Is SEO Possible Without Inbound Links?

Jan 31, 2008 • 9:37 am | comments (17) by twitter | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

A HighRankings Forum member wants to know if it's possible to rank well for competitive keywords without having inbound links.

The answer is no. As Randy points out:

Without any links at all pointing towards your site not only will it not rank very well, but it won't even stay in the index.

Tis the way of the web. The search engines expect people to link to things those people find to be of value. So if no one ever links to your site they make the (correct) assumption that it has no value to their users.

If there's no trust (and no links to the site), there's no reason why the search engines would consider it valuable to other users.

The best scenario is to look for relevant sites, not only because Matt Cutts says so but because you can get great traffic from it:

I've noticed in my own experience that the best links are obvious. Highly relevant, quality websites. You hear it over and over, but my reasoning for calling them the "best links" is not merely for Search Engine ranking help. The reason they're so good is you can see that these referring sites send good traffic.

So in the end, links matter. Relevant links are better.

Forum discussion continues at HighRankings Forum.

Previous story: Learning More About Mobile Search


No Name

01/31/2008 06:06 pm

can the same assumption be made in reverse - that people find way to build large back links and the engine gives them better "undeserved' ranking becuase of it. you know what i'm saying underneath it all.....


01/31/2008 10:52 pm

For ranking especially with regard to competitive keywords, you need to apply on page SEO and off page techniques. It is your off page techniques that increase your website popularity. Higher popularity means more weight for your site with the search engines. You really need to build back links but also make sure that you have great keyword targeted content on your site

Paul Burani

02/01/2008 07:04 pm

Has anyone ever tried to quantify the relative value of an inbound link with and without reciprocation?

Michael Martinez

02/03/2008 12:13 am

The answer is NOT "no". The answer is, "It depends". If the query is relatively uncompetitive you CAN get to the top of the results without inbound links. New sites do it every day. It's no longer necessary to have inbound links to get in to the index. It is extremely helpful to have inbound links to stay in. A large content site with no inbound links has a much better chance of performing well than a small content site.


02/04/2008 06:00 pm

Hi Michael. Are you saying that as long as the site has 1 good back link and the site in turn has 100's of contextual internal pages the site should rank well for a search query that has limited competition. Wishing everyone an exSEOllent 2008

Michael Martinez

02/04/2008 08:33 pm

<strong>Goran</strong>: "Are you saying that as long as the site has 1 good back link and the site in turn has 100's of contextual internal pages the site should rank well for a search query that has limited competition." <strong>Michael</strong>: What I am saying is that in many non-competitive queries you don't need ANY backlinks. People can get new sites indexed without any backlinks. Of course, where Google is concerned the sites are apparently placed in the Supplemental Results Index, so your only hope of ranking is for non-competitive expressions where only Supplemental content is relevant.

Jacques Snyman

02/06/2008 05:57 am

Agreed. Have seem brand new customers place on 1st page in rankings with absolutely no link building having been done for them as of yet. Proper on page optimisation and the link to our homepage was all they had at the time....

No Name

02/07/2008 06:36 pm

The basic question posed in this entry was one that I was wondering about this week. Talk about serendipity! I'm glad I found this website. Thanks for this useful (and simply stated) information!

David Marx

02/08/2008 02:49 pm

Links are what the search engine algorithms feast on. You wont get very far without any links.

Angie Ibrahim

02/22/2008 01:19 pm

Hi I am new to blogging and I am learning all about SEO so any hints and tips is welcome! Thank you for the info above! Really useful!


02/25/2008 06:26 am

HI I'm at learning SEO and link building so any helpfull tips and links will be appreciated

No Name

02/25/2008 10:15 am

Surely your comments only really relate to Google and Possibly Yahoo, My understanding is that MSN doesn't look at backlinks it only concentrates on page content. Or have i completely lost the plot.


03/26/2008 04:48 pm

There is no question that quality inbound links help. However, I do not believe it is impossible for a site to rank highly without inbound links. I have at least 3 sites with very, very few inbound links (and 0 quality inbound links) that rank top 5 on Google for somewhat competitive keywords. I assume this is because I have really focused URLs and highly structured content.

No Name

05/23/2008 07:45 am

What's a ballpark figure for the number of quality inbound links you look to obtain? Tens, hundreds, thousands???

No Name

07/04/2008 07:07 am

90% inbound links cocerned to high page ranking. dnt forget to follow it

Amy Garland @ Blue Sky Factory

02/09/2011 11:21 pm

3 years late, but came across this post when searching for information on inbound links. Very helpful! To-the-point & easy-to-understand. I'll be checking back often for more recent posts & information. Thank you!


07/20/2011 08:05 am

pls tell me about the SMO

blog comments powered by Disqus