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Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

Mar 26, 2024

Mar 26, 2024

Mar 26, 2024

Apollo’s Programmatic SEO Strategy Drives 430k Visits Per Month

Apollo, a prospecting and sales automation tool used by more than 500,000 companies, has achieved meteoric growth since its inception in 2015. In under ten years, the company has raised more than $250 million from investors and reached a $1.6 billion valuation

Central to Apollo’s rocketship growth is its SEO strategy, which leverages programmatic SEO (pSEO) to build and scale thousands of templated pages that draw in more than 430,000 organic visits to the Apollo domain each month (per Ahrefs). 

How Apollo uses its pSEO engine to draw in high-intent visitors 

According to data from SEMrush, about a third (29%) of Apollo’s total traffic arrives through organic search. The secret to Apollo’s consistent organic traffic is its strategic use of pSEO pages that are designed to reach Apollo’s target audience of busy sales professionals. 

Sales associates are typically hyper-focused on identifying leads and filling their pipeline to meet quota. To reach this audience on search engines, Apollo created an extensive directory of people and company pages: 

  1. Company pages (see example here). These pages are designed to draw in sales professionals searching for key details about a company they are prospecting to prepare for sales calls effectively.

  2. People pages (see example here). These pages cater to sales professionals searching for information about specific people at a company to build an effective outreach strategy. 

These two page types follow a simple, information-rich, and search-optimized template, enabling Apollo to programmatically scale the production of more than 700,000 pages. According to Ahrefs, these pages account for around 430,000 monthly visits which equates to approximately 80% of Apollo’s total organic traffic. 

Dissecting Apollo’s company directory pages

Ahrefs data (see above) shows that Apollo’s company pages account for around 374,000 monthly organic views. All company pages follow an identical template that is optimized for search engines and includes the following elements: 

  1. Conversion button: Clickable call-to-action buttons are included throughout the page to encourage visitors to explore Apollo’s offering.

  2. Company overview section: This section includes top-level details about the company above the fold. The company name acts as page H1.

  3. Company information: Just below the company overview is a longer, more detailed description of the company and its history.

  4. Financial review sidebar: Key details about the company’s financials are included along with a CTA to unlock more details.

  5. Employee metrics graphs: An interactive chart shows employee headcount and other details that visitors can explore by clicking. This chart likely increases user engagement and time on site — two important factors for SEO.

  6. Current employee sidebar: Prominent employees are noted with links to their Apollo pages. This enhances interlinking between pages — a useful SEO tactic to improve page visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

  7. Platforms and technology the company already uses: The systems that the company already uses are noted for sales professionals to understand the company’s current technology stack.

  8. The company’s top competitors: The company’s main competitors are included with links to corresponding Apollo company pages, which improves interlinking.

  9. Notable alums: This section offers another opportunity to interlink to Apollo’s people pages.

  10. Current job postings: Backlinks to open roles at the company are included, directing visitors to high domain authority sites like LinkedIn where the job postings live.

  11. Link to Apollo’s full people directory: This tactic interlinks Apollo pages (more details on this later).

  12. Final Conversion button: As a last push to convert visitors, an eye-catching CTA button is included at the bottom of the page. 

Breaking down Apollo’s people directory pages

According to Ahrefs, Apollo’s people pages account for around 58,000 monthly organic views. Just like the company pages, Apollo’s people directory pages follow an identical template that includes the following details: 

  1. Conversion button: Like the company pages, clickable call-to-action buttons are included throughout the page to encourage visitors to explore Apollo’s offerings.

  2. Contact name: The professional's name is included at the top of the page, and it is the H1.

  3. Position at the company: The professional’s title is also included at the top of the page and is an H2.

  4. Professional contact details: The most pertinent details about the individual, including email, phone, and other contact details, are visible above the fold.

  5. Conversion buttons to reveal key details: Some details in the contact section are hidden to demonstrate the value the visitor will unlock if they pay for the Apollo platform.

  6. Company details: Links to the company page to enhance interlinking.

  7. Work history: Links to the company pages for the professional’s previous places of work. Again, this improves interlinking.

  8. Other professionals with the same name: This section helps avoid page bounces from visitors looking for a different person with the same name.

  9. FAQ section: This section is set up to enable an FAQ schema markup that would display at the top of search results on Google and other search platforms.

  10. Link to Apollo’s full people directory: Links to Apollo’s people directory. This tactic is also used to interlink Apollo pages (more details on this later).

  11. Final conversion button: A final CTA is included at the bottom of the pages to capture leads. 

Apollo’s people pages likely perform well from an SEO and conversion perspective because they fulfill users’ search intent while clearly showing visitors that greater value can be unlocked by purchasing Apollo’s platform. 

Apollo uses interlinking to strengthen its pSEO pages

Interestingly, Apollo’s company and people pages are not discoverable from Apollo’s primary site navigation; however, Apollo added a small module on its homepage that links to a directory of people and company pages.  While the directory is cumbersome for users to navigate (see user experience below), the system allows Google and other search engine crawlers to find every page.

Apollo’s backlink-catching machine

SEMrush shows that close to 18% of Apollo’s traffic comes from referral links. A closer look via Ahref’s site architecture tool shows more than 561,000 backlinks to people and company directory pages — many from websites with high domain authority.  For example, this Wikipedia article about Michael Mortiz, an American venture capitalist, includes a link to an Apollo page about one of Michael’s colleagues, Griffin Gaffney.

Apollo’s detail-rich people and company pages are credible reference points for media outlets and other sites. This creates a growing catalog of backlinks to the Apollo domain, which further boosts Apollo’s authority and ranking among search engines. 

Apollo’s pSEO strategy vs competitors

Apollo is one of many sales platforms that leverage a pSEO strategy to draw in traffic. Like Apollo, competitors including ZoomInfo and RocketReach use templated people and company pages to attract high-intent leads to their platforms. 

ZoomInfo and RocketReach vs. Apollo pSEO strategy

ZoomInfo and RocketReach draw in substantially more organic traffic with their pSEO pages than Apollo. Ahrefs data shows that Apollo brings in around 430,000 organic monthly visits from its directory pages while Zoominfo and RocketReach draw in about 1.85 million and 939,000 monthly organic visits respectively. 

While ZoomInfo and RocketReach bring in more monthly organic visitors, both companies’ websites also house substantially more directory pages. According to data from Ahrefs, Zoominfo and RocketReach have about five times the number of people and company pages that Apollo has. If Apollo chooses to grow its directory to the size of Zoominfo and RocketReach, it could reasonably pull ahead of these competitors for two key reasons detailed below. 

1. Apollo’s pages are better optimized for UX

ZoomInfo and RocketReach’s people and company pages have a less user-friendly interface than Apollo's pages. This could impact user behaviors such as bounce rates, a current factor in Google’s search results algorithm. While user experience (UX) is highly subjective, several key attributes are well-recognized as must-haves for user experience:

  • Intuitive - the content is easy and logical to navigate.

  • Simple and concise - clutter is eliminated to make the viewing and reading experience enjoyable.

  • User needs are met -  the content has a clear information hierarchy with the most important information above the fold.

Zoominfo’s pages are simple and concise, but some key information is found further down the page. For example, on Zoominfo people pages, the professional’s title is included below the fold and buried within the “about” section. Meanwhile, Apollo’s people pages prominently display the professional’s name and title at the top of the page.

RocketReach's pages include detailed and relevant information; however, the page contents are not concise or intuitive. Notably, RocketReach’s company pages lack clear headers, and present information in large, challenging-to-read paragraphs. Meanwhile, Apollo’s company pages are well-structured with key details displayed prominently at the top of the page with clear headers.  

2. Apollo’s PMF may propel it ahead of competitors

Apollo's strong brand presence and PMF may further push It ahead of ZoomInfo and RocketReach.  Apollo draws in a larger percentage of direct traffic than ZoomInfo and RocketReach. Apollo’s direct traffic accounts for 42% of overall traffic, while direct traffic for Zoominfo and RocketReach accounts for 24% and 22% of overall traffic, respectively. 

A higher ratio of direct traffic typically indicates a strong PMF and a love for the product. If Apollo can maintain the same ratio of direct-to-organic traffic while also scaling the volume of organic pages, the company could push past its competitors. 

Create a winning pSEO engine with daydream 

Apollo’s pSEO program requires significant time and resources to build and update pages that accurately reflect the information sales professionals seek. A team of engineers, content marketers, data analysts, and other skilled professionals must stay in tight coordination to ensure pages are incrementally improved as SEO standards evolve and competitors improve their pages. 

The daydream platform enables businesses to build high-performing pSEO programs without breaking the bank. Our platform automates all of the key workflows involved in building a robust pSEO engine. If you’re interested in using daydream and joining our growing list of customers like Notion and ProductHunt, email us at [email protected] to start the conversation. 

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© 2024 daydream Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 daydream Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.