It's the weekend and you are bored. You decide to go watch a movie, so you do a quick Google search, that may look something like this:
- theatres near me
- upcoming movies
- movie tickets
- thor love and thunder showtimes
In all these cases, the one website that pops up at the top of your screen without fail is BookMyShow.
The online ticket booking company made INR 74 Cr in FY21, during the lockdown. And, now that things are going back to normal, its revenue might reach its earlier peak in FY20 of INR 700+ Cr! 
What's interesting is that BookMyShow relies heavily on SEO to attract ~66% of all users arriving on its platform.
So, what is BookMyShow's SEO strategy that brings them monthly traffic of 88.9M? Let's find out!
Firstly, what exactly is BookMyShow?
BookMyShow is an online ticket booking website.
So, here's how it works. BookMyShow has a catalogue of all regional and non-regional movies currently playing in the theatre. As well as, the information about all the operating theatres in different cities in India.
Users can go on the website, search for a theatre or a movie, select the time slot and pay. As simple as that! You can also book live shows, and events, on the site.
Now, remember this for later, it'll help us understand their SEO strategy better.
How is BookMyShow doing on the SEO front?
Well, the short answer is — very very well!
- According to Ahrefs, BookMyShow gets 88.9 million monthly organic traffic.
- It ranks for 2.6M keywords, out of which 90% keywords are non-branded.
- It has over 1M backlinks and a DR of 80!
SimilarWeb also shows that ~66% of BookMyShow's users arrive on the site through "Search". So, SEO is pretty important for BookMyShow! 
SEO is the most reliable channel of traffic & arguably also leads. With ~6 billion+ searches occurring each day, ignoring SEO is a very grave error by any marketer - don't make that mistake.
Investigating BookMyShow's subfolders
Let's look at their top subfolders to understand where their traffic is coming from. Among them, the ones that bring in the most traffic are:
- in.bookmyshow.com/buytickets — 32.6M
- in.bookmshow.com/explore — 5.3M
- in.bookmyshow.com/movies — 1.66M
- in.bookmyshow.com/person — 1.59M
All these subfolders are basically different entry points for users and each subfolder ranks for different types of keywords.
The "buytickets" subfolder pages rank for keywords like "rrr showtimes", "kgf chapter 2 ticket bookings". Basically, search queries with the intent of "purchasing" or buying tickets.
Whereas the "explore" subfolder ranks for more general, "explorative" keywords like "movies playing", "hindi movies near me", etc.
The "movies" and "person" subfolders include dedicated pages for different movies like Doctor Strange or movie stars like Deepika Padukone!
But to understand the structure of BookMyShow's website we'll have to take a closer look at the "location" type pages.
- in.bookmyshow.com/bengaluru — 557K
- in.bookmyshow.com/hyderabad — 513K
- in.bookmyshow.com/chennai — 480K
- in.bookmyshow.com/mumbai — 406K
Let's learn more about it!
Tell me more about BookMyShow's SEO strategy
First, let's understand the structure of BookMyShow's website.
BookMyShow's website is divided into cities. And, inside these cities, you can browse through different movies and theatres.
Once you choose the movie you want to see and the theatre, you land on a specific page. On this page, you can book the ticket.
BookMyShow's goal is to lead you to this specific landing page.
So, the "city" subfolder is split into 2 sub subfolders
Here's what the structure looks like:
- City ➝ Movies ➝ Movies landing page ➝ Book tickets
- City ➝ Theatre ➝ List of movies ➝ Book tickets
Let me explain this with an example:
- Suppose you search "movies in bengaluru", since your query is exploratory type, you'll land on the page:
URL structure ➝ /explore/home/bengaluru
- Now on this page, suppose you click on the movie Thor. Now, you'll land on the "movie" page in the "bengaluru" city subfolder
URL structure ➝ /bengaluru/movies/thor-love-and-thunder/ET0030240
- If you click on the "Book tickets" button, you'll land on this page in the buytickets subfolder
URL structure ➝ /buytickets/thor-love-and-thunder-bengaluru/movie-bang-ET00331601-MT/20220707
Now, all you have to do is select a theatre and a slot and pay the money. That's it!
What do we learn? How can I apply this strategy to my startup?
In the above example, you can see that BookMyShow cleverly takes a user from the "exploratory" stage to the "purchasing" buytickets stage!
Its subfolders are designed such that each ranks for specific search intent. So, users who are ready to purchase on the first stage, arrive at the buytickets entry point. Whereas, the users who are more in the exploratory stage can arrive on the explore page.
Put simply, they've implemented the basics of SEO flawlessly.
- Organize subfolders based on search intent so they rank easily and get more conversions.
- Create a proper hierarchy of pages, that all rank for different keywords. For example, /bengaluru page ranks for "movies in bengaluru", while /bengaluru/movies/thor will rank for a "watch thor in bengaluru".
- All the pages are internally linked. You can find links to different movie pages at the bottom. This will help the authority flow throughout the website.
- They've created other pages like /person or /movies so as to attract traffic from very high-volume keywords. These keywords are usually celebrity names, like "Deepika Padukone" which has a monthly volume of 1.36M!
So, how can you implement this for your own startup?
1) Well, firstly you'll have to learn what your target customers search on Google.
2) Next, perform keyword research to filter out high volume and low difficulty keywords.
Lesson ➝ Keyword research is key to ranking on Google. If you find the right keywords, half your job is done.
3) Now, split these keywords into broad types of search intent, and create subfolders for them.
4) Create a proper hierarchy that interconnects these pages.
5) SEO optimize the page content to make sure they rank for target keywords.
Lesson➝ Keywords don't rank themselves. You still have to write quality content that your website visitors would like to read.
6) Internally link all these pages. Especially, add links to the high traffic pages pointing to the high conversion pages.
Implementing all these steps correctly might seem effort-intensive. But, that's SEO for you. If you patiently make this initial investment, SEO will reap you benefits for years to come.
And, just like BookMyShow, you will end up with a continuous flow of paying users!
So, when are you getting started with SEO then!?