SEO 100% Is Not Backlinking, but Backlink Plays Crucial Role in SEO


Is SEO 99.9% backlinking?

I know there are on-page elements as well, but as someone just getting started in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), everything I have read so far is all about backlinks. So, is technical SEO all about backlinking? And if so, how can a small business owner with limited resources (can't hire an agency or a freelancer, trying to do it myself) get high quality backlinks?
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OP, even the most experienced SEO users still argue about this, so there's no black and white answer.
Simply said, there are three ways for you to influence your overall website performance – technical SEO, on-page, links.
There's also two ways to think about your website development – in terms of a stand-alone website (or a brand if you will) and in terms of it competing for rankings with other websites; at best, you need to do both – improve your website and compete with the others.
If your ranking competitors have massive backlink profiles, you will need to try and match that because the existing competition sort of "taught" the algorithm what to expect. But you also have to remember the other factors, technical and on-page, which you can influence as well. So, if your backlink-heavy competitors have slow, ugly websites and crappy content (which can drive off people that land on those pages), you may outperform them by improving your website's technical capabilities and content. Remember, Google (usually) wants to show the best/most relevant websites at the first positions, so if people are happier with your website than your competition, you may not need to match their thousands of backlinks and may rank with a lot less. However, if your website is in highly-competitive niche, say pay day loans, you will not for a million of years rank without a heavy backlink profile.
So my advice would be: Check the way your competition ranks – this will tell you if you need to be more aggressive with your backlinks or if you can achieve results with less. Check your niche for easy queries. Try to outperform your competitors first in regards with the technical and on-site stuff (because these tasks are faster and easier to complete) and only then start putting effort into backlinks.
But to answer your question, no, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not about 99,9% backlinks and anyone saying that either has a limited view on how Google works or are just speaking out of their experience with very spam-y niches where links are the main factor.

Thanks for the post

Basically, yes.
Get some longform original content up. Get it backlinked, you'll do well.
Keep in mind the SEO groups and players don't like that mantra as it cuts into there SEO reports and what have you.
It sure would be nice if it did involve inordinate amounts of time on H2 titles, rich snippets, mobile first etc. But Google no longer give a crap hence page one is 50% ads.


Get it backlinked

You make it sound so easy…

Lol. The discussion on this cracks me up every time.
First, unless Google figured out and perfected their Artificial Intelligence (AI) with their latest update, "engaging content that keeps users attention" and "well written relevant content that is popular and shared" is complete and utter crap. Just Google "Plano rhinoplasty" SEO contest.
Short version: skilled SEO ranked a site filled with Lorem Ipsum and a few strategically placed keywords.
So why does everyone insist that content and on page matter so much?
Well for starters, with respect to clients, we should be optimizing pages to convert users into customers. Engaging content, good offers, and smart lead gen help you accomplish that. It is absolutely important for doing a good job for your client. Does it help rank? Sure, a little bit. But it's not going to get you top rankings by itself.
Next, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is relative to your competition. For any given keyword, you only need to do more than the other guy to get a better ranking. If the top sites got there by sheer dumb luck, then just doing some basic on page SEO may be enough to outrank them. The more the competition gets right, the more important backlinks become. The reason being that what you can do on site is finite. There comes a point where doing more on site is going to hurt your rankings. There is a fine line between optimized and spammy. Once you have optimized a site, wherever your Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) land is as good as it's going to get without backlinks.
So why does everyone claim otherwise? First, as SEO professionals it behooves us to have knowledge that we can sell. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) being complex and hard to understand makes it an easier product to sell. No one wants to have their livelihood minimized to something an inter can do. Keep in mind that anyone can go to Fiverr and buy backlinks cheap. Sure, they are crap and likely will hurt a site, but telling a business owner that they need to spend $1000/mo for something they can buy for $5 is a hard sell.
Second, everyone has a story where they got great results without getting any backlinks. The irony being that we are data driven industry but pass off anecdotal evidence as proof. I have never seen an example of this that didn't end in one of two ways. Either the competition was weak and easy to beat, or the page had gotten quality organic backlinks.
At the end of the day, it would be irresponsible not to do on site because of the benefits to the customer. So yes it's important do do those things. But backlinks are still king and will be until Google figures out how to track user behavior on all websites whether they use Google Analytics or not.

I agree with most of what you said, but…

until Google figures out how to track user behavior on all websites whether they use Google Analytics or not.

It's called Google Chrome and a lot of people use it.

I don't disagree, but Google has to tread very lightly here. They've already drawn the ire of privacy watchdogs in the past. If they aren't careful they could end up with GDPR-like privacy protection legislation that kills their use of user data.
I would be interested to see if anyone has any hard data on Google reconciling Google Analytics (GA) data with Chrome user data to determine rankings.
Tbh aside from Chrome there's also Android and any other Google apps. I'd argue that even using the Google search engine is enough data for google. If you search the same term twice, Google already knows you didn't find anything on the links you clicked and how long it took you to go back to search. There's a lot of data that can be extracted just from using the search engine alone.


Wow, so many so-called-answers and yet no one is even mentioned penguin algorithm.
There are no percentage (?) importance levels on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Google SEO is about Google Algorithms. There are over 200 factors on 8 areas (domain, backlink, page-level, site-level, user engagement (rankbrain), special Google algorithms, on-site and off-site webspam factors)
So, if you purchased bunch of backlinks, probably you'll have to use disavow tool to clear them up. Penguin will punish you.
Your content is not that good? Panda will punish you. If good; hummingbird will reward you. If you're promoting a local website, pigeon & possum will push you up. If you do everything for just affliate & ad revenue on your site; then fred will punish you.
A proper SEO work must respond all factors, you don't have to answer to all of them; but you answer to those algorithms and factors until you reach to top results. Then someone else does better, then you try to do better etc.
That's only Google.
Other websites that have "search" bar might have other priorities. Yahoo, yandex, Bing, spotify, YouTube, vimeo, amazon, tripadvisor, social sites, app store, Google play store etc. all have different prerequisites.Proper research before typing out your meta title and description might be more important than everything else.
Every search on every platform will have a different strategy.
If you want a career in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for a long time; your knowledge of purchasing backlinks is irrelevant. You must know & discover how to develop a SEO Strategy that will help your client make more money & customers & visitors etc.
In my opinion, SEO is all about content and backlinks.
Till now I have not seen any website which has ranked on search engine and has no backlinks. Every ranked site has loads of backlinks and good content.
You can create quality backlinks yourself by checking your competitor's backlink report which you can check on any backlink checker tool. Check the sites they are getting backlinks from and start creating for your site.
Yes, backlinks are highly important to SEO but yes you can certainly do well without a lot but Google absolutely loves a ton of backlinks… You can find very good freelancers on Fiver or Legiit… I use Fiver to get my freelancers to do my SEO and backlinks and I've always been super happy with the results
I know SEO and all that but I prefer a 3rd party goes in and does their things and boom, you have a high ranking website
To me keyword research is the biggest thing…
Hope everyone here has a great week ahead
First, SEO isn't "99.9% backlinking". In my experience it depends on niche. As someone who's been doing this for almost 20 years I can tell you that while backlinks are the driving force in competitive rankings, they aren't the only force.
As others have mentioned – good on-site and technical SEO (that is proper meta tags, properly written and optimized visible text, decent site speed, etc) all also have a contribution. As do backlinks.
You can rank a site with a few dozen lower quality links or 1 or 2 higher quality. The volume isn't the indicator.
This is a big discussion in the SEO realm as many are aware. It's akin to the argument about content length and what works better? 500 words or 5000. But the answer (as with most things in SEO is (drumroll please):
It depends.
The amount of content needed to rank depends on your niche. Some sites can get away with properly optimized pages of 400-500 words. Some need 1000-1500, some need more.
The same holds true for links. Some sites need massive amounts of backlinks just to remain competitive, while others can get by with fewer links. the only way to know is to get to know your competitors and monitor what they are doing.
Because if they are adding dozens of pages of 1000+ word articles, and building a couple hundred links per month (of varying quality) then you will need to do at least that to remain competitive.
There is no hard and fast rule of what's "best" for SEO. I know from my experience, I can rank most sites competitively, locally or nationally, with as little as 150 words of content on a page, a regular link building campaign that isn't too aggressive, and anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months. This is what works for me and has for years.
So in my opinion, yes it's mostly about links. But not 99.9%.
I find it ironic that folks like, Brian Dean create hype in search with a site about Backlinks. When the site is mostly about on site tactics.
Backlinks serve a place, but if your infrastructure of your site/app are not in place to facilitate a conversion then the links are just wasted.
As a small agency we stopped all backlinking efforts in 2012. We contract a Public Relations (PR) firm if a client is adamant about it, but it comes at a much high set of costs. We have never missed a goal or lost track of the road map from a lack of backlinks.
For a new website, it will be:
On-Page (your content and on-page elements) > Backlinks (Off-Page) > technical SEO
As your website grows bigger the technical SEO will be come more and more important and it will turn into:
On-Page -> Technical SEO -> Off-Page
As the website grows and if technical side of it was not something taken care of you'll reach a moment where you'll be able to double your traffic by simply fixing a set of wrong redirects (redirect chains, etc). So it's all important, but it's just something you'll understand better as you go. At the beginning everything will rather look like it can be all about linkbuilding, but it's not.
Its not 99.99% backlinks. You have to cover some basics first. BUT, once those basics are covered (decent content, decent site structure, no indexing errors, throwing some keywords here and there, articles that both Google algorithm AND people understand and find useful), then yes, it's pretty much 95% about backlinks.
NO, SEO 99.9 is not backlinking but backlink plays crucial role in SEO. Backlinks without SEO is not getting ranking and traffic. On page, off page as build backlinks – all are the need for SEO which provide get ranking & traffic.
There's no right or wrong answer about this, it depends on what the situation of the particular site you're working with is. You can do all the backlinking you want but if the content is irrelevant to the target keywords, the keywords you're targetting are way too hard to rank for and the technical aspects of your site are being looked over, you're simply not going to rank well.
Now to answer the other parts of your question, there are many many free tools out there with which you can run technical site audits for SEO and know where you need to start, you don't need to hire an agency for this. First run a technical audit of your site, page load time, 404s, redirections, all of those things; then look at the content on your pages, check that you're ranking for the right keywords and if you don't know then do Keyword Research; After you've done the first too then yes, go guns blazing into Backlinking, try to find the right balance though not all links are great, Domain Authority is key but you can definitely get free backlinks if you're producing quality content that adds value to other people's pages.
Hope this was helpful, just start acting and whenever you get stuck look for answers online, there's lots of free content and lots of work you can do before hiring anyone.


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