Table of Contents
- Is SEO different for SaaS companies?
- How important is SEO for SaaS companies?
- The multichannel nature of SEO
- Content Optimization for SaaS companies: practical advice
- Optimizing your SaaS website for SEO: best practices
- Off-site SEO for SaaS businesses
- Measuring the success of your SEO strategies for SaaS companies
Is SEO different for SaaS companies?
While the core principles of SEO apply to all businesses, there are certain unique challenges and opportunities for SaaS companies. This requires a special approach to SEO, along with a thorough industry keyword research.
SaaS stands for Software as a Service, and refers to an increasingly popular business model, in which software developers offer applications that are provided as a service to customers, usually sold on a subscription basis. In the SaaS model, users usually don’t have to install or maintain software on their own computers or servers, instead using a cloud-hosted app that’s accessed through a web browser or dedicated application.
These fundamental changes force SEO specialists to tailor their approach to on-site and off-site optimization, focusing on the specific business needs of SaaS companies.
They often operate in highly competitive markets, with many competitors offering similar solutions, making it crucial to differentiate their brands and products/services from their rivals through a solid SEO strategy. SaaS targets specific types of customers, with searchers who are often already familiar with this type of software and are ready to make a purchase, searching for the best quality to price ratio.
The most difficult challenge in SaaS SEO, however, might be the nature of SaaS companies’ business model. Unlike most traditional businesses, many SaaS companies don’t rely on one-time purchases and need to continually attract new customers and retain existing ones to maintain a steady revenue stream. This means that an effective SEO strategy needs to focus on not only attracting new leads, but also nurturing existing ones.
While e-commerce companies often aim to drive traffic to a product page or their storefronts, SaaS companies usually strive to direct traffic to a landing page, where potential clients can access a free trial or a demo version of their software. Still, despite the differences between SaaS SEO and SEO for other types of businesses, ranking factors for search engines remain the same, demanding high-quality, unique content, a well-performing website, and effective backlinking. The main differences are the keywords that SaaS companies want to target, which will also depend on the specific type of software provided and the target audience.
How important is SEO for SaaS companies?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a practice of optimizing your website and content to improve its visibility and positioning in search engine results pages (SERPs). The ultimate goal of SEO is to make your website more relevant and attractive to search engines, boosting your ranking and driving more traffic to the site.
SEO professionals use a range of tactics to boost a website’s ranking, including on-page SEO (optimizing your content, meta tags, URLs, etc.), off-page SEO (including link building), and technical SEO (improving site speed, mobile responsiveness, data structure, sitemaps, and so on).
SEO is critical for the success of any SaaS company. According to a buyer behavior study performed by Demand Gen in 2020, 91% of B2B buyers begin their purchasing journey with an online search. Furthermore, 50% of B2B buyers say they conduct research for more than half of their online purchases. This highlights the importance of search engine ranking for SaaS companies, many of which operate on a strictly B2B model. If your content isn’t properly optimized, you could be missing out on a significant number of potential customers.
Building brand awareness and establishing your SaaS business as a trusted authority in the industry can be both facilitated with proper SaaS SEO. Optimizing your website for search engines means creating a more seamless user experience, increasing your online visibility, and attracting more high-quality leads that are more likely to convert into paying customers.
Reducing Cost Per Acquisition with effective SEO
CPA, or cost per acquisition, is an important business metric that measures the cost of each acquired conversion. By improving your SEO strategy and boosting your SERP ranking, you can drive organic search traffic to your website and reduce your reliance on paid advertising, which is often expensive in such a highly competitive market as SaaS.
Since SEO mainly targets users who are actively searching for a solution to their problem (by using high-intent keywords), it highly increases the average quality and amount of your leads, helping you reduce your overall CPA and increase your return on investment (ROI) from your marketing efforts.
SaaS SEO also involves improving user experience on the website, making it more accessible and easier to navigate, which can translate into more conversions and lower bounce rate. By building a strong backlink profile, SEO can also improve a website’s authority and credibility, boosting the search engine rankings and further building brand awareness, in addition to increasing traffic.
The multichannel nature of SEO
You need to have a comprehensive SEO strategy that interacts with multiple channels to maximize visibility and reach; optimizing your website content alone won’t beat your competition. Optimizations of the website done for SEO can be also used for other marketing channels, including your social media pages and email marketing efforts. To get the most value out of your content, consider where else it might be fitting to post - even if it doesn’t directly influence your overall SEO strategy, you’ll still be promoting your brand to potential customers.
B2B SaaS companies can benefit from focusing on building a strong online presence across all channels that your target audience is active on. This could include creating valuable content on your blog, engaging with your audience on social media, and building high-quality backlinks that lead people to your website. By leveraging multiple channels, you can compare each one’s profitability, allowing you to improve the efficiency of your marketing efforts.
Content Optimization for SaaS companies: practical advice
Your content is the backbone of any effective SaaS SEO strategy, perhaps even more so for SaaS businesses. As we mentioned earlier, SaaS companies typically offer non-standard products, accessed through a unique business model. This is where content can help - by creating high-quality, informative, and overall valuable content, you can educate your target audience about your product and establish your SaaS business as a trusted authority in the field.
Optimizing content with the Funnel in mind
When creating content for your SaaS company, refer to the purchase funnel when planning your content marketing strategy. The purchase funnel, also known as the marketing funnel and sales funnel, is a framework that describes the customer journey from awareness to purchase. When it comes to SEO, different page types at different funnel levels will require unique keywords for efficient positioning. A blog post, for example, will include a different set of keywords than a product landing page. By creating content that is tailored to each stage of the funnel, you can better engage with your target audience and help them move towards purchase.
At the top of the funnel, we want to create content that raises awareness about your product, and will be the first contact a potential customer has with your brand. Since most SaaS leads begin with an online search, we want to make sure our content hits the right keywords. This includes blog posts, guides, and various other free resources that focus on problem-solving.. At this level, users are looking for professional advice or solutions to solve their issue.If your product is, for example, a tool for automating email marketing, consider creating optimized blog content on how to write sales emails, linking to your product as a solution.
In the middle of the funnel, our leads already express interest in our product or service, and possibly consider purchasing. Here, we want to establish our SaaS company as a trusted authority in the industry, showcasing the offer and how it solves the problems our leads have searched for. At this level, our users are looking for a specific solution to a problem they have already identified. Your product and service landing pages will be the target of SEO optimization in the middle of the funnel.
At the bottom, we want to convince our leads to finalize the purchase and close the deal. Landing pages with demos, free trials, and testimonials are effective ways to demonstrate the value of your product and provide proof of its effectiveness. At this level, user experience is especially important, as clunky UX during purchasing can cause abandoned carts and increase our bounce rate. This also includes optimizations for branded queries where the search intent is clear, like HubSpot pricing or Salesforce integrations of each specific landing page.
Keyword research for SaaS companies
Keyword strategy is a critical aspect of creating content for SaaS companies. Keyword research involves identifying essential keywords and phrases that your target audience is most likely to search for that are relevant to your product or service. We want to incorporate these keywords seamlessly into our content to improve our search engine rankings - but remember to avoid overstuffing your content with keywords and having them unnaturally stand out from the text, since this can harm your SaaS SEO efforts.
An effective way to approach the keyword research process for SaaS companies is to focus on long-tail keywords, attracting highly relevant traffic to our website that is more likely to convert into paying customers. Since long-tail target keywords are more specific, they can help you tailor your content to your specific audience’s needs and desires, instead of just targeting the broader audience of general SaaS users.
High-intent, decision-based keywords should be saved for specific product or service pages, instead of blog posts, for the best results. When searching for keywords, don’t focus too much on keyword volume. Instead, analyze your competitors and see what works for your industry specifically.
Hiring an SEO agency or a freelance copywriter for short-term engagement
If you don’t have the time or resources to optimize your SaaS company’s content yourself, assembling an in-house SEO team, consider hiring an SEO agency or a freelance copywriter. Experience professionals can provide a fresh perspective and expert knowledge to help you create high-quality, engaging and optimized content that resonates with your target audience. When selecting an agency or writer, look for experience in the SaaS industry, a proven track record of delivering results, and a deep understanding of the best SEO practices - just like WhitePress!
Optimizing your SaaS website for SEO: best practices
Depending on your goals, your SEO strategy will aim to optimize different types of pages, with SaaS companies most often focusing on positioning their landing pages rather than articles and guides. Optimizations for SaaS can have many aspects, all of which require your attention to make the overall strategy effective. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most effective on-page SEO techniques to use:
- Website structure: Making sure that your website has a clean and easy to navigate website structure is key to optimizing your website for SEO. Use descriptive URLs and headings to make sure search engines can understand your content easily.
- Site speed: A fast-loading website can contribute to both user experience and SEO. Make sure that your website loads quickly, and optimize your images and code to reduce load times. Data restructuring might also be worth considering.
- Use high-quality keywords: Adding high search volume target keywords into your content and metadata can improve your SERPs rankings, but avoid keyword stuffing.
- Don’t forget about internal linking: Linking internally between relevant pages within your website can help search engines understand the structure of the site and the importance of each page - and it also makes it easier to navigate for actual users.
Off-site SEO for SaaS businesses
Not all SaaS SEO techniques revolve around your own site - off-site SEO refers to all optimization techniques that are used outside your page to drive traffic to your website and improve your rankings, including link building and building brand awareness effectively.
Building high-quality backlinks is key for SaaS companies, since they are a critical ranking factor for search engines. Not all backlinks are equal - links from relevant and authoritative websites from your industry will contribute to your SERP positioning much more than generic, low-quality backlinks (which might harm it).
Social media can also be an effective way to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. Share your content on social media platforms and engage with your audience to build relationships and establish your SaaS company as the leader of your industry.
Reclaiming your lost links can also help improve your marketing efforts. If you’ve recently redesigned your website, migrated to a new domain, or experienced a technical issue, you may have lost valuable backlinks. To reclaim these links, start by identifying the missing links (you can use a tool like Ahrefs or Majestic), and reach out to the website owners, asking them to update the links with your new URLs. This simple tactic can help you regain lost link equity and improve your SaaS website’s overall SEO performance.
The internet is rich in articles like “Top 10 SaaS apps”, or “Most Promising SaaS Companies in 202X”. It might be worth getting into some of these rankings, adding valuable backlinks to your SEO and increasing your referral traffic - don’t be afraid to reach out to the authors of these articles and suggest adding your link to the list.
Leveraging the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) service can also significantly enhance the link-building efforts and boost the brand awareness of a SaaS company. When your company experts contribute valuable insights and quotes, it not only increases your online presence but also establishes your company's E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness). Moreover, being featured in industry-related articles or news stories can solidify your company's position as a thought leader in the niche, aiding in the creation of a strong and credible brand image.
Measuring the success of your SEO strategies for SaaS companies
Depending on the specific business goals of your SEO strategy, tracking its performance might involve different metrics. Let’s consider some of the most important SEO metrics for SaaS companies.
Organic traffic is perhaps the most common and most telling metric, allowing you to monitor your website’s visitors and track any changes over time. This will tell you how effective your efforts are in bringing new potential customers to your website.
Track target keyword rankings to see how well your website is ranked for specific keywords and phrases. If your website underperforms for some of the essential keywords, consider shifting your content marketing efforts to include them. The number and quality of your backlinks are also worth tracking and comparing how your backlink profile changes over time.
Conversion rates can help you determine how well your SaaS SEO strategy is actually driving revenue for your business. They are a useful metric to track, and along with the other metrics we’ve mentioned, will help you identify areas for improvement and adjust your SEO strategies for optimal results.
SaaS companies monitor their key financial metrics, such as Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), Churn, and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). These metrics can provide a clear picture of your business's financial health and customer retention success.
SEO efforts can be verified against these metrics by tracking how much of your organic traffic converts into paying customers, and subsequently, how these customers contribute to your MRR or ARR. Additionally, by analyzing the behavior of organic visitors, you can infer the impact of your SEO strategy on customer retention and churn rate. SEO can also potentially increase the CLTV by attracting higher-quality leads that stay subscribed for longer periods. In essence, a successful SEO strategy for a SaaS company should reflect positively in these core business metrics, signifying not just increased traffic, but improved customer acquisition, retention, and revenue generation.