I first wrote this article about porn SEO in 2009 while still in the industry but came back and updated based on comments made in 2014.
The 3Ps, pills, porn and poker are the toughest niches online. I’ve ranked for “free porn”, “Asian porn”, “anal porn” and several other hyper-competitive keywords bringing in more than a million unique clicks per day. If you already rank for these keywords then you can go ahead and bounce now. Otherwise, read and enjoy this discussion.
Step 1 Content is Still King
First thing’s first, CONTENT! Most adult tube sites rip videos from other sites and either manually post them on their site or they have automated software to do this for them. The problem isn’t necessarily that the videos are duplicated from other sites but that the titles, tags, and descriptions are duplicated as well. Google hates duplicate content! Since Googlebot doesn’t actually watch the videos, they only use the titles, tags, and descriptions to tell if a video is unique or if it’s been lifted off of another website. My tips for adding new videos are to manually edit these attributes with keyword rich textual content. Next, you will want to make sure to categorize them appropriately based on the titles and descriptions. Let’s not forget that you also need to have good videos from a wide variety of porn niches because even if I get your site ranked in the top of Google, having a high bounce rate will eventually cause your site to drop again. Lastly, the more categories, the better because it helps to expand your long tail keywords.
Content 2014 Update
Content is still king 5 years later and this will only increase in the future. That being said, now it’s not just content but all the new bells and whistles that make a site better like social media APIs, rich snippets, microdata, PageSpeed and more. A better site is simply going to have better rankings so build the most awesome site you can and don’t take any shortcuts.
Step 2 Setup Porn Buffers
One of the biggest challenges of porn SEO is the censorship. It can be very difficult to get links, likes and bookmarks back to your adult content and for obvious reasons. This is why is it important to setup, what I call “porn buffers”. Porn buffers are sites that do not contain adult content but may have a somewhat relevant subject matter that could possibly lead to a porn theme. A few topics can be relationships, sex education or scandals. After setting these pages up you can link to them and then they link to the money site. This creates a buffer between the adult site and the censored site giving you an indirect but powerful link. Twitter, Blogger, and other Web2.0 sites can also provide high-quality buffers for adult link building.
Buffers still work Update 2014
Porn buffers still give you a powerful link but some content managers are right when they say it doesn’t pass PR very well. PR is definitely not the end-all metric to value your actual rankings. We’ve all seen numerous low PR sites ranking in the top 3. Actually, if you have a low PR and you rank well that could be a sign that you are doing something right. The practice of channeling link juice from high authority sites to your money site is still very valuable and effective. Many authority sites will not allow you to link directly to your porn site but you may be able to link it to a buffer and then that buffer can link to your main site. These links are not as strong but worth the effort, this logic is hard to argue with.
Step 3 Directory Submissions
There are tons of paid and free directories out there. Don’t just focus on the Adult directories either, hit em all! Spend the time to manually submit to as many as you can. While submitting maximize by always filling out as much information as they allow. If it says 250-word description then use all 250 words. Be sure to categorize each submission articulately. Use only unique content each and every time to make sure the work looks and is natural. Google, Yahoo and Bing crawl even the smallest directories in an effort to increase their index. Set a monthly budget of $200 and use discrimination while choosing if this directory is worth the price. You should spend on average $10 to $30 for a good listing.
Directory Submissions Updated 2014
This has changed, at least for the porn niche. When I wrote the article, there used to be no such thing as a bad link so even tens of thousands of directory links used to do wonders for porn sites. On the other hand, this would not be a “discussing” practice for some niches even in 2014. Other niches can still reap benefits from directories such as DMOZ or even other high quality, manually curated industry-specific directories.
Step 4 Like is the New Link
Social media optimization aka, SMO is a must. Until recently, off page SEO boiled down to just one thing. LINKS but nowadays likes, +1s, diggs and etc. can be even more powerful than links if done right. The trick with social media and web2.0 (Porn SEO 2.0) is that the accounts shouldn’t just appear to be real, they must actually be real. This means instead of using SEnuke or other automated software, you need to manually setup profiles. Another important attribute to good social media optimization is to show regular activity on all your accounts. These SMO activities include making friends and followers, updating your profile with pics, posts, links and comments. Then you need to engage the community by commenting on other relevant posts and profiles, take polls, like relevant material posted on others profiles. I always tell my social media agents to picture themselves at a party, “do you want to be a wallflower or do you want to socialize and make friends?”. Many social media sites do not allow links to adult content so in these cases, you will link to one of your porn buffers.
Like is the new link Update 2014
Again a lot of content managers get this wrong as can be seen with the addition to the Google Analytics “Social” section. Social signals can still be more powerful than a link. Especially those coming from Analytics Social Data Hub Partners. Note I said “can” be. One instance where a social signal “can” be more powerful than a link would be if a famous person tweeted one of your videos to a million followers. This is an extreme case but smaller social signals can also outweigh weaker links. I don’t want to get offensive but anyone who fails to recognize the increasing importance of social media as a ranking factor, should not be in this line of work. In the video below, Matt Cutts himself envisions social signals possibly overtaking links altogether in the future.
Step 5 Link Building
Just like with social media there are tons of black-hat programs out there like Xrumer and ScrapeBoard that will automatically create accounts and post links to hundreds of thousands of forums but Google and the other search engines
know the difference and so do the webmasters who own these forums. The best and most effective way to get links from forums is by doing it manually. The process is simple but time-consuming. Sign up to a forum and start engaging the community. Many forums do not allow outbound links so be sure you don’t waste your time with these ones. In addition, many of the forums that do allow links only do so after you have proven yourself to be worthy or only after a certain amount of posts. This means you must first become a valued member of the forum, provide good feedback, informative posts and contribute to the community. You must show regular activity on these forums (twice a week or more) and in some cases, you will also have to employ the use of your porn buffers in the case where links to adult content are banned.
Forum Link Building Updated 2014
Forum link building for porn sites is practically dead. Like mentioned in his comment, you can still get some valuable white-hat links and traffic from adult forums but it must be done manually and with care.
Step 6 Porn Link Buying & Exchanges
In the past, Google implemented algorithm changes that have voided reciprocal links and the debate of whether or not they are good still remains so the safest and most effective way to exchange links is via 3way link exchanges. It’s also quite simple, you link to one of their sites and in exchange, they link back to you from a different domain. You can initiate these link exchanges by searching the web for other porn sites and we simply shoot them an email offering a 3way link exchange. Make sure to keep reports in spreadsheets so you can track the links and check them from time to time. Negotiations can be tricky so try to keep the exchanges fair and you will have greater success.
Whatever you do, don’t stop buying links. Instead, just change the way you buy links! Buying porn links is an old school, a strategy that Google has recently addressed in the Panda and Penguin updates. Even Matt Cutts, chief engineer of the Google webspam team, has openly warned against this practice many times.
I have tested this on top porn sites and have come to the conclusion that buying links from certain sites and networks can actually have an adverse effect so you must really pick and choose. For example, watch out for networks of sites that can easily be detected. Prior to Panda and the Penguin, these links worked fine but nowadays you’ll be throwing your money away at best and worse yet, they can now actually affect your rankings negatively if you participate in what Google calls link schemes. I could teach a small child could look at some of these sites and tell you if they’re are connected in a network so of course, a multi-billion dollar company like Google can figure it out. For starters, do they share the exact same CSS, IP addresses, images/content or are the using the same script to help automate the network.
Buying Links for Porn Sites Updated 2014
We both seem to agree about this. For a complete guide to link buying check out my article “Link Buying Ain’t Dead Yet“.
Step 7 Article Marketing for Porn Sites
Just as you would do in traditional SEO, you can promote your porn site with article marketing. Many article websites do not allow links to adult content so you will use your porn buffers for this. You can still target your articles toward specific niches and keywords. For example, you can write an article about the health risks of having anal sex and then point that link to a buffer page that in turn links to the anal sex category of your site. For the best results, write articles that follow what Google calls “high-quality content” just because it’s porn SEO doesn’t mean you can take shortcuts or just jot down a bunch of gibberish.
Article Marketing 2014
Article submission sites died a nasty death shortly after I wrote this but article marketing itself will never die. You can still write genuinely great content and contribute to high authority sites as a way to earn powerful links. TMZ, Bloomberg, Xbiz are a few examples I’ve used. A lot of content managers seems to be missing out on some very valuable opportunities to get great links.
Step 8 On-page
All the same on-page SEO attributes apply to a porn site as they would on any site but that being said, there are specific characters of a porn site that just seem to work better for the porn niche. Here are a few… Tube sites rank higher because they have a lower bounce rate. Users can come in and can easily find what they are looking for. Adult picture galleries are always good for browsing and provide extra content. Ratings and comments allow user interaction and lastly, having a branded site with high-quality design and graphics are invaluable. It would take a full textbook to fully cover on-page SEO so I will just mention and provide links to some of the more critical attributes and practices…
- Implement the canonical link tag in the header of your site.
- The markup should be W3C validated and free of any major errors and conflicts.
- The CSS should be checked in the W3C CSS validator and free of any major errors and conflicts.
- All titles and descriptions must be well written and unique.
- Your robots.txt file should block bots from the back end of the site as well as from any part of the site that is not optimized such as search pages and user profiles.
- Your site should not contain duplicate pages and if it does, they should be removed or corrected with the canonical link tag.
- Image optimization by including the keyword in the file name, title and alt text of all images.
- Videos, pictures, and posts should only be assigned to one category.
- Social media integration using OpenGraph meta content and social media plugins.
- Each page needs a minimum of 250 unique words with the suggested use of h1, h2 and h3 tags that also include the keyword or a variation of the keyword.
- make sure your DNS settings are resolving correctly by using this tool DNS Checker.
- Generate an XML and GZIP sitemap that will be automatically updated each time the site updates.
- Fix all broken links, 404s and not found errors.
We agreed on Step 8
Step 9 Blog Comment Posting for Porn SEO
Just as with social media and forums, there are several programs that will automatically post comments with links on various sites but this leaves behind a huge footprint that can easily be tracked by Google and other search engines. Not only that, but the approval rates for this type of spamming has gone down tremendously due to people abusing the software. If you want good quality links from blog comments, the best way is to do it manually. Using URL harvesting software, you can gather millions of URLs and then filter them based on PR, CMS type, keyword relevancy and more. I then distribute these lists and have my SEO agents actually read the posts and say something constructive or engage the conversation in the comments section of the site. Mostly anyone who owns a blog can spot comment spam from a mile away and report it. This not only wastes your time and effort but it can also get your site put on blacklists.
Blog Commenting Updated 2014
Blog commenting for porn sites is totally dead but it used to work like a charm from about 2004 well into 2009. I don’t even suggest “doing it right”, sure there are white-hat ways to do this but it’s just not worth it.
Step 10 Setup a Network of Porn Sites
For each one of your categories, you will need to register at least 25 domain names and put them in groups based on relevancy to each category (25 anal porn, 25 blowjobs, 25 ebonies etc.) You will want to make sure these domains are setup on multiple IP addresses across multiple C classes. Next, install WordPress on each site. Using a software called LinkFarmEvolution you can easily manage and post new content to these sites daily. Each post should include highly spun text, high quality, spun pictures and embedded videos (embed from your own site only). Before you get all crazy posting links in this network, you should first try to build up good content and get the pages indexed. I actually spend a lot of time making manual customizations, adding plugins and building links to the sites in the network. Once this is done, you will want to slowly add links from the network to the relevant pages within your site. Adding the links all at once or too quickly could leave a big SEO footprint behind and get the network discovered.
Network of Porn Sites Updates 2014
I’m not sure I even want to suggest building a network of sites or “gateway blogs”. It can be done but its just too expensive to justify the effectiveness. If you’re going to give it a shot, I do agree though that tools like LinkFarmEvolution will get your network compromised. That being said, it would take another 5000k words to try to describe the correct way to do this. If anyone here thinks they have a undiscoverable network, feel free to send me a link to just one site and the chances are that I can find the whole network attached to it. If I can see it then you bet Google can see it. I extend this offer to critics as well because I have the notion that either they are spending thousands of dollars to maintain their network(s) or they are already compromised as well.
Step 11 Competitor’s Links
Monkey see monkey do, if your competitors can acquire those links then there’s a good chance you can too. You can install an SEO toolbar with this built in. This task is time-consuming but can be very rewarding because these are going to be the best links you can get. Obviously enough, if they were good enough to get your competitor’s website ranked on the first page then they will be good for your site as well.
Step 12 Black-Hat Techniques for Porn SEO
“If you can’t beat em join em.” After spending several hours reverse engineering almost every porn site on the first two pages of Google, I have found that ALL of them are practicing black-hat techniques, myself included. There’s an old SEO saying that has become the golden rule for Black-Hat techniques; “Anything you could do to get your competitor’s site banned won’t get you banned.” This really means that Google has made sure that you cannot attack your competition by hammering their site with black hat SEO. If it was possible we could easily take out the first ten results real quick. If you think about the algorithms that make this possible it seems very complicated but in actuality, it’s quite simple. This means that any off-page, black-hat SEO that you do cannot harm your site unless it can be traced with a server-side interaction. The most extreme case I witnessed was when Google traced back forum spam campaigns to files that were being pulled off the same server as their main site. They completely removed the site from their index and lost millions of clicks of traffic.
I have found that dedicated servers, located off-shore are well worth the investment (mine is in Russia). From this server, I remotely run programs like Xrumer, ScrapeBox, ScrapeBoard, LFE, Xgen and anything else I can get my hands on. It is highly suggested that you use these proxy IP addresses to help cover up your tracks. These are all very powerful programs but they often fall into the wrong hands and end up getting abused by less than qualified individuals. This ruins the effectiveness. That being said, the people that actually learn to use them correctly can get good results. I mostly use them for link juicing and rarely toward the money site.
As for black-hat software for social media, they don’t really serve a good purpose when optimizing for porn SEO. The reason is because with social media it’s quality, not quantity that matters. You can use programs like Tweetfollowing and Facebook auto posters to assist with your manual SMO task but take it slow because most social media giants can easily detect these programs and will erase your account. This will cause you to loose valuable pages and profiles and all the time spent setting them up. There’s always new tools and programs coming out and developers are constantly striving to keep one step ahead of Google’s next update. The trick is to not get into a hurry, do not take any shortcuts and quadruple check everything before hitting the submit button. Finally, remember the golden rule, make sure that nothing can be traced back to an on-site or server-side connection.
Black-Hat for Porn Update 2014
Not one bit ashamed to admit that I was one of the top black-hatters of my day. With servers in Romania and Moscow running nonstop, I used to get hundreds of thousands of links in just one week. I wasn’t the only one though as every major tube on the first page of Google did the same. That being said, we all made millions so please, no hard feelings about all the Webspam. Another update to this is that black-hat can now be used to attack a competitor when in my previous statement I claimed this was not possible.
Step 13 Porn LinkWheel
Here’s a list of some high PR sites that do allow links directly to adult content and adult websites. Again, I suggest you fill these sites up with high-quality content not spun crap. That will make this porn link wheel more of a content link wheel”.
Porn LinkWheel (Critics’ Comments)
Really a linkwheel? What is this 2006? Apart from the fact that the list is just plain wrong (since when does Youtube accepts adult material?) most of these websites provide a no-follow link and that won’t help you rank. This is a waste of money, this is not how you get results.
Porn Link Wheels Updated 2014
Youtube doesn’t allow adult material as we all know but you can still have a PG13 channel like Pornhub’s and use this to get social signals, direct traffic and link out to other buffer sites. While many of the sites and posting rules have changed, this is still a practice that you should employ.
How I rank a porn site
First of all, every honest online marketing professional has to admit, that SEO is the only second place to media buying when it comes to porn\adult sites.
Media Buys (Zack’s Comments)
I imagine this is what some of my critics tell clients when he doesn’t deliver enough organic results. “Sorry you’re still on page 10 but we can buy traffic.” Sure media buys are important for many sites in many niches but this article was about SEO some media buys can actually hurt your rankings so this can be a double-edged sword. You need to buy good traffic as to not tarnish your user activity in Google Analytics.
Neutral domain name
It is very hard to find non-spammy blogs, which link back to a porn site. They are either charging hundreds of dollars or are spammy sites just about to be penalized by Google. Therefore what you need to do is to choose a neutral domain name and have linkable content as well.
Obviously, it only helps if you start a new porn site and will not help with your exact-match domain site you already have. Btw. exact match domains won’t help you much. Don’t believe those domain re-sellers and don’t pay thousands of dollars for an exact match domain. That’s money better spent elsewhere.
It is really beneficial for link building to have a neutral domain name. I can’t stress this enough. But even if you don’t have a neutral domain name there is a way to build quality links.
Domain Name (Zack’s Comments)
The domain name itself plays such very little significance that it’s almost not worth mentioning except for this… choose a domain that is brandable and easy to remember but this is just good all-around marketing.
Linkable content blogs
After you have your neutral domain name you should set up your linkable content blogs. In the case of a porn site, a good neutral domain name example would be temptations.com and a linkable content blog could be a safe-sex advocating blog, adult industry insider blog. sexual health blog and so on.
You should set up these blogs the following way temptations.com/safesex , temptations.com/insider , temptations.com/sexualhealth.
So an ideal SEO-ready porn site should have a neutral domain name, two or more linkable content blogs. This blog should be related to porn but do not have hardcore porn content. This makes link building easy and this is true for every website in a difficult niche.
90% of the link building campaign would target these blogs and with a neutral domain name, 90% of the bloggers would never know, that they are actually linking to a porn site. So it could be just a regular link building campaign.
The reason why we need two or more linkable content blogs is, that it gives us more targets to build links on.
You might ask, how will links from sexual health, safe sex, video production blogs help my porn site rank?
Well very easy: High domain authority+good on-page = good rankings
The links from these blogs link back to your linkable content blogs on your domain, which increases your domain authority helping the porn part of your website as well.
High domain authority + good on-page optimized content will get your porn site ranking.
Google determines the relative importance of pages within a domain by internal links. So to help Google tell, that the porn of your website is actually the most important we will place strategical internal links throughout your linkable content blogs to the porn part of your website.
This concentrates all the linkjuice to these pages and tells Google, that these are the most important pages.
Link Networks Zack’s Comments
Link networks are one of the quickest ways to get your site penalized. There are still a few diamonds in the rough out there but 99% of the networks I see are garbage. These days you need not only unique IPs but also unique C-classes, unique registration, code, content, linking and more. Just the slightest SEO footprint can be easily traced. I derive lots of pleasure in uncovering networks.
Targeted Link building
You only need a few targeted links to your hardcore section and if your domain authority is high enough -increased trough link building with the linkable content blogs- that should be enough.
Because even if you have a neutral domain name and linkable content on the site link building to a porn site is pretty difficult. Therefore I would suggest buying high PR used domains too in addition to other forms of link building. If you are smart about it high PR domains can be cheap and you can get a PR 3-4-5 used domains with a good link portfolio for around $ 100 – $ 150. you set these up as a genuine regular blog about something porn, sex, sexual health, erotica related. With these blogs, you can create some powerful backlinks.
Just make sure to make the necessary precautions if you have more than 5-10 of these. Blog networks are penalized so Whois lock, different Google authors on each blog, unique C class Ips, different Analytics accounts, and webmaster accounts for each and all the rest.
Gateway Blogs (Zack’s Comments)
Again this is just a network of sites that few people can afford and know how to build. I do not suggest this technique unless you already have millions of clicks and therefore, the money it takes to do it right. Hiring the wrong guy for this job could cause irreparable damage and major layoffs in your company.
I have a blog post about discussion marketing I suggest reading that first: http://simonsblogpark.com/onlinemarketing/referral-traffic-meets-link-building-discussion-marketing/
So a few tips on how to do effective and non-spammy discussion marketing for a porn site.
- Posting on porn forums: “Check out these super hot girls here: <link> WOW!”
- Identifying opinion leaders, popular porn blogs and commenting there (with a link), or partnering with them for a link back in exchange for a little exclusive content from the member’s section of the site.
- Identifying who is using your videos or pictures (very easy to do it) and sending a cease and desist or link back to us letter to them. Might not work with video syndication websites.
- Contacting personal bloggers (old high PR domains, men aged 20-35, single) and offering some money in exchange for a sponsored review of the website with a link-back. These websites are guaranteed non-network genuine personal blogs. You just have to find the right targets, who will accept your offer. You can even offer them free membership and some money for the review.
- Commenting on porn video sites in the comments section with a link.
Discussion Marketing (Zack’s Comments)
This is basically the same as Forum Link Building mentioned above. That being said, this is just one very small part of the process that sometimes seems too labor intensive to be worth doing.
Extra XXX SEO Tips
- Keep your keyword density around 1% per page
- Keep a set schedule of tasks for better time management
- Hire good writers and content managers
Always try to go the extra mile because, in the world of Porn SEO, the difference between the 1st page of Google and the 2nd page is millions of dollars. Now go forth and concur! There are 10 spots on the 1st page so good luck and I hope to see some of you Porn SEOs joining me there real soon!