My Parasite SEO Strategy for 2016 (and beyond)

Discussion in 'SEO and Marketing' started by Paul, Feb 19, 2016.

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  1. Paul

    Paul Member

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    There has been quite a lot of talk on parasites here at the forum (keep it coming!). Lots of super interesting stuff but of course we should think for ourselves what to do with all this.

    I've always been a bit opposed to the idea of churn-and-burn (for myself that is, I'm perfectly fine with other people doing this :)). Although there is a lot of money to be made with it, I always love to read about these strategies and come up with a more long-term strategy.

    My general plan with parasites is creating high quality properties which I will use both as stand-alone ranking properties AND use them for SEO-value for my money sites. I'm going to build pages of at least 1700 words of decent content with images and videos (thanks @CharlesFloate). Because of the authority of the domains I can be a bit more aggressive with link building but I don't want to blast these properties with thousands of links; I don't want to have the feeling that I'm risking a manual penalty with my money sites!

    A few questions to the experts like @dzianis @cardine and @CharlesFloate:

    1)What do you think the response of Google will be to the increased interest from SEO'ers for Parasite SEO? Will they devaluate properties where you can freely create an account? Will they give more weight to parasite posts from aged accounts with authority (for example on Reddit look at the link karma of an account)? Will they get better at seeing things and reason like 'this page on this authority domain gets a lot of spam links, let's penalize it'?

    2)What about using international platforms for ranking non-English content? For my language I don't see many Parasites ranking. That may be because SEO'ers in my country just don't know these strategies, but I think it's striking how little parasites I see ranking in my language.

    3)What do you think of using press releases on Parasites?

    4)Where do you get your real social signals from?

    5)If you see a certain parasite ranking for a search term, would you go after that search term with the same parasite? I have the feeling that if a page on, say, Pinterest is ranking 1st, I never see another Pinterest page ranking high.

    I'll be keeping you updated on my Parasite adverntures!
     
  2. cardine

    cardine Administrator Staff Member

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    The great thing about many parasites is that they are already being used in almost the exact same way for very whitehat reasons, and in general the more whitehat usage a parasite gets, the safer it would be to use. Sites like Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter are not going anywhere in the SERPs because they are generally very high quality and whitehat, and users very often want these pages when they are searching for something. On the other hand something like Medium or Weebly could easily fall out of favor if it was completely overrun by spammers.

    So I think that sites like Medium or Weebly which lack the same innate value that Youtube/Twitter/Facebook will proactively make it more difficult for SEOers to maintain their reputation. Weebly for instance has already done this by noindexing pages.

    For best practices I try to look at what would happen naturally. Google does its best to create a statistical model to detect when something is naturally occurring in a whitehat way, so you should always be thinking how something would grow organically so you can try to emulate that as closely as possible.

    For instance, especially with something like a blog post or Youtube video is that it is not that unusual for something to quickly go viral. Google really badly wants to detect when something is going viral so that they can display the correct result immediately, since people are most likely to be searching for something right as it goes viral. So from that perspective I do not think Google wants to or can afford to exclusively look at things like aged accounts or karma as it could miss out on the next big thing when people are most likely to be searching for it. We want to look as natural as possible, and in an instance like this velocity matters far more than age.

    For many parasites I could see this evolving into something where you need to make sure your social metrics on that page itself follow the same trajectory as your links - if something on Youtube is viral you would expect it to not only have a lot of links but a lot of views and upvotes/downvotes as well (and that they would grow proportionally to each other). You could say the same thing with Facebook and likes/shares or Twitter and likes/retweets/followers. For instance in the parasite case study, when no properties had any links the Twitter that was used to index each parasite did better than the actual Twitter that was being built to be ranked. This is interesting since the indexing parasite was not optimized for the keyword at all, while the "designed to rank" Twitter was. The indexing Twitter however had more tweets and more followers which might have been enough to tilt the scales at the very beginning.

    Although I don't think Author Rank is currently being used as much for regular organic searches (where structured author data is harder to come by) I think at some point Google will have some sort of global way of identifying the trustworthiness of an author - similar to how trustworthiness is currently attached to domains. I wouldn't be surprised if several years from now people were trying to game their "authority" to create a high authority "personality" that would have a ranking advantage when releasing new content, but I don't think that will be the case for some time.


    I think the answer to your question depends very much so on how entrenched the ranking parasite is. If you see a Pinterest ranking 1st and it doesn't look heavily optimized that means that there is a potentially very easy victory for you. Just create a Pinterest that is at least as optimized with more/better offsite SEO and you can just take over that position. I think for parasites you can also take advantage of Google's desire to not miss out on something viral - your video/page/twitter being less established can often be a good thing (it is more recent) if it is matched with a very aggressive link building campaign.

    However for the same reason this would not be a great strategy for a very well entrenched parasite. For instance if you wanted to rank for "Microsite Masters" you would have far more success going after a new parasite than trying to take on the official Facebook/Twitter/Youtube/etc. So in my opinion, for long tails you can easily take other peoples rankings with very little effort by doing the same parasite but slightly better while for short tails you are almost always better going with a non ranking parasite.

    Lastly (and perhaps a little unrelated to your question) this "winner takes all" is also very important for reputation management. If you want to get rid of an organic result you need to flood the top 10, but to get rid of a parasite all you need is to create one parasite from the same domain that is better.
     
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  3. dzianis

    dzianis Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll add a couple of bits and pieces to @cardine 's great answer since this is a topic I deal with quite a lot lately :)

    Look at the real traffic of the host domain. With YouTube, Twitter , Reddit and other super-popular high traffic sites - Google just can't afford devaluing them. Large part of the actual Internet "happens" on these sites. Google scans and scrapes them, and it is not their boss. On the opposite, Goog has to be where people are. With people producing news and viral content in real-time Google will never filter any of those sites out algorythmically, unless they go insane.

    Would be another bad move for them, see the virality aspect @cardine mentioned.

    This comes down to the negative SEO problem for them - do they have to punish every page that gets suspicious links? So far it does not happen this way.

    You need to try it to answer that. If you have a suitable platform in your language it could be perfect for hosting your parasite properties - but you could be "too late" to the party just the same way. From my experience non-English SEO is usually more aggressive and creative in terms of algo exploits, but it's very possible no one tried that either. Test!

    I personally am reluctant to invest into things I don't have 100% control of. Any property can get deleted - so you'll have all those syndicated press releases pointing nowhere. If you have an option to add several links - then yeah you can combine the main site URL with the "parasite" URL, this has worked well in ORM for me before.

    I prefer IFTTT + manual work for the most important properties., I outlined a couple of strategies here: http://www.apexforum.com/threads/ranking-a-site-without-original-content.91

    Yes and no. If it's a niche-specific thing, then I don't jump on it immediately. E.g. if they have a Pinterest results page ( pinterest.com/explore/keyword) ranking for something related to home decor or furniture - it means nothing. If they have a bunch of youtube videos on the first page for exercises techniques then it's not really a sign either. But once you see a slideshare presentation ranking for a "game hack" keyword you know you can try penetrate that SERP with a parasite.

    Great topic btw!
     
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  4. Paul

    Paul Member

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    Thanks guys, both excellent replies with lots of insights.

    You guys both tipped on the viral aspect which is really interesting I think. Over the years I've built up many (real) social accounts on most platforms, I'm also using various IFTTT recipes. I have no problem linking out from these to other sites from fellow forum members and use them for other things like upvoting on Reddit, Retweeting etcetera.

    Is there any interest in creating a private group where we help each other out? This can be especially become interesting if we join forces to game relatively new platforms where the algorithms are not so advanced yet and a few upvotes will help to get things going. Would also be great to test out new parasites and to create that "truly" viral effect. Plus, it will only make your accounts look more legit if you're linking out to other stuff, as long as we all keep it a bit randomized.

    Maybe many of you already have private Skype groups and all for these purposes, but if not, let's create one!
     
  5. cardine

    cardine Administrator Staff Member

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    This is one of the reasons I like parasites so much for churn and burn. Google expects parasites to go viral, so when a million links come from nowhere it is very hard for Google to determine whether it is actually going viral or not.

    I do think at some point a high quality private social media network of "legitimate" social media accounts that interact like a user normally would is going to be a very valuable weapon for marketers. Right now you can use IFTTT to do a lot of this right now, and we've been internally discussing using AI to create social media accounts that can go beyond that and interract with each other and do things that would make it very hard for anyone to detect that they are automated in any way.

    At least for now I'd like to keep discussion on Apex Forum - I don't want to fragment conversations when Apex Forum is still a very new and young forum.
     
  6. Paul

    Paul Member

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