SaaS SEO: Actionable Strategy to Grow Your SaaS Business
The business of software-as-a-service (SaaS) is bigger than ever. At the same time, the competition for SaaS companies is growing too.
Then, many SaaS company try to use SEO to take advantage of organic traffic flow. Then, how this works? How to use SEO as part of your SaaS digital marketing strategies?
In this in-depth SaaS SEO guide, we’ll talk about what is SaaS SEO, why it is important for your SaaS business and how to build a SaaS SEO strategies.
Let’s dive in.
What Is SaaS SEO?
SaaS SEO is the process of increasing the organic traffic to your SaaS website by implementing strategies that help you rank on the top of the Google SERPs. Common strategies include in-depth keyword research, running website audit, optimizing on-page SEO, building out high-intent product pages, creating content, and generating backlinks from popular sites.
Well, yes. SaaS SEO is specifically targeted towards helping SaaS companies rank in search engines, but still functions in much the same way as regular SEO for other types of businesses.
However, as there are so many different elements make up an entire SEO strategy, not all of them are equally important for every business. For example, ecommerce SEO put a lot of emphasis on schema.org and ranking category and product pages, while SaaS SEO mainly focus on creating content that connects you with users at the entire span of the buyer’s journey. For this reason, SEO for SaaS is primarily a content-led strategy.
Why SaaS Companies Need a SEO Strategy?
1. SEO Scales SaaS User Acquisition and Growth
Many SaaS companies turn to PPC, social ads, affiliate marketing, etc. to rapidly scale new customer acquisition. However, these companies also realize that the costs in doing so are increasing and that relying solely on paid acquisition can come at a disadvantage.
That’s why they (and you) need to task SaaS SEO into consideration. Obviously, though you also need to invest in SEO, SEO can drive consistent traffic and exponential organic growth. It is a great way to scale your user base and revenue.
2. SEO Brings Higher Conversion Rate
With targeted SEO you’ll drive traffic from prospects who are actively seeking your services and want to find out more about your company. These are the searchers who are more likely to become qualified leads.
3. Your Competitors Are Doing SEO Already
Think about it: your potential users are searching for information or service in Google, and your competitor’s website ranks well in the SERP. I believe that you desperately don’t want it to happen. However, if you don’t invest in SaaS SEO, you are likely to hand over the business to your competitors.
A 10-Step SaaS SEO Strategy in 2022
A complete SEO strategy for a SaaS company requires great planning, process, and reporting. Here, we divide the whole Strategy into 10 steps which will helps you leverage your team’s time and resources and implement SEO best practices & strategies in order for your SaaS company to grow.
Step 1. Set Your Goals and KPIs
Setting goals and KPIs is the most important part of any SEO strategy, SaaS or not.
A huge caveat with SEO is that it sometimes takes a long time to see your campaign results. This is where setting goals and defining KPIs are very helpful. They help you keep your eyes on what matters most. They also help you remain focused even when it may seem as if there’s no movement behind the scenes.
For SaaS companies, a common SEO goal is something like:
To increase monthly revenue by $1 million in 12 months.
The KPIs would be something like:
- Increase organic traffic by 100% in 12 months.
- Improve the product page conversion rate by 20% in first three months.
- 1,000 keywords ranking in positions 1-10 for target keywords
The KPIs you use will largely be dependent on your business goals, and other unique qualities that make up your industry vertical.
Step 2. Define Your Target Market and Customer Personas
The next step towards building a SaaS SEO strategy is to discover your brand’s purpose, target market and customer personas. As with any marketing strategy, you need to have a clear understanding of your business, your target market and precise demographics of your potential customer base before you begin. These insights will be used to generate content and marketing materials, as well as driving your keyword research.
Try to answer following questions:
- What you’re offering as a SaaS company?
- What is your target market?
- Who are your potential customers?
- What does their buyer’s journey look like?
- How does your service solve their problems?
Step 3. Find and Analyze Competitors
To make your SaaS business stand out from your competitors, you must do competitive analysis. You need to identify your competitors and learn what they are doing, and discover why they are able to outrank you.
Your SEO competitive analysis should look at:
- Keyword strategy
- The quality of their content profile
- Content types and marketing strategies
- Backlink profiles
- Site structures and UX design
Ultimately, you need to get a handle on their unique selling propositions (USPs), and to identify the overlapping service areas where they offer services you don’t. This will bring to light areas of opportunity that you can capitalize on.
Step 4. Conduct Keyword Research and Build a Keyword Strategy Tailored for SaaS
Keyword research is one of the most important practices in SEO for SaaS – for both consumer products and B2B segments. They are what your potential users type into Google, after all. By ranking for those search terms, you can connect with your customers.
However, building a meaningful keyword strategy means analyzing not only search volume, but also searcher intent, competition (difficulty) level and stage of the marketing funnel (if you have a buyer’s journey, mapping keywords to each stage can be a huge benefit).
Now, learn how your keyword research process can be designed to find the best terms that perform, rank and convert well in search.
#1. Identify topics and seed keywords
Some of the primary ways we start building a seed keyword list are:
- Product or Service Terms
- Google Related Searches
- Competitor Keywords
#2. Research new keywords
Once you compile a list of topics and seed keywords, you are ready to start building the keyword set to target.
In this step, you can expand your keyword list with keywords research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google keyword Planner.
#3. Prioritize your SaaS SEO keywords and phrases
In this step, your goal is to use available data to figure out which keywords to focus on first. There are many ways to prioritize keywords. In general, you can measure them with these three metrics – buying intent, keyword difficulty, and search volume.
#4. Map keywords
Now that you’ve completed the previous steps, it’s time to finalize the Keyword Research process by mapping keywords out for use on the site. Here 2 main ways to do keyword mapping.
1. Separate your keywords into clusters
Even though your SaaS product is probably laser-focused in a specific niche, chances are it will appeal to a cross-section of businesses across a variety of sectors as well. That’s why it’s a good idea to separate and group your keywords into clusters, using these silos to develop content that will both address the core pain points while appealing to other interested parties as well.
2. Separate keywords with commercial intent from the keywords with informational intent.
When doing keyword research, it’s important to separate the “tire kickers” from the buyer-focused users. Bear in mind that some search terms — while they may be relevant and have a high search volume, they may not represent people who are motivated to buy. Keeping an eye on the search term competition can often be a good indicator.
Step 5. Develop a Content Strategy and Create Better Content Than Your Competitors
Next, we develop a content strategy for SaaS. Content strategy is all about
- How you’re going to organize the content to support SEO
- What pages you will create, and
- Your content production plan
When thinking about content, the channels you should consider include:
- Blog content
- Whitepapers, e-books, guides and educational resources
- Landing and sales pages
- Product copy
- Visual content (e.g., infographics, photos, etc.)
- Video content (e.g., explainer videos, demos, etc.)
- Webinars and slideshares
- Press and media releases
- Social media content
- Text and display ads
Step 6. Improve Technical SEO
Technical SEO audit helps you understand your site’s performance on the whole. You must regularly conduct a technical SEO analysis to ensure everything is optimized as far as technical issues are concerned. Some of the technical issues to evaluate during an audit include:
- Crawler accessibility and site indexability
- Robots.txt file
- XML sitemap
- Site architecture
- Structured data errors
- Broken pages (404 errors)
- Redirect chains
- Low Page Speed and Poor UX
- Core Web Vitals
Step 7. Improve On-Page SEO
Google’s organic search algorithm incorporates many different on-page factors. On-page SEO, coupled with high-quality content, is a solid formula for greater organic search success.
The following are the essential tips to improve On-page SEO:
- Make sure your title tag starts with your keyword
- Wrap your page title into your <h1> tag
- Use <h2>, <h3>tags for your subheadings
- Use your keyword within the first 100 words of your content
- Use synonyms and LSI keywords
- User experience focused content structure
- Optimize meta descriptions
- Optimize images
- Use outbound links
- Use internal links
- Using different content type such as images and videos to help to increase dwell time and decrease bounce rate
- Eliminate keyword cannibalization
- Ensure your spelling, grammar and font type makes sense.
- Use SEO friendly URLs
Step 8. Build a Healthy Backlink Profile
Backlinks are a key metric Google uses to determine a page’s quality, relevance, and authority, and healthy backlinks are essential for your page to rank well.
Previously, we listed 21 best ways to get backlinks for your website. For example:
- You can build links organically by publishing link-worthy content to attract mentions and references.
- You could conduct outreach to promote this content further and win more backlinks.
- You could guest post on other sites and earn links this way.
The best way to gain backlinks? Make your SaaS content as shareable as possible!
Step 9. Optimize Conversion Rate
It’s not enough to get traffic to your website. It makes little sense to make a large investment in SEO if your website isn’t built to sell. That’s why conversion rate optimization (CRO) becomes a key consideration when laying out an SEO strategy.
During this part of the process, you’ll need to analyze critical pages on your website where people make first contact, buy, sign up or ask questions, determining how well the copy, design and overall user experience (UX) are working to transform leads into customers (conversions).
Some CRO best practices include:
- Ensuring your pages are easy to read, with short paragraphs, and avoid using large “wall of text” sections
- You use frequent calls-to-action (CTAs). Providing multiple opportunities to get readers to click to learn more can significantly boost conversions
- Insert keyword-rich headings within the body (using H2, H3, and H4 tags). This both catches the eye and encourages more in-depth reading
- Summarize your text into bullet-point highlights at the top of the page, below an eye-catching headline
- Placing a final CTA at the bottom, demonstrating why the reader should want to know more
- Use A/B test – choose key elements to test against one another based on best practices
Step 10. Track and Analyze Data
The final, and equally important part of SaaS SEO strategy is a system for measuring and tracking results. There are a few elements to measure in a typical SaaS SEO strategy:
- Rankings – The position of your site in Google for a given set of keywords.
- Traffic – The traffic coming to your site from organic channels.
- Conversions – The conversions generated by organic traffic on your site.
Both Ahrefs and SEMrush offer great rank tracking tools. Then, Google Analytics and Google Search Console are ideal for monitoring organic search traffic. Tracking conversions might be more complicated, although you could start by creating relevant Google Analytics goals to monitor conversions from the organic traffic.
SaaS SEO Needs a Complete Strategy
If you want to improve SaaS SEO, these steps are definitely the ones to follow before you go any deeper. As you’ve read, the best SaaS SEO strategies aren’t just keyword-based. With so many angles to consider, not having a strategy that accounts for each of the 10 pillars we’ve outlined will lead to poor performance. Refer back to these basics anytime you want to change or improve something!