Do Inc 5000 Companies Suck at SEO? (New Case Study)

I’m obsessed with SEO, but does your company need it to get into the Inc 5000?

We analyzed every company’s website in the Inc 5000 to find out.

Let’s dive in.

Here’s what we discovered:

  • 89% of websites get less than 10,000 organic search visitors/mo
  • 81% of websites have a Domain Rating (DR) of 50 or less
  • 91% of the websites have than less than 1,000 unique linking root domains

89% of Inc 5000 Companies Get Less Than 10,000 Organic Search Visitors / mo

It’s important to note that traffic is relative.

For example, a B2B company with large transactional values won’t need as much traffic. While a B2C company with low transaction values will need more traffic to grow.

That said, we found that many companies in the Inc 5000 had very little organic traffic.

This is interesting for two reasons.

First, it means that these companies either haven’t prioritized SEO or haven’t gotten results.

Second, it means they’ve been able to achieve growth without SEO. Some of us SEO geeks forget this point.


81% of Inc 5000 companies have a Domain Rating (DR) of 50 or less

There’s a correlation between low DR (according to Ahrefs) and organic search traffic volume.

In most cases, low DR would also result in low organic search traffic.

The opposite is also true as well.

For example:

The top 10 websites with the most organic traffic have an average DR of 83.

The 10 lowest performing websites (from an organic traffic perspective) have a DR of 3.


91% of the Inc 5000 companies have less than 1,000 unique linking root domains

Acquiring relevant, high-quality backlinks on unique domains is critical for SEO performance.

It’s also the key factor for growing website authority (or DR in this case).

For example, the top 10 websites have ~69,250 unique linking root domains on average.

While the bottom 10 websites have less than 1 unique linking root domain on average.

Your company can enter the Inc 5000 without SEO. However, using SEO would likely make your life at lot easier.

Here’s some actions you can take today to start improving SEO performance:

3 Simple SEO Actions for the Inc 5000

Everything I’m about to show you applies to every company 😀

1. Conduct Reverse Keyword Research

Here’s the deal:

Most people focus on informational keywords like “how to do SEO“.

Informational keywords are important, but they’re not a priority.

Instead, you should always prioritize keywords based on the searcher’s sales journey.

For example:

Let’s say I want to sell an SEO training program.

First, I would look for keywords that have direct relevance to my core offer.

An example might be “SEO training austin“.

This keyword has investigative intent and is towards the bottom of the funnel. That means there’s a high likelihood that a percentage of this traffic will convert to leads.

Focus on these mid to bottom-of-the-funnel keywords first.

Second, I would spend all my time trying to dominate these bottom-of-the-funnel keywords. Then once it’s tapped out, I would move up the funnel towards informational keywords.

Some examples in the case of “SEO training” might be SEO strategy, SEO audit, or even anchor text.

You should target keywords at each stage of the sales cycle.

Just make sure you’re doing it in the right order.

2. Perform a Content Audit

Most websites are loaded with pages that have zero traffic (according to Google Analytics), zero impressions/clicks (according to Google Search Console), and zero backlinks (according SEMRush).

We classify these pages as “Poor SEO Performance” when working on campaigns and they are perfect candidates for deletion, redirection, or consolidation.

Going through process will make your website a lean, ranking machine. Or from a more geeky perspective, it will help improve crawling and indexing (both of which are necessary for ranking).

3. Optimize Existing Pages First

Most websites are sitting on a goldmine of opportunity. But instead, most companies resort to creating new SEO content. Big mistake. You should optimize the pages that are already doing well.

We call these “low-hanging fruits”. A low-hanging fruit is any keyword that’s ranking between positions #2 – #15.

These should always be the priority at the beginning of the campaign because they’ll produce the biggest traffic gains with the least amount of work.

Good news:

SEMRush makes it easy to find low-hanging fruits.

1. Go to “Organic Research” and click on “Positions”:

2. Click the “Positions” dropdown and enter 2 – 15 in the “Custom Range”.

3. Now you’ll have a nice list of low-hanging fruits to attack:

You might be wondering how?

Three proven methods are to optimize the pages for organic CTR, perform on-page SEO, leverage internal authority (through internal linking), or acquire more backlinks.

Watch this to improve your on-page SEO:

Next Steps

First, take action on the tips above. Second, if you need SEO help, book a call or check out our SEO training program.

Thanks for reading!
– Gotch

P.S. You can find the data we collected here.