We hold listening to that content material is king. Write nice content material, content material right here, content material there. However how true is that assertion? Is there such a factor as an web optimization Content material Technique that you should use to rank #1 with zero backlinks?


SEO content strategy


Like most solutions in web optimization, this one can also be ‘it relies upon’.


Preserve studying and I’ll clarify precisely why.


Whilst you may not be capable of get to place one with none backlinks for a extremely aggressive key phrase, you’ll positively be capable of improve your rankings in Google simply by optimizing your content material and having in place a terrific web optimization content material technique. 


By the tip of this weblog publish, you’ll have a greater understanding of how Google treats hyperlinks and content material and also you’ll get the web optimization Content material Technique that may assist rank #1 on Google with zero backlinks.


  1. Can I Actually Rank #1 with Zero Hyperlinks?
  2. Why Is Google Pushing Extra Weight to the Content material Rating Issue?
  3. Step-by-step web optimization Content material Technique to Rank #1 with Zero Hyperlinks
    1. Establish Your Main Viewers and Their Ache Factors
    2. Carry out an In-depth Key phrase Analysis & Audit
    3. Make a Checklist of the Key phrases You Can Realistically Dominate
    4. Analyze the Search Intent of Your Key phrases
    5. Optimize Touchdown Pages / Per Key phrase & Per Search Intent
    6. Write Content material That Stands Out and Is Share Worthy
    7. Launch & Share Your Content material with Key Influencers
    8. Monitor How Your Content material Is Performing
    9. Replace Your Content material As soon as in a Whereas
  4. Conclusion


1. Can I Actually Rank #1 with Zero Hyperlinks?

Not way back we carried out plenty of searches for pharma, playing and skincare key phrases, in a nutshell on extremely aggressive key phrases and niches. 


Our wager was to determine if there are pages inside these niches rating primarily based on prime quality content material solely. 


As you’ll be able to see within the screenshot under taken from cognitiveSEO’s Content material Optimizer, you’ll be able to see that there are a lot of pages with no or just some hyperlinks however extremely optimized content material, that rank very well. 

high content no links example

high content no links example


After all, we can not reply to this query with a easy sure or no, but, with Google giving a lot weight to content material these days, we’d say {that a} good web optimization content material technique can assist you out large time.


After all, it relies upon primarily based on what you imply by rankings and it is dependent upon what you imply by hyperlinks.


For instance, somebody may declare they rank with none hyperlinks, however what are they rating for?


Are they rating for a excessive competitors, excessive search quantity key phrase, or a protracted tail, low competitors and low search quantity one?


A while in the past, Steven Kang began a contest within the web optimization Indicators Fb Group, with a prize pool of $1000, to whoever might discover or pinpoint an internet site that ranked #1 on Google with no backlinks.



Nonetheless, the principles for this contest have been very particular:


  1. There will be no exterior backlinks current. Any single exterior backlink to the area found will disqualify the location.
  2. The location can have inner hyperlinks since some declare inner linking shouldn’t rely for such declare.
  3. The location should be written in English.


One yr after, the competition remains to be accessible. No one has received it but.


SEO Contest No Links

SEO Contest No Links


By the seems to be of it… evidently it’s troublesome to rank on Google with out backlinks.


Nonetheless, in a single case an internet site was eradicated and it had backlinks solely from Social Media platforms corresponding to Fb, Twitter and Pinterest.


No winner

No winner


Whereas these are certainly backlinks, nearly each web site has them they usually don’t move as a lot worth as a contextual hyperlink from a top quality, related web site.


Different contestants have stated that the competition shouldn’t be truthful, as they didn’t purchase or construct the hyperlinks, however they merely got here naturally, simply as Google desires.


Nonetheless… they’re nonetheless hyperlinks, aren’t they?


The competition subsequently excludes all hyperlinks, not solely bought, constructed or purchased ones. Contemplating this, Social Media can also be excluded and doubtless some other type of on-line promotion.


So relating to rating with zero hyperlinks… Are you speaking about hyperlinks to that particular internet web page, or hyperlinks to all the area?


Are you speaking a couple of made-up key phrase with no search quantity in anyway, or a couple of worthwhile, aggressive, extremely looked for key phrase with a terrific market worth?


In the event you’re making an attempt to rank for a really aggressive key phrase, the place the top-ranking domains have hundreds of backlinks pointing to them… powerful luck!


The reality is that beside a stable web optimization content material technique, hyperlinks nonetheless matter and in case your competitors is constructing, shopping for or acquiring backlinks naturally, you’ll have a troublesome time rating #1 with zero backlinks.


But when the competitors doesn’t have many backlinks both, it’s potential to outrank them, even with out hyperlinks, in some instances.


There are numerous examples of internet sites which outrank their competitors with fewer backlinks.


For instance, we’re outranking Moz for the key phrase “does meta description have an effect on search engine optimisation” though we solely have 23 referring domains, whereas Moz’s web page has over 1500.


For one more related phrase, “does meta description matter”, one other web site is rating very effectively, with just one referring area.


Nonetheless, in each instances the outcomes are a solution field. In the event you bear in mind, a while in the past you could possibly have the reply field place and one other spot. 


Fortunately, when Google modified this and solely allow you to hold one or the opposite, they allow us to have the reply field.


Answer Box SEO

Answer Box SEO


These are fairly particular key phrases and for probably the most aggressive phrase, “meta description”, Moz nonetheless dominates the highest spot.


Rating with just some backlinks to an internet web page is feasible, you probably have the proper content material.


Nevertheless it’s in all probability essential to have no less than some backlinks pointing to your area.


The web doesn’t actually work effectively with out hyperlinks. Engines like google use hyperlinks to crawl all the internet.


It’s additionally true that with none backlinks pointing to your area, Google can have a tough time crawling and indexing your web site.


Nonetheless, take into account that backlinks on their very own received’t do very a lot if the content material doesn’t fulfill the customers. They’ll even do hurt.


After the Penguin updates, it was fairly clear Google was set to battle again in opposition to hyperlink spam.


Perhaps the highest spot isn’t achievable with completely zero hyperlinks, however you don’t want the highest spot to extend your search visitors.


You’ll be able to enormously enhance rankings in Google just by optimizing your content material even for aggressive, excessive search quantity key phrases.


Many different SEOs and content material entrepreneurs have improved their rankings following this OnPage web optimization approach.


In the event you stick round, I’ll present you precisely how you are able to do it, too.


However first, let’s see why Google is pushing away from backlinks and extra in the direction of content material.


2. Why Is Google Pushing Extra Weight to the Content material Rating Issue?


Again in 2017, throughout our quite a few assessments, we discovered a giant correlation between the Content material Efficiency rating we had developed and rankings.


We repeated the check after 2 years, in 2019 and it appeared that content material is much more essential now.

The algorithm we use is advanced, utilizing a mixture of AI applied sciences and issues corresponding to LSI and Flesch–Kincaid to find out what makes a chunk of content material rank excessive.

Makes an attempt to take away backlinks from the algorithms have been made earlier than.


Why? Principally due to spam. So long as backlinks are a rating sign, folks will attempt to abuse them.


In 2013, Yandex, the Russian search engine, eliminated backlinks from their algorithm in an try to cease hyperlink spam.


Though it solely took impact within the Moscow native search outcomes and just for business queries, the change was brief lived, as they introduced hyperlinks again solely a yr after.


Officers at Yandex said that the change was “fairly profitable technologically”, however folks nonetheless purchased hyperlinks and spammed the online regardless, in order that they determined to carry them again.


Nonetheless, they introduced them again with a considerable change: The hyperlinks wouldn’t solely be a optimistic rating sign, but in addition a unfavorable one, identical to with Google’s Penguin replace.


Might or not it’s that the officers at Yandex will not be keen to confess their failure? Perhaps, who is aware of.


But when it was a hit, couldn’t they only use spammy hyperlinks as a unfavorable sign solely? With out utilizing different hyperlinks as a optimistic one?


Google has additionally examined rankings with out backlinks of their algorithm.



Nonetheless, they got here to the conclusion that the outcomes look significantly better when backlinks are a rating sign.


Sadly, there are different points with backlinks aside from shopping for them.


Check out Adverse web optimization, for instance. Google claims they will spot and ignore a lot of these hyperlinks with Penguin 4.0, however is it actually potential?


I’m not satisfied. I’ve seen many instances through which web sites have a drop in visitors instantly after an unnatural spike in backlinks clearly constructed by others.


You’d assume that folks participating in Adverse web optimization will attempt to mimic hyperlink constructing… however that may additionally lead to optimistic outcomes for the goal.


So, these assaults are normally very apparent. Pure spam. And Google nonetheless penalized the location.


So, it’s apparent they’ve a tough time coping with all this hyperlink buying and selling and spam.


This, mixed with the fixed effort from SEOs to acquire backlinks in unnatural methods, has pushed Google into desirous to again away from backlinks.


Backlinks are one thing you don’t have a lot management over. But, an web optimization content material technique you’ll be able to management.


With algorithm updates corresponding to Penguin (which penalizes spammy hyperlinks) and Panda (which penalizes spammy content material), Google reveals us it’s placing extra weight on content material.



However though serps don’t like them, it looks as if hyperlinks are nonetheless going to stay round for some time, as Matt Cutts states within the video above.


Nonetheless, with AI software program that may additionally write content material like people getting higher and higher day by day…


It’s arduous to inform the place this can go.


We’d have the identical subject as with hyperlinks, with AI written web sites consistently making an attempt to compete to the highest.


It will be a battle of the algorithms… one through which customers received’t have a say.


We might carry the regulation into the equation, however that may spark a complete new lot of larger and extra advanced points.


Nonetheless, I might see how sooner or later, the regulation would require you to specify that the content material is written by a robotic and never by a human.


Whereas AI written content material can be utilized for good, it can be used for hurt, from the comparatively innocent blackhat SEOs to the extremely dangerous faux information shops.



We’ve recognized for a very long time that content material was an essential rating issue, however now we additionally wished to know why.


Google was transferring away from backlinks (our device and advertising technique was largely constructed round backlinks) so investing on this was in our personal curiosity.


So let’s check out how precisely you’ll be able to enhance your rankings in Google with none hyperlink constructing, solely by optimizing your content material.


3. The Step-by-Step web optimization Content material Technique to Rank #1 with No Hyperlinks


OK. Now you understand that it’s potential to rank with out hyperlinks in some conditions and likewise why Google places increasingly more weight on the content material facet of web optimization.


You additionally know that backlinks are one thing you don’t have full management over.


However how precisely do you rank with out hyperlinks? What step-by-step web optimization content material technique are you able to apply to succeed?


Listed here are the steps you must observe to have an opportunity on rating with out hyperlinks.


3.1. Establish your Main Viewers and Their Ache Factors


The primary assume it is best to do earlier than writing something is figuring out your target market.


You can begin with what’s prime of thoughts and construct from there.


Who can be all for your content material and how are you going to make your content material attraction to them?


Who’re your purchasers? How outdated are they? Who’re their mates? The place do they hold? How do they speak?


It’s simpler to do that when you have already got some purchasers or readers. Simply take a look at your greatest purchasers and readers to this point.


Who’s shopping for from you? Who’s reviewing on merchandise? Who’s commenting in your weblog and social media profiles?


In the event you’re simply beginning out and don’t know… then contemplate doing a market analysis.


I do know it sounds advanced, however you can begin by merely making a Google Type and sharing it on a few Fb Teams, asking for assist.


Positive, it’s not a lot, nevertheless it’s higher than nothing.


Target Audience SEO

Target Audience SEO


Don’t concentrate on options together with your product however on advantages. Don’t assume by way of wants however by way of desires. Need is stronger than want.


And don’t search solutions out of your analysis however emotions and feelings which you’ll then use to persuade them to purchase.


That’s what you need to finally deal with and that’s what’s going to get you gross sales / engagement.


This step might be extra helpful for merchandise and business key phrases and fewer for informational queries.


Nonetheless, you’ll be able to nonetheless deal with issues such because the tone of voice to your viewers.


It’s also possible to attempt to create a persona of your preferrred buyer / reader and attempt to write as in case you have been talking on to that particular person.


3.2. Carry out an In-depth Key phrase Analysis & Audit


The actually essential step when making an attempt to optimize content material is at all times key phrase analysis.


What are you focusing on now?


You should utilize the Google Search Console to simply decide the key phrase you’re already rating for.


Search Console Queries

Search Console Queries


Are you able to enhance this current content material? Or do you have to goal new key phrases? These are questions it is best to ask your self when placing collectively your web optimization content material technique. 


It’s also possible to use the CognitiveSEO Key phrase Explorer to establish new matters you’ll be able to goal.


Keyword Tool for SEO to Rank Wihtout Backlinks

Keyword Tool for SEO to Rank Wihtout Backlinks


When you’re carried out, map out these key phrases into an excel file and kind them out by relevance and significance.


3.3. Make a Checklist of the Key phrases You Can Realistically Dominate


Now comes the harder half.


For which of these key phrases are you able to realistically rank higher?


After you’ve decided an inventory of key phrases you’ll go after, you’ve to try two issues:


Content material Efficiency and Area Efficiency.


You should utilize the Rating Evaluation part of the Content material Optimizer Device.


SEO Content Strategy to Rank Without Links

SEO Content Strategy to Rank Without Links


Whereas the Content material Efficiency is one thing that we now have management over and can enhance in a future step, backlinks aren’t one thing we now have that a lot management over.


So that you need to see web sites with as few referring domains as potential in comparison with your web site (which you’ll test with the Website Explorer).


After all, in case you see a decrease content material rating and/or phrase rely, these are additionally good indicators that will probably be simpler to enhance your content material.


3.4. Analyze the Search Intent of Your Key phrases


Search intent and person expertise are essential. It’s the important thing metric in 2020 and onward.


In the event you don’t match the search intent effectively, customers can have a foul expertise in your web site.


The most effective examples of search intent is transactional vs. informational.


Given the key phrase “males’s trainers”, eCommerce web sites will are likely to rank higher.


Nonetheless, for a key phrase corresponding to “greatest trainers for males”, evaluations and purchaser’s guides will are likely to rank higher.


User Intent SEO

User Intent SEO

Individuals are merely on the lookout for various kinds of content material on every of these key phrases.


What you finally need to determine is what your person is on the lookout for when trying to find a specific question and accessing your web site.


For this weblog publish I do know that there are two potential intents which are very intently associated to 1 one other: “are you able to rank with zero backlinks” & “how you can do it”. My article merely appeals to these wants.


Realizing my viewers generally, I do know that I need to present proof for the primary group, and step-by-step tutorials for the second.


A great way of analyzing search intent is to take a look at what’s already rating effectively.


You understand they’re already doing one thing effectively, since they’re rating.


In the event you can spot some gaps you’ll be able to fill, corresponding to questions requested within the feedback that stay unanswered within the content material itself, that’s even higher.


Do you know?


The Content material Optimizer & Key phrase Device from cognitiveSEO robotically classifies the search intent for you. 

You simply must kind within the key phrase you have an interest in optimizing for, and the device does many of the job for you. The device performs key phrase analysis, it is going to let you know what’s the person search intent, how well-liked is that key phrase, how troublesome it’s to rank on it, and cream of the crop: what it takes to rank on that key phrase, that means, what are the precise key phrases and hyperlinks that boosted that web page within the prime of the search outcomes. 


user search intent cognitiveseo

user search intent cognitiveseo


3.5. Optimize Touchdown Pages / Per Key phrase & Per Search Intent


On with the precise optimization. Don’t fear, it’s in all probability the simplest step.


First, contemplate that it’s at all times greatest to optimize for a single primary key phrase and a single search intent per web page.


You’ll be able to generally mix very related key phrases, however strive as a lot as potential to stay to the identical search intent.


Bear in mind, if the search engine outcomes are related for these key phrases, they in all probability have an analogous search intent as effectively.


You must take into account that writing naturally is one of the best ways to go.


Open the Content material Assistant part and hit Begin Optimizing.


It’s simpler to work on one thing you’ve already written, however you can too begin from scratch. Nonetheless, you’ll have to jot down no less than a title for the device to work.


It’s also possible to import a URL in case your content material is already reside.


Then, simply click on Examine Rating, the device will analyze your content material, let you know the rating and advocate you some key phrase concepts.


SEO content strategy example

SEO content strategy example


The concept is so as to add these key phrases into your weblog publish. Nonetheless, don’t simply throw them in, or else you’ll find yourself with a Key phrase Stuffing warning.


The key phrases with dots on their left are crucial ones. You have to be utilizing them a number of instances all through your content material.


The concept is to think about these key phrases as subtopics or areas of curiosity that it is best to cowl in your content material.


If a key phrase that the device recommends doesn’t appear to suit or has grammar errors in it, don’t pressure it in.


You don’t want a 100% rating. The device will pinpoint how a lot you must attain.


Nonetheless, you can too strive doing it in phases. First, optimize for just a few factors above the common, then replace your content material after just a few weeks to the beneficial rating.


3.6. Write Content material That Stands Out and Is Share Worthy


An effective way to do that is to jot down content material about advanced questions which are fairly often requested in your business, or case research.


For instance, this text about meta descriptions have an effect on web optimization or not has been linked to a number of instances by different web optimization blogs making an attempt to make a fast level with out entering into an excessive amount of element.


Additionally, be sure you have nice Titles, Headlines and Descriptions.


Optimize your titles with key phrases for web optimization, but in addition hold them catchy for Social Media.


You should utilize the Open Graph property to set totally different titles for web optimization and Social Media


Lengthy content material tends to carry out higher in natural search outcomes.


When folks seek for one thing, you already know they’re all for it. That’s why SEM has such a excessive conversion charge and other people spend time studying in depth articles.


You’ll be able to take a look at the highest rating search outcomes to your key phrase within the Rating Evaluation part of our Content material Optimizer Device.


SEO Content Strategy to Rank Without Links

SEO Content Strategy to Rank Without Links


For this specific key phrase, you’ll be able to see that the highest rating content material is between 2500 and 5000 phrases on common, though we are able to even see articles with solely 1800 phrases in prime 10.


Normally, it’s a good suggestion to go for no less than the highest 10 common plus just a few hundred phrases, simply to make sure. Nevertheless it’s not likely about amount, it’s about high quality.


Nonetheless, you’ll in all probability not be capable of match all of the depth required for this specific subject in simply 200 phrases, no less than in comparison with the opponents.


Nonetheless, take this content material size factor with a grain of salt. Whereas lengthy kind content material performs higher in search, shorter content material may carry out higher on social media.


On Social Media, individuals are looking various things and not likely on the lookout for a specific subject, so they could favor issues straight and to the purpose.


3.7. Launch & Share Your Content material with Key Influencers


When you’ve written and revealed your content material, it’s time to put it on the market. This ought to be an essential a part of your web optimization content material technique.


We made a research just a few years in the past on climate social indicators affect rankings and evidently a powerful presence on social networks is correlated with higher rankings.





Upon getting your content material reside, it’s time to share it with the suitable influencers.


Who’re these influencers? Effectively, individuals who have a following which matches your target market.


In the event that they don’t hear about your content material… they will’t share it or speak about it.


It’s additionally a good suggestion that the influencers themselves have an interest or resonate within the subject and the best way you current it.


One of many much more superior web optimization methods is to plan your content material forward.


And by this I don’t imply having an editorial calendar, however really focusing on influencers beforehand, analyzing them and writing one thing that you just already know they are going to be keen to share.


You’ll must be persuasive and it’s additionally a good suggestion to construct belief with them beforehand, by sharing their content material and commenting on it or participating with them.


I do know it sounds evil and manipulative and you may be in case your sole curiosity is barely to get what you need, however being real and actually providing worth in alternate normally works greatest.


I can recall the simplest response I’ve ever received. It was from an individual named Reiner, which jogged my memory of a personality within the anime present Assault on Titan.


Personal connection outreach

Personal connection outreach


Fortunately, he did see the anime, so we how now had a private connection and he was keen to provide me a hand.


Successful Outreach

Successful Outreach


One other easy-to-implement approach is to ask for quotes from specialists in your business or take interviews.


Two examples are my article about web optimization errors and my colleague Andreea’s article about web optimization suggestions from 22 specialists.


Whereas we provided plenty of worth, it’s true that we additionally used the visitors’ fame to leverage our content material’s attain.


After all, it’s not assured to work, however most of them will gladly share the content material on their social profiles or blogs.


To search out influencers, you should use a device corresponding to Model Mentions.


You’ll be able to spy in your opponents and see which influencers have talked about their content material.


How to monitor influencers to promote content

How to monitor influencers to promote content


Then, have interaction with them and attempt to construct relationships.


3.8. Monitor How Your Content material Is Performing


You must be sure you’re in a position to monitor your progress if you wish to understand how profitable your modifications have been.


The Google Search Console is an effective way of monitoring natural search visitors and positions.


Nonetheless, the info there may generally be just a little complicated and arduous to filter.


You may also be all for a 3rd occasion device, corresponding to our Rank Tracker.


Rank Tracker

Rank Tracker


Furthermore, not all visitors comes from Google, so you may additionally need a device corresponding to Google Analytics to watch different visitors sources.


It’s also possible to strive a device corresponding to Model Mentions to watch mentions about your model and content material on Social Media and the web.


To exactly monitor the effectiveness of this OnPage web optimization approach, be sure you don’t make some other main modifications to the web site.


3.9. Replace Your Content material As soon as in a Whereas


Google loves recent content material. That’s why updating it once in a while ought to be a part of your web optimization content material technique.


Our methodology works very well for outdated content material as effectively, so don’t simply concentrate on new content material.


We’ve improved lots of our outdated weblog posts utilizing the Content material Optimizer Device.


In truth, we did it on a mass scale, with fairly good outcomes.


Though among the articles did lose a few rankings as an alternative of gaining them, the general course of was a hit, each by way of rankings and visitors.


Search visibility increase

Search visibility increase


One of many articles we’ve consistently up to date over the time is our Google Easter Eggs article, which is one among our prime performing piece of content material, though indirectly associated to web optimization. 


It’s a good suggestion to test the content material’s rating once in a while to see if it’s nonetheless in good condition.


The Content material Efficiency rating is relative. Which means that as different articles enhance, your rating may drop over time.


Nonetheless, even when the rating remains to be actually good, don’t attempt to trick Google by merely altering the date to make your content material look recent.


It’s greatest in case you really evaluation the content material and make just a few enhancements / modifications.




To get excessive ranks, the main target shouldn’t be on backlinks, however on a stable web optimization content material technique. Get your content material below the proper folks’s eyes, and also you’ll see the hyperlinks pouring in.


Making use of this web optimization content material technique can assist you simply rank with out going via the effort of acquiring hyperlinks. Assault the content material creation and promotion from the proper angle and backlinks will come naturally.


The reality is, you don’t want backlinks for each article. You simply want a handful of articles that carry within the hyperlinks to develop the authority of your area.


Then you should use these hyperlinks to move that authority to all of your articles, making it simpler to rank in every single place.


So, tell us within the feedback part under: Do you contemplate it’s potential to rank a web page with none backlinks? Have you ever each managed to rank one on a good search quantity key phrase? Have you learnt any content material entrepreneurs in any respect in a position to rank web sites on Google with out backlinks? What different advertising technique have you ever used to rank your content material besides constructing hyperlinks?


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