Search engine optimization is one of the most significant sources to attract users for many companies, especially in Saas businesses. It can bring up to 60% of the organic traffic to a website. It means there’s plenty of room for a SaaS business to rank at the top of the search results if a company invests in SEO and content marketing as a tactic to boost traffic. But why is SEO for a SaaS business different from SEO for other business models, and what aspect should be considered?
SaaS and SEO strategy
To fully understand how the SEO strategy for a SaaS business model differs from others, let’s take a look at what SaaS is.
Software as a service (SaaS) is a business model in which customers pay to use software that is hosted on a remote computer. Also, SaaS companies are so unique because they are based on a product that is not material and can be used unlimitedly. The products can be modified, updated, improved by developers and the company to meet the needs of a variety of cases and industries. Additional features can be added to the main product or service to target new markets or audiences. Although the SaaS market is crowded these days, the right SEO strategy can help stand out a lot.
Starting a SaaS SEO Campaign
To reach better results of your SEO improvements, I would recommend following the modules provided below step-by-step. It would also help to consider that the way consumers search for SaaS products can be different than traditional software or other solutions. People are looking for solutions! Thus, some aspects such as keyword research, clusterization, content strategy, platforms for link-building should be improved considering it.
Here’s what you can implement to improve the performance of your existing SaaS SEO campaign:
Module 1. Define Your Target Market
It’s essential to know the market you want to target: who your potential customers are, what they are looking for, and how you can solve their problems. Defining your target audience helps to ensure that you will not miss out on any opportunities during keyword research and market exploration.
At this point, you can perform an SEO competitor analysis. Note that if your site is not in the first positions in search results, your organic competitors can be sites with higher SEO traffic. Thus, you have to take a look at both: your current organic competitors and sites that perform the best in your industry or niche. You can also use a tool like SEMrush to find your competitors.
Choose ten competitors and do benchmark analysis. After you have created a list, analyze their website structure, traffic, and organic keywords. This will save a lot of your time in the future.
Module 2. KeyWord Analysis
Keyword research for SaaS companies boils down to finding the keywords that people use to search for SaaS products or solutions in Google and other search engines. It is important to understand a user’s intent while searching for the solution, and it can be one of the most important aspects of your keyword research and building a strategy. In general, you should aim for two things while doing keyword research:
- Keywords that are relevant for both your SaaS business and your audience;
- Keywords with high enough search volume (will vary depending on your industry’s size, etc.).
You can also use a tool like SEMrush to find the organic keywords of your competitors, as well as check the keyword you currently rank and note them to track results later (we will talk more about SEO measurement later).
Module 3. Clusterization
It is important to use the topic clusters approach, where a more in-depth, longer “pillar” page is targeting the main keywords, and other, shorter content pieces are covering related keywords. All these pages are linked to the main page. You can divide your pages this way:
- Product category – basic keywords
- Solution/industry – more specific searches that identify the buyer’s persona or industry.
- Features – specific features that the user is looking for in a solution.
- Integrations – how the software integrates with other tools.
- Implementations – specific use cases that the user is researching.
Clusterization helps your pages not to compete with each other and to bring the right user to the correct page. If you can reach people who are already searching for solutions, you increase the possibility that these people will make a conversion or a purchase.
Module 4. Technical Structure and Optimization
The next module covers technical SEO optimization, as it plays a vital role in your site’s ranking. This is indeed a huge layer of work, as technical factors not only influence user engagement but also have some impact on the way your site is crawled, indexed, and how quickly it can rank. The fewer resources and time Google has to spend crawling and indexing a site, the faster it is likely to rank.
The technical structure of your site includes factors such as how quickly pages load, which can also be an important consideration when it comes to user engagement. Google also looks at how well your site’s link architecture is constructed and the amount of HTTP status errors present (404s, 500s, 30Xs, etc.). These are discovered when Google crawls your site, as well as any configurations to robots.txt, sitemap.xml files, or the way your site handles CSS and Java-script files.
So, follow this check-list to improve your technical SEO:
- Check your siremap.xml, robots.txt files.
- Improve site speed: Since you’re promoting a technology-based product, the least your audience expects is a fast website! Besides which, page speed is a direct ranking factor. One of the popular and helpful tools is PageSpeed Insights to discover elements that are affecting your site’s speed and get actionable tips to improve it.
- Make your site mobile-friendly: Mobile traffic accounts for more than half of web traffic globally. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check the mobile-friendliness of your website.
- Fix broken links: When it comes to technical SEO, broken links can be one of your biggest enemies. Many SaaS companies have a lot of dead pages on their website. Screaming Frog can help you to make broken links audit. If you have recently removed a page from your site, make sure you create a 301 redirect that automatically redirects your visitors to the new content.
Module 5. Optimize Your On-Site Content
Your site content also plays a big role for your SEO strategy. Your site audit will show you where you need to work on your on-site optimization. The tips below will ensure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck:
- On-page structure. Check that all your pages have correct heading stricture (h1-h7), SEO title and meta description. Use your target keywords in your meta description, but make them as appealing as possible, since they’re generally what’s displayed below your page’s title in the search results. Make sure your target keyword is included in key page areas, like your headings, body copy, and image ALT tags.
- Link to 2-3 internal site pages in every piece of content you create. This will help both visitors and the search engines’ indexing tools find their way around more easily.
- Link out to reputable resources. Links to external authorities make your content appear more authoritative and they help your site be associated with “better neighborhood” sites – this is what you need for your SEO performance).
Module 6. Content
First, fulfill your site with content that solves the problems of your users that can be solved using your product. When the users are aware that they have a problem or the need to make processes more efficient, they will go to search for it. Thus, this is an opportunity to introduce your product to users. The second phase of the funnel for users is that they understand solutions to their problem exist, and they’re now in the process of establishing which may be the best route to go down. This is where content such as case studies, e-books, integrations, and how solutions can be applied to certain verticals can make a difference. E-book is an exceedingly valuable source to lead a user to conversion.
In addition, start with shorter blog posts built around target keywords on your list rather than diving into long-read articles. It is recommended to wait 3-6 months to see what gets traction, and then expand successful pieces into larger resources.
Module 7. User experience and Behaviour
User experience metrics are now important ranking signals. With the A.I.-based algorithm, Google can recognize whether a search result is relevant for the users. For example, a top-ranking content that is not getting a high enough click-through rate (CTR) will be deemed irrelevant.
There are three main user experience metrics to focus on:
- Click-through Rate (CTR): how many people are clicking on your link when it appears in the search results.
- Bounce Rate: the number of people who immediately exit your site after just a few seconds. This will be perceived by Google that your site is not relevant to the search query
- Avg. Session Duration: average time users spend on your pages.
Module 8. Link-building
One essential aspect of your SEO is link-building. As a SaaS company, you can take advantage of broken link building, guest contributions and round-up or link resource lists like every other company, but you also have a couple of special opportunities others don’t:
- Directory listings. First, list your product on SaaS directories like G2 and Capterra. Being featured on ProductHunt and similar sites can help as well.
- Integrations listings. If you’ve built any integrations make sure your company info is listed and a backlink to your site is included.
- Co-marketing. There are plenty of ways to do this, but one is to figure out what other non-competitive businesses are already reaching your target customers, and see if there’s an opportunity to exchange promotions. If all goes well, you may want to explore a deeper relationship by developing future resources or helpful articles together.
These 8 modules will help to improve your SEO step-by-step. In addition, remember to convert you visitors to users.
As it was stated in the beginning, the SaaS market is crowded these days, and all the competitors compete to attract, nurture, and convert leads to users. So, while you attract users to your website remember the conversion. So, make sure that your users will be led to conversion at your site. This also affects the time that users spend on your site, as well as there is a high opportunity that users will come back to your site. There are some of examples to the success of your SaaS business:
- Requesting a demo
- Contacting sales
- Downloading an ebook or guide
- Downloading your app
- Signing up for a Free Trial
- Registering for an account
Tracking Your SaaS SEO Success (KPIs)
Conduct a Site Audit before you start your SEO optimization, as you can’t fix things if you don’t know what’s wrong. Data-driven improvement comes naturally to most SaaS founders, so the idea of identifying target key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure on an ongoing basis makes sense. Here are a few you’ll want to pay attention to – organic rankings, organic traffic volume, backlinks, the value of traffic, amount of keywords, and more.
A few important SEO metrics for SaaS success are:
- Year-over-Year Traffic and Users. Once you’ve been doing your SEO for more than 12 months, start measuring YoY traffic. Tools like Google Analytics can help you track traffic easily.
- Revenue/Signups from Organic Traffic. You’re doing SEO to boost your SaaS business’s revenue.
- Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate. The lead-to-conversion rate helps you figure out how many new organic visitors, email subscribers and free trial users are converting into paying customers.
- Customer Lifetime Value. Calculating LTV will help you figure out how much you are spending on SEO to acquire new customers. If you don’t know customers’ lifetime value, then you will have no idea if your SEO strategy is profitable or not.
During the implementation of your SaaS SEO strategy, you or your SEO specialist will track these things for you so you can see when you start getting traffic, leads, and revenue.
Search engine optimization is essential for every SaaS company, as it attracts organic traffic to the site. Moreover, SEO helps to attract good traffic to your website, spread the word about your brand or product, and reduce your dependency on paid ads. When executed correctly, SaaS SEO influences more people to buy your product or sign up for your service.
If you have any more tips or advice you think our other readers should know about, please add them as a comment to this post. We are looking forward to hearing from you.