As Google continues to try to prevent sites from using manipulative methods to increase their rankings in the SERP, risk of penalisation is becoming greater and greater. Because of this growing liability, Barnacle SEO is a technique that is making a quite the resurgence. If you’ve been searching for a great way to get your business in front of customers in your area, this type of SEO practice is a wise addition to your online marketing strategies.

What is Barnacle SEO?

Barnacle SEO is a term that was first coined in 2008 by Will Scott at Search Influence; it leverages the existing authority of websites in order to expedite the process of ranking your profile or content for a keyword.

Think of it this way, you know when you type in a local search term like ‘auto repairs’ into Google and you see a business’s Facebook page or their listing in the local Yellow Pages? You can create a profile or content on those sites, or a similar authority site, in order to get listed higher in the SERPs.

Barnacle SEO is great for local business and local SEO. Since Google has made numerous efforts to quell link building and SEOs ability to influence search results, there has been a rise in the number of authoritative listing sites in the first page of results. In a way, you can sponge off of these sites’ popularity as well as their valuable SEO tactics. Like an unassuming barnacle, your job is to attach yourself to these big “ships” and let them navigate you through the SERP waters, made choppy by ever-changing Google algorithms.

Is it the right tactic for me?

To decide if your site is a good target for Barnacle SEO, type in your keywords and see if sites like Yellow Pages or Localist come up in the first page. If they do, you can leverage Barnacle SEO for your business. One opportunity is to get a given page of your business ranking well in the organic results, and a second is to rank well in an authoritative site that already has a high ranking in the SERPs — ideally you will do both.

Create profiles and content on target sites

Find all the sites on the first page that allow you to list your business. Yellow Pages, Localist and Finda are common names on the first page. And on the social media side of things, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are the usual front runners.

Once you’ve made a list of these sites, create a company profile or submit a keyword-targeted guest post — make sure your profile contains the target keyword in the description, categories and any other applicable places when creating your page. If reviews are allowed on the site, try to get as many on each one as possible. If you are submitting a guest post, articles over 1,200 words have been shown to have a greater number of shares and receive more natural links.

On the other side of things, don’t shy away from building links to your profiles. If you have an automated link-building tool, this is a great place to utilise them. If a more wholesome approach is what you feel more comfortable with, bookmarking, social sharing and linking to profiles via guest posts are all solid ways to improve your rankings.

Don’t forget your own website

While Barnacle SEO is great for driving leads to your business, you have to make sure you have a long term growth strategy for your own website. Barnacle SEO worked well in 2008 and is making a strong comeback in 2014 — it is a great way to get instant leads while growing your long-term authority with a well organised website, but don’t become complacent. Make sure your website can generate its own, without the help of different ships and other captains.