Using Google’s Owns Properties Against Them
You want to add to your link building campaign but wouldn’t want to go as far as building a private blog network (PBN). Or maybe you do have a PBN already but find it lacking.
What do you do?
Well, have you considered using Google Authority Stacks?
These let you take advantage of Google’s own properties so you can rank better in search results.
In this post, we’ll talk more about the inner workings of authority stacks and how you can start a link building campaign off of that idea.
So let’s not delay this any further and jump right in.
While “Google Authority Stacks” might sound foreign, chances are you already know what they are. You’ve probably even used them in the past.
These stacks are part of Google’s suite of products found under Google Drive. The most notable examples are Google Docs, Google Forms, and Google Sheets.
Some stacks live outside of Google Drive but still fall under the Google umbrella. These would be your Google Maps, Google Photos, and Google Sites.
All of these are open for anyone to use. Meaning anyone can create a Google account and create private or public documents.
Here’s your goal:
You want to create a network of crawlable files that are set to Public. That way, all search engines can crawl them and pass off link equity to your money site.
It’s another take on domain authority stacking.
Below is an example of a Google Doc file that’s been crawled by Google.
If you’ll notice, a link had been inserted into the document. You want to do this on all available Google properties for maximum impact.
Google actually crawls a lot of pages that are hosted under its subdomains.
Below is an example of recipe-related Google files that appear in the SERPs. These were all created using Google Docs.
There are even more examples. Here are several pages that prove that even Google Slides can be indexed.
Here are examples of Google Sheets that appear in the SERPs.
To be clear, we used the INURL command to find these Google files in the SERPs. The likelihood of these appearing through an organic search is unlikely.
But that’s not the point. What we’re trying to prove here is that Google stacks are crawlable.
And as mentioned, these probably aren’t going to appear in the top search results for the keywords they’re trying to rank for.
And you know what… that’s okay.
Ranking these stack pages isn’t the point.
All you want is for Google to crawl the links inside.
Now, about the content…
Most of these crawled pages have subpar content.
You don’t want to populate your stacks with a terrible copy. They should still be relevant and useful for Google’s users.
Basically, treat Google stacks as you would a landing page with high-quality content.
For a better appreciation of what Google stacks can do for you, let’s talk about its impact on SEO.
There are three main reasons why you’d want to implement this type of strategy.
Let’s start with the obvious.
Link building is the cornerstone of search engine optimization. Having your links on Google properties means getting backlinks from a trusted domain.
Build a network of stack links and have them pointed to either a Google site or directly your money site. Although we do recommend you go for the former.
The best part?
There’s no evidence that shows Google penalizing its stacks.
And while that can change, you can try this approach now without imminent risk of getting punished for your actions.
Articles from Google Docs and other stacks don’t necessarily appear on top of the SERPs. However, linking them to your money site and using the right anchor texts can get your primary domain to rank.
You can do this by creating exceptional content that’s optimized for your main keyword.
This gives you a better chance of outperforming your competition.
Now some SEOs will tend to disagree. But using Google stacks for SEO has been around for quite some time.
Take this Reddit thread from 2015:
Fast forward to 2019 and some SEOs still stand by the strategy’s effectiveness.
Are you seeing negative feedback on search results for your brand?
Do you want them gone?
While there are many ways of doing so, Google stacks can help you push these damaging reviews out of page one.
Well, temporarily, at least.
You can populate the SERPs with pages that use your brand name as their primary keyword.
Your short-term goal?
To replace negative reviews with pages that you have absolute control over.
And while those are up, you can pump out high-quality landing pages that could replace all the negative press your business has received.
I know you’re probably wondering. Is Google Sites even that powerful?
Will they even show up in the top ten search results?
Is this possible?
Take this example from SEO Simon Leung. He reveals in his YouTube video that he used Google Sites to rank for the search term “internet millionaire secrets”.
Did he succeed?
Well, take a look:
Not only did his Google site reach page one of the SERPs, but he’s also currently in the number one spot!
And he used Google’s own property to get there.
So at this time, there is no reason to believe that Google Sites are a waste of time.
It can replace some of the negative articles about your business in the search results if the strategy is implemented correctly.
When you think about it, using Google stacks isn’t that far off from a web 2.0 blog strategy.
And despite its risks, there’s evidence to support the claim that PBNs actually work.
While PBN links are blatantly a black hat tactic, using Google Authority Stacking fall under a gray area.
So really… you might say they’re safer to use than PBNs. If you’re new to building a backlink network, using stacks might be a great way to test the waters.
Besides, who wouldn’t want to have backlinks that you can point back to your site at will?
It’s the dream!
There appears to be no case of Google ever penalizing a site for adding links to crawlable Google stack documents.
And best of all, these Google stacks are free to use!
So if you’re on a tight budget, you can always fall back on Google properties to scale your link building strategy.
As far as crawlability is concerned, even Google’s own John Mueller says public Google files can be indexed.
There are SEOs who think this whole strategy is pointless and desperate. However, there are also those who see the value in it.
As one SEO argues:
“Imagine you give this sheet away for free and your audience can post it on their drive and homepage, social media platforms, etc. If the sheet contains a link back to your page – wouldn’t that be a total natural/organic link building?”
And he does have a point. Why wouldn’t Google stacks be treated like any other webpage that delivers useful content?
This is probably the reason why Google properties still appear in the search results.
Again, let’s take Google Sites as an example.
There are far more better-looking sites than the ones Google has to offer.
Come to think of it, Google Sites have an outdated look that might turn off their own users.
And yet, there is serious ranking power and high domain authority behind sites built on Google’s platform.
Tom Crandall shares in his blog post that he came across a Google site for a keyword he was researching. So he tried building one for himself.
“As far as setup is concerned, I only created 2 pages. The Home page and the Contact page. The links on the site point back to my website.”
He came away with the conclusion that Google sites do work.
“From what I am currently seeing in Google SERPs, Google appears to give websites created using Google Sites a bit more love and rank them higher than they should.”
So at the very least, don’t you think that Google stacks are worth checking out?
What do you have to lose anyway?
They are free.
And you can build and delete them at any time.
There’s no need to hire a designer or a writer. This is something you can do on your own.
They take so little time to set up too.
And as we’ve pointed out — you’re in complete control.
Now it might be tempting to create a bunch of Google files and spam them with backlinks pointing to your money site.
Please don’t be that guy.
We don’t recommend linking your Google stack directly to your money site.
There’s a better way of going about this.
Abusing Google stacks will definitely raise some flags.
You’re creating a backlink network using Google products. Just because there’s no evidence that Google penalizes sites with backlinks from its own platforms, it does not stand that they won’t do so in the future.
You should create a Google site and use it as a buffer. You can then link the Google site to your money site.
This way, you’re amplifying the most valuable pages linking to you while increasing your ranking in the process.
So what should your Google backlink network look like?
Here’s a simple chart that shows what the ideal structure should look like.
As you’ve probably noticed, none of the stacks are directly pointing to the money site.
Instead, all stacks lead to the Google site instead.
You embed all stacks in the Google site and add a link to your main domain.
This way, your Google site will act as a barrier and protect your money site from any possible fallout.
You’ve heard us mention Google Site several times now.
So… how exactly do you make one from scratch?
In this section, we’ll walk you through the process.
We’ll also show you how to create the other stacks needed to make this strategy work.
You should have a better idea of how you can leverage Google properties once we’re through.
Building your very own Google site is not as difficult as you might think.
Even beginners shouldn’t have any issue launching their site.
To start, log into Google Drive. Under New, navigate to More > Google Sites.
Google will then generate a bland, generic site.
Trust us: you don’t want to use that.
Fortunately, one of Google Sites’ best features is its easy-to-use interface that makes customization a breeze.
Let’s start with the header.
Clicking on your page title will make the text editable.
Next, head on over to the sidebar. Here you’ll find several elements at your disposal.
You can insert text and images. You can embed links. If you want to make edits to the layout itself, you can do so with a click of a button.
To insert a new element, select one from the list and add it to your page. Elements can be moved around and reshaped if needed.
Alternatively, you can double-click anywhere on the page to bring out the quick selection menu.
Moving on to the important bit.
You can embed Google stacks to your site. This means adding Google Doc or Slides to your new webpage.
To do so, click Embed. A pop-up window will appear. Select from one of two options:
If you already have the Google file saved to your drive, we suggest you go the URL route as it is the easier option.
Google will treat the embedded files as backlinks.
It’s not enough that you have embedded files in your new site.
You will also need to add a few LSI keywords in there so Google can better understand what your page is about.
Now, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t add keywords without doing some research.
Because it defeats the very purpose of your authority stack strategy.
Let’s use an example.
You need your money site to rank for a term like “best VPN reviews”. What do you do?
The best approach would be to research LSI keywords and add them to your Google site. Something like “top rated VPN services” would be a good keyword to focus on.
Your priority keywords should be added to your Google site.
You will still need keywords for the Google stacks that will link to your site. Save your lesser keywords for those.
This approach will help increase the co-citation between the Google site and your money site.
Making your Google stacks is just as easy as building your site. Most of the tools you’ll need are conveniently located in your Google Drive.
Simply click New in Google Drive’s dashboard to access the stacks.
Clicking on any of the stacks will automatically start a new document.
What you want is to make the most out of the Google properties at your disposal. Here’s a list of the stacks you can embed on your page:
Your Google files should host the rest of your keywords (from the KW research you did for your Google site).
The content in your stacks must be high-quality.
You can’t just copy-paste content from other sites and use them for your Google Doc or Sheet.
The copy should also resonate with readers. After all, you wouldn’t want your site trust to drop because users find your content useless.
Also, don’t forget to include business information like your NAP (name, address, phone), brand logo, social media links, and other details you feel are needed.
Important: Your business details must be consistent.
Lastly, make sure all your files are linking to the Google site you created.
Going back to our keyword example from earlier, if your main keyword is “top rated VPN services” then your Google Doc can push the KW “what makes a good VPN”.
You can also create a Google Form and target another related KW.
Use Google Sheets to create a list of products, services, resources, or guides. For our example, we’ll create a spreadsheet to list down the best VPN services.
We’ll be using the KW “top rated VPN services”.
You can even include a Google Drawing or Slide to insert graphs from VPN sites.
When you’re done, save all files in the same folder. Use your target KW as the folder name.
You can also store all the images you used in your Google site in the same folder.
In this example, we used “VPN Recommendation” as the folder name since it’s one of the unused keywords from our research.
Now comes the great part: stitching it all together.
You will now embed all the stacks on the Google site you created.
This is actually going to be easy.
To embed a file, simply copy the URL and paste it anywhere on the website while in draft mode. You can then move it around and place it anywhere you wish.
You can also use the Embed link in the sidebar and insert links that way.
Embed all your files and add some text and images to make your page more appealing.
When you’re finished, you should have something that looks like the example below.
Once you’re able to accomplish all this, you’re ready for the next step.
When you’re ready, you can edit your sharing settings and publish your page.
Let’s begin with the former.
To adjust your sharing options, click Share With Others.
A new window will pop up. Here you’ll be able to edit your sharing settings.
Under Published, click Change.
In the next screen, be sure to tick Anyone Can Find and View the Published Version.
That way, your site will be crawlable for Google and users.
When you’re finished and ready, click the Publish button located on the upper-right side of the dashboard.
Enter a valid URL then click Publish once more. This will get your site online.
Isn’t this exciting?
Now we’re almost done!
All that’s left to do is to promote your money and Google site on social media to get some traction.
You can post a tweet, an FB post with a link to the two domains, or pin an image on Pinterest.
This would build an online presence using the different stacks available.
Google entity stacking is not as hard as you think.
When you’ve implemented every link building technique in the book, using a Google site might be worth looking into.
To build your own campaign, all you need to do is follow the steps listed below.
While Google Authority Stacks are great for link building, you should keep in mind that this strategy shouldn’t be your first option.
It should complement other tiered link building strategies.
So it’s best if you focus on other link building techniques before resorting to Google domain stacking.
As mentioned, try to link all your stacks to your Google site then have that link to your money site.
This extra level of precaution will help protect you should Google start penalizing sites that practice DA stacking or trust tiering.