In this SEO case study, we’ll share how the brand new SaaS startup PDF Pro used CanIRank Full Service to grow their organic traffic from almost nothing to over 150,000 visitors a month. PDFPro is a SaaS app offering a completely cloud-based solution for creating, editing, and reviewing PDF files, eliminating the need to download expensive and cumbersome software just to make a few edits or convert PDF to word.

Like other disruptive engineering-driven startups, PDF Pro is easier to use, faster, and more affordable than legacy products. Unfortunately, that didn’t help this SaaS company in the search engine results, where larger, entrenched players dominated based upon the authority of their domains rather than the quality of their product. So what does an AI SEO software/agency duo do for a company like PDF Pro?

As a bootstrapped startup focused on delivering the best possible product at the most affordable price, PDF Pro didn’t have a huge marketing budget or brand that they could leverage to effortlessly gain organic rankings. When they approached us at CanIRank about growing their search engine traffic, we knew that success would require driving all aspects of PDF Pro’s inbound marketing in a coordinated push utilizing content creation, on-page optimization, technical SEO, journalist pitching, and blogger / influencer outreach.

Outsourcing their entire growth marketing stack to CanIRank’s Full Service marketing team was certainly a bold gamble for PDF Pro — but would it pay off?

“As a team of software engineers with a new web service, we needed to bring in a marketing expert to bring PDF Pro traffic. CanIRank has been a brilliant and invaluable partner, allowing us to outsource our marketing and focus on our technology.”

Sophie Knowles


Having great product pages isn’t enough. Every CanIRank Full-Service package starts with a strategy developed by experienced marketers familiar with the unique challenges inherent in startup marketing. In PDF Pro’s case, CanIRank’s Founder Matt Bentley developed a strategy that combined the best elements of our Startup Launchpad and Be Everywhere Growth Programs, into a custom plan focused directly on SEO for SaaS brands.

CanIRank’s SEO Specialist Henry used our machine-learning software to identify keyword variations PDF Pro could successfully compete for even with their current domain authority. He worked closely with PDF Pro’s Founders to devise a content strategy that struck an appropriate balance between showcasing PDF Pro’s unique features and driving search engine traffic. The site’s information architecture was revised to improve thematic relevancy and ensure the strongest pages were used to target the most competitive terms.

At the same time, CanIRank Outreach Specialist Elyse devised a PR strategy leveraging the unique aspects of PDF Pro’s software and the Founders’ backgrounds to obtain relevant, high quality links that would drive direct traffic as well as boost PDF Pro’s domain authority. Using CanIRank’s Promote my Content tool to identify the best opportunities, Elyse landed over 2 dozen successful pitches, including guest posts, reviews, interviews, roundups, and resource pages. The additional links bolstered PDF Pro’s reputation as a leader in its niche while also increasing domain authority. This in turn let Henry go back to the Grow my Content tool to identify higher and higher value keywords so that every page was continually targeting the most valuable terms for which it was competitive.

“Before working with CanIRank we had a great website, but we struggled to find our audience. Within just a few months, CanIRank helped us achieve significant growth in targeted organic search traffic.”

Sophie Knowles


Within 6 months of work, PDF Pro’s organic search traffic had skyrocketed an astounding 106,283%, and the company had claimed page 1 rankings for multiple key industry terms (over 5,000 new rankings were added in total). Total traffic increased by a factor of 200. Most importantly, all this new traffic was obtained via completely sustainable white hat methods, and at less than 1% of the cost of purchasing the equivalent traffic via Google AdWords.

CanIRank’s outreach directly led to coverage in a number of tier one outlets, including:

Equally important, we helped PDF Pro earn thorough reviews (and recommendations) from a number of tech bloggers who specialize in reviewing office utilities such as PDF software. In all, over a hundred new links were earned using 100% white hat link building methods such as content marketing, influencer outreach, and journalist pitching.

SaaS Startup SEO Success Story


Many SEO agencies won’t take on startup clients with their very limited budgets and often non-existent domain authority. After all, getting results for clients like that is hard work: success requires both creative thinking at the strategic level, and extremely efficient processes to keep costs down at the tactical level  — not a combination one often finds under the same roof.

Executing a SaaS marketing plan is challenging. Every SEO knows that it’s a thousand times easier to get results working with a big name client where the press mentions and blogger reviews come automatically, and rankings improvements merely require cleaning up technical issues and optimizing content. The results we achieved for PDF Pro and other startups show that it is possible to obtain top rankings on a limited budget, even for a brand new startup. If you’re tired of your SEO agency making excuses — or worse, cutting corners with black hat techniques that could get your site penalized — please get in touch to find out if CanIRank Full Service + AI SEO software solutions are a better option for your business.

Looking for further reading? Check out these linkbuilding tips for SaaS businesses!

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