SEO for SaaS - 12 Actionable Steps for Generating High-intent Traffic
November 2, 2022
Some people tend to see SEO as a quick getaway or a magic formula that they can use to be successful overnight. SEO is indeed the key to success, but it is neither magical nor quick. Especially for a SaaS business.
SaaS SEO revolves dominantly around content. In a SaaS SEO strategy, creating content that connects with the target audience at every stage of their buyer journey is the cornerstone. Most people do not look for a specific SaaS company to solve their problems. They scan the web for content that talks about their problem and its possible solutions. Then, they start to compare companies and read reviews.
That is why SEO for SaaS is a content-led strategy. To generate organic traffic and attract visitors, you publish and optimize your content. You use keywords, analyze your competitors, and talk to customers to rank at the top of SERPs related to your niche.
In this article, we cover 12 actionable steps to help you generate high-intent traffic on your website to grow your business.
Without further ado, let's begin with why you should prioritize SEO:
How Important Is SEO in a SaaS Business?
It is impossible to imagine a successful SaaS company without a solid SEO strategy. SaaS SEO—Search Engine Optimization—is the key driver behind growth.
Therefore, taking the right steps to reach and excel in your SEO goals is crucial. What is the secret behind a successful SEO strategy, then? The answer is not magical: SEO for SaaS consists of research, planning, trial and error. With the right SaaS SEO strategies, any company can achieve sustainable growth and attract loyal customers.
Let's look at how the right SEO strategy benefits your SaaS business:
1- Reduce Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Customer acquisition cost is one of the key metrics that determine your company's health. It indicates whether your company grows profitably. In other words, customer acquisition cost tells you if you spend more to acquire a customer than the amount they bring to your company.
If you actually spend more than you earn, then what is the point?
That's where SEO steps in. SaaS SEO helps you reduce CAC by attracting potential customers with high-quality content, using relevant keywords, search intent, and anticipating a person's search query. On top of that, SEO will help tweak or eliminate content that does not contribute to your search engine rankings and reduce your dependence on paid advertisement.
Investing in SaaS SEO is the most feasible solution. Mapping an effective content marketing strategy and creating valuable content with a high search volume will boost your SEO and increase your conversions in the long run.
Companies, like trends, come and go. In this digital age, your #1 responsibility should be creating brand awareness for your SaaS company so that you can build a loyal following. For that, SEO is the most efficient go-to strategy.
You can only make a name in your niche if you build connections with your audience and they trust you in return. The best way to establish authority is through creating consistent, relevant, and in-depth content for your website.
Consistency will increase exposure and in-depth content will boost your SEO authority.
Instead of targeting one broad keyword, SEO content marketing focuses on clustering and targeting different keywordsto rank on multiple pages. Combined with comprehensive blog content, these clusters help dominate your website's search rankings. This approach will boost your SEO authority and build a loyal fan base that will champion your products and services.
4- Increase Conversions
61% of B2B marketers stated that SEO and organic traffic generate more leads than any other marketing efforts.
You must have a solid search engine presence to attract potential buyers. When they search for a possible solution, higher rankings will influence their decision because people trust Google. That is why optimizing your website and content strategy will build authority first, and increase conversion rates second.
Having in-depth and resourceful content on your website that will educate and inspire potential customers will increase your chances of converting them into buying customers. They will subscribe to see more helpful content and this exposure will connect them to your business. In the long run, more subscribers mean more leads you can nurture.
Investing in SEO enables a better understanding of user intent and creating content to improve user experience so they return to purchase your products or services.
5- Get More Backlinks
SaaS SEO helps get more backlinks. And backlinks are the key to outranking your direct competitors. The higher you rank on the SERP, the more referring domain you have.
To get backlinks and improve link building, you must create high-quality and link-worthy content with actionable tips.
Most websites refrain from giving links to other sites' landing pages or feature pages. On the other hand, they are usually more than happy to give links to your valuable content because they can use them to build domain authority and prove their credibility in their niche.
So what makes a content link-worthy?
The main reasons SaaS SEO marketers and content writers give backlinks include:
Building credibility by citing reliable resources.
Giving additional valuable material to their readers.
Sharing examples and case studies.
Improving SEO relevance.
Optimizing your content for short-tail and long-tail keywords, developing a link building strategy, and providing comprehensive solutions for your target audience in your articles will make you rank higher for more search terms and attract backlinks.
Creating an SEO Strategy for SaaS
Step 1- Research
Before implementing the best SaaS SEO practices on your marketing funnel, it is important to gather and analyze research data relevant to your business.
Although some aspects overlap with traditional SEO efforts, SaaS business models are very specific, and creating an effective SEO strategy framework relies on conducting multiple research campaigns targeted at the unique challenges and user journeys of a SaaS company.
1.1 Market Research
If you're new to the SaaS SEO environment, it would be best to start with some market research instead of spreading yourself too thin by trying to keep up with all the trends.
Check out your niche's market and decide if SEO is the right strategy to begin with. If there's enough potential that suits your business goals, then the next step is determining and analyzing your competitors.
1.2 Competitor Analysis
SEO competitor analysis involves researching the elements of content a competitor uses, including keywords and links. It also involves identifying your business's and your competitors' strengths and weaknesses to map a detailed SEO strategy.
Competitor analysis helps you prioritize SEO tasks, determine the difficulty level to outrank your competitors in the SERPs, and boost your website traffic.
You can use Google's search bar or Ahrefs to run your research. Let's say you exclusively specialize in a SaaS customer service business and want to rank higher in SERPs with your content. There are two effective tools to identify your competitors: Google and Ahrefs.
While Ahrefs is a paid all-in-one SEO tool, Google is free. To see who ranks higher with their SaaS SEO content, type your niche on Google's search bar and note the websites:
You can use Ahref's keywords explorer tool and see your competitors as well:
We will detail keyword searches in a minute.
Once you identify your competitors, it will be easier to create intentional and inspirational content that will capture your target audience (and steal traffic from competitors too).
1.3 Talk to Customer-Facing Teams
No matter how they find your SaaS business, the one thing that will be common in all prospective customers is that they have a problem. Your top priority must be to show them that your solution is the best option to solve it. They have a need and you have the resources; you simply need to bridge the gap. SaaS SEO helps you put your product in front of these people.
Keep in touch with customer-facing teams to tailor a successful strategy. Understand the most commonly asked questions and be sympathetic to customers' reservations. Address their concerns and show your product in action.
Integrate frequently used terms and pain points to find ideas for your content. With the right content, moving people further into your sales funnel will be easier. Consider creating a user persona to target the right people for your business.
1.4 Talk to Your Customers
Talking to your customers is also a major point when creating an SEO strategy. The truth is that without listening to your customers for ideas and applying them, you will be only a software company in a sea of other software companies.
To lead your target customers through the marketing funnel—from the awareness stage to becoming a paying customer—your company must demonstrate that you are actively listening and adapting to meet potential users' needs.
Keep an eye on the channels (like Reddit, Quora, Linkedin, or Slack groups) that your potential users might be using and asking questions, and create SEO funnel content that will educate and encourage customers to take action. Ask for feedback regularly through your email list.
1.5 In-depth SEO Audits/Research
SEO audit refers to the process of analyzing how well your website performs compared to the best practices in your niche. It dives deep into your site to analyze all the factors that impact your ranking in SERPs and how you can improve the lacking areas. You can do two types of SEO audits for your website: technical and content SEO audits.
Technical SEO audits are designed to examine all aspects of your website. They focus on technical aspects that might prevent your content from ranking higher in SERPs and work pretty much the same way the search engines do. These audits check how well the website is built, whether the website passes the quality check when search engines are crawling and indexing it and identifying the steps to eliminate the problems along the way.
With a technical SEO audit, you can reveal which keywords your website ranks for in the SERPs and why, what are the technical SEO issues that must be fixed, and what you need to do to rank higher and generate more leads for your business.
Content audits for SaaS give you insight into how your content is performing and what you can do to improve it. While technical audits look at the website's performance as a whole, content audits highlight the content data.
These audits reveal whether your content is easy for search engines to crawl and index, which content performs well and which fails to drive organic traffic, which topics you can generate more content on, how to improve the on-page SEO of your content, etc.
To map a strategy, you need to study your and your competitors' SEO profile and the first go-to practice is keyword research.
Keyword researchprocess reveals the behavioral patterns of users where they are searching for information online. It helps you locate where to focus on to connect with potential customers and forms the basis for your SEO map.
Start with finding relevant topics for your SaaS business, then build a list of seed keywords that you will use to branch out later. These individual keywords will help generate a list of keywords that have high-intent. These keywords are potentially more commercial-driven, in other words, people who search for these keywords are more likely to make a purchase or complete a desired action. Therefore, they can also be seen as more competitive keywords.
Once you have a full list of keywords you want to rank higher in SERPs, it is time to produce the SEO content.
Step 2- Create Content
Content creation is the backbone of a strong SaaS SEO strategy. However, it is also one of the areas that require a lot of time, effort and research that it might be hard to keep up with other sides of your business. Therefore, you need to plan ahead and create a content calendar that will help you publish content consistently for your audience.
Evergreen SEO content also helps a lot to drive organic traffic without writing thousands of words every day or week. Evergreen content does not go out of date. It is always relevant to the readers with consistent traffic and interest. To find evergreen content topics, search keywords relevant to your niche and stay away from trendy topics.
Including SEO keywords and lists you curated earlier and avoiding duplicate content all work together to enhance your website's presence and recognizability by search engines.
2.1 Quality is key
Anyone can write anything these days. You do not need much to start a blog and write a handful of content. All you need to start is a computer with internet and some ideas. Well, this is not exactly true.
While it is easier than ever before to write, that does not mean that your content will be what readers are actively desiring or searching for. If you fail to answer their questions, clear their confusion or provide value they can use to take action, your content simply means nothing.
This is where search intent (also known as searcher intent) comes into the picture. Your content must meet the search intent criteria to rank in Google or any other search engine. And to rank higher, you need to understand how your audience makes a decision online.
Basically, search intent is the why behind a query. Why did that person do this search? Do they want to make a purchase or gather more information about the subject?
The search intent is your milestone to relevancy. It aligns your content with what Google sees as useful and boosts your SEO authority. Your competitors are aware of this fact too. That is why you need to create better content than all your competitors.
In other words, you need to leverage search intent to outrank other businesses in your niche with quality content. Define the type of content you want to write and write each piece of content with why in your mind and format your content accordingly, using lists, comparisons or guides.
2.2 Think about information gain
As we mentioned above, writing is fairly easy. However, intentional content creation is not. This includes producing content with information gain. Information gain is essentially adding new information or value to the already existing content on the internet, like introducing a new angle to solve a problem, a new method to try, a new metric to track, etc.
If you are just repeating what others are saying and do not contribute to the discussion, your content might rank lower. To put it in other words, Google rewards different and better content. As Law states, instead of the outdated "Winner Takes All" system, many other articles have chances of "winning" at different scales.
So how do you win?
Approach your content from different perspectives. What can you contribute, with a particular type of content, to the previous discussion? Analyze the topic further, add a new step or challenge an opposing idea, or feature more interactive content on the topic.
2.3 Expand the team for better and faster production
It is hard to do all the heavy lifting when you are knee-deep in multiple SaaS SEO projects. Creating value-packed and fresh content takes time—lots of hours to brainstorm, research, and write.
At some point, you will need additional team members to not sacrifice your mental health or suffer the quality of your content. You can consider hiring new talents and expanding your team for better and faster production.
The first few months can be slow because you will be onboarding new hires and framing your SEO strategy for them. The creation process then gets quicker as you exchange ideas and try new methods with your team.
Step 3- Improve Your Authority
After you establish a strategy and create compelling content, you need to improve your SEO authority to rank higher at your target keywords.
A holistic SEO roadmap is built around consistent content, internal linking and building backlinks from other strong websites to increase your traffic.
3.1 Consistently publish content around your niche
Building trust and establishing an authority is like a muscle: The more you use it, the better results you get. Just like regular exercise strengthens your muscles, consistently publishing content in your niche states your domain authority.
Consider this: If you write and publish content with valuable tips and insights consistently, you will get high-quality backlinks easier and more people will be rushing to your website for information. Because their trusted websites cited you as a reliable and informative source.
However, it is important to take care of yourself as well. Plan and adjust your content calendar to avoid burnout and minimize the loss you would experience from irregular posting intervals.
3.2 Internal linking is key
When optimizing your SaaS SEO strategy, you cannot leave internal links out. An internal link goes from one page from your website to another page on your website. Search engines get a better idea about your website's structure thanks to internal links, and Google uses this data to rank your website better. Internal links are good for establishing a hierarchy on your website too.
You can use internal links to refer to other useful content on your website. These types of links are called contextual links. Contextual links increase the time users spend on your website and help search engines determine its value.
You can incorporate them into your content with anchor texts. Users can see the anchor text and click on it. But you need to avoid keyword stuffing when placing anchor texts in your content. Google is smart enough to understand that your anchor texts's link refers to a single keyword, so place anchor texts naturally within your content.
3.3 Get your content published on strong domains
One of the greatest ways to showcase your writing skills and improve your SEO is guest blogging. Although some believe that it is dead, guest blogging is actually still alive and can be very effective for your business.
You can write articles on your business or other niches and generate value for other brands' audiences. Make sure to choose the right websites with high domain authority. You can use Ahrefs and Moz to track a website's domain authority.
The example has a 71 domain rating score out of 100 on Ahrefs, thus would make a good candidate for guest posts.
When approaching other businesses and writing posts, be authentic and contribute to the discussion rather than coming across as spammy and intrusive.
Step 4- Rank and Repeat
You are not done once you get a ranking. In fact, you are only beginning. You should savor the moment because your hard work paid off but keep in mind that Google rankings are extremely volatile and competitive. Your SEO strategy must be up-to-date, meaning that your content must be up-to-date.
You should improve and refresh your content the moment you see a drop in traffic or rankings. Replace the dated data or tips in your articles. Revising your content and keeping the value in it will help you get that #1 spot.
If you are starting from scratch, it can take some time to generate organic traffic. Brainstorming for content ideas, producing the content, editing and publishing it while monitoring your traffic can be overwhelming. However, creating a solid SEO strategy for your SaaS business ultimately pays off. You start to build momentum as long as you are consistent.
Regularly publishing and revising your content helps search engines classify your website and by building up your valuable content backlog, you will start to get backlinks from other people.
Ranking higher in SERPs can be a challenge for established websites with a decent amount of traffic can be hard. Trust the SEO process, give value, inspire and repeat. And as your business grows, you can hire new people to help with your SEO and content strategy.