Growing a Habit Tracker App using Programmatic SEO

April 4, 2021

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Sankalp and I recently launched DailyHabits, a simple habit tracker that works on desktop and mobile browsers.

Since it's a web-app for the time being, we have no marketplace-like channels of distribution to tap into, such as the Play Store or iOS App Store. And hence, we have to grow our traffic via Google Search.

Fortunately, the search volume for "habit tracker app" is at a significant 9,900/mo and growing YoY.

However, we can't directly jump in and expect to rank for this keyword. It's a difficult one and will likely only rank over a year or longer.

How do I know it's difficult? The top 2 results are from the Play Store and the 3rd one from Lifehack. Nope.

So what should we do? Narrow down of course.

Focus is a superpower, and in this case we shall use that focus to target smaller keywords that have lesser search volume but also lesser difficulty to rank.

I found 3 possible entry points through my research:

1- Alternatives, App A vs App B, Best Apps

One of the lowest hanging fruit that most SaaS apps don't take advantage of is building alternative pages.

During research phase, which is before picking a app to solve a problem, people want to know all the options available in the market.

To discover that, they start with one popular app that they recognize, and type in search phrases like "app alternative(s)" on Google.

When they discover a few apps, they now try to drill down on each app and learn more. Repeatable phrases here are "app features", "app reviews" and "app pricing". Through these phrases, they try to learn as much as possible about each app.

In the next phase of the same research, when people have identified a few tools that satisfy their requirements, they might want to compare "app A vs app B". And where do they go for that? Typing into the Google search box of course.

I noted down all these observations in one spreadsheet.

It will take a while to execute on these ideas, but for now I picked 13 apps that seemed to have search traffic, and created the individual app pages and some of the "best listicles".

You can see them here:

See how I am creating base content pages, which I can then use to programmatically generate more pages. In this example, the App page is a base page. Whereas the Listicle page is programmatically generated.

Next week, I will focus on these two search patterns:

  • "app A vs app B"
  • "app A alternatives"

I'm most excited about the A vs B search pattern. There's potentially between 30-100 pages I could create matching this search intent.

This blog post will be updated once I create those pages.

2- Best Habits, Daily Habits, Morning Habits

I discovered this pattern while toying around with the word "best" and "habit" in the search bar.

Turns out, there's a ton of search phrases where people are looking for habit suggestions to achieve a certain, specific goal in life.

To be honest, this search pattern I found might cater to very top-of-the-funnel traffic. Which means, I might get visitors to the website, but not many of them would convert.

For now, I haven't acted on it because I haven't found a repeatable strategy for the content.

3- Habit Tracker Template

My personal blog is already ranking for related keywords like:

  • habit tracker spreadsheet
  • habit tracker google sheets
  • habit tracker excel

As it turns out, there are larger search phrases belonging to the same pattern with significantly higher volumes.

  • habit tracker template (3600/mo)
  • habit tracker printable (8100/mo)

To target this higher difficulty keyword, I will start creating individual pages on my blog around every "habit tracker" variation that's relevant to the larger "template" search phrase.

All keywords from this page: Habit Tracker Google Sheets Template for 2021

Data from Google Search Console.

This is a real-world case study

Most of the ideas in this post are yet to be implemented. I wanted to illustrate a real example of a website that is implementing the ideas shared in my Learn Programmatic SEO course.

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