SaaS SEO Essentials (2021) | In-Depth 4-Step Traffic Generation Guide
SaaS SEO is an essential pillar of any SaaS marketing strategy.
Did you know that 63% of SaaS marketers say that organic search engine traffic generates more leads than any other marketing channel?
This is why successful SaaS companies like HubSpot, Shopify, and Drift invest millions of dollars in SEO every year.
We’ve already published an in-depth SaaS SEO guide that covers all aspects of on-page SEO.
But in this article, I’ll share four concrete SaaS SEO tips that can make an immediate impact on your search ranking and help you drive more organic search traffic.
Let’s get started.
SaaS SEO Tip #1: Build A Solid Technical SEO Foundation
Technical SEO deals with the various performance aspects of your site, its structure, and how it interacts with search engine spiders.
Even the highest quality content won’t rank on the first page without a sound technical SEO foundation because Google’s algorithms consider it mandatory for all websites.
Although there are many important aspects of technical SEO, four things are critical for your site’s SEO health.
Create a flat website structure where every page is three clicks away from the home page at max.
Here’s a good example.
Such a structure allows Google’s search spiders to crawl your site’s content quickly and add it to its search index.
Research shows that sites start losing visitors when they take longer than 3 seconds to load.
Google has officially declared page load speed as a ranking factor which means that slower sites rank lower. You can check your site’s load time and get improvement tips using Google’s Page Speed test or Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer.
More than 50% of all online traffic now comes from mobile devices. This is why using a responsive website design that adjusts according to the visitor’s device is one of Google’s key user experience criteria for ranking sites in search results.
Google ensures that websites with weak security do not rank in the top search results. This is why it’s critical that your site uses a valid SSL certificate (HTTPS://) and applies the necessary security measures to eradicate any malware or virus threats.
Read this technical SEO guide for more in-depth guidelines on this topic.
SaaS SEO Tip #2: Focus On The Right Keyword Research Metrics
Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. Your choice of keywords largely determines the success or failure of your SEO strategy, and basically your entire SaaS marketing strategy.
In fact, you need to perform keyword research even when you’re choosing your brand name. For example, suppose your brand name is similar to other established sites or brands that already dominate the SERPs.
In that case, Google might autocorrect your name and show other sites when someone searches for your brand name.
For example, Hugo is a meeting notes app and Chrome extension with thousands of users. But the term “Hugo” is already associated with so many other top brands that Google doesn’t show this particular Hugo app on the first page, even for its brand name.
If you’ve already chosen a brand name that other sites dominate, you’ll need to make your place in the SERPs by increasing your site’s authority through brand mentions on other top sites.
I recommend using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush to find keyword ideas for your brand name that aren’t dominated by other sites.
You can also use these tools to evaluate the overall ranking potential of any keyword based on the following metrics.
Keyword Search Volume
Search volume represents the number of monthly searches for a keyword in Google Search. The higher the search volume, the better.
Ahrefs shows you the search volume for your default location, plus the top five countries for that keyword.
Keyword Difficulty (KD)
The keyword difficulty score in Ahrefs (and other tools as well) gives you an estimate of how difficult it is to rank in the top ten search results for a keyword (higher=difficult). This difficulty is based on the number of unique backlinks pointing to a site.
Keywords with three or more words are called long-tail keywords. They usually have a lower search volume than shorter keywords, but their search intent is clearer. As a result, they drive more clicks and help you attract more relevant traffic.
When doing keyword research for your website, find different long-tail keywords related to the same parent topic. That allows you to target all of them together in long-form content and take advantage of their combined traffic volume.
Read this detailed long-tail SEO guide for actionable tips on this topic.
Using these guidelines, research relevant keywords for your SaaS website’s homepage, features pages, and blog content, and prioritize them based on your business goals.
SaaS SEO Tip #3: Optimize Your Site For On-Page SEO
SaaS on-page SEO works differently from SEO for a regular affiliate or blog site.
You’ll need to find different types of keywords for your homepage, features pages, blog content, and other resources on your site.
Let me explain.
Optimize your homepage for brand keywords + your product’s main functionality.
Teachable’s homepage is a good example.
It mentions Teachable and long-tail keywords like “create online courses,” “online course platform,” “coaching services,” etc., that describe its main functionality.
Your feature pages play a critical role in driving qualified traffic to your site. Remember the feature + benefit formula for optimizing these pages.
Don’t use unconventional or fancy names for your product features just to look different. Instead, focus on the core benefits of each feature and use the insights you gain from keyword research to optimize your pages.
Have a look at some of Shopify’s features pages as an example.
Target parent keyword: Start a business
Feature: Business name generator
Keywords: business name generator, create a business name, shop name generator, etc.
Feature: email marketing
Keywords: email marketing, Shopify email, email templates, customer relationship.
Feature: POS system
Keywords: best point of sale system, retail POS, online sales, online store.
Notice how the Shopify SEO team has intelligently combined brand keywords with features and benefits. This is precisely how you should approach on-page SEO for your features pages.
Blog Content Keywords
This is where you have a bit more flexibility both in terms of keyword selection and content length.
The best approach for optimizing blog content is to focus on question keywords (info keywords) with high search volume and low-mid level competition.
Identify a parent topic related to one or more of your product’s key features and find the questions your audience is asking about it. You can use Ahrefs, SEMRush, or even the People also ask section in SERPs to find these keywords.
To understand the connection between different pages of your site and their topics/keywords, read our in-depth content marketing funnel guide.
For any site with a solid technical SEO foundation, the SEO formula is simple: publish high-quality content on the right keywords + build high authority backlinks.
We’ve covered the keyword and content part to some extent.
Let’s now talk about backlinks.
Focusing on homepage backlinks only is among the biggest SaaS link-building mistakes.
Homepage links are essential, but you have to diversify your targets in your link-building strategy.
Focus on publishing high-quality and link-worthy blog content with lots of stats, images, screenshots, infographics, etc.
Similarly, publish case studies, interviews, and round-ups around key industry topics.
Then use these resources to build backlinks from high-authority sites.
They’re not direct homepage links, I know.
But you’ll transfer the link juice to your homepage and feature pages through internal linking on your top linked pages.
Another excellent way to get high-authority links is to partner with influential bloggers and content creators in your space to publish original studies.
BuzzSumo regularly uses this strategy to get tons of brand mentions and backlinks.
The partnership between Hootsuite and We Are Social for an annual digital marketing report is another example.
We use various other link-building strategies like interviews, guest posts, partnering with authors, etc., for getting brand mentions and direct links to homepages, blog content and even features pages.
However, when your company is new, focus on building most of your backlinks through high-quality informational blog content.
It’s much easier to do than direct homepage links. So if you’re aiming to get those backlinks on your own without any help, informational blog content is essential.
Are You Ready To Drive Traffic With SaaS SEO?
Driving regular traffic from organic search initially takes a little time. But once your content assets start getting backlinks from high-authority sites, organic search will quickly become your most reliable traffic source.
All it takes is a well-defined SaaS SEO strategy and consistency in execution.