SEO for Marketplaces

December 14, 2020

How you can use your user base to create more opportunities and grow as a platform

I still remember the days in 2018 when my marketplace MentorCruise turned from a dying star into a busy and lively place. Just a few weeks before I had added a few auto-generated pages that should help people find suitable mentors faster.

It was really no witchcraft and I didn’t even plan on it becoming a major user magnet. I just had a look at the top 10 most popular tags, plugged them into my database and generated a few landing pages in the style of find XY mentor. Some custom copy here and there and the filtered list of mentors and done!

What I didn’t expect is that these landing pages started to rank highly on Google. Even better, these new 100s of visitors had a 10% conversion rate at the time. That meant if 100 people found my site through one of those search terms, 10 would reach out to a mentor. For me, still anxiously watching new contact requests coming in, it felt like an explosion!

Today, organic traffic through search machines makes up a little more than half of the traffic on MentorCruise and yet, over 80% of paid customers are saying to have found us through Google.

So, here’s what’s powerful about this. Other than many SaaS businesses, a marketplace is a living thing. You are going to have new suppliers joining all the time with great interest in publishing a complete profile with a lot of content on it. An amazing opportunity to generate listicles!

Additionally, as people interact with each other and even purchase something, you are building an automatic way of collecting testimonials. Great to write stories about!

Then, once your marketplace becomes a little bit more competitive, you will have people reach out to gain more exposure. It’s a great opportunity to get more guest posts – high-quality long-form articles – for free!

This all takes quite a bit creativity and I won’t be able to offer you a solution for what’s going to work for you.

In terms of landing pages, these are working amazing:

  • Have your suppliers add tags and generate listicles based on that, e.g. find a javascript coach
  • If proximity plays any role, generate country- and region-based landing pages – Ford Mustangs in Colorado or get a tutor in Germany
  • Leaderboards allow you to write catchy titles based on information only you have – best apartments under $800 per month could just be one of your filtered landing pages, for example
  • Long-tail keywords get less clicks but higher conversion, e.g. best furnished two-bedroom apartments near Paris under €800 per month

In short: Identify your data sources, generate content from them, rank on Google for more keywords and profit.

There’s more to SEO for marketplaces of course. Your hundreds of landing pages don’t have much value if you don’t have a strong domain reputation, for example. But I hope that this can be an inspiration for you, just as much as it was a surprise for me in 2018.