Over 17 million monthly organic visitors.
Nearly 26.5 million backlinks.
Valued at close to $25.6 billion.
Yes, we’re talking about Canva — the online graphic and web design platform that’s helped thousands of non-designers meet their design requirements.
And thanks to this graphic design tool, many small businesses could also cut back on the costs of hiring an expensive graphic designer.
But what’s the secret behind Canva’s incredible growth and these jaw-dropping numbers?
Short answer: Canva’s unique SEO strategy.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.
This Article Contains
- What SEO Challenges Did Canva Identify?
- Canva SEO Strategy: 7 Tactics to Dominate the SERPs
- Creating Distinct Landing Pages Based on Search Intent
- Getting Numerous Backlinks from Child Pages
- Developing Scalable and Reusable Content Templates
- The Impact
Let’s dive in!
What SEO Challenges Did Canva Identify?
With customizable design elements and templates, Canva helped amateur and seasoned designers to create mockups, social media posts, brochures, and much more.
However, Canva’s image-heavy website was bogged down by a few technical SEO issues, such as:
- Slow site loading speeds
- Poor responsiveness to different devices
- User accessibility to different design capabilities
Thankfully, their team of content and tech SEO specialists developed a game plan to address these issues and build an SEO-friendly website.
Canva SEO Strategy: 7 Tactics to Dominate the SERPs
Here’s what Canva did to perfect their website’s SEO strategy and draw in more potential customers:
1. Creating Distinct Landing Pages Based on Search Intent
Let’s understand their significance and purpose with an example.
As per Ahrefs, Canva ranks at position #1 for keywords like ‘make a flyer’ and ‘flyer templates free’.
Now you may wonder:
Why did Canva create separate pages for each flyer-related keyword when they could have optimized one landing page for both keywords?
A graphic designer searching for ‘make a flyer’ may want to design it themselves.
Whereas people searching for ‘flyer templates free’ are looking for ready-to-use downloadable flyer templates for free.
Bottomline — Canva detected a slight difference in the search intent! 💡
Creating two separate optimized pages for different keywords ensures that all potential customers find what they need on the Canva website, whether they want to create a flyer from scratch or customize a flyer template according to their needs.
These pages allow Canva to accurately target users with different search intents and requirements.
- Conduct keyword research to identify the top search queries that align with your website’s offerings (you can use an SEO tool like Google Search Console to identify these queries).
- Understand the search intent for keywords as it impacts the kind of content you create and your ability to rank in search engine platforms.
- Create separate landing pages for similar keywords with different search intent.
2. Getting Numerous Backlinks from Child Pages
A ton of Canva’s target audience includes people who don’t want to learn design but get the work done using pre-built design templates.
And the website’s parent-child hierarchical structure makes it possible for users to discover everything (read: several templates for over 100 design types!) they have to offer.
Here’s an example of a parent page:
Now, you can see that this page has flyer templates for different categories, like ‘restaurant’, ‘halloween’, ‘marketing’, etc.
All these category pages (or child pages) allow you to select and work with a specific Canva template. They contain tons of design templates with filtering options that you can select and customize.
Here’s what the child page on ‘halloween flyers’ looks like:
Now, these child pages have quite a few backlinks and help generate significant website traffic. For example, the child page on ‘real estate flyers’ alone has 73 backlinks and over 4,200 organic visitors per month.
And get this – Canva has several other template pages for your marketing needs (website builder, posters, social media designs, banners for Google ads, etc.), which consist of numerous other child pages.
Your head may start reeling, trying to imagine the number of backlinks connecting all these pages into one well-defined, composite entity. 🤯
This hierarchy helps users easily navigate the site and search engines to understand the relationship between different pages better. Needless to say, it boosts Canva’s B2C SEO performance!
- A parent-child structure on your website will allow users to find different types of content quickly.
- A neatly organized website structure can boost the user’s average session duration.
- Linking related pages together can help you pass on valuable link equity.
3. Developing Scalable and Reusable Content Templates
Ever skimmed through the different pages on the Canva website and got that déjà vu feeling?
You’ll notice pages like ‘Business Cards’, ‘Invitations’, ‘Banners’, etc. look almost similar.
A closer look reveals a similar pattern and content structure in these pages.
We can break it down into something like this:
- Main keyword (mentioning the design type in H1) followed by a brief description to get or print that design for yourself and a clear-cut call to action.
For example, here’s how this section looks for the page on ‘Business Cards’.
- A section on ‘Browse all templates’ by categories with a sneak peek of their visuals.
- A section on ‘All the features you need’ highlighting Canva’s USPs.
- A section on ‘How to design [main keyword]’ listing the exact steps with a CTA to ‘Start designing’.
- A bunch of FAQs covering the most common questions about the main keyword or design type in an accordion format.
- A section on ‘More resources’ containing links to useful articles and guides.
- A section on ‘Discover more products’ containing links to other design pages within the site.
- A final call to action for ‘Browse templates’.
An easily implementable template like this saved Canva precious time and helped them create pages quickly to target niche keywords.
- Templated pages can help you create a uniform design experience for your website.
- Try to include links to your other offerings on every product page.
- Aim to minimize the time and resources required to grow your website and scale quickly.
4. Investing in Backlink Outreach Specialists
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
And neither were the 26.5 million backlinks to Canva!
Over the years, Canva has built a team of SEO ninjas 🥷who send outreach emails to other content creators and capture valuable backlinks.
This backlink outreach strategy enabled Canva to drive massive growth and enhance its SEO performance.
Just take a look at their rising organic traffic in the last two years:
The fact that Canva’s content marketing and SEO team generates link-worthy articles is what makes their work easier.
For instance, the blog post on ‘Canva’s ultimate guide to font combinations’ has over 3500 backlinks.
To further maximize traffic and sales, Canva also runs an affiliate program.
Under the Canva Affiliate Program, content creators or influencers (aka affiliates) post about Canva’s paid plan (Canva Pro) on their social media platform.
All affiliates earn a small commission whenever someone signs up for this plan through the link shared by them.
- Create a mini-army of SEO specialists who can identify the most appropriate link-building tactics.
- Build a list of relevant prospects your tech SEO specialists or outreach specialists can reach out to for link building.
- Develop compelling content that may entice others to link to your website.
5. Keeping up with the Trends
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work, virtual meetings became the new norm in workplaces worldwide.
This led to an increased demand for custom Zoom backgrounds that help employees look more professional (by hiding distracting pets and a messy room).
But what does this have to do with Canva’s SEO or organic growth?
Well, it has much to do with how Canva responded to this new trend and demand for virtual backgrounds.
They developed a new design template page dedicated to Zoom backgrounds!
And the page continues to drive a fair amount of traffic even today!
Similarly, online whiteboards have been used and discovered by more remote teams worldwide in the last few years. This tool is every virtual team’s secret weapon to collaborate easily, draw mockups, explain information to team members, and plan projects with the help of visual aids.
So, Canva built a landing page showing their wide array of whiteboard templates in 2022.
Bottomline — Canva was intuitive enough to gauge the shift in consumer behavior and ensured they made the most of the ongoing trends and captured valuable traffic.
- Keep tabs on trending queries and demographic insights (you can use Google Trends or some other SEO tool for this purpose).
- Understand if a trend or search query will perform better globally, locally, or seasonally.
- Spot trends within your industry earlier than the competition to boost organic traffic and increase sales.
6. Reeling in Massive Traffic through Blog Posts
Canva’s blog page drives 241K monthly visitors from search engine platforms and has 66.5K backlinks.
It churns out different types of blog posts catering to different personas:
- Design-related content – These articles are targeted towards aspiring designers who wish to improve their skills and veteran designers or a website design team looking for fresh ideas. And with all the design resources they make readily available on their site, these Canva posts drive tons of sign ups!
- Marketing-related content – These articles are targeted towards marketing teams eager to learn about anything from social media marketing to building customer loyalty. As Canva can help any passionate SEO content specialist with these marketing resources, these become conversion-worthy blog posts.
- Branding-related content – These articles are written to aid founders and account managers on the basics of brand management. By emphasizing how important branding is and how Canva can help, these posts reel in tons of traffic.
And they didn’t stop there!
Canva’s very own knowledge base, called the Design School, shares tutorial videos on website design, graphic design, post scheduling on a social media platform, and more.
Design School also offers insightful courses for SEO specialists and marketing teams on how to use any Canva template or organize their designs in a folder.
- Identify your key target personas and develop informative content that they’d be genuinely interested in.
- Create a knowledge base offering product tutorials and other engaging videos.
- Check out your competitor’s content marketing strategy for inspiration.
7. Implementing Product-Led SEO
Product-led SEO is a specific SEO strategy that aims to develop content around keywords that are related to your product.
And Canva has mastered the art of executing product-led SEO over the years.
As mentioned before, Canva has multiple landing pages that cater to a searcher’s specific need for flyer design, logo creation, and other design-related queries.
Similarly, their main Design Ideas page acts as a hub for the different types of design ideas and collections that Canva has to offer:
Every type of Design Ideas (logo ideas, beach party ideas, bookmark ideas, and more) page follows the same format:
- A brief description
- A CTA to sign up
- A visually appealing list of instantly editable templates
- A CTA to check out the entire list of templates
- An inspiration section that consists of a short intro followed by a list of photos that are part of Canva’s stock library.
Interestingly, these pages don’t have a lot of text on them and yet they rank for relevant keywords around design ideas.
For instance, Canva ranks on page 1 for keywords like ‘thank you card’ and ‘mothers day designs’.
The example of Canva proves that you don’t need a ton of long-form content to outrank your competitors. Instead their compelling product-led content offers searchers exactly what they are looking for.
And thanks to Canva’s freemium plan, anyone can start editing templates to customize and generate designs they like.
This graphic design tool offers a free plan (Canva Free) that small businesses can benefit from. It also has two paid plans:
- Canva Pro ($14.99/month per individual)
- Canva for Teams ($29.99/month total for the first 5 individuals)
Both paid plans give you unlimited access to premium design elements, stock photography, and attractive visuals for a top-notch design experience.
- Create product pages that highlight how your tool can make people’s lives easier.
- Develop YouTube videos and how-to guides to illustrate the value of your tool (as Canva does with their tutorials on Design School).
- Entice users with a freemium plan so that they discover your product’s capabilities for free and are then motivated to become paying customers.
So, what was the result of planning and executing all these SEO strategies?
Canva’s organic traffic has nearly tripled in 2 years, from 6.1 million in October 2021 to 17.5 million in October 2023.
All the SEO strategies highlighted above have helped Canva attain an estimated organic traffic value of over $11 million compared to its estimated paid traffic cost, which is $4,399.
Additionally, Canva’s revenue crossed $1 billion in 2021 — an almost four-fold increase from its revenue of $291 million in 2019.
It’s pretty clear that Canva’s SEO strategies paid off pretty well!
Stay Ahead of the SEO Curve with Startup Voyager
Canva is one of the most fascinating SaaS companies to examine from an SEO standpoint. Their SEO team strategically selects keywords and develops content that would align with their target audience’s goals and desired solutions.
Eager to imitate the SEO success of Canva and claim the top position in search engine platforms?
You need to create content that’s original, well-researched, AND engaging. Content that’s loved by your customers and search engines alike.
Additionally, you’ll have to monitor your website for any technical issues and frame the next steps for recovery whenever a Google update hits you.
Not sure how to go about it?
Get in touch with the experts at Startup Voyager. We can help you create a rock-solid SEO strategy that drives higher traffic and conversions.