Search traffic without backlinks, and when it doesn’t matter.

A post about how we receive 1000 searches/month with no backlinks & why it doesn’t matter

We received a lot of search traffic without backlinks, but the traffic isn't earning revenue. Here's why we don't care.

As an SEO professional, I can confirm that SEO is weird and doesn’t always do what you’d expect. In this case, one client earned a lot of traffic for a project with no backlinks which might seem great, however it did not see an increase in sales.

Unfortunately, SEO does not always mean your business will grow, and that’s ok. Relevant SEO can be the lifeblood of a business, but irrelevant SEO can just be irrelevant.

Google’s best practices are increasingly focused on content and relevance, a clear indication that businesses need to focus on improving their offering—not increasing backlink counts and blogposts.

TL;DR: Be highly critical of the quality of SEO traffic you chase and allocate resources for what matters more for your business. SEO is becoming less and less predictable, so it is becoming more and more important to concentrate on proven channels.

So, here is how we earn traffic without backlinks and why we don’t actually care:

Low quality traffic

Here is an eComm website with zero backlinks that receives nearly 1000 searches/month:

This goes against everything SEO scammers preach in your inbox. Don’t you need 100’s of fake links ASAP so that your business can succeed in SEO? No, I guess you don’t.

But the overarching this is: it doesn’t matter.

In this case, this traffic didn’t actually generate more sales. And while sometimes traffic for random keywords can help increase traffic for target keywords, it didn’t here.

Irrelevant traffic might engage customers, if it doesn’t earn customers, then why do we care? Personally, I don’t.

Why it doesn’t really matter

For this project, almost all of the sales are from Amazon. Customers want 1-day delivery, to add the product to their varied cart, and to have easy refunds. At the end of the day, people just don’t really use our store that much.

If the site had better fulfillment, customization, pricing that Amazon, people might choose it over Amazon. However, at the moment, they are the same products, and the slightly lower price on the site is not enough to keep customers off Amazon.

The good news is that the product ranks on the front page & #1 for many target keywords on Amazon. So that is where we focus for now

The bad news is that this Google traffic doesn’t help us rank for target keywords or earn sales on Shopify, so this traffic just doesn’t matter to me in the way that a high ROAS PPC campaign or Amazon holiday boom does.

When I first started doing SEO, I would be pumped to see traffic booms. But these days, I consider the consequence/sales lift of SEO traffic more than the SEO traffic itself.

Focus on what matters more

SEO does matter for our Shopify site, but beyond the basic SEO set up, we know that our highest return is through other channels—mainly Amazon and Meta. And if we want to test new channels, our client has other priorities like Tik Tok, wholesale, and affiliates.

While I care about backlinks and I know they matter, for eComm, sales are everything. SEO is just not as clear of a choice as it would be for a service business.

How we got traffic

If you are still wondering how we got traffic, I speculate that our other marketing activities are signaling to Google that we are trustworthy:

  • High ranking on Amazon
  • Social Media Posting
    • on the client’s account on Instagram
    • on FB web pages
  • Ongoing Meta ads
  • Occasional Google Ads
    • however we haven’t ran them in over 1 month
    • however we haven’t advertised for these keywords


We still recommend a proper technical SEO set up. Obviously! However, once that’s done, concentrate on what sells for your business, and sell. The era of more backlinks = more sales is long gone.

At the end of the day, bad content will hurt your brand’s reputation worse than no content. And spending content that earns no sales is less profitable than not purchasing content at all. So focus your time and money on what matters more.






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