How this $4B bootstrapped profitable startup uses SEO to get 500K+ traffic?

BrowserStack's user base of developer benefit a ton from their in-depth content and its also a goldmine for SEO. Let's learn all about it!

22nd June 2022
2 min read

In a nutshell

BrowserStack is a cross-browser testing tool that can be used to test software on different browsers and applications.

Their target audience is primarily developers. They are highly technical and appreciate in-depth tech content.

Secondly, testing is frustrating. So, these devs would not go research multiple sources to find the best way to do anything in testing.

Given these 2 points, BrowserStack took a leap to create guides for its audience that are highly technical and in-depth in nature.

Their SEO strategy looks something like this:
1) Find relevant queries related to software testing and specifically their product
2) Create a detailed guide to wow tech folks, so they rave about the content and share it.
3) Optimize for SEO & hope Google ranks them.

BrowserStack uses this high technical, in-depth guides to wow their users, so they rave about them to other developers. When readers love this content and share it, eventually Google also recognized your effort!

Content is KING! And when you publish in-depth content that your readers rave about, Google absolutely LOVES it.

So, when BrowserStack, a wildly popular software testing platform, used the strategy of publishing highly technical, in-depth guides, the result was 500K+ monthly users from Google!

This article is a deep dive into BrowserStack's SEO strategy and a reminder that high-quality content is key to SEO success. Read on.

Firstly, what is this BrowserStack? And, how did they get started?

BrowserStack's success story is a tale of persistence.

It started with two IIT Bombay students with a dream to buildd their own company one day. They dappled with 2 solid ideas which failed to generate any excitement in investors.

After trying for 3+ years & not raising a single penny, these dreamers had to go back to holding their day jobs. But, they didn't give up!

While working on their third company the duo came across a problem. Both the founders absolute hated testing software. They got into an argument over who would be testing that day. But, out of that argument came a billion-dollar idea.

You see, when a developer buildds a piece of software, they have to test it on different devices, browsers and platforms, to make sure the software function properly. Before BrowserStack, this process was a complete hassle.

In fact, in 2011, when BrowserStack was still in conception, the founders found some 100 people complaining to Microsoft about how difficult it is to test their websites on Internet Explorer. This served as a validation for BrowserStack & the duo set out to buildd the world's software tester!

Today, BrowserStack is a one-stop cross-browser testing app that was bootstrapped for 7 years to $50M revenue and $40M profits!

Lesson ➝ Your startup doesn't need to fail fast. It can succeed slow.

So, how are they doing SEO-wise?

SEO so far has been the most effective marketing channel for BrowserStack. According to Similar web, ~60% of BrowserStack's traffic comes through "Search".

So, let's see how they are doing!

  1. BrowserStack gets 528,000 monthly visitors & it ranks for 192K keywords
  2. Moreover, it has a DR of 83, with 945K backlinks! 🤯
  3. Their most popular subfolder is their "guides" blog, which we will learn more about in the next section.
Browserstack SEO casestudy

Great! So, what's their SEO strategy?

Now, the most direct way users could discover BrowserStack is:

i) Searching for BrowserStack's page directly

ii) Searching for cross-browser testing tools

But, only a handful of people search directly for BrowserStack (20k+) or for "cross-browser testing tools" on Google per month. So, there should be some other way to get these users.

Understanding your target audience

With any SEO strategy, the key is to accurately understand who your users are and what they want.

For BrowserStack,

  1. The target audience is primarily developers. They are highly technical and appreciate in-depth tech content.
  2. Secondly, testing is a frustrating activity for developers. So, they would not go the extra mile to research multiple sources to find the best way to do anything in testing.

Given this, BrowserStack took a leap to create highly technical, in-depth guides for their developer audience. Rather than just having simple how-tos or short blogs that address only specific queries.

Now, creating guides is no easy task. It takes a lot of time & effort and may seem counter-intuitive when your primary objective is to drive traffic via SEO.

But, BrowserStack's key goal was to appeal to a specific audience and wow them. By doing so, they hoped to get great conversions to paying users.

Lesson ➝ You don’t need millions of traffic, but only thousands of visitors converting to paying users.

BrowserStack's SEO strategy!

So, BrowserStack's approach to SEO looks something like this:

  1. Find relevant queries related to software testing and specifically their product.
  2. Create detailed guides to wow tech folks, so that they rave about the content.
  3. Of course, optimise for SEO and hope Google picks up the signals to rank them for even difficult keywords.

Sounds simple, but it's the execution that's intensive.

Browserstack SEO casestudy

And, what was the result?

All of these guide pages come under the subfolder, which brings in 304K traffic to the website per month. That's ~58% of its total traffic!

Moreover, the keywords these pages rank for have extremely high-intent & hence high-conversion rates!

Browserstack SEO casestudy

Over time, writing these in-depth guides has helped them establish unparalleled authority in their field and as a result, they win on all fronts:

a) SEO traffic
b) Getting backlinks
c) Ranking for high-intent keywords with high-difficulty

What are the key takeaways for us?

So, what can we learn from BrowserStack?

Well, there are a few hidden takeaways that founders can learn through this strategy:

  1. SEO is not just about getting traffic. You should also plan for conversions and building brand & authority.
  2. Writing in-depth guides in your industry is a tedious process — requires a lot of time & effort. It will also take you time to see results, but it’s the best way to establish long-term authority in your field and be able to rank for high difficulty, high intent keywords
  3. A great SEO strategy would be to have a mix of these initiatives —

    i) Targeting low-difficulty keywords to drive traffic & see medium-term results

    ii) Targeting high intent keywords & writing in-depth content to establish long-term authority


You'll love these articles too!

Zapier's SEO Playbook to get 2M organic monthly traffic!
Zapier's SEO Playbook to get 2M organic monthly traffic!
Everything is becoming an ad network!
Everything is becoming an ad network!
FirstCry: How a profitable Unicorn wins over Indian parents
FirstCry: How a profitable Unicorn wins over Indian parents

Zapier's SEO Playbook to get 2M organic monthly traffic!

Zapier is a simple workflow automation tool that allows you to move information between apps & connect them to create automated workflows. It gets ~2M monthly traffic & has 50k+ automated pages! It's vastly successful, thanks to its brilliant SEO strategy.

To drive traffic to their website, Zapier created two sets of pages. The blogs on "Best Apps" & the App Integration pages.

One of the top-performing Zapier subfolders is the /apps landing page. This set of pages accounts for ~15% of Zapier's total traffic with 235K monthly visitors! The idea behind creating these pages is simple. Zapier wants to target all users who are searching for ways to connect different apps.

This set of pages forms a 4 stage hierarchy, where each stage links to the next stage. The pages are, Main Page -> App Profile Page -> App-to-App Integration -> Zaps Page.

Next, the best app blogs are basically blogs that list down top apps in the market in a particular category. For example, the best URL shorteners, the best note-taking apps, the best to-do list apps, etc. These pages get 900K monthly organic traffic, ie. 60% of traffic to their site!

Zapier ranks for really difficult keywords with these pages. It does that by writing high-quality SEO optimized content, internally linking all pages to flow the authority & acquiring high-quality backlinks.

All these pages are internally linked & are created using an automated template to reduce effort while creating new pages!

Everything is becoming an ad network!

Amazon's ads business has done tremendously well. Now following suit, Walmart is also aiming for a bigger piece of ad revenue. In 2021, Walmart made ~1.5bn surpassing Twitter & Snapchat and doubling its ad business vs 2020.

But the winds are changing in the digital ads market as more & more people are moving towards privacy.

Now with Apple’s privacy policy change, 62% users have opted out of tracking which cost $10bn in revenue for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter & Snapchat in just 6 months 🤯

This works in favour of Amazon and Walmart. All of the data that Amazon & Walmart collect when you shop on their website is completely owned by them. So no privacy change will ever take the data away from these companies.

The data these companies "own" has just become more valuable for ads! So now any company that attracts you to their website and collects your data has the potential to be an ad network.

Ultimately, everything is becoming an advertising network.

FirstCry: How a profitable Unicorn wins over Indian parents

Among the many Unicorns in India over the last 2 year, less than one in five actually made profits from their operations.
FirstCry is one of the few Unicron's that turned a profit!
Revenue ⇒ INR 1700 Cr
Profits ⇒ INR 215 Cr

Back in 2001, FirstCry founder Supam Maheshwari welcomed a baby girl.
He couldn't find quality baby products in India, so he'd stock up on toys and clothes from his US & Europe business trips.
He realized that there is a huge market for baby and kids products in India that’s currently highly unorganized. So, he decided to start his venture.

Initially, they only focused on selling toys in urban cities, specifically Pune. But, they soon moved to more tier-2 & tier-3 cities.
FirstCry's growth can be mainly attributed to its brilliant execution.
Let's see some examples!

A) Offline stores in tier-2 and tier-3 towns
There was a large section of the population that wasn't comfortable with online transactions and wanted to actually see the product.
So, they decided to start offline stores in tier-2 & tier-3 towns.

B) Building a logistics company!
Outsourcing the delivery of products was getting expensive.
Plus, they didn't have full control over the customer experience i.e. on-time, safe delivery.
So, they started their own in-house logistics division in 2012, called XpressBees, which is now a unicorn by itself!

FirstCry’s most impactful marketing strategy is the “Gift Box” program.
They partnered with hospitals across India to provide a free gift hamper to parents with newborns (their target audience).

With this program
a) Parents are delighted to receive products from popular brands like Pampers, Dove, and Vaseline.
b) Plus, these brands get more visibility. So, FirstCry pushes them to sponsor the items in the gift boxes.
So, it's a win-win for FirstCry and these brands!

We did some quick math and turns out FirstCry can reach ~24 lakh to 1.2 Cr families through this program.
And, if we were to consider that FirstCry bears the whole cost, then the customer acquisition cost comes out to just INR 50 to INR 250!