Aged Content Gets a Good Rank Due to Low Competition Keywords



u/marcovon

Do I really need to build backlinks to get organic traffic?

Everybody always say content is king and that if my content is good, Google will eventually find it. But how true is that statement? I have produced some articles which I think are pretty good and will outrank some of the weak sites that rank #1 on Google but so far those sites are still standing and my site is far from being found on Google searches.
I have seen some sites with literally 500 words, crappy designs, mediocre details and look like they have been abandoned since 2008 yet they rank #1 for the topic. It's really demoralizing when you spend so much time writing good content that is not reaching anyone.
They say just leave the website to age with good content, but if I don't do social media marketing, I barely get any traffic even if the article is amazing. Yet the crappy site ranking #1 has only 10 bullet points and brief explanations.
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esinana
How old is your site?

h12mpati
do Google ranks depends age?

Douges
Not directly.
An older site usually tends to have better chances of having a solid backlink profile compared to a new site (due to the amount of time it's had for source to link to it, time for outreach etc).
Content freshness is also relevant – Not so much for evergreen content but it can cause your older content to be pushed out of its position.
FutureReplacement5
you are correct.
FlyingNarwhal
There is also a slight (but clear) penalty for having a domain that was freshly registered less than 6 months ago. This has nothing to do with the factors that u/Douges described. New websites are going to take time to rank, all other factors being equal. If you've been at it for less than 6 months, give it another 6 months. Focus on getting the word out, and making useful, relevant, high quality content and getting that in front of the editors of other websites (so they can give it backlink if they find it useful for their purposes).

marcovon ✍️
It's less than a year old but the question is, does letting posts age without link building really make that huge of an impact? If link building is really that important I would spend lesser time on content research if someone has an edge simply by getting more links. Because to me, content is more important but if the reality is that some crappy site can outrank me for whatever technical reasons, it makes no sense to put in so much effort.

SonilaZ
You need both, age & backlinks to help your post rank higher!!

Caterpillarfox
It's totally depends on your niche. How competitior is it? If the results on the first page have higher Domain Authority (DA) then it would be really difficult to outrank them without backlinks
MilesWeb
As per me, it is important to build backlinks to get organic traffic.
rulesforrebels
Content us not king don't fall for that. People say content is king when they don't know true SEO or aren't willing to out in the effort. Content is more important than it was 5 years ago and will continue to be more important but backlinks are still a huge necessity
mili_m3011
Of course the correct answer is it depends.
Firstly, on your niche which defines how crowded the space is. For niches with competitors of big budgets spending high budget on creating content, the approach is different. For niches with not a lot of quality results, you can have a good opportunity but only if it satisfies the intention of the search and is properly optimised.
Secondly, on the age, discoverability and visibility of your website. Websites that publish regular content have a better chance of coming up in search results as Google thinks you are active, also if you have optimised for the right keywords (and tons of related long tail keywords) and have sitemaps etc, so that Google can easily crawl, discover and categorise your pages.
Thirdly, luck. Unfortunately that's how SEO is. You can try 1 approach, do everything in the direction but the current state of the algorithm (which is not very clear and transparent) doesn't favour your strategy. So, the best case is to pivot your strategy. Check all the 1st page results for the keywords you are targeting and try to come up with different kinds of results that be helpful for that query.
But again, be patient. SEO takes time too, if you are starting out, don't expect to see results at least for 6 months. Simply do your keyword research, consistently publish good content, reach out to partners to publish guest posts etc, but only once you start getting in some initial data which can be a few months in, will you know whether this approach is working or not.
But no, you don't always need backlinks to get organic traffic IMO.

marcovon ✍️
Yeah I know it takes time but let's say if I just focus on good content without any link building how well would it compare with someone who did more backlinks? Should I let the links come naturally or put a ton of effort into it. Does simply letting content age work? If not that's months or years wasted.

mili_m3011
You'll have to check the links of your competitors or the ones who come up on the top to see if linkbuilding is a popular technique in your niche. Initially, you should put some effort in outreach and easy wins in backlinks but not go over the top, unless you know for sure it's needed. Publish good content for some months before you start reaching out. But why miss out on a potential channel to get your content more eyeballs. Coz backlinks take time and effort, but I would advise not to rely solely on it to rank.
So, do it. Don't overdo it.

EntrepeNetherlands
Thank you for explaining! In your comment, you talk about "posting content regularly". What is considered posting regularly? Once day/week/month?

mili_m3011
Start with any frequency that you think you need to create well researched good quality content for your niche. And be consistent with it. That's actually much more important. If you are just starting off, at least once a week would be good but bi-monthly works as well.
EntrepeNetherlands
Thank you for your advice. I still have full time job, so once a week would be difficult, so I guess I'll go for twice a month :)

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yazilimuzmani
If your content has no quality, backlinks will not work because people will leave your page in a few seconds and it will harm your SEO. If your content is great you need backlinks to attarch people your website. So everything is connected. You can imagine SEO as a book. Somebody told you 'you should read Stefen's book' this is a backlink. But the book was bad or has a weak content. This is your content. And don't forget, content is always the king because people will share a good book. If you satisfy your readers they will share your link.
maximdelong
YES.
I think it's the best answer possible but of course it depends… All else equal research in the field have never dropped backlinks from important in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
chabrah19
I've taken 4 projects from 0 to 100,000 a month.
1 is a DR9, another is a DR32
You definitely don't need to have a big backlink budget or sophisticated outreach operations to generate a lot of traffic. I haven't done any outreach and spent less than $1000 links combined across these projects.
I stopped buying links because it turns out you don't have to

marcovon ✍️
That's fantastic. Question though, how old are those sites and how long did you wait for traffic to flow in naturally.
By no outreach, did you let the website content sit on the internet or do you still do some social media marketing? Did you actually "do nothing" other than SEO optimization?

Actual__Wizard

Everybody always say content is king and that if my content is good, Google will eventually find it. But how true is that statement? I have produced some articles which I think are pretty good and will outrank some of the weak sites that rank #1 on Google but so far those sites are still standing and my site is far from being found on Google searches.

Google is a computer algorithm. Your content being better is nothing more than your personal opinion. Google does not care about your opinion.
Google evaluates the importance of your website/content by analyzing the backlink profile. Quality is determined by whether your content answers the searcher's query, Google doesn't evaluate the effort or value of your content.
Your site with out any backlinks, will be ranked dead last among search results that are relevant and quality (which again quality doesn't mean what most people think it does.) It will be outranked by pure spam that happens to have the words on the page.
theeastcoastwest
One of the few SEO rules that doesn't change is that almost any SEO-related question's answer is related to the competition.
Yes you can rank without building backlinks.
However, if you and a competing website are creating similarly high quality content it's almost assured that whichever sites / URLs have the better backlink profiles will rank better.
The quality of backlinks is much easier to measure than the quality of content. That's why I'm an advocate for webmasters to always be working to earn quality backlinks.
You can measure a backlinks quality by metrics like page authority, domain authority, organic traffic, etc.
measuring the quality of content is a much more subjective task. Sure, you can compare keyword densities, content lengths, number of images, etc. but it's a lot harder to predict what a given audience will deem to be a higher quality.
Looking at things like bounce rate, dwell time, etc can help infer what equates with higher quality in certain niches. At best though, it still ends up being a bit of a guessing game. For example, show me the top five performing articles on any website and ask me what makes those higher quality than other pages. There's still a lot of room for subjectivity there IMO.
So the bottom line is that content doesn't have to have backlinks to rank well but that backlinks will almost always help rank better, was a big asterisk noting that all SEO is relative to competition.
CouldItbeThat
Lets say it that way:
If you competing against a site with more backlinks- Google CANT ignore it, Google has to aknowledge them and probably ranks the site higher.
brightworkdotuk
People saying that content doesn't matter are right. Content doesn't matter. RELEVANT CONTENT matters. Once people start reading and sharing your content, linking to it etc. your authority will go up. You really don't have to focus on backlinks at all, if your content is relevant to people in your niche and it's well written, well presented – the backlinks will produce themselves.

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maaseyracer
NO! You do not need to build backlinks and you should not waste your time or effort doing so. I have been an SEO for 14 years now, I do not build links. We have clients who ask to build links, we outsource, it is expensive, and those clients perform no different than sites that do not build links.
This is not to say that our clients do not seek press and or promotional articles that link back to them, but it is to say that we let the links come to them and do not spend time or resources chasing links. As a dollar value proposition you are better off spending the money on site improvements.
SEO users need to give up the sales head fake that links are free. If you feel the need to build links save your link building money and spend it on a Public Relations (PR) firm and get real news articles. I would rather use link building money for 3 to 5 news articles than 50 mediocre blogs linking to me. All those mediocre blogs are going to end up linking to that news article or your site with a real PR campaign anyway.
FlyingNarwhal
If you've been at it for less than 6 months, give it another 6 months. Focus on getting the word out, and making useful, relevant, high quality content and getting that in front of the editors of other websites (so they can give it backlink if they find it useful for their purposes).
WebLinkr
You need backlinks. What everyone has said here is nonsense. Google repeatedly confirms that links are how it establishes authority. Age and frequent updates are not strong signals. I have seen blogs with 100's of posts with no traffic. The only people who say content is king and that Google can magically grade content are content writers. I do this for a living, I live in New York City (NYC), I rank in the top 3 for SEO Agency NYC, SEO NYC, Pay Per Click (PPC) NYC etc. I can outrank anyone with good or bad content. Wait, there's no such thing – its subjective. The last company I worked for, terrible content. But its content. Google cannot "read".
rephunters
A wise man once told me backlinks are the reward for good content.

WebLinkr
There are so many holes in this flawed logic
It's amazing how many people in this subreddit keep pushing this fallacy all the time. Just think about it: Amin order for your great content to earn links someone has to find it and read it. And then they have to be a web publisher or someone with access to a website. And if that website is t very authoritative then what value are the links? People who use citations in blog post or other content are going to cite other rusted and authoritative sites like news sites. And Wikipedia.
Then let's say you write such a great post/article and someone find you on page 5 and still link to you and have a really strong domain – how do you have control over whether they noflooow the link, or what the anchor text will be? A link to a word like "click here" with no follow or 25 other links isn't much value.
But please – keep telling people that they don't need to build links because their amazing content in a sea of trillions of pages is jury's going to shine out and "grow links". A lovely fantasy story but it's just that.
Can somebody here please explain why this subreddit is the flat earth of SEO subs?

vector95
the answer is in 1 sentence: it depends on keyword difficulty and the first 10 results SERP
Rlogical_Techsoft
Yes, you need quality backlinks for getting more organic traffic.
Pallavi_goyal
Yes of course high-quality backlinks play a key role in website rankings as well as to generate more website traffic. Don't focus on the quantity of the backlinks always focus on the quality of the links.
BlackHeart357
It depends. But mostly, no. It's just one of a bunch of different factors in my experience.
Depends so much on your niche, on page SEO..
There's one site where the quality is world's ahead of my main competitor but they outrank me every time unless I look for the full name of one of my pages. But as far as general searches in the niche, I'm bottom of first page or top of second.
Hell, what pisses me off even more is that other sites that happen to have side sections dedicated to my niche outrank me because they have a ton of backlinks and authority, even though in theory my site should rank higher for those keywords because it's my site's bread and butter.
On another site I started, I worked quite hard on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It's a small informational site but the SEO was top notch. Didn't matter, it gets like 2 visitors per day. The main site I'm working on now, I'm doubling my traffic every 30 days from what I'm seeing. It's tech related and I just keep adding tons of different pages with minimal individual SEO work, but I imagine in another 6 months I'll likely be getting well over 1,000 visitors per day. The site only has like two major backlinks and theyre not even good ones lmao.
So yeah… It depends. A lot.

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