Guerrilla SEO: BitTorrent

 
 

Guerilla SEO Cat

quote openGuerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy in which low-cost unconventional means (graffiti, sticker bombing, flash mobs) are utilized, often in a localized fashion or large network of individual cells, to convey or promote a product or aquote closen idea. Wikipedia

TL;DR

  1. Download BitTorrent
  2. Something, Something.
  3. Profits!

Part I: Download BitTorrent

Marketing professionals and SEOs, tend to hop on their rails and churn tasks on autopilot. Although this saves time and energy, it also makes you grey. You want to be purple. I promised myself to be more creative and innovative in 2013 and have finally decided to try out one of my “todo list” ideas from a few years back.

BitTorrent Protocol

Common association with BitTorrent is pirated movies, but I’ve always seen it as an interesting protocol. In 2011 I proposed an archiving model where BitTorrent is used in combination with PageRank algorithm to create cloud-like redundancy and determine archiving priority in large collections of documents in a distributed computing environment. Speaking of which, you can download the article I’m talking about on torrent and as a PDF.

I also see BitTorrent as an underutilised content distribution channel with great potential for viral and educational content.

Getting Started

To get started download and install a popular torrent client such as µTorrent. If you’re not entirely familiar with the protocol here’s a handy video for you and promise your next step is not downloading pirated movies.

Part II: Something, Something.

Creating a Torrent File

Load µTorrent, click “File” and then “Create New Torrent…”.

new torrent

A new window will open, browse and select the file you wish to distribute and hit “Create and save as…” button. Ensure that you have “Start seeding” ticked. If you have the file available via http already you can add it as a web seed too, just drop the full URL of the file in the “Web Seeds” field:

create new torrent

A torrent file will be saved and also added to your µTorrent list. You’re now the only person seeding the file and others can leech from you. You can also upload the torrent file up on the web and promote it, those with a BitTorrent client will be able to download it and in the future you’re likely to see the number of downloads (seeds, peers..etc) grow.

This, however, could take time.

What you need to do is tell the world that your torrent file exists and get it out there. One way of doing that is to visit all the BitTorrent websites out there and submit your content to each…or… find a sigtnificant torrent hub and apply as a content producer. One such site is MiniNova.

MiniNova

To apply for content distribution account click here and fill out all the relevant details. Once you’re accepted it’s time to submit your awesome content:

Mininova Upload

Ensure your title doesn’t have any exotic characters as they tend to look messy once in circulation.  Also take care to fill out the fields correctly, pick the language and explore all the format and sub-format options in order to select the most appropriate category. Note that the above link renders with rel=”nofollow” so don’t bother spamming with anchor text. It is possible that MinoNova’s scrapers exclude nofollow, but I’m guessing the value will be zero-to-minimal. I like to have URL included as a matter of citation/reference.

Note: MiniNova will in fact create a new torrent for you. Do not upload a torrent you created yourself, they need you to upload the file you wish to share instead.

Hit “Upload”.

If you stuff up or want to change something, you can always go back to the torrent entry and update its details:

Edit Torrent

Once you’re happy with your torrent entry go to “My Uploads” section and you will see it in the list. From there you can download it with your own BitTorrent client. It will also be available on its own page, linked from MiniNova’s torrent directory, which means lots of exposure.

Torrent Page

Fly my lovelies, fly….!

Once you’ve set up all your torrents and are seeding them, you can sit back and watch them distribute across the P2P universe.

torrent client

It’s a satisfying feeling to see it take off after all that fiddling and set-up.

Part III: Profits!

Well, I don’t know about profits, but I think if your content gets exposed to 2000+ people within a few hours for free is pretty cool. Especially if you remembered to include your link in that PDF file that will be uploaded and re-uploaded everywhere now. Yeah, links in all your PDFs – there’s a pro tip for you.

Statistics

So let’s look at the first few hours of me uploading a bunch of my PDF documents. For your reference here’s a complete list of our torrents.

stats

quote openI love that it is exposing your content to a completely new audience that would otherwise have never seen your work before. Aquote closelistair Lattimore

All right! 2457 8,340 downloads from… Turkey… and…. Russia and… Kazakhstan… hmmm….

It looks like demographic targeting in the P2P environment (or any control for that matter) is zero, but it’s a first day, first few hours in fact. Time for me to walk away and go plot another guerrilla marketing scheme. I will revisit the torrent statistics in a week or so to see how my content has been distributed. I’m already getting Google Alerts for “Dejan SEO” on various torrent websites.

Let’s hope Google doesn’t get a wrong idea…

30 Days After

I just logged into my torrent distribution dashboard and this is what I’m seeing:

“Your torrents have been downloaded 262,219 times in 180 different countries.”

torrent-map

The peak day was at just over 16,000 and the lowest at around 4,000 downloads:

torrent-downloads

Impact on link profile: Thousands of links, mainly nofollow.

Impact on rankings: Insignificant.

Impact on referral/direct traffic: None.

Increase in customer enquiries: None.

Impact on branded searches: None.

So far it seems that the impressive distribution of over 1/4 million downloads hasn’t really hit any useful marketing objectives other than securing document availability through redundancy. I’ll continue to monitor the potential impact on a monthly basis but at this stage don’t have any high expectations from this distribution method.

Dan Petrovic is a well-known Australian SEO and a managing director of Dejan SEO. He has published numerous research articles in the field of search engine optimisation and online marketing. Dan's work is highly regarded by the world-wide SEO community and featured on some of the most reputable websites in the industry.

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31 Responses to “Guerrilla SEO: BitTorrent”

  1. This is a great idea and the best part…Distribution will keep happening over the time.. You never know which one of your file will get viral…
    For creating PDF.. are you using your Existing Blog posts/case study or something else?

     
    • Harsh Agrawal
  2.  
    • Dejan SEO
  3. Very cool! Have you found many citations of the torrents on other websites?

     
    • Woj Kwasi
  4. About 200 so far.

     
    • Dejan SEO
  5. Super bad ass idea! Looking forward to a follow up on this in the near future. Great work!

     
    • Adam Steele
  6. In such a small timeframe – that’s pretty incredible. Eagerly awaiting any updates you have on this in the coming weeks!

     
    • Brad Russell
  7. Already at 8,340!

     
    • Dejan SEO
  8. Thanks Adam, I’ll keep an eye on it and report back with any new developments.

     
    • Dejan SEO
  9. Dan are you using these to actually rank? And do you think they will help?

     
    • Website Sales Lab
  10. Incredible! awaits a case study on this :)

     
    • Muhammed Riyas
  11. Sounds very intriguing, I’d be really interested to know how many links it would generate over a certain period of time – say 30 days.

     
    • Liang Chen
  12. I have no idea what will happen, haven’t done this before.

     
    • Dejan SEO
  13. Will do my best to make sense of what happens next.

     
    • Dejan SEO
  14. 30-day wrap-up sounds good.

     
    • Dejan SEO
  15. Aren’t you concerned about obtaining links from low quality/spammy/flagged/bad neighborhood websites?

     
    • Krystian Szastok
  16. Really like this Dan.. interested to hear how it goes!

     
    • Marc Levy
  17. I really like this idea. It seems to me that it could be a good idea to distribute content in “chapters” with the goal of generating a useful collection. Then when the full collection is ready consolidate the chapters into a unique “book” and distribute via P2P…

     
    • Jeff Bedford
  18. Amazing idea Dan. Thank you for sharing.

     
    • Slava Rybalka
  19. Entertaining post and clever idea!

     
    • Jordan Fried
  20. Yes. I am.

     
    • Dejan SEO
  21. Yeah a really nice way to get popular quickly. This way we can build bulk of readers with in no time and all of them really interested in your content. I think it will also help to build a brand name, I am keenly waiting for your results.

     
    • shivambest
  22. Interesting idea, my only concern will be if I received a bunch of links in low quality sites. However, it is a new idea to get your content out there quickly. I look forward to a follow up.

     
    • Affiliate Software
  23. Well it appears you like to live on the edge! Followed you on Twitter for that. ;-)

     
    • Krystian Szastok
  24. mmm did u get that idea while chatting to….?

     
    • Gabriel Machuret
  25. Any update to this?

    I registered with MiniNova, but haven’t been approved yet.

     
    • Markus Allen
  26. Any Ranking change?

     
    • Leone Fossati
  27. Great report on the value of Bit Torrent very impressive. Do you have an approx.cost for this test? time it took to setup,etc. Either way we need more of this type of testing to gain the clarity required for producing valuable & measurable Search Enhancements.

     
    • Patrick Wagner
  28. Great article! Thank you. Shivambest, I’ve been using this method of content distribution for 7 months, publishing PDFs once a week. It drives measurable, highly targeted traffic to my niche site. Experiencing an increase in revenue as well.

     
    • Ann Marie
  29. any result?

     
    • Leone
  30. Any update on how this has worked out? I’m interested in giving it a try.

     
    • Justin Gibbs
  31. Wow! This is a great idea. I never thought of this kind of technique. The problem is you need to make your device running 24/7 in order to continue seeding. Anyway, this is very creative. Thanks for sharing!

     
    • Spook SEO

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