7 SaaS SEO Strategies to Get You Started

7 SaaS SEO Strategies to Get You Started
15Jun, 2019
Reading Time: 14 minutes

Introduction

Software as a service (SaaS) is continually gaining popularity, and competition is becoming stronger day by day. Competition can creep up at any moment, someone can easily claim that they can do a better job and create their own version that is similar, but better than yours. Statistically, the “SaaS Companies” as a keyword is searched for about 3600 times on a monthly basis in search tools such as Google. People are definitely searching for ideas, which is one of the many reasons why you need SEO.

To ensure your potential customers/clients are able to find your SaaS Company on SERP, then the implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) strategies is an obvious choice. Here are some stats to prove it:

Every year, companies spend more than $65 billion on search engine optimization (SEO).

According to Content Marketing Institute, 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing. And, of the 11% who don’t currently use content marketing, 52% plan to begin using it within a year.

Organic searches drive more than 50 percent of all website traffic. 

So should you quit while you barely started, or should we say SEO should be on your top priority list?

Want some SaaS SEO Tips?

coming up with strategies seo

In this article, we will discuss the top 5 SaaS SEO strategies that will enable your SaaS Company to grow fast and succeed while maintaining a competitive advantage. More than one billion people use Google every month, and around 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. Since only 25 percent of users go to the second page of search results, you definitely need to boost up your SEO game if you truly want to succeed. 

But let us begin by discussing what we mean by SEO strategies;

What is the meaning of SEO Strategies?

Search engine optimization strategies refer to the campaigns on a long term basis which you actualize to enhance your company’s online visibility over time. By saying “long term basis” we mean that SEO strategy is not something you can do once, forget about, and move on to working on another plan; you need to research on the needs of your consumers, work on how you can address the needs and get responses to see if it worked, and rinse and repeat, or analyze, plan, implement, evaluate, then repeat. Anyone can do an SEO audit, the question is how and what is the process. Anyone can say they can optimize the title tag, but how do you optimize is the key to success.

So, why would you require SaaS SEO Strategies?

Like we had said earlier, there is a constant growth of aggressive competition in the SaaS market. If your SaaS Company is growing at an annual rate of 20%, then there is a higher than 92% probability that it won’t be existing in years to come. Therefore, your company needs to gain a competitive advantage with regards to online marketing; that is where search engine optimization comes in.

Apart from helping you to be better positioned on search Google, SEO enables you to tell your target audience about the services and products you are offering. Additionally, it helps to build the credibility and trust of your brand in the audience by providing valuable and reliable information, and eventually maximize on revenue generation from the increased organic traffic (even from the unanticipated ones).

Otherwise, if you don’t focus on SEO, then your rival websites in the same industry will probably position better than you on search engines for the targeted keywords or phrases. And you know what that means? They stand to gain the above benefits to your disadvantage. Strategy also means, who you should hire, what process they use to help your startup and the time it will take to get there.

Google search results page 1 for search results
Google search results ranking order

Top 5 SaaS SEO Strategies are:

1. Being Specific to the Targeting Branded Keywords

The majority of the SaaS companies we have come across don’t clearly know their most appropriate users. You should be able to determine if the targeted audience is few due to a highly competitive market, and therefore you need salespeople, or if the audience is sufficient enough to implement the model of self-service. Either has its pros and cons, and you are probably aware of your audience, especially if you are almost hitting your Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).

Maybe you already know your audience, if so, then you can target them by customizing the content on your website. For instance, supposing your SaaS Company is based on “financial intelligence” softwares, primarily you should provide your audience with a channel for plugging in their information and eventually have an exclusive view into the respective finances. The market might be over-crowded with rivals, but you have a unique sauce to help you gain the upper hand.

As for you, say your company sells financial software and does not provide financial services. Hence, your message should be centered on that and the targeted audience. According to SEMrush, there are 380 searches each month for the phrase “financial dashboard” whereby there is an overflow of competitors centered on it. On the other hand, when you key in the same phrase “financial dashboard” on Google search, you might see an opportunity where you can shine.

Then you can consider going in-depth by use of paid tools like SEMrush and Moz Explorer. You can still get started by Adwords tool, although its range of volume is questionable. You just aim at coming up with something that can take the appropriate consumers deeper.

2. Consistently developing expert content

It is said that only 11% of SaaS companies that are investing in content creation, so this is a great opportunity you can’t afford to miss if you wish to rank higher and become a prominent leader within your industry. Only 32% of B2B marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy.

If you have the thought that you can simply be ranked for any keywords by hiring writers with no SEO content strategist, you are spraying and praying for results. Most people do not undestand how to rank with their content. They leave it to faith or chance for someone to come across your article and say wow, this article is great, I will link it to my site as well.

  1. Create fundamental articles – this will help search engine crawlers and potential customers who’re starting to nibble at the idea of using your software. These fundamental articles serve in getting all the keywords indexed so that you can explain more and more with new and unique content. These are your: what is, how is, why is, articles. This will establish your existence.
  2. Competitors scraping – Going beyond the fundamental is to establish yourself as the number one compared to your competitors. If your articles are better than your competitors, who would they choose down the road? And if your articles are receiving backlinks organically, why wouldn’t they choose yours instead? This will establish you as trustworthy and authoritative.
  3. Expertise and Unique – You’ve been in the industry for quite some time, your expertise, small insights, research from data. All of these needs to help you become the leader of your industry.

There are several methods you need to use when creating and developing content strategy that will help you rank no. 1 with little to no backlinks from the other sites. Those links are the result of developing content consistently, which helps to build your brand online, offer high value throughout the conversion stages, and eventually can be used for mega launching of content.

Now, let’s go through a scenario of the content you are creating and the subjects you should be covering, back from when the SaaS Company came into existence:

Being a SaaS company startup, your marketing campaigns were probably centered on motivating stories behind the foundation and the push for launching, financing, and anything else of concern to the company. You go at whatever mile is possible just to get started, including a tale of the founding story to whoever might bother to listen. You get off the ground to attain the initial hundred clients and thousand true fans. This is where you should focus and want to create brand awareness and fundamental articles. Educational blogs receive 14% more organic traffic than PR-focused blogs. 

Things begin changing as your SaaS Company continues to grow, and reaches a five to seven-figure of revenue generated. Now you are becoming a worthy player (you might be the only one) at your level. Consequently, your brand begins gaining recognition. From there, you should create consistent, audience-targeted content, and then make it efficient and effective for shareability.

Now, we move to the content strategy:

Consistency

Here we are talking of content just for the sake of it. Anyone can write an article, whether it be 300-5000 words,  and you will rank somewhere. You can see the growth of new keywords being indexed and see some significant results. But the question is, how well are you ranking for the right keywords and how can do accomplish more? The simple answer most people use is “long-tail keywords”. However, anyone can write consistently, but how consistent are you in quality?

Quality is hard to define, but, as Brady Balhorn explains it, “To put it as simply as possible, quality content is helpful, original, trustworthy, and well-written.” 

Whether you are writing/publishing out of passion, or due to motivation externally (money, traffic, or accountability), your content is likely to succeed on SEO only if you put in the effort. It’s not about publishing one or two every week. You’re not a publication, you are a SaaS startup, you are here to produce content people need, and what you need to write to rank no.1.

On average, consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchase, and 85% of customers regularly seek trusted content to inform their decision-making process. So the idea around consistency is not how many articles you can create per week, but how many articles can you create so that the consumer can engage X amount of articles before making a purchase. Frequency can play a role and determine how quickly you will get good results.

Targeting

Again, the definition of your target audience and identification of quality clients is critical. While you are planning and building content, you ought to have a particular audience in consideration and create content specifically for that audience. Personas, buyers journey, mind mapping. If you want the most out of your content strategy, you’ll need to be able to use this information and know how to create content X for different journeys.

You don’t have to generalize your content just to cater to every potential reader. You need to focus only on the targeted audience, like the prominent persons of marketing in SaaS businesses, which are generating one or more million dollar revenues annually.

Here’s my strategy on SEO Audit Tool:

  • Current SEO Audit tool and how they work
  • What is missing currently today
  • How to save time doing an SEO Audit
  • How to quickly identify SEO issues
  • What caused my site to drop in ranking

Spreading Efficiency

It is rather clear that you cannot merely publish content and have people find it instantly. You need to come up with content that can be easily spread. You can consider building an email list, have influential people spread your content, or having a trustworthy group of individuals for promoting your content. But with SEO, you can look for content that people are searching for, like People also ask:

googls people also ask
Also ask on google showing common searches

Places like Quora, online communities, questions needs answering. Implementing a strategy to use the current system and see how well your content can flow within the system.

3. Semantic Web + Structured Data + Schema.org

The traditional SEO techniques, such as keywords and backlinks, still work pretty well. However, for a SaaS, business speed and agility is critical. SEO is usually an overlooked channel for SaaS because it takes time for Google to adjust the way it perceives your website.

Google is becoming smarter. If you need confirmation, try now and search, ‘What is RankBrain?’

Since Google started to use AI to read human language, keywords and backlinks are losing a degree of relevance. Although they are still the basis for traditional SEO strategies; if you want to speed up the process, you have to produce content that can be transformed into data that Google can read, process, and interpret quickly. 

In short, you have to speak Google’s language. That is why instead of using only keywords for our on-page SEO strategy. Here’s what Google had to say about language and markup:

We’ve extended our support for schema.org vocabulary in JSON-LD syntax to new use cases: company logos and contacts, social profile links, events in the Knowledge Graph, the sitelinks search box, and event rich snippets. We’re working on expanding support to additional markup-powered features in the future.

These pages get connected and form a knowledge graph that Google loves. In essense, you need to create entities — which, in the context of semantic technologies, are pages that can be quickly processed and understood by search engines.

Here’s an example:

{ 
"@context":"http://schema.org",
"@id":"click-through_rate",
"@type":"Thing",
"description":"Click-through rate (CTR) is a way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign for a particular website as well as the effectiveness of an email campaign by the number of users that clicked on a specific link.",
"mainEntityOfPage":"https://seorankserp.com/wiki/click-through-rate/",
"name":"Click-through rate",
"alternateName":[ 
"CTR"
],
"sameAs":[ 
"http://rdf.freebase.com/ns/m.06jmb1",
"http://dbpedia.org/resource/Click-through_rate"
],
"url":"https://seorankserp.com/wiki/click-through-rate/"
},

Say you are in Mexico talking about CTR, the acronymn can mean two things: 1) Click through Rate or 2) CTR Scientific (Control Technical and Representations, SA de CV)

If you wrote an article about CTR, Google will need to crawl, define, learn, interpret and index. You might be aware of some keywords on Google Search Console which has nothing to do with your business. Well, it’s simply because crawling and indexing is quite a process. Using Schema.org, structured data, defining the terms, interlinking glossary to articles to better explain what we mean by CTR goes a long way. The more data crawlers have, the better and faster they can define and categorize your article.

CTR can also mean Crash™ Team Racing NitroFueledor Cardio-thoracic ratio. Maybe CTR was a mispelled acyronmn for Clinical & Translational Research Centers (CTRC). When the content is being interpreted, it will take the other snippets of data to distinguish what CTR really means. If you mention Google Analytics, metrics, Search Console, Impression, Rankings, etc, then they can define the word to really mean Click-Through Rate. Content then needs to provide similar keywords, keywords related, content that connects each word and purpose together. But of course, simply providing a JSON-LD vocabulary might help it to make more sense.

4. Building purpose

Most startups fail to think about the way in which their site is designed, build, and structured to result in the ultimate organic traffic and rates of conversions. It’s the growth hackers job to optimize for conversion, the developers methodology, and SEO is just the cherry on top. That might be due to the fact that a majority of the SaaS companies are founded by developers with technological know-how, but lack focuses on the target audience and their problems as well.

The developers do not wish to be associated with matters concerning the acquisition of the audience. The designing team thinks they would come to a standstill in the design of visual marketing contents.

Rather than thinking of pages for marketing such as a landing pages (that play a significant role in paid campaigns; however, they are often invaluable for SEO), think of the page types present on your site. Obviously, you got your about page, and home page amongst other necessary pages. But what about the persona, product, or demonstration pages relevant to different conversion stages?

Consider having a variety of taxonomies such as business verticals, services, FAQs, guides, blog posts, and pages optimized for conversion. Your site might be a single page, or you follow minimalism, but you are missing out on significant organic (non-paid) traffic. Each page must serve a purpose, to explain unique features, products, services, be it informative, educational, how-to, a hub, etc. Define the page and explain, separate and do not combine them. Elaborate to avoid creating confusion. You’ll need to come up with a nice site structure and navigation so you can provide information and better user experience. There’s a reason why Google likes breadcrumbs.

5.Subdomain or subfolder, which is better for SEO?

Move your blog from a subdomain to a subfolder. Most SaaS startups will use multiple subdomains for their app.example.com, blog.example.com, info.example.com. While there’s an ongoing debate about this topic among SEOs — I still see lots of companies using a subdomain to house their blog.

Google crawls, indexes, and ranks subfolders or subdomains exactly the same way

However, subdomain tends to gather keywords independently of your root URL. That means, if you are building keyword growth for your main domain, you will need to do another growth strategy for the subdomain.

As Andy Eliason says, “When you separate your website and blog, it creates two separate entities that need your attention.”

In other words, if you are trying to rank for the keyword “SEO marketing tool” with a page hosted on your subdomain, your main domain may not rank for it, and vice versa, a keyword accounting.yourdomain.com ranks for, your subdomain will not necessarily rank for. You will need to do massive internal linking to grab all the ranking juice from your subdomain to your main domain. 

If you’ve written some amazing content that most people are linking to, you will rank you subdomain blog.example.com rather than your main domain. External links and social shares on subdomain blog posts don’t have an effect on your main sites’ authority.

On top of this — internal linking is another big issue. Since your main site and subdomain blog are viewed as two separate sites, all the links between them are considered external links.

By not allowing your blog and website to work together as one, you decrease the SEO value of your main site and potentially lose traffic as a result.

You can research some studies that were done from sites who used to have subdomain and moved to the main domain if you have any doubts. Subfolders are the easier site structure to set up and understand as they are the same as setting up any other folder on a website. However, there are a few reasons why you would want a subdomain. Directing mobile users to m.maindomain.com for a more mobile friendly site. Or uk.maindomain.com rather than maindomain.com/uk/blog/title-here.

6. Optimizing pages with low CTRs for improvement

In case you have already begun working on improving CTR (Click-Through-Rates), targeting audience, writing, structuring and building audience-focused content, consistent creation of materials, consideration of templates and types of pages rather than single page, and content and brand promotion for the acquisition of backlinks to boost search engine rankings, then you are good to make the next step of search engine optimization; the real optimization. (you can breathe now)

How can you optimize what you lack though! Since you have been through the fishing lesson, it is now time to get actively involved in fishing.

Assuming your website consist of several pages, whereby the majority of them are explicitly targeted to specific branded keywords or phrases, then you can use Search Console by Google to determine the keywords or phrases which have helped your site rank better, but experience comparatively lower CTR. Such pages are prone to not ranking eventually; after all, they are not valuable to the audience.

Therefore, you need to determine the pages that are most relevant to the audience and work on them to improve the CTRs for you to generate more organic traffic.

Here’s an example of how you can understand what keywords can help increase your CTR and overall positioning of that article:

Query Clicks Impressions CTR Position
earned media examples 126 688 18.31% 1.06
examples of paid media 50 135 37.04% 1.13
paid media examples 49 320 15.31% 3.34
examples of earned media 45 203 22.17% 1.09
earned media 44 5195 0.85% 9.09
what is earned media 39 824 4.73% 8.58
paid media 23 1435 1.60% 14.41
earned media definition 19 403 4.71% 9.1

Earned Media is the lowest in CTR but the impression is really high compared to the rest of the keywords listed above. If you google search the keyword “earned media” you will noticed that the top results shows the actual definition. If this content page does not have the definition, then obviously, we won’t be able to rank for this keyword compared to the rest of the articles in that SERP.

Trying to improve on the definition compared with the competitors, or shoot for featured snippet, or better yet, whats the overall user intent? Wikipedia definition of the word is ranking number one, followed by examples of earned media. What other article types are ranking for this keyword and how can you provide better user experience or words so that they would rather click on yours? Maybe you should create another article with earned media examples instead of trying to optimize this so that we get a better CTR with the new article versus the current one. There are few ways to read the data and interpret to see what would be the best plan.

The primary thing about this strategy is the prioritization of keywords within your industry which are most relevant to your brand and most important to the targeted audience as you set aside the phrases or terms that are irrelevant. You might have ranked high on specific words in previous published contents, but with the passing of time, they might become inappropriate since they were focused on the wrong audience.

With data analysis using Google Search Console, it is now easy for you to evaluate and determine the reason why the click-through rates are way below what was anticipated.

7. Working together

Typically, whenever we talk of search engine optimization strategies, we discuss things to do with content creation and the optimization of web design among other essentialities. However, if you have a significant number of employees(often exceeding 20), then communicating tends to be difficult, and their perspectives differ. That inhibits innovation and efficiency in a company since the employees make decisions to the interest of their departments instead of the company in general.

The challenge extends to SEO because it is a joint effort from the overall organization which include;

  • Business,
  • Marketing,
  • Sales.
  • Production, and
  • Engineering,

For the SEO efforts to bear fruits, each of the above is necessary. Search engine optimization is likely to work best if you get everyone involved. Web development shouldn’t be the first decision maker, but work with the SEO department and see what makes more sense. Product launches shouldn’t be a surprise, yet many times customer support realizes that there’s a new feature only when a customer asks about it. Without preparing your customer support, you might end up having customers receive bad information and the resulting reviews can easily trigger your downfall. Also, SEO team working with customer support to drive customer reviews should be in sync, instead of two different departments doing things themselves. The basic thing is that establishing harmonious relationships is crucial for SEO efforts to succeed.

That translates to regularly educating the employees on the company’s SaaS SEO strategies, informing them on the need for SEO in every meeting, and continually informing them on the SEO achievements.

Breaking down the silos by creating stronger and more joint efforts amongst departments will work much more effectively as compared to the generation of extra backlinks, or the publishing of contents now and then.

In conclusion

SaaS (Software as a Service) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be considered to be amongst the most sustainable marketing effort you’ll not want to mess up.

Therefore, it is highly recommended for you to consider implementing those strategies, or hire the right SEO agency, which has a high potential of improving your SaaS Company’s search engine positioning and revenue generation.

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