How My Article Ranked at #2 with “NO Back Links” at All

When I started blogging the first question came to my mind was

Is it possible to rank in top search results with “NO” back links at all? 

Because I was new in this space and had no name, authority or any back links at all. 
But after a few months when my articles started ranking in top search results then I found out that

Yes, It is possible to rank at top positions with no authority or back links

Source: Hostpoint

From last penguin update, Google has reduced the value of back links in overall SEO, and links are not the top ranking factor anymore. Here we are sharing some tips to help rank your article in top search results.


SEO is totally changed if you compare it with 2-3 years back, So if you are still doing only link building to achieve higher rankings and not focusing on other things then you have to change this.

Today, SEO is all about content, but writing high quality content is not enough, It should rank in top search results so that users can read it. So if you are writing high quality and informative content, but still not ranking well, then follow below tips and rank your content in top search results.


Example: How my article is ranking at position 2 from last 6 months with “NO” backlinks

Search Query : seo audit checklist 2013
Keyword difficulty : 51% ( MOZ keyword difficulty tool )
Ranking URL : http://www.techseotricks.com/2013/09/infographic-seo-audit-checklist-2013.html

how my article rank in top search results with no back links - techseotricks
While, if you check this url in majestic SEO, It will give you 0 back links for this url.
majestic seo showing no back links for my top rank article - techseotricks

I know your first question is “How my article is ranking on position 2 with 0 back links?”, Well here I am sharing some tips I use in my articles to rank them in top search results.

# Do Proper Keyword Research

Many webmasters suggests that keyword research is not very helpful, but they are wrong. If it is done smartly, then it definitely makes an impact.


If you are writing content around any theme and targeting keywords different from that theme then you are targeting wrong audience group. In that case, whenever a user comes to your website, they’ll find your content irrelevant and will exit.

Choosing right keywords for your article niche with enough search volume and a moderate competition is really important to make your article rank in top search results, so that your target audience can find your article and visit your website, which results in increase in user engagement.

Follow these keyword research approach:


Categorize your content into themes and find keywords using keyword planner tool or any other tool. Try long tail keywords more. It brings quality traffic and covers many short 1-2 word keywords.

Categorize keywords according to search volume, competition & difficulty factors.

Divide your keywords into themes according to your content, and map those keywords onto pages according to themes.

# On-Page Optimization is the Key

Keyword Rich Titles


A good and eye-catching title is always the key for any user to click on search results. 

Always write titles with keeping users in your mind i.e. what users will type in search to find your article. 

For example: If you are writing about 50 pound weight loss than use title like

“How to loss 50 pound weight in 30 days” rather than using “50 pound weight loss tips”
Try to start your articles with
“How to – Tutorials”,
“Best”
“Tricks”
“Checklists”
“Tips”
“Research”
“Comprehensive”
“Guide” etc.
kind of words in titles, these words helps increasing CTR.

Use your target keywords in your title as Google shows the matched words from a query in bold font in search results.

Try to insert your target keywords in starting or in first 45-50 characters of title as Google shows only 55-60 characters in search results (Previously it was showing 65-70 characters in the title, but Google recently updated search results display design, so font has become bigger than before so ideal length for the title is now reduced to 55-60 characters).

Checkout this article by MOZ on Title Preview tool & how the title appears in search results after the search display update .

Use Keywords in Heading Tags


Heading tags are always a very important part of any webpage, whenever the user enters any query in search engine, Google first look into the title of page, then it comes to the next level and look into the heading tags.

Make your paragraph headings or any other headings on your page as h1 or h2 heading, try using targeted keywords in your heading tags as it really helps in improving rankings.

Include target keywords in URL’s


Include target keywords in your article urls i.e. urls are displayed in search results, words matching to the query in url are shown in bold fonts.

For example in this post from my blog, the title is “Stop Doing Guest Blogging – Saying Matt Cutts from Google” then use all the prime keywords in url like below.


Image Alt Tags for Images


Google doesn’t understand the language of images, So you need to tell Google what your images are about.

Image Alt tags are required to describe your image to Google, use your keywords and brand name in image Alt tags as it helps your blog’s images to appear in image search results.


Proper Internal Linking


Do you know internal linking can boost your rankings, But only if it is done in a proper manner. Internal linking is important and helpful for users to explore more articles from your blog. It can also help to improve your search rankings.

Follow these steps of link building:


Find out the top page ( page with the highest power in terms of links ) of your website, basically home page is the top most page for most of the websites. Try to give a link from the top page of your website to the article you want to rank using rich keyword anchor text.

You can use exact match anchor text for internal linking, and make sure all internal links are do-follow (passing link juice).


But when we talk about external link building, It is recommended in Google link schemes to not use exact match anchor text. So use anchor text variation for building external links to make a good link profile.


Give correct and useful reference of articles and don’t do excess internal linking as it looks bad. It is recommended to use maximum 100 links on a page.

# Write Long In-depth Articles

Content is the king and there are so many possibilities for you to rank well if you are writing high quality, unique content with high word count i.e. long articles with in-depth information. In lengthy articles, there are more possibilities of ranking for multiple keywords.

In a study, serpIQ analyzed top 10 search results for more than 20000 search queries and derived the following relation in content length and rankings.
how word count affect search rankings
Imagecredit : Quicksprout

As you can see the article ranking at #1 has average 2416 number of words and article at #10 has 2032 words, which simply indicates that Google preferred content rich sites more.
Read this wonderful article by Neil Patel on quicksprout about how content helps in rankings and conversions.


# Implement Google Authorship for your Website

Google authorship has no direct impact on search rankings, but it helps in getting more CTR. If you are a high authority author than definitely it is going to improve CTR for your website.

Another advantage of authorship is, if user searching on web is signed in to Google and is also your follower on Google+, then there are more possibilities for your website to appear high in personalized search results.

Read : How to implement Google authorship for your website


How to make authorship more effective:

Use a high quality head-shot of your real photo as your profile picture.
Use high contrast background to make your picture more effective

Use this tool from Google to check authorship working for you or not.



# Improve Your Website Loading Speed

If your website is having a good loading speed than it increase user satisfaction, as well as it helps in improving your rankings in search results as website speed is one of the search engine ranking factor, as Google has confirmed this this on their webmaster central blog.


Actual page load speed is less important than Time to First Byte ( TTFB ), TTFB is the amount of time it takes a server to first respond to a request.
how page load time affect search rankings
Imagesource : MOZ.com
Page speed is more important for mobile devices as number of people searching queries from mobile is getting very high.

“Optimizing a page’s loading time on smartphones is particularly important given the characteristics of mobile data networks smartphones are connected to.”

– Google Developers 

Page speed checking tool from Google: PageSpeed Insights
Think from your own experience, how it feels when you are stuck on a page not opening up in your mobile device or a desktop device.

Things to keep in mind while page design:

If you are using the sidebar in your page, then place body content first, then sidebar content in html coding. When your content section comes first in your HTML, it’ll load first and user will be able to see the content first on your page.


Use less javascripts & CSS on your pages, as it prevents the browser to load your webpage and increases page load time.
Here we are sharing some tips on how to decrease page load time.

# More content above the fold

above the fold-below the fold-content placement
Imagesource : http://www.feedthebot.com/

Google is completely focused on better user experience, so Google may considers websites showing multiple ads above the fold, blocking actual content to appear in front of users as low quality sites.

From user point of view, it is quite obvious that if a user visit your website and there are only ads appearing on website and actual content is hidden somewhere below the fold, than it does not provide a good user experience, and users prefer to go to any other page or website. 

Don’t place too many ads on pages, whether it is Adsense ads, other ad network or affiliate ads, as it reduces the page quality and Google don’t like ad heavy pages.

Recently in Feb 2014, Google updated their page layout algorithm, And sites showing too many ads may be penalized by this update from Google.

# Regularly Refresh your Website Content

Google prefers websites regularly updating their content above in search results. Regular refreshing of content, i.e. updating new data stats, information and values are important if you are trying to rank for real time result queries. 

If you have a website about movie show times, then it requires regular update to make it rank high in search results.

Here on my website, we wrote this article in December, 2013 and updated this article on 28 February 2014, and noticed an improvement in rankings in March 2014.
blog article impressions in search results for first 20 days in february
For this URL there are 1042 impressions with 112 clicks in February, 2014 for first 20 days   (1 Feb-20 Feb)



blog article impressions in search results for first 20 days in march
For the same url as above there are 3063 impressions with 201 clicks in March, 2014 for first 20 days ( 1March-20 March)


As we made an update to our content our rankings were boosted up and we saw 200% increment in impressions and 80% increment in clicks as compared to previous month (before update)

Note: Rankings showing up in above images are average rankings that’s why it is 38 in march as compared to 34 in February 2014.

Actual Rankings status:
Keyword : link building strategies 2014
Improved – Rank on 25 March 2014 : 4
Previous – Rank on 25 February 2014 : 34

How content freshness is Calculated by Google


# There are thousands of articles published daily over internet, and when your content first indexed by Google, than after some time that content grow old and other versions of that content with updated points are preferred over the old one.

A minor change ( changing 2-3 lines of your content ) is not as important and would not be considered an updated content but a large change to body text makes an impact.

How frequently your webpage is changing is really important, like for example a blog’s homepage changes regularly while other article pages changes not very often.

If you are adding new pages to your website very frequently than it adds more value. That’s why it is recommended to publish articles on a blog on a regular basis.

If you have published any fresh piece of content and you are getting links from other pages, updating their content frequently, than it adds more value then the links coming from an old piece of content.

Cyrus shepherd wrote a fantastic piece of article on MOZ about content freshness.
Take a look at a recent video by Matt Cutts explaining about how to rankings with links


Conclusion:

You can rank only with back links is a myth, If you have a great content and well optimized then there are possibilities for you to rank in top search results. Follow the above tricks and start sharing search results space with other popular blogs & websites with high authority.


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8 Comments


  1. Chetan Gupta

    April 9, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Hi Bhavuk
    As I think Google is not giving the importance to those links which are created through blog commenting , directory submission etc but If any article get natural backlinks then it helps to rank well in Google. It is also true that we can rank an article high in Google with no backlinks, We only need to is to right placements of keywords and correct on page optimization. I have noticed many time that If any article have more dofollow backlinks through commenting then the ranking of that article is very low. So nowadays I don't think that we should create backlinks for our articles. We should write helpful articles for the readers so that the articles can get natural backlinks by their own and that will be helpful in getting higher rank. Thanks for sharing this article. Happy Blogging 😀

    Reply

  2. Bhavuk Khandelwal

    April 9, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Hey Chetan, Google does not recommend spam comments but if your comments are adding value than id adds value. Google allows directory submissions but upto a certain extent only.
    Quality of the content always matters, If you are writing quality content than you'll get links easily without much efforts.

    Thanks for your comment 🙂

    Reply

  3. sutoro

    October 11, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    thanks for share..

    Reply

  4. penyembuhan vertigo

    December 19, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    excelent topics i like it

    Reply

  5. golongan darah

    June 4, 2015 at 3:47 AM

    yes, this is called "content is king" right?

    Reply

  6. kreatif dan Positif Thinking

    June 4, 2015 at 3:49 AM

    i agree about fresh article..algo google continues update..

    Reply

  7. Oli Motor Terbaik – TOTAL Hi-Perf

    September 1, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    Awesome, Nice trick for top search results with no back links.

    Reply

  8. Paket Nasi Box

    September 13, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    Some of my website, has 4 backlink but get position 1. Yeah, this article its true…

    Reply

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About Me


Myself Bhavuk Khandelwal, I have keen interest in writing about Digital Marketing and this is the reason of establishment of this blog Tech SEO Tricks, I am Blogging about Search Engine Optimization, Blogging Tricks, Content Marketing, Make Money Online, Affiliate Marketing, Online Marketing Promotion Strategy, Sharing How to Guides and many other topics. I am doing various Experiments and will be sharing all the Findings and Tricks on this Blog in Future.

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