Demand for software-as-a-service (SaaS) is growing at a rapid pace with no sign of slowing down. As the industry grows to meet this demand, SEO for SaaS is becoming more important than ever for companies that want to remain visible and competitive in their space.
Companies in the SaaS industry already depend more on their digital marketing efforts than others since they live almost exclusively online. There are no physical products or brick-and-mortar retail spaces where customers wander in and products can sell themselves.
A strong SEO strategy that drives brand visibility, industry authority, and organic web traffic is critical to SaaS content marketing success. We created the following checklist so you can be sure you never miss an SEO essential.
- SaaS brands should align keyword research with a strong funnel marketing strategy to reach potential customers at every stage of the buyer journey.
- Creating pain-point content engages your customer by demonstrating how you can solve their problems.
- Technical SEO is essential so that users and search engines can intuitively navigate your website.
- Search engine algorithms look for backlinks as a factor to determine brand authority.
- High-value lead magnets help turn web traffic into leads and conversions.
SEO for SaaS: Your Complete Checklist
Keyword research is a foundational part of content marketing for any company in any industry. SaaS, though, is a particularly saturated market when it comes to companies and content. While there’s no changing that, there are opportunities to be strategic about keywords to make your brand more visible and competitive on SERPs.
SaaS companies can use an SEO pyramid framework to find, cluster, and prioritize keywords in ways that optimize funnel marketing opportunities (which we’ll get into next).
Categories at the top of the pyramid have the lowest search volume but the highest purchase intent. Conversely, categories at the bottom of the pyramid have the highest volume but the lowest intent.
SaaS companies should be creating content to cover the entire pyramid. To do so, you need an intentional, balanced approach to content creation that allows you to prioritize the areas where you see the most ROI (this depends on your specific brand and offerings).
The SEO pyramid framework helps you brainstorm keywords for every category and ultimately be sure you’re creating great content for every stage of the buyer journey.
Funnel Marketing Strategy
Keyword research leads us right into the next item on our SEO for SaaS checklist: funnel marketing.
Did you know that B2B buyers now complete 70% of their brand research before ever reaching out to one directly? What that means is that they’ve made their way through several stages of the buyer journey before they ever interact with your sales team directly.
Your content, then, is the most powerful tool you have for keeping potential customers engaged until they’re ready to reach out. That means creating content for every stage of the sales funnel.
To maintain a solid funnel marketing strategy, look back at your SEO pyramid and match your keywords to the stages of the sales funnel. Are you creating content that is relevant for buyers at every stage? When you are, you’re setting yourself up for better success in driving customers from one stage to the next until they ultimately convert into leads or sales.
Looking at your content through the lens of the sales funnel also makes you better able to pinpoint where you have gaps in your content, where potential buyers are more or less engaged, and where you need to put more focus in order to optimize your content strategy.
E.A.T. stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness and is one of the most important Google ranking factors, especially for brands in technical industries like SaaS. Your E.A.T. rating plays a big role in determining how your brand will be viewed by Google’s algorithms as an authority (or not) in your industry and ultimately where you’ll rank on SERPs.
Some important factors that contribute to your E.A.T. score include:
- Bio and company profile – Establish yourself and your brand by providing a clear, detailed overview that explains why you’re an expert in your industry.
- Social proof – Make customer reviews and testimonials prominent on your website and throughout your content.
- Guest posts and appearances – Appearing in posts, webinars, podcasts, or interviews for other brands helps establish your credibility and authority.
- Reliable source links – Always use high-quality, trustworthy sources in your content.
- Create human-centered content – Don’t try to design your content for search engines. They’re smarter than ever, and they’re looking for content that provides value. In the long-term, your content will perform better on SERPs when it’s genuinely created with your customer in mind.
(To learn how we create authoritative content for our clients, check out our 20-point perfect blog post checklist.)
B2B buyers seek out SaaS companies to help them accomplish something they cannot do on their own. In other words, they’re dealing with a problem or challenge — a pain point.
Pain point content demonstrates the value of your brand and offerings by clearly highlighting how they can solve a customer’s problem or meet their specific needs.
Consider this simple but accurate representation of what it means to think in terms of pain points, not solutions:
Thinking in terms of pain points first can feel counterintuitive. After all, you’re selling a solution, right?
That’s true, but in the end your customers will only be interested in your solution if they can see how it will address their pain points. When you create content centered around pain points, you engage customers by making them feel understood.
This kind of connection is critical in the SaaS industry where customers do research online and almost always can find several brands who provide the type of solution they’re seeking. Showing that you truly understand your potential customer’s experience will undoubtedly help you stand out in a crowded market.
It’s important to note that while high-value content should be at the top of your priority list, it should not be there at the expense of technical SEO. Attention to detail on the back end of your website is a big contributor to your SEO rankings.
You can conduct a full technical SEO audit to be sure your website is set up for SEO success. Here are a few major factors to focus on:
- Google Analytics – Setting up Google Analytics/tracking gives you important insight into how your website and content is performing. It can also help flag technical issues quickly.
- Site structure – Maintain an intuitive site structure that is easy for human users and search engines to navigate.
- Secure Protocols – Your website should always default to a secure HTTPS version for the best ranking results.
- Mobile optimization – More than half of all web traffic today is generated via mobile devices, and in response Google has implemented mobile-first indexing. Optimizing your site for mobile use is essential to its UX quality.
Backlinks are links from other websites to your content. They play an important role in SEO for SaaS because ranking algorithm’s look to them as a sign of authority.
The thing is, they’re not that easy to earn. In order to do it, you really have to play the content marketing long game.
When you consistently create high-value, shareable content, it earns more traffic and visibility. Over time, it is shared more and your backlink volume will grow.
If link building is new to you, here are some valuable tips from SEO expert brand Ahrefs:
High-Value Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are an essential part of SEO for SaaS because they are the drivers of your end goals: conversions and leads. Remember that most of your potential customers are researching for a long time before they ever reach out to you.
So how can you start the relationship earlier? By creating irresistible lead magnets.
In short, lead magnets are high-value content given in exchange for a potential customer’s contact information. Lead magnets provide information that helps to accomplish something important.
Effective lead magnets possess a few consistent qualities: they’re specific, they’re actionable, and they offer some essential information while still leaving the customer wanting more. Some of the most common types of lead magnets include:
- PDF checklists – Actionable checklists that help users make a complex or difficult problem more manageable.
- Explainer or demo videos – Connect people visually to your brand’s people and products while providing important how-to information.
- Ebooks and whitepapers – Educational documents on particular topics that demonstrate your brand’s expertise.
Putting it All Together
Let’s summarize the checklist. Your SaaS brand’s SEO strategy should always include:
- Keywords that cover every category on the SEO pyramid
- Content for buyers at every stage of the sales funnel
- Content that meets Google’s E.A.T. score considerations
- Pain point content that directly addresses customer problems and needs
- Optimized technical SEO
- High-value lead magnets that drive leads and conversions
Boost Your Brand’s SEO Performance
If you’re ready to enhance the SEO strategy for your SaaS company, check out Marketing Insider Group’s Content Builder Services. Our SEO team can help you audit your content and build an optimized strategy while our writing team delivers ready-to-publish content every week for one year (or more!).
Schedule a free consultation to get started today!