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Los Angeles, CA 90045

(424) 237-8155

Right Hand Planning is a professional marketing agency that develops marketing strategies that help brands build traffic, leads and sales.


Marketing news and insights from Right Hand Planning.

On Site SEO Compared To Backlinks

Pete Semple

Can A Site Rank Well With Few Backlinks?

Keyword Rank Tracking Results

Today we'll put the spotlight on ourselves to share with you why we think we've managed to rank pretty well on a few key search terms even though our site (this one) currently has very few backlinks.

Four Key Takeaways Here

  • The role of proper on-site SEO
  • The importance of content like headlines and copy
  • Pages get ranked, not sites
  • Tool we use for instant ranking updates

BTW, more details on these topics and more are covered in depth in our (free) DIY SEO Guide.

"This is why it's so important to' always be answering the searcher's question' when making pages and writing headlines and content."

How We Rank Without Backlinks

We don't have many backlinks yet because our site is still new and we're using social media and content sharing links for a gradual and natural backlink strategy. Also, we know we're likely to make some changes to site structure and blog categories before our structure is finalized so we want to avoid using too many redirects or linking to moved pages.

Results Show 11 Out Of 15 Keywords On First Page Of Google

In the picture above you can see that 11 out of 15 of the keywords appear in the top ten search results on the first page of Google.

Most of the the keywords we're ranking for are related to our niche, which is a Los Angeles based marketing and SEO company so these are definitely the keywords we're going after.

Use Of Keywords In Site Structure/URL, Headlines And Copy

Since there are few backlinks to the site in general and to these pages we know that it's not strength of authority links that are bringing these pages of our site to the top of the search results for these keywords.

"How to find local search terms" and "Press release topics" from the list above are two perfect examples that show how just by matching your on-site content and URL to match search phrases tells Google that your page matches the searcher's query.

Little Known SEO Tips And Tricks

Competition for good keywords and their Google search traffic is fierce, there's no question about it. Use these little known SEO tips and tricks to get your pages (not site!) ranked for very relevant searches.

How To Write For Long Tail Searches

Yet there are so many long-tail phrases (4 and 5 words) that can be used to put your page on the first page of Google.

Long search terms are huge opportunities that other people don't think about because they're too busy going after the keywords with 2,000 and more searches a month.

Best On-Site SEO Content Tricks

The trick is to write in the form of a question - a searcher's question.

Write using the exact search phrases people are likely to use to search in Google. Keep the searcher's phrases in mind as you write url, blog topic and on-page headlines for each - and even in the sentences.

Take a look at this blog page title, the url and the headlines and content to see how we've used phrases that could easily be searches of their own.

  • On site SEO Factors compared to backlinks
  • How to write headlines and good copy for seo
  • How to write for long tail searches
  • Little known SEO tips and tricks
  • Best on site SEO content trick

Notice how all these phrases-turned-headlines could be actual searches? But no one would ever optimize an entire page for them because keyword traffic tools wouldn't show that there were many searches for these terms.

Why does this work? Because "Google rewards relevancy" and they're very good at scouring all elements of a site and the more words you match in order you can score points for, even without backlinks.

Still not convinced? Go back to the photo of the search results and the top ten rankings at the top of this post and read the searches and the URLs of the pages and the positions they were placed on Google for that search.

Don't just write for Keywords - Maybe you've heard this advice while researching SEO techniques, that you should write for readers too.

These methods do both! When a reader scans the headlines and sub-heads in this article they're likely to see topics that match their questions - these are likely to catche their eyes and get them to stick around to read more.

How To Maximize On-Site SEO Opportunities

Optimize your Page or Post title, the URL and the a major headline in your content for a search term to optimize it for the entire page.

Also use this phrase in the Meta Description for the page to reinforce it further. Even without backlinks, this will send strong messages to Google about what your content is all about.

Google Ranks Pages Not Websites

We're not an "Authority Site" (yet). An example of an authority site is The New York Times. If you get a link from them Google notices. Authority sites are powerhouses on the internet that can give you a big boost if you get a link from.

But what our evidence show is that if you match enough of the searcher's intent,  even without backlinks from low-level or authority sites you can still have a page of your site appear as a viable option for the searcher's query.

This is why it's so important to always be answering the searcher's question when making pages and writing headlines and content.

You Get Rewarded For Relevancy Too

Finally, the goal of getting ranked for specific long tail searches isn't just ego or glory or tricking Google - it's because you page is actually answering the question the searcher is asking - you can't ask for a better visitor to your site!

How We Track Instant Keyword Rankings

Get Instant Site Rank Notification - Receive an email when your site ranks for a new term in Google. This rank tracking Wordpress plugin is $27 but it's been well worth it for us to know exactly how and when our SEO is working, know new terms we rank for to get new content and build a powerful FAQ list. Know instantly when and how a searcher is finding you.

Local Marketing and SEO Options

To increase your visibility in local search results, including in smartphones and GPS, see local marketing options and follow these links for local SEO and national SEO services.