PUBLISHED: Jun 14, 2022

8 SEO Lessons from Hyper-Growth SaaS Companies

Pratik Dholakiya
8 SEO Lessons from Hyper-Growth SaaS Companies
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Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y-Combinator, has defined startups as companies that grow fast.

The thought is that if you don’t grow fast, you don’t grow at all.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is on the “must-do” checklist of all companies aiming for the hyper-growth of their brand.

However, doing SEO for your SaaS can be tough for numerous reasons, some of which are listed below.

  • Lack of experience.
  • Limited resources.
  • Small team.

Hence, to get fast results, one of the easiest hacks is to emulate the SEO strategies of hyper-growth SaaS companies. See what they have done right and apply it to your own business.

In this article, we have distilled eight SEO lessons from hyper-growth SaaS companies that you can put into action right now.

Let’s jump in.

#1 – Intercom’s Steal Competitors’ Traffic With “Alternative” Landing Pages

Intercom is a SaaS company that helps businesses to have direct conversations with their customers.

Founded in 2011, its annual recurring revenue (ARR) has reached $150M by January 2020.

If you are a product-based SaaS company, sooner or later you will have competitors who will be targeting the same audience. It will be just a matter of time before your audience will begin to compare you against your alternatives.

Intercom has tackled this in a simple way. Marketers at Intercom have targeted keywords that get relevant traffic to its competitors’ websites.

Take a look at the ad.

This ad targets visitors searching for Drift (one of Intercom’s competitors). Intercom also tries to get traffic that is on the fence between both the tools. Take a look at the following example.

It directs the interested audience to their “live chat” landing page where they have explained their power features in comparison with their competitors.

SEO Lesson: When looking for your competitors’ alternatives, your target audience should land on your website. Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and unique landing pages to intercept that traffic.

#2 – Canva’s Focus on Keywords That Bring Highest Number of Qualified Leads Using “The Core Problem Framework”

Canva is the best SaaS designing tool for non-designers. Canva was founded in 2013 and by 2019, it had 15M users.

To understand the SEO lesson that contributed massively to their growth, let’s take a look at the following example.

Here Canva has clearly addressed the problem that the searcher might have. In the ad copy, the marketers have explained exactly how using their product will solve the problem of the user.

This was one of many examples in which Canva has addressed the core of the problem which is extremely successful in directing high-intent users to their website. Take a look at another example.

SEO Lesson: While targeting keywords, focus on the core of the problems your product promises to solve. This will get you high-intent traffic.

#3 – Zapier’s Outsourcing SEO and Link Building to Partners Strategy

Zapier is an app integration and automation platform, used by businesses to build an efficient workflow. Starting in 2011, Zapier reached a $5B valuation in March 2021.

Zapier has 25000 landing pages.

Yes, you have read that right.

Each landing page explains in detail one of the many integrations they offer. It contains search engine optimized content with a clear CTA.

They have outsources two crucial SEO aspects of each of these landing pages:

  1. Content: Their partners will be writing the content regarding their app’s integrations. Not only does this guarantee accurate content but also saves time for Zapier’s marketing team.
  2. Backlinks: After the landing page has been published, it requests its partners to do four things
    1. Write a post on their blog announcing the integration
    2. Create an integration page on their site.
    3. Mention Zapier’s landing page on both of the pages above.
    4. Link the top “zaps” on the partner’s product

SEO Lesson: Collaborate with your partners for content and link building.

#4 – Airbnb’s Ranking for High Volume Keywords Strategy

Airbnb began its journey in 2008 and has reached a valuation of $35B by 2019.

As modern-day travelers seldom make plans for a trip without getting on the internet, Airbnb has taken advantage of this opportunity.

Marketers at Airbnb have targeted high-volume keywords that travelers commonly search. Take a look at the following example.

The first basis of targeting is location. With 6M listings spread across 220+ countries and regions, location-based keywords are a good horse to bet on.

Another way Airbnb leveraged the benefit of high-volume keywords is by branding. Take a look at the following example that shows how Airbnb has kept its brand name which helped them get more visitors.

SEO Lesson: Target location-based, high volume keywords and include branding.

#5 – Slack’s “Sticky” App Directory SEO Ranking Strategy That Works Without Content Marketing

Slack, the most commonly used office tool, was founded in 2009 and has reached a valuation of over $25B according to Yahoo and Google Finance.

One of the best features of Slack is the fact that it can be easily integrated into your current workflow. The apps that are currently on your tech stack can communicate with Slack via APIs. Slack has taken advantage of just that.

They have created high-quality articles for the app directory which gets them high intent traffic without content marketing. Take a look.

Directory pages like the one above will attract visitors for keywords unrelated to Slack.

Here is a short list of keywords that Slack has a first-page presence for.

Slack capitalized on the fact that their app was “sticky” and has leveraged this rarely used marketing tactic.

SEO Lesson: If your SaaS product can be integrated with other apps, target similar keywords as those apps to rank alongside them.

#6 – Buffer’s SEO and Link Building Through Content Marketing Strategy

Buffer is a social media scheduling app launched in 2010. Initially, it was launched only for Twitter and gradually increased its functionalities for other social media platforms. Now, it has a valuation of $60M.

Their unique SEO methods and link building techniques are one of the principal factors for their accelerated growth. Here are three things that Buffer’s marketing team did perfectly.

  1. Lots of guest posts: High-quality guest posts on various websites containing links back to their website. This has led them to forge marketing relationships with numerous websites and businesses.
  2. Guest authors contributing to their site: Apart from increasing their online presence, the authors have also shared these content pieces with their network, giving Buffer more traction.
  3. Unindexed links in widgets: As links from widgets have a negative impact on visibility and domain rankings, Buffer has unindexed them through robots.txt.

All the above three strategies are known to most growth marketers. However, what makes Buffer stand apart is the sheer volume and frequency of those activities. Producing tens of blog posts on their website, writing consistently for external partners, and getting thousands of shares on social media has helped them climb to the top.

Take a look at the following snapshot from a Google Search.

The number of resources shows how many authors have contributed to Buffer.

SEO Lesson: The basics work like a charm if you are consistent.

#7 – Veed’s Targeting SEO by High Volume Landing Pages Strategy

Veed, an online video editing and publishing platform started its journey in 2018. They have hit an ARR of $7M early in 2022.

How did they manage to attain that goal in such a short time?

Marketers at Veed quickly realized that their product can be used for a lot of things. Fortunately, a lot of those things were high-volume keywords. So, they have proceeded to create a lot of landing pages for each of the applications of their product.

Take a look at a screenshot of their tools page.

Each of the landing pages contains an ample amount of details about that feature that is SEO optimized. It is extremely effective. Below is the proof of that. Upon searching for “add subtitles to video” on Google, this is the result you can expect.

Veed shows up right below the featured snippets!

SEO Lesson: Create landing pages based on features that target high-volume keywords.

#8 – Xero’s Creating a Robust SEO Strategy to Drive Growth and Traffic

Xero is an accounting software that started its journey in 2006 and reached a valuation of NZD 10B in 2019.

With a lot of competition in their vertical, it was not easy to rank higher in the SERPs. Xero has adopted a robust SEO strategy by targeting five categories of keywords.

  1. Branded – Keywords that contain “Xero”.
  2. Competitors – Enabled them to “steal” traffic from their competitors like MYOB and Reckon.
  3. Partners – Leveraged their partners’ credibility like Deputy and Microsoft Power BI.
  4. Services – Phrases that contain the services they offer. For example, “accounting software for small businesses”.
  5. Queries – Targeting the common questions that their potential clients might have. For example, “how to create an invoice”.

Due to consistent focus on the above five categories of keywords, they have managed to rank higher for their keywords of choice. For instance, they are ranking #2 in Australia, where they get a lot of their clients from, on a focus keyword.

SEO Lesson: If your vertical is very competitive, segregate your keywords of interest and target each of them separately.

That’s A Wrap

We hope that these valuable SEO lessons will help you improve the visibility and reach for your brand and get you the results you are looking for.

Happy marketing!

Image Sources – OkDork, Zapier, webprofits, Slack, Sumo, VEED.IO

Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of Growfusely, a SaaS content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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