There’s the correct way to do search engine optimization, and there’s how everyone else goes about search engine optimization. So it’s time we salt the earth and outline how to craft an SEO campaign perfect for your SaaS in plain English.
After years of crafting and implementing revenue-producing SEO strategies, we’ve distilled the process into a blueprint.
Though it certainly didn’t come without trial and error, and luckily, you don’t have to take all the time and effort to get to the results we did.
Common SEO practices recommend sporadically overstuffing keywords based on time-sensitive gaps, and it’s much more complicated than this. A revenue-producing campaign includes holistically filling in the keyword gaps between you and your competitors, revenue-focused content, and link acquisition. You must build the foundation and follow these sprints sequentially; if you try to jump around in the SEO process, you’ll end up back where you started.
So, without further ado, here are 11 essential tips for your SaaS SEO campaign that will allow you to bypass the common traps that claim many campaigns and bottleneck your ROI
The first step in establishing a goal for your website's SEO efforts is understanding your current traffic and that of your competitors. Once you have a holistic understanding of the total addressable traffic market, you can define an actionable metric to determine a reasonable share you can command. Then, with some baseline data and calculation, you’ll be able to measure what percentage of website visitors convert to leads. Aggregating these two metrics will allow you to define the necessary level of website traffic to increase bottom line revenue attributable to SEO. Without clear goals in mind, there’s no way to determine whether you’re trending towards meaningful goals or simply spinning your wheels.
Just like anything else in life, vague goals aren’t getting you anywhere; "an increase in revenue” or “gaining more traffic” isn’t efficient.
Those approaches aren’t specific enough to help you crush your KPIs. For your SEO goals to become actionable, you’ll need a clear idea of what you’re working towards and how you’ll achieve it within a specific timeframe.
Setting goals creates a clear roadmap to your website’s success, so you’ll never be spinning your wheels during your SEO journey. A great example of a goal for a SaaS Website:
This goal is actionable, attainable, and time specific, providing your business with something tangible to strive for while measuring success. It’s also a far more realistic and quantifiable goal than simply ‘getting more website visitors’
Setting clear and realistic goals is the starting point of your entire SEO campaign; it also allows you to have a success metric that analyzes the SEO's effectiveness. Having more than one goal is essential, as there is more than one area where your website’s SEO can be improved.
Besides setting specific goals, reliable KPIs are a prerequisite to a successful SEO campaign.
KPIs are snapshots of the progress you’re making towards your goals. The core KPIs that are prevalent in many campaigns are:
While these are the most common KPIs for SEO, there are also SaaS KPIs that should also be measured based on their SEO attribution:
Before you jump head first into your SEO campaign, you’ll need to conduct a thorough Website Quality Audit (WQA).
What is a Website Quality Audit?
It’s where you take an in-depth look at your website's technical and content components. During this audit, your website is analyzed from top to bottom for technical implications hindering website visibility in the search engines.
A WQA is the core of any SEO strategy - not just for SaaS companies.
Many factors affect your website’s rankings - while some aren’t completely obvious. For example, if your content is thin (200 or fewer words) - you need to refresh the content as long as possible.
The minimum word count for each page of your website is 700 words. In addition, every page should have a healthy number of external/internal links and relevant images. Another unique way to boost your content is by embedding videos.
During the technical part of the Website Quality Audit, uncovering the page speed of your web pages is significant. With the average attention span of the modern person on the decline, users expect fast loading times since Google doesn’t want users’ time with slow pages.
By leveraging the Core Web Vitals, a series of tests of diagnostics that determines if your website is fast enough to show up on Google, with Google Search Search Console, you’ll have a good idea of how easy it is to be found in the search engines and the indexability of your website.
SaaS companies have to approach SEO uniquely since it is primarily focused on identifying the correct personas and their pains. Everyone that decides to use your software will have different personas. Are these people benefiting from using your software?
Why do they benefit from your SaaS?
The piece of your software solves either a core problem or the issue. Therefore, your SEO strategy should be focused on putting together content that convinces your wanted persona that you can solve their problem.
Finding the right personas is crucial because they are less likely to use your service if you aren’t targeting the correct person.
On the other hand, if you aren’t fixing the right problem, your ICP won’t go further down your funnel.
So for your SaaS SEO strategy, you need to speak clearly to the personas and pains you’re solving for them.
For example,” if your SaaS offers a unique project management solution. Your Ideal Client Persona would be project managers looking to streamline their projects. A pain they’re currently facing is a massive project coming, and they feel disorganized. Therefore, your SaaS is the perfect solution; it's only a matter of clearly articulating that.
The next step is to have 2-5 sales members survey the most common objections they face when taking demo and discovery calls. This helps you identify relevant problems and keywords that aren’t on your website. These objections will help you build a “seed keyword” list and run it through Ahrefs or SEMrush.
A proper survey will aid you:
A proper survey will help you determine which keywords are best for creating content. It also enables you to gauge how your direct competitors perform to help you with new SEO-related blog post topics.
When you have a list of targeted keywords, you have to see where your competitors are and how you stack up compared to them. It’s crucial to look at both your direct and indirect competitors.
What’s the difference between direct and indirect competitors?
A direct competitor will offer a SaaS that solves a similar problem as yours, while an indirect competitor is in your niche, SaaS, but doesn’t directly compete for the same core personas. With indirect and direct competitors, you compete for visibility and rankings in the search engines.
By having a side-by-side comparison of keywords, you’ll be able to see what pages your competitors are ranking for a while, gaining the ability to know where you currently are compared to your competitors.
The golden days of targeting a few keywords and keyword stuffing them across each page are long gone. Instead, with the Google Algorithm updating itself daily - you must target various keywords across the pages on your website to satisfy the different search intent your Ideal Client Persona is looking for.
In other words, you need to create keyword clusters that organize similar keywords and content pillars together but are still independent of each different per topic. These are groups of keywords that are related to a broad topic.
Focusing on keyword clusters also allows you to rank for 10-20x more keywords across multiple pages and generate more traffic than simply attempting to only rank for one keyword.
Aligning your keywords with the various stages of your sales funnel allows you to create pieces of content to capture a large part of the market share. There are three primary funnels stages to consider:
At the top of your sales funnel, your prospects are looking to find the solutions for their problems. These people have shallow purchasing intentions since they don’t know you or your competitors. For example, if your SaaS focuses on project management, some keywords that could be targeted are:
At this stage, your ICP understands that the answer they want is out there but aren’t sure where to look yet. Their search queries will revolve around finding the best solution to their problems. In other words, they are looking for products just like yours. Continuing with the above example, some keywords that could be targeted are:
At the bottom of your funnel, potential customers are finalizing their decisions. Your prospects know that your product exists and use keywords with purchasing intent that includes your brand. For example, if the name of your Project Management SaaS is Easy PM Pro, the bottom of the funnel keywords would look like this:
This is your final chance to convert prospects into paying customers.
Suppose your goal is to increase your conversion rate by 10-20%. In that case, your content marketing calendar should be aligned to bottom-of-funnel content and supported with cadenced SEO-focused articles to trend towards your goals appropriately.
An example would be releasing content that aims to convert prospects into leads. It should still be informative - but include a strong CTA at the end. That will encourage whoever reads the article to sign up for more info (newsletter) while they consider purchasing your SaaS.
While you should prioritize stacking as many “quick” wins as possible, SEO for SaaS companies is a long-term fix. However, there are ways to secure quick boosts in traffic. Such as: auditing your current content to find what pages are in striking distance of acquiring more organic traffic (keywords are ranking on the 2nd page of Google). For more information on quick SEO wins, let’s talk about your website and growth goals.
SEO is a highly competitive industry, where everyone is trying to outperform each other with quality content.
You must outperform your competitors with more quality, in-depth content to outrank them. These pieces of content should include relevant images, videos, and other visually appealing items.
Writing more words than your competitors and calling it a day is no longer enough; you have to do everything in your power to ensure that your content is better than theirs. But, again, sticking with the Easy PM Pro example - if your competitor has a 700-word article on scheduling tasks with a handful of images, the article doesn't go into much depth.
You should outrank them quickly, but it will require some work by buffing up the word count to 1,500 with NO filler content and valuable information. From there, the following steps are creating or finding a relevant video for the topic before including plenty of internal links and relevant images. Backlinks come last whenever you have solidified that you have made rich and engaging content to crush your competition.
That means that visitors need to have a pleasant experience. Here are some of the best practices for visual treatments:
A proper link-building campaign is a necessary part of your SEO strategy. Our preferred way of acquiring links is by having a concise email outreach plan. This is the best way to obtain quality links.
A popular strategy in the SEO world is called the skyscraper technique, where we find the tallest building or pieces of content related to your niche.
Looking at the top 10 pages on the first page of Google will allow you to find content with many backlinks that you can outperform. For example, you can create better content that provides more insights, has a relevant embedded video, and more.
After this, you can reach out to the sites that link to your competitor's pages and politely request that they provide a backlink to your post in addition to the existing one; Since your content is the best piece of content in your niche, most of the people that you reach out to will be willing to provide you with a backlink.
The final tip is ensuring your email opt-ins are as optimized as possible.
80% of SEO traffic will visit your website and never return.
This is why capturing as many email addresses as possible and building a solid email list is essential. Creating the list is just as important as nurturing these leads, especially if they aren’t ready to buy yet.
So your CTA should request the user’s email address. To effectively do so, you need to offer some sort of incentive such as a free eBook; this allows you to have a way to follow up with visitors and gradually push them down your sales funnel.
Why could your SaaS Company use a reliable SEO Strategy? The entire point of SEO is setting up a long-term lead generation vehicle. Once your efforts are up and running - the results will only get better. You’ll gain more traffic and spend less on paid advertisement channels while generating more actionable leads.
If you're interested in speaking with one of our SEO Consultants to discuss how SEO can increase bottom line revenue for your SaaS Company, We’d love to help you. If you’re ready to meet your SaaS business goals and scale through your current revenue bottleneck - reach out to us to chat.