Can You Rank Your Website 1st Page On Google Without Backlinks?

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I recently posted a question on a LinkedIn group asking what everyone thinks about the possibility of ranking a website on 1st page of Google without any backlinks.

In case you are interested, the link below will take you to the discussion (You might need a LinkeIn account to see it).


The response was overwhelming and people took sides on this conversation. One group of people believe in backlink building and the other on the opposite side.

Rank without backlink conversation on Linkedin

So what do I think about ranking on 1st page without link building?

One of the answers in the discussion thread is similar to what I think.

good answer for if it is possible to rank without backlinks

It is indeed possible to rank on 1st page without any backlink building but that is not the purpose of SEO.

What we should be thinking about is to make a site both user friendly and search engine friendly.

If the content is good and everyone loves the site, it is inevitable that website will get some backlinks, even though it might be ranking on 1st page without any backlinks initially.

We also should not ignore the social signal even though Google has publicly denying it using social signal as a ranking factor – interestingly enough, when looking at the study carried out by searchmetrics.com, social signal is highly correlated with ranking (image taken from the study shown below).

screen shot from searchmetrics 2015 ranking factor for social signal

In fact, I have managed to rank websites on 1st page without any backlink building. Some of the ones that did particularly well actually were shared on various social media platforms.

Some after ranking on the first page for a while, acquired backlinks naturally without any link building. Most likely people think it was relevant and the fact that it was ranking high on page 1 indicates it is a trust worthy information.

It really comes down to with the limited resource you have, what you can do best with it. If building backlinks provides the best Return Of Investment (ROI), why not?

In fact, if spending for paid ads provides a better ROI than SEO, that should be the focus for the business.

The question should not really be “what is the best method to market the business?” but rather “what is the best strategy to grow the business?” should be the focus.

Do you agree? or disagree? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

1 reply
  1. Webmasters Group
    Webmasters Group says:

    Well said. The point I’m trying to make is, having no backlinks doesn’t handicap a site – it can still rank well. But of course, for the top spots, you must have good backlinks


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