Canva’s SEO Masterclass: 7 Key Takeaways (2024)

Over 26 million monthly organic visitors. 
Nearly 24 million backlinks. 
Valued at close to $40 billion.

Canva is the reliable online graphic design tool for non-designers and small businesses alike, offering an affordable alternative to pricey graphic design services.

But what fueled Canva’s meteoric rise and these staggering statistics? 
The answer lies in Canva’s innovative SEO strategy.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the initial SEO hurdles Canva faced and unveil seven remarkable strategies that catapulted Canva’s SEO to new heights.

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Let’s dive in!

What SEO Challenges Did Canva Identify?

With customizable design elements and templates, Canva helped amateur and seasoned designers to create mockups, social media posts, brochures, and much more. 

However, Canva’s image-heavy website was bogged down by a few technical SEO issues, such as:

  • Slow site loading speeds 
  • Poor responsiveness to different devices 
  • User accessibility to different design capabilities

Thankfully, their team of content and tech SEO specialists developed a game plan to address these issues and build an SEO-friendly website.

Canva SEO Strategy: 7 Tactics to Dominate the SERPs

Here’s what Canva did to perfect their website’s SEO strategy and draw in more potential customers:

1. Reeling in Massive Traffic through Blog Posts

Canva’s blog page drives 273K monthly visitors from search engine platforms and has 53.7K backlinks.


How?

It churns out different types of blog posts catering to different personas:

  • Design-related content – Aimed at both budding designers eager to refine their skills and experienced designers or web design teams in search of new inspiration. These Canva articles leverage a wealth of design tips and resources available on their platform to attract numerous sign-ups.
  • Marketing-related content – These articles are targeted towards marketing teams  eager to learn about anything from social media marketing to building customer loyalty. As Canva can help any passionate SEO content specialist with these marketing resources, these become conversion-worthy blog posts.
  • Branding-related content – These pieces are crafted to support founders and account managers with the fundamentals of managing a brand. By highlighting the significance of branding and Canva’s role in facilitating it, these posts draw in substantial traffic.

And they didn’t stop there!

Canva’s very own knowledge base, called the Design School, shares tutorial videos on web page design, graphic design, post scheduling on a social media platform, and more. 

Design School also offers insightful courses for search engine optimization specialists and marketing teams on how to use any Canva template or organize their designs in a folder.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify your key target personas and develop informative content that they’d be genuinely interested in.
  • Create a knowledge base offering product tutorials and other engaging video content.
  • Check out your competitor’s content marketing strategy for inspiration.

2. Getting Numerous Backlinks from Child Pages

A ton of Canva’s target audience includes people who don’t want to learn design but get the work done using pre-built design templates.  

And the website’s parent-child hierarchical structure makes it possible for users to discover everything (read: several templates for over 100 design types!) they have to offer. 

Here’s an example of a parent page:


Now, you can see that this page has flyer templates for different categories, like ‘real estate’, ‘photography’, ‘restaurant’, etc. 

All these category pages (or child pages) allow you to select and work with a specific Canva template. They contain tons of design templates with filtering options that you can select and customize. 

Here’s what the child page on ‘photography flyers’ looks like:


Now, these child pages have quite a few backlinks and help generate significant website traffic. For example, the child page on ‘event flyers’ alone has 67 backlinks and over 2,300 organic visitors per month.  


And get this – Canva has several other template pages for your marketing needs (website builder, posters, social media posts, banners for Google ads, etc.), which consist of numerous other child pages. 

Your head may start reeling, trying to imagine the number of backlinks connecting all these pages into one well-defined, composite entity. 🤯

This structured hierarchy enhances user navigation and enables search engines to more effectively grasp the connections between pages, significantly improving Canva’s B2C SEO performance.

Key Takeaways

  • A parent-child structure on your website will allow users to find different types of content quickly.
  • A neatly organized website structure can boost the user’s average session duration.
  • Implementing internal linking can help you pass on valuable link equity. 

3. Building Landing Pages Based on Search Intent

The Canva website has two types of landing pages – https://www.canva.com/create/ and https://www.canva.com/templates/

Let’s understand their significance and purpose with an example. 

As per Ahrefs, Canva ranks on page 1 for keywords like ‘resume templates’ and ‘free resume builder’. 


You can see that it ranks for these two keywords with two different pages: https://www.canva.com/resumes/templates/ and https://www.canva.com/create/resumes/

Now you may wonder: 
Why did Canva create separate pages for each resume-related keyword when they could have optimized one landing page for both keywords?

Here’s why:
An individual searching for ‘free resume builder’ may want to create it themselves. 
Whereas people searching for ‘resume templates’ are looking for ready-to-use downloadable Canva templates for free.

Bottomline — Canva detected a slight difference in the search intent! 💡

Creating two separate optimized pages for different keywords ensures that all potential customers find what they need on the Canva website, whether they want to create a resume from scratch or customize a resume template according to their needs. 

These pages allow Canva to accurately target users with different search intents and requirements. 

Key Takeaways

  • Conduct keyword research to identify the top search queries that align with your website’s offerings (you can use a search engine optimization tool like Google Search Console to identify these queries). 
  • Understand the search intent for relevant keywords as it impacts your content creation strategy and ability to rank in the search results.
  • Create separate landing pages for similar keywords with different search intent.

4. Implementing Product-Led SEO

Product-led SEO is a specific SEO strategy that aims to develop content around keywords that are related to your product. 

And Canva has mastered the art of executing product-led SEO over the years.

How?
As mentioned before, Canva has multiple landing pages that cater to a searcher’s specific need for banner design, logo creation, and other design-related queries. 

Similarly, their main Design Ideas page acts as a hub for the different types of design tips and collections that Canva has to offer:


Every type of Design Ideas (logo ideas, beach party ideas, bookmark ideas, and more) page follows the same format:

  • A brief description 
  • A CTA to sign up
  • A visually appealing list of instantly editable Canva templates
  • A CTA to check out the entire list of templates
  • An inspiration section that consists of a short intro followed by a list of photos that are part of Canva’s stock library.

Interestingly, these pages don’t have a lot of text on them and yet they rank for relevant keywords around design ideas. 

For instance, Canva ranks on page 1 for keywords like ‘thank you card’ and ‘mothers day designs’. 


The example of Canva proves that you don’t need extensive long-form content to outrank your competitors. Rather, their engaging product-focused content delivers precisely what searchers seek.

And thanks to Canva’s freemium plan, anyone can start editing templates to customize and generate designs they like.

This graphic design tool offers a free plan (Canva Free) that small businesses can benefit from. It also has two paid plans:

  • Canva Pro ($14.99/month per individual)
  • Canva for Teams ($29.99/month total for the first 5 individuals)

Both paid plans give you unlimited access to premium design elements, stock photography, and attractive visuals for a top-notch design experience. 

Key Takeaways

  • Design product pages emphasizing the ways in which your tool simplifies users’ lives.
  • Develop YouTube video content and how-to guides to illustrate the value of your tool (as Canva does with their tutorials on Design School). 
  • Offer a freemium version to allow users to experience your product’s features at no cost, encouraging them to upgrade to paid versions.

5. Investing in Backlink Outreach Specialists

Rome wasn’t built in a day. 
And neither were the 23.8 million backlinks to Canva!

Over the years, Canva has built a team of SEO ninjas 🥷who send outreach emails to other content creators and capture valuable backlinks. 

This backlink outreach strategy enabled Canva to drive massive growth and enhance its SEO performance. 

Just take a look at their rising organic traffic in the last two years:

The fact that Canva’s content marketing and SEO team generates link-worthy articles is what makes their work easier. 

For instance, the blog post on ‘Canva’s ultimate guide to font combinations’ has over 3500 backlinks.

To further maximize traffic and sales, Canva also runs an affiliate marketing program. 

Under the Canva Affiliate Marketing Program, content creators or influencers (aka affiliates) post about Canva’s paid plan (Canva Pro) on their social media platform. 

All affiliates earn a small commission whenever someone signs up for this plan through the link shared by them. 

Key Takeaways

  • Create a mini-army of SEO specialists who can identify the most appropriate link-building and internal linking tactics. 
  • Compile a roster of suitable contacts for your tech SEO specialists or outreach professionals to target for link acquisition.
  • Craft engaging content that encourages external sites to link back to yours.

6. Developing Scalable and Reusable Content Templates

Ever skimmed through the different pages on the Canva website and got that déjà vu feeling? 

You’ll notice pages like ‘Business Cards’, ‘Invitations’, ‘Banners’, etc. look almost similar. 

A closer look reveals a similar pattern and content structure in these pages. 

We can break it down into something like this:

  • Main keyword (mentioning the design type in H1) followed by a brief description to get or print that design for yourself and a clear-cut call to action

For example, here’s how this section looks for the page on ‘Banners’. 

  • A section on ‘Browse all templates’ by categories with a sneak peek of their visuals.
  • A section on ‘All the features you need’ highlighting Canva’s USPs.
  • A section on ‘How to design [main keyword]’ listing the exact steps with a CTA to ‘Start designing’.
  • A bunch of FAQs covering the most common questions about the main keyword or design type in an accordion format. 
  • A section on ‘More resources’ containing links to useful articles and guides. 
  • A section on ‘Discover more products’ containing links to other design pages within the site. 
  • A final call to action for ‘Browse templates’

An easily implementable template like this saved Canva valuable time, helping them with swift content creation aimed at niche keywords. 

Key Takeaways

  • Template-based pages ensure a consistent design experience across your website.
  • Ensure each product page features links to your additional services or products.
  • Focus on reducing the effort and resources needed for website expansion and swift scaling.

7. Keeping up with the Trends

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of remote work, virtual meetings became the new norm in workplaces worldwide. 

This led to an increased demand for custom Zoom backgrounds that help employees look more professional (by hiding distracting pets and a messy room). 

But what does this have to do with Canva’s SEO or organic growth?

Well, it has much to do with how Canva responded to this new trend and demand for virtual backgrounds. 

They developed a new design template page dedicated to Zoom backgrounds!


And the page continues to drive a fair amount of traffic and backlinks even today!


Similarly, online whiteboards have been used and discovered by more remote teams worldwide in the last few years. This tool has become an essential asset for virtual teams to collaborate easily, draw mockups, explain information to team members, and plan projects with the help of visual aids.

So, Canva built a landing page showing their wide array of whiteboard templates in 2022. 


Bottomline — Canva was intuitive enough to gauge the shift in consumer behavior and capitalized on current trends to attract significant traffic.

Key Takeaways

  • Keep tabs on trending queries and demographic insights (you can use Google Trends or some other SEO tool for this purpose). 
  • Understand if a trend or search query will perform better globally, locally, or seasonally. 
  • Spot trends within your industry earlier than the competition to boost organic traffic and increase sales.

So, what was the result of planning and executing all these SEO strategies?

The Impact

Canva’s organic traffic has nearly tripled in 2 years, from 9 million in March 2022 to 26 million in March 2024.


All the SEO strategies highlighted above have helped Canva attain an estimated organic traffic value of over $20 million compared to its estimated paid traffic cost, which is around $5.1K.


Additionally, Canva’s revenue hit $1.7 billion in 2023 — an almost six-fold increase from its revenue of $291 million in 2019.

It’s pretty clear that Canva’s SEO strategies paid off pretty well!

Stay Ahead of the SEO Curve with Startup Voyager

Canva is one of the most fascinating SaaS companies to examine from an SEO standpoint. Their SEO team strategically selects keywords and develops content that would align with their target audience’s goals and desired solutions.

Eager to imitate the SEO success of Canva and claim the top position in search results?


Truth be told, the journey to SEO success isn’t a simple one, be it for SaaS, auto, hospitality, or healthcare. 

You need to create content that’s original, well-researched, AND engaging. Content that’s loved by your customers and search engines alike. 

Additionally, you’ll have to monitor your website for any technical issues and frame the next steps for recovery whenever a Google update hits you. 

Not sure how to go about it?

Get in touch with the experts at Startup Voyager. We can help you create a rock-solid SEO strategy that drives higher traffic and conversions.

About the author

Startup Voyager is a content and SEO agency helping startups in North America and Europe acquire customers with organic traffic. Our founders have appeared in top publications like Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Inc, Huffpost, Lifehacker, etc.