Interested in growing your business digitally? If so, you’ll want to follow the Wix SEO Hero Contest closely.

Kristi is a storyteller from the United States, whose curiosity about the world and other cultures has led her to explore far-flung places and unsung corners on five continents, including the Middle East, camera in hand. Her degrees in journalism and nonprofit management have inspired her to never stop learning. She is most passionate about tech startups, gender equity, and the future of work.

Wix, a website platform managing close to 100 million users, has been scouring the globe for search engine optimization experts who can beat them at their own game. In an international competition of skills and smarts, it will be interesting to see if a worldwide heavyweight like Wix can be upended by a rogue ‘SEO Hero’.

That said, no one is disputing Wix’s success in the market. The startup company now boasts 11 offices across four continents and went public in 2013.  

In November, they launched the SEO-focused competition—the first of its kind for the company.

One Ranking to Win Them All

To win, contestants had to create a new website and have it rank first for the term “SEO Hero” as of March 16, 2017. (Naturally, Wix built their own SEO Hero website, which their team has optimized for the term.) Whichever site ranks first on the final day wins the glory and a $50,000 prize.

I spoke with a member of Wix’s SEO Outreach team, Carly Ellis, who gave me a behind-the-scenes perspective. She’s part of the group that has worked to populate Wix’s competition site over the past few months with relevant tips, tricks, interviews with Wix users (‘SEO Heroes’, naturally) and other helpful how-to style content.

Why a four-month competition? “We chose this deadline because content creation and outreach takes effort and time, and the competition requires it from start to finish,” Ellis explained. “We also wanted to be able to see the average of rankings over a period of time.”

The competition, from what I understand, is fierce. “It’s impressive to see the sites that our competitors are building; they’re really great!” Ellis said. “You can really see how genuinely motivated people are by using effective search optimization tactics.”

So…why would the company want to potentially shell out $50K?

“It’s a bold move,” Ellis agreed. “We’re really proud of what we’ve built into our platform, and believe anyone can be successful using it. We’ve also found that if you raise the stakes, people want to learn more. ”

If Wix reigns victorious, half of the prize money will be donated to charity, and the remaining $25,000 will be split between contestants who rank in second, third and fourth places. ( An independent judge will measure them against their competition.)

Rand Fishkin, an internationally-recognized SEO expert and Wizard of Moz, serves as ‘Professor F’, a source of inspiration for the competition. 

“I was honored that Wix thought of me, and always enjoy a bit of humor mixed into our field,” he said. “I am fervently hoping that one of the websites promising to donate the sum to charity will win the competition–that’s the best possible outcome here.”

“Of course, it’s a win for us even if we lose,” Ellis added. 

“Generating a global conversation about our platform and its capabilities, increasing engagement, and visibility are all wonderful byproducts of this competition. If we’ve also sparked a broader dialogue about best practices that have been championed by other sites like Moz, that’s an added bonus.”

Even if you’re not competing, you can be your own SEO Hero. Here are a few pointers and boosted features that you can put to work within your own website on Wix’s platform:

  • Make sure you have clean URLs, free of hashbangs and page IDs
  • Use advanced SEO features on any blog, including a customizable URL for every post, customizable title tags, meta descriptions, mobile title and excerpt
  • Add optimized H1 heading tags for every page on your site
  • Create customized meta tags
  • Ensure mobile optimization with Wix’s built-in mobile editor
  • Access specialized apps designed to help with SEO
  • Easily set up integration with Google Analytics & Google Search Console