9 Ways to Grow Your Traffic Without Building Links

By David Lee | Oct 2, 2018

There are many ways to get backlinks, the easiest way being to run a competitor analysis, find out what sites are linking to them, then reach out to those sites to link to you.  This may or may not work and for some companies in certain niches, it may not work.  For the most part, backlinks is one of the most tedious and most challenging aspects of SEO.

So it is possible to drive traffic without building links?  Technically yes.


1. Schema

Schema gives meaning to the words (or numbers) on your site.  Tells Google what they mean.  According to Searchmetrics, more than one-third of the sites that show up in Google rankings use some sort of schema markup, but of all the websites on the internet, only 0.3% use Google-approved schema markup.

Lately Google has been getting stricter and tougher in providing the most relevant and best results to a user’s search experience.  Websites with schema will definitely return at the top of the results because they give specifics on certain things like your location, your pricing, user reviews, and the main topic of your website: all factors that would help a user know what you’re all about before they click through to your site.

For an article, you can markup things like title, author, publication date, main image, url, and a featured section.


2. Content Distribution

If content is king, then distribution is queen.

Doing some research and finding where to promote your content will surely drive your traffic.  You can promote your content on your blog, on a list of blogs, social media, your email list, webinars, events, anywhere where your content may look good.  Sometimes it will be the people who does the backlinking for you.  They see your content and post it on their own blog or own their own network.  You just have to put your content in a place where a lot of people are at.

Backlinko as well as Roel Manarang did a study on this saying most of the time, creating content is not very important.  You could even succeed with just a small amount of blog posts.  The key is spending a large amount of time with making sure your content is really good (curation and ideation process) and promoting your blog post or article.


3. Rich snippet Optimization


Also known as the meta description, the rich snippets helps describe what a website is about to a user.  It’s like a free advertisement for a website and you have full control over it.  Put in all of your top targeted keywords into your snippet without making it look spammy and make it look enticing.  The more people who click on your website, the higher your website will rank.  But not just clicks.  The longer a person stays on your website without bouncing off your website, the higher the website will rank.


4. Be first to post about the Latest News

Whether it is an update about outdated content or breaking news nobody knows about, be the first person to write and publish it.  There’s a reason why Moz, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Wordstream are always at the top of the search results for any query related to Google Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon updates and algorithm changes.

Granted, these are authority sites with high Domain Authority and Page Authority. But the major reason why these sites keep ranking highly in Google for several search queries is because they’re always at the forefront of breaking SEO news. They’re basically the CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Forbes of SEO.


They get the latest updates in the SEO and SEM world before other digital marketers and SEOs do. They attend and host SEO conferences and workshops, where they invite Matt Cutts and other respected Google employees to share the latest updates.

Since 48% of searches result in page one organic clicks, your goal is to keep abreast of latest updates and write about them consistently. That way, you’ll be among the first few sites that have relevant information regarding the current news.


Tech-related blogs are very good at keeping up with the latest happenings in the technology and startup worlds. For example, TechCrunch has a section on its homepage for News. This is where people go when they want to know what has happened in the last two minutes.


Remember that when you quickly produce useful and interesting content around a news topic, people will naturally link to you.

So how do you produce content that will generate backlinks and generate organic traffic?

If you’re still not convinced that the news update strategy can help you rank higher in Google SERPs, then consider the experience of Brian Dean, who used it to increase conversion rates by 785%.

If you’re ready to implement this strategy, start with the headlines. The trick is to spin news items into unique and useful pieces of content for your target audience. I’ll demonstrate how to craft the best titles for news update content by using the above news topics as an example.

Original news title: Google Introduces Rich Medical Content Into Knowledge Graph

Fresh, magnetic titles that get people clicking:

  • How Google’s Rich Medical Content in the Knowledge Graph Can Improve Your Rankings
  • What You Need To Know About The Rich Medical Content In the Knowledge Graph
  • 10 Important Things You Can Learn From The New Rich Medical Content In the Knowledge Graph

Original news title: Bing Ads Auction Insights Now Available Globally

Clickable and benefit-driven titles:

  • Good News: You Can Now Use the Bing Ads Auction Insights To Generate Web Traffic
  • How The Bing Ads Auction Insights Works For International Users

Original news title: Official: Google AdWords Rolls Out “Upgraded URLs” For Tracking Parameters

Catchy and clickable titles:

  • Official: How To Track Parameters Using The Google AdWords Upgraded URLs Feature
  • How to Use the Google AdWords Upgraded URLS to Lower PPC Spends and Drive Qualified Traffic

You can go to authoritative websites, look at the topics that are trending or search for a topic that you know a lot of people are asking questions about.  Research the topic and try to come up with a compelling headline.  Look at existing headlines or currently trending articles and see what kind of headline you can make for your article.


5. Infographics

Infographics are one of the 15 types of content that generate massive traffic.

“On average, each infographic I’ve created so far generated 53,000+ qualified visitors and over 800 backlinks from 79 unique domains. Infographics also generate decent social shares; each one generated close to 900 tweets and 400+ Facebook likes.”

If your infographic is high-quality and helpful, people will link to it. Even in social media marketing, using images can make the difference.

For example, this study shows that tweets with images received 150% more retweets.


There are more than 10 reasons why you should integrate visual content into your marketing plan. One of those reasons is that “visual content makes up 93% of all human communications.” Also, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.


6. Creating detailed “Top” Lists

Top List posts are popular. They can improve your search traffic, especially when you make them in-depth and use data-driven facts to back up every claim.

People like them because information is put into a list, making things easier to read and more organized.  Plus, oftentimes, most Top Lists are interesting to read.

When you add videos, images, and slide presentations, you’ll get 40% of your target audience to respond more favorably to your list-type post.

One of the list-type posts that Michael Dunlop, founder of PopUp Domination, wrote generated 9,883 visitors in the last 30 days & 106,338 visitors in the last year.

When writing list posts, it’s important to provide numbering for each item on the list and include the total in the title – specifically, odd numbers.

Again, make sure your List is detailed, links to authority sites, and has a keyword-optimized catchy title.


Make sure your list also contains a good amount of images and/or video.  It has been proven that different media formats can drive in more traffic than lists that do not contain or contain less visual imagery.


7. Updating existing articles


You might see a few outdated articles based on what you search for.

As mentioned above in #4, be the first to write about whatever it is you plan on writing.  If someone else beats you in writing about the latest social media marketing techniques, you can try to figure out how to beat their article or find another topic that might need an updated article.  People are always looking for new updated material to learn from.


8. Target low-competition, long-tail, geo-targeted keyword phrases

Phrases such as “web development services” are super competitive keyword phrases and most of the time, unless you have some high authoritative backlinks (backlinko had a great case study about this), you won’t rank in the top 10.  It’s often better to spend more time finding more specific keywords that many people are searching for that most websites are not targeting.  Sometimes there will be many websites showing up for really long keyword phrases but those websites are not very good.  They are just showing up because they are currently the best results Google can show.  Hence, a great opportunity for you!  Create a really good article targeting that long keyword phrase and show up one page 1.

What does it mean to be a low-competition, long-tail geo-targeted keyword phrase?

Well, imagine this:

“Web development” vs “web development services detroit”


You see how all the keyword phrases in the above image (taken from Google Keyword Planner) are all Medium to High in competition?  Try adding a city next to them and the competition will be lowered.  The challenge is finding a keyword phrase + city or area that people search a lot for.


9. Make your website look good

What does this mean?

It means:

  1. Make sure your website looks good.  Your website analytics should show a very low bounce rate.  If your site is designed to have a high bounce rate, then the amount of time spend on your website overall should be high.  A user can bounce from one page to another but at least they are still on your website.  This increases the chance that they may share something from your website or engage in one of your posts or articles.  Look at your competitors.  How are their websites designed?  Could your layout be improved?  Could your articles be improved?
  2. Improve your page speed.  People want fast.  Enough said.  If your website is too slow, people will move on to another site.  No chance of getting any backlinks or shares.


So…is it possible to get backlinks without focusing on it?  Sure, if you generate really high quality content that people will want to share.  Content is the foundation of an authoritative website and brand.


Getting clicks via social media

Another way to drive organic traffic, as demonstrated by Backlinko, is to create a great post, then tweet it.  If you have a large amount of followers, you will have a high chance of getting lots of clicks (depending on when you post the tweet).  If you don’t have a large amount of followers, reach out to someone who does and ask them to tweet your post (if your post references that someone, that’d be even better).  The case study was done by Rand Fishkin, Founder of MOZ, whose article jumped up in the SERPs in 3 hours all because of clicks through Twitter.   Well technically, the clicks didn’t come from social media but social media was the driving factor.

So remember, don’t underestimate the power of social media…..and the power of creating relationships with people.







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