Discuss Home · Bootstrapped Podcast · Scribbleton Personal Wiki · HelpSpot Customer Service Software

Is anyone paying for SEO help? How do you find someone who is doing it the right way and getting results?


I checked your site. It is excellent and informative, your product is great, and the writing on your website is clear and direct. But for SEO purposes, your site is currently not good.

  • You need much more content
  • Create one or more “Alternative to ${dominant_product}” pages
  • Create many long tail pages
  • Create a microsite whose domain name is an exact search query match

Create an “Alternative to RescueTime” article

In this discussion, you perfectly summed up why Qbserve is better than RescueTime. This info is not on your website. It should be. “Versus” articles and “alternative to” articles both do very well with SEO. Write an article for your website called “Qbserve vs RescueTime” or “Qbserve: an alternative to RescueTime”. Make sure the slug and H1 tag both contain the text “RescueTime”. Don’t try to be fair or impartial; just as no-one expects a “Why Chrome instead of Firefox” article on Google’s website to be fair, it is implicitly understood by readers that your article is biased towards your product. List the advantages of Qbserve over RescueTime.

Groove does this very well by comparing themselves to FreshDesk: https://www.groovehq.com/vs/freshdesk. Groove claims that this single page is responsible for a lot of their traffic, even though they have a ton of other excellent content. (Here’s also an example of how quickly things change in our industry. A few years ago, FreshDesk positioned themselves against ZenDesk as David vs Goliath. Now FreshDesk is Goliath to Groove’s David. FreshDesk, btw, currently gets 10,000 signups every 40 days, according to their UK General Manager!)

Notice that Groove has a link to “Versus” article in the footer of every page on their website. Groove are famous for their smart use of content for marketing; imitating them in this regard is probably a very good thing to do.

Tips: Don’t compare yourself to competitors your size or smaller; they’ll benefit from this as much as you do. Do compare yourself to any dominant competitors, especially those that have the top Google rankings for your desired queries.

Create long tail pages such as “Mac Time Tracker for Developers”

Ranking well for “mac time tracker” will always be hard and highly competitive. So try ranking for, say, “mac time tracker for developers” and other similar search queries. Each of these will only give small amounts of traffic. However, you’ll completely own the search results for these queries. Doing so should in the long term lift your entire site in Google’s eyes.

@Andy mastered this idea with the website for his product, PerfectTablePlan. Some of his pages include “Creating Wedding Reception Table Plans” and “Masonic table plans”.

Create a Microsite with a domain name that exactly matches a search query

If you want to do really well for a specific keyword, consider a microsite, whose URL is the exact search term. “mactimetracker.com” is taken, but you can still get “mactimetrackers.com” and “timetrackerformac.com”. Even a one page site works, if the content is highly focused. Don’t overinvest in it, though; in general it is better to make your product’s website better.

The name of your product

I agree with @kjk: Qbserve is really a terrible name for SEO. I’m a paid user of your product, I’ve been using it daily for almost a year, and I still can’t remember the name. And pronouncing it? No idea! Qbserve launches at startup for me, but when I’ve accidentally closed it and I need to manually start it, all I can do is check everything in my Applications folder to find it again. Not even seeing the name helps me; my brain simply rejects the name as some obscure server product; the icon is what I use to find it.

I don’t think it is too late to change the name if you are in this for the long haul. You’ll have a short-term loss but a long-term gain. 301 redirects from an old site to a new site will ensure Google keeps most of your rankings.

Some general advice

  • Be patient; the days of implementing a few tricks and shooting to the top of Google are long gone. Expect to spend one day a week for at least six months of working on improving your SEO. Google does seem to reward both site age and frequency of updates. But mostly age.
  • Measure your results weekly using both Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
  • Try many different types of content, then after a couple of months check how each piece is doing. You’ll be surprised by which content works, and you’ll be surprised by the keywords that work.
  • Keep track of the top 20 results for your best search terms; when you notice a competitor make a sharp improvement, try to work out what they did and whether it is something you could do too.


Many thanks again! I really (really!) appreciate everyone’s help. For me it’s this moment when I’m starting to move in a new direction and I don’t know what I don’t know, so making decisions is really hard even if there are some pieces of advice found on the Internet.

You confirmed my thought about many “alternative” pages – I saw it on the Help Scout’s site (I found them via one of their VS. pages by the way). We even already have a comparison table in the press kit, so journalists can easily understand what’s so unique about this app. The Groove example is amazing, also they’ve probably got a larger word count than my landing page has. I saw some stats that Google really likes ~2000 words pages and ranks long content with lots of media better.

Idea with “for [target_group”] pages is great and we can use these pages for teaching the app’s advanced features. Automatic project tracking has a higher entry threshold than just a RescueTime-style passive productivity tracking – I recently got a question where’s the start/stop tracking button in the app…

Microsites – brb, need to buy more domains. :smiley:

[quote=“SteveMcLeod, post:21, topic:1630”]
I don’t think it is too late to change the name if you are in this for the long haul. You’ll have a short-term loss but a long-term gain. 301 redirects from an old site to a new site will ensure Google keeps most of your rankings.[/quote]
You are right. Again, I wish we fixed it a year ago instead of submitting it to different directories in the last months but I saw many products that have “formerly [worse_name]” near the logo. I also started to wonder if some journalists and bloggers read the pitch but didn’t reply because they stumbled over the name (ironically, I’m using Newton Mail for read receipts and they renamed it from CloudMagic last year or so).

Do you think it’s ok stay on the company’s site that’s not very memorable either? We can buy a domain for a new app name and do a 301 redirect – I would like to continue to raise QotoQot.com domain authority because we’ll have more products in future. People don’t remember small developers’ names anyway.

I just saw the “Last update” column while checking my top keywords in an SEMRush free account. I don’t know if it’s last update of SEMRush database or the Google ranking but if it’s the latter, then some rankings were updated a month ago! SEO certainly needs more patience but it’s hard for the first time because the lack of experience leads to shots in the darkness.

Currently I’m trying to stop checking them twice a day. :expressionless:

That’s a very important advice, thank you again – I somehow already planned “make 5 VS. pages first” in my head.


That is when SEMRush last updated its data. Google has moved away from really big updates every few months to daily updates. IIRC they are pushing more than 100 changes to the algorithm every day.


For very small companies, my preference is to build up the product’s brand, rather than the company’s brand. I think it is preferable to have your product on “qbserve.com” rather than “yourcompany.com/qbserve”. I don’t think there is much gain in building up the company brand (or “domain authority”) at this stage. Do that in the future, when you have multiple products and it is more important. I’m afraid I don’t have a strong argument for this view. It is about staying focused on the actions that will give you the biggest short-term to medium-term gain.


Initially we made this decision by looking at MacPaw and Flexibits who are keeping their products on one domain (though MacPaw has a couple of exact product name microsites for their biggest things).

For product name (people like to search “qobserve”, by the way :sweat_smile:) it’s always our site on top. For other queries we’ll work on microsites, comparisons, and case studies. Getting a nice not-occupied product name + .com domain + Twitter is quite a task in 2017.

Meanwhile, I was looking at the renaming options for half a day and remembered why we went with this jabberwocky of a brand. Everything time-related is occupied either by product or some company name, there are hundreds of time trackers on Capterra. Probably the “Newton Mail” way is an option – finding some popular concept and adding a product type to it.


After working on this over 2 months, I realized the sad state of the Internet. I got too comfy in my professional semi-curated bubble but outside the web is basically made of content farms with shallow articles.

Google gives them preference over small useful sites because they’re wordy and frequently updated but it’s all just sophisticated spam that reciting worn out motivational tips and unoriginal lists. Also, there are copies of paid PR pieces disguised as articles. They should be “nofollow”, but of course they are not.

It’s understandable why “side project marketing” is becoming more popular – spammers can’t write cool tools and apps yet. I wonder how fast my content will be copied, rewritten, and posted to these places. Anyway, there’s no other option but to create top quality stuff to stand out in all this noise.

Here’s a great post about this problem, the pie example really hits home:

(By the way, I also understood why all the big business-related subreddits are so hostile to posting links there.)


Was looking at this https://appsumo.com/clickmindedseo I think SEO is one of those things you need to understand yourself.

The free moz guide also gets recommended https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo


I like Ahrefs guides more, they are a bit more advanced and updated more frequently. Also, Ahrefs delivers a better value for $99/mo than Moz or SEMRush (I tried all 3 of them).