Use ‘Barnacle SEO’ to Drive Traffic without Ranking

Use ‘Barnacle SEO’ to Drive Traffic without Ranking

September 11, 2019 8:20 pm

Small and mid-sized ecommerce companies can wrestle to rank for aggressive phrases in Google, Bing, and different search engines. For some phrases, there are too many giant and established websites already dominating the outcomes. However that doesn’t imply there isn’t a revenue to be earned.

Utilizing so-referred to as “barnacle” techniques for search engine marketing, an ecommerce enterprise could possibly put its merchandise and its model in entrance of many potential clients with out rating its website for a goal phrase.

Utilizing so-referred to as “barnacle” techniques… an ecommerce enterprise could possibly put its merchandise and its model in entrance of many potential clients with out rating…

Barnacle search engine optimisation just isn’t new. Will Scott of Search Affect coined the time period in 2008, describing it as “attaching oneself to a big fastened object and ready for the purchasers to drift by within the present.”

The thought is to put model-associated content material on giant, established domains to win a number of spots on the search engine outcomes web page on your firm’s best key phrase phrases.

Fishkin on Barnacle search engine marketing

“Like a barnacle hooked up to an enormous rock or the aspect of a ship, the currents are bringing vitamins to you as these objects journey and because the currents convey them in,” stated Moz founder Rand Fishkin in a 2014 video.

“Within the search engine optimisation world, this implies primarily saying, ‘Hey, there are some key phrases which might be so aggressive, so difficult, or thus far outdoors of what we need to goal that we’re simply not going to be rating for these phrases and phrases,’” Fishkin continued. “And we don’t essentially need to make investments the trouble or power, or we now have already invested and we’re simply not making progress.

“However what we will do is make it in order that as different individuals go to the highest 5, ten, 20 outcomes, they see our model, our website linked to, talked about, talked about, and we derive profit from primarily latching on.”

Native Enterprise

An instance involving an area enterprise might assist clarify barnacle search engine marketing additional.

Think about you’ve gotten a small heating and air con firm in Idaho. You might have a website. You’re shopping for advertisements on Google and Fb. However your enterprise struggles to rank organically for phrases like “furnace restore Boise.” The outcomes pages are principally full of directories, resembling Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Angie’s Record.

So somewhat than attempt to compete with Yelp, which has a strong and established area, use it. Declare what you are promoting web page, and do the whole lot you possibly can to finish that profile. You may even hyperlink to your Yelp web page from social media and your personal web site.

On this instance, Yelp is what Scott described as “a big fastened object.” So why not connect your self to it and wait for patrons to drift previous your itemizing?


The thought of putting your model or product content material on giant, in style domains will work for ecommerce corporations, too.

Think about you’ve gotten a small on-line retailer promoting artwork and posters. You’ve gotten simply introduced in a brand new line of Lion King-impressed works. You’d love in your web site to rank within the prime 10 for “The Lion King” on Google.

Imagine you have a product that you want to rank for a competitive search term, such as "The Lion King."

Think about you could have a product that you simply need to rank for a aggressive search time period, similar to “The Lion King.”

Sadly, that isn’t going to occur. Your on-line retailer’s website can’t compete with Wikipedia, IMDb (the film database), and Disney relating to reputation, authority, and even relevance.

Ahrefs shows how difficult it would be to rank for the search phrase "The Lion King."

Ahrefs exhibits how troublesome it might be to rank for the search phrase “The Lion King.”

What you are promoting, nevertheless, might nonetheless get its model and merchandise on prime rating pages for this phrase. How? Connect content material out of your website or mentions of your retailer to websites that do rank or might rank for the subject.

For instance, on the time of writing, the Google search outcome web page for “The Lion King” included a “Prime Tales” information part. Thus we all know that information websites can rank for the time period. And lots of of these websites publish articles from outdoors contributors.

There are sites on the search-result pages that allow you to publish content. You might contribute an article to a news source or maybe update the Wikipedia page.

There are websites on the search-end result pages that assist you to publish content material. You may contribute an article to a information supply or perhaps replace the Wikipedia web page.

You can write an article alongside the strains of “The Lion King 2019 Is a Important Flop however a Merchandising Boon.”

Your submit may embrace Google Developments knowledge, quotes from different retailers, and the story of your new product line. You’d then submit the work to Forbes, HuffPost, Enterprise Insider, or perhaps even a longtime newspaper in your space. As soon as revealed, you’d work to construct hyperlinks to the article, serving to it land on the primary outcomes web page.

You could create an article related to The Lion King that is valuable, interesting, and high-quality. That article, in turn, would be submitted for publication on a site that does or can rank for the term.

You might create an article associated to The Lion King that’s priceless, fascinating, and excessive-high quality. That article, in flip, can be submitted for publication on a website that does or can rank for the time period.

As soon as your “merchandising boon” article — which mentions your model, on-line retailer, and merchandise — is revealed, you can add a piece to “The Lion King (2019 movie)” Wikipedia web page, which presently has the highest natural spot on search outcomes. This new Wikipedia part would talk about how a panned movie might nonetheless drive merchandising income. You’d use your article as a supply, including product photographs to that part.

Then your model and retailer can be talked about on the highest-ranked web page for a key phrase your personal website couldn’t have cracked. Your content material might introduce consumers to your retailer and your Lion King merchandise.

7 Steps

The aim of barnacle search engine optimisation is to generate revenue. However in contrast to different search engine optimization techniques, you aren’t fearful about driving visitors on to your personal website. Quite, you’re snug ready for patrons to drift previous — to drive visitors to a different area that mentions your ecommerce enterprise.

Thus you’ve got twin goals:

  • Put your model, merchandise, or content material on authoritative domains which might be able to rating for very aggressive key phrase phrases.
  • Assist these authoritative pages rank.

Do this 7-step course of to implement barnacle search engine optimisation on your ecommerce enterprise.

  1. Determine essential key phrase phrases. Key phrase analysis is the method of discovering phrases to rank for. However for barnacle search engine optimisation, search for extraordinarily aggressive phrases for which your website in all probability couldn’t rank.
  1. Give attention to key phrases with excessive-revenue potential. Slender your listing of dream key phrases to these most probably to generate a revenue. Experiment as mandatory. Don’t attempt rating for low-revenue key phrases, in different phrases.
  1. Record the websites that rank properly. For every phrase, make an inventory of prime-rating websites for comparable key phrases.
  1. Determine alternatives. Might you get hyperlinks from these websites? Might you submit an article? Might you add a helpful video? Might you even purchase an advert on the web page? Attempt to match some type of content material with every website.
  1. Place the content material. Now, execute. Maybe you’re updating a Wikipedia web page, answering a query on Quora, or pitching an article to a web-based journal. Do the work.
  1. Construct hyperlinks. Use the identical search engine marketing hyperlink-constructing methods in your personal website to advertise your barnacle content material. Constructing 50 hyperlinks, for instance, to a brand new article on HuffPost ought to assist it rank.
  1. Measure, study, and iterate. Did you succeed? What labored? Which barnacle tactic do you have to attempt subsequent? Give attention to a single matter every month with a handful of extraordinarily aggressive key phrases as a part of an on-going barnacle search engine optimization marketing campaign.


  • “Barnacle web optimization: Leveraging Different Websites’ Rankings,” by Rand Fishkin.
  • “The way to Monopolize Search with Barnacle search engine optimization,” by Brendan Hufford.
  • “Weekly Knowledge with Ross Tavendale.”
  • “Rating A number of Domains to Personal Extra SERP Actual Property,” by Rand Fishkin.

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