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Website Ranking Without Backlinks in 2020 – SEO Case Study (17 Methods)

High DA backlinks from an authority site are very crucial and can skyrocket the website in SERPs instantly.There are pages with very bad or no content that outperform the competition by using backlinks.

Good backlinks also reflect the reputation of the site and can bring referral traffic.

So, if backlinks are so powerful, why am I also writing this article?

Google's brain algorithm is rewarding with better search positions on sites that help users.Check this test screenshot:

Google Analytics Report December 2019

Google Analytics Report December 2019

As you can see, the site linked with the above analytics account received almost zero visitors in early November 2019 since it was a new blog.Then it started ranking and reached up to 12k users in 28 days, growing at a steady rate of 211.1%.

I've never done a manual link building or guest post. It happened naturally, without performing brute-force SEO methods.


  • How to achieve website ranking without backlinks in 2020
  • Discover low-competition niches
  • Add potential keywords using GSC
  • Fix keyword density
  • Doing SEO for images
  • Improve UX/UI and reduce bounce rate
  • Optimize internal connections
  • Improves clarity and readability
  • CTR improvement techniques
  • Keyword optimization in the body
  • Add LSIs and similar
  • Do not mix HTML
  • Work on the right platform
  • Use rich snippets
  • Request manual indexing
  • Targeting multiple search engines
  • Post content that generates links
  • SEO mistakes to avoid:

How to achieve website ranking without backlinks in 2020

Website ranking without backlinks

Website ranking without backlinks

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Discover low-competition niches

A low DA (Domain Authority) site can't beat huge established brands at the initial stage.We need to move from the micro level to the macro level to compete with bigger brands.So, work on extremely competitive niches.

You can reverse engineer using tools like Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMRush to find niches and keywords with low competition.Let's try Ahrefs.

First of all, go to Ahrefs and log in, it requires a paid subscription.Click "Keyword Explorer." Then enter the seed keyword in the search box.

Let's say I search for "android" as a seed keyword.It will show Keyword Difficulty, Search Volume, CPC and Global Volume.Normally, we ignore the KD shown by Ahrefs because it is not accurate.We use Moz to check the difficulty.Ahrefs is only used to check backlinks and search volume.

On the right, there is a list of the top 6 countries around the world that get the most searches each month.Update your SERP data to get new results.

keyword difficulty for Android

keyword difficulty for Android

As we can see, the difficulty of the keyword is 94 – super hard.Never imagine the placement of this keyword because this data is determined by the number of backlinks and the referring domain of the site.Ahrefs estimated that you'll need backlinks from 1,197 websites to rank in the top 10 for "Android."But this is not 100% true.Multiply this value by 10, which is 1197 * 10 = 11,970.In other words, you need 12K backlinks to rank this, which is expensive.

Then, click on the country listed at the top of the global volume.It's "Japan" in my case.But I will not target Japan as it contains a Japanese character that goes far beyond my understandings.The "United States" is in second place, so I'll click on it.Then select "All keyword ideas" in the left sidebar.Now you need to add a filter:

  • Word count – Min = 4
  • KD – Max = 0

You will now see a list of high-volume long-tail keywords with a '0' difficulty score.They are easy to classify without backlinks.I found this keyword: "Invalid Android SIM Card".

Invalid Android keyword difficulty for sim card

Invalid Android keyword difficulty for sim card

The difficulty of the keyword is 0 – smooth.Also, the search volume is 1.2k, which is excellent for startups.Ahrefs even told me that I need 0 backlinks for this.Once you start ranking for these simple keywords, you'll start getting natural backlinks and start choosing difficult keywords.

Add potential keywords using GSC

The best way to maximize your traffic is to optimize the keywords you're already ranking for.For this step, you must have access to Google Search Console with a verified property.

First of all, log in to your GSC account and upload ownership of the website you're trying to rank.In the left sidebar, click "Performance".

Google Search Console Performance Tab

Google Search Console Performance Tab

Now apply the time filter to the last 7 or 28 days.Scroll down and it will show you Queries, Pages, Countries, Devices, Search Appearance, and Dates.

Make sure you stay on the queries tab.These are the potential keywords you can rank for.At one time, collect search terms for a single page and create a list.We can sort it by Impressions, the total number of times your page has appeared in SERPs for that query and clicks.

A quicker way to find hot keywords for a specific page is to click the "+ NEW" button and enter the link.You'll discover a long list of potential keywords to target.

But the main trick behind this is to add content within the same page.After creating a list of these keywords, add header tags, h2 or h3 and increase the length of your article to add value to users.Google searches for individual phrases, finds the top-rated pages for them, and steals the right information.

In no case, stealing here does not aim to copy their text or words.It just means duplicating their concept and publishing it in your style.This is one of the smartest ways to easily rank multiple keywords.

Fix keyword density

Google always suggests writing for humans, not machines.It's 100% true, but at some point in SEO, we have to do it for both humans and search crawlers.Keyword density optimization simply provides a suggestion to search for crawlers on your content.

The fact is that there are multiple plugins like Yoast and Rank Math, to analyze the KW Density.But we're still shooting in the dark and speculating because at some point they lack clarity.

So, how to optimize keyword density?

Read more…

First of all, complete all the writing stuff without thinking about KW density and all other things.As a second step, go to Google and search for the term.Then open the first three or five pages at the top, all in a new tab.

Then open, copy the entire article from your competitor's page, and enter it into Word Counter.It will display the total amount of words used by the contestant in detail with characters, phrases and number of paragraphs.

Resource counter keyword density analysis reportResource counter keyword density analysis report
Resource counter keyword density analysis report

Next, your job is to make your content longer than your opponents.Remember, add only real facts and data, avoiding any kind of nonsense when adding words.

Next, the same tool will show you the most used words by your competitor and you will have to use the same words in your copy.But this tool is not accurate at some point.

Go to the free Keyword Density Analyzer tool and create an account there to get access, which costs nothing.

I want you to open this tool in two separate tabs, one for analyzing your content and the other for your competitor page.With the help of this, you can quickly correct keyword density and optimize your pages.

Remember to keep the density of your most important keywords higher than minimal.Also, make sure that the percentage does not exceed 4-5% to avoid over-optimization.The tool will provide you with every detail in an obvious way.

Doing SEO for images

Images are key components of the page and can bring a huge amount of organic traffic.

The factors that influence the SEO image are:

1. Relevance: The image you post must be relevant to the content.Do not post a photo of horse food on a page about airline tickets, and so on.

2. Location: There must be at least 3 optimized images on a page.One is the foreground image at the top, the second in the middle after 4-5 paragraphs, and the other before the last paragraph.

3. Alt-Text: Enter the most important focus keyword on the alt image attribute.A quick example is <img src="image source link to target file" alt="keyword focus here">.In WordPress, there's a built-in feature to add an alt tag.

4. Properties: Before uploading the image to the server, add the main keyword on the file name.With the help of Photoshop, edit its EXIF data.Then open "Properties" in Windows Explorer and add target search queries in the file details tags and comments.Below is a short video on how to edit EXIF data using Photoshop.

After that, changing image properties is vital.You need to add the appropriate title, assign it a subject and ratings, include relevant tags, and enter other details.

5. Quality: Quality images increase trust flow (TF) and decrease bounce rate (BR).They also increase user engagement, social shares, and session length for each user.

6.Uniqueness: Google loves unique things and rewards them.So, stop copying images from the internet and start creating your own instead.If you don't have the skills, hire a graphic designer or post to any freelance site.Even if you download a royalty-free image, edit it a bit, edit it, and then upload.

7. Size and size: A 640x360px image fits perfectly on the thumbnail when sharing on social media.This will prevent any part from being cropped and skipping the center of attraction.Also, always compress the file size and keep it under 50kb (check the video above to know how).This also benefits from the optimization of page loading speed.

8. Extension: The best extension so far is the JPG format in terms of small size.Most search engines also recommend the jpg extension.An exception is made for logos and icons where PNG type is a must.

Improve UX/UI and reduce bounce rate

A high bounce rate means that users are leaving your site quickly.There are many reasons, maybe they're not getting the right information as described in the title or your page doesn't load fast.

It gives Google a signal that people hate the content.That's why you'll never be on top because Google doesn't want their users to be unhappy.An exemption can be found on download sites.

A low bounce rate is a sign of quality content that every search engine loves.Some practical ways to reduce bounce rate are as follows:

  • Target article length up to over 1500 words.
  • Increase readability and copywriting skills.
  • Use text highlights and background color scheme.
  • Add multimedia.Memes work best these days.
  • Publish highly compressed and optimized images
  • Avoid pop-ups.
  • Select a responsive, mobile-friendly design
  • Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Research has shown that if a web page takes longer than 2 seconds to load, users are more likely to press the back button.As a result, Google will drop you at the bottom of the SERP.So, improve loading times to survive the leaderboards.

Optimize internal connections

First, clean up your website by removing all dead, broken, or expired links.Use plugins like '404 Solution' to redirect them to 301 on a live page.

You should have a combination of both dofollow and nofollow external links within an article.Each internal link should be double.

By default, links are automatically followed.The following is an example of how to change a link to "nofollow":

<a href="" rel="nofollow"> An example of a nofollow link < a nofollow>

But don't turn your website into a link farm by placing too many links in the small area.Also, don't repeat a link more than once in an article.If you've recently changed or moved a new web address, use canonical tags to let search crawlers know they've found a new home.

Improves clarity and readability

The article must be straight to the point and free of grammatical errors.Use Grammarly Chrome Extension to check and fix any English grammar errors.

Make essential keywords bold, italic, or underlined.Paragraphs should be clean, short and sweet.A good practice is to write only 4-5 sentences per paragraph.Write on Active Voice and be straight most of the time.

Paste your text into Hemingway Editor to find and fix correction errors.

Readers get bored if the same words are repeated twice in one paragraph.To avoid this, add synonyms using the free Power Thesaurus.You can divide the content into multiple sections and subheadings.

Also, use the right font (text) and color scheme in your design to make articles clear and make people read at first glance.

Other tips to increase readability are:

  • Keep sentences short.Do not add more than 20 words in a sentence.
  • Do not write more than 4 or 5 sentences in a paragraph.
  • Do not use strong or unnecessary words such as "personally", "seriously", etc.
  • Use simple words that don't require a dictionary to understand for visitors.
  • Keep everything clear and get straight to the point.

CTR improvement techniques

We can improve the meta title and description to increase click-through rate (CTR).Strengthen the exposure of our page and clicks on SERPs.

An excellent method to increase CTR is using Power Words.They are magnetic, emotional and convincing phrases that motivate people to click on our page.They create fear, anger, greed, trust, security, lust, good news and curiosity.We can also add numbers, year, parentheses, etc. To attract attention.

Warning: Do not use click baits and fake meta description or title.If they differ from the actual content, they will create spam and may penalize your website.

SEO techniques that work

SEO techniques that work

Keyword optimization in the body

Note: The content you create must be useful to both humans and machines.It must survive every kind of Google Algorithm update.

To tell Google what you want to target, you need to add the exact corresponding keyword to:

  1. Heading
  2. Url
  3. First paragraph
  4. A subtitle
  5. Image Alt attribute
  6. Before the last paragraph
  7. Body
  8. Meta title and description
  9. Exif image data

Add LSIs and similar

To improve our relevance, adding LSI keywords is a good practice."Latent semantic indexing" are identical sentences that have the same meaning but are written differently.They have a slight change in grammar, typo or spelling error.We can find LSI phrases using the following methods:

  • Autosuggest by Google and YouTube
  • "Related searches" at the bottom of a SERP page.
  • 'People also ask for' the section
  • Use LSI chart.

Do not mix HTML

Source code plays a unique role in classifying a keyword without backlinks.If you use the correct HTML, robots will be more comfortable identifying the type of content and text written on it.

Never use header tags to make text bold and wide.They are made to identify securities.Instead, apply HTML tags like "strong" to make the text bold.The vintage tag "b" is now replaced by the syntax "strong".

Also, insert HTML hreflang tags if you run a multilingual blog.

Work on the right platform

Avoid free hosting and subdomains.Such web hosting is for students and educational purposes only.They can't store excessive traffic.They block some features of your site such as XML-RPC or few IP addresses.Prevents a website from indexing on SERPs to limit the number of visitors and bandwidth.Always use premium extensions like .com, .net, .org, etc.

Also, don't buy expired domains without knowing their potential.The domain age should be at least 1 year.Also, organize the content of the site with similar words after purchasing the domain.Also, select long phrases instead of a single keyword in most scenarios.

Use rich snippets

Google recommends that all webmasters use rich snippets for higher rankings.If your page is a list, then split it into subheadings using header tags.

The TOC plug-in converts each header tag into a separate internal link.Create a navigation system to jump directly to a topic.It helps to show rich snippets in SERPs, making navigation easier.Use the Lucky WP Summary plugin to create table of contents without coding.

Breadcrumbs also create rich snippets and are produced with the help of SEO plugins such as Yoast or Rank Math.Your users go to SEO> Search Appearance> Breadcrumbs and enable there.Then copy the PHP code as indicated in the documentation and paste it into the message body before the content using the plugin above.Use Head, Footer, and Post Injection to insert code securely without interrupting your site.

Here's a video demonstration:

Request manual indexing

There is no risk in manually indexing an article.Use this technique if a newly published page doesn't appear in search results.

For this, you must have a Google Webmaster Tools account.Visit your search console account, select URL control, and paste the URL into the box.Click Request indexing.

Google Search Console Indexing RequestGoogle Search Console Indexing Request
Request manual indexing of the Google search console

Targeting multiple search engines

One of the common mistakes that most SEOs out there make is that they rely too much on Google.While it may be the largest search engine on the planet, it's too hard to compete.

The good news is that there are hundreds of popular search engines recently discovered with low competition that could bring in a lot of organic traffic.I'm saying to neglect Google, but if you're not, try all the other platforms.

What does multi-engine targeting mean?

It means that you have verified your website in every single webmaster tool and indexed your site.Also, read their guides and instructions to comply with their policies and improve your content.In addition, you must submit an XML sitemap to all search engines and check the meta robot tags (robots.txt) so that it does not block their crawlers.Also, whenever you post new content, manually retrieve the link with their bots.

Some of the major search engines other than Google are:

  • Bing
  • Yandex
  • Baidu
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Youtube
  • ASK .com
  • AOL .com
  • Facebook
  • Internet Archive, etc.

Post content that generates links

Posting great content and hoping that people will find it and link it to it is not a great SEO strategy.I have been asked several times how many items you need to succeed.

It doesn't matter how many pages you publish on your site if you don't promote them.A comprehensive, resourceful article generates more natural links than a random suggestion or the top 5/10 list page.

Instead, post in one of the following formats:

  • Helpful guides: They help you stand out and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.
  • Expanded list posts: Provide depth by adding additional actionable suggestions.If you check most of the publications out there, none of them are sharing tips that really work.They move people around things and make them buy their course, products or whatever it is.There's nothing wrong with promoting a class, but if the information is already out there, there's no point in paying.Therefore, when you write lists, you provide suggestions that people can actually make.This way you will get a large target from people who do not want to leave your site.
  • Experts: Posting curated insights from multiple experts in one place is a great way to build relationships 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.
  • Referral bait: It simply means giving your post or strategy a business name.For example, the x or y guide, the technique, etc.
  • Case study: Most people publish abstract theories, syntheses, and empty advice.Readers are tired of this and want to get actionable case studies.It's a great opportunity to stand out from your competitor if you're in an industry where most people post theory.Creating case studies is easy.All you have to show is what you did and how you did it.

Creating such pages may take some time to gather information and put it together.But they're much easier to attract referrals, social shares, and traffic.

The fact that people are lazy should be used for our benefits.They don't want to linger on every corner of the Internet to find information piece by piece.

SEO mistakes to avoid:

If you avoid the following SEO errors, rankings will be much easier:

  • Do not use meta title and description tags
  • Using spam backlinks from forums, comments, and pasting links into farms that no longer work.
  • Spending money on low-quality freelancers
  • Buy links – it's against Google's terms
  • Choose the wrong keywords, without spending much time.

Final words:

Produce content that other website owners would like to link to and do a full site audit to correct SEO technical errors.Also, if you have better strategies on website positioning without backlinks, you can share with me the comments below.Good SEO 🙂