Most websites rank on search engines with only a few backlinks. New websites rarely get recognized due to low popularity. So, stop time and money consuming link building and try these 8 secrets to rank without backlinks in the first page of any search engine, the right way.
Backlinks are one of the most prominent Google ranking factors for a long time. When a third party website posts your URL in any of their webpages, then it is a backlink. According to CEOs, low backlinks cause our page rank somewhere on the fifth or sixth page of Google.
But that is not the end for search engine optimization. You can still get good results without backlinks. These top 8 secrets to rank without backlinks will bring a website from 5Th to the first page in 2018 and beyond. Plus, if you want to increase more SEO knowledge after reading this, check my favorite top 3 SEO techniques that ultimately work.
Why you should stop link building right now?
Most of the people get SEO wrong. They try to trick Google which is way smarter than us. Google doesn’t pay its qualified engineers for granted. Performing techniques like building artificial external links, fake pingbacks, trackbacks, comment spam, guest posting and PBNs, buying social signals, etc. may help a page rank for a few days but not forever.
Black hat SEO techniques give a webmaster 15 minutes of fame. Google timely updates its algorithm. When it does so, many websites and weblogs get penalized and come crashing down.
Another reason to stop link building is that it consumes a lot of time. For example, people spend hours in link building, guest posting or blog commenting. It is a waste of time unless you are working in a big company having 1,000+ articles already published. They have employees who perform a specific task so that one can focus on link building only.
For a one man niche site owner, it is costly. Imagine how many quality articles you can write during those hours. Despite that link building, if your website is not as much as valuable, Google will kick it from the first page. Google knows everything and it is even reading this page looking for quality.
Google aims to display the best search results so that users don’t switch to any other search engine. Thus they keep updating their algorithm. So, use those hours to optimize your content making it best for visitors. Focus on its quality and let Google do its job. Don’t try to mislead or trick Google, else you might get penalized.
But, it is not always good to sit back and pray. There are some unique SEO strategies we can use to rank without backlinks in Google, the right way. I am going to explain 8 of those techniques here.
Fact: Yes it is true. A Google engineer replied to a question on Twitter that most websites rank without backlinks. Here is the harsh truth about links:
- Those websites who rank for the most searched keyword have at least 1 or more backlinks.
- External links play a vital role in competitive keywords.
- Artificial and paid backlinks result in Google penalty.
- Long tail keywords have higher chances of ranking with low DA, that correlates with links.
With that in mind, let’s start our main topic for today. These techniques are more than writing a piece of quality content to impress Google.
How To Rank Without Backlinks in 2018?
Optimize for Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
When a page appears in search results, people can only see its Title and excerpt. They won’t be able to explore full content. Don’t forget that there are also other pages listed that may be far better than what you’ve shared.
People compare the best result from that list & open only one page. They check titles, date of publication and the short description provided below the titles. Finally, they only click on that one page which is suitable for their query.
It also helps Google to measure the quality of web pages and compare them with one another enough to display on the top SERP. So, it will flip off the order of pages in search results according to their usefulness. And if your page fails to convince people through CTR, your rankings will fall.
To increase CTR, make effective and well-researched titles and Meta description tags. Always use magnetic, emotional and compelling phrases that attract people towards clicking. Make sure that the focus keyword is also present there.
Google only shows a limited number of characters in the search results. But that’s when you test your creativity and talent that can achieve people’s trust. At some point, we can say that you have to improve your presentation skills.
Warning: Do not use click-baits. If meta title and description differ from the actual content, it will spam in Google’s eyes. This gets your website penalized.
Place the most important keyword closer to the beginning of the title. Do not capitalize or avoid using unnecessary words such as “a”, “the”, “for”, etc. in headings. Generally, an SEO perfect title does not exceed more than 150 characters long. So check the length of headings as well. Brackets and numbers also grab the most attention of users. People want to see what’s written inside them.
Find low competition keywords
KWFinder is a tool like Google Keyword Planner but broader. It shows data like most searched keywords, diffuculty and their monthly search volume. You can search up to 5 keywords within 24 hours in free version and up to 100 in the paid version.
5 searches per day are enough to get low competition long tail keywords. But be careful and wise while searching for a keyword, because it can detect a device and ip address. That means you cannot trick it to get more than 5 searches per day unless paid. The prices are affordable for the premium version of KW Finder.
Monthly search volume and keyword difficulty should be the priority to check. CPC value also matters if a website is monetized with advertising networks. But it is not the case with other e-commerce sites as a single visitor counts.
KW Finder has different rows and columns. A list of similar keywords will display when you start a search. Click on ‘KD’ column at the top and it will arrange keywords according to their difficulty level.
The most difficult keywords to rank are displayed on top in descending order to no KD at the bottom. They are also indicated by red, orange, and green. If a keyword has KD less than 40 than it is indicated by green color. They are easy to rank without backlinks. Always try to target keywords with green signals and make sure that their search volume is at least 1,000.
Take help from related search terms and autocomplete in search engines to find long tail keywords variations. After finding low competition keywords, do a manual research as well. Collect the url of top ranked websites and check their links. Compare their external links and domain authority score with your website.
0.5% keyword density
There is no specific keyword density percentage but try to maintain it around 0.5%. There are different reports that show lengthy content ranks higher. It is not achieved unless we maintain keyword density without stuffing. Below are few things that you can do to maintain 0.5% keyword density.
- Find a strong focus keyword.
- Add the main keyword in the title and URL.
- A sub-heading must contain focus keyword.
- The featured image and an image inside the article must contain target keyword.
- Add keywords in the meta description and first 10% of paragraphs in the body.
- Keywords must be found towards the end of an article like final words, conclusion, etc.
- For better optimization, add at least 300+ words in image description page.
The best part about Wikipedia is that everything including images is organized. They have separate pages for image files describing the picture. This approach of Wikipedia can help us learn many things about authority. But images get stolen these days. So you should take care of that as well.
Fix Pre Existing Links
First of all, make your blog clean by removing all the dead, broken or expired links. Find 404 Not Found pages that receive traffic from search engines and 301 redirect them to a live page. Use Google Search Console to find such links. They are available under crawl errors >> not found.
Also, give value to images and optimize them for SEO. Let’s suppose that you took a photo of a cat. Its filename becomes something like ‘img0001.jpg’ or similar. Uploading such files will make its URL like this: example.com/uploads/img0001.jpg.
Such images will appear on results if anyone searched for “img001” but not for the main focus which is ‘cat’. So, rename file separated with dashes before uploading as it affects SEO and web address of the image.
Plus, take care of nofollow and dofollow links. Search engine bots do not crawl nofollow links and exclude them from showing on results. Every internal link that your site owns should be dofollow.
All external links that do not belong to you should be nofollow. The days of making every external links nofollow are behind now. You should have a combination of both do follow and no follow external links on your site. It proves that you have a well-researched content that links to authority sites.
By default, every link that you post is dofollow. You have to place rel=”nofollow” html tag to change a link into nofollow. Below is an example:
<a href="https://www.example.com" rel="nofollow"> An example of nofollow link</a>
It recommended that you should insert at least 2 internal and external links each on your blog posts. Internal links are the self-built backlinks of your site. But be careful not to make your site a link farm by placing too many links in the small area or paragraphs.
Use Proper HTML
Source code plays quite a good role to rank keyword without backlinks. If you are able to use HTML, it will make bots easier to identify the type of content and text written on it.
Never use heading tags to make text bold and large. They are made to identify titles. Instead, you can use html tags such as ‘strong’ to make text look bold. The vintage ‘b’ tag is now replaced by ‘strong’.
Reduce Bounce Rate
If anyone clicks through your page from Google and exits immediately, it will give hints that it is a bad page. Make sure that visitors stay for a longer period on your website, even if you receive an only one visitor per day.
Low bounce rate helps to boost rankings because it is a signal of quality content that every search engine wants to show. Some practical ways to engage the audience to reduce bounce rate are as follows :
- Make lengthy articles around 1500+ words.
- Be meaningful and do not write crappy lines for the sake of increasing words count. Be straight & get to the point.
- Write clean paragraphs.
- Add color combinations and custom fonts. I have used ‘Oxygen’ for my paragraphs.
- Insert only 3-4 lines in one paragraph.
- A single sentence should not contain more than 20 words to make it more readable.
- Highlight necessary text with a suitable background color.
- Use multimedia such as screenshots, photos, infographics, videos, audio, etc.
- Use a fast loading web server and template with optimized images to increase load speed.
- Avoid pop-ups.
- Use _blank tags to open external links in new tabs.
- Always select a responsive and mobile friendly design
Apply meta description
While meta tags might not be as much important but they add efforts by describing the content of your web pages to search engines. The optimal length of meta description for Google is 155 characters. Add the focus keyword in the first paragraph of your content and then paste it in the meta description.
Choose the Right Platform
Avoid free hosting and sub-domains. Such web hosting is for students and educational purpose only. They don’t have the capacity to store excessive traffic. They block some features of your site like XML-RPC or few IP addresses. It prevents a website from indexing on SERP to limit the number of visitor and bandwidth. Always use premium extensions like .com, .net, .org, etc.
Also, do not buy expired domains without knowing their potential. The domain age should be at least 1 year. Plus, organize the site content with similar keywords after buying the domain. Also, select phrases rather than a single keyword work in most scenario.
Talking about platforms, I have already mentioned names like KW Finder. LSI Graph, Backlink Watch, and Traffic Travis are a few other tools that you can use for keyword research.
You’re not going to skyrocket traffic with millions of views per day these techniques. Low search volume keywords are being targeted here but it is worth for a site with low domain authority. As time passes, your audience will grow and people will link to your website. As a result, your DA will increase. Hence, you can later target keywords that receive big search volumes. Keep in mind, always try to produce content that other website owners would like to link to.
Now, you’ve learned so much, there’s an extra tip that I want to give you before leaving. Do complete site audit. This will provide details every SEO problem present in your website that needs to be fixed immediately. There are plenty of tools for performing website audit, search them on Google.
In this way, we can rank without backlinks. What are your thoughts on increasing PageRank without link building? Do you have any other better strategies that work or want to ask some question? I would like to hear, so go ahead and give me a shout out in comments below.