SEO Strategies of YCombinator’s Fastest-growing Startups in 2022by@code200
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SEO Strategies of YCombinator’s Fastest-growing Startups in 2022

by Code200 - SEO for StartupsMarch 23rd, 2023
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Steal 14 SEO content frameworks from 10 fastest-growing YCombinator startups. Replicate their success for your product and grow up to 10,430%...
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We reverse engineered 10 fastest-growing startups from YCombinator W21 to uncover 14 effective SEO content frameworks

The inspiration behind this article

The top 10 YCombinator alumni from Winter 21 got an average of 400% annual growth, and we wanted to find out why.

Code200 spent the last month getting under the skin of some of the world’s best-performing startups to discover successful SEO content frameworks that our SaaS clients can use – in a scalable way.

We identified 14 frameworks used by the top 10 companies for traffic growth from YC’s W21 batch.

Here we introduce the most popular approaches. Which ones will become part of your SEO content strategy?

How it worked

  • We decided to examine YC startups because only the best of the best meet this incubator’s exacting submission criteria.
  • We chose the YC W21 batch because all the businesses are roughly the same age and, being around two years old, they will have established a market and be looking to scale up.
  • From the original 319, we chose the 10 startups with the fastest traffic growth in 2022, using Ahrefs for our analysis.

The figures: How much did YC startups grow their traffic in 2022?

Search traffic

8 out of 10 of the startups studied grew their traffic by over 550%, with Betterhalf achieving a stunning 11,377% increase.

Organic pages

8 out of 10 startups increased the number of pages on their websites that ranked. On average they added 405 pages each.


9 of the 10 startups increased the number of keywords they rank for, adding on average 29,230 new keywords.

Referring domains

10 of the 10 startups increased the number of sites that linked back to them. (We don’t know if this is the result of organic growth or targeted backlinking campaigns.)

Domain Rank (DR)

They often say that Domain Rating (which is based on the number of backlinks to your site) must hit 80 in order to rank highly on Google.

However, although 8 of our 10 startups did increase their DR, their scores averaged out at 41. For some niches, then, a DR as low as 25–30 may still be enough to rank highly.

Conclusion: if you want more clicks and rankings, publish more content

On average, each startup added an enormous 546 pages to their website. There are always new topics to cover and new keywords to rank for. Read on to discover the most popular SEO content frameworks used by some of 2022’s most successful startups.

14 SEO content strategies top YCombinator startups used to achieve 400% average growth

We analyzed the content strategies and keywords targeted by each of the 10 websites on their top-performing pages.

We categorized the approaches and ended up with 14 different SEO content frameworks that can be applied to virtually any type of startup.

If you can spot any other frameworks, let us know in the comments!

1. How-to guides

Appearing on 4 of the 10 startups' websites, this was the most popular framework of them all.

2. Long-tail topics

Targeting niche keywords better addresses user search intent and increases conversion rate, although ultra-specific pages receive a relatively low volume of traffic, so you’ll need lots of them to make this approach worthwhile.

  • Indian matchmaking site Betterhalf has numerous very specific collections of women looking to get married; examples include widows, those awaiting divorce, and Tamil brides.
  • The vast selection of topics on the FlutterFlow website includes supremely detailed explanations of even the humble Form and List View functionalities.

3. High-volume blog content

At the opposite end of the funnel, popular topics can be targeted with blog posts.

4. Location-based pages

Pages can target users differently depending on which country, state, region, or city they’re in. It's an easy way to scale your content, if your product or service has a geographical component.

  • Zingbus uses unique booking, route, and visitor guide templates for every one of the many cities it serves.
  • Phoenix targets delivery of Viagra and other medications to men in various cities across Canada, including Toronto and Vancouver.

5. Solution-based pages

Focus on a pain point your target audience may be experiencing and offer advice. You could write a general, top-of-the-funnel piece that doesn’t directly sell to the reader, or you could make sure your product features prominently in the list of solutions.

  • Phoenix has a wide range of pages that are each dedicated to an individual health issue, such as hair loss and ED.
  • FlutterFlow has tons of troubleshooting content, with pages focusing on particular software issues such as gray screen and APKs.

6. Product-based & feature-based pages

Take one product and do a deep dive into its features; alternatively, take a feature and round up all the products that have that feature.

7. Listicles

Some approaches are evergreen. Listicles continue to be a popular framework – you're reading one now!

  • Zingbus has a list for every occasion. A rundown of the best places to visit in a given destination city can be multiplied by the number of cities the company serves.
  • Poliglota’s many listicles include recommendations for easy English books and online translators.

8. Documentation

Reappropriate existing content from the documentation that has yet to be "shown to Google" – such as product specs and user manual pages – to help people looking for answers to super-specific questions.

9. Compatibility

Create pages that discuss how well two things go together; they can either be directly related to your business or of more general interest.

  • Betterhalf’s exhaustive range of astrological sign compatibility pages are the perfect example of a compatibility framework that is related to the business.

Frameworks 10 - 14

We’ve tried to keep things brief here, but we’ll happily send you the full list of 14 SEO content frameworks for free.

Get our full list of 14 SEO content frameworks for free.

This is how we do it

Why do some startups choose to ignore SEO?

Here at Code200 we prove, again and again, how powerful good SEO can be.

We chose two startups at random and considered how we could apply some of the SEO approaches used by the YC W21 cohort.

The businesses in our study used between 2 and 7 of the SEO content frameworks featured in our list, so as a rule, we would recommend using 3 or 4. - 3D model reviewing tool

Long tail

Many more keywords can be targeted by creating pages on other kinds of 3D models; the possibilities are endless!

  • 3D model heart
  • 3D model skull
  • 3D model skeleton

How-to guides

Do a little research into 3D modeling to come up with plenty more actions to add to this list!

  • How to make 3D model
  • How to animate 3D model
  • How to scale 3D model


Just mix and match words to make an infinite number of interesting new listicle ideas.

  • Best 3D model sites
  • Best 3D model software
  • Best 3D skull models

Free tool or products

If it exists, it can be modeled. If it can be modeled, you can conceivably give away a free version.

  • Free 3D model of a car
  • Free 3D skull model - Skincare for hyperpigmentation

How-to guides

Even if you want to concentrate on a small number of keywords, there are likely many common ways to fit them into a query or article title.

  • how to get rid of hyperpigmentation
  • how to treat hyperpigmentation
  • how to remove hyperpigmentation
  • how to reduce hyperpigmentation

Long-tail topics

Just combining these in different ways gives “how long does hyperpigmentation last on black skin,” “how long does hyperpigmentation last around mouth,” and “how to get rid of hyperpigmentation on black skin around mouth.”

And that’s before introducing multiple skin tones, body parts, and question formats.

  • how to get rid of hyperpigmentation on black skin
  • how to get rid of hyperpigmentation around mouth
  • how long does hyperpigmentation last


Listicles can be inspired either by long-tail or high-volume subjects.

  • best products for hyperpigmentation
  • best vitamin c serum for hyperpigmentation
  • best hyperpigmentation treatment
  • best products for hyperpigmentation in black skin


If time or price is involved, a range of calculators will probably be an appropriate addition to your site.

  • how much does laser cost for hyperpigmentation
  • how many chemical peels to get rid of hyperpigmentation
  • how much is laser hyperpigmentation removal


Lion Pose could make content on a variety of symptoms and conditions.

  • melasma vs hyperpigmentation
  • acne scar vs hyperpigmentation


Pages can focus on any combination of two Individual treatments; the number of pages is only limited by the number of treatments available.

  • dermal hyperpigmentation laser alternative
  • alternative hydroquinone for hyperpigmentation


  1. To grow organic search, increase the number of content pages on your site. Unless you already have 1000 pages, creating new content should be your first priority.
  2. Backlink numbers are important, but the W21 YC startups' average DR of 42 is enough to rank in many niches. Check your competition: do you really need to go all-in on backlinks?
  3. Use frameworks that allow you to target keywords and topics at scale.
  4. The fastest-growing W21 YC startups use between 2 and 7 of the content frameworks we’ve listed.

Let us apply these frameworks to your product.

Talk to us