3 Reasons Why Backlinks are not Everything in SEO


If you’re familiar with SEO, then you’ve heard that you need backlinks to get that dreaded #1 ranking in Google.

Although it’s true that backlinks do matter, they’re only a piece of the SEO puzzle.

In other words, backlinks by themselves probably won’t get you far in your SEO journey. Here’s why.

1. You need to optimize your landing page content.


Imagine you want to buy an iPhone. Naturally, you go to an Apple store… but then you find out they don’t sell iPhones there. Weird, right?

Same with your website.

You can’t rank for a keyword that doesn’t show up on your page’s content.

This is, by far, the most common mistake people make when they first dive into SEO. I see it almost every day when I talk to my customers.

If you’re want to rank for “phones”, you need to make sure the word “phones” shows up on your website a few times.

However, writing a couple of times your keyword isn’t enough. It gets a little more technical than that.

According to Backlinko, you should aim to naturally include your keywords in your:

  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • H1 heading
  • Subheadings (h2, h3, h4)
  • Within the first paragraph of your landing page
  • Image alt tag
  • Your URL

And so on…

In essence, you want Google to immediately see the correlation between your site and your focus keyword(s). By doing this, Google may reward you with better ranking positions.

Failing to optimize your landing page content is dooming yourself to failure from the start.

If your competition is lacking of good onpage SEO, optimizing your content will have an amplified effect. I’ve seen literally hundreds of cases where a small website beats behemoths sites like Amazon, Yahoo Answers, Ebay, Wikipedia, etc. by only having a better on-page SEO.

Takeaway #1:  Optimizing your content for your focus keywords is crucial to your SEO success.

  1. You need to carefully select your focus keywords


Fact: The more generic a keyword is, the more competition it has.

Imagine you’ve designed a beautiful WordPress theme after countless hours of hard work. You have just created a landing page showcasing this theme with a compelling “buy” call-to-action button.

Do you think it will be a good idea to set “Wordpress theme” as your main keyword?

The answer is no.

Being realistic, it’s very unlikely a small website will rank #1 for the keyword “Wordpress theme”.


There are already BILLIONS of websites fighting each other for the #1 search result for the phrase “Wordpress theme”. It will take several months of SEO and a considerable investment to rank for such generic keyword and start making money off it.

But even if you do manage to rank, your traffic will not convert as much as you may have initially predicted.

This is because someone searching for “Wordpress theme” might not be ready to buy your product.

People searching for “Wordpress theme” might be searching for theme photos, theme inspiration, theme forums, theme guides, theme resources, and so on.

The keyword “Wordpress theme” is too broad, covering a large number of micro-niches within it.

You want to organic traffic to be as targeted as possible, and for that, the intent of your focus keyword should be more specific.

Okay, so what about “cheap WordPress theme 2018”?

Common sense tells me this keyword is not as common as the shorter variation “Wordpress theme”, meaning there is less SEO competition, and hence, a bigger opportunity to rank on top and benefit from the traffic that top rankings command.

Someone looking for “cheap WordPress theme 2018” is definitely more likely to purchase than the average person searching for “Wordpress theme”.

This is the definitely the kind of traffic you want to on your website. Not only it will convert better, but it will also cost you less to rank for this particular keyword due to its reduced SEO competition.

Takeaway #2: Longer keywords outperform shorter, generic keywords.

Takeaway #3: Keyword intention is crucial to your SEO success.

3. You need to have a proper website structure.


Recently a friend asked me why his rankings suddenly dropped. He was ranking on the top 20, but suddenly he made a jump back to the spot 100+.

At first, I was intrigued. The page he showed me seemed very decent.

But then, he told me he doesn’t have a homepage because he feels there’s no point in having one.

Hold on.

So, his website is just like this:



But when you browse to example.com, it shows an error 404 page.

Never before I have seen anything like this. However, my common sense told me there was something very wrong with that.

Long story short, I suggested him to build a basic homepage and link to his two inner pages accordingly. A few days later, his rankings not only reversed, but actually improved and managed to reach to Google’s first page.

Takeaway #4: Your website’s internal architecture is vital for your website’s user experience, and also for your website’s SEO.

Things such as sitemaps and proper internal linking play an important role in SEO that is often overlooked.

Make sure to avoid these naive mistakes if you’re serious about your SEO success.


As much as some SEOs are trying to oversimplify the process of ranking a website, it is not that simple. SEO is much more than just buying some links and leaving everything else to your luck.

Next time you go shopping for a link building service, make sure that your SEO of preference includes or at least help you with your keyword research, your page content and your website’s internal linking structure.

If a SEO focus exclusively on backlinks, they’re not doing SEO the right way… and they probably don’t deserve your money.

We are one of the leading web marketing & design companies in the greater Northwest region specializing in Internet Marketing Services. Our team has been serving the community for over 7 years.

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