How Some Websites Rank On The First Page Without Long Content

OK – let’s validate your theory by running a few tests with your sample keyword “gifts” and see what comes up.

When I google “gifts”, here’s a list of the top 5 results that I see in my results page:

The first two results are ads and I’ll discard them for obvious reasons. The three following websites are gifts dot com, uncommongoods dot com and etsy dot com.

Other than the absolutely unique and brilliant domain name, the landing page lists over a hundred sample gifts for new users. Those are all ranked fairly well and provide a good chunk of information (certainly not a blank landing page with no value whatsoever).

The website is responsive and utilizes a valid SSL certificate for security purposes. Granted, it’s incredibly slow (loads for 16 seconds with a GTmetrix test) and could definitely use some work but that doesn’t stop it from ranking this high.

The domain had first been registered in 1994. While domain age isn’t the number one ranking factor, a 23-years old domain is certainly worth value – especially when it’s to the point with the search query.

There are over 10K results (products, articles, categories, pages) indexed by Google:

The website has 16,570 incoming links from authoritative sources based on a Moz Open Site Explorer search:

As seen from the screenshot, it’s been “promoted” by CNN, HuffPost, AOL, Go, Telegraph, USA Today and a number of other high-ranking websites that validate for its reputability.

It’s ranked in top 20,000 in the US as well, according to Alexa:

According to SEMrush, there are at least 648K hits from organic search alone, a bunch of visits from paid advertising, 86.8K backlinks and then some.

I’m sure that the bounce rate is low since the percentage of people who land on the site and keep browsing and purchasing is high enough – bringing additional value for the website.

OK – since we’ve mentioned “content”, here’s a page on the website that generated over 2,200 shares according to BuzzSumo:

Mother’s Day Gifts

I’d say that appears to be a pretty legitimate website.

147,379 people on Facebook who like the page agree, too.

It also ranks for strategic keywords such as gifts for men or women which are carefully selected when adding keywords across the site, page titles and the like.

A bit lighter on content on the home page, still responsive with a valid SSL certificate.

It’s still amazingly slow so there’s gotta be some action taken but other large outlets like Amazon or Yahoo don’t run as fast either (most loading for over 10 seconds if not more, given the tons of content).

The domain is just a bit over 5 years old which is still considerably new but they seem to know what they’re doing.

They do have over 25,000 entries on their site though:

When browsing Moz, it appears that UncommonGoods has 74/100 domain authority and 79/100 for their homepage. The previous website had 58/100 domain authority as it has fewer backlinks and mentions across the web.

UncommonGoods has over 65,000 established total links from 1,832 different domains, some being:

On top of being featured by some of the largest outlets online, they seem to be more proactive on Reddit and probably other alternative networks with high potential as well.

In fact, the steady flow of incoming links and discussions in different networks and platforms has ranked them in top 3,000 websites in the US:

That’s quite impressive if you ask me and they seem to be generating a solid amount of traffic accordingly.

The SEMrush results showcase an even higher amount of traffic – both organic, and paid:

1.9M visitors from organic search and over 60K paid visitors. They seem to be ranking quite well for “father’s day” and relative keywords with a ton of monthly traffic.

Note that the number of backlinks is even higher when using SEMrush’s database.

Here’s a couple of content entries that generated thousands of shares across social media networks:

26K shares for “Long Distance Touch Lamp” and 7.2K shares for “Wine & Beverage Dispensing Tote”. That’s not too far-fetched given the 172,220 likes on Facebook, 22.3K followers on Twitter and 28K followers on Instagram.

Etsy is quite popular and have the benefit of crowdsourced content – utilizing the power of over 1.6 million active sellers earning their living through the platform.

That’s like having over a million unpaid employees who help you out with promotion and social activity.

Etsy’s domain isn’t too young, either. Registered on Feb 05, 2004, that’s over 13 years on the market with plenty of opportunities for promotion and establishing itself as a leader.

With that in mind, they managed to generate over 13 million pages on their website:

Unlike their competitors, Etsy’s homepage loads in 3 seconds despite listing a ton of products on their homepage as well. And we all know that Google favors faster websites since that’s a better user experience.

Given the million active sellers who want to promote their websites everywhere in order to increase their monthly sales, that has a massive impact on the top-level domain as well. Etsy’s domain authority according to Moz is 93/100. That’s pretty close to the DA of the largest websites online – with 2,808 linking root domains and 21,169 total links captured by Moz.

Here are some of the popular domains linking back to Etsy:

In addition to massively popular websites such as Adobe, Microsoft, NY Times, HuffPost,, Forbes, Wired, Cisco, LA Times linking to Etsy, there’s a fair share of links coming from Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Flickr, probably Instagram and plenty of other sources that are not as heavily utilized with the other rivals.

Since Etsy doesn’t necessarily ranks for “gifts” unlike the other sites, they may not come on top when looking for gifts. But they sure will appear on page #1 and rank for tons of other keywords. The number of backlinks and the tons of content have ranked Etsy among the top 100 websites in the US:

According to SEMrush, Etsy generates over 46M organic search visits a month across its millions of shops, in addition to 786K paid visitors – thanks to their brand advertisement and paid campaigns ran by tens of thousands of sellers working with them:

Other than search traffic, we can imagine the amount of visitors coming from social media as well. Etsy has 2.8M likes on Facebook, 2.71M followers on Twitter, 1.4M followers on Instagram, 970K followers on Pinterest and probably another million spread out across different networks and social channels.

My brief BuzzSumo search even identified 5 different pages that generated 200K+ shares each online. Here are the winners on social media:

Instant Download – Digital Collage – Vintage Maps – 40 piece collection – 800.9K shares, 800K alone on Pinterest

Neon Orange Fuchsia Navy Printed Scarf Lightweight Spring Summer Woman Fashion Accessory Pareo Beach Wrap Cover Up Women Gift Ideas For Her – 405K shares, most pins back to Pinterest as well.

Given the brief overview of the bigger picture for all top ranking websites for “gifts”, it’s safe to say that their marketing campaigns have been carefully designed for growth. All of them compile a good chunk of content, well-defined SEO, great user experience and reputability among the largest websites online.

Content isn’t everything, but great content and product offering can establish your brand as a leader in a niche, given our sneak peek at their promotional campaigns and online positioning.