SEO for SaaS: The SEO strategies for SaaS companies you should be using
The software as a service (SaaS) space is becoming increasingly competitive, which is no surprise at a time when everything is going digital. However, it’s not enough to simply create a fantastic product and launch it — you’ll need to put some serious work into getting it in front of the right people if your business is going to succeed.
To attract and keep a strong customer base, it’s vital that you get ahead of your competition, and stay there. Fortunately, the right SEO strategy will be able to help you do just that. Climbing the most relevant search engine results pages certainly isn’t easy, though, and it can take a great deal of time and effort before you’ll start to reap the rewards, especially if you haven’t necessarily been following SEO best practices until now.
So, to help give you an idea of the steps you’ll need to take to improve your search engine rankings and reach your ideal customers, we’ve put together this detailed guide to SaaS website SEO. Read on to find out more.
What is SaaS SEO?
“SEO” stands for search engine optimisation — it’s an area of digital marketing that involves taking steps to improve your rankings on the most relevant results pages of search engines like Google. This can then boost the organic traffic of your SaaS business’s website. And, with the right strategy, this traffic should convert into a lot more sales for your company.
Although a lot of SaaS companies primarily rely on the likes of PPC marketing, social media adverts, and affiliate marketing to grow their customer bases in the beginning, the costs of this can become very high very quickly. Plus, the life cycle of these campaigns tend to be quite short, which means you won’t always get the return on your investment that you’re looking for. And it’s also worth noting that, if you’re ever in a position where you need to stop or reduce your paid advertising, your traffic and sales will drop off, so it’s not a particularly sustainable approach to take.
With SEO, the results may take longer to show but, once they start to, you can be confident that they’ll last. It’s a fantastic approach for driving consistent traffic and generating exponential organic growth. This is why so many SaaS businesses are beginning to invest more and more in their SEO strategies — and, if you don’t, you’ll risk being left behind.
While most SEO strategies will include some of the same pillars and tactics, improving the online visibility of companies like yours also takes a particular approach. So, it’s important that you work with a specialist SaaS SEO consultant to reach your goals. They will be able to help you reach the exact people who are already looking for what you’re selling, and turn them into enthusiastic and loyal customers who will recommend your services to their friends and colleagues.
Why is SEO for SaaS companies so important?
We’ve already touched on why paid advertising, affiliate marketing, and the like aren’t the most sustainable forms of promotion for a SaaS business. But, let’s go into more detail about why SEO is well worth investing your time, money, and attention into.
SEO can provide predictable and scalable growth for SaaS businesses
Although SEO is complicated and it can take time for the results of a strategy to show, it does tend to be quite predictable — especially compared to alternative techniques like PPC marketing.
Of course, the amounts of organic traffic SaaS websites will attract can differ wildly, depending on where you started, how big your target audience is, and which tactics you prioritise. But patterns in search traffic can typically be predicted, and someone particularly experienced in SaaS SEO consulting should be able to give you a good idea of what you can expect to achieve.
A strong SEO strategy can also provide you with exponential results when it comes to improving your online visibility. This is because the impact will compound over time and, once you have a strong SEO foundation, even the smallest of tweaks to your content, website structure, or off-site efforts can have a huge effect.
SEO will help you stand out against the competition
The SaaS space is becoming increasingly competitive all of the time, so you can’t afford to miss any opportunities to stand out from your competition. And, as search engines are the first place people go to find a solution to a particular problem they’re having, it’s vital that you work hard to improve your rankings on the most relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).
Simply creating a good piece of content or throwing a handful of keywords into the copy on your landing pages won’t be enough to help you stand out from the crowd, though. You’re going to need an all-encompassing SEO strategy — ideally devised by an expert in SEO for SaaS companies — to truly help you climb to the top of the right SERPs and reach the most suitable people who are going to be interested in paying for your services.
SEO for SaaS companies is cost-effective in the long run
Cost is always going to be a primary focus of business owners when considering a new marketing channel — and this is especially true when it comes to SEO for SaaS startups, as your budget is likely to be particularly tight when you’re first setting up.
While getting SEO help from an experienced professional isn’t necessarily cheap, the compounding impact of a good strategy means that your ROI will increase exponentially over time. And, even if you ever find yourself in a position where you need to pause your SEO work for a while, you’ll still be able to continue reaping the rewards of your past efforts. This is not the case for other popular acquisition channels, such as pay-per-click advertising and affiliate marketing campaigns.
Now, let’s take a look at the most prominent techniques you’ll want to use to improve the search engine rankings of your SaaS business’s website and reach your perfect audience.
What are the SaaS SEO strategies your business needs to be using?
While a lot of SEO strategies will have similar pillars, there are specific techniques that will typically provide you with the most fruitful results in the SaaS space. Here, we’ll take a look at how we help our SaaS clients to reach their goals through SEO at New Horizon. We’ll discuss what kinds of approaches are tried and tested, what you need to consider when executing them, and why it’s always worth enlisting the help of an SEO agency for SaaS companies to do all of the hard work for you.
Setting and monitoring KPIs for SaaS SEO
Of course, when investing in anything for your business, you’ll want to be able to track the impact that it’s having so you can tell whether you’re getting a good ROI or if you need to change tack. This is why the most important step in devising any SEO strategy for a SaaS company is to decide on the KPIs you’re most interested in tracking, and ensure you keep a close eye on your SEO progress with these in mind.
If you’re unclear about what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll simply be working blind and won’t know whether you’re getting the results you want. It isn’t enough to set broad goals like “make more sales”, either — you need to get as specific as possible to ensure setting your aims is actually helpful.
We would always recommend setting SMART goals — this stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. So, a common goal we set for SaaS companies is something along the lines of “we want to increase this business’s monthly recurring revenue by £200,000 in the next year”. The next step is to then decide on the KPIs you’re going to track to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
When working on campaigns for SaaS clients, we typically track a wide range of different KPIs, such as traffic, impressions, search engine rankings, marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, and monthly recurring revenue. Not only does this allow us to monitor our results and tweak our strategies accordingly, but it also helps to show our customers exactly what is being done with their money.
Identifying your competitors and determining what works well for them
Next, because the main goal of SEO is to help you rise above the competition on the SERPs and secure more customers, it’s important that you look into what everyone else is doing. This can then help you to build on what they’re doing well, and avoid anything that isn’t getting them the results you want. The better you understand the strategies they’re using, the more prepared you’ll be to go into battle with them.
In the SaaS space, your direct competitors will be other businesses who serve the same purpose and that are aiming to solve the same problem(s) as you, although their softwares might offer slightly different features to yours. Plus, you’ll have indirect competitors — their products will be fundamentally different to yours, but will still address the same pain points.
You’ll want to look at details like which of your competitors’ web pages are attracting the most organic traffic, which keywords they’re currently ranking for, what kinds of content they typically publish, what their backlink profiles look like, and whether there are any ranking opportunities they’re currently neglecting to target. A seasoned SaaS SEO professional will then be able to use this information to start shaping your roadmap to success on the SERPs.
Keyword research for SaaS companies
If you’ve heard of SEO before, it’s likely you’ve also heard of keyword research. Essentially, it involves working out what your target audience tends to type into search engines like Google when looking for products, services, or content that you offer on your website. You then need to decipher what the search intent is behind all of these searches and therefore which specific web pages you need to be targeting particular keywords on.
Finding top of the funnel keywords
Top of the funnel keywords are the phrases people might use when they first discover your business and what it does. People at the top of your sales funnel typically know they have a particular problem, but might not know how to solve it or that you have the solution. To reach people at the very beginning of their buying journeys, top of the funnel keywords need to be a huge focus of your SEO strategy.
To best identify the keywords people are typing into Google at the very beginning of their buying journeys, we would recommend putting together a list of problems that you know your ideal clients have and that you can solve. Consider what questions they might have, the challenges they’re facing, and what kinds of content topics are sure to appeal to your ideal clients.
Once you have this list, you can use a specialist keyword research tool to pick out the relevant phrases that are most commonly being used by your target audience at the top of the funnel. This may also throw up some opportunities that you hadn’t even considered before.
When you’ve created a comprehensive list of keywords that you know your target audience is likely to be typing into search engines at the beginning of their buying journeys, the next step will be to devise a content strategy that addresses them all. Just remember that, at this point, your ultimate goal is to move people further into your sales funnel so they’re closer to buying from you. So, whenever you create a piece of informational content to attract your ideal audience and help them out, you should also introduce them to what you sell and how it can solve the exact problem they’re currently dealing with. This is how you can not only bring more people to your website, but also turn them into full-fledged customers.
Finding middle of the funnel keywords
Once a prospective customer understands that a solution to their issue exists, but before they’ve started to properly explore their options, you’ll need to target them with middle of the funnel keywords. These will be phrases people are likely to use when they’re looking for the perfect SaaS option to suit their needs.
At this point, prospective customers will be intending to make a purchase, but they won’t know who to spend their money with just yet. To catch people at this point, you’ll want to target keywords related to the type of product you offer, and what kinds of features it has. So, for instance, if you’ve created an email marketing platform, you could target middle of the funnel keywords like “email marketing tool”, “best email marketing software”, and “email marketing automation”.
Finding bottom of the funnel keywords
Finally, anyone at the bottom of your sales funnel will be at the point where they’re trying to make a final decision about where to spend their money. So, you’ll need to know which keywords to target to attract these people to your website and push them over the line.
People at this stage will know that solutions exist to solve their problem, they’ll know that you — among others — can address their issue, and they’ll have an idea of exactly what they need. They’re likely to just be weighing up some similar options to see what is going to satisfy their requirements the best.
To capture people here, you may wish to target more branded keywords, so people who are already considering you can find your website quickly and easily. It’s also worth targeting keywords that include words or phrases like “pricing”, “reviews”, “vs [competitor name]”, and “comparison” to direct people to the exact content they need.
Keyword research and optimisation can take a great deal of time and energy so, if you can afford it, we would always recommend hiring a specialist agency to help with this. They’ll know how to incorporate the right keywords into the most appropriate pages of your website, and how to do it naturally so search engines don’t penalise your business for trying to trick their algorithms. There truly is an art to keyword targeting, and experienced professionals will be able to help you get the best results.
On-page SEO for SaaS businesses
Whenever you hear experts discuss SEO, you might notice that they talk about on-page and off-page techniques. As you might have guessed, on-page SEO encapsulates anything you do on your actual website to influence your search engine rankings, while off-page SEO refers to any off-site techniques — such as link building — that you choose to use.
When working on your on-page SEO, you’ll need to focus on things like optimising your title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, content headings, body content, and more with your chosen keywords.
Optimising your website’s images is also an underrated SEO technique that can really pay off. This will typically involve giving your image files keyword-rich names and also adding descriptive alt text that’s properly optimised for search. Compressing your images is a good idea, too, because it will help your web pages to load more quickly, improving the user experience, which will appeal to search engines like Google.
Another incredibly important element of on-page SEO involves adding relevant internal and external links to your content. Internal links help to tell Google which pages are related, and what the hierarchical structure of your website is like, so the search engine will find it easier to identify your most important pages and therefore which ones it should rank the highest. Using keyword-rich anchor text can also provide search engine crawlers with more context about what people will find on your website, which can help them to rank your website more appropriately for the right queries.
On the other hand, relevant external links will show that your content is well-researched, and will also provide internet users with a better experience if they want to get more information about a topic you’ve written about. Essentially, the better you serve your audience, the more confident search engines will feel about promoting your business.
SaaS technical SEO
If you don’t get your website’s technical SEO right, you’ll find it impossible to get the results you want from any of the other tactics you use. So, to build a strong foundation that you can build on, you need to ensure you have the basics down.
Technical SEO involves making sure that search engines can properly index and crawl your site. If they are unable to do this, you’ll find it impossible to rank. But, what exactly do you need to do?
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you can control how search engines crawl your website using its robots.txt file. This contains all of the information that tells search engines which pages to crawl and which ones to avoid. You can also check and monitor the crawl activity of your website using Google Search Console’s Crawl Stats report.
You’ll want to ensure that all of your relevant web pages have been indexed, too, otherwise they won’t appear in Google’s search results. To check the indexing of individual pages, you can use the “URL inspection” tool in Google Search Console, while Ahrefs or Semrush will allow you to check for indexed pages in bulk.
There are lots of other steps you can take to ensure your technical SEO is up to scratch, too. For instance, if you’ve changed any of your website’s URLs, it’s important that you set up 301 redirects so you don’t lose any of the external links pointing to those pages. Plus, you may wish to use Schema Markup to help search engines better understand the content you’re publishing. This is essentially a type of code that you can use to provide Google with more context — such as about whether you’ve published a recipe, an article, or news about an event. This can make it much easier for Google to display your website in relevant rich snippets, too, increasing the chances of you reaching more of your ideal audience.
Focusing on improving your website’s overall user experience is also a huge part of boosting your technical SEO. This is because Google pays close attention to page experience signals, which are essentially factors that help the search engine to determine whether users will enjoy their time on your website. These factors include whether your website has been secured with an SSL certificate, how mobile-friendly it is, and whether there are any intrusive pop-ups that could become irritating.
There’s a lot involved in getting your technical SEO right, but it’s well worth the effort as it will have a huge impact on your SaaS business’s website’s success on the SERPs.
Content marketing for SaaS companies
Every B2B SaaS SEO strategy needs to have an element of content marketing. This is because it provides you with more chances to target top of the funnel keywords, it will demonstrate your expertise and authority, winning the trust of search engines and customers alike, and it will give you additional internal and external linking opportunities, among other reasons.
Content marketing is also particularly important in the SaaS field, because the people you’re trying to target are likely to be interested in high-quality thought-leadership content. The technique is already dominating the space so, if you don’t invest your time and energy into publishing helpful and well-researched articles that genuinely help your ideal customers, you’ll struggle to compete with similar companies on the SERPs.
Content marketing isn’t just for attracting the right people to your website, either — it’s also an incredibly important tool for converting them into customers once they’re there. You can use it to explain why your tool is suitable for their needs, what helps you to stand out from the competition, and what they can expect from you, so they make the right decision.
Another reason why SaaS companies need to rely so heavily on content marketing is that you really need to build strong relationships with your customers, as you’ll want to keep their business for the long run. Essentially, you aren’t just marketing a product — you also need to demonstrate the support your team is going to provide along the way. And regularly publishing comprehensive content that genuinely addresses common pain points and shows that you truly understand your target market will help you to earn their confidence.
How to devise an effective SaaS content marketing strategy
A lot of the techniques we’ve already gone into detail about will help you to devise a very effective content marketing strategy for your SaaS business. Of course, you’ll need to deeply understand your target market, the challenges they’re facing, the questions they need the answers to, and what they’ll ultimately be coming to you for. This understanding should then be the foundation that you build your content strategy on.
Keyword and competitor research will also give you a lot of helpful information that you can then use to shape your strategy. These techniques will tell you what’s working for your competitors, what you can do better, what your ideal customers are already typing into search engines, and essentially what people actually want to read about.
Remember that you can’t just publish excellent content and expect the right people to stumble across it, either — you need to have a content promotion plan, too. Make sure you’re regularly sharing all of your blog or knowledge hub content on social media, through your email newsletters, and by internally linking to it from other pages of your website. Especially in the early days, you will need to work to get eyes on your content, but more people will begin to discover it organically as time goes on.
Link building for SaaS companies
The final essential element of any SaaS SEO strategy is link building. This involves giving other high-quality websites a reason to link to yours. It will then signal to Google that your business is trustworthy and a source of great products, services, and content, so the search engine feels more comfortable promoting you.
As awareness of your brand grows and you earn more authority in your field, it’s likely you’ll find more and more publications linking to your website organically. But, at least to begin with, you’ll need to carry out some cold outreach to get the ball rolling.
For instance, if you’ve recently conducted your own study and published the findings, you could put together a press release about this that includes a link to the full content on your blog. Then, you could send it out to relevant editors, writers, publications, and websites who may cover related topics and link to your piece in them. You could also offer expert quotes to journalists in exchange for a link, or simply reach out to website owners who have already written content relevant to your niche and ask them to link to an article on your website to provide helpful further reading.
There may even be instances where your business has already been mentioned by others online, but without a link back to your website. Finding these is one of the easiest ways to secure more backlinks, because editors will often be open to adding one to their existing content — especially because it can also benefit their audiences if they would like to learn more about you quickly and easily.
It’s important to remember that the best backlinks don’t simply benefit your SEO, too — they should also provide you with relevant referral traffic and even sales. This means it’s vital that you don’t simply build any old links. Instead, make sure you’re targeting high-quality and popular websites with audiences that are likely to be genuinely interested in what you’re selling. This is going to get you the best, well-rounded results.
How can our SaaS SEO agency help you reach your goals?
As you have probably gathered by now, SEO takes a lot of time and energy, which you’re unlikely to have a surplus of when running your own SaaS business. But don’t worry — we’re here to help!
Here at New Horizon, we have a team of SEO marketing experts who have a lot of experience of working with SaaS company owners just like you to reach their goals. From conducting all of the necessary keyword research to ensuring your technical SEO is in great shape and creating the content your ideal customers genuinely want to see, we can do it all!
If you’re looking to improve your online visibility through SEO but simply don’t have the time or skills to get the results you’re looking for, let us support you. Get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your needs, explain more about how we can help you, and get started on building the SEO strategy that will grow your business exponentially.
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