[Case Study] Ranking a parasite for a high KD & high traffic keyword by reverse engineering Google algorithm

Pavan Teja 1

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When I was new to the SEO, I didn't bother much about backlinks or authority and continued to post helpful content in order to rank. Sometimes I've spent 3-4 days to research & write a single article. But, my pages rarely ranked and some trash pages from News or General niche sites used to effortlessly rank. I've started this case study when I realized that it's extremely easy for high authority sites on Google even without relevant content. The thread title is a clickbait, but in a nutshell, that's exactly what I'm going to do. I've learned a lot of things from this forum and I hope that this case study will help other members to identify opportunities to improve their sites.

A newbie, Little Johnny, joins BHW and asks, "Dear sir, I've created a coupons site 1 year ago but couldn't find my site on Google. Someone suggested me that I need backlinks to rank, so I got 1 Million backlinks on Fiverr for $5. When will my site rank?" An SEO expert, Tom Cruise, replies, "Hi Little Johnny, you won't rank with $5 backlinks. You need to spend at least $1000 for backlinks and $1000 every month for quality articles. Google's senior webmaster, Mr. MoFo, said that content is king."

This is a common occurrence on the forum. Although I don't disagree with any of those claims, there is no tailor-made solution for your site. You have to find what works for your specific keyword instead of following a general solution. Moreover, I believe that Google has a domain authority metric (not Moz DA) that helps high authority sites rank without relevant content. So, I want to confirm if I can rank web pages with the help of domain's trust & authority.

Requirements
  • High difficulty, high competition and high traffic keywords (otherwise there is no point in this case study)
  • Spun or irrelevant content (to check if only quality content ranks)
  • No backlinks (to confirm that Google has a domain authority metric)
  • Multiple parasites with varying difficulty & traffic (to confirm that the ranking is not beginner's luck)

Steps
  • Choose a niche
  • Choose a parasite
  • Create content
  • Optimize content
  • Reverse engineer Google algorithm to rank
I'll prefer shortcuts, working methods, easy to rank choices wherever necessary, which I'll discuss in this thread. At this point, you should have a clear understanding of what this thread has to offer. You can read further if you think it's worth your time, or just ignore it.

Disclaimer
Tom Cruise don't need this disclaimer, but Little Johnny may waste his time thinking if it's a magic pill. Although I share my own results here, I don't guarantee that you can easily rank by repeating the process. There are also some problems associated with it, which I'll discuss later in this thread.

Niche
The mainstream niches like weight loss & finance are tough to rank (just an opinion, not tested them yet). Moreover, I'm doing CPA and thought it would be better to test something relevant. I have selected spammy niches like game hacks, freebies, dating etc. I won't reveal the niche for obvious reasons, but you can have an idea about it from the examples.

Parasite
There are tens (if not hundreds) of parasites, and it's really difficult to find the one that easily ranks. I've literally checked hundreds of keywords to find the parasites that have consistent rankings. Some parasites are ranking for specific keywords, but don't appear anywhere else on the internet. Although they may work for some of you, I particularly need a parasite that can rank for all niches, so that I can use the same techniques for all my projects. I've shortlisted Google sites and Medium, because they are preferred by Google and can easily rank. But, Medium has more control over their platform and they can delete whatever they want & whenever they want. So, I chose Google sites which can also be tracked on Google Search Console. Let me show you something:

Google sites growth after April core update

This is the trend showing the growth of organic keywords for Google sites (data from Semrush). There are 2 things you need to understand from this trend.
  • After April core update, Google sites started showing in search results for a lot more (almost thrice) keywords
  • The growth is not uniform over all pages. Almost all keywords are showing Google sites in top 50 results, which is strange.
This sudden growth has multiple reasons.
  • Google started preferring authority sites over new sites or random blogs
  • Google started preferring sites covering a lot of topics over those covering only a few keywords
These things helped sites like Wiki (Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikimedia etc), Dictionary, Pinterest, Google books, Google sites, Medium etc to show up all over the search results because they have high authority and they cover a lot of topics. The same is not the case with Bing, as it prefers EMDs and relevant content. So, Google sites is the best option to create parasites for this specific project.

Content
A disciple once asked Lord Buddha, "What's the secret of success?" Buddha smiled and replied, "Keywords."
Well, you can't post random stuff on internet hoping for someone to search for it. You need to write content that already has a demand. I've found a few keywords that have high traffic. Spiderman once told me that with huge traffic comes huge competition, which is apparently true. Many News sites are hunting keywords just like how a Lion hunts down a deer on Discovery channel. So, the chosen keywords have high traffic, high difficulty and high competition.

As I've said it earlier, Google algorithm can't read and it doesn't matter what I write. Moreover, I'm not creating an authority site for dedicated users. So, I've decided to just post random spun content. But, still the question is where to get content and how to spin it. As the authority sites can rank with horrible content, it's not always a good idea to spin their content. So, I've checked 5-6 pages to find a few low authority sites or parasites, found content that is - fairly long, human readable, has subheadings. I've searched on Google for "free article spinner," and spun it using the site on first result. That's enough for me as I'm lazy to write and Google is blind to read.

After this step, add your site in GSC and submit it for index. It may take 7-10 days for indexing. There is an urban myth that a guy once submitted his site on GSC and went into coma after an accident. But, when he woke up from coma, his site was still not indexed. So, don't complain after 10 days that your site didn't get indexed yet. I've left the sites for 3 months to gain momentum (another way to say that I was busy with other things). Some sites ranked on their own but some require optimization.

Optimize content
Don't mistake this step as rewriting all the content. I'm only optimizing content for more keywords, so that I can get more traffic. I have 2 strategies here:
  • Find all keywords with medium-high volume (varies between 1k-10k depending on volume of main keyword)
  • Find all keywords that I'm already ranking (using GSC)
Now, I've added a few paragraphs with subheadings or added lines in existing paragraphs with these new keywords. This is an important step as it compliments "more keywords = more authority" clause of Google algorithm. Google also identifies the topics in your content through repeated use of keywords. So, the keyword density is something you should keep in mind while optimizing your content.

Reverse engineer Google algorithm
We're finally at the clickbait part. Fun fact: I've learned from YouTube videos to add clickbait content at the end, as it encourages more people to watch (read) everything. So, we have a high authority site which can rank if we figure out the requirements to rank. Pun fact: No one knows how Google ranks sites. As we know nothing more than what Jon Snow knows, let's start with the basics.

Google is a search engine that wants to provide a list of websites when a user searches for some keyword. Like every business, if they don't provide what the user is looking for, then they will run out of business. Imagine, you walk into a bar and order beer but the waiter brings hot milk instead. That's exactly how users feel when they don't find what they are looking for. Google has to understand where the user is from, what kind of results he clicks on, when does he close his tab/browser etc. This helps them optimize the results for a user group & keyword combination.

Now we know that we can rank for any keyword using high authority sites if we serve what user is looking for. But, how can we know what the user is looking for? The answer is "we can get this information from Google itself."

Google provides all the tools required to understand search intent for a specific keyword.
Have you ever searched for meaning/synonym of a word on Google?
If no, then do it quickly. If yes, then you already know that Google displays this information on their website itself, so that you don't need to check search results.

Isn't it so nice of them that they are saving a lot of time for us?
Not, really. They've actually ruined many businesses that over half of the traffic to dictionary sites returns from Google itself. They're basically scraping web content and stealing data to keep the users on their site itself for longer. This helps them show more ads to users and in turn make more profits. I know most of you know this, but still I have to say this to avoid any confusion.

Google understands what user is looking for and tries to provide it on their results page, so that the user need not have to visit any web pages.
What we will do is to look for snippets in our results and provide the same content on our parasites. If our keyword doesn't have any snippet, then we will look for 10-15 related keywords and collect all snippets. It means that if the user is looking for "netflix poster," then Google will show image carousel at the top of search results:

Image carousel in Google search results for Netflix poster

The user intent is to find images, so they prefer sites having images on top of their results. This is not the end of it. They also know which images to display (they collect this data from user searches). If not all, most of the images in their carousel will be relevant to the user's search intent. So, which sites will rank for this query?

Netflix poster search results

The results include wallpaper sites, image galleries, image slides etc. Google knows what kind of results will appeal to their users and which images should be on the results page. So, if you have a combination of Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO etc images, then your site may not rank, because Google knows that all your images are not Netflix posters.

This is a simple example, but you must've got the idea of what Google is looking for and what it wants to show its users. If you haven't forgotten what this thread is about, let's return to our original project.

I've found FAQ snippets, copied both questions & answers from the results. Being lazy again, I've re-written the same content and posted it as it is. Finally, I have a high authority site that provides wholesome information (covers a lot of keywords) and meets user intent requirements.

The million dollar question - "Will my parasite reach on page 1?" See it yourself.

Google sites high traffic

The traffic is not falling, but that's weekend's peak. The average daily impressions are 250k-300k, which the site managed to reach. Although the August traffic seems like insignificant, it's 3k-10k impressions per day, but that's very less in comparison to the final results. However, the CTR is less due to the fact that people avoid Google sites in my niche. I've achieved this much without backlinks and average content (some call it horrible but that's enough for parasites in my opinion).

Have you thought if I rigged the results by sending bot traffic? Let me clarify that for you.

Google sites organic traffic

Are the results reproducible?
Yes. I've used the same technique to rank a few other sites. But, this is the most unexpected site to rank as it had a lot more competition and I ignored it in entire August thinking it won't rank. Check the results of a few other sites:

site 1.JPG
This parasite has ranked for 638 keywords and the traffic remained consistent.

site 2.JPG
This has ranked for 477 keywords.

site 3.JPG
This has ranked for 360 keywords.

I think I've covered everything required to explain the entire case study. But, there is a darker aspect to it. Let's get into that.

Problems
If you have already noticed, the last 3 screenshots are from Aug 1. I've posted old screenshots because the sites are dead. The sites remained active until mid-August and then someone reported them between mid to late August. Google had a problem that if someone reports your site, then it's most probably dead. You can't easily resurrect a dead site. If you're lucky, you may pass manual verification and then they'll ignore reports against you for sometime. But, if you're stuck with manual verification, then your site will be blocked without any penalty or verification for eternity.

The other problem is that there can only be 1 Google site in search results. I've never seen multiple Google sites ranking in top 10 pages. This is because they replace the currently ranking site if they want to bring your site. They will replace your site if they want to bring a new site into the results. So, it's a tough competition to survive and rank.

Conclusion
The case study proves that high authority sites are easy to rank if they meet user intent. Although Google algorithm is tough to decode, we can extract enough information to rank our parasites.

I think that's a fairly long thread and I don't know if I've missed anything. Feel free to ask in the thread if you have any questions & please don't send private messages asking questions about this thread. I'm not selling anything and this case study is only to share information.
 

3bisu

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Did you use the same google account to create the sites? Did they all drop off in the same period?
 

HenryObi

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This came at the right time for me. I've in the past successfully ranked low competition keywords using parasites, but never tried high competition. I was stuck as I didn't want to waste my time.

Now, I'm more convinced to go ahead. Also, I think your choice of Google sites is perfect because I've also compared it with Medium and notice two things(at least for me)

-Medium gets indexed super fast without any external 'force', but it doesn't rank fast.
- While Google sites almost do not index on their own(at least from my test) unless you index them yourself, unlike Medium, they begin to rank much much faster than you imagine, of course after getting indexed.

Bringing me to the conclusion that Google actually prefers its properties over any other.
 

AAW

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@pavan-teja-1
Do you add links directly from google site (the parasite) to your site that you are trying to link?
 

pj777777

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A disciple once asked Lord Buddha, "What's the secret of success?" Buddha smiled and replied, "Keywords."

Love it...

Thanks for sharing your case study.

Used parasites to rank amazon reviews. Worked like a charm (flip board, medium and Google sites <<--GS hit and miss with indexing tho)

Will reread your post several times and select a target niche and hop in and see if I can "work one up" Google as well
 

ozzie5

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This came at the right time for me. I've in the past successfully ranked low competition keywords using parasites, but never tried high competition. I was stuck as I didn't want to waste my time.

Now, I'm more convinced to go ahead. Also, I think your choice of Google sites is perfect because I've also compared it with Medium and notice two things(at least for me)

-Medium gets indexed super fast without any external 'force', but it doesn't rank fast.
- While Google sites almost do not index on their own(at least from my test) unless you index them yourself, unlike Medium, they begin to rank much much faster than you imagine, of course after getting indexed.

Bringing me to the conclusion that Google actually prefers its properties over any other.
Google is in love with itself. It will ALWAYS prefer its own properties...googlesites, youtube etc

Lovely case study; reminds me to be using googlesites for parasites.
 

hideath

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Bookmarked and gonna be following this for sure!
Thanks for giving away such a case study to the community, that will help a lot of people for sure :)
 

Pavan Teja 1

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Did you use the same google account to create the sites? Did they all drop off in the same period?
I've used multiple accounts. Google doesn't block everything on your mail. For example, my main parasite is on same e-mail along with one of the dead parasites. The common aspect is that all 3 of them are from same niche. So, I suspect that someone manually found all parasites in his niche & reported them. I didn't break any terms though. 2 of them don't even have any external links. But, who can tell Google not to be stupid?

Interesting read @Pavan Teja 1. Do you link directly to your CPA offer or send people to your money site?
I didn't link to CPA directly, but sent people to another site which had several offers. There are 2 strategies - send the user to offer before he gets bored and returns, or to milk the most money possible by offering him multiple things at once. You need to check which one gives you more profits.

@pavan-teja-1
Do you add links directly from google site (the parasite) to your site that you are trying to link?
Backlinks from Google sites don't help you rank. You can use these parasites for traffic, PPC ads & CPA.
 

seowarrior008

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"So, if you have a combination of Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO etc images, then your site may not rank, because Google knows that all your images are not Netflix posters. "

Would you plz explain what this does mean? Do u mean u should not target "Netflix poster" if search results are Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO??

For another, how many words u write per page? u just publish one page? or several pages to support each other?

Thanks a lot for sharing.
 

terrycody

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Glad there are always a lot of people willing to post valuable case studies like this.

I really seen wisdom in this thread.
 

slowboy

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Now Google have problem with index content. I have added my google site to google webmaster tools, submit to index but my site still not index
 

Pavan Teja 1

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"So, if you have a combination of Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO etc images, then your site may not rank, because Google knows that all your images are not Netflix posters. "

Would you plz explain what this does mean? Do u mean u should not target "Netflix poster" if search results are Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO??

For another, how many words u write per page? u just publish one page? or several pages to support each other?

Thanks a lot for sharing.
I've made a single page with only text and a feature image. So, there are no internal or external links. I haven't even added any Google properties (forms, sheets, maps etc).

What I mean by Netflix poster example is that, Google scrapes Netflix posters and displays them in their image carousel. It indicates that Google understands the movies and web series from Netflix and can differentiate them from that of other OTT services like Amazon & HBO. So, if I mix things up, then Google can recognize that all my images are not Netflix posters. However, you can separate them with multiple sub-headings. In short, try to provide what the user is looking for, not more and not less. If the user is looking for Netflix posters, then only give them Netflix posters, but don't make it clumsy with a lot of other things.

Now Google have problem with index content. I have added my google site to google webmaster tools, submit to index but my site still not index
After creating Google site, submit it to GSC and then ignore it for a week. If it's not yet indexed then, submit it to indexers. Parasites & web 2.0s are relatively easy to index when compared to spammy sites.
 
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