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parasite seo

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George Panayides

Digital Marketing Specialist

Parasite SEO

Because Why Build When You Can Borrow?

Quick summary:

Parasite SEO involves hosting content on high-authority domains to leverage their ranking power and boost your own site’s visibility. This strategy has surged in popularity, particularly after Google’s algorithm updates that focus on real user-generated content on platforms like Reddit and LinkedIn. These updates, aligning with Google’s EEAT improvements and the hidden gem update, have made it easier for such content to rank highly. The future of Parasite SEO seems promising, as it’s been effective without significant penalisation, but it’s essential to execute it correctly to avoid the pitfalls of black hat SEO.

What Is Parasite SEO?

In short, parasite SEO is where you host your content on super high authority domains with the intention of leeching off their authority to boost your rankings for that keyword or topic. Then, you build a comprehensive internal link strategy to funnel traffic back to your website. 

Not only does this look to pass link juice from the host domain (which usually carries a lot), but it also aims to funnel traffic back through to your site which results in an increase in rankings, sales or leads as well. 

Parasite SEO isn’t a bad idea if it’s done correctly. It certainly works well if you have excellent content writing skills but suffer from having a new website without any authority. Some of the content just gets lost in Google even though it’s good. 

This likely symbolises the issues we currently have with search engines like Google right now. High authority website can generate crap content, but because they carry a high domain authority, the content still ranks #1. 

Parasite SEO definition: Parasite SEO is the practice of placing content on high-authority websites to exploit their domain strength, thereby boosting your own content’s rankings and directing traffic back to your site.

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How Does Parasite SEO Work?

Ok, so parasite SEO is very similar to traditional content writing and SEO. However, instead of doing these steps for your website, instead you are doing it on someone else’s website (in a sense). 

Here’s a quick rundown of how parasite SEO works:

Research your keywords

First, you will need to research your keywords. Ensure that the topic or keyword you are targeting has a large volume of traffic. For the most effective way to do parasite SEO, you want keywords with high volume but low competition.

Create your content

The problem with parasite SEO right now is that even the worst types of content are still ranking due to the host websites having such high authority. When it comes down to your content writing, ensure it’s high quality for the best success.

Internal link strategy

Parasite SEO works through funnelling traffic and link juice back to your site. You can only do this through internal links. Most people when they are doing black hat SEO will spam with affiliate links or a totally monetised article. Add heaps of internal links.

Leverage host authority

Because search engines view the host platform as authoritative and trustworthy, the content (and the embedded links) are more likely to rank higher in SERPs than if the same content was published on a lesser-known, lower-authority site.

Boost your organic traffic

Now, the host website is likely going to start passing you traffic from your internal links through to your website. This is a great sign to Google that your site is working well and being referred by a larger authority site. More traffic means better rankings

Common Parasite SEO Platforms

There are many ways you can get started with parasite SEO, especially when there are so many high authority websites taking advantage of the latest Google updates which favour forums and profiles on social platforms. 

I’ve put together a list of some of the ones that seem to be working the best for SEO experts and myself for parasite SEO. 

LinkedIn

There is a section where you can actually write your own blogs. These get published by LinkedIn and there has been a huge rank increase in their traffic due to the latest Google algorithm update. 

Google Groups

These have been smashed by black hat SEO with super low quality content. I’m sure Google has taken some action to remove as much of it as they can. Use this one a bit more wisely.

Educational sites (e.g. Harvard)

Websites with domains like .edu (e.g., Harvard, MIT), known for their high authority, can be targeted for creating profiles or posting content. Check out this random blog post ranking #1 for the best VPN full of affiliate links to make money.

Medium

Medium has been around for ages, but although these guys let you link back it’s a well known fact that they use no-follow links which don’t pass through any of their juice to the site. It’s an interesting concept, one which many might follow soon.

Quora

You can post questions and even articles linking to your site through Quora however they are much more strict than things like LinkedIn and Medium. They will filter through your user and potentially pick it up as spam.

Reddit

Definitely the site that has gained the most traffic increase since Google’s algorithm update. So many reddit discussions are popping up as #1 for questions and topics. Anyone with links from here will be capturing traffic and link juice.

Why Has Parasite SEO Blown Up In 2024?

So parasite SEO has always been a thing, however at the end of 2023 and the start of 2024 it blew up massively. This was all down to one single change on Google algorithm update which started to surface profile pages and discussion with schema markup.

The November core update was the first of when we started to see these sites ranking #1 based on users that have created that content in the past. Now, my belief is that Google wanted to surface content that has been created by ‘real humans’.

This aligns well with their EEAT improvements and shifts towards the last few years and of course their hidden gem update which aims to surface experiences by experts and real people.

Infact, I’d go as far to say that maybe this is a result of the hidden gem update, which is capturing hidden gems with a small pocket of niche info and surfacing it in the form of reddit comments, linkedin posts and more.

With that being said, parasite SEO has blown up in trends. Here’s the search volume graph showing how much it’s increased in people searching for the strategy.

Parasite SEO vs. Traditional SEO

All in all, parasite SEO and traditional SEO are similar in many ways. The content creation is the same, the internal link strategy is the same and waiting for the rankings to come in is obviously the same. 

Where they really differ is the fact that you are putting your content onto someone else’s site. This technically means that you don’t actually own that content. And therefore you don’t actually own that traffic as well. 

Traditional SEO is always going to last, let’s be realistic. Whereas parasite SEO, this could just be a trend and could end at any moment based on a Google algorithm update. It’s like a roller coaster in SEO and that’s why black hat always keeps you on your toes. 

PS. I’ve got an awesome blog on white hat vs black hat SEO here. Please feel free to give it a read.

Pros & Cons Of Parasite SEO

Like with anything, there are pros and cons. If you are deciding to do parasite SEO or not, then you should always weigh up the pros and cons to decide. I’ll give you a breakdown of what tends to matter the most with this strategy.

Advantages of parasite SEO

Speed of rankings

Usually the posts get indexed within a few days because the host site has such a large crawl budget. This means you can rank very quickly.

Leveraging high authority

With a higher authority, you have a better chance of ranking #1 on Google. By leeching the authority then you will automatically push yourself up in the rankings.

Cost effective

It doesn’t need you to spend hundreds or thousands on high quality content writers or building your own website authority. 

Good brand exposure

It’s great for boosting your brand exposure. Especially on LinkedIn. If you get blogs rankings #1 here, people can view your brand or profiles. 

Traffic potential

There is the potential for you to get traffic from the internal link building strategy. This will boost your overall rankings as well.

Disadvantages of parasite SEO

Don’t own the content

You don’t actually own that content. And if Google starts penalising the host site, they can remove it quickly and effectively. This will lose all of your work.

Could change with core update

We don’t know how long parasite SEO is going to last. It could be months, years or even a few days now… Basically until the next few algorithm updates are my thoughts.

Ethical concerns

There are ethical concerns over parasite SEO. This is because it uses the host websites authority and can be spammed and taken advantage of.

Low quality content

Most parasite SEO strategies only focus on low content from bad content writers or AI mass generated content for a very low cost meaning there is more spam on the web.

Don’t get the full traffic

Lastly, you don’t actually get the full traffic with parasite SEO. This means the host website is getting the bulk of the traffic and you are only getting the trickles from your internal links. 

Real Examples Of Parasite SEO

It’s time to take a look at some of the real life examples that are happening on the website right now using the parasite SEO strategy. I’ve got a list together of some main websites that are being used plus the parasite SEO articles that are ranking. 

Google groups

google groups parasite seo example and report

LinkedIn blogs

linkedin blogs post parasite seo example

Harvard

parasite seo being used on Harvard website

Is Parasite SEO Black Hat or White Hat?

The simple answer; it depends on how you use it

I personally use LinkedIn to republish my blogs from my website so I can gain more traffic to my LinkedIn profile and build out my personal brand portfolio. However, I do not use any other sites for parasite SEO. 

Simply put, if you are doing parasite SEO for stuff like traffic capture to affiliate links, posting blogs and articles across multiple parasite hosts, and just generally posting spam across the web, then yes it’s likely to be black hat. 

You can do this in a white hat way, and I doubt parasite SEO is going to go anywhere for a while because you’ve had platforms that exist like Medium for years. 

Google will just find a way to stop the exploitation of parasite SEO by removing the low content that exists and force website hosts to be more vigilant. 

What Does Google Think About Parasite SEO?

Well Google has commented on a Twitter thread showcasing how bad parasite SEO has got, suggesting that they are “taking steps” towards removing this spam and weeding it out.

One thing they did say as well, is that if you are doing parasite SEO in a white hat way, by creating people first content then you will have no worry. So really it’s down to your choice, you can be creating this content in a white hat way, or a black hat way.

Based on this, I don’t think that parasite SEO will be removed or rid of any time soon, but I think that Google is going to become harsher and harsher on the content that is filled with affiliate links, fake profiles and mass generated by AI.

Here’s the tweet I mentioned earlier with Google’s comments:

Increase Your Parasite SEO Rankings Using Tiered Link Building

Now, another kept secret to blowing this entire strategy through the roof, is to include tiered link building as well. This is where you build tier 2 links through to your blog page to pass more authority to your website. 

The more links the article will get, the higher chance of ranking. Then the more authority the page will carry and more link juice it will pass through to your site as well. Not many people do this, but it’s a surefire way to maximise parasite SEO as a whole. 

Just go careful, as if you build low quality links this could have a negative effect on the page ranking and actually decrease. Always aim for high quality links when it comes to link building. 

I’ve got a full article on tiered link building here. Please feel free to have a quick read through. 

Should You Do Parasite SEO?

Honestly, yes for white hat and no for black hat. I think everyone should be considering doing a small amount of white hat parasite SEO. My favourite platform is LinkedIn because it can help build your social profile or business profile through search as well.

If you provide value to your readers, they can then view your profile. Let’s say you wrote a parasite SEO article that was getting 3,000 monthly readers. Some will be impressed, follow you for more content and even click back through to your website.

It’s a great way to build brand presence if it’s used in a white hat way. If you just start using it to gain traffic for affiliate stuff and the content is junk, then it probably won’t last long.

If the content is good, then give it a crack. I republished mine after its need indexed on my site on Google. This gives me 2x chances of ranking for that content as well.

Conclusion:

Look, it’s obvious that parasite SEO has a very mixed reputation. What I can say is that if you use it well, and are user friendly, then you will see some awesome results in your SEO. But, if you use it badly, and try to use it for black hat, then you’ll suffer (maybe😆).

SEO is a dynamic space, and those who navigate it wisely can still reap the benefits without compromising their integrity. Everything is changing, so if you are utilising the strategy that exists today, then you might suffer.

Don’t use parasite SEO as your sole strategy. Make sure it’s adopted aside from a much larger strategy and that keeps you safe in case any algorithm updates trash parasite SEO rankings.

Anyway, share your thoughts in the comments below and if you have any awesome parasite SEO strategies, please feel free to share them with everyone else.

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About The Author

George Panayides is a digital marketing specialist, focusing on SEO, Google ads, Social media marketing, website development and link building. He’s looking to help other freelancers or business owners become a master in their industry and move towards a better, more successful future.

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Hey, it's George. I'm giving away my marketing secrets (because apparently, I'm just that nice 🙄). You can thank me by linking to my content ha ha.

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