This is a technical on-page SEO guide that will reveal my methods on how to rank without backlinks in 2021 for new site owners and beginners. A few years ago, search engine optimization was super easy. People quickly made it to the top of SERP using backlinks and empty pages. As time passed, the number of search results increased and plenty of algorithm updates were released. Then, a lot of websites went down due to the effect of the fluctuations and changes made by Google.
Still, Search engine rankings are not guaranteed by anybody. Google suggests following their policies and letting them do the rest. We can only fix technical errors and send improvements to Google’s database for crawling. However, the rankings are all up to Google itself.
- How to rank without backlinks Guide 2021
- 1. Know your competition
- 2. Become an Expert in your niche
- 3. Build an Authority
- 4. Increase Trust
- 5. Optimize Multimedia
- 6. Improve load time & performance
- 7. Reduce Bounce Rate
- 8. Improve CTR
- 9. Optimize For Rich Snippets
- 10. Do On-Page SEO Audit
- 11. Core Web Vitals
- Bonus Tip: Publish Link Generators
- Do Backlinks Still Matter?
- Final Verdict
The making of unnatural artificial backlinks is strictly prohibited in Google’s webmaster’s guidelines. It is impossible for a new website owner to get natural links if he is not an expert in promoting the blog. Therefore, I am writing this post about ways to rank without backlinks in 2021 using my top 10 tips and a bonus at the end.
Alright, let’s learn the actual strategies to rank a website without backlinks in google step by step.
1. Know your competition
Before doing SEO, we must discover the competition, because why not? It helps us to calculate the efforts and hard work required to achieve page rank. Start with the lowest competition keywords & once we start ranking for them, start targetting higher volume keywords.
Let’s say, I want to rank for the keyword ‘SEO’. It is going to be impossible for appearing on the first page because the term ‘SEO’ has over 649+ million pages competing with one trying to rank for the same keyword. In that scenario, factors like domain age, off-page works, backlinks, and more play a role.
There are sites like Moz, Wikipedia, and Google itself listed for SEO on the first page. Being a new site owner, they are giants and not a competitor for us. We cannot compete with them directly unless we spend huge money on ad campaigns, developers, and promotions.
Therefore, go for easier keywords with less competition. Use double quotes or the command “allintitle: + keyword” to find competition manually in google. We can discover easier to rank keywords using paid tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush.
2. Become an Expert in your niche
An expert is someone who has detailed knowledge, experience, and skills in a particular industry or sector. We need to prove that we are an expert and we can solve people’s need by delivering what they are searching for,
Suppose, you are a dentist running a website about dentistry. You and the ex-patients may know that you are an expert doctor but search engines won’t. Google says, send us the right data and information leaving everything else to the algorithm.
So, how do we send the right data to Google users & become an expert?
- Do keyword research and find needs.
- Discover the purpose of people searching for a keyword.
- Design the copy for absolute beginners keeping it simple.
- Deliver promised content.
3. Build an Authority
An authority is a creator of something new to engage with and a source of information for other websites. Make your brand look professional and comparable to the likes of huge sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, or whatever it is in your industry.
Don’t hesitate to put extra effort into publishing power pages that can be cited as a reference by other webmasters, including Wikipedia. Some other signals of an authority brand are the total number of social media engagements, shares, and mentions on news articles and press conferences.
4. Increase Trust
Trustworthiness comes with positive reviews, whether it is Google maps, play store, comments, or any other discussion panel. Be such loyal to your brand that there is a minimum number of negative talks about your product. Some methods to increase trust are:
- Getting more positive reviews on social media.
- Getting listed on Google, Bing, and Yahoo maps.
- Increasing website security and reducing vulnerabilities.
- External linking to strong references for critical points.
- Transparency in payment for e-commerce websites.
5. Optimize Multimedia
Multimedia plays a big role in ranking. We can add properly sized images, videos, audio, and infographics on our posts. Try to rank for image search at the same time. Some tips for image optimization are:
- Recommended image size: 640×360 px
- Manual compression to reduce size.
- Extension: JPEG/JPG
- Optimizing EXIF data and adding keywords
- Improving Image properties through File Manager and putting the necessary keywords.
- Properly rename the file before uploading it.
- Implementing image alt tags.
6. Improve load time & performance
Page loading speed indirectly affects the SEO of your website. Many studies confirm that if a page is extremely slow or takes more than 2-4 seconds to render completely, users press the back button. It’s a bad sign and could harm our rankings. Therefore, always try to strive for a better server and good user experience. Some tips to improve load time are:
- Use dedicated servers over shared servers.
- Install LiteSpeed cache or any other form of caching.
- Use Cloudflare as a proxy server for CDN.
- Enable Gzip compression.
- Minify script files like HTML, CSS, JS, and JQuery.
- Combine multiple files into one.
- Reduce redirect chains.
- Install a speed improvement plugin like WP Rocket for WordPress users.
7. Reduce Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is a metric found inside your Google Analytics Dashboard. The bounce rate is determined by the total number of users who stay and click on other pages on your website or leave immediately without opening any next page. A higher bounce rate means there’s a problem on your website and you need to fix a few issues.
There are multiple ways to reduce the bounce rate as described below.
- Right targetting the audience without misleading or click-baiting.
- Using proper keywords.
- Delivering promised content.
- Adding user-valued content.
- Improving readability and proofreading the copy.
- Use of multimedia like images and infographics.
- Proper layout, text highlight, and background color combination.
- Improve website load speed
8. Improve CTR
The Click-through rate, found inside the Google search console, is the percentage of people who click on your website after appearing on search results. Better CTR is a positive signal for improving rankings. These tips will help you improve CTR.
- Using the power and emotional words that grab attention.
- Do research about the problem of people. Write its solution in the meta description and first paragraph of the post.
- Add numbers and brackets in the title.
- If possible, include the current month in the title.
- Generic titles always perform better.
- Also, the more you improve your search position, the better CTR you can get.
However, always avoid click-baits and fake meta descriptions. If they differ from the actual content, it will create spam and might penalize your website. So, play it safe while improving the CTR without getting desperate.
9. Optimize For Rich Snippets
Google recommends every webmaster to use rich snippets for getting featured in the educational panel and rich results. If your page is a list, then divide it into sub-headings using header tags. The table of contents plugin converts every header tag into a separate internal link. It creates a navigation system to jump into a topic directly.
Schema Markup helps to show rich snippets in SERP, making navigation easy. Breadcrumbs also create rich snippets and are produced with the help of SEO plugins like Yoast or Rank Math. There are multiple star ratings available for software and food websites that you can use to show aggregate star ratings below your result in SERP.
10. Do On-Page SEO Audit
An on-page SEO audit is a process that involves finding technical errors that might be affecting SEO and improving them. Tools are SEO Powersuite or Screaming Frog SEO Spider are very useful for doing SEO Audits. Similarly, Moz and Ahrefs also provide their own service for scanning the website and finding potential SEO errors. This is a good approach because it will give search engines no reasons to let your website down.
11. Core Web Vitals
Google has officially recognized core web vitals as one of the upcoming top ranking factors which are directly related to page experience and load speed. You can access core web vitals details through Google Search Console. It is composed of terms such as LCP, FID, and CLS whose meanings are described below.
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): It is the total time taken to render the main content of a web page. Google recommends average LCP to remain under 2.5 seconds.
- FID (First Input Delay): It is the time taken by the user to interact on your site when they visit your site for the first time. The recommended FID by Google is less than 100 milliseconds.
- CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): CLS is a metric that indicates the change or shift in the proportion of viewport that was not caused as a result of user interaction. For example, the instability of the screen due to some pop-ups, interstitial ads, and different other factors. Google’s recommended CLS score is 0.1 or less.
You can also check most of the Core Web Vitals presence on your site using Google’s page speed insights tool.
Bonus Tip: Publish Link Generators
Also, you already know that publishing quality content is not the #1 SEO strategy because it has no exposure. Not only we have to optimize it, but we also have to develop the piece of writing in such a way that it generates links naturally. You cannot hope that people will automatically find your content and link it for no reason.
Link generators are the piece of content that is highly authoritative, resourceful, and attract bloggers towards linking to them. Such pages receive more natural links than a random tip or a top 5/10 listing page.
Instead, publish posts in any of the following formats:
- Go-To Guides: Helps you stand out and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.
- Expanded list posts: They provide depth by adding extra actionable tips. Most pages are sharing tips to make people buy their courses or products. But nobody is sharing tricks that actually work. So, publishing tips that people execute can get you a vast targeted audience.
- Expert Insights: Publishing curated insights from multiple experts in one place is a great way to build a relationship with influencers in your industry. Making connections is very important for a successful career, and this is one of the practical ways to do it.
- Reference Bait: This simply means to give your post or strategy a brand name. For example, the x or y guide, technique, etc.
- Case Studies: Most people are publishing abstract theory, summary, and hollow advice. The readers are tired of this and want to get actionable case studies. It’s an excellent opportunity to stand out from your competitor if you are in an industry where most people are publishing theory posts. It’s super easy to create case studies. All you’ve to show is what you did and how you did.
Creating such pages might take time to collect information and put them together. But they are much easier to attract links, social shares, and referral traffic. The fact that other bloggers are lazy should be used as an advantage. They don’t want to dwell upon every corner of the internet to find information piece by piece.
You might not believe this but backlinks extremely matter for ranking to this date. If the on-page SEO is excellent and the website is still not ranking, then there’s only one reason, which is a lack of off-page SEO work. The above tips are only for keywords that have low competition.
Natural backlinks are still necessary for SEO to rank for difficult keywords of high competition. In fact, they determine the influence of your blog or website on the online community. It is also good for uplifting your brand towards success.
Finally, these were the tips on how to rank without backlinks as technical website audits are very important. Now, it is your turn to explain and tell me your experience in the comments below. [C ya]
Author, Professional Blogger, Part-Time YouTuber, Engineer, Fitness Freak, and Combat Athlete in Boxing, MMA & Bodybuilding. Any criticisms and comments are welcome.