Maybe it’s stupid for me to make this a blog post instead of a paid download, or at least using this as a lead magnet. However, I think it’s an important topic everyone should be aware of. Some already are familiar with the use of parasites for SEO, but I haven’t seen a complete guide that shows you what to do, how to use them, etc.
My concern is never about following the “white hat ways”, in fact, I don’t believe white hat SEO even exists. If you’re doing something for the purpose of search engine benefit, you’re no longer “white hat”. So please, ignore those terms for now, and instead use a common sense approach.
Why do you do SEO? What do you sell clients on SEO services? Why do you buy SEO services? Because you want results, they want results, you believe SEO can provide results.
There are many techniques that can be used both with Local and organic search, this is just one of the techniques you should consider as part of your arsenal.
What Are Parasites and How Are They Useful?
Parasites are websites that are seen as “high authority” in the eyes of Google. You’ve already seen them. You can research your niche and look at the top sites, top few pages and see 3rd party websites that contain user generated content.
Lets be clear about this… Parasite websites for SEO and other marketing purposes aren’t a new concept. The concept has been around for at least 6 years now and were often used in a tiered link push or link wheels back in the day. So this isn’t a new thing, but it’s something not understood by a lot of people.
How is it useful?
Taking advantage of these sites that are loved by Google, can give you an easy opportunity to rank for a variety of keyword topics.
Using this strategy protects you for the most part, against future algorithm updates. Even using a boatload of spam links, you’re protected.
To sum it up quite simply, parasite sites are useful because you can use it to rank those properties for different keyword topics, that can drive traffic but also increase the rankings of your main website.
What Purposes Are Parasites Used For?
There’s a lot of different purposes for parasites. It’s a strategy that reputation.com uses for their reputation management services. It’s a strategy major companies and brands use for their marketing.
Here’s what you can use them for:
- Reputation Management
- Local SEO
- Organic SEO
- Affiliate Sites
- Link building
- Building Your Brand
- Video SEO
- Client Sites
- Your OWN Sites!
As you can see, there’s a lot of potential here for you to use what you will learn in this guide. Towards the end of this post, I will share a list of parasites that YOU can use.
This method will continue to be useful and will avoid any algorithm update UNTIL Google reduces the power of PR internally, tweaks Panda to reduce authority and PR flow throughout a domain and begins favoring co-occurrence over backlinks.
Basic Guidelines For Using Parasites
Before we dive into the uses of Parasites for specific purposes, I want to give you a couple guidelines.
1.) Use Unique and High Quality Content
Don’t use spinning software. Don’t copy and paste from another source. Use solid, original content. Using spun content won’t get you the results you want. Using duplicate content isn’t going to give you the boost you want.
Quality content is a must if you want this to be successful.
2.) Authority is Important, But You Need A Lot of Content!
Some people consider a parasite site as something like Twitter or Facebook, and while they can definitely rank well with a bit of optimization, they don’t allow you to get the most out of your efforts. You want a property that allows you to have a decent amount of content.
3.) Blast With Links But Don’t Forget About Social Signals
These properties can take a lot of abuse. You can spam links at them and it won’t do any damage. However, in order to really boost your efforts, you should also work on social signals.
In my opinion, social signals don’t effect SEO or your rankings. However, social signals can show evidence to Google that your content/parasite is going viral, which would justify the large amount of backlinks.
4.) Take Advantage of Inner Authority
So far, the first 3 guidelines are covered well by multiple sources. What I have found to be lacking in content by other people out there, is that they talk about leeching from the domain or parasite’s authority, but they don’t talk abotu maximizing that authority by taking part in their own community.
Think about it like this… If you want a Twitter page to show up in page 1 of Google but it’s now on page 2, you could certainly build backlinks to it and probably get a bit of a boost. The easiest way to get a boost, is to have a presence within the site and network.
Using the Twitter example, if you followed other people and other people are following you, those are basically internal backlinks to your Twitter page. This gives you a bigger piece of the pie, when it comes to “stealing authority” from the parasite.
Whatever parasites you use, you want to be able to leverage the existing power, instead of just creating a page with content. You want to take part in any community feature the property provides, so you can strengthen it more effectively.
Using Parasites for Reputation Management Purposes
If you or your client has some negative stuff about you showing up for branded terms, this is a great way to bring in brand controlled properties in the SERPs. Reputation Management has become a more popular service lately, and while most people are focusing on reviews, the more successful services are focusing on brand controlled properties.
This is a bit different than using Parasites for ranking purposes or broader marketing strategy.
Instead of optimizing for longer tailed keywords or a different range of keyword topics, you would optimize for your brand name or phrases that show up with the negative searches.
The goal here, is to control your own search results.
Some of you may be thinking, well, I have great reviews, or my clients don’t have any negative reviews out there.
The problem with that line of thinking is that it only takes 1 disgruntled client, or 1 angry competitor to really effect your online reputation.
It is always best to control your own destiny.
When I talk about setting up a lead nurturing strategy, it’s about sending the right type of content at the right time to continue furthering you prospect down the funnel and staying in front of them in the right way.
With reputation management, it is the same thing. You want your prospects or potential leads to research you and do their “due diligence” by finding properties you control, without leaving anything to chance.
- Follow the 4 guidelines mentioned earlier
- Optimize by using the keywords as the URL, page title, and everything else possible
- For lower authority parasites, still link to the main target site but also other parasites
- Within the content make sure you have an h2 section with the word complaint(s) or scam
- Embed youtube videos from your brand owned channel if you have them
- Link to brand controlled social properties like facebook, instagrams, twitter, youtube
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How To Use Parasites To Boost Local SEO Rankings
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I say that Local SEO really boils down to 2 things.
- Location Relevance
- Industry/Keyword Relevance
Perhaps that is oversimplifying something that has so many details, but it’s really that simple of a concept. Execution is a different story.
Using parasites for local SEO is something that also isn’t regularly talked about.
Searching any keyword, will give you ideas on parasites that are doing well in the niche and location.
I searched for “Roofer in Dallas TX”. These are the first page results:
As you can see, the ones in the red box, would be considered parasites. While in Local SEO you can also consider them to be sources for citations, but for the purpose of parasite SEO, they’re MORE than citations.
These are sites that are already ranking well.
Instead of trying to optimize your profile on these pages with the keyword phrase you just searched for, you would want to use something similar, but not the same. You want location relevance, but also keyword/industry relevance so you will rank in the snack pack instead of organic.
Instead of roofer in dallas tx, you would want to optimize those pages/profiles as Roofing Contractor in Dallas, or Roof Repair in Dallas.
You have to understand that example is just one fraction of what you can do with Local SEO. You likely would already be utilizing those sites as a citation source, but the purpose here is much more than just one simple citation.
It does multiple things, such as:
- Establishes Co-Occurrence between the business, location and keyword/industry relevance
- Gives you another citation source
- Provides strong links back to your main website
- Possibly will provide traffic
- Gives you a buffer between spammy links and signals
Now the parasites you find in your search results, shouldn’t be the only ones you focus on. You should still be seeking out parasites that provide a lot of room for content.
Some people consider press release sites to be a good parasite. I do not. Press release sites have been hit again and again. However, they can be useful as a citation source, and contextual backlinks to your parasites. There are a number of press release syndication services you can use for those purposes, like Press Synergy.
Quick Tips for Using Parasites in Local SEO
- Follow the 4 main guidelines for parasites
- Don’t target your website’s main keyword, but supporting keywords instead
- On page optimization is extremely important
- Use GSA or link blasts to your parasite properties. (A follower of this blog has a service available)
- Remember to focus on location + industry relevance
Additional Resources for Learning Local SEO:
Using Parasites for Organic SEO
The difference between Local SEO and Organic SEO use of parasites is that with local SEO it is more about relevance and striking a high correlation between the target business, keywords, and location as well as picking up good citations and backlinks sources. Organic SEO is more about driving traffic from the parasite properties.
How you structure your content and on page optimization will be the same. Using the parasite as a buffer between spam links and your main site, and leeching off the authority, still the same as the others.
I would say that the difference here is that you’re not as focused on the backlink strength of the parasite to your main site, as you are the traffic you can send from the parasite to the main site.
For organic purposes, you want the parasite to rank for competitive terms. Often times it is easier to rank the parasite than your main site because of the abuse they can take from spammy links. Once the parasite ranks, you can expect a nice chunk of traffic to your main site.
Of course, once rankings occur, you will want to place a strong call to action to ensure the traffic the parasite receives, will be able to pass that along to your intended target.
Using Parasites for Affiliate Marketing Purposes
I’m not going to get in too much detail here. This, is the one area I’m not as familiar with.
My experience comes from client work, not affiliate marketing.
The same concepts would apply whether you’re doing Local SEO, organic SEO, ORM, or whatever else. Ranking is ranking.
There is a common difference though. People will typically use the parasite to direct link to the affiliate offer.
Some of you may be thinking that direct linking, using your affiliate link is what you need to do. In my opinion, that is a good way to get your page taken down by some parasite sources, because affiliate links come across as a little bit spammy.
Instead of using an affiliate link, like: domain.com/affid?=1293846 you would use your OWN domain related to what you’re promoting. For example, if you’re promoting Nootropics, you would want a domain name that reflects the type of content/product that you’re promoting.
Once you have your domain name, you would go into your cpanel, setup a 301 redirect to your affiliate link.
Doing this, gives a much better impression if there are “quality control” efforts to prevent affiliate marketing on their platform. Also an easy way to get around anti-affiliate measures on pinterest and other social media networks.
In the next couple months I will be posting a detailed case study on using parasites to help me with an affiliate site I’m nearly finished building.
Parasites For Video SEO
A lot of people think that Youtube IS a parasite already, and I guess it actually is.
This is just a different type of parasite. Most will use the channel page as the main focus, but if you’re wanting to rank well in Youtube itself and get organic snippets of your video, you will probably want to use other parasites to help you rank your Youtube videos.
Sure, you can spam backlinks to a video with nearly no consequence. I do it, and it has never backfired on me, but the backlinks alone aren’t going to help you rank a video for competitive terms.
Think of it like this… you already have backlinks to the video itself… but the most prominent backlink for youtube videos, aren’t actually backlinks, they are embeds.
Using other parasites to embed a youtube video, then spamming the other parasite with links will help a lot more than spamming a video with links.
You follow the main guidelines set forth in this post, of course, but you also need to focus on embeds.
Using this method, a tree service company generated over 1,000 calls from a stupid animoto slideshow video. A roofing contractor that chased storm damage ranked new videos in a matter of a couple weeks to pick up on a bunch of new leads in areas he didn’t have a presence in.
Videos have since been less prominent in the search results. It’s definitely not as easy as it used to be, but using this method will certainly help.
Parasite Database for SEO
Here are some parasites you can use in your own SEO, marketing, and testing! If you have any to add, please let me know in the comment section below so we can keep this up to date and as useful as possible!
Thumbtack – Best for Local SEO
These are just a few parasites. If you want to find your own parasites that have user generated content, you can always check via SEMrush to make sure it hasn’t had a big drop off in traffic recently.
There’s a lot of techniques you can use to drive traffic or increase rankings.
As your skill set increases, your income usually follows. If you didn’t know about the use of parasites or were confused, hopefully this helps you further develop your skill set.
If you did know about parasites, hopefully this serves as a good refresher or maybe you can contribute in the comments on what you think should be added to the parasite list. I’d like to keep this updated with your input!