SaaS Marketing

On-Page SEO For SaaS Content: 12 Actionable Steps To Boost Your Search Rankings

Jawad May 11th, 2021

Did you know that 68% of all online experiences start with a search engine?

Ranking in the top ten search results for the right keywords results in unlimited leads and free trial users that are easier to convert into paying customers of your product.

How do you rank for your target keywords?

On-page SEO + backlinks.

That’s the formula for dominating Google Search according to every reliable study about search ranking factors.

In this article, I’ll tell you exactly how to optimize your SaaS website and content the right way and drive tons of traffic from search engines even if you don’t have many backlinks yet.

Let’s dive in.

What Is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO is related to everything that visitors experience when they land on a website. But even before that, it determines how a site appears in Google Search results.

It is one of the three main components of search engine optimization (SEO) along with off-page and technical SEO.

on-page seo off page seo technical seo

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On-page SEO has three main goals.

  • To tell Google exactly what the content of your page is about, using the keywords and terminologies that your target audience is searching for.
  • Giving your audience the information they’re searching for in a way that keeps them engaged with your site’s content as long as possible.
  • Optimizing your site’s click-through rate in search results.

To achieve these goals, you need to optimize everything from your site’s title, headlines, and URLs to its text content, images, and overall user experience.

But that doesn’t mean you must stuff your site with your exact target keyword and its variations even if doesn’t make sense to do it.

Google has evolved over the years and no longer depends only on keywords to understand and rank content.

Keywords are still important for on-page SEO but in a different way (which I’ll explain in this post).

Strong on-page SEO is built upon high-quality content that answers the questions of your audience, solves their problems, and makes them come back for more.

Why Is On-Page SEO Important For SaaS?

Why should SaaS businesses care about on-page SEO at all?

Here’s your answer.

A study by ReferralLock found that the majority of SaaS marketers consider content marketing and SEO as their number one lead generation source.

on-page seo for saas content marketing

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On-page SEO directly impacts all the other components of your SaaS marketing strategy.

For example, most SEO studies agree that backlinks are the number one search ranking factor.

What drives backlinks?

According to research, sites link to each other to:

  • Build credibility by citing reliable sources
  • Share additional reading material for visitors
  • Reference images and data
  • Share examples and case studies
  • Build SEO topical relevance

What’s the common theme in all these reasons? Content quality.

You can’t get backlinks without high-quality content (a key part of on-page SEO).

And you can’t rank without backlinks.

This means you’ll need both for a successful SEO strategy for your SaaS.

How To Do SaaS On-Page SEO Step By Step

Here’s how you should optimize your SaaS website for on-page SEO.

1. Understand Search Intent In Keyword Research

Google’s number one goal is to serve high-quality search results to its users that gives them precisely what they’re looking for.

This is why search intent is one of the most important factors in on-page SEO.

In Google’s own words, it is redefining how search works.

on page seo for saas search intent

What is search intent?

It is the “why” behind a search query.

What are the users looking for when they search for a specific keyword?

I won’t go into the details of keyword research here because it is something you do before on-page SEO.

But even after you’ve done your keyword research, remember this.

Finding high traffic and low competition keywords isn’t enough.

The content you create for your target keywords must give the searchers what they want (match their search intent)

Otherwise, you won’t rank for it even with the best content and the most number of backlinks.

Let’s say you run a monthly subscription email marketing tool. You’re now planning to rank your product’s homepage for the keyword “best email marketing tool”.

According to SEMrush, ranking for this keyword is hard because of the competition.

on page seo saas keyword research

But let’s say your site has high search authority and you’re working with InboundJunction for link acquisition. We’ll get you the most relevant and high authority backlinks, no problem.

Will your product homepage rank for this keyword? No.

Because despite having the most number of backlinks, the content of your homepage doesn’t match the search intent of this keyword.

How do I know?

Just search for it on Google.

on page seo saas keyword research

All the top results for this keyword are articles with long lists of different email marketing tools.

According to Google, the search intent of the users for this keyword is to explore and analyze different email marketing tools from a neutral perspective (in blog posts).

The intent is not to get see a specific email marketing tool.

So your homepage won’t rank. But if you write a blog post listing different email marketing tools, you have a better chance of ranking.

What’s the lesson here?

Before you start on-page optimization for your SaaS website, search for your target keywords in Google to see the type of content and pages currently ranking for them.

Understand the search intent for your keywords and create content that matches it.

2. Get A Fast Website To Rank Higher In Search

All other things equal, Google always ranks faster websites higher.

Why? Because user experience is another one of Google’s top priorities when serving search results.

Research shows that visitors wait for 3 seconds for a page to load on average before leaving it. 

on page seo saas website speed

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The slower a page loads, the more visitors it loses.

Considering this, Google has linked page speed with search results so that its users don’t have to visit slow pages at all.

If you want to rank higher, your website needs to load fast.

You can test your page speed using Google Page Speed Test. Apart from giving your site a score based on its load speed, this tool also recommends different steps you can apply to make your site faster.

3. Offer A Memorable User Experience With A Responsive Website

Most SaaS businesses have modern and good looking websites.

So I am assuming your site already uses a responsive design that adjusts according to a visitor’s device.

But if it doesn’t, you need to get a responsive site ASAP. 

Device compatibility is a user experience factor that Google Search takes very seriously and recommends all website owners to use responsive design.

For example, our website uses a responsive design that appears different on desktop and mobile devices.

Even if Google hadn’t made responsive design compulsory, it always made sense to use one for your site because it makes viewing it much easier on mobile.

You can run Google’s mobile-friendly test to see if your site meets its guidelines.

4. Create Eye-Catching Page Titles And Optimized URLs

Here’s how your page appears in Google Search results.

on page seo saas

Your page title is worth as much as all the content on your page.

If it doesn’t convince readers to click, nothing else on your page matters.

But apart from being convincing, your title also needs to use your target keyword and not exceed 65 characters so that it fully appears in the search results.

According to research, there’s a direct relationship between keyword usage in title and search rankings.

on page seo saas content marketing length

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But don’t sweat over using the exact keyword in the title if doesn’t make sense.

Google is much smarter now and doesn’t need an exact keyword match in the title to rank pages.

Let me show you.

I searched for the keyword “best aussie movies” but no result on the first page has the exact keyword.

Some of the results don’t have even a single keyword from my search query.

Google knows that Aussie means Australian, movies and films are the same things, and “best” can be replaced with words like iconic or top.

What’s the lesson here?

It’s great if you can use your exact target keyword in the title but don’t try to force it in if it doesn’t make sense.

Also, use the same title with the H1 tag on your page since it’s another strong relevancy signal.

In WordPress, the page title has the H1 tag by default in most themes.

Optimize Your Page URLs

One other thing before we move forward.

Use your target keyword in the URL of your page as well.

For example, if your target keyword is “best email marketing tools” your URL should be 

https://yoursite.com/email-marketing-tools

Keep it to two to three words if possible.

If you’re using the default WordPress URL structure, you’ll need to switch to keyword-based URLs from Settings–>Permalinks.

To edit your page titles and URLs easily, and to improve the overall on-page SEO of your site, I recommend using a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast or SEOPress.

Using keywords in your URL is not a huge thing but still, a relevancy signal that Google algorithms use.

5. Optimize For Search Clickthrough-Rate (CTR)

The search click-through rate is the percentage of users who click on your page after seeing it in Google Search results.

A high click-through rate signals to Google that searchers are finding your page relevant and useful. As a result, your site climbs further in SERPs.

How do you increase your organic search CTR?

We’ve already discussed the title which is crucial in driving clicks. But there are two more things you need to optimize to increase CTR.

Meta Description

The meta description is the short text snippet that appears under the title in your search results.

This is where you need to show your copywriting skills.

Don’t worry too much about using your keyword in the meta description since it’s not a ranking factor. Instead, use it to expand on your title and persuade users to click on your title.

Here’s a good example.

It starts with a question to create interest and follows it up with a clear promise about the content inside.

Schema Markup

Schema markup gets you additional real estate in search results and helps in improving your CTR. You can use different Schema types like FAQs, product prices, star ratings, product specs, etc. depending on the content of your site.

For example, you can use the FAQs schema to answer the most common questions on your topic directly on the search page.

Another benefit of using Schema, apart from improving your CTR, is that Google usually indexes the pages with Schema code much faster.

6. Hook Your Readers With The Introduction 

After the title of your page, the introductory paragraph/section is the most important part of your content.

And it’s very different from the introductions you’re used to seeing in books or college essays.

Blog introductions need to be short (100-150 words max), clear, and engaging. Their only purpose is to convince your readers to read the main part of your post.

For on-page SEO, you should also use your main keyword somewhere in the first 100 words as an early signal of the core topic of your page.

Here’s a great example of an optimized and engaging opening paragraph.

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It’s around a hundred words, hooks the reader early, uses the target keyword in the first line, offers proof of why readers should care, and finally makes a strong promise on what the readers can expect in the article.

That’s all your intro needs to do.

7. Optimize Sub-Headings And Body Content

To emphasize the keywords for which you’re optimizing your page, you need to use them in the following ways.

H2 And H3 Tags

Ideally, you should break down your page content into multiple headings and sub-headings.

You’ve already used your target keyword in your title and with an H1 tag. Now use it in at least a couple of sub-headings using the H2 tag.

Under H2 headings, use your target keyword with H3 tags whenever it makes sense.

Pro Tip: Apart from using your main target keyword in H2 and H3 tags, use the “People Also Ask” section in Google Search for your target keyword to find potential H2 and H3 headings.

These are the most common questions people are asking about your target keyword and using them as headings will help you rank for them faster.

Main Keyword And Its Variations

When you write about a topic, you’ll naturally use your target keyword in your content multiple times.

Just don’t try to force your exact keyword to meet a certain keyword density (an outdated concept).

Instead, use your main keyword and it’s natural variations throughout your content. Google is smart enough to understand what they mean.

For example, if your keyword is “lead generation software”, variations such as “software for lead generation”, “lead generation tools”, “lead generation systems”, “generating more leads”, etc. will all work fine as long as you’re using them naturally throughout your content.

If you’re looking for ideas, just scroll down to the “Related Searches” section in Google Search for your keyword.

LSI Keywords

LSI keywords are terminologies that aren’t variations of your main keyword but are very closely related to it. 

For example, if the following words appear on a page, what do you think is the main topic?

“goal”, “FIFA”, “drills”, “kick”, “training”, “defender”, “forward”, “goalkeeper”, etc.

Not hard to guess, right? It’s football.

An article or a page about football would contain all those words.

The more such related words appear on a page, the more topically relevant it becomes for Google.

So whatever your target keyword is, make a list of such keywords and use them naturally throughout your content and once or twice in any of your H2 and H3 headings.

You can use a free tool like LSIGraph to find keywords to add to your content.

8. Create Your Content In A Readable Format

If you want people to stay on your site and read your content, you need to write in an easily readable format.

Like this.

No like this.

What does the first example have that the second doesn’t?

Let me explain.

  • Short Paragraphs

It uses really short paragraphs on 1-2 lines (max. 3) which makes skimming through the content much easier.

  • Bullet Points

It breaks down the longer arguments into bullet points which are easier to follow.

  • Bold, Italic, Underlines

It highlights the important words using bold, italic and underlines

  • Conversational Tone

The one thing that both these examples do well is using a conversational tone in the content. Web content needs to talk directly to a single reader using words like I, You, Me frequently.

  • Visual Content

Using relevant images and screenshots in your content not only makes it more readable but also helps you drive traffic from Google Image Search and platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.

Just remember to use descriptive and keyword-rich alt-text for every image in your content

Formatting your content like this instantly makes it more readable and keeps visitors longer on your site.

9. Create A Content-Rich Homepage And Features Pages

The whole SaaS marketing strategy stands on a well-designed homepage that’s optimized for conversions.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have lots of content on it for SEO.

Some of the best SaaS websites use content-rich homepages to rank for their target keywords.

Podia, a leading course selling platform, has a homepage with more than a thousand words. It’s optimized conversions as well as its target keywords for SEO.

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Bidskectch is another hugely successful SaaS with a brilliant homepage (1K+ words) that ticks all the boxes for on-page SEO and conversion optimization.

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The primary objective of your homepage is to drive conversions.

But you should also use it to introduce your visitors to your product’s most valuable features using short text snippets.

Each feature should also have its dedicated page optimized for a different set of keywords with tons of content.

At the end of the page, you can also add a section that links to your best blog content like How-To posts and tutorials about that feature.

With this approach, you can use each feature page as a hub for all content related to it.

10. Create Link-Worthy Informational Content

All the things that I’ve mentioned so far will give your site a solid on-page SEO foundation.

But if you want to explode your SaaS growth, acquire authority backlinks, rank for competitive keywords easily, and build a community around your brand, you need to invest in content marketing.

Let me explain.

You need a couple of things to get consistent traffic 

  • Content that ranks for long-tail keywords
  • High-authority backlinks

You can’t get them with the content on your homepage and features pages only.

You’ll need to consistently publish high-quality content that targets long-tail keywords and answers the questions of your audience.

Here’s what your content should be like.

In-Depth

The average length of top-ranking content in Google Search is between 2000 to 2500 words.

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It also results in more backlinks and social shares according to several research studies.

Original Data And Research

It should include original data like survey results and research studies. If you don’t have original data, use third-party research data to back the arguments and opinions in your content. This makes it more link-worthy.

Expert Quotes

Like data, expert quotes also make your content more link-worthy and credible. Reach out to the known experts in your niche on social media or via email to get a couple of quotes for every article you publish.

Examples And Case Studies

When you present an argument or share tips in your content, cite examples to show they actually work. 

Content marketing helps you rank for informational keywords and get backlinks from high-authority sites. 

You can then transfer the authority of those backlinks to the other pages of your site through internal linking.

11. Use Internal Links To Maximize Your SEO Gains

Internal links are low-hanging on-page SEO fruits that many sites ignore.

They can seriously improve your site’s indexing, user experience, and search rankings.

What does a good internal link structure look like?

Ideally, no page on your site should be more than three clicks away from your homepage.

Like this.

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When creating internal links, use keyword-rich anchor text.

For example, if you’re linking to an article on your site about email marketing tips, use “email marketing tips” as the anchor text.

Google algorithms use this as a relevancy signal.

Another hugely important way internal links improve your site’s rankings is by lowering the Bounce Rate and increasing the Avg. Session Time of your site.

When your site visitors click on the internal links in your content, they spend more time exploring your site and stay on it longer.

Both these metrics positively impact your search rankings.

12. Optimize Your Content For Featured Snippets

The Featured Snippet in Google Search (also known as position zero) appears on top of the search results page for many informational and even some transactional keywords.

Here’s what it looks like.

Featured snippets have multiple types.

  • Numbered Lists
  • Paragraphs
  • Tables
  • Videos

According to SEJ, featured snippet results get around 8% of clicks in search results.

How do you optimize your content for the featured snippet?

There’s no guaranteed way yet, but generally, the following steps increase your chances of making it to the featured snippet result.

  • Answer the relevant questions from the “People also ask” section in Google Search for your target keyword with short paragraphs.
  • Create question headlines, share a short answer in the first 3-4 lines and expand it later in the post.
  • Structure your answer in bullets with headings.
  • Target the keywords where Google is already showing featured snippet results.
  • Match your answers with the search intent of your target keyword.

Optimizing for the featured snippets is as much about the format and structure of your content as it is about the actual value in your content.

Is Your SaaS Website Optimized For On-Page SEO?

I’ve shared some of the most essential SaaS on-page SEO techniques in this article.

Now it’s your job to analyze your website against these recommendations and decide if you’re taking full advantage of on-page SEO for traffic generation.

The great thing about on-page SEO is that it’s completely under your control (unlike off-page SEO). So the moment you realize you need to improve something, you can do it right away.