Published on February 29th, 2024 seo without link building seo without backlinks how many backlinks do i need to rank how to rank without backlinks rank without backlinks

Can You Rank Without Link Building?

The question, “How to Rank without backlinks?” is quite popular among website owners just starting their SEO journeys. However, Link Building, in the most basic form, is literally a part of SEO. 

As defined by John Mueller at Google Webmaster Hangout,

“The traditional good link is someone who comes across your website and thinks it’s a fantastic website and recommends it to other people with a link.”

The benefit of having good backlinks, especially when it comes from an authoritative website, is that it establishes you as a reliable source of information. Here’s what John Mueller says about the importance of links:

“Links are really important for us to find content initially. So it’s like if nobody links to your website ever then we’re going to have a hard time recognizing that it even exists.” 

So, we can say that links are quite important. If you’re asking the question, “How many backlinks do I need to rank?”, well that depends on the types of links you have gotten or are focusing on. As a reliability signal for Google, backlinks may be crucial initially but maybe not a  laser-focused priority later on. To be precise in Mueller’s words:

“If a website has pretty good content and it has been crawled and indexed then links aren’t generally that critical as a reliability signal anymore.” 

“Good Content” is the keyword here, which is the first method to rank without link building.

content, seo

With excellent content, you can hook people to your website and brand. Moreover, if your content provides information that isn’t easily available, then other websites will give you a backlink whenever they are quoting that specific piece of information. 

Make sure your content is the most helpful amongst all others, as that will ensure it ranks up the SERPs and reaches the top position. Of course, for your content to be helpful it should be following Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, providing solutions and ideas that surpass everyone else. 

With original and helpful content being put up consistently, you can build trust with your visitors, resulting in an inevitable increase in authority where people would consider you reliable to answer their questions. These content pieces should enable you to rank on the SERPs and result in backlinks from other websites that quote your pages. 

You can also use stats pages. These pages contain multiple statistics or nuggets of information around a specific topic/subject, compiled in a single page. People love linking to such pages as they can use multiple quotes without having to conduct additional research for their own content. Brian Dean calls it “Reverse Outreach”

With “quotable” content crafted to be helpful shows up on your website, you won’t even need to ask the question, “How many backlinks do I need to rank?”, as you’ll score them automatically.

  • Conduct Effective Keyword Research

Keyword Research, seo

If you are into SEO without Link Building, Effective Keyword Research is imperative. The right keywords should bring rankings unlike any other. A good place to start is with long-tail keywords relevant to your niche that have a high search volume. 

Generally, long-tail keywords come with a lower difficulty, and a high search volume indicates that people are searching with those queries. So, using them in your content should help bring up your pages in the SERPs.

SEO Tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz are really helpful in finding the keywords to go for. 

  • Get Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews, seo, content

The best thing about customer reviews is that they not only bring referral customers but also showcase your credibility. Moreover, if you’re able to get customer reviews down on Google, your Google My Business (GMB) profile starts ranking up. 

The more reviews your GMB profile has from legit customers, the more chances there are that your profile will reach the coveted Top 3 positions when someone searches for a business of your niche. 

  • Copy Competitor’s On-Page Strategies 

On-Page seo, seo

Websites dominating SERPs are always there for a reason. Since you’re going for SEO without link building, you won’t be interested in their off-page strategies. However, that shouldn’t stop you from analyzing and learning from their on-page strategies. 

Performing a quick audit of their website should tell you everything important there is to know about. Just make sure you’re using a comprehensive SEO tool. We did publish an Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to a Website Audit with Ahrefs earlier, which you can follow. But even if you’re using another SEO tool, the metrics mentioned there should still help.

Once you see a recurring factor between all of your successful competitors, you will know what exactly works with Google and your audience. 

Another good practice is to have a checklist for your On-Page SEO to keep it on point. You can start with the list below and add more points according to your preferences. 

  • Keyword in the title
  • Keyword in the URL
  • Optimizing the SEO Title Tag
  • Keyword in the first 100 words
  • Optimized Meta Description
  • Use Keyword in Sub-Headings
  • Optimized Images

With a checklist by your side, you can ensure that all your on-page priorities are set and never missed. 

  • Create Press Releases

Press Releases are an excellent way of showcasing your achievements and getting eyeballs. Websites often go with press releases to get and stay in touch with the local communities and make sure that they are at the top of the minds of their target audience. 

Moreover, Press Releases also mean that if your achievement is really newsworthy and gets picked up by local news publications, then there is a good chance of scoring backlinks. So, you aren’t directly link-building but still scoring backlinks. A great method to help your website rank without link building. Potentially, this could translate to higher traffic and even conversions!

  • Abuse Internal Links

internal links, seo, link building

Gary Illyes of Google Directly says that you can abuse internal links as much as you want. Of course, this doesn’t mean using internal links without them making sense. However, it does mean that you shouldn’t hesitate to link internally whenever an opportunity presents itself. 

internal links, external links, seo

Making sure that your pages are interconnected also helps the user journey and Google to discover morepages about your site. That way, your user will keep on visiting different pages of your website, instead of finding a dead-end and leaving the website altogether.

  • Ensure Prime User Experience

user experience, seo

The focus of your website should be to wow your visitors. Make sure your website has the best user experience. Google has also put a lot of emphasis on the importance of user experience, quantifying it as “The Core Web Vitals”. 

The Core Web Vitals contribute to page experience signals, which means that an awesome user experience may improve rankings and SEO without backlinks. Following are the factors that form the Core Web Vitals. 

  • Largest Contentful Paint(LCP): This metric measures the time it takes for the largest element on your page to load.
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP): Measures the responsiveness of your page to all user interactions.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures how much your content shifts as the page loads up.

If you want to learn more about core web vitals, you can also check out our video on the topic. 


It is also prudent to have a checklist to ensure that the user experience on your website is optimized. 

  • Maximize User Time on your website
  • Minimize User Bounce Rate
  • Ensure an average user visits multiple or most pages on your website.
  • Optimized images for faster loading
  • Minimize your CSS and JavaScript
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) 
  • Improve your server response time

  • Optimize for Mobile Browsing

Mobile Browsing, seo

A great way to secure your rankings is by having a responsive design on your website. This will ensure that your website appears uniform across all platforms, including mobile phones. A large chunk of users today are using their phones to surf the internet, which is obviously an opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on. 

Google has been emphasizing the importance of mobile-friendly websites for quite some time. While Google did retire the mobile-friendly test in December 2023, you can use the new Google Lighthouse to audit your website and check for different factors.

  • Don’t Forget Schema Markups

Schema Markup is a code that can be applied to every page of your website individually. Schemas ensure that Google is able to know the context of your content as it crawls each page. But even more importantly, Schemas enable your pages to appear as rich results. In other words, your web pages show additional information, telling the user what the page is about without even opening the link.

Schemas can actually be the reason why your pages can reach position zero, a position that is above even paid campaigns! If you want to read more about Schemas and their application, you can check out our Step-by-Step Schemas Guide. If you aren’t looking for a detailed plan, you can also get them done via ChatGPT.

  • Get Vocal on Socials

Vocal on Socials, seo

A great way to earn backlinks without outreaching prospective websites is to start talking about it on social media. Your priority of the platform may rest on where your audience is most active. However, a good practice is becoming popular on the channel and putting out a post about your new blog piece right after publishing it. 

While the backlink from your own profile may be no-follow, your online presence is only helped thanks to more people talking about your website. Moreover, with your new blog piece up on socials with an enticing caption, there is also a good chance that you get higher shareability with your content. 

  • Create Media that Brings Virality

social media, seo

Visuals are always an exceptional way of attracting your audience. Whether you focus on detailed infographics, aesthetic images, or spectacular videos, media does have a better chance of attracting an audience than plain words. 

Your use of media may be dependent on your niche, but if you do it right, you can repurpose your existing while also getting more eyeballs. A good infographic will often be quoted and used by others talking about your niche, earning you a backlink. 

You can also rank on other tabs of Google with the use of media. For example, if your blog isn’t ranking on the “All” results, there is always a chance that the featured image for the same blog ranks on “Google Images” or even in the SGE Carousel.


Link Building is often a long-term process and investment. However, if you’re aiming for SEO without Link Building, you aren’t trying to attempt the impossible. Moreover, the results of link building can also take time to show up, and there won’t be much benefit if you aren’t flawless in all other areas. 

Meanwhile, the above points can be used to do SEO without link building, while still earning links. So until you think link building has become imperative for your website, all you need to do is follow them to rank without relying on backlinks. 

Good Luck!

Spread the love
Don't forget to share this post!
Published By
on February 29th, 2024

Updated on February 29th, 2024

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top