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How Dukaan Earned 1M+ Backlinks & Millions of Users in 3 Years

Free Content

You’ll love this case study if you are looking to increase your domain authority, drive more traffic to your site, and convert visitors to freemium and paying customers. 

I’ll show you how Dukaan achieved a domain authority score of 77, acquired over 1 million backlinks, converted millions of users, and attracted $17 million in funding, all in three years.

Let’s go 🚀🚀🚀

How Dukaan Grew From Zero to Over a Million Users in 3 Years

Every month, around 34,000 Indians search for “Dukaan”. 

Although this is a relatively small search volume compared to established brands like Shopify, Amazon, and Flipkart, it’s a decent number for a brand that started only three years ago.

Dukaan is a rising star worth studying. 

Two entrepreneurs, Suumit Shah and Subhash Choudhary, founded the ecommerce platform in May 2020 to help small businesses in India sell their products online. 

The duo observed that many small businesses were struggling to sell online during the lockdown, and giants like Amazon and Shopify weren’t catering to their needs. So, in 48 hours, they created an app these retailers and merchants could install on their phones in seconds and start selling their products online via WhatsApp. 

Dukaan app

The result was impressive: within just 20 days of launching the Android app, over 150,000 entrepreneurs from 400 cities in India jumped on board to launch their stores. 

Currently, Dukaan has 5 million+ downloads of its mobile app on Google Play Store, with millions of customers selling products via WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Did I mention Dukaan is expanding globally to take on Shopify? Apparently, its remarkable success in India in just three years has given the brand the confidence to take on the world. 😉

So, how did Dukaan manage to gain market share in India, where giants like Flipkart, Amazon, and Shopify already dominate? The platform used two key strategies: a mobile-first approach and an effective SEO strategy. 

Let’s explore each strategy in detail.

Leveraging India’s Browsing Behavior with a Mobile-First Strategy

A mobile-first strategy means creating a website and app with mobile devices as the primary focus. This approach is crucial for ecommerce sites like Dukaan and Shopify in markets like India, as the majority of web users access the internet through a mobile phone. 

Similarweb estimates 79% of Indian internet users use their mobile devices to search for solutions each month, while only 20% use desktops.

India's monthly traffic sharing

From the get-go, Dukaan designed its platform specifically for mobile users—its co-founders launched a mobile app first before rolling out its website three months after launch.

Dukaan's first website version

Dukaan’s website design and user interface are optimized for smaller screens and mobile devices. The site displays information in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the user.

Interfaces with too many elements and options can be confusing and difficult to use on mobile devices because of their smaller screens. 

As a result, Dukaan uses a simple layout, fewer useful features, easy-to-tap buttons, and menus that are easy to navigate using touchscreen gestures, making it easy for users to navigate and find what they need faster.

Dukaan dashboard

Dukaan also uses large and legible font sizes, so users can read product descriptions and other content on smaller screens. 

Small text sizes are difficult to read on mobile devices, which can frustrate readers as they try to understand your product descriptions and content, and they eventually bounce off your site without taking the desired action.

There’s also minimal use of pop-ups and banners on the site, so they don’t interfere with the user’s experience. Plus, simple navigation with intuitive icons and gestures that make it easy for users to find what they want.

Another thing that stands out most is the fast time to value Dukaan offers users during signup/onboarding. 

When new users try to sign up for Dukaan, they only have to click the free trial button, sign up via their preferred social channel, enter a business name, and hit the “Finish” button. The process really does take less than a minute, depending on the speed of your internet connection. 

Dukaan Signup complete page

For Shopify, it’s a slightly different case. 

After clicking the button, you have to answer some questions before entering your email, business name, and location before accessing the main dashboard. It takes a little longer to complete the process than it would with Dukaan. 

Shopify signup page

The main benefit of Dukaan’s straightforward approach is that users can quickly access the platform to set up and start selling. 

However, Shopify’s onboarding approach is great for two reasons: 

1) It asks users a short, clear, and concise series of multi-choice questions to help it understand them better, so they enjoy a more personalized experience. 

2) Users can choose whether or not they want to answer the questions, skip a certain part, or skip all the questions to start using the platform right away. These help Shopify understand users’ preferences and give them a more tailored experience.

Dukaan might want to take a page out of Shopify’s playbook to learn more about users from the onboarding process and optimize their experience. 

Overall, Dukaan’s mobile-first experience contributes to its rapid growth. The result is 5 million+ downloads of its mobile app on Google Play Store, with millions of customers selling products on the platform via WhatsApp and other social media platforms. 

Dukaan’s SEO Strategy

Dukaan has two major traffic drivers out of all its marketing channels: organic and direct. 

Dukaan top marketing channels

For ecommerce brands, direct marketing channels mean selling products through their website or mobile app, providing more control over their customers’ experience and boost conversions. 

Like Shopify, Dukaan enables its users to drive direct traffic to its own ecommerce stores; this strategy directly aligns with the ecommerce platform’s market positioning: helping owners create their own ecommerce stores. 

Through this approach, Dukaan has helped over 380,000 businesses establish their unique identities and build customer relationships, resulting in increased sales and growth for both Dukaan and its users. In 2022 alone, there were over 84 million visits to these storefronts, and the combined unique customer base for all customers is over 16 million shoppers.

Organic search is another important factor in Dukaan’s success, contributing to more than half of its total organic traffic. Here is what Dukann’s search scorecard looks like:

Dukaan Search Scorecard

Let’s see what makes Dukaan’s organic search strategy effective.

How Dukaan Drives Over A Million Backlinks

Backlinks are important for SEO—they signal to search engines that your content is valuable and trustworthy. This increases your site’s domain rating score, and improves your organic rankings, as search engines prioritize sites with quality backlinks from authoritative sources. 

Dukaan has earned backlinks from high-authority sites such as,, and These sites link to two main types of content on Dukaan’s site: free tools and top-of-the-funnel pieces from its blog.

Dukaan's top pages by links

Free Tools 

Free tools are incredibly helpful for an ecommerce brand’s organic marketing strategy. 

First, they give your brand a competitive edge. When people see they can perform certain tasks faster without wasting any time racking their brains for a solution, they will likely choose you over competitors who don’t offer this convenience. That means more traffic, more backlinks, and higher rankings in the search results pages. 

Dukaan has a suite of free tools that drives 10,000 monthly organic sessions. 

Dukaan Free Tools

As people discover these tools and find them useful, they share them with their own audience or link to them from their website, which earns Dukaan backlinks, more visibility, and traffic.

For example, Dukaan’s product description generator has earned almost 100 backlinks from sites like and 

Dukaan Product Description Generator

Writing product descriptions can be time-consuming, and the free tool helps users brainstorm different product descriptions, so they don’t have to waste time dealing with writer’s block. As a result, the tool drives over 4000 sessions every month. 

That’s what happens when you offer useful tools that help customers perform a task better and faster—you make your brand more memorable, generate more leads and backlinks, and eventually drive conversions. 

If you’re looking to build backlinks from authoritative sources using free tools, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Identify authoritative sources in your niche. Use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find websites and blogs that have high domain authority and receive a lot of traffic.
  2. Create a free tool that solves a problem for your target audience. Make sure your tool is unique, useful, and easy to use. If you are confused about which to build and add to your marketing mix, read this article to see 12 examples of free tools to inspire yours.
  3. Promote your free tool through your website, blog, email newsletter, and social media accounts. Consider reaching out to influencers, bloggers, and journalists in your niche and offering them a demo or personalized version of your tool.
  4. Offer guest posts and collaborations with authoritative sources in your niche. Make sure your content adds value to their audience and include links back to your tool in your author bio or within the content itself.
  5. Participate in industry forums and communities related to your niche. Share your tool with the community and provide helpful insights and advice. This can help establish your as an expert and build relationships with other authoritative sources.

Now let’s see how Dukaan uses top-of-the-funnel pieces. 

Top-of-The-Funnel Pieces

Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) pieces, such as blog posts, infographics, and videos, are often informative, educational, or entertaining, and provide value to the audience.

So, when people find a TOFU piece useful, they are more likely to share it through social media, email, or other channels, potentially leading to more backlinks.

For example, this blog on “35+ best business in India—most profitable ideas of 2022” drives 1,500 monthly sessions. Four elements make this article valuable and linkable:

1. A solid hook that speaks directly to the reader

When a reader finds a hook relevant to their interests, useful, and actionable, they are more likely to continue reading the post and share it with others. The introduction in Dukaan’s business ideas blog is a good example: 

Dukaan's 35+ best business in India most profitable ideas of 2022 blog post

The hook promises people looking to start a business a list of profitable ideas to choose from.

A solid hook should be attention-grabbing, relevant, and compelling. That’s what entices readers to read more, which will help boost your search engine rankings.

The key to creating compelling hooks is to know your target audience’s demography, psychography, pain points, and interests. That’s how you speak to them directly. 

You can use numbers or statistics to provide concrete evidence and pique the reader’s curiosity. Or ask a question to make them think about the topic you are writing about. Or call out their goals or challenges directly. 

2. A table of contents with active jump links

A table of contents (TOC) is a good element that benefits you in terms of SEO and the reader in terms of their experience. 

Search engines prioritize well-organized and easy-to-navigate content. So, you make it easier for search engines to understand the structure and hierarchy of your content when you add a table of contents to your blog posts, which helps to improve your search rankings.

The reader also navigates different sections of your article easier and can find and read relevant information quickly. This can keep readers longer on your site and increase their likelihood of sharing the post with others and linking back to it.

Dukaan’s blog post includes a table of contents, and we can see these benefits play out:

Dukaan's table of content style

So, how should you add a table of contents to your blog post?

Create an outline that includes the main sections and subsections you plan to cover before you start writing your draft. That way, it’s easy to create a table of contents later.

Next, when you start writing your post, use heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure your content. They help organize your content and tell search engines what it is about.

Once you’ve finished writing your post, create a table of contents that lists your content’s main sections and subsections. You can either create a simple list of links or use a plugin that automatically generates a table of contents based on your headings.

Then place the table of contents at the top of your post, above the fold, so readers can easily find it. Make sure to style the table of contents in a way that is visually appealing and matches your brand’s aesthetic. Then update as you make changes to your piece to reflect any new sections or subsections you’ve added.

3. Embedded relevant YouTube videos

Videos make your content more interactive and interesting. So, incorporating them into your blog posts provides additional context, examples, or entertainment value to your readers.

Also, visitors who watch a video tend to stay on your page longer, and a long dwell time often signals to search engines that your content is high quality and relevant, which boosts your position on the results page. 

Dukaan embeds related YouTube videos throughout the blog post:

embedded video for Dukaan's blog post

The embedded video has 20K views, some of which I’m positive came from the page visitors clicking to watch instead of reading.  

Videos enhance your blog post’s user experience, as they are an alternative format for consuming information. Some visitors may prefer to watch a video rather than read a lengthy article, so including both formats lets you cater to a wider range of learning styles.

So how should you apply this strategy?

I. Determine the purpose of the YouTube video you want to embed.

Is it meant to provide additional product information or demonstrate how to use a product? Or is it meant to provide entertainment value related to your industry or niche? Once you determine the purpose, you can find relevant videos to embed.

II. Choose relevant videos that align with your content and purpose.

You can search for relevant keywords or browse popular videos in your niche. When selecting videos, make sure that they are high-quality, relevant, and in alignment with your brand’s messaging.

III. Embed the videos directly into your post.

Use the YouTube’s embed code feature and ensure you place the video in a strategic location within your post, such as after an introduction or within a specific section of your content.

IV. Optimize the video for search.

Include relevant keywords in the video title, description, and tags. This will help search engines understand the content of your video and improve its visibility in search results.

V. Monitor performance.

Track engagement metrics such as views, likes, and comments, and use this data to refine your strategy and select more relevant videos for future posts.

4. Linked Recommended Reads 

Linking to recommended reads help improve your blog post users’ experience by providing readers with additional information or resources related to the topic. 

This improves the reader’s understanding of the topic and provides them with a more comprehensive view of the subject matter.

Dukaan uses “further reading” to link to related posts the reader would find helpful:

Dukaan adds linked recommended reads to its blog posts

Then, the team uses another different strategy at the end of the article:

Dukaan's grid style internal links

I find this internal linking style insightful because it’s different from the list-like roundup style or the traditional recommended- or further-reading style. 

Another plus is the way Dukaan sorted the links according to cities. That means those who want more city-specific advice instead of generic country advice can click to get that value. This is certainly an effective way of getting users more engaged, improving their experience, and increasing their brand awareness. 

Create Assets People Will Want To Link Back To

Link-worthy assets involve creating valuable and informative content for your target audience. To achieve this, you should consider creating:

  • In-depth how-to guides that solve common problems or teach new skills. This type of content is often shared and linked to by other websites.
  • Interactive tools such as calculators, quizzes, or surveys that provide value to your target audience. 
  • Original research on a topic related to your niche, which you use to create a detailed report.
  • Case studies highlighting your success stories 

Most of all, keep your audience at the center of your creation process. Understand their needs and the kind of assets they’ll find valuable before creating. Do it right, you’ll have a solid SEO moat, a high domain authority score, and more conversions, as Dukaan did.

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