What is Barnacle SEO - What is Barnacle SEO?
Nov 30 2015

What is Barnacle SEO?

If you are in an industry that has a first page of Google dominated by large directory site listings, then Barnacle SEO could be the solution you’ve been looking for.


Now, Barnacle SEO isn’t a new thing. It’s the term coined by Will Scott of Search Influence waaay back in 2008, but it’s making a come back in a big way for Local Search Campaigns post pigeon update.


Will defined Barnacle SEO as, ‘Attaching oneself to a large fixed object and waiting for the customers to float by in the current.’


From an SEO perspective we are taking keywords that are so competitive that we are never going to outrank large directory sites like Yell, Yelp or Google +. In the same way as a barnacle that is attached to the side of a big rock gets its nutrients brought to it by the current of the sea, we attach ourselves to these high performing directory sites and wait for the SEO traffic to come to us.


For example, if someone is searching for a Plumber in Southampton, a small independent business owner’s website might not make the first page…


However, their Yelp listing or specific Yelp category page might make the first page of search results. By attaching themselves, barnacle like, to Yelp, the local contractor has a better shot of being found by their target audience.


How to become a barnacle


Do a Google search for a few of your primary keywords. If you see a lot of the big directory sites showing up for your local area, then you need to make sure you’re on those sites!


1. Claim (or set-up) your Listing
2. It’s important to complete all of the Information Fields and provide as much information as you can as the longer descriptions often rank higher
3. Make sure you include Keywords where you can
4. Research the most relevant Categories for your listing and add yourself to as many as possible for each platform
5. Add Images, Video, etc. for even better click-through rates


Once you are up and running…


1. Work on getting reviews from your customers on these directories and if possible, get your keywords in these reviews too
2. Get links to your profiles. Make sure you’re linking to it from your own website’s contact page and don’t forget to work on getting links from other locally-oriented websites like charities, your local chamber of commerce, churches, and local schools


A good way to get an idea of directory site ranking factors is to Reverse Engineer the results. To do this, search your category on the directory site (i.e. ‘plumbing, Southampton’) and look at the profiles that appear at the top. Now analyse what differentiates the top few results from those further down in the listings and make adjustments to your profile accordingly.


As a final thought, Barnacle SEO doesn’t have to be totally reliant on directory listings. You could also investigate the possibility of content sharing with larger high-ranking content curating sites or research the social media angle by finding out who is following the top ranking sites and following those people too. You can then increase your brand reach by social interaction to get noticed by those followers.


Barnacle SEO is a great tool in your arsenal for Local Search, start your research, be creative and get your barnacle on!

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Dave H

As our MD, David finds inspiration from running a busy agency. His SEO and content marketing tips, business-savvy suggestions on keeping your company moving forward and industry expertise will give you that helping hand when it comes to making the most of your time.

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