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The Hommingberger Gepardenforelle has no real counterpart in nature. It actually is simply a combination of a keyword, which was established by the computer magazine c't in 2005 as part of an SEO competition.
Winner of the competition was the website that listed best for the term “Hommingberger Gepardenforelle” in the SERPs of Google, Yahoo, MSN (now Bing), and Seekport at two specific dates. This event had an initial function within the industry. In the following years until today, SEO contests are regularly conducted to demonstrate the efficiency of search engine optimization strategies.
SEO was a nice hobby for many amateurs and advertising professionals for a long time, but of secondary priority for many marketing agencies. The c't magazine wanted to provide a current picture on the effectiveness of search engine optimization with the SEO contest Hommingberger Gepardenforelle. Each participant was allowed to use any available means to achieve the best possible position in the major search engines on two specified dates. The competition was launched mid-April 2005. The first measuring date was the 15th of May, the second on 15 December 2005 at 11.00.
The choice of the term has eventually influenced later contests, because the two terms of this search combination cannot be found in any common lexicon, since they are entirely made up. Consequently, no results could be found for these keywords and this combination in Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Seekport before the contest.
Interestingly enough, the winners received no lucrative prices or additional incentives, except a listing on heise.de.
Implementation and winners
To reach the best positions, different optimization strategies were applied. Firstly, many exact match domains were represented and the other was trying to score with the appropriate content. Many powerful websites were able to use their advantage and post relevant content. It was interesting that many SEOs tried to use Google AdWords ads to drive traffic to their website. Two days after the launch, more than 1,000 websites were listed in Google’s index under “Hommingberger Gepardenforelle.”
It was interesting that many keyword domains were to be found among the winners. The website heise.de was also listed in one of the top positions of the search engines for the competition. www.hommingberger-gepardenforelle.de was one of the most successful websites.
How sustainably this keyword combination has been established in the SERPs, can be further demonstrated with the autocomplete feature of Google Instant. Suggestions to recipes or habitats are still being presented with it.
Through this first competition in the German-speaking area, SEO contests have been established as evidence of the status quo of search engine optimization. Every year different companies organize SEO competitions, such as the SEOKanzler event. However, these often serve Guerilla marketing purposes or as link baits for the SEOs own website, rather than actual positioning. Nevertheless, SEO contests present a good opportunity to prove your own ability as an SEO and to keep track of how the algorithms or the services of the search engines change over the years. It would certainly not suffice, at least since Google’s exact match domain update in 2012, to set up a keyword domain with thin content to achieve top rankings for the keyword in question. Instead, special content strategies such as TF*IDF would have to be applied.