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Contest SEO

How to Use Contest SEO to Boost Your Website’s Rankings

Written By: author image Stacey Corrin
author image Stacey Corrin
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the co-founder of RafflePress. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

If you’re not using contest SEO, you’re missing a major chance to boost your website’s visibility and traffic.

Contests are a fun, engaging way to improve your search rankings, attract valuable backlinks, and make a lasting impression on your target audience. And, with good SEO, your contests can continue giving long after they end.

In this guide, you’ll learn what contest SEO is and how to use it to improve your website’s search engine rankings.

In This Guide:

What Is Contest SEO?

Contest SEO combines the excitement of contests and giveaways with search engine optimization. Rather than getting a burst of attention during your contest, it involves planning and executing your marketing strategy for lasting SEO benefits.

Here’s how contest SEO works:

  • Draws Attention: Contests generate interest and compel people to visit your website. This increased traffic signals to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant.
  • Generates Backlinks: Blogs, news sites, and other websites often cover contests and link back to your page, boosting your site’s authority in search engine rankings.
  • Encourages Social Activity: Contests spark conversation and social shares, amplifying your reach and signaling to search engines that your brand is worth noticing.
  • Generates User-Generated Content (UGC): If your contest encourages submissions (like photos, videos, etc.), you gain unique content that search engines love

Essentially, contest SEO involves tweaking your contest to attract participants and activity that makes your website stand out in search results.

How to Optimize Your Contest for SEO

Now that you understand the power of Contest SEO, it’s time to put it into practice. Follow these steps to ensure your next contest delivers maximum search engine visibility.

1. Use an SEO-Friendly Contest Tool

While you can technically build contests manually, contest plugins or platforms streamline the process and often include features built with SEO in mind. One of the most popular options is RafflePress.

RafflePress best contest tool WordPress

RafflePress is a powerful yet user-friendly WordPress plugin for creating viral contests and giveaways. It makes creating any contest in WordPress a breeze.

Here’s why it’s great for SEO:

  • Optimized Code: RafflePress’ code is clean and well-structured, which search engines favor as it makes your website easier to understand.
  • Focus on Engagement: It offers entry actions that encourage social shares, comments, and website visits – all positive signals for search rankings.
  • Dedicated Landing Pages: Its pro version lets you create giveaway landing pages, which you can fully optimize for your target keywords.
  • Integrations: It works seamlessly with popular plugins like All in One SEO and SeedProd, allowing you to build custom giveaway pages optimized for search engines and conversions.

If you need help getting started, you can see our in-depth guide on how to run an online contest in WordPress.

There are, of course, other reputable contest tools available. When choosing one, look for features like social sharing options, mobile responsiveness, and the ability to customize URLs for SEO.

2. Choose the Right Keywords and Themes

Keywords are what people use to search for something online. Choosing the right ones makes it easier for them to find your contest in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Contest SERP example

Start by looking at your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your contest? Understanding their interests and behavior gives clues about what they will likely search for.

It’s also a good idea to align your contest theme with keywords relevant to your industry and audience. For example, a bakery wouldn’t choose keywords related to “running shoes” but might focus on “baking tips” or “cake decorating ideas.”

Use SEO tools to find relevant keywords. WPBeginner’s keyword generator tool is a good place to start since it’s 100% free.

WPBeginner keyword generator tool

When using it, look for long-tail keywords (more specific search terms) to attract targeted traffic. In our example below, we’d pick a phrase like “contest for dogs” instead of “contest.”

Longtail keyword examples for contest SEO

Also, choose a contest theme that has lasting appeal.

Seasonal contests are exciting. However, a theme with broader interest can generate traffic and backlinks even after the contest ends.

For instance, a gardening center could host a competition for the most impressive vegetable garden.

Vegega Garden ran something similar with their gardening photo contest:

Gardening contest example

A competition like this shows expertise and stays interesting year-round.

3. Optimize Your Contest Landing Page

Once you know what keywords to use, add them to your giveaway landing page to make it search engine-friendly.

Include your target keywords in the page title, meta description, headers, and throughout the content. Don’t force it too much – make sure it sounds natural.

Similarly, keep your contest description engaging and to the point. Focus on the benefits of entering and how to participate.

You should also use high-quality images or videos about the prize and your brand to draw interest and encourage sharing.

RafflePress prize image settings

In RafflePress, for example, you can upload prize photos and write a custom description right inside the giveaway widget.

All campaigns are also mobile-friendly. That way, your landing page looks great and is easy to use on mobile devices.

Expert Tip: We recommend using a dedicated contest landing page on your own website rather than a third-party one. This gives you full control over the content and optimization for the best SEO results.

4. Create Clear and Concise Rules

Including rules for your contest helps avoid disputes and potential legal issues. They also help your SEO by making your contest feel more trustworthy.

Additionally, they keep users on your page longer. This can reduce bounce rates, another important SEO ranking signal.

When creating your contest rules, clearly define the following aspects:

  • Eligibility requirements (age, location, etc.)
  • How to enter and any submission guidelines
  • Start and end dates of the contest
  • How you’ll select the winner
  • Prize details and when/how you’ll deliver it

You should also include a brief legal disclaimer. Use it to show that your contest complies with relevant laws and that you can amend the rules if needed.

contest rules example

Try to avoid overly legalistic language. Use clear, everyday terms that average users can easily understand.

After creating them, display a link to the rules on your contest web page.

Easily generate contest rules in seconds

In this example, we used RafflePress’s giveaway rules generator to write our guidelines quickly. The plugin displays rules beneath the giveaway widget so users can read them easily.

Giveaway rules in giveaway widget

5. Promote Across All Channels

Creating a great SEO contest is only half the battle. To maximize its reach and get the full SEO benefits, you need a strong promotion strategy.

Here are some of our tried and tested methods to promote your contest:

Social Media Sharing

Create shareable posts for your major social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Encourage sharing by offering bonus entries for those who spread the word.

RafflePress’s viral refer-a-friend giveaway action is ideal for this.

viral refer a friend giveaway action

Users enter by sharing your contest on social media. This creates a viral loop that attracts more entries and boosts brand awareness.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is another excellent way to reach your audience. Send dedicated emails to your subscriber list promoting the contest.

Anker uses email as a way to promote their contest giveaway

You can even segment your list for better results by targeting those most likely to be interested in your prize. If you haven’t started one yet, you can follow this guide on creating an email newsletter.

Your Website

Use your website to promote your contest to new and existing visitors. You can add a banner to your homepage or even a widget in your website’s sidebar.

Consider writing a blog post about the competition. In the post, you can describe why the contest is important and how it could help your readers. It’s a great way to include more of your chosen keywords and add links to your contest page, which can improve SEO.

We love this example from WPForms:

WPForms Birthday giveaway blog post

They ran a giveaway celebrating their 5th birthday and wrote about it in a blog post. The giveaway was even embedded right inside the post.

WPForms birthday giveway widget

Online Communities

Share your contest in communities relevant to your contest. For example, Facebook groups, forums, or subreddits. These are areas where people already discuss your industry and could be interested in your contest.

reddit giveaways subreddit

However, make sure your post complies with their self-promotion rules.

Paid Advertising (Optional)

If you have the budget, invest in paid advertising to boost your contest’s visibility. This could range from Google Ads to social media promotions, each helping your contest reach audiences who wouldn’t otherwise find you. 

The more people see your contest, the more likely they will engage. This means more visits to your website and, crucially, more backlinks if they share your contest rules or landing page.

Contest SEO Best Practices

Now let’s look at some more tips to get the most out of your contest’s SEO potential:

Partner with Influencers 

Collaborate with influencers or other websites in your industry to host a joint contest or offer cross-promotion.

Influencer giveaway example

This can expand your reach and increase link-building opportunities.

Monitor Your Progress 

Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor traffic, backlinks, and keyword ranking improvements. This will help you understand what’s working and areas to improve.

Our favorite way to do this is using MonsterInsights, one of the best Google Analytics plugins for WordPress. It displays your analytics metrics right inside WordPress in easy-to-understand reports.

monsterinsights overview report

You can also use RafflePress’s Entries Report to see which contest entries drove the most engagement. This information can help you create a more successful contest the next time.

rafflepress giveaway entries report

Repurpose Contest Content

 If your contest involves user-generated content, reuse the best submissions in blog posts, social media, or product pages. This creates fresh, engaging content that search engines love.

user generated content example

However, first, make sure you get permission from the owner.

If you need some ideas, here are some UGC examples we think you’ll love.

Pick Evergreen Prizes (If Possible) 

When you choose your contest prizes, consider offering evergreen items. Some good examples are:

  • Gift cards to popular online retailers (e.g., Amazon, Target)
  • High-quality tech accessories (earbuds, portable charger, smart speaker)
  • E-books or audiobooks on a popular subject
  • A bundled package of your best-selling products

This ensures your contest page remains valuable and relevant long after the contest ends. Even better, it can potentially attract organic traffic and backlinks.

Don’t Neglect the Basics

Contest SEO works best when it’s part of a complete SEO strategy. Here are the areas to focus on alongside your contests:

  • High-Quality Content: Regularly create good content that truly solves your audience’s problems. This makes your site helpful to both visitors and search engines.
  • Technical SEO: Make sure your website works well, loads fast, and is suitable for mobile phones so search engines can easily find it. Any technical problems can hurt your SEO despite having great content and contests.
  • Strong Backlink Profile: Get links to your website from trusted sites in your field. This tells search engines that your website is a reliable source of information.

If you’re still unsure about SEO, please see this ultimate SEO guide for beginners.

FAQs About Contest SEO

How do I find keywords for a competition?

Start by brainstorming what your target audience might search for related to your prize or contest theme. Then, use keyword research tools (like Google’s Keyword Planner or a free option like WPBeginner’s Keyword Tool) to discover relevant keywords with good search volume and align with your contest’s focus.

Do I need a special website or software to run a contest?

While you can run a contest manually, contest plugins or platforms make it easier. These tools often include SEO-friendly features, social sharing options, and lead collection tools, making them worthwhile for improving your contest’s visibility.

What types of contests get the best SEO results?

Contests that encourage social sharing, backlinks, and user-generated content have the strongest SEO impact. These digital marketing campaigns generate valuable signals to search engines that your website is engaging, relevant, and trustworthy.

Next Steps

Contests aren’t just a fun way to engage your audience but a powerful way to fuel your long-term SEO strategy. By following the contest SEO tips in this guide, you’ll attract new visitors, boost visibility, and earn the type of backlinks the Google algorithm loves.

You might also find the following best giveaway marketing tips and guides helpful:

If you liked this article, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for RafflePress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

author avatar
Stacey Corrin Writer
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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