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What is Parasite SEO? Catch The Bug With This Winning Tactic!

Header image of Parasite SEO
Header image of Parasite SEO

Some keywords are just too difficult.

There are too many high-authority competitors, the search intent doesn’t match, or the keyword is too broad.

It’s impossible to compete.

Or is it?

There is a way you can get to the top of Google quickly for these highly competitive head terms.

Parasite SEO is all about leveraging the authority and trust of other high-ranking websites.

You can use these established platforms to get your content noticed, hitchhiking your way to better rankings.

In this guide, we’ll cover parasite SEO secrets such as:

  • What parasite SEO is
  • How it works + real-life example
  • Benefits of Parasite SEO
  • How to do parasite SEO

What is Parasite SEO?

Parasite SEO is a strategy that involves creating content on third-party platforms to rank well for specific keywords.

FATJOE graphic describing What Is Parasite SEO

Like a parasite, you attach yourself to a larger and more authoritative website and siphon off some traffic, link juice, and domain authority.

It’s one of the most cost-effective off-page SEO tactics when done right.

How Does Parasite SEO Work?

Parasite SEO works by placing your content on an external website with high domain authority and tons of backlinks. You use the reputation and authority of the website to get your content to the top of Google.

Simply getting your content posted on a third-party site is enough to rank well sometimes.

For more competitive keywords, push it on social and build links to the content to get on the first page of Google.

Example Of Parasite SEO

Let’s say you have a client that sells diet pills.

Ranking high for search terms like “best diet pills” and “what are the best diet pills” would be great for your client.

But these terms are super-competitive, and the search intent is highly commercial.

Google often favors review sites and authoritative health websites for these queries.

But if we look at the search engine results page (SERP), we can see an example of successful parasite SEO.

The number one result in the SERP is Times Union – a New York City newspaper.

It outranks both Healthline and Mayo Clinic.

If we look at the Times Union page, we can see that it’s a sponsored post.

Norcal Marketing has paid Times Union to publish the article.

While the article doesn’t come directly from Norcal’s client, it includes several links to them.

If Norcal Marketing posted this content to their client’s own website, there is next to zero chance it would rank in the top spot for such a competitive search query.

But by using the Parasite SEO approach, they’ve leveraged the domain authority of Times Union to get to the top of the SERP.

Looking at Times Union’s domain rating, we can see it has a high authority score and tons of backlinks.

This post has therefore appeared on a well-regarded and authoritative website and includes several links back from the article to Norcal’s client, which is sure to give them a boost! As we all know, securing great backlinks is vital for SEO, and this is a great way to manage it.

Ranking factors like on-page SEO optimization, quality content, and topical authority play a role of course, but this shows how important domain authority and backlinks are to Google’s algorithm.

Parasite SEO doesn’t always involve sponsored posts. Some authority publications and platforms will post your content for free if it’s high-quality and relevant to their audience.

The Goal of Parasite SEO

The primary objective of Parasite SEO is to generate traffic and quality links from high-authority sites.

You can capture some of the organic traffic the host domain attracts and redirect it to your website. Backlinks from these web pages will also improve your link profile and strengthen your domain authority.

The more quality links you have from authoritative sources, the more likely you are to rank high for your target keywords.

Benefits of Parasite SEO

Parasite SEO can yield quicker results than building your website’s authority from scratch. It’s a high-impact off-page SEO strategy with several benefits.

Enhanced Visibility In Search Engines

Parasite SEO can ensure your audience has a way of coming across you in SERPs for competitive keywords. Without leveraging the authority of high-ranking platforms, you would struggle to reach this audience.

Increased Domain Authority

Parasite SEO can increase your domain authority. Search engines recognize the association between your content and the authoritative website, boosting your credibility.


Higher Rankings and More Traffic

Improving your domain authority with backlinks from high-authority websites can lead to higher rankings for your other target keywords. That increase in rankings means more website visitors and potential conversions.

Strategies for Successful Parasite SEO in 2024

Parasite SEO has been around for a long time. But it’s evolved to keep up with Google’s algorithm updates.

You can’t use black hat SEO tactics like spamming comment sections to leech link juice from an external authority site.

Here’s how to do parasite SEO strategies that work in 2024.

Create High-Quality Content for Third-Party Sites

Creating high-quality content is a key component of Parasite SEO.

High-authority websites typically receive lots of guest post submissions. They also have strict editorial guidelines.

A great way to make your submission stand out is to conduct innovative research or gather unique statistics relevant to your industry.

Develop a compelling story around these findings.

Then, pitch it to news outlets, industry blogs, or authoritative publications.

Treat the content as if you were publishing it on your own website.

Make sure it’s optimized for search engines. That includes incorporating relevant keywords naturally throughout the article and internal and external links to provide additional context.

Check out our on-page SEO checklist to learn more about making your content appealing to search engines.

You can also create high-quality content under your name and publish it on platforms like Medium and LinkedIn.

Medium is one of the best Parasite SEO platforms. It has excellent domain authority and a strong presence in search results for thousands of competitive keywords.

Almost 60% of the publishing platform’s traffic comes from organic search:

Image Source

Links in Medium posts are set to “nofollow” but still have some SEO benefits and can still drive traffic to your website.

Utilize Competitive Keywords

Keyword research for Parasite SEO is about finding relevant, highly competitive keywords.

Instead of low-difficulty longtail keywords, look for valuable head terms with a high search volume and keyword difficulty.

These are the terms that you won’t be able to compete for on your own website, but still possess the ideal search intent which you would want to optimize for.

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms can play a significant role in your Parasite SEO strategy.

Google favors big social media platforms like YouTube – especially for some specific search queries.

You can create video content on your topic and build links pointing to the YouTube URL. This can help increase your visibility in search results on YouTube and Google.

Tools like Followerwonk can help you find social influencers sharing content in your niche. You can reach out to these accounts and see if they can amplify your content.

Social signals are not a ranking factor, but the more influential accounts that share your content, the more likely you are to attract natural backlinks.

Take Advantage of Link Building Opportunities

Building a strong backlink profile can help improve the visibility and authority of your website.

The key is to focus on acquiring backlinks from authoritative and relevant sources.

Guest blogging is the simplest way to achieve this.

You can contribute high-quality articles to other websites in your niche to showcase your expertise and generate backlinks.

Digital PR tactics like Journalist Links or Press Release Distribution are also valuable sources for parasite SEO.

Sign up as a source and provide valuable responses to journalists’ requests. This can get you quoted in articles and help you earn high-quality backlinks.

It isn’t quite the same as pitching a full article, but it leverages the same principle to secure high-value backlinks.

Issuing a press release submission for notable events at your company can also help you secure media placements in reputable publications.

Monitor Search Engine Algorithms

Search engines regularly update their algorithms to improve the quality of search results.

The most important updates for Parasite SEO are Google’s E-E-A-T principles and Helpful Content Update.

These updates are designed to help users find the most relevant and trustworthy results for their search queries.

One of the main takeaways is creating content for users rather than search engines.

For your Parasite SEO strategy, focus on platforms with a strong E-E-A-T foundation.

Then, create high-quality content matching the user intent behind the search query. Remember, the ultimate goal is to provide valuable content that meets the needs of your target audience.

Parasite SEO and Google Updates in 2024

As with many black or grey hat SEO tactics, Google has made multiple changes to combat parasite SEO. One of the most notable of these is the “site reputation abuse” section of their March 2024 core search update.

As part of this update Google actually pre-announced that, as of May 5th 2024 they would be working to combat “site reputation abuse”. In their words:

“Sometimes, websites that have their own great content may also host low-quality content provided by third parties with the goal of capitalizing on the hosting site’s strong reputation. For example, a third party might publish payday loan reviews on a trusted educational website to gain ranking benefits from the site. Such content ranking highly on Search can confuse or mislead visitors who may have vastly different expectations for the content on a given website.

We’ll now consider very low-value, third-party content produced primarily for ranking purposes and without close oversight of a website owner to be spam. We’re publishing this policy two months in advance of enforcement on May 5, to give site owners time to make any needed changes.”

One of the first major changes seen was the deindexing of portions of notorious parasite SEO sites such as Outlook India.

These sites have not been entirely deindexed, instead specific subfolders of hosted third-party content were hit with manual actions and deindexed.

It isn’t just known parasite SEO-enabling sites that have been hit, with major publications like legacy newspapers and media being hit for offering coupon and voucher pages also receiving manual actions, even after it was specifically noted that coupon pages created directly with close involvement from the hosting site would exempt.




We’ll continue to update this as the impact of Google’s updates upon parasite SEO is seen on a wider scale, especially once the algorithmic side of the update rolls out.

Catch The Bug: Final Thoughts on Parasite SEO

Parasite SEO can be a quick way to boost your visibility in search results and generate high-quality backlinks.

You can tap into existing audiences and expand your reach far beyond what you could achieve on your own.

Even after multiple Google updates parasite SEO continues to be an effective link building tactic in 2023.

But parasite SEO is not a replacement for traditional SEO.

Use parasite SEO to complement your overall SEO strategy.

Links secured through parasite SEO can be fantastic, but you need to ensure that your site is properly optimized to be able to take full advantage of them.

You also need to curate a healthy and natural looking backlink profile so that these links don’t stand out like a sore thumb.

With these precautions in place, you can set out to dominate new spaces with parasite SEO, hitchhiking your way to SEO success!

Daniel Trick
Daniel Trick

Head of Content

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