If you want your site to enjoy a higher ranking, you should at least know what Google likes and what it doesn’t. Google updates its algorithm regularly, so sometimes, you’d be surprised that what used to work for you increasing ranking before may not work today. Call it secret, call it a mystery, but if you can’t figure out how Google ranks websites at least on the basic level, you’ll probably always be left wondering what you’re doing wrong.
One of Google’s solid ranking factors is backlinks. Backlinks have always been regarded highly in SEO because they can drive a massive amount of traffic as well as increase user’s trust and confidence in your brand. Most people like to think backlinks as Google’s “vote of confidence.” The more reputable and highly-quality websites that link back to yours, the more Google sees your website favorably, thus bringing your site up in the top list of search engine results pages (SERPs).
Can You Rank Without Backlinks?
Now that you know that backlinks are essential ranking factors, can you dismiss them and still rank in Google? The short answer is yes.
Ranking without backlinks requires effort, research, and strategy. While you won’t have to spend time outreaching to others for backlinking opportunities, but you need to spend time carefully crafting a winning content. Your content needs to deliver value to hook the readers in, and in such a way, Google will regard your site as a valuable resource, therefore pulling your site up in rankings.
It may take some work, but you can rank without backlinks. Here are the top tips on how to rank without backlinks:
How to rank a website without backlinks
Add value to your content
The content you create must be valuable to your audience. That way, you’ll hook them up in your site longer, thus helping your rank without backlinks.
But how to increase page rank without backlinks by adding value to your content?
Before you even sit down to craft your content, there are a couple of things you’d want to address first:
Does your content address the needs and problems of your audience? Does it answer their questions?
If your content answers your audience’s needs, whether giving them the information they need, suggestions to their problems, or pointing them in the right direction. The more that your content answers your audience’s needs, the more users think that you are a go-to resource, so the more traffic that your site generates. It then creates a domino effect, leading Google to improve your site’s rank without backlinks.
Does your content address the search intent of your audience?
Understanding search intent is a crucial element in creating valuable content. Search intent refers to the user’s motivation in searching content. They may want to purchase something, navigate to a website, or find information. You need to create content that matches the user’s search query to give more value.
Recommended reading: What Is User Intent & How to Master It in Content Marketing and SEO
These two considerations should form the foundation of content that brings value. But you can bring your game up and offer the audience an even more valuable content through the following:
- Incorporate other types of content into your material. Instead of using only text, consider adding a video, images, infographics, charts, and different kinds of material to make your content more substantial and interesting.
- Encourage audience participation. Ask your readers to submit a story, post a photo, or write a comment relating to your material.
- Discover new topics to talk about. If you feel like you’ve exhausted all the possible topics in your niche or industry, think again. You need to step out of the box and look for issues that your audience is actually interested in. Some of the best places to start are in the comments section, social media posts, and forums.
2. Use less competitive, long-tail keywords
Your keyword strategy is vital to the success of your SEO campaign. Nowadays, people are finding greater value in long-tail keywords simply because these keywords have lesser competition than popular search terms.
Imagine your site measuring up against giant websites that rank for popular, shorter keywords? You’ll soon realize you’re up against a wall. If you want to know how to rank keyword without backlinks, then you need to pick the right keywords carefully.
However, you can rank your website with long-tail, low volume keywords. These are keywords that have relatively small searches (but are still being searched) and lesser competition. If you’re competing against four or five less popular websites that use the same target keywords as yours, then you have pretty much leveled the playing field and the fighting chance of ranking without backlinks.
There are many ways to find long-tail keywords you can target, such as:
- Using Google autocomplete – these are keyword suggestions that Google provides while you’re entering target search terms on the search bar.
- Google “searches related to” – these are keywords that you’ll find at the bottom of the SERP.
- Keyword tools – such as Google Search Console, Ubersuggest, and Answer the Public.
You’d also want to determine the keywords’ search volume. Ideally, you want to target low-competition, low-volume keywords. Aim for a search volume of 1000 per month as this suggests that the keyword has some traffic but fewer competitions.
3. Write viral content
Viral content is enticing, and when marketed properly, they will pull more traffic to your site. So, making effective viral posts can significantly help in improving traffic without backlinks.
But creating viral content is unlike creating your traditional web or blog posts. It needs to be carefully crafted to invoke sharing. Here’s how to rank a website without backlinks by creating viral content:
Appeal to human emotions
Viral content is never dull or boring, and often, they’re easy to relate with. Viral posts usually appeal to the human side, whether it’s heartwarming, amusing, funny, or triggering. Bottom line: your content needs to be awesome so that people can’t help but share.
Create long-form content
Content length matters a lot when it comes to virality. Though it’s easier to skim through short content packed with GIFs and images, Buzzsumo finds that long, interesting, in-depth articles tend to get more shares. Long-form content doesn’t just impress that you’ve put in the time and effort to research and write, but that you also have a lot to say about the subject. It creates the impression that you’re an expert in your industry.
Write enticing headlines
The headline is your first point of contact with your audience, so if you want to rank a website without backlinks, you should invest in well-crafted and catchy headlines. A viral headline can increase your click-through rate and even encourage sharing even without the readers reading the entire article yet. If your headline is already enticing enough, then your content has won half the battle of going viral.
To create a viral headline, you want to include the type of the content (story, chart, infographic), the emotion it evokes, format, and what it promises. When comparing a dull headline and a catchy headline, the latter stands a better chance of being clicked and read. You want to craft a headline that instantly catches attention so that the rest of the content gets read and shared.
4. On-page optimization
Whether you want to attract traffic with or without backlinks, you definitely cannot dismiss the importance of on-page optimization. In SEO, on-page optimization refers to the process of optimizing every element of your content so that it becomes search-engine friendly, and therefore, starts to attract traffic.
While there are several rules for on-page optimization, here are the pillars that your content can’t afford to miss:
- The title tag should contain the keyword near the beginning. It should also contain modifiers, and follow an optimized length (Google displays the first 50-60 characters of your title tag). Also, make sure that your title is wrapped in an H1 tag.
- The content URL should be short but sweet and contains your target keywords.
- The meta description must be enriched with keywords, and written concisely, ideally containing 150 characters or less.
- Use the keywords in the first 100 words of your content. Make sure your subheadings are wrapped in H2 tags and ideally should contain your keywords as well.
- Incorporate both short and long-tail keywords as naturally as possible into the content. Don’t make the content all about the keywords you are trying to target. The primary goal is to deliver what your audience needs and satisfying search engines come as a close second.
- Integrate multi-media. Break up texts with interesting supporting content, such as images, videos, GIFs, charts, diagrams, and infographics. This way, you’ll reduce the bounce rate and at the same time, increase dwell time, which immensely helps in improving the ranking of your site without backlinking.
- Make it mobile-friendly. Ensure that your site runs and navigates smoothly on mobile devices. Mobile SEO should also be an essential part of your game plan.
- Improve the site speed. Slow-loading sites discourage people from staying on your site longer, and they’ll be more likely to turn to competition. Additionally, site speed has a significant impact on user experience. Make sure to optimize your site speed accordingly.
- Optimize images. Make use of alt-tags to ensure that your images are searchable on the internet. Properly optimized images tend to perform on Google Image searches better, and these can help pull your site’s rankings up.
5. Study your competition
While it’s crucial to perfect your SEO strategy and learn how to increase page rank without backlinks, it’s also just as important to know what your competition is doing. You want to know what works for them so you get an idea of what may work for you too.
Competitor analysis is essential in SEO because:
– It reveals your competitions’ strengths and weaknesses. If you know what their strong and weak points are, it’s easier for you to develop a strategy that would help you outrank them.
– It lets you know what works for your competition that you may apply to your own strategy.
– It allows you to see what appeals or averse your audience about your product or service. That way, you’ll know how to present better your value proposition that your consumers would find enticing.
And as far as ranking without backlinks, you need to study your competition in-depth to refine your strategy further.
What should you be looking at when you’re doing competitor analysis?
First, you want to know how their websites perform. Open an incognito tab on your computer and carefully navigate your competitor’s sites one-by-one, page by page. Make a note of your observations, including how fast the site loads, how it fares in various mobile devices, and how easy it is to navigate. Later on, you’d want to cross-check these things with your own site so you know which aspect of user experience could use some boost.
You want to dig deeper into your competitors’ keyword strategy. Through careful keyword analysis, you will uncover what keywords are helping their site rank higher. You’ll also discover opportunity gaps, or keywords your competition aren’t using, but have the potential to increase your ranking. In particular, you want to look at:
– The frequency of keyword usage in the headlines
– How they format their content (subheadings, bullets, numbering, etc.)
– Multi-media integrated into their content (images, infographics, videos, etc.)
Be in the loop for new content
You need to provide fresh and useful content consistently to establish authority, trust, and credibility to your website. You can monitor how your competition does this by using Google Alerts, which alerts you for new content based on your target keywords. It’s also great to watch out for new content for your branded keywords.
Social media efforts are also essential in knowing how to rank a website without backlinks. In the digital age, social media is a vital platform for reaching out with customers, widening exposure, as well as increasing traffic. You need to look at how competitors do social media, in terms of what types of content are getting much traffic, which social media platform they’re using most and what keywords they use in their social media content.
6. Refine your internal linking strategy
While you certainly can rank a website without backlinks, there’s one kind of link your content shouldn’t leave out: internal links. Unlike backlinks that require outreaching efforts, internal links are already there at your disposal.
But what are internal links?
Internal links are links to the other pages of your website so that your site is easier to navigate. Internal links are often found on your site’s main content, but they can be anywhere and would often be connected in the form of anchor texts. Internal links create a web on your website, allowing your audience to go from one page to the next just by clicking the anchor texts.
Now, internal linking is an essential SEO strategy and is significantly helpful in helping you rank without backlinks. Internal links allow you to use anchor texts which tell Google what keywords you’re trying to target and what purpose your content serves.
By following the best practices for internal linking, you stand the chance of ranking without backlinks. With that being said, you need to keep these tips in mind when implementing internal links:
- Enrich your anchor texts with keywords. Try to use target keywords in your anchor texts for internal links, but you don’t want to do it very often. Using keyword enriched anchor texts inform Google and your readers what the link is all about. While it doesn’t always hurt your ranking when your keywords match your anchor texts exactly, you need to practice sound judgment of when and how often to do it.
- Link to your site’s relevant pages. Remember that links are like “vote of confidence.” If a page gets more links, then Google thinks that the same page is important. When linking to other pages in your site, opt for those that have massive value.
- Place links in optimal positions. Internal links placed on the portion of your content gets more “dwell time.” It tells Google that your page or site is an excellent resource for their search query; therefore, people are spending a lot of time on it. Google then pulls your ranking up.
How to Rank a Website Without Backlinks: It’s Doable!
If you know how to rank a website without backlinks, chances are, your site is doing reasonably well with your SEO strategy. Backlinks are essential, but if you know how to rank without backlinks and optimize your content correctly through the tips above, your efforts should pay off soon enough.
Remember, backlinks are just one of Google’s ranking factors, but they are not be-all and end-all of your SEO strategy. You need to strike the right balance between having high-quality content and understanding what your users and Google needs. That way, you can perfect the art of SEO without backlinking.