Parasite SEO → This Parasite Hack Annoys Google Staff in 2024

How to be successful with parasite SEO and some best practices and hacks to leverage the power of this approach.

Written by
Daniel Højris Bæk
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March 19, 2024

I believe Parasite SEO might be a candidate for SEO word of the year in 2024 (AI was clearly the word of 2023).

In general, I experience the term getting more and more hype among SEOs - as well as being a frustration for Google staffers. And with good reason.

Attending a SEO conference earlier this year, Google Search Engineer Gary Illyes shared how he was frustrated that sites like Forbes.com are ranking for keywords that one would not normally associate with Forbes.com. A classic example of parasite SEO!

So let me guide you on how to best leverage the approach, find the best parasite hosts - and let me disclose a small hack to use if you do parasite SEO.

Parasite SEO definition

Let's start with the basics.

Parasite SEO is a strategy that involves creating and optimizing content on high-authority, third-party websites in order to rank for specific keywords and drive organic traffic to a target website or page.

Here's an example of parasite SEO, which, ironically, appears in the Google Search Results when searching for 'parasite SEO' itself.

By leveraging the trust and authority of well-established websites, parasite SEO allows marketers to quickly and easily rank for competitive keywords without having to build their own website or domain authority.

The idea behind parasite SEO is to piggyback on the established reputation and authority of these third-party websites, using them as a “host” to rank for keywords and attract visitors.

This strategy can be particularly effective for SEO marketers who are trying to rank for highly competitive keywords that would otherwise be difficult to achieve on their own.

Top 10 sites for parasite SEO

Here are some of the often-used platforms for parasite SEO.

Reddit

https://www.reddit.com/

One of the early 2024 hacks from spammy SEOs is Reddit as Google seems to favor user-generated content and forums more and more (think E-E-A-T). Leverage Reddit's vast network of subreddits to strategically place their content, gaining the benefit of Google's preference for the platform's authentic and diverse discussions.

LinkedIn

https://www.linkedin.com/

Another frequent and easy-to-use platform for SEO piggybacking.

Quora

https://quora.com/

Quora's content often ranks well in Google due to the site's focus on quality answers and high trustworthiness.

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/

Google ranks Amazon content highly, recognizing the site's vast number of product pages, customer reviews, and strong user trust.

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/

Google algorithms favor YouTube content (maybe to no surprise being Google's own platform…).

SlideShare

https://www.slideshare.net/

SlideShare's content can rank well in Google searches due to the site's professional user base and high domain authority. Fun fact: Only .net site on my top 10 :)

Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.com/

Especially interesting if you are focusing on ranking images.

GitHub

https://github.com/

GitHub's specialized, tech-oriented content and high domain authority make it likely to rank well in Google search results for related technical queries.

Medium

https://medium.com/

Medium's platform is a hub for thought leadership and in-depth articles, which Google often rewards with high search visibility due to the site's strong editorial standards and domain authority.

News Outlets (Sponsored Posts or Guest Posts)

Domains such as https://www.si.com/ and http://forbes.com/

Major news websites often have high domain authority and trust, making sponsored posts on these platforms a powerful tool for parasite SEO. These posts can gain significant visibility and credibility due to the outlets' established readership and Google's trust in reputable journalism sources.

Free vs Paid Parasite SEO

When it comes to parasite SEO, you have the option to go the free route or invest in paid opportunities.

Free parasite SEO involves posting your content on platforms that don't require payment, such as Reddit or Medium. This method relies on the organic reach of your content and the inherent authority of these platforms to gain traction in search rankings. You might also have more control over the free parasite SEO as it's something you publish yourself.

Paid parasite SEO, however, involves spending money to ensure your content gets published, often through sponsored posts or paid guest blogging opportunities on high-authority sites like news outlets. The advantage of paid parasite SEO is the potential for greater visibility and more prominent placement, which can lead to quicker and more significant ranking improvements.

The cost of paid parasite SEO can vary widely depending on the authority of the site and the nature of the content. For posting on news outlets through sponsored posts, prices can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Example of Forbes.com high domain authority being leveraged to rank on competitive keywords

Typically, the more reputable and high-traffic the site, the higher the cost for a sponsored post. It's important to weigh the potential SEO benefits against the price to determine if the investment is likely to provide a positive return.

When budgeting for parasite SEO, consider the longevity and quality of the placement, as well as any additional benefits such as social media promotion or inclusion in email newsletters that may be part of the package.

Parasite SEO Tools and how to get started with Parasite SEO

I have not found any specific parasite SEO tools, but I would use some of the following steps to generate the content and find the best placement opportunities:

  1. Research High-Authority Sites: Look for websites with strong domain authority, as this is a good indicator of their ability to rank well in search engines. Higher domain authority often correlates with better visibility and more traffic.
  2. Keyword research: Perform keyword research (you can try our free AI keyword tool) to pinpoint the exact terms you want to rank for.
  3. Analyze Competitor Backlinks: Investigate where your competitors are getting their backlinks from. This can give you insights into which high-authority sites might be open to hosting your content if you do take a paid parasite SEO approach.
  4. Generate content with AI: Use platforms like our very own SEO.AI to help not only speed up the process of content creation, but also generate high quality content.
  5. Assess Content Performance in Search Results: Regularly check how your parasite content is ranking in search results. This will tell you if your content is gaining traction and which keywords it's performing best for.
  6. Optimise performance: Use my following trick with link building to your content

Two secret Parasite SEO hacks

A small hack to boost your parasite content is to do link-building for the content.

So instead of creating backlinks for your own domain, create it for the content posted on the external sites.

By actively creating backlinks to your parasite SEO content, you're essentially giving it an extra push in search engine rankings, helping it to outperform competitors and gain more visibility.

And also tell the search engines that this content is some of the more important content among the pieces on the parasite-host site.

Another trick - although very black hat - is taking some of the ranking content on a keyword and then have AI rewrite the content and publish it on one of the powerful parasite host sites. This might make you able to rank with even little effort.

A clear example of the more dark practice of AI (again on the search term 'parasite SEO') where someone repurposed existing content and published it on Linkedin.

A way to spot this happening is if the content you suspect is a paraphrased version of another content article lacks lots of “effort indicators” like images and illustrations, but is more just text-based.

Parasite SEO pitfalls and risks

When engaging in parasite SEO, be mindful of these pitfalls:

  • Overdependence on External Platforms: Balance your SEO efforts between third-party sites and your website.
  • Website Neglect: Continuously improve and update your site alongside using parasite SEO tactics.
  • Content Quality Compromise: Always provide high-quality, relevant content on any platform you use.
  • Short-Term Focus: Recognize that parasite SEO might not be viable indefinitely and plan accordingly.
  • Algorithm Volatility: Stay alert to search engine algorithm changes that could impact your parasite SEO results.

The difference between parasite SEO and guest blogging

Parasite SEO and guest blogging are two distinct strategies for leveraging external sites to improve search engine visibility, but they operate differently. Parasite SEO allows you to publish content on a high-authority platform, such as LinkedIn, where you often retain the ability to edit and manage your post. This method takes advantage of the host site's established SEO strength to quickly boost your content's ranking.

Guest blogging, on the other hand, involves creating content for another person's website, usually with a more formal arrangement. While you may not have the same level of control over the content once it's published, guest blogging can provide more deliberate backlinking opportunities and the potential for a longer-term partnership, enhancing your brand's credibility and reach.

Is Parasite SEO Black Hat or White Hat SEO?

When it comes to parasite SEO, there's a line between white hat and black hat practices.

White hat parasite SEO is what we've mostly discussed (and in general always the long-term strategy for SEO).

It's about creating valuable content and building legitimate backlinks to your page, similar to how you would for a long-term authority website.

Quite often the topic of parasite SEO is SEO related, like this Linkedin example.

The goal is to have your content stick around and contribute to sustained SEO gains. For example, you might secure guest post links from high-traffic, high-domain rating websites that point to your parasite content.

Black hat parasite SEO, however, uses more dubious methods to rank pages.

While the content itself still needs to be of high quality to get published on major platforms (although some sites might still get exploited with spammy mass-produced content against both their own and Google guidelines), the difference lies in how links to the parasite pages are built.

Some may resort to aggressive link-building tactics, including the use of link-building tools that generate a large number of low-quality or nofollow backlinks, sometimes from non-English or irrelevant sites. This approach banks on the high domain rating of the host site to absorb the impact of these spammy links without incurring penalties from Google.

It's a risky strategy that tries to exploit the host site's credibility, much like how a person of authority might be overlooked despite questionable behavior.

What are the benefits of parasite SEO?

Parasite SEO offers several benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Quick Rankings: Parasite SEO allows you to rank for highly competitive keywords faster than if you were starting from scratch with a new website. The authority and traffic of the host site give your content a head start in search results.
  2. Increased Traffic: With parasite SEO, you can benefit from the host site's existing audience and traffic. This can lead to a significant increase in visitors to your content, providing more opportunities for conversions and sales.
  3. Backlink Opportunities: Parasite SEO provides an opportunity to build backlinks to your own website or affiliate offers. By strategically placing links within your content, you can drive traffic and improve the authority of your own site.
  4. Cost-Effective: While there may be some costs associated with paid parasite SEO opportunities, there are also many free platforms available, such as Reddit, Quora, and LinkedIn Pulse. This makes parasite SEO a cost-effective strategy compared to building and promoting your own website.
  5. Diversification: By utilizing parasite SEO, you can diversify your online presence and reach a wider audience. Instead of relying solely on your own website, you can leverage the authority and reach of established platforms to expand your brand's visibility.
  6. Opportunity for Experimentation: Parasite SEO allows you to test different niches, keywords, and content strategies without the long-term commitment and investment required for building and maintaining your own website. This flexibility enables you to explore new opportunities and refine your SEO tactics.

Is ‘Parasite SEO’ a fair name for the practice?

The term ‘Parasite SEO’ might indicate a malicious practice.

But is it fair, or should we consider other synonyms? I saw someone else discussing and suggesting some of the following terms to call it instead.

  1. Symbiotic SEO: Highlighting a mutually beneficial relationship, this term suggests a partnership where both the host site and the content creator gain value. We need to remember that the sites - that being LinkedIn or Forbes - also get traffic to their site based on the content that is created on them.
  2. Piggyback SEO: A playful term that describes the tactic of leveraging the strength of well-established websites to carry your SEO efforts forward.
  3. Authority Hijacking: This more aggressive term implies strategically using the clout of authoritative sites to elevate your content's search engine presence.
  4. Third-Party SEO: A straightforward name that focuses on the use of external, third-party websites to improve search engine rankings.
  5. Hosted SEO: Reflecting the fact that your content resides on another entity's platform, this term emphasizes the hosting aspect of the strategy.
  6. Partnered SEO: This term suggests a strategic alliance with the owners of high-domain-rating websites, creating a scenario where both parties benefit. A good term for paid guest post parasite SEO.
  7. Collaborative SEO: Emphasizing teamwork, this term denotes the cooperative effort between the SEO specialist and the host website for mutual SEO gains. Again as I pointed out earlier, both the host and the parasite might see a benefit of the practice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Parasite SEO

Some of the often used questions.

What is Parasite SEO?

Parasite SEO is a strategy where you publish content on high-authority websites to leverage their domain strength for higher search engine rankings.

How does Parasite SEO benefit my marketing efforts?

By using Parasite SEO, you can quickly rank for competitive keywords, tap into the host site's traffic, create valuable backlinks (if the host allows do-follow links) to your own site, and test different marketing strategies with minimal risk.

What types of websites are best for Parasite SEO?

High-authority forums, social media platforms, Q&A sites, and video-sharing platforms are ideal for implementing Parasite SEO strategies.

How do I get started with Parasite SEO?

Identify authoritative platforms in your niche, create and optimize high-quality content, and engage with the community to build visibility.

Is Parasite SEO considered a black hat technique?

Not inherently. Parasite SEO can be executed as a white hat strategy by creating quality content and building legitimate backlinks, but it can cross into black hat territory if it involves spammy practices like just rephrasing existing content without adding anything new.

Can Parasite SEO harm my website's reputation?

If done responsibly and ethically, Parasite SEO should not harm your website's reputation.

Parasite SEO → This Parasite Hack Annoys Google Staff in 2024

This is an article written by:

+20 years of experience from various digital agencies. Passionate about AI (artificial intelligence) and the superpowers it can unlock. I had my first experience with SEO back in 2001, working at a Danish web agency.