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Parasite SEO (affiliateinsights.com)
154 points by JohnnyPageviews 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 54 comments

This article is wrong on many levels. no wonder so many ppl try this and make no money.

>You find a high DA site that allows user generated content to be added and indexed. (the host)

>Common parasites include Medium, Amazon s3, Github, Linkedin, Quora, Youtube, ect.

Google rank does not apply to subdomains. The subdomain does not inherit any of the rank of the parent. That is why blogspot and s3 will never work in this regard.

Parasite SEO boost only works if the link passes ranking, the page itself has a lot of SEO authority, and there are not too many outgoing links. Medium will not work for this reason unless you get your link on a very high ranking medium page. Just posting your link on a new medium blog is useless. Same for Github, Quora, Youtube, linkedin for these reasons.

Hmm that's not 100% correct.

Google still does apply this to some domains. Blogspot is a good example of this. and the s3.amazonaws.com is the same domain for EVERY bucket, so it definitely has link authority. The thing the article missed is that most of these medium/s3/blogspot parasites are a few years old. While a year ago you could chuck up a Medium blog and rank it in under a month, with the most recent Google update, it takes a lot longer to see things ranking.

However yesterday I saw an exception to this, as this Medium account ranked in literally 2 days without any backlinks (the page has since been deleted): https://i.imgur.com/8lPHUYs.png

Parasites do work well, you just need to find the right 'secret sauce'. Some people can still spam 1000's of backlinks using Xrumer and/or GSA or slowly drip feed cheap PBN links.

The article shows looking for keywords such as 'HostGator coupon' or 'Clash of Clans hack' and you'll see that the top 10 results literally change on a daily basis.

People are doing of lot 301 redirects (buy a expired domains with lots of high authority backlinks and 301 it to your URL) and then block the bots for SEO tools like Ahrefs/Majestic/SEMRush etc. so other SEO's can't find their backlinks.

They are not using the host for link juice, they are using the host for lead-gen. Their PDF document in S3 links to their low-ranking spammy site, but the PDF itself ranks high. Same for medium posts, github pages, quora questions, etc.

Search google for "biology 10th edition free pdf" and see what I mean. Some top-ranking hosts are: Quora, Pinterest, and DailyMotion. The parasites are the videos/PDFs/questions/images (user generated content) that link to the low-rank spam site.

In some cases like Quora, the link juice is there, because it's not on a subdomain. For subdomains like S3, it's about the traffic/lead-gen, not the pagerank.

Google WAS actually giving additional ranking benefits to subdomains like this. Especially subdomains like coupons.domain.com.

However, just recently Google hit these sites hard--giving those subdomains penalties.

So this "parasite SEO" is really no longer an issue, especially the subdomain "trick".

See https://www.seroundtable.com/google-penalizing-subdomains-le...

that does not surprise me. as soon as something starts to work even just a little bit too well, google just keeps making things harder and harder

Did you look at the examples in the article?

"Google rank does not apply to subdomains. The subdomain does not inherit any of the rank of the parent."

Enter coupons.businessinsider.com, coupons.cnn.com, or discountcode.dailymail.co.uk into Ahrefs and you will see this is not true.

"That is why blogspot and s3 will never work in this regard"

The article has multiple examples of s3 parasites ranking for competitive affiliate terms like "Hostgator coupon" and "Bluehost coupon". If you search those terms now you will see sites.google and s3 parasites.

yeah that is because those examples get link juice from the parent. cnn probably links to coupons.cnn.com on all its pages and probably also buys links for it too.

Anyone who spends 30 seconds checking a search result can see that you're being a bit misleading here.

The #3 and #4 results for me for "HostGator coupon" are Amazon s3 and a Google sites page

Obviously it still works.

Clearly there's ways to do it wrong that won't work, just like anything else.

The biggest benefit to doing this strategy is 0 risk for spammy and abusive SEO practices.

Since you're not connecting them to a domain you own, this could be done fully anonymously.

it has to do with banklink quantity and quality. the fact it is hosted on s3 or google contributes next to nothing. these sites accumulate tons of backlinks.

"next to nothing" in highly competitive seo spaces is definitely something. Maybe not a big deal in less competitive search results sure. The difference in clicks from the top 3 results and the rest is huge.

SEO Expert: Those techniques don't work anymore! Google is smarter than that.

Google: Correct! We don't use those signals anymore! We're soo smart.

Me: But my competitors are blatantly using those techniques and they outrank me.

SEO Expert: Ummm, yeah but one day it will stop working!

Google: Pretend like we don't exist, focus on your users!

Me: But I need to make a living now and I don't have any users.


I work as a software developer in the SEO game, and this is exactly how it is. Except theres a client in the middle, reading blogs and telling us how to do it right. Moving from an SEO analyst to Software was the best decision I have ever made.

How is that better for you? I'm not sure I understand the point you're trying to make and I'm interested in your opinion...

Ahhh affiliate marketing, still trucking along, still the lowest form of digital marketing

Though influencer marketing has been having a good shot at that title in this past 5 years

I find a decent percentage of influencer marketing is still just affiliate marketing with a slightly different delivery channel.

World needs a Coupon Stock Exchange, like NYSE. Then bundle fake coupons into CDOs.

Let's be clear here: the content doesn't rank because it's on a subdomain or folder of the strong domain, it ranks because it's there AND gets lots of links from most/all pages of that strong domain. The links are the relevant part, you'd have similar (albeit not as strong) results if you had site-wide links from top domains to your separate domain.

Google already has a rule to deal with this: buying and selling links (and, by extension, renting links) is against their guidelines. They just don't enforce it for big publishing companies.

From the medium article they link they show that most of the visits come from search though

OP does not say the traffic comes from the links, he said the internal links make the site rank, not the fact that it’s on a high da subdomain/subfolder.

This shit is what now fills up over half of my google searches with listicals and generally fake sites touting deals on any of my search terms.

What annoys me now is that copy catting a decent article and just filling it full of ad shit, ranks so well. :( gone are the days where googling for something felt good, it's now a web of sales tactics and copied texts.

Fuck SEO and fuck those in this very thread who work with SEO. Congrats, you’ve ruined the internet in your race to the bottom for more pennies.

'Google Issues Warning About Leasing Subdomains Or Subfolder'


I like the line in that article which said that they wrote about it "1.5 months ago". It's an oddly precise measurement with an imprecise unit.

That tweet is in the article.

I’ve seen this type of links against s clients domain which wasn’t initiated by the client. We can only think it’s a negative SEO attack, but honest have no idea what the motive behind it is.

Boosting some competitor if you fall?

That's the only reasonable conclusion we could come up with.

What does "DA" stand for?

Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages.


"You can view a website's DA by using MozBar (a free Chrome-extension), Link Explorer (a backlink analysis tool), the SERP Analysis section of Keyword Explorer, and dozens of other SEO tools across the web."

Why wouldn't I just type in the domain at moz.com and look it up there ? </retorical>

[1] https://moz.com/learn/seo/domain-authority

Domain Authority

Which is an inhouse metric that one of the Major seo tool makers invented to try and measure the authority of a domain - its not a google metric.

It's Moz's Metric. Majestic has their own metric (TF/CF Trust Flow and Citation Flow) and Ahrefs (UR/DR URL Rating and Domain Rating).

I would say Ahrefs's is marginally more accurate then the others but to be honest any of these numbers can be gamed and are not a accurate representation of a domain and/or backlink.

> Common parasites include Medium, Amazon s3, Github, Linkedin, Quora, Youtube, ect.

Ironic typo; was that supposed to be common hosts include? ;)

As with any SEO tactic that is viewed as shady or potentially underhanded within the community, those who ignore critics and “play to win” by aggressively chasing the opportunity see the best financial outcome.

Even if Google deindexes these subdomains tomorrow, tens of millions of dollars have been made in a 1 year time period from this tactic alone.

People say things like this and then wonder why SEO has a bad reputation.

I have a personal blog and about 80-90% of all comments to my posts are these.

In the beginning I just deleted them when I saw them, but then I had to turn on moderation.

People often point to social media as to why personal blogs died off, but I'd wager comment spam had just as much of an impact. Blogs were huge just 10 years ago, but eventually the sheer volume of spam comments with links to "Air Jordan, Gucci, Givenchy, work from home", really took out the communal feel of the comments section.

Wordpress and Disqus didn't act fast enough to auto-detect this spam and prevent them from being published, and it wasn't long before conversations started moving to FB, Twitter and Medium.

Is it really "parasite SEO" if CNN decides to use their domain name clout with Google to make a (substantial) profit promoting coupons?

Seems like more of a savvy business move on behalf of CNN instead of scummy/greyhat/parasite-seo type stuff, no?

It's right up their alley, too. They sell advertisements. Coupons are advertisements.

> Is it really "parasite SEO" if CNN decides to use their domain name clout with Google to make a (substantial) profit promoting coupons?

CNN doesn't. Somebody else "rents" the subdomain from CNN, and they are the parasite that is feeding off of CNN's brand.

It's usually a 50-50 rev share

Imagine if the "trusted domain" used for the whitelabel site on a subdomain was google.com.

Constantly referring to "Google's algorithm" misses the real issue. Google can do whatever it wants. Google can "trust" anyone or no one but itself.

Google has all the traffic, not the coupon websites.

Do we need laws that govern such middlemen?

"Google can do whatever it wants" - wouldn't this be anti-competitive behaviour if they stated favouring certain sites in their algorithm?

I seem to remember reading somewhere that they get audited to make sure they don't do this, although can't find the link.

I would think they're perfectly allowed to favor certain sites over others, especially with good reasons for doing so.

What I would expect to be illegal would be overly favoring their own sites/services over those of competitors, since they are so big and that would be abusing their search marketshare to spread into other markets.

> What I would expect to be illegal would be overly favoring their own sites/services over those of competitors

They've been doing this for years in search results, progressively so.

Didn't the EU get on them for that and they had to pay a large fine? Can't recall the details of what was the offending behavior.

Yes, but specifically for their shopping product.


The practice continues (and continues to worsen), at least in their US version. I can't speak for their European sites.

As an example, people use the Google sites as a Parasite. I said in my other reply, with the last Google update, most of these pages are over a year old, so it would be hard to replicate it if you were build a site today: https://i.imgur.com/WX9uidg.png

As this post says, Google is taking action against this blackhat method of SEO.

Several people have tried to rank as #1 using s3, but Google's ranking algorithm eventually pulls or removes the content from being listed entirely.

We're talking about Google here, I'm pretty sure they're aware of this type of SEO hacking.

The Google algo still loves PDF's. They will review individual URL's if they receive a DMCA, but after looking at Ahref's, I can see the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" PDF (Which I'm guessing can't be legally distributed by the person who uploaded) has been live since July 2018 and is still ranking in Google: https://i.imgur.com/Mp7prUn.png

Interestingly, most of example sites given were launched within the recent year.

In the next 1-3 years I'm sure Google will update their algorithm against these such of strategies

It took a couple of paragraphs for me to realize what the article was about. I thought it was "Parasite CEO", that the boss is doing nothing while also stealing company resources.. arguably a somewhat common phenomena.

But it's about Parasitic Search Enginge Optimizations.

I thought the same. A parasite boss may be a common phenomenon but searching didn't bring up any interesting articles.

this is not 2007 anymore.Google changed algos considerably over the past decade to make this much less effective.

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