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Driving Forward > Digital Marketing Blog

Barnacle SEO: Rank for Competitive & Local Keywords

Page one is the “Online Billboard” for a brand since a large percentage of search traffic is from branded searches. Although you don’t have total control over which domains are on page one, you can influence your brand’s page one results with Barnacle SEO.

What is Barnacle SEO?

Barnacle SEO is using another website’s authority to get rankings for highly competitive and branded page one searches on Google. It is also used as online reputation management to prevent negative listings from appearing at the top of Google searches for your brand.

Benefits for Barnacle SEO

– Local SEO: Increase your presence for local searches (i.e., “Snack Pack” Map Listings)

– Startups/Crowdsourcing Campaigns: Rank quickly for branded searches to attract investors and media buzz.

– Brand Marketing/IP/Positive PR: Own your brand’s voice on all platforms while pushing undesirable search results to page 2 of branded searches.

– Unused Website Assets: Give new life to unused media assets and upload them to your website and social platforms.

– Personal Branding: Google your full name. Is your personal website or social media profile(s) on page 1 of Google? If a prospective employer Googled your name, what website links would they see on page 1?

– Rank for Competitive Keywords: If you cannot compete with established websites and notice a Medium or Quora is on page 1 for a desirable keyword, write a better article.

– Social + SEO (Social Signals): Although social signals are not an “official” ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, they can still provide new engagement metrics (ranking signal) to your website and are considered “votes” when someone shares your page or article. Additionally, you never know when Google decides to add more importance to them!

– Customer Service: The new consumer holds brands more accountable and they make it a part of their life (e.g., event/experience marketing trend). The sales cycles are getting longer –don’t make it hard for users to engage with your brand online.

How Do I Start Barnacle SEO?

At this point, you should have a few social properties claimed to protect your intellectual property and to avoid the awkwardness of paying money for a twitter name. Next, you will need to determine what traffic sources visitors are coming to your website.

Check Your Analytics!
Discover which social websites your target customers are using by visiting your analytics platform and checking your referral traffic for these social websites.

Are you a B2B website and your referral traffic from LinkedIn is underperforming?
– Post more often and engage in LinkedIn Groups
– Create “Showcase Pages” that will segment out your product or services so your posts reach a better-targeted audience that subscribes to these pages.
– Invest in LinkedIn Ads to increase the reach of one of your existing, high-engagement LinkedIn post to attract new followers and site visits.

Domains on Google Page 1 (Business Type)

Search intent in Google’s search results is partially decided by what types of domains appear on page 1.  For branded searches, you will see these types of domains:

Startup: Crunchbase/Glassdoor/Bloomberg/Fortune/LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter/Wikipedia/Instagram

Hospital: Twitter/Wikipedia/Facebook/Bloomberg/US News/Glassdoor/ YouTube

B2B Organization: Twitter/Wikipedia/LinkedIn/Facebook/ YouTub/Slideshare/Crunchbase/Glassdoor/Yahoo Finance

Local Business: Yelp/Wikipedia/TripAdvisor/Facebook/GrubHub/Groupon/Open Table

Most websites below include a search engine in their navigation. If your target customer cannot find your business when searching on social media websites, then you need to invest in social media marketing.


Domain Authority: 71
A trusted source for existing and prospective employees. Although you cannot control what user-generated information is on the site, you can complete all the fields to make sure it is fully optimized and resourceful for searchers.


Domain Authority: 71

Trusted by Google because it’s completely user-generated and moderated by hundreds; almost always on page one for informational and branded searches.

Tactic: Freelance writers exist that will write a credible Wikipedia page and are already “trusted writers” on Wikipedia, so they are more likely to get your business on Wikipedia. Don’t make it promotional or else your account will get flagged as spam by moderators.


Domain Authority: 63

Recently presented at a conference, webinar or have sales slides sitting in your desktop folder?

Tactic: Give new life to that PowerPoint and upload it to SlideShare. Email your attendees after the presentation with the SlideShare URL to boost the view count.


Domain Authority: 99

Not all businesses are meant for Facebook but…it’s the leading social network worldwide. For an organic perspective, it is usually on page one of Google, features a call-to-action button in the top banner image, and is occasionally featured as star ratings in a businesses’ Knowledge Graph. From an advertising perspective, its targeting capabilities are unmatched.


Domain Authority: 95
YouTube is the second largest search engine. A person can discover your videos and YouTube channel on, Google Video search, branded searches, and as video snippets–thumbnail, description, and link–on page 1 of Google searches for a variety of searches.

If you want to attract organic traffic from your videos, post it on YouTube. Otherwise, keep high-resolution and product videos on third-party video platforms (e.g., Wistia and Vimeo).

– Insert target keyword in your video titles, descriptions and video keywords.
– Create videos that include “video keywords” (e.g., how to, tips, tutorial, review) that usually trigger video snippets.


Domain Authority: 98
Be super active on Twitter and increase your chances of earning a twitter carousel on desktop and mobile results that highlights your most recent posts.

Tactic: Start engaging more on twitter with people in your industry/buyer group, and less self-promotion.


Domain Authority: 93
LinkedIn is the business social networking platform. Since almost every business professional is on it, its social advertising features are a goldmine for B2B marketers/advertisers.

Tactic: Build your followers by posting more often; Boost posts with advertising budget; Create Showcase Pages to better segment posts to your target audience.


Domain Authority: 83
– Yelp is on page one of almost every branded local search.


  1. Ensure your NAP (Name, Address, Phone #) is consistent with your website and other online listings.
  2. Add professional photos of your product/service/establishment.
  3. Selected categories that are relevant to your business.
  4. Shows signs of your engagement by responding to positive and negative customer reviews.


Domain Authority: 79
Get visibility to your blog post FAST by uploading it to You may find that one of your target keywords has a Medium article already on page 1 of Google. Downside: You cannot receive organic traffic engagement or backlinks to your domain.

Tactic: See if your competitors have posted on Medium. If not, see if it is the right platform to post on.


Domain Authority: 38-70
– Important if your organization is getting seed/angel funding. If your founders, investors, or board members are well-known, these pages can rank for ‘Name’ Google searches.

Tactic: Complete a profile on these social platforms.


Domain Authority: 97
– Although it’s not a Google-owned site, Amazon tends to dominate most product-related search results.

Tactic: If you decide to list your product on Amazon, you can do SEO optimizations on Amazon by inserting keywords in each product’s title tag and description. You could rank keyword ahead of your competitors using this method if they have strong rankings for product searches on page 1!

Note: Amazon is a super competitive SEO market due to price wars and availability of products listed on Amazon


Domain Authority: 97
Since it’s an official Google product, it is still important to be on this platform until they decide to close it down. It is easy to set up and is automatically set up if you create a YouTube channel.

Tactic: Create a Google+ page if you don’t have one; complete all the fields and add your own images.


If you are a service provider, local business or have multiple locations, it is critical to verify all your locations on GoogleMyBusiness (formerly Google Places).

Tactic: If you are a healthcare provider or university, create local pages for all your departments. Read Google’s Guidelines for Departments within other business, universities, or institutions 

clemson-search result

Google Knowledge Graph

Google introduced the Knowledge Graph to offer a “Brand Billboard” for searches. It has prominence in the right-rail in desktop searches and above-the-fold on mobile searches.

Tactic: Don’t have a Knowledge Graph?
– Read about and start implementing structured data
– Specify your social profiles to Google with Schema markup
– Create a GoogleMyBusiness Page
– Create a Wikipedia page

Domain Checklist

Domain Authority is “a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERP). Domain Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”Moz

Website Domain Authority
Facebook 99






YouTube 95
LinkedIn 93
Instagram 93
Flickr 87
GitHub 85
Yelp 83
Medium 79
Bloomberg 78
Fortune 75
Wikipedia 71
Glassdoor 71
Crunchbase 70
Groupon 70
SlideShare 63
VentureFizz 58
AngelList 38

SEO Note: Most of these platforms add a NOFOLLOW tag on links pointing to your website, thereby passing NO “link juice” to your website.

Does your business have a profile on these platforms? Download Overdrive‘s 2017 Social Media Map to see a visualization of social media platforms.

If you found this article helpful, share it with your friends, family, colleagues and upcoming graduates!

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