Parasite SEO is one of the most powerful tools you can leverage, especially if you’re just starting out.
What is parasite SEO?
Here’s a great definition from Nick Eubanks, Founder of From the Future:
“Moving past the vanity of having your website’s URL ranking for your priority keywords, and instead accepting that Google ranks different types of content for different types of keywords; and the current type of content on your website may not be able to rank for the terms you’re targeting.”
Instead of the tactic (being a parasite of larger website), I prefer to refer to it based on the strategy (monopolizing SEO).
The only thing that’s cooler than ranking #1 in search is ranking #1, 2 AND 3.
So creating a search monopoly is using OTHER websites (that you don’t own) to rank for keywords that you can’t rank for — for one reason or another.
It takes a lot of humility, but can be hugely beneficial.
Search monopoly is also known as barnacle and parasite SEO because you’re attaching your content to higher ranking entities.
But since parasites and barnacles are gross, let’s just stick with search monopoly.
Why does Parasite SEO work?
For certain rankings, Google sometimes prefers neutral content like review websites — think G2Crowd or Capterra — or even a listicle of “best bookstores in Chicago” from a local news website. These kinds of websites tend to be quite authoritative and they can also handle more rigorous link-building tactics.
When NOT to use Parasite SEO
Here are three instances when search monopoly isn’t going to be a good strategy:
- If you can’t find a related website that is more authoritative than your website.
- If it DOES NOT drive revenue. For example, let’s say ahrefs wanted to rank for the keyword “SEO,” it might drive revenue, but it’s not a direct path. That’s why I don’t waste time on “trophy keywords.”
- If the effort is greater than the reward. For example, not really going to be worth it for a local diner to monopolize search results. On the other hand, search monopoly would be worthwhile for a web design company.
When to use it
Okay, so here’s when you should use search monopoly:
- There’s a direct path to revenue.
- You have a good list of target websites.
- You already know how to build links.
How to use it
Here’s a basic strategy:
- Study what is already ranking. This is a crucial step! Google the thing you want to rank for!
- Before you start writing, pitch a site that ranks for related keywords. See if you can get a guest post there or see if one of the writers is interested in including you in an article.
- Next, do your topical/keyword research.
- Write a badass article.
- Wait — monitor the results, see where things settle out.
- Then, build links if necessary.