If you own a SaaS business, you know how competitive the playing field can be. What you may not know is one way to compete and enjoy the success you want is through good SEO for SaaS. Over the years, we've developed our own SEO playbook that has helped us skyrocket traffic and conversions within our SaaS portfolio of products – including Docparser and LeadDyno – and we want to share some of that success with you. So, here are the top tips we've learned to help you grow your SaaS business.
What is SEO for SaaS?
SEO for SaaS companies is the way in which you boost consistent organic traffic to your site using strategies to help you rank well on Google and other search engine pages (SERPs). This includes various elements and techniques that together help improve your rankings for certain search terms, much of which is centered around quality content.When done well, SaaS SEO results in an effective inbound marketing resource connecting you to people who are:
- Seeking your specific software,
- Looking for information on the type of software you offer,
- Ready to buy software like what you’re selling, or
- Looking for information that has to do with your software.
Long-term Benefits of a SaaS SEO Strategy
A solid SaaS SEO strategy is key to the success of your business for these reasons:
Lowers Acquisition Costs
Let’s face it – using paid media (like paid social or pay-per-click/PPC) to acquire new customers is expensive. You’re paying for every single click to your site and while, of course, you’d love more traffic, as your success grows, so do your costs in getting it. And once you’ve gone through markets that are most likely to convert to paid users, you won’t reduce the cost per acquisition.SEO works the opposite way, though, and over time can help bring your acquisition costs down. These may be higher than paid media to start, but they’ll soon lessen as you see compounding growth.
Helps to Exponentially Scale Business Growth
Evergreen content can have a large, compounding effect on growth. For example, traffic between 1 and 4 months has shown to grow about 125%, and then jump up to over 200% between the 4 and 8-month mark. So, if you want to drive more traffic to your SaaS site on an ongoing basis, build good, ranking content creation into your SEO strategy.
Converts Customers from Different Marketing Channels
Omnichannel marketing, including good SEO, is key to bringing in business. And while you need to invest in good content creation for effective SaaS SEO, keep in mind that this content isn’t just there to help you rank on SERPs. It’s also useful to drive and convert customers using other channels like email marketing, social media, and paid traffic, too. These methods help to create brand authority and awareness, allowing you to promote your content and earn backlinks and even referral traffic.
Key SEO Ranking Factors
Several factors impact how a site – SaaS or otherwise – ranks on Google and other search engines. And to keep you on your toes, these factors are ever-changing, thanks to the AI nature of search engines. This is why it’s crucial that you understand how your site will likely be ranked so that you can do everything in your power for the best outcome possible.To help, here are some of the top elements that affect your ranking and should be focused on:
- Quality, optimized content informed by keyword research
- UX (user experience)
- Domain age and authority
- Quality backlinks
- Technical elements like site loading speed, security & reliability, and mobile responsiveness
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How to Get Started With SaaS SEO Strategy
Here’s how you can address these ranking factors in a successful SaaS SEO strategy of your own.
Quality Content and Optimization
Onsite content is broad but can include these key elements:
- Optimized pages with target keywords embedded in your site’s header navigation
- Where and how keywords are added to your content (they should appear in intro paragraphs and headers)
- A title tag with your target (main) keyword
- Content length and quality (make it helpful to readers and not long-winded or too brief)
- Interactive or multimedia content with optimized file names (keyword variations)
- Cross-linked pages throughout your site
Our proven process for optimizing content
Content optimization is meant to provide better, valuable, and relevant information to your audience and, here at SureSwift, we have a proven content strategy and production process. To help get you started on the right track, we're giving you a sneak peek at the key steps, plus an example of how we’ve put the process into action and seen success.1. Write the outline, keeping in mind the goal is to add or remove content to get the article as close to 2,000 words as possible, with quality information and at least 5 images (including a feature image and infographic).Here’s a rough plan for what your outline could look like:IntroTable of contentsCTARelated articlesSection 1CTASection 2Graphic/infographicSection 3Pull quotes from influencerSection 4 Related videoSummaryPopular articles
- To add more topics to your outline, conduct competitor and top-ranking site research and make a list based on sections from that content.
- Conduct keyword research in Ahrefs or a similar tool. Once you have your keywords, use them as your H2 and H3 headers based on what makes sense for the flow of the article.
- Complete the article based on your outline.
- Optimize your article in a tool like MarketMuse.
- Upload in your CMS (content management system), ensuring SEO and readability are rated highly.
SSC case study #1: Optimized content for Docparser
We took all of these principles to heart when optimizing 20 blog posts for Docparser. The team ensured best practices were followed – each post had at least 2,000 words, a table of contents, a helpful, shareable infographic, optimized photos, alt tags, and more.
For example, in just four months, the article Extract Data From PDF: How to Convert PDF Files Into Structured Data saw a 54% increase in impressions, a 58% boost in clicks, and a whopping 94% boost in trials. Wow.
Similarly, the team improved How to Extract Text from a PDF in Seconds: Use Any Computer or Mobile Device and saw impressions increase by 39%, clicks grow by 97%, clickthrough rate (CTR) increase by 41%, and trials improve by 57%.
Now, you can't always assume great results will happen right away. That's why it's so important to continuously monitor, test, and optimize with improvements over time, as the team learned firsthand. They tried a one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter strategy but after nine months of tracking conversions, trials, and rankings, about 6 out of the 20 articles were underperforming and had dropped in rankings, including Data Entry Automation Software: Automate Document Based Workflows.
So, the team devised a strategy for each of the 6 articles by cutting down and rearranging some sections to match search intent. They got rid of the extraneous frequently asked questions sections and better utilized keywords. The results? It worked extremely well. For example, Data Entry Automation Software's impressions went up by 110% and its clicks improved by 99%.
Keep in mind that good content and optimization won’t matter without a solid content strategy. This includes creating valuable content targeting a group of keywords related by topic that’s then promoted to earn links. Once you notice a boost in rankings and traffic, you can use that data to improve and optimize the content to create even more growth and drive consistent traffic to your site. Then, you repeat the process to target different keywords. Keep reading to learn more about solid keyword research.
Effective keyword research is a huge success factor in SaaS SEO. This is what helps you appear in the search results your target market sees to find products like yours. You should include keywords and keyword variations naturally throughout your content, without overdoing it, and focus on topics that you’re a natural thought leader in. Create different types of keywords based on how users will search.These search patterns and keyword types are known as:
- Navigational – looking for a specific site (typically with brand keywords).
- Informational / top of funnel – looking for an answer to a question or solution to a problem. These drive awareness and usually comprise the most searches and traffic, but are the least targeted with the lowest conversion rate. Blog content does well here.
- Investigational / middle of funnel – looking for a product or comparing different products against each other. Searchers know solutions exist but haven’t explored them yet so are seeking options. Feature or product landing pages do well here.
- Transactional / bottom of funnel – looking to purchase a specific product. Users are aware solutions exist for them and what they are but still need to decide. Keywords include product or brand names.
User Experience (UX)
With the introduction of RankBrain, an AI-based algorithm that lets Google recognize relevant search results to users, user experience metrics have become a key SaaS SEO ranking factor. These three UX metrics are important to ranking high in this area, and your site can be demoted or promoted in results depending on how you stack up here:
- Click-through Rate (CTR), or the number of people clicking your link from their search results.
- Bounce Rate, or how many people who immediately leave your site after a few seconds - presumably because it isn’t relevant to their search query.
- Dwell Time, or the amount of time a user stays on your site (it’s assumed the longer they do, the more relevant your content is to them).
SSC case study #2: Improved user experience for LeadDyno
As a result of improving UX, our team helped LeadDyno’s page How to Start an Affiliate Program increase from rank 11 to rank 1. They looked at the layout of the page, which had been detrimental to the viewer's experience, and rearranged some sections to better match user search intent. It now flows and reads better and is more comprehensible overall. On top of snagging the #1 spot, the team also found:
- Impressions increased by over 200%
- Clicks increased by over 340%
- Sessions increased by over 430%
- In-app conversions increased by a whopping 900%
Not too shabby, if we do say so ourselves.
Domain Authority and Age
Unfortunately, age matters – and when it comes to domains, the older the better. Over half of sites on Google’s top-10 SERPs are three years old or older. Experts say a domain of at least 10 years has a high chance of a big backlink profile and ranking potential behind quality content.And while you can’t change the age of your site, aside from purchasing an old domain and updating it, you can focus on other SEO ranking factors to boost your authority, including earning high-quality backlinks.
Google considers sites as more relevant when other sites link back to them, and it will therefore rank them higher. Keep in mind, though, that in the past it was all about quantity, not quality, but today it’s less so. This means you’ll need to be sure the sites and content linking to you are credible and related to your keywords and niche. For example, if you sell a tool for HR professionals, a backlink from a site selling sports gear won’t help you.
Three main technical factors are particularly important for SaaS SEO and are what make your site up-to-date with current standards. Keep in mind, the way Google crawls and indexes your site is impacted by these factors, and the less work and time needed to do so, the higher you’re likely to rank.1. Site security and reliability, including link architecture, HTTPS utilization, and status errors. Simply put, if Google doesn’t see your site as secure, it won’t rank.2. Mobile responsiveness. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it won’t rank.3. Site loading speed. If your site loads too slowly, it won’t rank. Speed also affects user experience and engagement so, even if you’re getting some traffic, you need to be sure your site’s working well and fast enough that people will stick around and your bounce rate won’t jump.Hopefully, with this background knowledge of SaaS SEO ranking factors and how you can incorporate them into your strategy, the SEO for your SaaS product won’t seem so daunting or intimidating. With the right strategy and process, you’ll be ranking higher, boosting traffic, and enjoying more conversions and sales very soon.
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