How To Rank On Google Without Paying For Ads

Google ads can costs tons of cash, sometimes going up to over $500 dollars a click. This makes it very difficult to start a business, especially if you are small with a single location. While paid ads are useful for many niches and specialties, it is better to develop your SEO habits first BEFORE putting “gasoline on the fire”.

While you may opt for paid ads later on down the road, this guide will help you get started for free, right away.

Free SEO Resources

  1. Google Search Consule – Best way to find out what keywords you are ranking for, what pages are indexed, and any problems that might be occuring.
  2. Semrush– While they paid subscription is amazing, they offer a free alternative, giving you 10 submissions per day. This is a great way to track keywords, check backlinks, and get a domain overview.
  3. WordPress/Wix – Both offer a free alternative which allows you to get set up. You can rank with a free website, despite it coming off as unprofessional. Hosting is not expensive, with full packages costing $50-100 dollars per year. Both of these platforms are user-friendly, allowing people to learn as they go.
  4. Google Business Profile – This is connected to Google Maps, with options populating after putting in a local query. This is one of my main sources of free traffic, without the need to pay for anything extra. When you get started, they will send a postcard to the business address, ensuring that you rightfully occupy to premises. Make sure to add all of your web and social links. This will not only serve as a traffic source to your website but will also signal to Google that you are both active and have accurate information.
  5. Surfer Local – This will tell you how well you are doing in a specific geographic area. For example, you might come up as the first result in your community, but are invisable to consumers a few kilometres over. They offer a paid service, helping business owners raise their rankings. While I have no experience with their paid service, their free tool is helpful and reliable. If you are looking to improve your placement on Google Maps, ensure that your website link in embedded in different niche websites, surrounded by relevent text and media.
  6. Ahrefs – This is the main SEO tool for many webmasters with subscriptions starting at $99 dollars. However, if you are not interesting in paying the fee, they offer free domain rating, keyword difficulty checker, SERP and many more. This is second-most active webcrawler in the world, coming directly after Google and their affiliates. They do all of the hard work for you.
  7. Serpstat – This is a great alternative to SEMRUSH and Ahref, with lower subscription prices and a bunch of free SEO tools. I would say that this is one of the best free (comprehensive) suites, allowing small business owners to take control of their webmarketing. They tend to have deals on during the holidays, where you can score big.
  8. Ubersuggest – This is a fantastic keyword generator. Simple put in a word (or two), put in your country of choice and BOOM! You will be given 100 keyword options, relaying their A) search traffic, B) organic difficulty, and C) paid difficulty. The platform is quite intelligent, offering keywords that are related yet do not share the same “terms”. This is great when you are developing your website outline, ensuring that your site garners traffic once it is properly indexed.
  9. HARO – Help A Reporter Out. Do you have to have a link from Fox, CBC, CNN or another authority website? HARO sends out an email daily, giving readers a chance to see what topics (and experts) are being requested. While not all of the websites are high authority, many are. If you are new to journalism, you can start with a small website, using it as leverage or as part of a portfolio.
  10. Answer The Public – If you are stuck on what to write, type in your keywords and they will give you the related search queries. If you answer their questions well, with proper citations, Google will see your website as more helpful and authoritative.

Now that you have the tools to get the job done, here are 8 ways to boost your search engine ranking position (SERP) without paying for Google (or other) paid ads. I have included some FAQs questions at the bottom of this post. If you have any question, please reach out to me by email, reaching me at ““.

Step By Step

  1. The first step is to define your business. What do you do? Where are you located? What makes you stand apart? How do people get to you? Do you offer digital or in-person products or services?
  2. Generate a list of relevant keywords that reflect a person’s interest in your business. Cross check them for DR, URL authority, TF, and other metrics. The terms should have a large search volume, either domestically or internationally. Do not be vague with your keywords. For example, instead of “restaurant” use “Indian restaurant North York” or “Chinese buffet Markham“. The longer (and more detailed) your keywords are, the greater your chance at ranking. In order to be successful, you must understand your market and make it super easy for them to find you.
  3. Create your website, ensuring that there are both pages and posts. In general, pages are the main parts of a website while posts are synonymous with blog entries. While everyone does things differently, I prefer to have my pages ranking for keywords with my blog posts adding general traffic, giving me a SERP boost in the process. The blog articles should be fun and engaging, giving you a link back to your “money site“. A money site is a site that offers a product or service for sale, as opposed to gaining general traffic, for either affiliate marketing or selling ad space.
  4. For business websites, use original media with appropriate tags. The tags should reflect the main keyword of the page, also know as alt-text. For an added boost, use the same pictures (or videos) as on Google Maps, giving a link to your business profile. If you tag everything correctly, the media will come up in rankings in addition to your website urls.
  5. Internal linking – ensure that everything is integrated perfectly, with a clear menu bar on the main page. If a topic has many pages, make sure they are connected to one another, either with a link or with a subservient page. Make sure to provide solid external links, using keywords that you do not plan to rank for. For these generalized terms, link out to an authoritative website, like government or industry.
  6. Invest serious time in your Google Business Profile. Ensure that it is full of media, updates, promotions and so forth. Make sure that every field is filled out properly, providing links to your main site and other social links. If you are just getting started, offer free samples in exchange for providing a review. Make sure that you are soliciting reviews whenever possible, offering people help with the procedure. In other words, even if you come up first in the results, few people are willing to take the chance on being your “first” customer. When asking for reviews, ask them to use your keyword in the comment section.
  7. Based on google, get your NAP which is name, address, and phone number. Make sure it is consistent. This will be one form of backlink to your google page, which can be placed on other websites, forums, and directories. This will signal to google that you are active, and worthly of priority placement on search results.
  8. Understand metrics. DR refers to the domain ranking, which is 1-100. Page authority is tied to the url. Majestic trust flow tells the trustworthiness as well as citation flow shows the quantity of inbound links, not the quality. You should try to balance all these figures, while assuring that the general metrics are solid.
  9. Backlinks are links from another site, referencing your keyword. You will often notice that some terms are underlined, allowing you to click on it. This is like someone vouching for you or giving you a shoutout.. Some backlinks are hard, like the New York Times, while others are easy, like a forum or blog comments. At first you should try to get as many backlinks in your niche. Do not spam, as this will get you a penalty. Your keyword should be a hyperlink on another page, bringing you to your page. For added boost, direct the site to the specific area of the page, using a tag.


  1. Why do people pay for Google ads? Some people prefer to hit the ground running, not spending time writing emails, soliciting backlinks and so forth. It allows people to pay a fee, having Google promote their material to their defined audience. Businesses are charged per click, not on each time that their ad is shown to someone. The fees run from a couple of cents (per click) to $500 and beyond. This is entirely based on the competitiveness of the keyword, with education and legal services commanding the highest ad bids. 
  2. Can you run a business without Google ads? Of course! In fact, I suggest that people start off with SEO development before diving into the world of PPC. This will not only ensure that money is not wasted, but will also add power to your marketing campaign once the search engines understand “how to place you”. 
  3. Can backlinks hurt me? Yes. If the links come from unauthoritative sites, or websites that Google considers spammy, they will consider your website as such. In other words, poor backlinks can drive your website far away from the “3 pack”, which is the top 3 businesses for any given search query. It is essential that you do your research before applying (or even requesting) a link. This can be done with many of the free resources provided above. 
  4. Someone from overseas emailed me, promised me that I can rank in the first place for a set fee. Is this legit? I get these emails all of the time, with them offering the same type of service. Instead of building your backlink profile gradually and organically, they apply redirect links to your site, boosting it temporarily. While you may see a jump in your DR (or other) ranking, this will not have the same power to boost your profile. Furthermore, they may provide traffic from shady sources, like adult or non-English content.
  5. Has Google changed their algorithm? Google used to count all links, providing social media marketers the incentive to spam links anywhere than they can find them. Google now priotizes usability, in addition to high quality writing with sources. They have developed artificial intelligence, which means that a computer can tell whether an article is quality or spam. They crawl the site for writing quality, mobile usability, proper subject-heading and other factors. In short, there is no way to game the system but it is possible to learn the rules and maximize your productivity.

Most people have created a website or a blog but have not seen their website come up in a Google search. This is due to the sheer number of new websites, some valuable and most irrelevant. They know that if people are given poor quality options, they will leave the session and find their information elsewhere. In order to rank high, without paying money, you will need to provide a better quality option than the competition, making it easy for Google (or Bing) to find your website. 

Are you ready?

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