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How Slice Turns Local Pizzerias Into a Powerful Network

Free Content

When you think of burgeoning billion-dollar segments in the tech space, there are a lot of things that come to mind: Artificial intelligence (naturally) or developments in cybersecurity. 

But what about pizza?

That wasn’t an error. As it turns out, pizza is a highly profitable market — one that’s worth an estimated $160 billion globally. How does one go about taking over this “pizza technology” segment? Look no further than Slice. 

Founded in 2015 by the son of pizzeria owners, this company wants to give American operators access to the resources that help big players like Dominos and Papa Johns. That means access to technology, data, marketing tools, and more. 

If that sounds too niche to you, don’t tell the investors. Slice has raised $125 million in total funding, operates in all 50 states, and empowers over 19,000 local pizzerias. 

Today we’ll look at how Slice spreads the word about their platform and the secret sauce of data using local SEO and organic marketing.

Taking a Slice Out of the Meal Delivery Market

It’s hard out there for small businesses — restaurants in particular. From pandemics to economic pressure to the slim margins on food sales, it’s not easy to succeed. 

DoorDash, UberEats, Instacart, and other meal deliveries were great for small restaurateurs during the lockdown days, but both customers and operators are getting sick of delivery app fees. 

Instead of combating these major brands across all food segments, Ilir Sela, Slice’s founder and CEO, decided to go after one of the staples. The third generation in a family of pizza operators, he launched Slice to level the playing field for the little guy.

It turns out that the only thing holding local pizzerias back from surpassing franchised rivals like Papa Johns and Domino’s in terms of revenue is digital sales. According to Slice, small shops actually outperform franchises in terms of “offline” sales, but are outsold 20-to-1 online. 

Slice data on small vs franchised pizza shop sales

A strong digital presence makes all the difference. 

Slice not only brings a powerful online ordering platform to the table but also partners with operators to assist with other areas where they may not have expertise, like web design and marketing.  They differentiate themselves from third-party delivery apps by taking a first-party approach. As Sela put it in a 2021 interview, when a Pizza shop partners with Slice, it’s “as if they’ve just hired 1,000 people”.

Under the products drop-down menu on their partner site, you see how the Slice platform helps small businesses grow their footprint in three main ways: 

  1. Digitize the ordering process with custom websites, online ordering, and their Pizzeria POS.
  2. Effective marketing services for online visibility, including review and search listing management on Google, Bing, and Apple Maps. 
  3. Enhance operations with a dedicated Owner’s Portal that provides mobile access to customer data and support. 

They also offer a range of add-on services for everything from branded packaging and supplies to physical advertising and hardware. They even have in-house SEO experts who help optimize each and every Slice partner site for search. 

Clearly, a big part of the Slice value proposition is helping small business owners increase their online visibility and conversion rate. Now let’s look at how this tech brand approaches their own marketing. 

Slice Is Designed to Win the SEO Game

According to SimilarWeb, Slice brings in nearly 4.4 million visitors to their website every month. The vast majority of these visits — 82% — come from mobile devices. This makes sense considering people are constantly on smartphones and increasingly use them for all types of online purchases. 

Visitors reach the Slice website through three main avenues: Direct search (36%), referrals (32%), and organic search (28%). 

Slice drives traffic through direct search, referrals, and organic search

The high organic search numbers are no accident. The Slice business model and platform are designed to help companies improve their online sales — that means increasing SERP visibility for 19,000 Slice Partners across tens of thousands of pizza-related keywords. 

Slice currently ranks for 200,000 keywords, 7,600 of which are top three positions. Nearly 80% of these keywords are non-branded, meaning Slice is building a massive moat around relevant search terms. Not surprisingly, this helps them bring in over 200,000 organic visitors each month. 

Because each of their affiliated restaurants has a Slice page for online ordering, they have a massive network of backlinks — 475,000 across 27,000 different domains. Sure, they may not be the highest quality (small business sites typically aren’t leading the way in terms of quality and search engine optimization), but that’s still a huge signal boost for Slice. 

Looking at the Slice site structure, there are a handful of subfolders driving the lion’s share of search traffic. Unsurprisingly, they’re all consumer-facing: 

  • Restaurants: Menu pages for all 19,000+ Slice restaurant partners
  • Pizza delivery: All the top Slice-affiliated pizza restaurants near the visitor
  • Pizza types: The popular pizza styles available, like New York, Sicilian, vegan, and deep-dish
  • Brands: A list of the top local pizza brands sorted in alphabetical order
  • Dishes: A list of the top non-pizza food items offered by Slice pizzerias

Top subfolders drive over 250,000 monthly visits to

The Slice app itself provides a multi-restaurant ordering platform optimized for local discovery. It promotes re-ordering from a customer’s favorite nearby pizzerias rather than switching between shops. This focus on repeat local business benefits pizzerias’ search rankings.

Creating a Network of Local Sites

As I mentioned earlier, online food sales are all about local SEO. Unless you’re a very nice person ordering food for friends or family across the country, when you’re hungry, you search for food in your immediate area. In other words, you Google something like “pizza near me”. 

It just so happens that Slice ranks for over 10,000 iterations of this keyword, with over 850 of them ranking in a top-3 SERP position. Some of the highest-traffic drivers target the following queries: 

  • papa murphy’s near me (27,000 monthly searches)
  • gluten free pizza near me (25,000 monthly searches)
  • pizza by the slice near me (14,000 monthly searches)
  • deep dish pizza near me (14,000 monthly searches)
  • cheap pizza near me (9,000 monthly searches)
  • new york pizza near me (8,300 monthly searches)

And Slice is doing their best to capture all of these searches. A site operator search of the Slice Life domain reveals over 1.1 million search results for the term “pizza near me”.

Four Google search results for "pizza near me" from

The Slice team even optimizes their main navigation page in the /delivery/near-me/ subfolder with a few hundred words of text under the header “Pizza Near Me”. They use this tactic across many of their category pages. For example, under the list of close restaurants on the /pizza-types/cheap-pizza/ category page,  Slice includes some copy to help optimize for “cheap pizza near me”.

Slice's Pizza Near Me module

Naturally, Slice gets a lot of backlinks from the small businesses they partner with. They may be smaller, low-authority sites, but they still provide a major boost from an SEO perspective. From Saba’s and Fresco’s in New York City to Pizza House in Sacramento, Slice benefits from the aggregate local search traffic of 19,000 small businesses that use their online ordering and website features.

Saba's Pizza site powered by Slice

Plus, part of Slice’s core marketing services is making sure all their pizzerias are optimized for Google My Business listings, which is crucial for local search visibility. This includes providing up-to-date shop info, professional replies to reviews and questions, accurate delivery area information, and consistent Google promotions. A well-optimized GMB listing helps pizzerias rank higher in local search results. 

On the domain rank front, Slice receives massive numbers of backlinks from large online directories and tastemaker sites:

  • = 7,400 backlinks
  •  = 4,000 backlinks
  • = 2,700 backlinks

Another benefit of building out a platform that provides online ordering capabilities to small business? You both win when they get more attention on the web. 

Bringing in Business With a Dedicated Partners Subdomain

I know. Suprise, surprise: A major online delivery app receives a lot of traffic. There are lots of hungry people out there who use their phone or laptop to find a meal. This is great for local pizzerias, but it’s not what brings in the big bucks for Slice. 

To attract and convert pizzeria operators and expand their network of partners, the Slice team needs to demonstrate their value to small business owners who are wary of other digital services. This is where the Slice partners subdomain comes into play. is a collection of 21 landing pages explaining how Slice helps level the playing field for independent operators going up against the “big chains.” Slice uses these pages to expand on the specific features of their offering that help businesses with online ordering, marketing, and operations. It’s essentially a collection of BOFU conversion assets. 

The subdomain earns around 1,600 organic visits every month, with nearly half of this traffic (48%) heading to the partner home page. subdomain organic performance

From a copywriting and user experience perspective, these pages are quite effective. They’re clear, concise, and focus on the core value proposition of Slice: Using technology to capture customer data and unlock better customer experiences and revenue. 

Remember, these are busy small business operators in the restaurant sector — they don’t want to spend a lot of time discovering and analyzing different online ordering software solutions. And they certainly don’t want to spend lots of time with set-up or troubleshooting. 

Here are a few instances of the Slice team using sleek web design and powerful copy to convince pizzeria operators about the importance of embracing digital tools. 

  • Main landing page: Reinforces the idea that Slice connects pizzerias to their customers across multiple digital channels. 

Slice online ordering platform

  • Owner’s Portal: Reiterates that the owners have 24/7 access to their shop, support, and valuable customer data.

Slice Owner's Portal

  • Review management: Explains how Slice acts as a reputation management agency to help pizzerias navigate positive and negative reviews.

Slice Review Management

Now the question is: How does Slice get potential partners — the ones who don’t know about the company yet — to these subfolders? This is where backlinks come into play. 

The subdomain only has 130 referring domains directing traffic to it from other sites, yet it has nearly 73,000 backlinks. And 99% of these are from the main Slice domain. From the looks of it, the Slice team uses two key 301 redirects to move visitors from the consumer-focused online ordering site to the business-focused partners subdomain: 

  • Redirects from the About page link in the footer section to the Why Slice page in the partner subfolder. 
  • Redirects from a “getting started” page under an old /owners/ subfolder to a similar page on the new subdomain.

Unlike subfolders, search engines tend to treat subdomains as distinct websites. So, even though these are essentially internal links from a site management perspective, still get a massive boost in link equity without having to “earn” it the old-fashioned way. It’s a strategy that major SaaS brands use, like Zoho passing link equity to their down-market offering Bigin

This strategy becomes even more powerful when you throw the Slice blog into the mix.   

“A Blog for All Things Pizza”

One of the best ways for a brand to differentiate itself in the age of AI is to invest in a real, editorial-style blog — a place where interested readers can go beyond the introductory topics on a subject and get deeper insights. It’s not an approach that many SaaS brands invest in, but Slice certainly does. 

The company blog is hosted on its own subdomain and is aptly titled The Sauce with the tagline, “All about pizza by people who are all about pizza.”

The Sauce is Slice's blog for all things pizza

The blog has over 400 posts, covering a range of different topics under specific Slice categories:

  • Food for Thought: A mix of thought leadership posts, industry trends data, case studies, and more.
  • Shop Tips: Practical how-to style posts for operators, covering everything from marketing tips to setting up POS systems.
  • Slice Life: Announcements about new hires to the Slice leadership team, recent awards, and other newsworthy events.
  • Local Legends: Case studies and success stories profiling small business owners that are thriving thanks to Slice.
  • What’s New: The latest developments in the Slice platform and service offerings.

The Sauce currently brings in 3,200 monthly visits across 346 pages. This mix of topics is great from a thought-leadership and brand-building perspective, but it also helps Slice rank for more niche, long-tail keywords. 

For example, they have an interesting piece that covers all the different types of Pizza popular in Scandinavia. It’s a fascinating piece if you’re not a pizza purist (Warning: If you’re an anti-pineapple sort of person, there’s talk of putting bananas, curry powder, and peanuts on the same pie). It’s a short piece at just over 500 words long, but it still ranks first for the term “Swedish pizza”. 

Shorter content seems to be a theme of The Sauce. Another leading traffic drive for the blog, an introduction to Pittsburgh-style pizza, sits at around 700 words, while a similar piece about Sicilian vs. Grandma-style pizza is under 500 words. The short word count and relative simplicity of the top posts on The Sauce is more interesting when you take a high-level view of blog performance. 

The Sauce has experienced a steady decline in visits since its height of around 20,000 monthly visits in mid-2021. Slice had added 200 articles over the two years prior to this peak and saw traffic increase around 20x. The number of blog pages has held around 350 since that time, while the average number of monthly visitors has plummeted to 1,600. 

If Slice wants to revamp that blog performance, they can take some notes from another SaaS platform in the restaurant universe — Toast. 

The restaurant POS brand brings in over 250,000 visitors each month through their branded blog On the Line. This subfolder is essentially a scaled-up version of The Sauce, containing nearly 2,600 how-to guides, industry insights, case studies, and thought leadership articles that cover over 20 different categories. They even have 24 pieces dedicated to Pizzerias (check your six, Slice 👀). 

The massive SEO moat that is On the Line helps Toast win at all levels of the marketing funnel. It helps them capture and defend important restaurant keywords like “food truck ideas”, “best shots”, and “dietary restrictions” and establish their authority and suitability as a restaurant partner.  

Slice has the most important ingredient when it comes to building out a valuable digital publication — industry data. The information that Slice collects isn’t just a boon to individual business owners. They can repurpose it to benefit operators everywhere. 

We already see this playing out at a higher level with their annual Slice of the Union Report and Pizza Index, which provide information on consumer behavior and the economics of pizza, respectively. 

Pizza Index stats from the Slice of the Union report

There’s plenty of information in these assets that are interesting and valuable to both the end consumers (literally) and the businesses that Slice partners with. But because these reports live on a distinct domain (, it’s difficult for customers and potential partners to find them. If Slice starts remixing and repurposing some of this data in pieces on The Sauce, they should be able to boost their traffic numbers once again. 

All it takes is some investment in content

Building Out the Slice SEO Moat with an Enterprise Content Engine

Carving out a billion-dollar slice from the rest of the online ordering space has been a very wise move for Sela and the Slice team. The power of their niche focus and symbiotic partnership with their 19,000 customers has helped them build a local SEO behemoth. In particular, by:

  1. Structuring their online order site to win the “near me” SERPs.
  2. Using a dedicated subdomain to attract and convert business partners.
  3. Redirecting visitors from the main domain to the business domain using 73,000 backlinks.

While Slice’s strategy has been effective, there’s room for improvement in their content marketing efforts. The Sauce, their blog, has seen declining traffic despite its potential. To regain momentum, Slice needs to invest further in high-quality, data-driven content that serves both consumers and pizzeria owners.

For insights on developing a robust content strategy, check out our post, Enterprise Content Marketing: The Guide to Building a Plan, and start elevating your content game. 

You’re probably pretty hungry by now. Why don’t you go grab a slice? 

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