October 24, 2022

Upwork's SEO Strategy

Upwork is a billion dollar publicly traded company. They are a two-sided work marketplace that rivals Fiverr in the online space.

A Case Study on Upwork's SEO Strategy

Upwork is a billion dollar publicly traded company. They are a two-sided work marketplace that rivals Fiverr in the online space.

Upwork has a monthly organic traffic of 7M unique users.
Upwork's traffic distribution

The Market

Upwork is a platform that connects freelancers with clients seeking their services. It's an online marketplace that allows freelancers to offer a wide range of services, including writing, editing, design, marketing, and more.

Upwork provides tools and resources to help freelancers manage their projects and communicate with clients, as well as a secure payment system. It's a popular platform for businesses and individuals who are looking to hire freelance talent for short-term or long-term projects.

Traffic Breakdown

Taking a look at Upwork's "top pages" according to Ahrefs, a lot of their traffic comes from the /hire pages.

Upwork's /hire pages traffic

It's importnat to note that it's not just about the traffic but also about the traffic's intent. A user can search for Upwork and go to the site's homepage, or they can search for "hire developer" and go to one of these /hire pages.

This is important because the user's search intent is much more valuable in the second instance - they're looking to hire a developer instead of just searching the brand name.

Going Granular

Upwork is a markeptlace which means they have a lot of services. Services are categorized so Upwork has a lot of category pages.

Instead of simply having top level categories (i.e. marketing, writing, audio, design) they go two steps further in niching down their categories.

The first step is the creation of pages for sub-categories - let's use SEO as an example. The main cateogry is SEO, the sub-categories can be "backlinks", "local seo", "ecommerce seo" etc.

However, Upwork dives one layer deeper and creates sub-sub-category pages

But that's not all, Upwork goes one level deeper and starts targeting localtions for all of these category, sub-category, and sub-sub-category pages they created.

The image below details the above mentioned perfectly.

Upwork's granularization of their category pages

Programatic SEO

Programmatic SEO refers to the use of automated systems and software to optimize a website's ranking in search engines. This can include the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to analyze and optimize various aspects of a website, such as its content, structure, and technical features.

In other words, you can generate hundreds or thousands of unique pages where just a few words change. These words can be in the URLs, meta descriptions, titles, headers, and others.

This allows you to massively built out a lot of pages that serve your client's specific needs. In Upwork's case, making hyper-targeted category pages.

Upwork's /hire pages are most likely done with programatic SEO.

It's important to note that programmatic SEO should be used as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, traditional SEO strategies. While automated tools can be helpful in identifying and fixing technical issues and optimizing certain aspects of a website, they can't replace the expertise and strategic thinking of a skilled SEO professional.

Video Breakdown

In the video below I go more in-depth on Upwork's SEO strategy and how they've managed to dominate the market for freelance work.