Software as a Service (SaaS) companies have huge growth potential, yet not all of them bloom.
One of the top reasons is that they’re not taking advantage of search engine optimization, or they’re just not doing it right.
SaaS SEO is something that can make a huge difference and give you a head start. Not to mention save you tons of money from paid marketing.
Let’s get it on!
What Is SaaS SEO?
First, let’s clarify that SEO is SEO, no matter if you’re an eCommerce retailer, a SaaS company, or an affiliate marketing website. The same principles and best practices apply.
What’s different in optimizing a SaaS website is the business model and how to approach the process properly.
Good preparation means you’ve done proper keyword and topic research and created an effective content strategy.
How to create such a strategy?
We’ll analyse everything bit by bit.
How to Identify SaaS Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are summarised representations of customer segmentation. Ideally, you would want to identify your buyer personas before you start researching keywords and planning content.
Not knowing your market will most probably lead to decreased sales, frustration, and a bad experience for both your customers and your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common examples of SaaS buyer personas.
- The Manager – This can be a small business owner or a sales manager. Typically, this type of person is responsible for a team and for developing a business strategy. The manager is in charge of following up with customers, analysing key metrics and trends, and recruiting salespeople. Very business oriented.
- The Marketing Person – Several jobs fall into this category: UX designers, content writers, social media specialists, graphic designers, and copywriters. This is generally someone who stays up to date with the latest industry trends and likes to look for new solutions that make their job easier. Automation is also a key factor for cutting out mundane tasks. Heavily reliant on tools and sales oriented.
- The Tech Guy – Someone with a deep understanding of all things tech-related. This persona takes care of the company’s technological resources and looks for ways to optimise and automate processes. Focused on efficiency.
These are just some of the most common buyer personas. Be sure to conduct proper research and outline the personas for your specific business, as they might differ from the “usual suspects”.
Keep in mind, though, that personas are not about demographics, but rather about what problems people face and how you can help them solve those problems.
How to Find SaaS Keywords
Researching keywords can be a very interesting task. Some topics provide intriguing information and a new perspective on familiar subjects.
Nonetheless, you need to adopt a specific approach when researching keywords for SaaS websites. You should consider your domain authority and niche expertise, to decide which keywords you have a chance to rank for and which are probably best to leave out.
The easiest way to do this, without using a tool?
Just type in the keyword(s) into Google and analyse the results.
You always want to check the first page, since the second page of Google is the best place to hide a dead body, as the inside joke goes.
Sometimes you need to go on a dead body hunt though, but more about that later on.
If you’re trying to rank for a keyword that has its top 10 results from giants like Forbes, Capterra, etc., and your website is not that famous and authoritative yet, it’s probably best to focus on another keyword.
It’s always a good idea to research relevant long-tail keywords as part of your content strategy. Combining long-tail key phrases with more common ones ensures a strong long-term strategy and indicates Google what your website should be ranked for.
If you are currently planning your content, you can find appropriate suggestions at the bottom of the page under “Related searches”.
It will be really hard to rank for a term that’s outside your specific niche. In case you’re developing accounting software, it would be wise not to write about gaming. Instead, focus on the topics you have authority over – accounting, finance, revenue, bookkeeping, and so on.
Moreover, you can consider creating topic clusters and make sure to delve deep and dig out every possible keyword, topic, and question.
Let’s recap the steps—keyword research using Google:
- Acknowledge your domain authority and niche expertise.
- Google your keyword/s, make sure you’re using google.com unless you’re targeting a local market.
- Analyse the results. Does the SERP have too many authoritative websites?
- Can you rank for the keyword? If not, repeat the process with a different keyword.
- Check the related searches keywords.
Search Intent: Commercial vs. Informational
Another essential thing to check while analysing the search results is the search or user intent. Again, it’s something you can do using only Google, without external tools.
Let’s have a look at an example to make things clearer.
The keyword is ‘time management tools’. Looking at the results, you can see that the search intent here is 100% commercial. All the top 10 articles feature lists with the ‘best time management tools’.
This means that you’re doomed if you write an article about the ‘pros and cons of time management tools’. Well, at least regarding the ‘time management tools’ keyword.
However, ‘pros and cons of time management tools’, could be a great long-tail informational keyword.
Informational keywords are underrated. Most marketers focus mainly on commercial phrases, but the truth is that people looking for ‘time management tools’ have already decided what they want to buy.
Using informational keywords, you’re targeting those who are not quite sure yet. Apart from being a good knowledge source, readers might consider your authority on the subject and eventually purchase the product from you.
Afterward, you begin thinking about more specific keywords, rephrase, and look for results that match both your products and your desire to rank.
- Specify – project management software →open source project management software →best open source project management software.
- Inform – project management software→advantages and disadvantages of project management software.
- Target – project management software →project management software for small businesses.
As a general rule of thumb, think outside the box. Good ideas can hit you from out of nowhere.
You are even encouraged to look at the second page of Google to identify content gaps, or just to see what type of content was not good enough to rank first.
Content Strategy for SaaS
Now it’s time to dig even deeper into the SaaS SEO checklist, as solely finding good keywords is insufficient.
We will divide it into three major categories, starting with…
On-page SEO consists of writing high-quality, unique content, optimizing your page titles, meta descriptions, URLs, images, and so on.
Write a Proper SEO Title & Meta Description
Your SEO title and your article title are two separate entities. The former is the title that is displayed to the search engines, while the latter is the title visitors see once they click on the article.
Both can be the same, but they’re usually not, since they have different goals. The SEO title aims to provoke interest and make the person seeing it want to click on it and read the actual text.
What’s crucial is for the SEO title to use your main keyword and not to make it too long – around 65-70 characters is fine.
An optimised meta description also needs to feature your main keyword. To write a good description, you can search for inspiration in, you guessed it, the top 10 results for the keyword.
Of course, don’t copy-paste, but rather analyse what seems to work.
Optimise for Rich Snippets
The majority of Google search results feature three components: URL, title, meta description. A rich snippet includes additional information applicable to your business, such as reviews, product markup, organisation, video, events, and so on.
Let’s take a look at an example.
You can see how before you click on the result – in this case, Microsoft Teams on Google Play – you already have information about the rating, number of votes, category, etc.
Adding rich snippets can lead to an effective increase in click-through rates, and essentially bring more visitors to your website.
In simple words – off-page SEO is dedicated to increasing your site’s authority. This includes using links from high-authority sites, getting reviews on platforms like Google reviews and Trustpilot, having guest posts, podcasts, and well-developed social media profiles.
One of the most important factors of SEO, in general, is the proper link structure.
What do we mean by that?
When you use an article as a source, it’s good to place an outbound link towards it, so that people know where you got that information from.
It’s also a positive signal for the Google web crawlers. Having said that, it’s essential to use links to sites that have expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).
The same goes for earning links. Getting a link from a high-authority site is a green light that you are doing things properly. That’s why it’s important to focus on the quality and uniqueness of your content.
It may take time, but if you keep on delivering high-quality content, sooner or later you’ll get the recognition you deserve.
Social Media – Develop Your Brand
Nowadays, social media is everywhere. You can’t just leave it to one side. While it may not be a direct ranking factor, SEO for SaaS benefits from every form of positive social signals. It’s a good way to develop your brand and is a solid social proof signal, so don’t just ignore it.
Think of creative ways to use social media to your advantage. Depending on your niche, you might want to research which social media is the right one for you.
Technical SEO includes optimised site speed, XML sitemaps, structured data, and more. It may sound a bit overwhelming at first, but that shouldn’t stop you from optimizing the technical side of your site.
There are a lot of free tools you can use to check the technical condition of your website. PageSpeed Insights is a free tool from Google that gives you plenty of vital information about the loading time of your site on both mobile and desktop. It highlights opportunities to improve, as well as diagnostics.
Google Search Console is another essential tool to use for technical insights. Connect it to your website, and you’ll get valuable insights about existing issues, and some crucial performance statistics like CTR.
Feel free to use these tips as part of your SaaS SEO checklist.
- Use Google Analytics – This is very important as Google Analytics offers valuable data such as visitor channels, traffic sources, bounce rates, and much more.
- Remove duplicate content – Make sure that every article and page on your website is unique. Having duplicate content is confusing for both robots and humans, and it gives the impression that you either don’t care or just don’t notice what’s going on your website.
- Use short URLs – A URL is like a road sign. It should be short and precise. Best case scenario is to just feature your main keyword in the URL. Avoid redundant words that bring no value, and do not use dates in URLs.
- Improve readability – Use short paragraphs in your text. Large chunks of text look threatening and most people will not be able to concentrate on reading them, especially on smartphones.
- Make it mobile-friendly – 83.72% of people worldwide own smartphones. It’s only common sense to make sure your website loads properly on mobile devices.
- Fix 404 errors – Make sure to set up proper 301 redirects on every page that’s not available on your website.
- Get listed – Look for articles that feature ‘top 10’ or ‘best’ products in your niche. Contact the authors and try to get listed – some additional exposure never hurts.
- Internal link audit – Analyse all internal links on your website. Replace the broken links and make sure that every article has at least one link directed towards it.
Now, after you know all the essentials about SaaS SEO, it’s time to start applying these principles and take your brand to the next level.
The fact of the matter is…
It depends on how much time, effort, and knowledge you are willing to put into search engine optimization. In the end, though, it really makes a difference.