Barnacle SEO is a process where you attach your content or brand to someone else who is already at the top and then benefit from it. It works best for keywords that are so competitive—you want to get some SEO juice from giant sites that are dominating that keyword.
The creator of barnacle SEO is Will Scott from Search influence. The idea here comes from real barnacles—those things that attach themselves to rocks, turtles, and ships.
How does barnacle SEO work?
Barnacle SEO is nothing more than backlinking to your site. However, it would help if you chose only those that rank on the first page for a particular SEO.
Why do this?
Sometimes, a keyword that you want to rank for is too competitive. And not only that—there are some companies that have already dominated that keyword. It is pretty much a futile effort to even try to rank for it.
So, the solution is to work with the operator of that website and then ask them to link back to yours.
So, how do you do this?
Here are some examples:
- Guest Blogging – a process where you write an article that is not yet available on the source website; in that article, you put a link to your webpage.
- Local Listing – you do this on sites where people go to see local businesses. Think of these sites like yellow pages—you want your business and URL listed so people who go to that site can find you.
- Product or Service Reviews – if you have a product, you can send it for free to a website operator who has high traffic. He will review the product and send people to your website. On most occasions, you can do this by being offering an affiliate marketing program.
- Post Participation or Quotes – sometimes, reporters need quotes or nuggets of knowledge from experts. This is what people call HARO. If you are one, then you can provide your input, and they will publish that on their site. In return, they will put a link to your website so people who are interested in knowing more about you know how to find you.
Of course, nothing here is free—you can swap service for service. Or do something for the website source that will convince them to mention your brand.
Is barnacle SEO parasitic?
No, barnacle SEO is not parasitic. Rather, you and the other website share a mutual relationship. Think of yourself as the barnacle and the website source as a whale.
In nature, barnacles attach themselves to the whale, but they are not parasites. Instead, the whales benefit from the barnacles as they serve as the whale’s armor.
In barnacle SEO, the relationship is similar with whales. Your content has to provide something of value to the “whale.”
For example, if you sent them a product, that in itself is the value. They do not have to spend money to buy it. A good example of this technology or gaming website, like IGN or CNET—they review new games and new software or hardware products, which are given to them for free from the manufacturers.
When should you use barnacle SEO?
Barnacle SEO is not for everybody. If your niche has little competition, it does not make sense to use this approach. You are better off publishing your content on your site than on someone else’s. There are, however, some situations where you have to use it, and I will explain them below.
1. Your site has no authority
If your website has low domain authority, which you can check online from sites like AHREFS, you need barnacle SEO. Since your website has little to no authority in a saturated niche, it is better to get link juice from the top-ranking sites than merely relying on your content.
For example, let us say that you have content about guitar lessons. In this case, you are competing against thousands of web pages. What you must do is contact the top five or top ten website operators for this niche and work out a solution where they link back to you.
2. You have a product you want to sell
If you are a product developer, it perfectly makes sense to use barnacle SEO. You can reach out to product reviewers and bloggers and send them our product, so they can review it. In exchange, you will get a backlink from their subscribers.
No, you do not have to send thousands of products. Remember, you only want to work with the top ten found on the search results. So, if your product is an air compressor, type “best air compressor” on Google, and get the first ten websites.
Contact the operators and tell them that you have an air compressor that you made. Then, send them the product and let them review it.
You can use the same approach with YouTubers. If you cannot afford to send ten products, perhaps only two will do. Make sure you find YouTubers or bloggers who have millions of followers—these two products you sacrifice can go a long way.
3. Your keyword is too saturated
The last reason you want to use barnacle SEO is when your target keyword is already too saturated. There simply is no way for you to rank.
For example, if your target keyword is red pair of shoes, there is no way you will rank for that. Instead of hiring an affordable freelance writer to write content, just work with the top-ranking sites to give you a backlink.
Summary: What Is Barnacle Search Engine Optimization
Barnacle SEO is backlinking—the main difference is that you target giant websites with better authority and ranking than you. Barnacle SEO is not parasitic; you have to provide value to make it happen.
If you are just starting your blog or have keywords that are already too saturated, it is better to use barnacle SEO than the ordinary one where you publish that content. Capitalize on the position of the whale websites and have them distribute SEO juice into yours.
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