As SaaS (Software as a Service) is growing in popularity, the competition is increasingly becoming fierce. With such extreme competition, SEO for SaaS companies is necessary to ensure your target audience finds your website online.
In this article, I’ll show you the different ways SEO can help your company thrive and stay ahead of your competitors.
What Is SEO for SaaS Companies?
SEO is a marketing strategy that helps SaaS companies rank higher in search engines. This is very crucial since most people rarely click on Google’s second page.
In fact, a recent study shows that the first five organic results on google’s page 1 account for 68% of all clicks. Results from positions 6-10 account for under 4% of the total clicks.
Why Does Your Company Need B2B SaaS SEO?
The competition within the technology industry is getting fierce. So, when it comes to online marketing, your business has to lead the pack, and a solid SaaS SEO strategy is what I recommend.
The strategy can help you rank higher in search engines for your target keywords and become an expert in your industry.
The Proven SaaS SEO Strategy
SEO for SaaS Companies can be complicated. However, I have developed a strategy that has helped SaaS businesses achieve rapid growth through SEO.
I usually educate my clients on this strategy so that they understand how they can use SEO for SaaS to drive results.
The Importance of SEO for SaaS Companies
Most SaaS companies usually turn to paid ads to drive growth. However, a good idea is to focus on organic growth. In fact, 70% of marketers say SEO is more effective than paid ads when it comes to driving sales.
So, why should you consider investing in a solid SEO strategy?
SEO Can Scale Your Growth Rapidly
If your content is well-optimized for the search engines, it can drive exponential growth. Let’s take a look at this image that shows the effect that high-quality content can have on your company’s growth.
This means the more evergreen content you publish, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website. This is the direction SaaS giants like Pipedrive and Hubspot have capitalized on to grow.
If you put the right SaaS content marketing strategy in place, expect to see an increase in your monthly traffic growth.
This strategy looks like this:
- Create high-quality content targeting your ideal customer.
- Promote this content to get links.
- Boost your organic traffic and rankings.
- Use the information collected from your blog post’s first launch to improve and optimize the posts to further drive growth.
- Rank higher in search engines and drive consistent traffic.
- Replicate this to target different topic clusters keyword groups
I’ll dive deeper into this strategy shortly.
SEO Can Help You Minimize Your Cost-per-Acquisition
When you get new customers through paid media, you pay for every click to your site. Unfortunately, your cost-per-acquisition via paid channels increases as you exhaust the audiences that are likely to convert.
Although you can have a consistent cost-per-acquisition strategy, you’ll reach a place where you can’t reduce this cost if you’re running optimized campaigns.
On the other hand, SEO for software companies does the opposite. Over time, it can help you bring down your cost-per-acquisition.
Although it requires continuous investment, the costs do not increase with each click like paid media. What’s more, your cost per acquisition keeps reducing because your SEO organic traffic balances this out.
SEO Can Help You Convert Potential Customers From Other Platforms
Any Saas SEO strategy requires a huge investment in content creation. Keep in mind that this content isn’t only for helping you rank for your keywords.
You can also use it to drive paid traffic or as part of your email marketing or SaaS social media strategy. You can also develop a link building strategy and promote the content to earn backlinks and drive referral traffic.
Additionally, if done well, B2B SaaS SEO can help you drive and convert prospective customers from other platforms.
A reason why you should seriously consider continuous SEO investment for your channel.
SaaS SEO: Focus on Your Target Audience and Their Problems
Unlike SEO for other types of companies, SEO for SaaS is about:
Let me explain why.
Identifying who your target audience is plus their problems is crucial. It can help you develop a SaaS content strategy that solves their issues.
In turn, this can position your website as a go-to resource for these people when they’re searching for solutions. If you target the wrong people, they’ll only consume your content.
However, they won’t move further into your sales funnel. Let’s see how your potential customers discover your software. They start looking for a product when they have a problem they want to solve.
Once they land on your website, your job is to convince them your software can solve their problems.
If you begin thinking about B2B SaaS SEO in terms of target audience and problems, you’ll know what a successful strategy entails to drive the right traffic and present your software as the solution.
Optimizing Keywords Across the Funnel
If you want to be successful with SaaS SEO, you need to conduct keyword research effectively to find the queries your prospects are typing into search engines to find software like yours.
Get your keyword research and topic clusters right, and you’ll accelerate your growth. Before I show you what a successful path looks like, let’s look at how keywords break down across the funnel.
SaaS Top of the Funnel Keywords
Top of the funnel keywords are those terms your prospects enter into search engines to find a solution to their problem. There’s a good chance they don’t know your software platform exists.
Here’s an example of one of my client’s website that’s ranking for these top of the funnel keywords.
- Sales follow up email
- Sales script
These searches aren’t for finding software, they’re for people working in sales. My client targeted these people to create awareness for their brand and to position themselves as the best option down the funnel.
Note that while these keywords have high search volumes, they have the lowest conversion rate.
SaaS Middle of the Funnel Keywords
Middle of the funnel keywords are those phrases your prospects type into search engines knowing a solution exists. However, these people haven’t begun exploring their options.
In other words, they’re looking for keywords that help them get alternatives that meet their needs. This means keywords like:
- Hubspot management software
- Hubspot software
- Sales CRM
There’s an intent to buy, however not right away. At this stage, your prospect is considering options. So, having a landing page or product that will rank for these questions to get visibility is crucial here.
SaaS Bottom of the Funnel Keywords
Once your potential customers reach the bottom of your funnel, they’re making their final decisions. They understand a solution exists that can solve their problem.
They also know who offers these solutions. The only thing they need to do is to decide on a solution that fits their needs best. These people know about your product and type queries with purchase intent such as:
- Hubspot vs. Salesforce
- Hubspot integrations
- Hubspot reviews
- Hubspot pricing
So, it is your final chance to convince these people that your product is perfect for their needs and sign them up.
B2B SaaS SEO Ranking Factors
There are different factors that impact how a website ranks on Google. However, these factors keep changing all the time due to an intelligent search engine.
That’s why it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the ranking factors if you want to see results. Here are the factors that determine how your website ranks in search engines:
Define Your KPIs and Goal
Defining your KPIs and goals is the most crucial part of SEO for SaaS. If you don’t have a goal, you won’t know if your strategy is on the right track.
However, avoid setting up unrealistic goals like “increase traffic as much as possible”. This approach won’t help you. Having a goal gives your team members something to work backwards from and aim for.
It also enables you to take the necessary steps to achieve your goal. For SaaS businesses, a great SEO goal should be to increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR) by $2 million dollars after 1 year.
However, you need to implement solid SEO KPIs to know if your strategy is working. KPIs are very essential for SaaS companies, especially during rapid growth.
Remember without setting KPIs and goals, implementing a solid strategy can be difficult.
Identify Your Customer Personas
For SEO to be successful for your SaaS company, you need to know who you’re targeting. This will help you solve their challenges and present your product as the solution.
The more you research and know your potential customer, the more relevant you’ll be to their needs. You can write blog posts that answer the questions they’re asking and push them down the sales funnel.
Thus, identifying your customer personas is the first thing you should do when developing a SaaS content marketing strategy. Basically, it’s visualizing who you want your marketing to reach.
So, where do you start?
- Begin by creating a profile of the people you want to target.
- You can also use the insights you have around your target customers and develop an analysis of your current customers. If they have already signed up as buying customers, you probably want more of them.
- Examine the customers that are using your software to know the most engaged ones.
Assess Your Indirect and Direct Competitors
To drive success, research your competitors SEO strategies, and how they’re driving their organic traffic. You also need to know what your indirect competitors are doing.
Your direct competitors are those who provide the products or services you are offering. Although their platform may have different features, it helps customers solve similar problems.
On the flip side, your indirect competitor’s product is different from yours. However, it helps customers solve the same problem.
For instance, if you have a time tracking platform that helps teams track and bill their time to employers, your direct competitors are those companies that are also helping workers track their time e.g Hubstaff and MY Hours.
Your indirect competitors are platforms workers can use to track their time e.g Harvest and Teamwork. However, that is the main feature. It’s important to learn what’s working for your competitors and what’s not.
To do this, use keyword research tools to get data on your competitors top traffic pages.
Plus their estimated organic traffic, number of indexed keywords and the keywords that are driving the highest traffic
You can also check their link profile strength to know the websites they have gotten links from. Once you know what’s fuelling your competitor’s strategies, you can implement them in your plan.
Identify Your Personas Problems and Develop a Keyword Strategy
Keywords at the top of your funnel should be the driving force of your enterprise SaaS SEO strategy.
With these keywords, you can reach a larger audience than if you only target the middle and bottom of the sales funnel phrases. So, how can you identify these keywords?
Begin by writing down the topics your audience is looking for online and the problems your platform can help them solve. Some topics to explore include:
- Questions being asked
- Challenges they have
- Related topics
Once you have a comprehensive list, use a keyword tool to know the terms your users search the most, and how difficult it is to rank for those keywords.
You can also see other related queries you can target after entering a keyword. Here are related keywords for sales script.
While you should develop a SaaS content marketing strategy around these keywords at the top of the funnel, remember the goal is to push your prospects down the funnel.
Consider the wider topics related to your business without losing focus on your personas.
Identify Keywords To Optimize Your Channel’s Landing Page
As you get down the funnel, ensure you’re targetting relevant keywords for your sales pages. These are your feature and product pages and offer information on what your software provides.
Go for keywords such as:
- Customer service software
- Small business CRM
- Open source CRM
Once you begin ranking for these queries, you’ll be getting traffic that’s likely to convert. These people are actively looking for a solution like yours. So, be sure to cover all the queries your personas are searching for.
Type into your keyword tool your software’s main features and remember to add modifiers like platform or software into the tool to know how your audience is conducting their searches.
Here’s an example for the keyword “sales software”.
Create a Comparison Keyword Strategy
Once your potential customers reach the bottom of your funnel, they’re likely to compare several solutions with yours. When developing SEO for SaaS, do not forget to include comparison queries in your keyword strategy.
Here’s an example: Your Software vs. Your Competitor’s Software
These queries are powerful because they give you exposure in front of someone about to sign up to your platform or your competitors.
Your job is to target these queries and convince these people you’re the best option. Here’s a good example of Hubspot’s page that compares their CRM with Salesforce’s.
Explain why your software is better and compare it to all your major competitors. Even if the search volume is low, it’s essential to capture these lower-funnel searches because they can convert.
Develop a comparison page if there’s another software your audience may opt to use instead of yours. Act first before your competitors do. If they’re targeting these queries already, ensure your landing page is better.
Publish High-Quality Content Than Your Competitors
To be successful at SaaS SEO, you need to create evergreen content for your blog and software to beat your competitors.
So, what does evergreen content mean?
It’s content that’s well-optimized for the search engines and stays relevant for users for a long time. It’s also relevant and answers your user’s query better than any other content on the internet.
- Including videos or images to make your content more engaging
- Content that covers all aspects of a certain topic
- Long-form content (like this article you’re reading)
- Using short sentences and paragraphs
Bear in mind that creating better content doesn’t mean checking your competitor’s word count and adding more words to your posts.
What’s the point if the extra words are not adding any value to your readers?
Instead, you should understand what search intent is and then assess your competitor’s pages. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a SaaS content marketing strategist to advise you on what you can improve on your content.
While it sounds simple, most SaaS company owners keep publishing tons of posts without implementing a SaaS content marketing strategy or having product knowledge.
So, hire a SaaS content strategy expert to help you figure out how to improve your content. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your target audience through surveys how to make your posts better.
Most business owners take the easy option. However, if you want to distinguish yourself, you should take the challenging route.
That’s why you need feedback from real users and experts, which you can use as a shortcut to success.
Don’t Forget On-Page and Technical SEO
It’s not uncommon to find thriving software companies that are largely driven by Saas content marketing. However, you shouldn’t overlook on-page and technical SEO.
In fact, if you haven’t optimized your website properly from an on-page perspective or it has a technical issue, it may not reach its full potential.
You can use site audit tools to find areas you should work on to improve your website’s technical SEO. Once you have your preferred tool, enter your domain name and run your crawl.
Once the exercise is complete, you’ll be presented with a list of improvements from different ranking factors.
An SEO site audit can help you find and fix problems that could be affecting your website. I use Semrush On-Page SEO Checker as it suggests optimization ideas that help me improve the on-page SEO of my clients.
Promote Your Published Content To Get Backlinks
Did you know that your blog posts with competitive keywords can struggle to rank without backlinks? To get backlinks, you need a solid linking building strategy to help you obtain relevant links to your posts.
Apart from helping your site rank higher in search engines, the right link building strategy positions you as an expert, drive referral traffic and exposes you to your target customers.
For SaaS businesses, effective strategies include:
- Guest posting (ensure these links have the “no follow” attribute added)
- Unlinked brand mentions
- Broken link building
- Digital PR
Begin by running your domain name through your preferred link building tool and then select your competitors and keywords. Depending on the tool you use, it can hunt for you link building opportunities as shown below:
Bonus: Enterprise SaaS SEO
SEO can be overwhelming when you have several pages on your website. This is a challenge that most large SaaS companies face. Knowing where to start can also be difficult due to constantly changing algorithms.
What Is Enterprise SaaS SEO?
Enterprise SaaS SEO is the same as conventional (traditional) SEO. However, it deals with large SaaS companies with thousands of web pages.
To implement a successful Enterprise SaaS SEO strategy, it takes more than technical SEO knowledge because you’re analyzing different keywords and so much content.
It also requires creative thinking.
Why You Need Enterprise SaaS SEO
Enterprise SEO is essential because traffic from the search engines will keep generating consistent sales for you.
If you don’t conduct enterprise SEO for your SaaS business, you’ll miss out on revenue you would have grabbed easily.
Optimizing all the pages on your website will help potential customers find you and also buy your products.
While some companies may argue SEO is dead due to employing black hat tactics, large businesses are investing in SEO.
In fact, one study revealed that 26.7% of large SaaS companies put aside over $20,000 every month to execute their SEO campaigns.
Here’s a chart that illustrates these findings further.
Source: Search Engine Watch
How To Conduct Enterprise SaaS SEO
Implementing the right enterprise SEO strategy can help you achieve the results you want. Here’s how to kickstart your campaign the right way.
Start Optimizing Important Elements
This is where things become overwhelming in enterprise SEO because you have numerous pages to check.
Thinking about which pages require rewriting or adding more content can make you want to give up even before you start.
However, handling small tasks can help ease the workload.
Begin optimizing on-page elements (body text, meta description and page title) that impact your SEO rankings. Once you’re done, update the pages that need new content.
Some large businesses usually have web pages with useful content and others with thin content. During this process, you should choose pages with little content and have the potential to perform well.
There are numerous tools you can use including Semrush and Ahrefs to help identify pages with thin content. After identifying the pages, start adding relevant content to increase their chances of ranking.
Create Content Consistently
Once you have updated a few pages, you might be tempted to sit back and relax. However, enterprise SEO is a continuous process.
If you want long-term success, you need to create content consistently. This is very important because new content is one of Google’s top-ranking factors.
When creating content, ensure:
- It has engaging elements such as facts, images and studies
- Is better than your competitors content
- Answers your user’s questions
Similar to external linking, internal linking can also boost your rankings.
With a lot of pages on your website, you have many opportunities to link internally and develop a strong site structure that will make future content rank easily.
Sitewide SEO Auditing
Like the conventional SEO campaigns, enterprise SEO begins with analyzing your site structure, mobile-responsiveness, load speed and indexability.
All these things are Google’s ranking factors. Sitewide SEO auditing enables you to discover the pages you should optimize immediately and those you should delete.
Organic Keyword Review
This process will enable you to identify the keywords that are bringing traffic to your site plus the source of that traffic (search engines or paid ads).
To collect this data, use Google Search Console. You’ll discover:
- The positions your keywords and pages are ranking in. If not on page 1, start optimizing
- The keywords with high impressions ( popular search terms)
- The keywords that are receiving many clicks
Now, you may be asking yourself “what about the other strategies you mentioned above?” You also need to implement them to have a solid Enterprise SEO.
Are You Looking for SaaS SEO Consultant To Help You With Your SaaS SEO Strategy?
If you’re wondering how to implement an effective SaaS SEO strategy for your company, I can guide you. I provide SaaS SEO services and help SaaS companies generate qualified leads for their businesses. If you’re ready to scale up your company and beat your competitors with a custom SEO strategy, request enterprise SEO services.
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