Value of Marketing Pages

A customer recently asked me:

I'm curious about Sentry's "growth hacks", can I ask you about the strategy behind these pages?

I saw this "for node", "for ruby" as a great SEO strategy and started mimicking it on my other project

Has it been an effective SEO strategy for you? Or was it not intended for SEO?

My reply ended up being more in-depth than I intended, but I thought it interesting enough to post here.

Short answer: no and no

Long answer: The platform pages are a fraction of our “landing page” traffic. We’ve mostly used them as destinations for SEM, so the marketing team is able to experiment with content without affecting docs. Our /pricing and /features pages are much more important in comparison.

Sentry isn’t a great model for most other companies. Uniquely, we have a massive open source community (when I started, the “known” OSS community was at least 10x our hosted platform in size) that has used us for years, so almost every new signup I’ve spoken to (which is hundreds) has used us before, found us via framework docs, or has a friend/colleague that recommended us. The only time that wasn’t true was when I was doing event marketing and deliberating sponsored communities and events we had been weak in. Consequently, most people coming to Sentry already know we support their language. In addition to that, our audience (like yours) is developers. So, unsurprisingly, our docs are often the first destination, even if they’re not first on google.

It doesn’t particularly matter though. It took me less than a week to put those pages together and they served for years without need for maintenance. I assume that’s the same reasoning you had when putting them together for you project. And as our company grows, we’ll be expanding our appeal beyond developers and word-of-mouth, so we’ll have to lean on pages that explain the Why and not just the How. This will especially be important for larger contracts where it’s not just a longtime fan putting us on their company card and the company’s procurement process kicks in. Given your product and your pricing, I’d assume you’re not at that phase, so you’ll hit diminishing returns quickly.

Of course, take all this with a grain of salt. The only way to really know is to track it. Find out of visitors to that page are actually signing up at higher rates and if those signups are actually using the product and if those actives are actually converting. Everything else is old men like me spouting bullshit.