We keep hearing that material is king. Write great content, content here, material there. But how true-blue is that statement? Is there such a thing as an SEO Content Strategy that you can use to rank# 1 with zero backlinks?

SEO content strategy

Like most asks in SEO, this one is also’ it depends’.

Keep reading and I’ll show exactly why.

While you might not be able to get to position one without any backlinks for a highly competitive keyword, you’ll unquestionably be able to increase your ranks in Google just by optimizing your material and having in place a great SEO content strategy.

By the end of this blog berth, you’ll have a better understanding of how Google discuss links and material and you’ll get the SEO Content Strategy that might help rank# 1 on Google with zero backlinks.

Can I Really Rank# 1 with Zero Links ? Why Is Google Pushing More Weight to the Content Ranking Factor ? Step-by-step SEO Content Strategy to Rank# 1 with Zero Links

Identify Your Primary Audience and Their Pain Points Perform an In-depth Keyword Research& Audit Make a List of the Keywords You Can Realistically Reign Analyze the Search Intent of Your Keywords Optimize Landing Pages/ Per Keyword& Per Search Intent Write Content That Stands Out and Is Share Worthy Launch& Share Your Content with Key Influencers Monitor How Your Content Is Performing Update Your Content Once in a While


1. Can I Really Rank# 1 with Zero Links?

Not long ago we accomplished a great deal of searches for pharma, gambling and skincare keywords, in a nutshell on highly competitive keywords and niches.

Our bet was to figure out if there are pages within these niches grading based on high quality material only.

As you can see in the screenshot below taken from cognitiveSEO’s Content Optimizer, you can see that there are many sheets with no or just a few joins but most optimized content, that rank really well.

high content no links example

Of course, we cannot answer to this question with a simple yes or no, more, with Google making so much weight to content lately, we might say that a good SEO content strategy can help you out big time.

Of course, it depends based on what you mean by positions and it depends on what you mean by links.

For example, person might claim they rank without any associations, but what are they ranking for?

Are they ranking for a high competition, high search volume keyword, or a long tail, low-grade rival and low-pitched pursuing publication one?

Some time ago, Steven Kang started a contest in the SEO Signals Facebook Group, with a honour pond of $1000, to whoever managed to find or pinpoint a website that ranked# 1 on Google with no backlinks.

However, the rules for this contest were very specific 😛 TAGEND

There can be no external backlinks present. Any single external backlink to the domain detected will disqualify the site. The website can have internal associations since some declaration internal link shouldn’t weigh for such claim. The place must be written in English.

One year after, the contest is still available. Nobody has won it yet.

SEO Contest No Links

By the reviews of it … it seems that it’s difficult to rank on Google without backlinks.

However, in one case a website was eliminated and it had backlinks merely from Social Media programmes such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

No winner

While those are indeed backlinks, almost every website has them and they don’t pass as much value as a contextual connection from a high quality, related website.

Other contestants have said that the contest is not fair, as they did not buy or construct the links, but they simply came naturally, just as Google wants.

However … they’re still attaches, aren’t they?

The contest therefore omits all associations , is not simply purchased, improved or bought ones. Considering this, Social Media is also excluded and probably any other form of online promotion.

So when it comes to ranking with zero joins … Are you talking about links to that specific web page, or links to the entire realm?

Are you talking about a made-up keyword with no pursuing loudnes whatsoever, or about a profitable, competitive, most scoured for keyword with a great market value?

If you’re trying to rank for a very competitive keyword, where the top-ranking domains have thousands of backlinks pointing to them … tough luck!

The truth is that beside a solid SEO content strategy, connects still matter and if your race is building, buying or attaining backlinks naturally, you’ll have a difficult time position# 1 with zero backlinks.

But if the competition doesn’t have many backlinks either, it is feasible to outrank them, even without links, in some cases.

There are many examples of websites which outrank their tournament with fewer backlinks.

For example, we’re outranking Moz for the keyword” does meta description affect seo” although we only have 23 referring domains, while Moz’s sheet has over 1500.

For another similar utterance,” does meta description matter”, another website is grading are you all right, with only 1 directing domain.

However, in both cases the results are an answer box. If you retain, some time ago you could have the answer box position and another spot.

Luckily, when Google modified this and merely let you keep one or the other, they let us have the answer box.

Answer Box SEO

These are pretty specific keywords and for the most competitive phrase, “meta description”, Moz still predominates the top spot.

Ranking with precisely a few backlinks to a web page is possible, if you have the right content.

But it’s probably necessary to have at least some backlinks drawn attention to your domain.

The internet doesn’t really progressing well without associates. Search machines use links to crawl the entire web.

It’s also true that without any backlinks pointing to your region, Google will have a hard time crawling and indexing your site.

However, having in mind that backlinks on their own won’t do very much if the content doesn’t satisfy the users. They can even do harm.

After the Penguin updates, it was pretty clear Google was set to fight back against tie-in spam.

Maybe the top spot isn’t achievable with utterly zero attaches, but you don’t need the top spot to increase your search traffic.

You can greatly improve positions in Google simply by optimizing your content even for competitive, high search volume keywords.

Many other SEOs and material purveyors have improved their positions following this OnPage SEO technique.

If you stick around, I’ll show you exactly how you can do it, too.

But first, let’s see why Google is pushing away from backlinks and more towards content.

2. Why Is Google Pushing More Weight to the Content Ranking Factor?

Back in 2017, during our numerous tests, we learnt a big correlation between the Content Performance orchestrate we had developed and rankings.

We echoed the test after 2 years, in 2019 and it seemed that content is even more important now.

The algorithm we use is complex, expending a mixture of AI technologies and things such as LSI and Flesch-Kincaid to determine what makes a piece of content grade high.

Attempts to remove backlinks from the algorithms ought to have represented before.

Why? Mostly because of spam. As long as backlinks are a ranking signal, beings are an attempt to abuse them.

In 2013, Yandex, the Russian search engine, removed backlinks from their algorithm in an attempt to stop tie-in spam.

Although it only took effect in the Moscow local search results and exclusively for commercial-grade queries, the change was short lived, as they brought ties-in back simply a year after.

Officials at Yandex stated that the alter was ” quite successful technologically”, but beings still bought associates and spammed the web regardless, so they choose to bring them back.

However, they returned them back with a significant change: The joins would not only be a positive higher-ranking signal, but too a negative one, just like with Google’s Penguin update.

Could it be that the officials at Yandex are not willing to admit their disappointment? Maybe, who knows.

But if it was a success, couldn’t they just use spammy connects as a negative signal only? Without abusing other relates as a positive one?

Google has also researched ranks without backlinks in their algorithm.

However, they came to the conclusion that the results look much better when backlinks are a ranking signal.

Unfortunately, there are other issues with backlinks other than buying them.

Take a look at Negative SEO, for example. Google claims they can spot and reject these types of links with Penguin 4.0, but is it really possible?

I’m not persuaded. I’ve seen many cases in which websites have a drop in traffic immediately after an inhuman spike in backlinks clearly built by others.

You’d think that beings engaging in Negative SEO will try to imitative relate structure … but that might also result in positive results for the target.

So, these attacks are usually very obvious. Pure spam. And Google still penalized the site.

So, it’s obvious they have a hard time dealing with all this relation trading and spam.

This, combined with the constant effort from SEOs to obtain backlinks in peculiar modes, has pushed Google into wanting to back away from backlinks.

Backlinks are something you don’t have much limit over. Yet, an SEO content strategy you can control.

With algorithm modernizes such as Penguin( which penalizes spammy connections) and Panda( which penalizes spammy content ), Google shows us it’s place more weight on content.

But although search engines don’t like them, it seems like links are still going to stick around for a while, as Matt Cutts states in the video above.

However, with AI software that can also write content like humans getting better and better every day…

It’s hard to tell where this will go.

We might have the same issue as with links, with AI written websites constantly trying to compete to the top.

It would be a battle of the algorithms … one in which consumers won’t have a say.

We could return the law into the equation, but that would spark a whole new lot of bigger and more complex issues.

However, I could see how in the future, the law would require you to specify that the content is written by a robot and not by a human.

While AI written content can be used for good, it can also be used for harm, from the relatively harmless blackhat SEOs to the most hazardous sham story outlets.

We’ve known for a long time that content was an important ranking factor, but now we also wanted to know why.

Google was moving away from backlinks( our implement and sell programme was predominantly structured around backlinks) so investing in this was in our own interest.

So let’s take a look at how exactly you can improve your rankings in Google without any link building, exclusively by optimizing your content.

3. The Step-by-Step SEO Content Strategy to Rank# 1 with No Ties-in

OK. Now you know that it’s possible to rank without ties-in in some situations and also why Google introduces more and more weight on the content side of SEO.

You also know that backlinks are something you don’t have complete control over.

But how exactly do you rank without attaches? What step-by-step SEO content strategy are you able apply to succeed?

Here are the steps you need to follow to have a chance on rank without links.

3.1. Identify your Primary Audience and Their Pain Points

The first think you should do before writing anything is identifying your target audience.

You can start with what’s top of thinker and construct from there.

Who would be interested in your content and how are you able constitute your material appeal to them?

Who are your clients? How aged are they? Who are their friends? Where do they hang? How do they speak?

It’s easier to do this when you already have some consumers or readers. Precisely look at your best clients and readers so far.

Who’s buying from you? Who’s scrutinizing on products? Who’s commenting on your blog and social media profiles?

If you’re just starting out and have no idea … then consider make a market research.

I know it clangs complex, but you can start by simply creating a Google Form and sharing it on a couple of Facebook Groups, asking for help.

Sure, it’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

Target Audience SEO

Don’t concentrates on facets with your produce but on benefits. Don’t think in terms of needs but in areas of wants. Want is stronger than need.

And don’t seek explanations from your search but feelings and sensations which you can then use to convince them to buy.

That’s what you want to ultimately address and that’s what will get you marketings/ engagement.

This step is probably more useful for commodities and commercial-grade keywords and less for informational queries.

However, you can still address things such as the tone of voice for your audience.

You can also try to create a persona of your principle patron/ book and try to write as if you were speaking instantly to that person.

3.2. Perform an In-depth Keyword Research& Audit

The really important step when trying to optimize content is always keyword research.

What are you targeting now?

You can use the Google Search Console to easily determine the keyword you’re already position for.

Search Console Queries

Can you improve this existing content? Or should you target new keywords? These are questions you are able to ask yourself when putting together your SEO content strategy.

You can also use the CognitiveSEO Keyword Explorer to identify brand-new topics you can target.

Keyword Tool for SEO to Rank Wihtout Backlinks

Once you’re done, map out these keywords into an excel enter and sort them out by relevant and importance.

3.3. Make a List of the Keywords You Can Realistically Reign

Now comes the even more challenging part.

For which of those keywords can you realistically rank better?

After you’ve determined a listing of keywords you’ll go after, you have to take a look at two things 😛 TAGEND

Content Performance and Domain Performance.

You can use the Ranking Analysis section of the Content Optimizer Tool.

SEO Content Strategy to Rank Without Links

While the Content Performance is something that we have control over and will improve in a future step, backlinks aren’t something “were having” that much hold over.

So you want to see websites with as few cite arenas as possible compared to your website( which you can check with the Site Explorer ).

Of course, if you visualize a lower content tally and/ or term counting, those are also good indicators that it will be easier to improve your content.

3.4. Analyze the Search Intent of Your Keywords

Search intent and user experience are very important. It’s the key metric in 2020 and onward.

If you don’t match the search intent well, customers will have a bad experience on your website.

One of the best examples of search intent is transactional vs. informational.

Given the keyword “men’s running shoes”, eCommerce websites will tend to rank better.

However, for a keyword such as” best running shoes for men”, reviews and buyer’s guides will tend to rank better.

User Intent SEO

People are simply looking for different types of content on each of those keywords.

What you eventually want to figure out is what your user is looking for when searching for a particular query and retrieving your website.

For this blog upright I know that there are two possible goals that are very closely related to one another:” are you able rank with zero backlinks”&” how to do it “. My article simply plea to those needs.

Knowing my gathering in general, I is a well-known fact that I want to provide proof for the first group, and step-by-step lessons for the second.

A good way of analyzing scour planned is to look at what’s already ranking well.

You know they’re already doing something well, since they’re ranking.

If you can spot some gaps you can fill, such as questions asked in the comments that remain unanswered in the content itself, that’s even better.

Did you know?

The Content Optimizer& Keyword Tool from cognitiveSEO automatically classifies the search intent for you.

You exactly need to type in the keyword you are interested in optimizing for, and appropriate tools does most of the job for you. The implement performs keyword study, it will tell you what is the user search intent, how favourite is that keyword, how difficult it is to rank on it, and cream of the crop: what it takes to rank on that keyword, necessitating, what are the exact keywords and links that boosted that page in the top of the search results.

user search intent cognitiveseo

3.5. Optimize Landing Pages/ Per Keyword& Per Search Intent

On with the actual optimization. Don’t worry, it’s probably the easiest step.

First, consider that it’s always best to consider landing page optimization for a single main keyword and a single research planned per page.

You can sometimes combine very similar keywords, but try as much as possible to stick to the same investigation intent.

Remember, if the search engine results are similar for these keywords, they probably have a similar examine goal as well.

You should keep in mind that writing naturally is the best way to go.

Open the Content Assistant section and stumbled Start Optimizing.

It’s easier to work on something you’ve already written, but you can also start from scratch. However, you’ll have to write at least a designation for the tool to work.

You can also import a URL if your content is already live.

Then, just sounds Check Score, appropriate tools will analyze your content, tell you the score and recommend you some keyword ideas.

SEO content strategy example

The idea is to add those keywords into your blog berth. However, don’t only shed them in, or else you’ll end up with a Keyword Stuffing warning.

The keywords with dots on their left are the most important ones. You should be using them multiple times throughout your content.

The idea is to think of these keywords as subtopics or areas of interest that you should cover in your content.

If a keyword that the tool recommends doesn’t seem to fit or has grammar mistakes in it, don’t push it in.

You don’t need a 100% tally. The implement will pinpoint how much you need to reach.

However, you can also try make it in chapters. First, optimize for a few points above the average, then inform your content after a few weeks to the recommended score.

3.6. Write Content That Stands Out and Is Share Worthy

A great direction to do this is to write content about complex questions that are very often invited in your industry, or event studies.

For example, this article about meta descriptions alter SEO or not has been linked to multiple times by other SEO blogs was just trying to make a quick-witted detail without going into too much detail.

Also, make sure you have enormous Entitlement, Headlines and Descriptions.

Optimize your titles with keywords for SEO, but also keep them catchy for Social Media.

You can use the Open Graph property to set different titles for SEO and Social Media

Long content tends to perform better in organic search results.

When beings search for something, you already know they are interested in it. That’s why SEM has such a high conversion rate and beings spend time reading in depth articles.

You can look at the top grading search results for your keyword in the Ranking Analysis section of our Content Optimizer Tool.

SEO Content Strategy to Rank Without Links

For this particular keyword, you can see that the top ranking content is between 2500 and 5000 names on average, while we can even see articles with exclusively 1800 terms in top 10.

Usually, it’s a good idea to go for at least the top 10 median plus a few cases hundred messages, really must be ensured. But it’s not really about length, it’s about quality.

However, you’ll probably not be able to fit all the depth required for this particular topic in precisely 200 words, at least in comparison with the competitors.

Nevertheless, take this material duration thing with a grain of salt. While long form content accomplishes better in probe, shorter content might accomplish better on social media.

On Social Media, parties are browsing different things and not really looking for a particular topic, so they might prefer things straight and to the point.

3.7. Launch& Share Your Content with Key Influencers

Once you’ve written and produced your content, it’s time to promote it. This should be an important part of your SEO content strategy.

We made a study a few years ago on weather social signals affect positions and it seems that a strong presence on social networks is correlated with better rankings.


Once you have your content live, it’s time to share it with the appropriate influencers.

Who are these influencers? Well, people who have a following which joins your target audience.

If they don’t hear about your material … they can’t share it or talk about it.

It’s also a good meaning that the influencers themselves are interested or resonate in the topic and the room you present it.

One of the even more advanced SEO programmes is to plan your material ahead.

And by this I don’t mean having an editorial calendar, but actually targeting influencers ahead, analyzing them and writing something that you already know they will be willing to share.

You’ll have to be credible and it’s also a good intuition to build trust with them beforehand, by sharing their contents and commenting on it or committing with them.

I know it resonates evil and manipulative and you can be if your sole interest is simply to get what you want, but being genuine and absolutely offering appraise in exchange generally works best.

I can recall the easiest response I have ever got. It was from a person appointed Reiner, which prompted me of a attribute in the anime register Attack on Titan.

Personal connection outreach

Luckily, he did hear the anime, so we how now had a personal connection and he was willing to give me a hand.

Successful Outreach

Another easy-to-implement technique is to ask for paraphrases from experts in your industry or take interviews.

Two patterns are my article about SEO mistakes and my colleague Andreea’s article about SEO gratuities from 22 experts.

While we offered a lot of value, it’s true that we likewise applied the guests’ reputation to leverage our content’s reach.

Of course, it’s not guaranteed to work, but most of them will freely share the content on their social charts or blogs.

To find influencers, you can use a implement such as Brand Mentions.

You can spy on your entrants and realize which influencers have mentioned their content.

How to monitor influencers to promote content

Then, be participating in them and try to build relationships.

3.8. Monitor How Your Content Is Performing

You should make sure you’re able to racetrack your progress if you want to know how successful your qualifyings were.

The Google Search Console is a great way of monitoring organic scour freight and positions.

However, the data there might sometimes be a little confusing and hard to filter.

You might also be interested in a third party tool, such as our Rank Tracker.

Rank Tracker

Moreover , not all traffic comes from Google, so you might also demand a tool such as Google Analytics to monitor other traffic sources.

You can also try a tool such as Brand Mentions to monitor mentions about your firebrand and content on Social Media and the internet.

To precisely monitor the efficiency of this OnPage SEO technique, make sure you don’t make any other major changes to the website.

3.9. Update Your Content Once in a While

Google affections fresh content. That’s why updating it from time to time should be part of your SEO content strategy.

Our method operates really well for aged material as well, so don’t precisely concentrates on new content.

We’ve improved many of our old-fashioned blog berths utilizing the Content Optimizer Tool.

In fact, we did it on a mass scale, with pretty good results.

Although some of the articles did lose a couple of higher-rankings instead of gaining them, the overall process was a success, both in terms of ranks and traffic.

Search visibility increase

One of the articles we’ve constantly updated over the time is our Google Easter Eggs article, which is among our top performing piece of content, although not directly related to SEO.

It’s a good idea to check the content’s score from time to time to see if it’s still in good shape.

The Content Performance score is relative. This be interpreted to mean that as other commodities improve, your tally might drop over time.

However, even if the score is still really good, don’t try to trick Google by simply reforming the year to attain your material gape fresh.

It’s best if you actually review the content and make a few progress/ modifications.


To get high-pitched grades, the focus shouldn’t be on backlinks, but on a solid SEO content strategy. Get your material under the right people’s looks, and you’ll envision the links pouring in.

Applying this SEO content strategy can be used to readily rank without going through the hassle of obtaining associates. Attack the content creation and advertisement from the title angle and backlinks will come naturally.

The truth is, you don’t need backlinks for every article. You only need a handful of articles that bring in the links to grow the authority of your domain.

Then you can use those links to pass that the authorities concerned all your articles, compiling it easier to grade everywhere.

So, make us know in the comments section below: Do you consider it’s possible to grade a sheet without any backlinks? Have you every managed to rank one on a respectable hunting magnitude keyword? Do you know any content marketers at all able to rank websites on Google without backlinks? What other market strategy have you used to rank your material except structure associates?

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