The most frequently asked questions I get is – “Is it really possible to drive organic traffic without backlinks?” Well, in 2023 and beyond, the answer is a resounding yes! While backlinks still play an important role, search engines have evolved to look at more on-page and off-page signals than just links. In this article, I will share some proven strategies to get organic traffic to your site without relying too much on backlinks.
What is a backlink?
Backlinks are hyperlinks to your website or web page from other websites on the internet. When another website links to yours by embedding a hyperlink with your URL, it's considered a backlink.
Backlinks are important because search engines like Google use them as one of many ranking signals to determine how to rank your page in search results. The more relevant and authoritative backlinks you have from other high quality sites, the higher your own page will rank in search.
Some key things to know about backlinks:
They're a great way to pass link juice or authority to your site from other trusted domains. This helps search engines trust your page more.
Not all backlinks are created equal. Make sure they're coming from sites in your niche that are also well-linked and trusted by Google. Low quality links can hurt your rankings.
You want a diversity of backlinks from different domains over time. Getting only a handful of links from the same few sites isn't very beneficial.
It's better to naturally earn links by providing great content than buying or spamming links, which search engines actively punish sites for. Focus on making shareable, link-worthy content.
You can check your backlinks by looking in Google Search Console or using a backlink checker tool online. Monitor them over time to see which strategies are effectively getting you new high quality links.
How To Drive Organic Traffic Without Backlinks?
Run A Site Audit
The first step is to do a thorough audit of your website. Check for technical issues like broken
links, slow page speed, mobile friendliness etc. Ensure your site structure, information architecture and internal linking is well optimized. Perform an on-page SEO analysis and optimize titles, meta descriptions, headings, keyword placement etc. Fixing deficiencies identified in the audit will help search engines understand and index your content better.
Write Quality And Useful Content
Since Google and other search engines assess relevance based on your content and not external links pointing to it, focus on creating really useful content for your target audience. Research keywords, identify information gaps and provide value through long-form, well-researched articles. Use a conversational tone to engage readers. Share personal experiences through examples and anecdotes which will make your articles more relatable.
Also Read: Is Using AI Content Plagiarism?
Target Long-Tail & Low Volume Keywords
Instead of going after very competitive head terms, focus your content strategy on targeting long-tail and low-volume keywords related to your niche. These tend to have less competition and can drive good targeted traffic. Use keyword research tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to find related long-tail keywords with search volume but limited or no competition.
Create an internal link web to optimize discoverability of your content within the site. Interlink similar and related pages with anchor text focused internal links. This ensures search engines can easily crawl all corners of your site and understand the context and theme of content better without relying on external links.
Specify Your Niche
Have a very defined niche and topic focus for your website. The more specific and targeted your content is around a micro-niche, the easier it will be to rank without diversifying efforts to get links from various websites and blogs. People researching very specific questions in your focused niche are more likely to find your content through organic search.
Also Read: 100+ Profitable Micro Niche Blog Ideas
Spy On Your Competitors
Analyze top ranking pages for your target keywords on Google and other search engines to see what type of content formats, structured data, internal linking strategies etc. they are using. This will give you clues on how to outdo the competition without necessarily chasing after their backlinks. Sometimes duplicating proven winning content structures of competitors works better than trying to reinvent the wheel.
Publishing new, fresh and relevant content consistently over weeks and months trains search engines to see your site as an authority and puts you ahead of competitors in rankings. Consistency shows your commitment to a topic and increases chances of people engaging with and sharing your content organically without overt link building. Aim to publish at least 1-2 long-form articles per week.
Use Subscription Links
Offering email newsletter subscriptions gives readers a reason to willingly share their contact details with you. This allows you to build an engaged audience over time who you can share new content updates with. Occasionally inserting links to popular or evergreen posts in newsletters re-exposes them to search engines and helps rank those pages without external backlinks.
A Personal Touch
From my experience as an SEO consultant, focusing singularly on backlinks will not guarantee success in the long run. Search engines today evaluate numerous organic and inorganic signals before deciding rankings. I've noticed some of my clients organically outranking competitors despite having fewer links, simply by nailing on-page fundamentals and creating useful, share-worthy content consistently without overt promotion. Leveraging reader engagement is a more natural and sustainable method compared to unnatural link building which risks penalties. By targeting specific niches with micro-content and optimizing internal structures, some of my clients have seen traffic grow by 30-50% in 6 months without any backlinks at all.
In summary, backlinks will certainly help but are no longer the be-all and end-all for rankings. Google and other search engines today evaluate both organic and inorganic indicators of relevance and quality before determining visibility. By laser focusing on audience-centric content creation targeting long-tail keywords and niche topics, optimizing for internal links and structures, and fixing technical problems, it is absolutely possible to drive meaningful organic traffic without diversifying link building efforts. Consistency, authority and providing value are keys to success in 2023 and beyond. Focus on creating engaging experiences for readers through examples, personalized perspectives and community engagement over overt promotional activities. Results may take time but focusing inwards leads to more sustainable ranking factors and traffic in the long run compared to proxy metrics like backlink counts.
by thoroughly optimizing on-page elements, creating engaging niche content consistently and focusing on the reader experience through personal touches like examples and anecdotes, you can definitely succeed in driving meaningful organic traffic without over-relying on backlinks alone. In 2023, SEO will focus more on natural/organic signals that prove relevance and importance for readers. With strategic optimization and patience, the triples of authority, value and consistency are the keys to ranking pages highly even without external links. Let me know if any other query!
Is it possible to get more traffic without making backlinks?
Yes, on-page SEO through site speed, UX improvements, schema usage, content format/length optimizations, and content marketing without promotion can grow traffic organically over time without diversifying link building efforts. The key is focusing on creating valuable experiences for readers through niche, reader-centric content.
What is the best SEO strategy for 2023?
The best SEO strategy is to focus on creating engaging, audience-centric content targeting long-tail keywords in a defined niche. Optimizing for on-page elements, mobile-friendliness, speed and internal structures/linking while addressing technical issues will help rank pages. Consistency and authority are also important. Links provide a positive signal but search algorithms evaluate numerous other organic engagement metrics as well.
Is SEO still relevant in 2023?
Yes, SEO will remain relevant and important in 2023 as the majority of website traffic still comes through free, organic search listings on Google, Bing and other search engines. While algorithms evolve, the foundational principles of SEO like creating high quality content and optimizing for readers will always be important to reach intended audiences online through free, organic search traffic.
How will SEO change in 2023?
Key changes expected in 2023 SEO include - increased focus on reader experience signals like time on page, increasing importance of content formats like video and voice, evolving mobile-first indexing, usage of AI for semantic relevance, emergence of next gen signals like user attention and dwell time. Links will remain a positive signal but less dependency. Overall, SEO will focus more on natural engagement and reader experience metrics going forward.
Will SEO exist in 5 years?
Yes, SEO will definitely exist in some form five years from now, maybe under a different name or acronym. As long as websites want free and organic traffic from search, the practice of optimizing them to rank relevantly for search queries based on importance/quality will be necessary. While algorithms will keep evolving, core drivers of SEO like fresh/relevant content, technical optimization, UX and real user engagement will remain important to reach audiences. SEO best practices may change but the concept of search marketing is here to stay.