It’s not easy to keep coming up with new content ideas without going so broad that you attract a bunch of non-qualified leads. Sure, you can look at what competitors are doing or organize a content brainstorming session to generate new ideas, but when you’re selling software, your biggest source of content inspiration might just be… your product.
Product-led SEO looks at the solutions your product offers your ideal customers and allows you to draw content inspiration from the overlap between what you sell and what they need.
As Kevin Indig pointed out, there are different product-led SEO strategies one can follow, but before we dive into some examples, let’s get clear on a product-led SEO definition, and how product-led SEO differs from “regular” SEO.
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What Is Product-Led SEO?
The term “product-led SEO” was coined by Eli Schwartz in his book of the same name and refers to an SEO strategy that is product-driven. Product-Led SEO focuses on creating content that answers the user’s questions about a product and bases new content creation on user feedback.
One benefit of product-led SEO is that it builds customer loyalty. Instead of fulfilling a one-time informational need, product-led content is something users may want to bookmark and keep coming back to.
Another benefit is that it brings in highly qualified leads. Rather than ranking for the sake of ranking, product-led SEO goes after search terms and topics that lie at the intersection of what (potential) customers need, and what your product offers.
How Does Product-Led SEO Differ from “Regular” SEO?
Product-led SEO is a specific SEO strategy that targets topics and keywords that are highly product-related. It’s a type of SEO, rather than being different from “regular” SEO.
SEO software company Surfer SEO uses both types of SEO to create content for its blog. Examples of articles it has published are:
“Regular” SEO: “298 Transition Words And Phrases With Sentence Examples For Content Writers” – An article around a topic that is of interest to anyone creating content, but that doesn’t specifically talk about how to use Surfer SEO.
Product-led SEO: “How To Write Blog Posts Faster In 9 Actionable Steps” – A how-to guide that mentions using Surfer in various steps of the process for writing blog posts faster. While it’s an informational article, it’s also an advertisement for the product.
Still not entirely clear? Let’s have a look at some examples.
Product-Led SEO Examples
MailCharts’ Holiday Email Examples pages
MailCharts is an e-commerce email and SMS marketing inspiration tool. Their database allows email and SMS marketers to browse their competitors’ campaigns, gain industry insights, and get inspired by emerging email trends.
It’s also a wealth of content, so we decided to focus on product-led SEO to grow MailCharts’ topical authority by optimizing the existing Holiday Email hub. The hub page links through to pages that are dedicated to specific holidays and that all follow the same format:
- An introduction
- Email examples for the specific holiday accompanied by a text explaining why the email is great
- Strategic email marketing tips for the holiday in question
- A CTA to sign up for Mailcharts’ free plan
We ranked this product-led content by targeting relevant informational keywords and as such were able to answer readers’ questions while introducing MailCharts product offering.
In 2022, this strategy led to a 20% increase in organic sessions YoY to the hub, as well as an increase of 5% in organic leads.
Also good to know is that, when compared to their organic competitors, MailCharts’ holiday pillar content is significantly lower in word count. This example shows that providing value and answering questions that readers might have will be rewarded more than simply outwriting your competitors.
Canva’s Design Ideas
Design tool Canva captures searchers at the top of the funnel by offering them design ideas for all kinds of things and events. The main Design Ideas page acts as a hub page for the different design ideas collections Canva has to offer, such as a collection of logo designs and one for beach party invitations.
Each Ideas collection page follows the same format:
- A short intro
- A visually appealing list of instantly editable templates
- A CTA to check out all of the collection’s templates
- An inspiration section that consists of a short intro followed by a list of collection-related photos that are part of Canva’s stock library and that are each presented with a little explanatory text that includes the collection’s target keyword.
While these pages don’t have a lot of textual content on them, they do rank for relevant “x ideas” keywords:
The example of Canva proves that you don’t need a ton of long-form content to outrank your competitors. They are able to meet search intent by creating product-led content that offers searchers exactly what they are looking for. And thanks to Canva’s freemium model, those looking for design ideas can instantly start using the brand’s templates to customize the designs they like.
By the way, Design Ideas pages are not the only product-led pages Canva created. Read our breakdown of the brand’s product-led SEO success to discover other ways in which Canva turned its product into an organic search traffic generator.
Building a Product-Led SEO Strategy
1. Get hyper-clear about your target customer
With product-led SEO you’re not targeting just anyone who might be interested in topics related to your product. You’re only targeting those searchers for whom your product is the solution to the problem they’re facing.
Create a detailed customer persona or target customer guide listing the characteristics and needs of this searcher, and create your content with them in mind. Over time, you mind find that this content starts attracting – and converting – other types of customers and you can create new customer personas.
2. Create content with a focus on the overlap between what your product does and what your audience needs
This one is obvious. For SEO to be product-led, it should focus on the overlap between the actual product features and the use cases of your product, and what your ideal customers are looking for. Once you venture away from that and start targeting topics that are related but not directly based on your product, you’re entering the field of “other” SEO.
3. Consider a freemium model
SaaS such as Canva, MailCharts, and Ahrefs all offer a free version of their product. This allows searches who find their product-led content to instantly play with the result of their search. In the case of Canva, searchers can immediately start customizing the beach party design ideas they were looking for. In the case of MailCharts, marketers can sign up for the free plan to get instant access to those Valentine email marketing examples they were looking for.
Offering a free version of your product is a great way to convert your product-led organic traffic into solid leads.
4. Consistently showcase your product
Product-led SEO is all about showcasing your product. Ahrefs does a great job at this by creating content that explains how to do all kinds of things SEO-related and weaves in screenshots and explanations of how to do those things… using Ahrefs’ tools. This blog post on keyword clustering is a good example.
5. Gather and implement user feedback
When you create valuable content around the user experience, you’ll inevitably get user feedback in return. Business aggregator Clutch allows companies to find all kinds of service providers to hire or partner with based on a range of filters. As users are applying these filters, Clutch learns more about what they need and can tailor its content – and its product – better to its users’ needs.
Who Should Implement a Product-Led SEO Strategy?
Product-led SEO is especially interesting for SaaS companies with a self-serve go-to-market motion. The usually lower product price point of these businesses makes it possible for product-led content to drive (a large part of) the lead generation and keep the acquisition cost per customer low.
Product-Led SEO: an Interesting Organic Growth Strategy
Putting your product at the center of your SEO strategy is a great way to scale your content and attract leads who are ready to start using what you offer. By combining product-focused content with a free version of your tool, users are able to dive right in and enjoy a quick win.
A product-led SEO strategy works best for businesses with a self-serve go-to-market motion who clearly understand their target audience and consistently showcase their product as the user’s solution throughout their content.
Does that sound like you? Get in touch to discuss how we can help you create a winning product-led SEO strategy.