Digital Marketing Hacks

How to Rank Without Backlinks 05

10 Steps on How to Rank Without Backlinks

You probably heard the cliche: great content, and the term ‘backlinks’ a hundred times over. Just like you, I’m sick of it. There must be other ways of ranking higher on Google search engines, drive more traffic without writing another 2000 word essay right? Well, there is.

Here are 10 ways you can go about it. Think of it as quick hacks to jump your rankings by one or two positions.

1. Install Https 

Https is officially deemed as a SEO ranking factor from Google. Basically, a Https certificate is used to encrypt your data and your user’s data. This includes credit cards, personal information and more. It’s an added layer of security on the internet. Https helps with SEO rankings, encrypts your data, your user’s data, and makes the whole web experience a much safer experience.

Changing to Https might lead to a temporary drop in rankings. However don’t be alarmed. Just keep calm and continue on. Google has also recently announced there’s no loss of page rank when converting to Https.

2. Make Your Site User Friendly

If your site isn’t mobile friendly already, consider changing to a theme that is. Mobile friendliness is an official ranking factor.

I recommend purchasing a mobile friendly theme or hiring a technically skilled developer to convert your theme into a mobile friendly one.

3. Check for Broken Links and Fix Them  

Broken internal links can lead to a loss of internal page authority. That’s not all, how your internal link matters. Check out my guide on how to internal link, and how to ‘pass page rank’ to more important post or pages.

4. Create Social Media Profiles

How much do Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, Instagram followers, YouTube followers signals affect SEO?

Google has announced officially that data from social media platforms DO count. However, Google, on the other hand, has also explicitly said that the number of Facebook likes, followers, do not count as they have problems tracking and indexing social media profiles.

So what gives?

Creating social media profiles and distributing your content on social media platforms can create a natural link profile. So, start popping those accounts.

Pro Tip: Google Plus Signal

Google Plus has no direct effect on SEO rankings. However, Google Plus is a social media platform, and Google owns it, so go figure. You also get a free ‘anchor texted’ backlink from Google plus.

Google Plus Signal

Pro Tip: Tumblr Signal

Tumblr Signal

These social signals are no follow, hence I’m going for an exact match backlink.

5. Get People to Spend more Time on Your Site

Time spent, or dwell time is one of metrics that Google uses as a Google ranking factor. There’s also another debatable metric: bounce rate. These are a metrics Google uses to measure if the content fits the user’s needs when they visit your website for that particular search query.

The way to decrease bounce rate, increase dwell time is to audit your content. Pick out post or pages that has a high bounce rate, and ask yourself if 1) is the content relevant to your title tag? 2) is the content of high quality? 3) Is your website filled with pop ups?

I emphasise this. In the new world of SEO and content marketing, quality of content matters. There’s no way around it.

6. Update Your Content

Matt Cuts has mentioned that ‘the need for fresh content’.

“Google in the past has expressed in the past that frequently updated pages get a boost in rankings (QDF), that seems to favor blogs and news site over company sites.”

I don’t think this is a huge ranking factor, and it is dependent if your niche is evergreen or ever changing. However, updating your content is a good way to signal to Google that your site is regularly updated. Keep in mind, don’t put out content for the sake of putting it, don’t rewrite content just for the sake of putting out fresh content.

Remember what I said about quality content?

7. Make Your Site Faster

Page loading speed was officially announced as a Google SEO ranking factor. However, do note that page speed is a nifty 1% as compared to the other many other ranking factors.

You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.

Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point. We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven’t seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not impact your site.

– Google Webmaster

Google built us a free tool for you to test your websites and pages. Its called the Page Speed Insights Tool. It allows us to test for our page loading speeds, and point out errors from a Google’s perspective.

Here are some ways to increase your page speeds:

  • Optimize Your Images

Images that are huge in size slow the performance of your website down. Get your images optimized before you upload them or use an image optimizer.

  • Leverage Browser Caching

Basically, leveraging browser caching is the action of a webmaster instructing browsers how their resources should be dealt with. The errors/inefficiency comes in when it’s when these resources are not instructed efficiently.

8. Get People Clicking!

How can you better the rankings of pages and posts that are already ranking on your site? You can do it by increasing click through rates. Click through rates from SERP results are researched to be minor ranking factor.

Step One: Research data from Google search console. Figure out the post and pages with low click through rates, and test out different titles tags and descriptions.

Step Two: Change either the title tag or meta description.

Understanding basic copywriting be helpful in increasing click through rates. Writing persuasive title tags and meta description can give you the extra 1 or 2 ranking boost etc that may give you the edge amongst your competitors.

So how do you go about writing a good title tags or meta descriptions? Here are some tips:

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Ask a Question:

  • Do you know SEO is one of the top skills looked for by employers?
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Include a Number, Time Line and Benefit Technique: 

Here’s a tip I got from one of the best SEO consultants in the world: Try to include a number, a specific benefit and a restricted timeline in your copies.

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Pro Tip: Test Out Your Title Tags One Time at a Go: 

Google has 200 ranking factors, testing out your click-through rates for an increase in rankings should be done sparingly like how a scientist carries out his experiments. You got to control one variable as at a time.

Upon changing your title tags, use the fetch option in Google search console to get Google to crawl your page immediately. Then measure the results by the increase in number of clicks for a controlled period of time.

9. On Page Optimize Your Site

There’s research that shows that on page SEO accounts for 14% of SEO ranking factor at any one post or page. Instead of writing new content, why not audit and optimize the old?

Check out my huge guide on how to do on page SEO on your own.

10. Great Design 

I use to bitch and rant about design not being as important during my earlier freelance web designer days. However, design is going to matter more than ever as user experience becomes a bigger part of SEO algorithm. Google is obsessed with user experience, and design plays a part of it.

Steps to Rank Higher without Backlinks

Furthermore, having great design will differentiate you from the run of the mill sites out there. I know for sure as I spend the most time on sites that have no ads, quality information and nice text (don’t laugh). Imagine having a site that is enjoyable to browse, almost as if you can taste the design in your mouth. That’s user experience. User experience can increase time spent, reduce bounce rates and increase branded search.

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