When you conduct SaaS keyword research well, you can increase your chances of converting your visitors into customers.
Before you begin publishing quality content or implementing a SaaS link building strategy, you need to know the user intent behind queries, competitive terms and where the volume is.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to find the right keywords, mistakes you should avoid and more.
Keyword Research Mistakes SaaS Companies Should Avoid
The biggest mistakes I usually see SaaS companies make include:
Not Reviewing the Existing Data
Some businesses tend to focus their SaaS keyword research on things like competitor keywords and SERP statistics.
However, if you don’t review the current data you have, you’re missing the opportunity to see the keywords that are getting impressions and clicks (which you can optimize) and those that are not so that you stop wasting your time on them.
Your current data includes:
- Your site’s Internal Search Data: Found in the CMS (Content Management System) you use such as WordPress.
- Organic Keyword Data: Found via Google Search Console.
- Existing Customer Data: Found in your help desk software and CRM.
- Paid Search Data (PPC): Found via Google Analytics or Ads.
Not Analyzing Your Competitors
There’s so much you can learn from the keywords your competitors are optimizing for their landing pages and web pages, and targeting in their SEO strategy, as well as their PPC campaigns.
If you don’t analyze your competitor’s keywords, you may not know what’s working for them, which may be potential opportunities for you.
It’s crucial to analyze the keywords they’re targeting and those they aren’t going after.
Assuming Keywords With High Search Volume Are Good
It’s tempting to choose keywords with high monthly search volumes thinking that they’re better. Most businesses usually think that a high search volume can increase their traffic.
However, high volume keywords are difficult to rank for and more competitive. Here’s an example for the keyword “CRM software”.
As you can see, this keyword has a search volume of 27,100/mo with a keyword difficulty (KD) of 75.
Besides, more traffic doesn’t equal more revenue. Usually, search phrases with a buying intent have lower search volume.
Let’s take a look at how easy it is to rank for the keyword “CRM software for construction companies”.
This keyword receives 30 searches/mo and has a keyword difficulty of 31. Such phrases can result in higher conversion rates and are more aligned with your goal of generating revenue.
Ignoring High Intent Phrases With Low Search Volume
Some SaaS companies avoid keywords that are relevant to their business just because they have a low search volume.
Sometimes ranking for keywords with a monthly search volume of 90 can be more profitable than keywords with a monthly search volume of 2,400.
For example, if you’re a SaaS company that sells contract management software, you might think targeting the keyword “contract management software” is more profitable.
However, ranking for that keyword is not easy because it has a higher level of keyword difficulty as shown below.
You’re likely to enjoy higher conversion rates when you are more specific. For instance, if you target “contract management software for small business”, these are the results you’ll get:
By putting the modifier “for small business” at the end of the keyword, you can attract customers that are looking for the software you’re offering instead of attracting everyone on the market.
Below is my SaaS keyword research process that’s designed to avoid the above mistakes.
A 5 Step Keyword Research Process for SaaS Companies
Before conducting SaaS keyword research for clients, I usually assess their current internal data (their organic keyword, CMS, customer and PPC data).
Once I’ve analyzed the existing data sources, I use SEO tools to identify which of the keywords I’ve collected are the most profitable based on intent, competition and search volume.
From there, I evaluate external sources of data including SaaS review sites, Google auto-suggest data and competitor keywords.
Learn From Customer Support and Sales Team
To get valuable insights as you begin your SaaS keyword research, talk to your customer support and sales team to take you through the different tags and support tickets they use to categorize issues that arise.
This will help you identify questions, pain points and problems your customers have.
Note down the questions that keep coming up and use a keyword tool to look up these phrases to see the related search terms and search volume.
Evaluate Your Current CMS, Paid and Organic Search Data
In this step, you need to identify the keywords that are already working for you, those that aren’t and what people are searching for on your website. I usually begin this process by looking at:
CMS Search Data
If your website has a search bar, use it to discover the phrases your potential customers are typing into it. The phrases can help you identify what your prospects are looking for when they’re on your site.
If certain queries are typed repeatedly, add them to your keyword research list. If you haven’t published content that’s addressing those queries, create it.
Paid Search Data
To find your paid search data, go to platforms such as Google Ads. Note that your PPC data is as important as your organic keyword data because both paid search ads and SEO require target keywords.
So, you’ll have to check the keywords that are driving traffic for you and those that aren’t, Also, pay attention to:
- Keywords with potential opportunities
- Keywords that have converted into revenue
- Keywords that are performing poorly
To know the keywords your ads are showing up for and finding new ideas for phrases to target or avoid, use Google’s Search Terms Report.
Organic Search Data
You can use Google Search Console, which is a free tool to identify the keywords you’re getting clicks and organic impressions for. This data enables you to:
- Optimizing content for phrases you’re getting impressions to start receiving actual traffic.
- Prioritize keywords that are getting you organic traffic.
- Identify relevant keywords you may not have realized are profitable to you.
Use a Keyword Tool to Assess Your Keywords
This step involves taking the keywords you discovered and typing them in a keyword research tool such as Semrush. Be sure to check their keyword difficulty and monthly search volume.
For instance, here’s the monthly search volume and keyword difficulty for the keyword “digital marketing conversion tools”.
I like searching for long-tail keywords and those with high intent like the ones in the above examples because they show the searcher knows they have a problem and they want to solve it.
With this information, you can pick the phrases to prioritize and exclude those that aren’t a good fit.
Once you have assessed all your current keyword data sources and used a keyword tool to choose valuable keywords, start analyzing external data sources.
Conduct a Competitive Keyword Analysis
With tools like Semrush and Ubersuggest, conducting a competitive analysis to identify keyword opportunities is easier. Although it might seem intimidating at first, using keyword research tools is straightforward.
In your competitor research, you should check both PPC and organic keyword data for each competitor website to find keyword gaps. Keyword gaps are phrases your competitors are bidding on or ranking for and you’re not.
Let’s check this website’s (contractswise.com) competitors using Ubersuggest.
Here are the keyword gaps for each competitor.
So, how can you use competitor analysis for keyword research?
Take the phrase “construction scheduling software” and type it into Google.
You’ll find several websites.
Let’s pick softwareadvice.com.
When I type the website into Ubersuggest, I see they’re doing well with SEO.
Their keyword report contains potential keywords both transactional and informational as shown below.
Through this process, you can continue adding newly discovered keywords to your spreadsheet and then proceed to the last step.
Analyze SaaS Reviews Data and Google Auto Suggest
This step will help you discover new keywords that didn’t show up in the above steps while researching.
The two main sources I check for my SaaS clients are user reviews on common SaaS review sites and Google auto-suggest.
User Reviews on GetApp, Capterra and G2
Reading comments on reviews sites helps you see how your potential customers are describing their problems. It’s worth checking your reviews and those of your competitors.
The process involves checking the review titles plus content and paying attention to anything related to their use cases and pain points as shown below.
You can then type variations of those comments and questions into your keyword research tool to see if you can choose them as your target keywords.
Check Google Auto-Suggest Data
Google auto-suggest pulls in low volume keywords that are usually longer-tail queries you may have not discovered. Below is an example.
Since Google is presenting these phrases to you as suggestions, it means people are searching for them. To use auto-suggest, take valuable keywords and type them into Google.
As you’re typing, pay attention to what Google is suggesting.
When you identify relevant phrases, type them into your keyword research tool to check their monthly search volume and keyword difficulty as illustrated below.
Organize Your Keywords Into Content Clusters
To make good use of the keywords you discovered during your research, group them into topic clusters to give you an understanding of the opportunities you have at different stages of your sales funnel.
For instance, if you have 200 keywords, maybe only 30 will be BOFU (bottom of the funnel) keywords. These are phrases showing high purchase intent.
These are the keywords you should focus on first since they’re tied to revenue. Below are some of the categories I use to group keywords.
Note that transactional and commercial phrases present bottom of the funnel keywords while informational and navigational phrases represent top or middle of the funnel keywords.
This is one way of grouping your keywords. However, based on your goals, you may also group keywords depending on the content types you want to create or where you want to optimize them on your website.
For example, your sales page or home page.
Brainstorm Your Product
This step helps you identify commercial phrases. It only requires answering a few simple questions. For example:
- What do you say when someone asks you about the value your app delivers or the advantages of using your product?
- How can people use your product? What can they accomplish with it?
- How can you describe it to others?
- What does the product do?
What To Do After Identifying Informational Phrases
Once you have identified informational phrases (solution terms), the next step is to update your current product pages or create new ones. Here’s an example of a good product page.
Ensure your page is optimized for that solution term and include imagery, copy and testimonials so that the page drives traffic and signups. After creating your page, build internal and external links for it so that it ranks.
Check your site and other product pages and link to the page where it makes sense.
For instance, if your product page mentions the word “contract management software” then link to the contract management software page.
Since solution-focused product pages rarely attract links, the best way to get backlinks is to guest post on other sites.
This is because unlike a free tool or an informative blog post, they’re not adding value to attract lots of links naturally.
Although guest posting is resource-intensive and time-consuming, the links obtained can help your page rank over time.
What About Integration Phrases?
Integration phrases are those terms showing the user is searching for a solution and wants to integrate it with another product.
So, if your product has numerous integrations, this can help you attract search traffic, especially if those integrations have large search volumes.
Here’s how to approach it.
Identify the Best Phrases to Target
Ideally, you should target something like “[solution term] for [integration name]”. For instance, it might be “Proposal Software for Salesforce”. The key is to select the right solution phrase.
For example, “Email Newsletter Software” can also be called “Email Marketing Software”. So, find out the best term for your product.
Create Dedicated Integration Product Pages
Although you may have some integration pages on your website, these usually target current users.
They only contain information about how the integration works and how to connect it to your account because they assume the reader is already a customer of your product.
Sometimes they don’t even contain a call to action, request a demo or sign-up button. However, you need to show new customers your product’s social proof, testimonials, features and more.
Here’s an example of how to create a great integration landing page.
The page targets users searching for Hubspot and Salesforce integration. The page includes testimonials from happy customers, request a demo, talk to sales and an overview of Hubspot’s features.
Build Links to These Pages
Like solution product pages, it’s not easy to acquire links to integration pages because they don’t offer enough value to get links from other websites.
However, you can get a link from the integration directory on the site of the specific integration. For instance, from the integration directory on Salesforce’s site if your product integrates with it.
This makes it easy to earn a link directly from a high-authority site to your integration landing page.
Need Help Discovering the Most Profitable Keywords for Your Business?
If you don’t know which keywords to target to boost your organic traffic, schedule a free consultation. I can help you research the best keywords for your business and create an effective SaaS SEO strategy that positions you in front of your potential customers.
Maclean is a SaaS Copywriter & SaaS SEO Consultant with over 7 years of experience in the industry. She’s also the founder of SaaS Thrive, a blog focused on helping SaaS startups and large enterprises improve their search visibility and grow their organic traffic plus ROI. Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin