How SEO Helped Time Doctor Become a 7 Figure SaaS Company and Generate 20,000 Trials Per Month
by Mike Khorev
Is ranking on the first page of Google and SEO all that important for SaaS and technology companies? Wouldn’t it be easier if I just pay for ads? What’s the value, is it worth the investment and will it help increase the revenue?
Those are the questions I’ve been always asked by marketing leaders, company executives, founders and investors all the time. Like it or not, the search engines and especially Google are now very important in so many aspects of our lives and when we are looking for products and services we always google it. The study from Google reveals that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process and 71% of them start with a generic search on Google. Only the companies on the first page of Google will be able to drive those prospects to their websites and generate leads and sales. I recently listened to Liam Martin’s interview with Eric Siu on the Growth Everywhere podcast where he reveals some of the numbers that prove the study from Google and show that properly executed SEO can become your number one lead and revenue generation channel.
Here are some numbers that Liam Martin shared on the interview:
Time Doctor’s Revenue, Growth and Marketing Numbers
- Model: Self-serve SaaS company
- Revenue: high seven-figure Anual Recurring Revenue
- Serves clients in 32 countries
- Customer Acquisition: 20,000 trials/month, 7000 customers/month
- Main customer acquisition channel: Content Marketing and SEO
- Content and SEO spend: $50,000/month
- Time Doctor growth: 10% month-over-month
- SEO timeline: 6 – 18 months if you are an established brand and a few years if you are just starting
SEO and Content Marketing Are the Only Lead Generation Channels for Time Doctor
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor, Staff.com and Running Remote – successful, bootstrapped and profitable companies. These tools are helping to get the best results from employees, even if they’re working with people who live on the other side of the globe. Time Doctor offers time tracking, web usage, reports, payroll and other services.
Liam and Eric discussed how SEO and content marketing are the only lead generation channels for them and why any founder and CEO would invest in ranking their website on Google. Liam also shared some revenue and growth numbers they achieved with SEO and content marketing.
You can listen to the full interview here:
Here is what Liam says about the importance of SEO and why every founder and CEO should make it a priority and commit to it:
Eric: We talked about this last night so basically, Liam is really good at– he not only understands how to run a business, but he understands SEO too. We’re talking about this beforehand how every single founder I know that understands SEO, they have a leg up versus everyone else, right?
Eric: What are you guys doing to run SEO and content right now to continue to grow? That’s where the majority of your stuff’s coming from, right?
Liam: Yes, so, I defined it as industrial SEO, a lot of people poke at it as an idea, but you can’t just poke at SEO, you have to commit because it’s going to be a six to 18-month investment. If you really start to see a return, and it’s cool now, like, if we post something about remote work, or outsourcing or any of those types of generalized keywords, Google gives us the benefit of the doubt. When I go and talk to people and say, “Oh, SEO is awesome.” Yes, it’s awesome, but you got to invest a couple of years and actually building up your domain and getting the power that you need to be able to then get people to just literally give you that benefit of the doubt so, that’s a lot of backlinks.
Eric: What are you going doing exactly to run SEO, just so people have some takeaway value here?
Liam: Fundamentally, what we’ve run is, we’ve compartmentalized it, we divide lead generation, basically, our linkers from our research team. We’ve got a content team that has an entire funnel connected to it as well, and literally every quarter, we go in, we identify all of our keywords, we throw it through ahrefs.com, that’s the tool that we use for all of our SEO.
Eric: Great tool.
Liam: Fantastic tool. The Keyword Difficulty variable is just like that identifier is so easy for us. It used to take us 15 minutes to really figure out, can we rank for it? Now with KD, it’s a two-minute conversation, we can rank for this.
Eric: Cool, so what are you doing exactly? Is it Keyword Difficulty is on a scale of one to 100 and then what do you guys do?
Liam: Anything that’s below a 30, that’s outside of our realm, we can probably rank for our success rates, but 60% top 10 SERPs. Anything that’s above 30 that’s out of our realm we probably won’t really go after but if it’s outsourcing, remote work, that kind of stuff, we’re currently number one for virtual assistant, I found out just today that we’ve got number one spot for that.
Eric: Great. I need one.
Liam: Yes, there we go. You can go to our blog post and check it out.
Eric: I will do that.
Liam: Those ones have a higher Keyword Difficulty, but you’ve got to invest more time, that’s a six-month investment to really start to get all that free track. I think that’s $100,000 in traffic value, just that one keyword, which is nuts.
Eric: Cool, and traffic value is basically what you would pay Google if you’re buying the traffic?
Liam: Correct, so if you bought all those clicks from Google, we’d literally have to pay $100,000 for that ranking.
Eric: Right, got it. How much do you think you’re spending per month on content and SEO right now?
Liam: I’d say probably 50,000 a month.
Eric: That’s a 600 grand a year.
Liam: Yes, the returns are insane, because if your domain rating goes up, we’re doing about 500,000 in traffic value per month. When you look at it in that context, if we had to buy that traffic from Google– I think basically if you’re buying traffic, you’re renting traffic, so, once Google shuts you down-
Eric: You’re done.
Liam: -or Facebook shuts you down, the algorithm changes, it’s over. We talked about this beforehand, there are some things that Google does that are going to change things, but fundamentally, if you’re going to own a business for more than 10 years, SEO is your number one funnel. That’s what’s going to actually allow you to run a really solid, sustainable business over the long term. If you’re a bootstrap founder like me, SEO should be your number one concern, because, in the next three to four years, you’re going to have a nice funnel of let’s say, for us, it was 6,000, 7000 customers that are coming in every single month, that are literally coming through our content funnel. Outside of anything else that we’re doing, we know that that’s our solid base.
Eric: Plus, you don’t just get organic traffic, you also get to pixel them, and you also have an e-mail list. How big is your e-mail list?
Liam: We talked about that too, but it’s over half a million right now, which we have not activated which we’re freaking out over.
Eric: I just think too many people forget about SEO, anybody that comes to us so, ad agency side, anyone that comes, “Hey, we need help.” It’s always we raised a bunch of money and we want to use our VC money to use paid ads. That’s the addicting drug, but too many people are not patient enough to go with SEO, it stands the test of time, and then from there, you can diversify, which is exactly what you’ve done.
Liam: Yes, I think about it like a big T traffic, just get the traffic, lock it in now, and then figure out what to do with it later. Optimization, all those other things can be done later if you can get the traffic now. Just get it, yes, it’s not converting so well right now. Don’t worry about it, get the traffic, you’re at least going to get the referring domains that is actually going to raise your entire domain.
Eric: Those are links.
Liam: Yes, so basically, backlinks that are coming to your website.
Learn how Time Doctor Improved Their Organic Traffic and Ranking with Content Marketing and SEO
Being an SEO expert and loving analytics and data myself, I was curious to see what SEO strategies and tactics Liam and his team used to achieve such amazing results and revenue. I used the same tool they use at Time Doctor – ahrefs.com, to look at the website performance, backlinks, ranking on Google, organic traffic, paid campaigns and Conversion Rate Optimization and recorded a short video with the analysis and actionable tips that you can use for your business.
Notes and highlights from the video:
- Out of Timedoctor.com and staff.com Time Doctor is the main lead generation site with 130K monthly organic visitors comparing to 2k from staff.com
- Both sites didn’t have a solid SEO strategy and big investments in SEO and content until Oct 2016 when Time Doctor started to actively publish blog posts and build backlinks.
- Over the course of 3 years they created backlinks from 3,200 new domains and publish around 500 blog posts.
- That helped them to rank for 80,000 new keywords (an increase from 26K to 106K). The number of keywords on the first page of Google had increased from 220 to 4600.
- For the same period of time, organic traffic from Google increased from 7,000 to 130,000 visitors per month.
- Assuming the average conversion rate from visitor to trial is 8% that’s an increase from 560 to 10,400 trials per month. It’s hard to say what conversion rate they actually have without looking at their Google Analytics data but it can range from 6% to 20%.
- The remaining trials are coming from paid campaigns, staff.com marketing campaigns and other channels.
- Their content marketing strategy for the blog post includes keyword research and writing long-form blog posts. They’ve written over 500 blog posts and created on average 5 – 50 backlinks for each post.
- Each post targets specific keywords that their prospects would search online and most likely to convert to a free trial. Here are a few examples:
- They rank in top 3 worldwide for keyword “virtual assistant services” with 7100 searches per month just in the US as well as other 147 similar keywords and driving 1000 monthly visitors. With an average conversion rate of 8% from visitor to trial (since they don’t ask for a credit card) that’s 80 trails from that single blog post.
- They also rank top 1 worldwide for keyword “collaboration tools” with 3200 searches per month in the US only as well as 2,300 similar keywords and driving 2,600 monthly visitors to that page. With an average conversion rate of 8% (since they don’t ask for a credit card) that’s 208 trails from that single blog post.
- The home page only generates 13,500 monthly visitors which is just 10% of all organic traffic. Other visitors are coming to blog posts and content pages on the site.
There are 4 components to successful blog posts that generate traffic and leads:
- Keywords research and writing outstanding and engaging content
- Building links to the blog posts as you would do for the home page
- Internal links to that content from other blog post and pages on the site
- Conversion rate optimization for blog posts. Adding exit intent pop-ups, live chats, floating bar with Call To Action
Takeaways and Next Step
As Liam advised you need to commit to SEO and content on your website if you are looking to build a solid, sustainable and profitable business over the long term. The success won’t come overnight and you need at least 1-2 years to start getting a good amount of leads and sales. I hope that his insights along with my review of their SEO and content strategy will help you get a better understanding of how SEO works, how long it takes, how much investment it will require and what results it can deliver in terms of traffic and revenue.
To make SEO work for your business and reach your revenue targets make sure you follow the 4 step process:
- Perform keywords research to find what your prospects are searching for on Google.
- Create SEO optimized pages (home page, internal service/product pages, blog posts, case studies) targeting those keywords.
- Build quality, relevant contextual links to your home, internal and blog post pages
- Track your rankings, metrics, conversion rate and continuously optimize performance and CRO
My 60-second commercial
I’m an SEO expert and marketing consultant who helps companies like Time Doctor to grow their traffic, leads and revenue. I specialize in performance and inbound marketing, SEO, Google Ads, content marketing and also consult on web design, CRO, social media and email marketing.
Do you want me to review your or your competitors’ business and website? Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
To discover more about how I can help you and what it’s like working with me, check my SEO Growth Program today. You can also book a call to review your project and see if we might be a good fit for working together.
February 17, 2020