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Today for “Ask An SEO”, we have a concern from Amir in California:
” Can I increase the rank of a keyword with no link building?”
The brief response is yes. However you probably want a couple of more details than that.
Initially, let’s define what we indicate by “rank of a keyword” or “keyword rank”. Personally, I prefer to use the terms “query” and “placing”, though keywords and rank are subtexts for these two more extensive definitions.
The difference is subtle, however crucial.
Rank infers that there is a position everybody sees and that position is outright, which isn’t how Google works anymore.
Positioning refers to where a site is positioned in the page relative to subtle modifiers Google utilizes like geolocation, presence of regional products like a map pack, and user personalization. You can utilize rank when talking about a particular SERP, but it is a subset of the principle of placing.
The term “question” is definitionally more comprehensive as well.
A keyword was a more accurate representation before Google moved from “strings to things.” By using the term question we are looking at the keyword as part of a variation of terms surrounding that primary term, which also often takes the type of a concern.
Whereas keyword specifies to precisely what you went into in the search box and without stop words (the, if, these and so on) or modifiers, question takes these into account.
In fact, Google will even return results for words that are not part of your inquiry term, but are a close variation, so keyword is a bit too particular to be accurate.
Question is a better representation of how Google is working with language nowadays, though you will have keywords inside an inquiry.
So What About Query Positioning? (Keyword Rank)
Do you need to have links?
We should be clear, a site requires links.
We are all most likely conscious that Google says you can rank without links and while that is possible, to maintain positioning in a reasonably competitive question to a competitive one, you are going to need links.
How you obtain those links refers what methods or strategies you utilize, but links are a must.
Nevertheless, the question is can you increase placing without those links? And the answer is yes, yes you can, in numerous methods.
How Can You Increase Positioning Without Hyperlinks?
A site has a set of internal ratings given by Google comprised of hundreds (perhaps rumored to be thousands) of ranking factors, so enhancements throughout other signals (beyond links) can be extremely impactful on a site’s position.
So what specifically are a few of the important things you can deal with to improve that value and for that reason improve your positioning?
1. Site Crawl & Indexing Improvements
- Is Google able to crawl your pages well?
- Are there any spider traps or reroute loops?
- How are your canonicals working?
- Are you creating obstructions that might chase after Google off your website?
Use a tool like Screaming Frog and see how well your site is being crawled and ensure that you check it with the mobile user agent.
Even if you have not moved to mobile-first indexing yet, you will soon and it is necessary you know how your website is being crawled.
While schema is not a direct ranking aspect it becomes part of how pages wind up in particular highlighted snippets, so you will desire to examine schema and discover the ones best for you and your site.
Google prefers you utilize the JSON-LD variation. Bear in mind that absolutely nothing should appear in the material of the schema that varies from what is in the page. Google considers that cloaking and your site will likely receive a manual action.
3. Page Speed Improvements
Page speed is a ranking factor according to Google. While some elements we can just depend on experience to tell us it works, page speed is one Google has actually told us exists.
Now, they will say that it is simply a tiebreaker. This suggests when Google goes to retrieve files to fill a search results page request and all things are equivalent, the site with the much better page speed will be the aspect Google uses to choose which one will appear first.
What Google does not inform you is that, yes, it is simply a tiebreaker when your page speed signals are currently excellent. However if you have a very slow website, fixing that concern can result in boosts over 100%or more when it comes to traffic.
What is it to “repair” this concern?
Google does not tell us specifically, however if you evaluate your site with Google’s specifications (a 3G, Nexus 5 user representative) and it is can be found in over 10 seconds on the full page load and over 4-5 seconds on the DOM (Document Item Model– basically your HTML and dependencies) improvements of 50%or more in that speed can cause extremely considerable enhancements in positioning and traffic.
Take A Look At how you fare in this area utilizing Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool
4. Material Significance & On-Page Optimization
Use your main terms in the inquiry and keep crucial words to the left (for LTR languages, right for RTL languages).
While Google uses pixel width for figuring out the length of time that tag needs to be, if you keep the words under 60 characters with areas you ought to fit the space allocated in the SERPs nearly 100%of the time without activating the dreaded “…”.
Next, you will wish to make sure you have enhanced the items on the page These would be:
It used to be that Google almost needed several mentions of the keyword in the very first paragraph to rank a website best (Called TF-IDF), today with their advances in language interpretation, this is not considered necessary.
Nevertheless, it is still excellent to send out a signal in the opening paragraph of what the content of the page will include and this is not only for Google, however users.
Keep In Mind these ought to NEVER be spammed. You can even get a manual action for doing so, however if you connect an image that attribute is the exact same as if you had put straight anchor text in the link.
Likewise, with Google’s current focus on image search you will desire to ensure these are enhanced for additional pick-up there.
Please keep in mind though these tags are mainly for people with disabilities and you must follow the WCAG accessibility standards for appropriate implementation.
Captions Around the Image
Google is using captions and context around images to help rank them better in image search, so you will want to make sure you have added these to the page when possible.
This may look like a no brainer, however it is surprising how often it gets overlooked. Make sure you really discuss the traffic-driving inquiry term in the page.
We have had problems where a client did not utilize the question term, but only part of it, and then disappoint up at all for the full term for which they were wishing to see the website rank.
The concern is, Google is not as proficient at interpreting language intent as many believe they are.
So if you are offering running shoes and you installed a page about running with images of shoes a human will understand the intent is to discuss running shoes, however Google will not, and you will not rank for the running shoes question.
As they state, “Speak with me like I am 5!” With Google, think more like a 6-month-old.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) by themselves won’t aid with ranking, however they are needed for particular page placements.
For instance, if you wish to remain in the news carousel, aside from remaining in the Google News program, you need to have AMP pages or you can disappoint up there. This is likewise real for AMP stories. So just by using AMP, you can enter the top of page positionings that were not open to you before.
Yes, You Can Increase Keyword Rank Without Any Link Structure
These are not the only things you can do to increase your page visibility, however these are some of the more impactful changes you can make to your website to increase your positioning without developing links to those pages.
In other words: yes you can rank a website much better for particular terms without links though if the website remains in a moderately competitive to competitive specific niche it won’t remain there long without them.
- How to Improve Your Keyword Rankings in Google
- 5 Proven Ways to Increase Your Google Rankings
- 10 Ways to Get Numerous Organic Page 1 Google Rankings
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
Screenshot taken by author, August 2019