Oct 21, 2023

The $5B Zapier SEO Strategy: Full Breakdown & Key Insights

Recently, Wade Foster, the CEO and co-founder of Zapier, a SaaS automation platform, revealed that the company is now valued at $5 billion (Yahoo Finance).

This remarkable milestone is not only thanks to the power that Zapier’s no-code tools offer to their customers, but to the company’s SEO strategy.

Zapier ranks itself as one of the best SaaS SEO examples we all can learn from, and today, we are going to break down the SEO strategies that propelled Zapier into success. In this Zapier SEO Strategy case study, SaaS marketers, founders, and enthusiasts will learn the SEO tactics that transformed Zapier into a $5 billion industry leader.

The Foundations of Zapier’s SEO Strategy

Zapier allows users to connect different tools and web applications to streamline and automate tasks between them.

This improves companies’ and users’ workflows, as integrating multiple apps into a single process helps in resource management and time-saving.

zapier seo strategy - main growth levers

Zapier’s no-code model enables anyone, regardless of coding skills, to create trigger-based integrations between apps, which helps us identify the fundamentals of the company’s SEO approach:

  1. David Hoos, Zapier’s former directory of SEO, mentioned that the company’s SEO strategy was born out of necessity. The company didn’t have enough budget for advertising, which motivated them to pivot their efforts into increasing organic visibility on search engines;
  2. Zapier’s vision of dominating the app integration market was achieved by engaging in content-based and product-led SEO practices based on innovative integrations and a higher number of features. For example, Zapier competitors, such as Integrately, only offer automation features for around 1,100 apps, whereas Zapier offers over 6,000 app integrations;
  3. Zapier already went from 0 to 600,000 users by analyzing the desires of their ideal audiences in forums and Internet communities (Groove HQ). The same principle is applied in the company’s SEO strategies, as their keyword research process ( more on that later ) focuses on attracting audiences based on integration needs . Nowadays, Zapier has over 2.2 million monthly customers;
  4. Zapier’s target audience is divided into three main audience groups: businesses and professionals who need app integrations to streamline workflows, tech-savvy and app users who see a solution in Zapier’s services, and customer bases of different apps in different stages of the marketing funnel;
  5. Leveraging programmatic SEO is a fundamental point of Zapier’s SEO vision, as it allows the company to create brand authority and crowd the search engine results pages with over 70,000 programmatically generated integration pages.

Zapier’s SEO Strategy: 7 Growth Levers

Over 97% of SaaS companies find some degree of success after implementing content marketing strategies (SEMRush), a statistics that showcases the importance of high-quality content in Zapier’s SEO efforts.

Zapier’s SEO strategy foundation has two focuses: landing pages and useful blog post resources to attract organic traffic.

1. Programmatic SEO Strategy & Landing Pages

  • Zapier was able to reach thousands of users organically who were looking for an integration solution between specific apps by integrating over 70,000 specific landing pages;
  • Zapier transitioned into a pure programmatic SEO approach (Zapier Blog) using Airtable, as creating a separate landing page manually for integration could have represented a massive investment for the company;
  • Ahrefs data shows that Zapier’s https://zapier.com/apps directory accounts for 16% of the website’s organic traffic, reaching over 350,000 users on a monthly basis;
  • This has allowed the company to protect itself against its competition by popularing the SERPs with thousands of relevant app-integration/templated pages.

Zapier knew that, in order to reach their target audience organically, they needed to have dedicated pages that explained the app integrations users were searching for.

To do this, the company used programmatic SEO - the marketing team created tens of thousands of programmatic pages for each specific app and integration.

Zapier uses pSEO to create three different types of templated landing pages for the possible integrations with various app providers:

  1. App specific langing pages: Zapier created separate landing pages for individual apps that work within the Zapier ecosystem. Of course, targeting just the name of the app would not yield the desired results, which resulted in more focused targeting based on the app name + integration. For example: Twitch Integrations.

  2. App-to-app integration pages: The other type of programmatic SEO pages consisted of individual pages for every single app-to-app triggered workflow, also called Zap. For example, if users searched “Discord integration with Twitch,” they would land on the Discord/Twitch landing page.

  3. Three-Way-Integration Landing Pages: Zapier didn’t just limit itself to two-app integrations; they took it a step further by creating distinct landing pages for three-way integrations with various app partners. For instance, there’s a dedicated page for integrating Dropbox, Google Drive, and Slack, which also contributes to Zapier’s organic traffic.

This allows the company to create a signature landing page template using at least one keyword related to apps + “integrations” with the following structure:

  • Head term: Tool A and Tool B Integration
  • Modifiers: Various other apps supported by Zapier (e.g., Gmail, Discord, Twitch)
  • Pages: Tool A + Gmail Integration, Tool X + Discord Integration, Tool Y + Twitch Integration, and so on for all the possible combinations with other supported apps.

If someone searches for “connect google sheets and slack” they are likely to find the Zapier Google Sheets/Slack integration landing page in top results.

The landing page explains to the users how to integrate both app partners using Zapier, as it breaks down all the possible integrations that result if the users integrate Google Sheets with Slack.

The Gmail/HubSpot integration page, made with programmatic SEO, offers similar information as all the other integration pages.

landing pages with integrations

Since Zapier offers integrations with over 6,000 apps, and they add new app partners every month, pSEO plays a crucial role in dynamically creating and maintaining the extensive network all app partners and their integrations.

Majority programmatic pages have unique descriptions , and they all focus on content clarity while providing structured information (Gmail Landing Page).

The information on these landing pages is structured and shows the possibilities of the integration ecosystem.

Each app integration page (example: https://zapier.com/apps/google-sheets/integrations) also links to specific use cases for given integration. So on Google Sheets, Zapier showcases different use cases with different app providers, like so:

use case integrations

Readers can click “details” to learn more about their integrations, demonstrating a focus on user engagement rather than the creation of search engine-first content.

Each landing page, featuring trust signals and user reviews, highlights real use cases of how companies leverage integrations, contributing to highly effective, organically optimized pages that efficiently reach Zapier’s target audience through search engines.

Nevertheless, it ‘s worth noting that a pure programmatic approach is not sustainable due to the massive size of Zapier’s website - many pages still have very thin and generic descriptions.

2. Keyword Research

Zapier’s keyword research process consists of leveraging informational keywords to attract visitors from organic search channels:

  • High search volume terms: Most of the blog posts by Zapier focused on high-volume search terms to attract organic traffic and provide valuable information to readers;
  • Zapier Editorial Guidelines: Zapier’s editorial guidelines (Zapier Blog Guidelines) are a set of standards and best practices for creating content that aligns with their brand and SEO goals. Following these guidelines is necessary to ensure alignment of all content types;
  • Use Unique Data to Create Articles: Zapier performs original research to add more context to the articles based on the search intent. This approach allows the company to find keywords that appeal to search engines and also drive more user engagement naturally.

Based on SEMRush data, we can analyze Zapier’s keyword and branded approach on search engines:

50.9% of Zapier’s web traffic comes from informational keywords. Commercial and transactional keywords account for 14.3% and 12.7% of the company’s web traffic respectively, whereas navigational terms account for 12.7% of the organic traffic;

keyword intent insights

Branded terms only bring 9.3% of the company’s organic traffic, which tells us that Zapier’s brand name still has a long way to go to become naturally recognized by searchers. Non-branded traffic accounts for 90.7% of the web’s visitors from over 933,140 organically ranked keywords;

branded vs non-branded organic traffic

To enhance brand awareness and crowd sponsored SERP spots, Zapier invests in paid Google Ads.

Paid terms mainly focus on the company’s name, with keywords such as “Zapier” and “Zapier Pricing.” The website receives around 58,000 visitors from paid search traffic sources.

3. Content Marketing Strategy

According to Ahrefs, Zapier’s blog section represents over 67% of the company’s organic traffic and is valued at around $3.7 million.

In their blog section, Zapier’s marketing specialists target both low-volume and high-volume keywords. They also focus on both short and long-tail keywords, and although the existing intent of most keywords is to find a solution, the content is created to pitch Zapier’s products in a non-commercially aggressive way.

The process works like this:

  1. Searchers look for informational search terms to solve a problem on Google;
  2. Users find high-quality content through Google search - the content is hosted on Zapier’s blog section;
  3. Zapier provides them with a solution to the initial problem, and then introduces its SaaS product as another, better solution to consider.

Some marketers for SaaS companies refer to this strategy as the “back door” technique , and it consists of tackling apparently non-commercial keywords to later introduce CTAs focused on product marketing.

Let’s take a look at three examples.

Zapier wrote an article about “How to Unsend an Email in Gmail.” This looks like “classic” SEO content targeting long-tail keywords.

Although it seems like there’s not much room for “back door pitching” here, Zapier understands that the search intent behind the keyword is related to Gmail productivity , which motivated them to include a CTA button so users can learn how to make the best out of Gmail through integrations.

Besides classic blog posts, Zapier also provides users with resources, to-do list content, checklists, templates, and more.

For example, a blog post titled “The 6-step client onboarding checklist (with template)” provides readers with a useful template to onboard clients online.

Initially, it looks like the template has nothing to do with Zapier, as it shows different steps to onboard clients in different industries.

But then, as users scroll, they discover that Zapier is actually a great solution to facilitate the onboarding process, thanks to the platform’s integration capabilities.

For example, in the “Legal” part, Zapier tells readers how important it is to have all legal documents in order, and shows how easy it is to integrate Documents Apps with File Sharing Apps in Zapier.

The blog section of Zapier is not only extremely useful, full of valuable content, and filled with original resources that can’t be found elsewhere - it’s also one of the best SaaS SEO content strategy examples that cover the entirety of the marketing funnel around the company’s target audience.

4. Site Architecture & Internal Linking

The creation of content clusters has allowed Zapier to improve, organize, and create a structure of internal links that facilitates navigation and crawlability on their website.

For example, the Remote Work Cluster includes tens of different internal links to topic-related guides and articles by Zapier’s team.

Users who arrive at the cluster via search engines can find related reading pieces to continue exploring Zapier’s website , and, eventually, enter the Consideration Stage of the customer journey by understanding how Zapier is a solution to their problems.

Other clusters, such as the Best Calendar Apps cluster, introduce tens of internal links to other Zapier pages (including landing pages) that are semantically relevant to the main content.

Everything is interconnected on Zapier’s website - users can find apps by search terms using built-in search features, go to a specific category, and explore thousands of resources natively.

The UX contribution of Zapier’s technical factors and site structure is evident:

  • Zapier has over 680,000 indexed pages on Google, a direct result of the company’s crawl optimization effort on Robots.txt and Sitemap.xml files;
  • The website has a bounce rate of 50.6% and an average page per visit of 6.86. Additionally, it has an average visit duration of 4:09 minutes, whereas industry standards for SaaS websites sit at 1:45 minutes (Databox).

The mentioned earlier programmatic landing pages have clean structure:

  • single app LPs: /apps/{PROVIDER}/integrations
  • 2-way integrations: /apps/{PROVIDERA}/integrations/{PROVIDERB}
  • 3-way integrations: /apps/{PROVIDERA}/integrations/{PROVIDERB}–{PROVIDERC}

Zapier currently has over 8,600,000 backlinks. Backlinks are an integral part of all SEO strategies - they play a crucial role in building website authority and increasing trustworthiness.

Although it’s possible that Zapier has outreach/manual link-building efforts in motion, there are three evident factors to take into consideration:

  • Link-worthy Content: Zapier has managed to get millions of high-quality backlinks by establishing itself as an authoritative voice in its industry. The company constantly releases in-detail data reports that are then quoted and linked from external sources, such as The Guardian and The New York Times;
  • User-generated Content: Zapier builds trust through backlinks by leveraging multiple online communities. An example is the Zapier Subreddit and the Apple discussion forum- when users discuss or link to Zapier, it can contribute to their backlink profile;
  • Referring domains to Content Hubs: Referring domains to content hubs indicates that Zapier uses content hubs or resource pages that attract links from other websites. Ahrefs shows how content hubs get backlinks from websites such as Business Insider and Psychology Today, which greatly improves the backlink profile of Zapier’s website.

7. Zapier Community

In 2020 Zapier launched it’s own Community place, where users can ask questions, get help, stay informed about new features, and learn from other users about the platform’s app integrations.

From a SEO perspective, the Zapier Community works as a dynamic knowledge hub with user generated content, which indirectly enhances Zapier’s authoritativeness and reach in search engines (Search Engine Land).

The community section receives over 34,000 organic visitors from search engines every month, as some threads and discussions contain useful information that matches the intent of different Zapier-related long-tail keywords.

For example, if someone searches for “using ChatGPT 4 with interface for chat model,” the first result that pops out is a thread on the Zapier Community where multiple members discuss the most efficient way to complete the integration process.

The creation of UGC around its platform allows Zapier to receive organic traffic for different long-tail keywords , enhancing the company’s visibility on search engines.

Similar Web’s data reveals that 87.5% of monthly traffic to the Zapier Community section comes directly from search engines, showing the significant contribution of online communities in SEO.

Zapier’s SEO Results

Setting clear goals is essential for measuring SEO success in the SaaS space ; for Zapier, examining official sources reveals a significant impact on recurring revenue and valuation, showcasing the results of their effective SEO efforts.

KPIs and Metrics

Zapier’s website has seen massive growth as a direct result of multiple content-based and programmatic SEO strategies.

Thanks to Similar Web and other online tools, we can get up-to-date insights about the continuous growth of Zapier.com:

  • Organic traffic: Zapier’s SEO success is evident and can be observed when we take a deep look at their current organic traffic. Zapier receives over 8.7 million monthly visits , which demonstrates that they have succeeded in driving a high volume of users to their site;
  • Traffic Attribution: Organic search traffic is the main traffic source for Zapier, as over 47% of recurring and new users find Zapier through search engines. This demonstrates the importance of SEO in their user acquisition strategy;
  • Increased Valuation and Recurring Revenue: Zapier recently received a $5 billion valuation, and over $140 million in recurring monthly revenue (Forbes). This is a direct result of the company’s success in search engines.

ROI of Zapier’s SEO Strategy

Lane Scott Jones, head of content marketing at Zapier, revealed that the company experienced a 450% increase in ROI in SEO and content marketing compared to traditional paid ads.

This resulted in a 35% increase in site-wide conversions, 72% increase in demo requests, and session durations 4x longer than before.

She also revealed how the company is planning on using AI and automation combined with a manual templated structure for future content efforts.

While there is no official information available concerning Zapier’s financial earnings and matters related to money and budget, it is reasonable to assume that Zapier has achieved comparable and cost-effective results.

Zapier’s SEO Strategy: Key Takeaways

In the end, we can say that Zapier’s SEO journey is a masterclass in how SEO can be leveraged not only to increase online visibility but also to drive real business success.

Here are the seven most relevant key takeaways to consider about Zapier’s SEO strategy:

  1. The SEO approach by Zapier has revolutionized their business growth, helping the company achieve a staggering $5 billion valuation in August 2023;
  2. By defining the customer journey in all its stages, Zapier was able to increase the number of customers through search engines;
  3. Zapier never tried to pitch users on the value of integration tools - instead, they presented users with helpful content that showcases Zapier’s SaaS products as a suitable solution to their problems;
  4. Zapier leveraged programmatic SEO to create 70,000 apps and integrations landing pages to attract millions of users on a monthly basis;
  5. Their keyword research and content crafting approach focuses on driving value first, and performing product marketing later, all through calls-to-action, internal linking structures, and helpful content for the audience;
  6. Organic traffic from search engines turned into the main traffic attribution source of Zapier’s website;
  7. Zapier’s head of content marketing revealed that the company experienced a 450% increase in ROI with content compared to paid ads , which demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of content-focused SEO strategies for the company.
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