlinks table was sent to you by a competitor. So to some extent, I was justifying myself because of an investigative work that was done by a competitor. While I have no-doubt on your own honnesty, what can we really hope for from this investigation work done by a competitor in terms of honesty?
Here’s why I’m the incontestable Winner of the SEO Hero contest
Now that I have justified myself enough, I must remind you the essence of my SEO strategy that helped me to get these top rankings on Google.com with more than 80 positions ahead of the second in the contest.
I entered the contest with a useful tool that you have appreciated yourself if I believe the discussion we had on Skype.
I have received natural citations from several countries and sites highly trusted. I have received natural links from France, Italy, Spain, United States and from many other countries.
I received these links for only one reason, because I deserve it. It is not a coincidence that Bruce Clay quoted seo-hero.tech naturally (https://www.bruceclay.com/seo/choosekeywords.htm).
I did not published another keyword research tool, I published something different, something awesome, something that standsout, an SEO Tool that brings me to the top.
SEO-Hero.Tech receives traffic from many countries. Here are only a few of these countries. Remember that you have the admin access to Google Analytics if you need to verify these datas.
- United States
- Mexico City
- United States
- United States
- Dominican Republic
- United Arab Emirates
Could you really think this result was achieved by search engine spam?
We chatted together and you know what was my SEO strategy, you perfectly know what brought me to the top on Google.
As I explained, I have done everything so that Google sees that SEO Hero is not just an SEO competition organized by Wix but is also the name of an SEO tool that users appreciate.
Among the elements that enabled me to get this ranking, remember that I have never used the term Wix on SEO-Hero.tech. That helped me to detach seo-hero.tech from some semantic clusters related with Wix contest.
Here is another element that confirms once again that I have created a site for users and not a site for Google. The origin of the traffic of seo-hero.tech on the last week.
- 36% direct traffic
- 27.8% of referral traffic
- 27.6% organic traffic
- 8.6% of social traffic
Eran I do not doubt for one second that you are an honest person, which is why I really hope you will make the most fair decision, accept the sincerity of this appeal and officially declare my victory. I deserve it, now you know it.
Sincerely and for the value of Sports, Walid Gabteni