Is Positive SEO Possible? A Google Parkour Case Study

A guy is preforming a parkour move called the flag on a pole - he hangs horizontally from that pole as if he was a flag


Negative SEO Nightmare

In recent years so called “negative SEO” has been one of the most written about topics in the search marketing industry and beyond.

Luckily only a few major publications have covered the topic or even used this misleading term. Why?

Well, for most people out there all SEO is negative.

The “negative SEO” wave is just a new low that proves how evil SEO is. It not only is about spamming Google and hacking blogs and websites for profit it’s also about hurting competing sites.

At first I didn’t want to write about that at all. It’s a shame. Why spread the word about this shameful practice even more?

Can Search Engine Optimization Be Positive?

Then I considered just writing about how SEO is not bad after all even Google is teaching SEO and saying it’s not spam blah blah blah.

I’m not that good in praising SEO. Danny Sullivan does a better job at it and he has more authority than I do.

After a while I finally found a way to deal with all that negativity: Positive SEO.

Is positive SEO possible? How? Wait a minute I have to explain what negative SEO is to make you understand what positive SEO is about.

You know, it’s not only about the image of SEO or the “reputation problem”. I’d like to coin the term positive SEO to describe a special technique of performing SEO.

The most common SEO technique of “negative SEO” is so called “Google Bowling”.

What is Google Bowling? It’s buying spammy links on low quality sites to link to your competitors.

Google acts on these links and then penalizes your competition. It disappears from the Google results. That’s the theory.

It may work or not but I hate the sheer fact that thousands of people already try it. I see sites attacked all over the place.

Google Parkour Case Study

Positive SEO is very similar to negative SEO but it works the other way around. You use authority links to link out to your competitors. Then they rank and it helps you actually.

It can help in a SEO 2.0 way because the people you link out to notice it and in the future they will link out to you as well. I do it all the time for years and I think I will never stop.

Today I want to show you a short case study where I used positive SEO to help a “competitor”.

In SEO there are no real competitors, just colleagues. I got one to rank at #1 in Google and thus got valuable relevant traffic directly from this #1 ranking.

I know there is at least one other name for this technique. It has been called second tier link building but this term is a bit clunky.

I’d like to rename it Google Parkour and call the whole strategy positive SEO. Now I will show you the details so that you can grasp what I want to say:

A Google+ share of the image SEO post by Ann Smarty

One of my good old online friends from the SEO industry I have never met in real life is Ann Smarty.

She a great blogger and is known for her writings all over the place plus her guest blogging community.

In the ancient past of 2008 she has written a post on image SEO which for years ranked at #1 on for the keyphrase [image SEO].

It’s a great overview and offers some background information plus several useful links to additional resources from other blogs.

One of those links at the bottom of the post leads to my blog here to a post about finding free images for your blog posts:

A link to my blog in a how to find images post

Over the years I’ve noticed that I get steady traffic from Ann Smarty’s post on image SEO.

I even updated the post she links to regulraly so that all the people coming over find what they need. It’s nothing huge. I got like around 50 monthly visitors from SEO Smarty via this post.

You could argue that I could earn more visitors or even money by trying to push my own post on image SEO on Google.

After all it was even on #10 when I originally wrote this post. Call me lazy but I didn’t have the time to play around with this keyphrase.

I have lots of client work and I don’t earn money directly by this blog so why should I compete with my old friend instead of helping her to help me?

I’d rather take the short path and push what’s already on top. I think she was already in the top 3 before I linked out to her again in another post:

Then I got more visitors than previously via her post. I think it was roughly 100% more.

Indeed 50 visitors is still not enough. You are right. That’s why I will engage more often in positive SEO in future. I don’t have the time to push the SEO 2.0 blog all the time.

I even struggle to find the time to write for it regularly. Thus when I finally do I will practice more positive SEO and Google Parkour.

What is Parkour?

Parkour is this modern discipline I train regularly. It’s a way of overcoming obstacles in the city and countryside. You jump and climb over walls or trees for example.

It’s really feels like flying. I love it. One great thing about it is also that it’s non-competitive.

Whenever a traceur (that is a parkour practitioner) meets another traceur or traceuse s/he helps him to excel.

You talk about techniques, you tell them or they tell you what you do wrong or why you fail and afterwards everybody has improved.

Thus I consider the name Google Parkour to be the perfect term to describe the technique of linking out to your competition to help them help you.

In parkour everybody jumps her or himself after all as well and everybody is happy afterwards as well.

What obstacle do you want to overcome right now? Are you ranking somewhere near the top and need some a helping hand?

Tell me in the comments. Sometimes it’s time consuming to find good resources to link out to.

Thus feel free to mention your latest Google Parkour obstacle you want to overcome in the comments. I may also share it on social media in the mean time.

Please forget negative SEO and practice positive SEO with me. Just think about it: how would negative SEO look in real life? Would you burn your competitor’s store to get his customers? Would you flood the street in front of her store?

Positive SEO is much more natural and rewarding. You don’t even have to pay some spammers or criminals.

Btw. Google Parkour works without even telling your friend about it. We didn’t agree to push each other in the search results.

We just linked out where it mattered. Check your referring sites stats and find out who already links to you to practice some Google Parkour.

* The Flag by ModernDope, one of my favourite parkour images.