This PDF Tool Has Some Of The Best SEO I’ve Ever SEEN In My LIFE

There’s a lot to this, so I’m gonna put the most impressive shit up front to capture your attention like a siren as you sail between these cliffs SO I CAN DRAG YOUR ASS INTO THE WATER* AND DROWN YOU**

* this amazing post

** educate you about an SEO thing

50M in organic traffic:

Natural links from the most authoritative sites on the web, such as:

Mozilla, Stripe, GoDaddy, Bing, Hubspot, Canva, TheVerge, FreshDesk, Inc…

Ranking for some baller keywords (that definitely relate to the product/service they sell):

Okay, your interest is piqued, here’s the site:!

[Doofus Rick voice] It’s a tools site, Jerry! PDF tools!

I first started using this site in 2019 when I sold my first (mega successful) affiliate site, and have been diligently paying $8/mo since–it’s SO CONVENIENT.

And when I one fine day looked at their traffic, I damn near fell out of my seat (like this, but metaphorically):

So what’s the secret to their success?

Flawlessly executed SEO.

Look at this page they’re ranking in the top spot for the keyword “PDF to JPG” (almost 250k s/m!)

No bullshit.

No fluff

~ 600 total words on page (including menu/footer/etc.)

Giving the user what they want…

That’s a useful god damned page.

It doesn’t hurt that the page has picked up a TON of natural links, like this one from ZenDesk, where a support ticket for a ZenDesk user suggest someone use a PDF to JPG tool:

Or this one, from a DR 86 website on a page about passports:

Further down the page there’s a block of articles relating to this very topic…

so relevant

so silo

They’re also cashing in on offering posts/services in different languages:

Nice. Several tool pages and blog posts are being written in many different languages, as you can see from their sitemap:

All right, so what is working here and what can you take away to your own site?

Covering the topical map

No, not that confusing shit that you need a bottle of adderall and an advanced statistics degree to understand what the fuck they’re actually saying.

This site has every useful tool you could possibly want all on offer, all linked very sexily from the bottom of every page.

want to edit a PDF?

they got that.

Want to rotate a PDF?

got it.

PDF to word/excel/ppt/jpg

They got it DAWG.

They fucking got it.

Topical map: covered.

The content is useful, not just stuffed full of shit like a foie gras goose

Let’s look at a random blog post (and maybe their old content sucks but I’m looking at the new stuff).

Look at how they nailed this page:

Above the fold section 👇

It’s got:

  1. pre-heading(?) that states a question people probably type often when looking for this solution
  2. big, straightforward H1
  3. intro, then it gets RIGHT to answering the searcher’s query (and oh look, this can be solved by a tool they own, imagine that–very easy-to-read or scan numbered points

Below that:

A gif showing exactly what the tool does (so easy!)

A button that solves ALL your problems.

And then:

Finally, some FAQ-style content, but not the shitty FAQ-style content that most 4,000 word articles staple on the end of their shit that almost NO ONE is actually reading except search engine spiders (no judgment: I’ve made these pieces of content 100x b/c it WORKED/works/IDK…)

But this is like… useful, next-step questions about this specific workflow if you’re looking to delete pages from a PDF.

The blog content, as a whole, is some very targeted, very helpful content

One thing I see happen again and again and again and again with sites that start stacking authority and ranking well for things:

They overreach. They try and rank for EVERYTHING, Forbes styles. And it works, usually, for a while… until it doesn’t.

They get absolutely lost in the sauce…

The content spirals further and farther away (you don’t know which one it is) from their core topic, so when an algo update comes along and goes

nuh uh uh

that’s the technical SEO term, don’t listen to the haters

Traffic takes a BIG hit and thousands of keywords lost that never deserved to rank in the first place.

I *love* what SmallPDF is doing with their content.

It’s just going for helpfulness one post at a time. Look at this shit:

Every post addressing a single problem or question, and the answer to almost all of those questions is OH YEAH BY THE WAY, USE OUR TOOL IT’S SO USEFUL!


A quick recap of why this site is doing so well:

  1. a useful tool that solves actual problems and gets natural links
  2. isn’t just a content/affiliate site
  3. no fluff, no BS, actually useful pages (tool pages) that rank for all versions of the target keyword
  4. content/tools cover the ENTIRE content map–deep expertise
  5. tons of helpful content addressing very specific questions that reinforce expertise.

I can tell you that I’m building out a site that offers a very useful product in an absolutely KILLER cutthroat niche, and I’m following the SmallPDF playbook for building things out.

You can have your ranch-style content, or argue about TF-IDF or whatever…

but I’m going to do what the site that his this Similar Web traffic graph is doing:

FYI, this was originally published in my [amazing] newsletter, so if you like this shit and you’re not on the list, fix that right here: