Can you have good SEO without content on your website?
It’s a common question people have when thinking about the future of their website especially when they want to show up in Google search. And I can understand why it’s asked so often. Good content marketing definitely isn’t effortless – it takes a lot of planning and strategic execution to get it right and see a return on your time/money investment into content.
Still, content is almost always essential to ranking well in searches. So, here’s the answer to the question, “Can you have good SEO without blogging?“
Maybe, but probably not. The reason why comes down to the fact that you, me, and everyone has a lot of competition out there.
Why should Google rank your site higher than someone else’s? You have to give them a reason to do that.
Writing genuinely helpful content on your site is one of the best ways that you can outrank competitors. There is no “SEO magic” that you can sprinkle on your site and have it suddenly rise to the top of searches, otherwise everyone would do it.
So, let’s talk about:
- a.) How to actually rank in searches
- b.) What you can do if you really want to try to rank without blogging
How to give Google reasons to rank your website pages high in searches
There’s a lot to say about SEO because there are over 200 ranking signals that Google apparently uses to decide which sites to rank. At the end of the day, a lot of those decisions come down to how helpful your content is to the people who come across it and how good you are at getting people to come across that content.
I highly recommend checking out Backlinko to do some in-depth reading about SEO, but let’s do a quick rundown about what you need to rank high in searches.
You need backlinks
When other people link to your site as a reference, resource, or example, that other site owner is essentially vouching for the page they linked to. Links hold so much weight in SEO because having other people find and reference your content is a clear sign to Google that your content is probably relatively helpful.
One big no-no in this area is paying for other sites to link to you. Google has its ways of finding out that you’ve done this and can flag your site. which will have a negative effect on your rankings.
Some great ways to obtain backlinks before you’re well-known in your industry is by doing guest posts on relevant sites, (they really need to be relevant, i.e. in your industry) doing podcast interviews, participating in roundup posts, and using HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to respond to journalists who need sources for their pieces. The Content Factory has a super helpful post on ideas for getting more backlinks to your site.
When your posts do start ranking and getting shared, you’ll find that you’ll start generating more backlinks without having to do any outreach or extra work. If this is happening to, you’ve nailed it and you know you’re publishing great content.
It’s very difficult to get good backlinks without content, because without posts or resources of some kind, there’s fewer reasons for other sites to link to you.
You need topical authority
Google wants to recommend content that’s written by a website that has a reputation for publishing helpful, engaging posts. The more high-quality stuff you publish on your topics of choice, the more Google will start to identify you as an expert in that area.
Basiclaly, don’t blog just to blog. You can’t just churn out a bunch of half-baked articles that are regurgitations of what’s already out there in your niche. You really have to focus on publishing posts that add value and genuinely help your readers.
I know that you probably get that by now, but I really want to push this point. Publishing posts (especially under-researched or off-topic posts) just to get something out isn’t going to do anything for your SEO. It actually might confuse search engines because you’re spreading your topical authority too thinly and your content quality is so variable.
Also, avoid blogging about too many things. When you’re first getting started, it’s a good idea to stick to 3-5 categories (the fewer, the better to be honest) and to build up a large library of good content within those categories before thinking about adding more topics to your site.
Without content on your site, it’s much more difficult to establish yourself as an expert in your niche, especially in the eyes of search engines like Google.
You probably need content for good SEO, but here’s what you can try if you don’t want to write content
Based on what we just talked about, (which is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO) you do need to have a content marketing strategy to benefit the most from SEO. There are a couple of exceptions, though.
If you’re a small, local business, you can probably rank your site decently well by following some of the no content SEO tips in the next section in the article.
If you’re an online business, however, it doesn’t make sense to expect Google to recommend your site in searches over other sites if your site doesn’t have anything on it that makes it stand out. Still, let’s talk about all the things you could do if you’re still wondering how to attempt good SEO without content.
Make sure your NAP-W info is consistent across any business listings or other sites
Your name, address, phone number, and website address = NAP-W. When someone does a search for a local/brick-and-mortar business, they’ll come across information about the business’s physical location and how to contact them. These listings are super beneficial for those businesses because they typically get a lot of interaction and can help customers find the business and actually show up.
You need to make sure that your business’s NAP-W info is consistent across any websites it’s listed on. This means going through Google my Business, Yelp, any business directories you made an account on, etc. to make sure that your business information is accurate. It’s smart to schedule in a quarterly checkup on any business listings you have to make sure everything is up to date. A small difference within one of your business listings can throw Google off.
Prioritize mobile site speed and responsiveness
Your site’s mobile responsiveness means that it’s easily usable on mobile devices. This feature should be included with all web design packages and a lot of DIY platforms have built-in mobile responsiveness or mobile site editing. If your site doesn’t look good on mobile, you’re probably losing out on a large percentage of your potential customers.
Most people with a website know this and it’s not by any means news in 2021.
What IS big news right now is that mobile site speed is becoming increasingly more important. Your site visitors are used to sites loading snappily on their phones, so if yours takes more than a couple of seconds to load, you’ll end up having a lot of those visitors drop off and go to another site.
On top of that, the Core Web Vitals update is coming out in May 2021 and involves a lot of site performance and speed factors. Here’s a great video explanation from Moz about how to improve your site’s core web vitals so that you don’t get dinged in search results because of your slow site. You also want to make sure that your site’s user experience is good, so things like popups that block off most of the screen will likely hurt your site’s rankings because it hurts the user experience.
There’s a lot that you can do to improve a slow website. Running your site through GT Metrix will break down any page speed issues you have and you’ll be able to determine where exactly each problem is coming from.
- If it says that there’s a slow server response time, that’s often due to subpar web hosting. Do some research on reputable web hosts because a lot of the big name brands (BlueHost, GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.) allegedly overcrowd their servers and there can be a lot of downtime, site speed issues, and even security problems involved on their shared hosting plans. Some web hosts I recommend are DreamHost, Cloudways, Siteground, and NameHero.
- If your GT Metrix report is talking about image optimization issues, install an image optimization plugin to take care of your image optimization for you. My favorite image optimization plugin is ShortPixel, which is free for 100 image credits per month and works well compared to other plugins.
- If you see that it’s recommended to use a CDN, check out Cloudflare, which you can use for free and will help speed up your site.
Check out this article for more ways to increase your website’s speed and performance.
You have fewer opportunities to build backlinks as a site without content, so you’ll want to take advantage of what you can do. With a smaller, local business site, you might stand a chance at outranking your local competition if you’re able to grab a few good backlinks. You’ll want to add building backlinks to a regular part of your marketing strategy for the best results. Here’s some examples of links you can build without blogging.
- Business directory listings. Think big ones, like Yelp as well as industry-specific and area-specific directories. All are good links to grab for your business. Create a business listing on as many non-spammy directories that you can. (Make sure that your NAP-W info is correct on each one!)
- Join industry or local business associations. Lots of those kinds of organizations have opportunities to be interviewed on their site or linked to via a member list or something similar.
- Sponsor local events. Sponsoring events in your area will earn you backlinks as well as social media traffic, which can have a positive effect on your SEO.
- Be interviewed on podcasts, in newspapers and magazines, on YouTube channels, and for local blogs. Anything like this will help you build valuable links to your site and benefit you in the long run as long as it’s relevant to your business.
Wrapping up: Can you have good SEO without content?
The answer is maybe, but probably not unless you’re a local business without much competition. You can do a lot of non-blogging-related tasks to help your SEO, like improving your user experience, making your site faster, learning and implementing technical SEO, building backlinks, and more. But at the end of the day, you can’t beat having a content marketing strategy and actually implementing it.
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