It has become common knowledge that great content is integral to a business’ SEO content strategy. Even with a solid plan under your belt, however, backlinking is still a crucial consideration to be able to rank well.
The bigger question that many businesses ask is whether ranking high is still possible without focusing on getting backlinks. While it’s possible to rank well with no or few links, you must first figure out what exactly you’re ranking for, while employing the best SEO content strategies you can muster.
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Take note, however, that should you decide not to focus on it, your competition will still be aiming to get them—which is why backlinks can still have an important role to play in your business’ SEO strategy.
If you’re feeling up to the challenge, then here is a 6-step guide you can follow to improve your ranking without backlinks:
Identify your audience
Before focusing on how to optimize your content, make sure to identify who exactly your target audience is. There are some basic questions you can ask yourself, such as “Who would be most interested in your content?”, “What do they care about?”, “How old are they, and how do they talk?”, and “Who leaves comments and reviews on your blogs and social media profiles?”
This will be much easier to do if you already have some clients or readers, to begin with. But if you want a better grasp of your audience, then simply creating a Google Form and sharing it on your social media pages will do the trick. Make sure to focus on the benefits of your products and services, and to take note of the emotions your respondents mention.
Perform an in-depth keyword research
What keywords are you ranking for? Can you improve the content that already exists, or should you target new keywords? These are important questions to keep in mind when building your SEO content strategy. To help you out, you can also use the Google Search Console to find out some of the keywords you’re ranking for.
After you’ve narrowed down your list of keywords, determine which of these you can realistically rank well in. If you use the Ranking Analysis section of the Content Optimizer Tool and see a low content score or word count, then that’s a good indication to improve your content.
Analyze the search intent of your keywords
This is the key metric for creating your SEO strategy. Search intent and user experience tend to define a user’s experience on your website. For example, e-commerce websites will rank better for the keyword “2020 planners,” while review sites and blogs will rank much higher for the keyword “best 2020 planners.”
People will look for different types of content in those two keywords, which is why it’s important to take note of what your user is looking for when searching for certain keywords related to your website.
Optimize landing pages per keyword and per search intent
When optimizing your landing pages, it’s ideal to do it for a single main keyword and a single search intent per page. Sometimes very similar keywords can be combined, but make sure to follow the same search intent.
To do this, you can start by opening the Content Assistant section, pressing on the “Start Optimizing” button, and clicking on “Check Score.” The tool will analyze your content, score it, and suggest keywords for you to use in future blog posts. Take note, however, that you’ll need pre-existing content for this tool to work.
Use these keywords as naturally as possible or you may get a “Keyword Stuffing” warning.
Write content that stands out
The key to great content is to write about complex questions that are frequently posed in your field or even case studies in your industry. Having stand-out titles, headlines, and descriptions will help put your website ahead of your competitors. The catchier your titles are, then the better it is, especially because it will be easier to gain traction on social media.
Furthermore, it may come as a surprise, but long content actually tends to perform better in organic search results. When people search for something on the internet, more often than not, they’re already interested in it. This explains why SEM has a high conversion rate and why people freely spend time reading articles that dive deep into the subject.
Monitor your content’s performance
Using the Google Search Console is an easy and reliable way to monitor your organic search traffic. Monitoring this is important, as it tells you how successful your new strategy is. Google Analytics will also prove useful in monitoring other traffic sources, mainly because many people use other browsers. You may also use other tools to monitor your traffic—like our Rank Tracker, for example—in case you find Google Search Console’s data difficult to filter.
Google ranks fresh content much higher than old content, which is why it’s crucial to update your previously published articles from time to time. Aside from that, be sure to check the content’s score from time to time, to have some data on how your content is performing.
While it’s definitely possible to rank #1 without any backlinks, it highly depends on your criteria for it. Through proper preparation, planning, and constant effort, you can climb through the ranks of search engine results pages even with very few backlinks.