Grubhub

Grubhub's link building strategy

Chicago, 2004. The food delivery service, Grubhub, launched.

By 2007 they were established and had raised $1.1 million. The next challenge was to expand to New York.

A big part of this expansion plan was SEO. Every day, thousands of Americans search for food delivery on Google. Ranking at the top would mean thousands of new customers.

So Grubhub hired their first marketer, Casey Winters.

Casey's first challenge was organising site structure. First he generated a parent page for New York. Then, child pages for specific foods within New York.

Now, no-matter, whether New Yorkers were searching for Food Delivery, Pizza delivery, or Vegan delivery, Grubhub had an indexed page of aggregated restaurants waiting:

Grubhub's SEO site structure

The second challenge was backlinks. In order for Grubhub’s new pages to rank well, Google needed to recognise them as sources of authority. Casey's solution was simple:

We went to the local press, to tell them we were launching in New York, and that we wanted to give their readers $10 off their first order.

All they had to do was link to our /new-york page which explained the discount. After a while, that page built enough local links and it would rank #1.

The “link juice” then flowed downstream to each city's specific food pages, helping them climb the search results.

And for every new market they entered, Casey replicated this strategy.

Thirteen years later

Alongside Grubhub, US food delivery is now dominated by Doordash and Uber Eats.

All have similar site structure. Grubhub's organic traffic is 50% higher. Thirteen years later, Casey's link-building is still paying off:

Grubhub and Doordash Organic traffic

That's the power of good SEO.

Plant an orchard. And you're eating fruit everyday.

The long game is the shortcut.

* The majority of “food delivery” search is local. This makes it hard to precisely measure organic traffic. The numbers are estimates from Ahrefs.

Support

Thanks for reading. If you'd like more Marketing Examples in your inbox joining the email list is appreciated. Sharing on social media also makes a big difference:

New Sponsor

Thanks to EmailOctopus for sponsoring. I use them for all my own email marketing.

Share on
Join 19,567 marketers getting
one practical case study every Thursday
Upgrade my marketing
Hands down the best marketing newsletter I'm subscribed to.
Marketing Examples is so f***ing great. I love it!
Show filters

Join 19,567 marketers getting one practical case study every week.

Path Created with Sketch.
Real startups
Path Created with Sketch.
Actionable tips
Path Created with Sketch.
2 minute read
Path Created with Sketch.
< 0.4% unsubscribe
Path Created with Sketch.
Free, forever
Upgrade my marketing
Powered by EmailOctopus
Harry Dry
by Harry Dry