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Is a successful site possible with a small number of backlinks?

     
7:45 am on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Can a site rank successful in Google's SERPs even without a large number of external back links. By this I mean if the site is well written, with good internal anchor text and on page optimisation, can it still be a success ?
8:21 am on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Yes it is. Think quality, not quantity.
8:22 am on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Yes it can, at least for thousands of long tails.

I've launched sites with only good content and internal links and a single link from Yahoo Directory.
10:23 am on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Yes. None of my sites has tons of links, and most of my client sites have little other than scrapers.

However, if your competition has a lot of links, that could make a difference, if they're legit.
12:23 pm on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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However, if your competition has a lot of links, that could make a difference, if they're legit.



that is the key, and it is even more true when the competition comes from big brands...so it depends upon the niche, the topics and the keywords you are trying to rank for. If you find competition from the biggies who have lots of links and trust, it is definitely difficult these days with Panda and Penguin around. Even if you manage to get a lot of good links, it might not be that easy to go above those big brands as you will have to survive these zoo animals which might kick your pages to no man's land.

In short, there is a lot more at play beyond links.
1:34 pm on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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And if your site is successful, it will attract backlinks. Maybe catch 22 of course.
2:50 pm on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I konw that Larry Page would consider this to be blasphemy, but Google needs to move away from backlinks as a major factor in its algorithm.
3:51 pm on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I konw that Larry Page would consider this to be blasphemy, but Google needs to move away from backlinks as a major factor in its algorithm.


I think they are trying. Just because a link exists doesn't mean they think it is an editorial link anymore and quite a few people believe that even a url without link or mention of a known brand name has equal weighting as a link in many respects.
5:05 pm on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Can a site rank successful in Google's SERPs even without a large number of external back links.


Hmm, I don't understand all these "Yes" answers. Either I am living on a different planet, or we perceive the word "successful" differently.

I am mostly in e-commerce. Netmeg, you too, right? Try to sell televisions, fridges, kitchens, whatever and overrank overstock, walmart, bestbuy with a "quality" site. Those who answered "yes", either their niche is not where the money is, or is really limited in scope.

Think quality...


Naive, naive, naive. What eventually makes you rank in a competitive niche is Capital, not "quality".

Edit: oops, sorry, you obviously meant quality links, and I was thinking quality content. Was relating to the claim how quality content can make you rank
8:18 pm on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It used to be, no problem, these days just spam the SERPs with scraped content and you'll have no issue whatsoever and remember to do it on Blogger, you'll get an extra boost for that!
9:24 pm on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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One of my B2B clients does an easy $165-$200k in sales per month off the website with maybe six legitimate backlinks (which I purchased for them in a niche directory) That's it. Most of the rest are scrapers, and an occasional blog site that features one particular product because they think it's cute (and it's not even close to being one of our best sellers) We've increased sales every month except one in the past 16 months.

For myself, I have non-ecommerce sites that get close to a million pageviews per day in season, with very few traffic-sending backlinks. Lots of scrapers (the ecommerce site has those too) but most of the "real" backlinks are media stories that eventually lose freshness or are removed.

Maybe not everyone's idea of success, but I'm okay with it.
9:46 pm on June 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I think it depends on the keyword and market. In a saturated market any new site will be a drop in the ocean , but if you can find a niche market, no small feat in itself, then yes you have a good chance and backlinks may occur naturally.
2:19 am on June 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The more updates we experience in Google, the less volume of links seems to matter, and the more the "right" links, with a healthy blend of brand, social and author signals seems to take the cake in a less risky environment.