People HATE filing taxes. That's just a universal fact.
So, when a product like ClearTax comes along, that replaces your CA and their hefty prices with a quick solution, then that's a win-win!
Founded in 2011 by an IIT grad named Archit Gupta, ClearTax made a whooping INR 120 crores in revenue in FY21. That's a 100% increase from its previous year's INR 60 crores revenue! And, they have recently raised money from a global fintech giant — Stripe!
But, how did this decade-old startup grow so to get 2M users? Especially, when the taxpayers in India have operated offline for years.
Well, one of the important ingredients to their rapid success is their brilliant SEO strategy that brings in 8.3M taxpayers to ClearTax's doorsteps every month! So, let's dive in! 🚀
Solving India's tax problem
Freshly graduated from IIT Guwahati, Archit Gupta went straight to the US to get his master's degree. He soon started working at another startup in San Francisco. But, when that startup was acquired, Archit didn't want to jump to another 9-5 job. He instead came back to India to buildd his own startup.
Now, being a chartered accountant's (CA) son, Archit was all too familiar with the anxiety-filled & confusing journey consumers' and businesses go through to file their income tax returns. After a quick call with his father, Archit was convinced that the tax-filing space in India needed a makeover!
DON'T buildd startups based on popular trends. Buildd one that solves real customer problems.
But, as in the case with most startups, the journey was not going to be easy. You see, back in 2011,
- Only 1% of India's population paid their taxes.
- Plus, traditionally, Indians were accustomed to having a CA file their returns.
So, the market was limited and the literacy around filing your own taxes was very low.
Given these fundamental problems, the first few years were extremely tough. They stayed bootstrapped for the first 3 years with their B2C online Income tax filing product. But, in 2013, they diversified to buildd solutions for both "CA's" and "enterprises" - a major shift from just B2C to a combination of B2B & B2C!
This move was very clever and helped improve their profit margins. Today, 90% of ClearTax's revenue comes from enterprises. And, it's hoping to turn over to the profitable road soon!
Lesson ➝ Build B2C startups for fame, B2B startups for profitability.
This is of course a controversial statement and while there are a few exceptions, we believe this to be a serious reality of the modern industry
Now with more diversification ClearTax (rebranded to Clear) has become the biggest e-filing website in India with transactions processed worth $300B!
So, what exactly is ClearTax? And, how is it doing SEO-wise?
Well, to put it simply, ClearTax suggests they help users file their Income Tax returns in just 3 mins. But, that's not it. They have built a bunch of products for enterprises like the GST filing software, e-invoicing software, TDS returns filing solutions and more!
So, basically, its target bases are both enterprises and retail consumers. But, ultimately, ClearTax is after tax-paying young adults in the age group of 22-40 who:
- Know how to use the internet
- Might want to use a financial SaaS product for their enterprise
SEO is absolutely ideal for this! Why? Well, think about it - as a young adult, every time you want to calculate your income tax or your EMI or your GST, you don't go and refer a book. You instead turn to Google!
If an entire generation is Googling every little question they have, as a business your website has to appear on the search engine.
ClearTax's SEO numbers!
So, now the question comes - how is ClearTax doing on the SEO front? Well, they are absolutely rocking the field!
- They get monthly traffic of 8.3M & rank for 1.5M keywords.
- It has 186K backlinks & a DR of 76!
- And, ~85% of ClearTax's users come through "Search", according to Similar Web!
So, what's their SEO strategy?
We have already established that ClearTax targets taxpayers in the age group of 22-40. Now, all they have to do is:
- Figure out what these users search for on Google
- Isolate the search queries that are more relevant to ClearTax's products. Example: keywords on topics ➝ Tax, GST, Interest rates, EMI, etc
- Create pages for different search queries
The best example of this strategy implemented is ClearTax's "calculator" pages! There are a total of 237 such pages which collectively bring in 700K+ traffic.
What's more interesting is that these pages are a hybrid between a blog and a tool!
Confused? Well, let me explain by taking an example of the "Tax Calculator" page.
How do the calculator pages work?
To get started, the "Tax Calculator" page ranks for 2 types of keywords:
A) The "how-to" keywords - here the user wants to learn how to calculate income tax
B) The "calculator" keywords - here a user is looking for a tool to calculate their income tax
In case 1, the user is primarily looking for a guide. While in case 2, the user is looking for a tool to quickly input numbers and calculate their taxable income.
Knowing the different search intents of these 2 keyword types, ClearTax has created a page that's a combination of both a tool and a guide which infuses both sets of keywords within their page!
And, now that the pages are properly keyword optimized for the search queries, these pages are all internally linked. ClearTax does this by adding links to these pages at the footer of their website, so they get a backlink from the Home Page (UR = 76) and also all the other high UR pages.
The combination of excellent optimization and internal linking helps these pages to rank at the top on Google!
So what do we learn from ClearTax?
Well, ClearTax teaches us a lot about what search intent actually means. You see, Google has only one commitment - to give users exactly what they ask for.
So, no matter the brilliant tricks you use, if your content is not relevant to what the user wants, then Google won't display it at the top. That's why, understanding the search intent of any keyword is extremely important!
We know that search intent tells you the intention behind a search. We have 4 types of search:
- Informational - User wants to gain information about something (eg - "What is GST?")
- Navigational - User wants to navigate to a different page (eg - "cleartax.in")
- Commercial - User is looking for information with the intent to buy a product. (eg - "best e-filling product")
- Transactional - User wants to buy or download something (eg - "ClearTax GST software")
But, the concept of search intent is not limited to just these 4 broad categories. These categories have a lot more more nuance. Let's take a few examples:
- Keyword - "notion templates"
Google Ranks ➝ Listicles of notion templates
- Keyword - "convert euro to dollars"
Google Ranks ➝ Currency conversion tools
- Keyword - "business name generators"
Google Ranks ➝ Automatic name generator tools
- Keyword - "How to write a blog"
Google Ranks ➝ A full-length guide on how to write a blog
In all these cases, understanding the search intent becomes the first step in creating the page!
Keep this in mind while researching for keywords & like ClearTax you'll also see guaranteed results for your SEO efforts! But, in any case, we at buildd are always there to help you in your SEO journey. So, let's get buildd-ing! 💪