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Using Scraper Sites to Build Links

John Doherty —  June 27, 2011
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Evil GeniusThe Internet is a dodgy place. There is a lot of bad information and people get things wrong. Also, there are a lot of bad people on the Internet who want to profit from your hard work.

I’m talking about scraper sites. A lot of top sites and blogs get scraped and copied every time a new blog post is published. SEOmoz is one of these.

I read an article once upon a time (probably 6-8 months ago) that was talking about why you should always link back to yourself in any blog post you write. At the time, I did not understand why, other than for basic-level linkbuilding purposes.

Now I realize why.

Last month, my The Tweet Effect post on YOUmoz was promoted to the main blog. I had made the judgment call to include a link back to this site using my name, because I am trying to rank this site for my name, which unfortunately is not super easy because my name is fairly popular overseas.

So I linked back to my site using “John Doherty.” Once the post was promoted, I looked at the incoming links discovered by WordPress. 20 new links coming to my site because my blog post was scraped and curated around the Internet!

Why not turn lemons to lemonade, then?

5 Steps to Inbound Links via Scraper Sites

1. Create great content that you can guest post on well-trafficked site. Make it noteworthy. In this post, link back to other posts on your site, or your company’s site if that is your main sounding board. (Pro tip: if you’re in the Internet marketing business, you should build your own site.)

2. Find the influential sites in your niche. A simple way to find if their content is scraped is to take a chunk of text (a sentence will do) from the post, throw it in quotes, and do a search for it.

Take the below example for Tom Critchlow’s “Agile Tools” post:

3. Curate relationships with the webmasters or influencers at these influential sites. (Another pro tip: don’t do this to use them. Be nice. Relationships build natural links.) This way, you have a good chance of being published on those sites.

4. Submit the post and give it a bit of a social push with your contacts online. I’m not saying this will increase rankings of any sort, but you might get links to that site from your followers, which will increase the strength of the links back to your site from your post.

5. Once the scrapers do their dirty work, check your backlinks. If you use WordPress (like I do on this site) you can easily see these links on your dashboard when you log into your admin panel. Otherwise, wait for OSE to be updated and then check them. You might get a lovely surprise.

Until next time, happy linkbuilding.

John Doherty

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I'm the new (as of October 2013) Online Marketing Manager of Hotpads.com, soon to be based in San Francisco. Previous to Hotpads I worked at Distilled for 2 years as an online marketing consultant. In my spare time I shoot lifestyle photography, explore new and interesting food in New York, ski, rock climb, and update my Twitter and Google+ accounts.

3 responses to Using Scraper Sites to Build Links

  1. Hello,

    First – nice blog I discovered here of yours, thanks for the info in it, John.

    But a question about the topic now. I am also a beginner SEO (I supposed you’re not exactly beginner anymore :), and as much as I understood this kind of links which are in duplicate, scribed content somewhere are worth almost nothing, exactly because G does not like duplicate content at all.

    Isn’t it so and is it worth to think about this kind of link building at all in this case?

  2. Hey Ain –

    Thanks for the comment! It’s greatly appreciated.

    You’re actually probably right. I guess I was just showing that it’s a way to get a bunch of links, but I purposefully stayed away from talking about the valuation of these links.

    If you look this this post from Ross Hudgens, these links probably don’t pass much if any link juice.

    I don’t think we should think about this as a primary reason for guest posting. I think we need to be providing GREAT content, linkworthy content, shareable content, and the links will come.

    Thanks for the comment. I hope you’ll come back!

    • I would have to agree with the first commenter, especially with the new Panda update. I can tell you from experience that my site was hit hard by duplicate content because of scraper sites and I, the original author, am being penalized by Google because of it.

      I’ve losted over 80% of my traffic within the past 4 months! Which equates to much of my income as well.

      I wouldn’t suggest actually wanting these types of links, but I understand your point in that if they’re going to scrape it anyway, might as well have your link back to your site.