With SaaS still rapidly growing, there’s no better time than today to build your brand.
However, gaining market share and establishing your brand presence in your niche may take a lot of work.
If you look at the top SaaS companies, you’ll find that most have a solid presence on search engines.
While SEO may sound easy, actually implementing and executing a SaaS SEO strategy is a challenging feat to achieve.
Especially when your market is filled with competitors who are also zeroed in on SEO.
While every SaaS SEO campaign looks different, most websites utilize these tactics and strategies to outrank their competition on Google’s search engine results page (SERPs).
This ultimate guide should help you set your SaaS SEO strategy and outrank your competition.
In this in-depth SaaS SEO guide, I’ll explain in detail different insights and techniques on different strategies that will help you establish your brand presence and outrank your competitors.
So, let’s dive deep into some SaaS SEO strategies that will skyrocket your brand’s traffic and revenue.
What is SaaS SEO?
SaaS SEO is the process of optimizing a software’s website to increase visibility for organic search that can result in both lead generation and brand awareness.
SaaS SEO works exceptionally well for software companies because of how effective the channel is for capturing leads at a much lower acquisition cost.
What is Product-Led SEO for SaaS?
So when it comes to SaaS, product-led SEO is often the most common tactic used. This method is so popular that there’s even a famous book on it.
The product-led approach to SEO is the process of optimizing your content for search while highlighting your software product.
In a sense, you’re putting your software product at the forefront and showcasing to readers why it’s a worthy investment for them.
So a great example of product-led SEO for SaaS would be a piece of optimized content around “employee retention” that showcases how your software product can be used to improve employee retention.
This content approach doesn’t mean you should pitch your product throughout the entire article; instead, you should show your readers exactly how your product can solve their problems without being too salesy.
So still using the employee retention software example, you want to avoid highlighting how amazing your software product is and why they need it.
Instead, you should explain to the reader how they can use your employee retention software to solve their problems.
As my SaaS SEO colleague John Ozuysal said, “Don’t position your product as the hero; position your product so it makes the reader the hero.”
Why SEO is the Perfect Fit for SaaS
The main benefit of SaaS SEO is accessibility.
SaaS websites benefit from delivering their software immediately without any transportation costs.
Your software product is available as soon as someone subscribes to it.
Depending on the software, it will be much easier to establish a marketing funnel and pipeline that turns organic traffic into quality leads at multiple stages.
So when it comes to accessibility for SaaS, if a user wants to learn more about your product or schedule a product demo, that’s all they have to do.
SEO also allows SaaS companies to target the entire marketing funnel or buyer’s journey of their target audience with content.
If your software tool helps with employee retention, you’ll want to touch on all searches across the funnel relating to employee retention.
You’ll want to start with bottom-of-the-funnel keywords like “employee retention software” and then move up the funnel to cover different problems your target audience has.
Once you’ve covered both bottom and middle-of-the-funnel searches, you can then move toward top-of-the-funnel searches that help increase awareness for your brand and can still potentially drive leads.
SEO Reduces Customer Acquisition Cost
The beautiful thing about SEO is the opportunity to generate leads at a much lower acquisition cost.
This is because of the low costs of optimizing your website without any additional spending requirement.
The only costs you have to consider with SEO are operations-related.
If you hire an SEO agency or consultant, you’ll want to measure your monthly budget against revenue generated from organic.
But when you compare SEO to PPC, you’ll have to factor in PPC operations and ad spend.
Source: First Page Sage
So when you look at the CAC for PPC vs. SEO, SEO will win 9 times out of 10.
Best SaaS SEO Strategies
Before starting your SaaS SEO campaign, you’ll need to consider a few strategies.
Every company has different needs and target audiences, so each SEO campaign will look different.
That said, most SEO strategies for SaaS companies follow a similar path.
Here are some of the best SaaS SEO strategies you can use to grow your brand and website.
SaaS SEO Strategy #1: Digital PR for Building Authority with High-Quality Links
The reason is that you’re scaling link acquisition and building brand awareness by putting your name in front of a relevant audience.
Digital PR aims to create an asset that can be used as a story to pitch to journalists in exchange for a link.
This might sound similar to guest posting, but with Digital PR, you’re going after highly authoritative websites instead. If you want your story picked up, it must be newsworthy.
If you were looking to do digital PR for your employee retention software, you could research data on employee turnover, highlight trends, and explain why this turnover is happening.
From there, you can use this story to pitch to journalists who write about similar topics. You could find journalists from publications like entrepreneur.com or SHRM.org.
I recommend using Hunter.io to find journalist emails.
Not only are you building highly authoritative links, but you’re also getting eyes on your brand from readers who might be interested in your software product.
SaaS SEO Strategy #2: Creating Thought Leadership Articles Optimized for Search
Another SEO strategy that works well for SaaS is thought leadership content.
Traditional marketing usually has SEO content and thought leadership content as two separate tactics, both being siloed from each other.
But there’s no reason for this to be the case.
Most marketers think SEO sacrifices the quality of the writing and puts too much emphasis on writing for search engines instead of readers.
However, there is nowhere that says you can’t optimize your thought leadership content so it has more visibility through search without sacrificing the quality of your content.
To get more visibility with your thought leadership content, you have to optimize your thought leadership article around a particular search query so it can be found through search.
A good example of this would be Ahrefs.
Ahref is a popular SaaS SEO company that takes a product- and thought-leadership-led approach to their content.
Every piece of content from Ahrefs focuses on general trends within the SEO industry—content like industry insights, trends, and statistics.
Content that positions them as a thought leader while attracting a larger audience through search.
So for your software, you could put together an industry trend or outlook article that positions your brand as a thought leader and boosts visibility for audiences who aren’t familiar with your brand.
Also, thought leadership content is great for driving organic links, especially if you have an existing brand presence in your industry.
So by publishing these optimized thought leadership articles, you can drive organic traffic and links while positioning your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
SaaS SEO Strategy #3: Product-Led SEO to Generate Leads and Boost Awareness for Your Software
Going back to product-led SEO, this SEO strategy should be used for almost all your content.
The whole point of product-led SEO is to capture users through search and put your product at the forefront, mainly when it deals with solving their issues or problems.
And with SEO, you can use Google as a medium to meet users who are searching for solutions to their problems.
If you use this product-led approach to content marketing, avoid being too salesy with your content.
Instead, you’ll want to guide your readers through their problems while showing readers step-by-step how this product can help with their pain points.
You’re leaving the decision up to the reader and letting them choose whether they want to schedule a demo or learn more about your product.
Users are clicking on your content to find solutions to their problems, and bombarding them with pitches will only make them leave faster.
Being too salesy can also hurt your SEO too.
Google knows what the user is looking for and only wants to show relevant results for that search, so if you don’t nail down the search intent or relevancy, you will struggle to rank.
Easiest way to put it: focus on the reader, not yourself.
SaaS SEO Strategy #4: Audience Research to Know Who You Should Be Targeting
Before starting your SaaS SEO strategy, you must start with audience research.
You need to know your target market and which decision-makers should be targeted with your content.
And, of course, you’ll need to have a strong value proposition. You don’t want to be like every other software company.
When starting with audience research, the person you want to first identify is the person who will ultimately be your customer.
Using the employee retention example again, the decision makers you would want to look for are HR professionals and middle management dealing with issues retaining employees and looking for solutions.
When it comes to SaaS, every target audience will look different.
A target audience for your employee retention software will look much different than a target audience for a healthcare software solution.
Sometimes it will take a lot of work to pinpoint your target audience.
For example, software companies operating in a broader niche have multiple decision-makers, whereas a specific niche product will only have one decision-maker to target.
This can either be a pro or a con, but in most cases, the more you niche down, the less decision makers you can reach with your SEO.
While this may sound bad, this can work well with your SEO efforts. You’ll have less competition, and standing out organically will be much easier.
SEO and content simply can’t be started until you know who your audience is and which decision-makers you’ll need to target.
Otherwise, your marketing efforts are dead on arrival.
Ways to Conduct Audience Research for SaaS SEO
With all that being said, you’ll still need to know how to research your audience.
Again, every SaaS SEO strategy will look different, but you can use these audience research tools to help narrow down your audience and find what they’re searching for and how they search.
Keyword Research Tools
There are plenty of dedicated audience research tools that you can use to learn more about your audience.
You can find what they search for, their interests, and what websites they’re interacting with.
Some tools to check out for audience research would be Ahrefs, SEMrush, SparkToro, and Survey Monkey.
Generally, SparkToro and Ahrefs are enough to research your audience and learn how they search.
Talk With Your Audience
What better way to learn about your target audience than just talking to them?
If you have people already using your product and setting up discovery calls, you could use that as an opportunity to learn more about your audience.
You can ask them their pain points, how they found you, and why they use your tool.
If you start seeing patterns in your audience’s pain points, then you can use that for new content ideas.
You can ask your audience for feedback on their pain points through the following:
- Contact forms
- Discovery calls
Use Google’s SERPs
A free way to learn about your target audience is by using Google itself.
Using Google for audience research is one of the best methods since you can easily cluster what Google finds relevant for that specific topic.
You can use Google’s People Also Ask and autocomplete to mine relevant searches related to your products or target audience.
So if it’s employee retention software, all you’ll have to do is enter a search query like “employee retention” to see all the different searches and questions Google finds relevant for this keyword.
You are getting a bigger picture of your target audience and mining dozens, maybe even hundreds of topic ideas relevant to your target audience and can later be used as content.
Use Regex for Google Search Console
An often underused audience research method is RegEx.
This method allows you to leverage your existing search data to find long tail keywords from your target audience relevant to your offering.
To find these keywords, you’ll need to use Google Search Console.
You’ll see that the keywords showing in GSC are not only those coming from your ranking content but keywords you don’t have content built out for.
These keywords typically rank position 40 and are being matched with your page because your content is semi-relevant to that query.
You won’t get any visibility or clicks from these keywords, but you can still use them to uncover topics straight from your target audience.
Outside of SEO, RegEx queries are a great way to learn more about your target audience and what they’re looking for.
You can even find new angles you might’ve missed while researching your initial audience.
How to Use RegEx for SaaS SEO
With RegEx, we’ll use parameters like |who|what|where|why|how|when|vs|best| to find relevant searches across your entire marketing funnel.
The great thing about these RegEx queries is that your site already ranks for them.
So if you create a new piece of content around that query or optimize an existing article, you likely won’t have to wait as long to see results.
SaaS SEO Strategy #5: Problem-Solving Content to Drive Qualified Traffic
One of the most effective strategies regarding SaaS SEO is creating “problem-solving” content.
This type of content not only builds brand awareness for users who might not be familiar with your brand, but it can also drive demo signups from users interested in learning more.
You want to attract people actively looking for solutions – solutions your product solves.
If your product is a grammar-fixing tool, you can create content like:
- How to improve grammar
- How to improve writing skills
- Why Do I Struggle with Grammar?
- How to write a conclusion
This is what Grammarly does, and as you can see, it drives highly qualified traffic for users who might be interested in their product.
SaaS SEO Strategy #6: Buyer’s Journey Content to Capture Users At All Stages of the Marketing Funnel
After researching your audience, you’ll want to combine your data and create an entire content marketing funnel based on your audience’s buyer’s journey.
When it comes to the buyer’s journey for SaaS, there are three stages you’ll need to know:
First stage (awareness): This is the initial top-of-the-funnel stage where your audience first discovers your brand.
Second stage (consideration): Next, you have consideration, the stage where your audience compares your software product to others in the market and determines which one is right for them.
Last stage (decision): The decision stage is when your audience has reached their decision or is very close to making a decision.
When you kickstart your SEO campaign, you’ll always want topics at the bottom of the funnel and work your way up.
This way, you can capture conversions (revenue) first, then work toward building awareness.
Your bottom-of-the-funnel content will likely be a landing and/or service page or “vs/comparison” content.
So comparing your competitor against yourself.
Think about it, what type of user would make that search? Someone comparing two platforms against each other and looking for the best solution.
You can at least control the narrative and help sway the user toward choosing your product.
How to Pick Your SaaS Goals with SEO
Now that you have your audience research and content planned out, you’ll want to set some goals for your SEO campaign.
Your SEO goals should almost always align with the strategy that will impact revenue the most, but you’ll still want to diversify your goals to maximize your SEO.
What KPI Metrics to Use for Your SaaS SEO Campaign
After you set your goals, you’ll also want to set SaaS SEO KPIs.
Here are a few KPIs you can use to measure the success of your campaign.
The KPI that will matter the most to you is increasing revenue.
The best way to determine if SEO is doing its job is by reviewing organic conversions in Google Analytics.
You have to see if these conversions are turning into business and where they first came from.
If you notice that leads are being converted from a specific type of content, like ‘how-to’ videos or ‘best of’ articles, you’ll want to double down on that type of content.
Outside of conversions, you will also want to use traffic as a primary KPI for your SaaS SEO strategy.
Using traffic as a metric will help you determine your content’s reach and if it’s resonating with your audience.
This won’t be as useful for bottom to mid-funnel searches, but it’s a great metric for top-of-the-funnel searches that typically have more search volume.
However, there is a downside to using traffic as a KPI – it can be a vanity metric.
While you might see traffic increases, it’s not always guaranteed to translate into business results.
While backlinks are necessarily tied to revenue, at least directly, you can still use it as a KPI to measure the effectiveness of your SaaS SEO campaign, which should help you forecast more accurately.
Link building will always be a key player in any SaaS SEO strategy.
You can put link building on the back burner, but if you want to maximize your SEO, link building will probably be your best bet.
It speeds up the process and helps you earn better results like higher keyword rankings and more ranking keywords.
Sometimes it is hard to measure the direct results from backlinks, but you’ll see the difference if you only build links from high-authority sites.
Similar to traffic, you can also use rankings as a KPI.
Rankings work as a KPI because you can measure if your keywords are increasing or decreasing in volume and if the keywords driving traffic to your website are relevant to your business goals.
This is about ensuring you’re not just pulling in vanity traffic that won’t contribute to your revenue goals.
Why It’s Important to Track All Metrics
How else would you know your SEO campaign is working?
Without proper tracking, you’re entirely shooting in the dark with your SaaS SEO campaign.
Setting clear benchmarks and using KPIs to determine whether SEO is working is essential.
Too often, software companies neglect KPIs and burn money with an SEO provider who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
How to Get Your Content Visible in Search
So now that you have your audience research, content strategy, and KPIs set, you’ll have to go through the process of optimizing your content and website for search.
Here are a few ways you can successfully optimize your website to increase organic visibility for SaaS-related searches.
Understand Search Intent
Before optimizing your content, you need to understand your keywords’ search intent.
What results does Google want to show for that result? And what does your reader like to learn when they search that keyword?
Search intent is the method of understanding what will rank and how it will rank.
There are 4 categories of search intent you need to know:
If your target keyword is “improving employee retention,” you’ll want to review the SERPs to see what results are showing for that keyword.
If Google only shows results for service pages, you’ll want to avoid creating an informational article.
What does Informational Intent Mean?
Informational search intent refers to searches where users are looking for direct answers or knowledge.
These are typically top-of-the-funnel pages that don’t have as much conversion intent.
If you were to search for “how to improve employee retention,” that would be considered an informational search, so you likely won’t see any service pages ranking.
What Does Commercial Intent Mean?
Commercial intent searches are searches that typically involve investigating rather than specific answers.
So this can be:
What Does Transactional Intent Mean?
Transactional search intent is searches where users look for a product or service directly instead of answers to their query.
For example, if someone searches for “employee retention software,” the SERPs will primarily include service page results instead of informational articles explaining what employee retention is.
What Does Navigational Intent Mean?
Navigational intent is the least common out of all the other search intents.
Navigational searches refer to searches where users search for a specific item on a website.
For example, a navigational search would be me looking for “Ahrefs blog.” That’s a direct navigational search, so Google will only show results from Ahrefs.
Navigational search will always have a branded element attached to it.
Include Keywords in your Title to Attract More Clicks
Regarding content optimization, your title tag will always be your starting point.
However, it’s not about cramming in keywords but optimizing them for search while enticing users to click on them.
For example, if your page is ’employee retention software,’ you wouldn’t want your title tag just to say “employee retention software.”
Instead, it should read something like this: Employee Retention Software | Retain Employees with Our Trusted Solution.
This isn’t keyword stuffing either; this is optimizing content for search while increasing the likelihood of a user clicking on your page.
Optimize your URLs
Another thing you won’t want to overlook are your URLs and slugs.
To help users and search engines better understand the relevance and context of your page, you should keep your URLs short and to the point.
You’ll also want to include your target keyword in your URL, as it’s a ranking signal for search engines.
Write Click Worthy Meta Descriptions That Capture Your Audience’s Attention
While meta descriptions do not directly influence rankings, they’re still useful.
A meta description can sway a user’s decision to click on your URL, so you’ll want to make them easy to read while explaining the context of your page.
And if Google rewrites your meta descriptions, it’s not something to be concerned about. Google changes meta descriptions around 70% of the time, and it’s simply their way of optimizing your description for different search intents.
Optimize your Headers and Subheaders
Remember to optimize your headers and subheaders, as these HTML elements are treated differently than body content.
Headers and subheaders help users and search engines understand your content’s relevancy and structure; the more accessible your content is, the better it is for SEO.
Again, you’ll want to avoid keyword stuffing them but still look for opportunities to include your target keywords naturally.
Be sure to check out this SEO checklist I made for SaaS websites.
Optimize your Images
Content isn’t the only thing that can boost your visibility in search; images can also help you get found through search.
For example, if someone searches for ’employee retention software,’ your image can show up if it’s relevant to the query.
While it’s unlikely that a user will convert immediately after clicking on an image, it’s still a great way for potential customers to discover your brand and product.
You’ll want to use alt text to optimize these images. Your alt text should be used to accurately describe what the image is.
Don’t just stuff keywords in there. If it’s an image of your software, label it as such.
If it’s a product image, label the specific product.
Focus on Entities
An often under-discussed aspect of SEO is optimizing entities.
With Google’s recent algorithm updates, there’s less reliance on exact-match keywords to determine relevance for a query. Instead, Google now uses natural language processing and other language models to understand the relevancy of a page.
With NLP, Google can understand your product/page without using any target keywords. You’ll still want to use your target keywords to help with relevancy, but there’s less reliance on it now.
In the past, you might have used an exact match for ’employee retention software.’
Still, with NLP capabilities built into Google’s algorithm, you can use phrases like ‘Our retention software helps managers retain employees by increasing engagement and improving employee satisfaction’ to help Google better understand the relevancy of your page.
To improve your page’s relevancy, you can use Google’s natural language processing tool to see how Google understands your content.
You can also use tools like Surfer SEO or Clearscope to help find entities you can include within your content.
These tools analyze the top-ranking articles, identify the common entities used within them, and recommend those entities for your content.
Add Internal Links Within Your Content
Optimizing content also involves internal links.
You want to use links to help Google discover new pages and distribute link equity.
The more internal links a page has, the more valuable it’s seen as by search engines. And pages closer to the home page are also seen as important.
So when optimizing your site, ensure that all relevant pages are discoverable from another page outside of your sitemap and pagination and not buried deep within your website.
Focus on EEAT
For any SaaS company, you don’t want to overlook E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness).
These are Google’s guidelines for assessing the quality of content, particularly in ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) industries like healthcare and finance.
While there’s no specific metric or score for E-E-A-T, ensuring your content is high quality and trustworthy is still essential.
Even if your industry doesn’t fall under YMYL, you should still follow E-E-A-T guidelines. It’s only a matter of time before Google applies these guidelines to every industry and not just YMYL.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Avoid keyword stuffing at all costs.
As mentioned, Google relies on keywords to determine a page’s relevance.
Keyword stuffing can be used as a negative ranking signal and hurt your rankings.
If your content is stuffed with keywords and not providing any value, Google will likely devalue it.
Even if you manage to rank your keyword-stuffed content, your readers will easily notice.
Your goal should be to build trust to retain your audience, and if they can tell your content was written for search engines and not them, they’ll likely bounce from your website.
Track Content to Avoid Content Cannibalization
Creating content at scale can sometimes cause content cannibalization, where two pages compete for the same keyword intent.
If two pages compete for the same keyword intent, Google will likely devalue both since they can’t decide which page to rank.
Before you start your content, use the SERPs to see if your page already targets that keyword.
If your site is already in the top 20 for a keyword, improving the existing page is often better than creating a new one targeting that same keyword.
Building a new page for that keyword could cause Google to devalue your current time and not even rank your second page, which can save you time and money.
If you end up with cannibalizing pages, the best solution is usually to merge them.
Combine the content from each page into a more comprehensive piece.
This makes your article more unique and prevents your pages from being devalued. Not only are you fixing cannibalization, but you’re also improving the quality of your content.
To check for keyword cannibalization, you can use Google Search Console.
Set a date range for the last 28 days, enter your target keyword, and see if multiple pages from your site are appearing in the page tab.
If you have matching pages, your query is split between two pages, and Google is likely still determining which page to rank.
Review these pages and decide whether to leave them as is, no-index them, or consolidate them.
Optimize for Featured Snippets
An SEO tactic that every SaaS website should be leveraging is targeting featured snippets.
These snippets will often attract most of your traffic and appear above all the other results.
Optimizing for featured snippets is the way to go if you want maximum organic visibility for your content.
To snag a featured snippet spot, structure your content based on the current ranking snippet.
Featured snippets often respond to a user’s question and can be a table, video, or direct text answer.
Even if a search query doesn’t have a ranking featured snippet, you should still optimize your content with a question-and-answer format if they select your content for a featured snippet.
If a competitor holds the featured snippet and you want to steal it, review it and look at how many words they use and how descriptive their answer is.
Then, match what they have but make your answer better.
If your content is designed to solve your audience’s problems, you’ll want to snag these featured snippet spots, as they can catch your audience’s attention and drive traffic to your site.
Create Link Magnets
If link building seems too time-consuming, consider creating link magnets to attract links organically.
Instead of doing outreach for backlinks, you can create statistics roundup articles optimized for search, which can be used as a resource when others are creating content.
Use Schema Markup
Another SEO strategy for getting more clicks is to use schema markup.
You can use various schema types for your content, like FAQ, how-to, or review schema.
For software companies, FAQ schema usually works best.
FAQ-rich results appear beneath your URL in search results and help users better understand your page without even clicking on it. Plus, it helps your URL’s search appearance stand out.
FAQ schema can increase a page’s click-through rate by about 80%, and the beauty of FAQ schema is that you can also include internal links to drive traffic to other pages on your site before a user even clicks on your URL.
If your content ranks in the top half of the first page, having schema can be a great way to capture more clicks that might otherwise go to your competitors.
It’s free to use, easy to set up, and can make a difference for your website.
Focus on Building Topical Authority
When creating SaaS content, it’s important to focus on building out content to establish topical authority.
Source: Neil Patel
If your software is relevant to a specific topic, you want to cover that topic in full before moving on to a new topic.
Many SaaS companies make the mistake of trying to cover multiple topics with their content to capture a wider audience.
However, you should be doing the exact opposite and go spearfishing with your content.
To build topical authority, you’ll need to cover a topic from end to end, covering everything a user would need to know about that topic.
This helps build your website as an authority around that topic and captures users at more touchpoints around a particular search.
You can use a hub-and-spoke approach, with a central guide or pillar page around your topic (the hub) and smaller spoke pages that cover more specific topics.
The hub links out to all the spoke pages, and the spoke pages link to each other and back to the hub, creating a network of internal links that connects your authority for search engines.
Use People Also Ask Questions in Your Content
Lastly, consider adding ‘People Also Ask’ questions in your content.
These are questions that Google uses on their SERPs to help users reach their destination faster and reduce the number of searches they need to take.
You’ll want to use ‘People Also Ask’ questions in your content for a few reasons.
Firstly, you can get placements for these ‘People Also Ask’ snippets, similar to featured snippets, which helps your site get more visibility.
Secondly, it can increase the relevance of your content.
If these questions appear in Google’s search results for that keyword, Google considers them relevant to the overall search.
So by including these questions in your content, you can increase the relevancy of your page to that keyword.
You can create a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section within your content and use ‘People Also Ask’ questions to cover all questions related to that topic.
You’ll see I did this below, and I only used PAA questions for them.
Technical SEO for SaaS
Before starting your SaaS SEO strategy, you’ll want to ensure that search engines can interact with your website.
This is where SaaS technical SEO comes into play.
It’s all about enhancing your site’s experience for users and search engines, making it easy for them to discover, crawl, and index your content.
If Google can’t index your content, it won’t be able to rank.
Check that Your Pages are Being Indexed
The first step in SaaS technical SEO is to ensure your pages are indexed.
You can check this in Google Search Console.
Navigate to your property in Google Search Console and load up the indexing report on the left-hand side.
Here, you’ll want to look at the excluded and included pages within Google’s index.
If your content isn’t being indexed, Google will provide you with a list of reasons why. It could be a canonical issue, a 404 error, a no-index tag, or other reasons.
If you want to filter out any spammy URLs in Google Search Console, you can head over to the top left-hand side and filter through your sitemap.
This filter will now show all URLs included in your sitemap that are either indexed or not indexed.
Check That Google Can Crawl Your Content
The next step in SaaS technical SEO is ensuring Google can crawl your website.
There are several ways you can check this.
Firstly, check that your robots.txt file isn’t blocking crawlers from accessing any of your pages.
Secondly, check your crawl stats to confirm that no pages are being blocked from being crawled.
Lastly, ensure that Google mainly crawls 200 status codes instead of 3xxs and 4xxs.
If Google encounters any issues while crawling your content, it will show in your coverage report.
If you’re having crawl-related issues, you’re likely dealing with an issue called “discovered, not indexed.”
This means that Google discovered your content but hasn’t crawled it yet.
This could be due to content quality or internal linking, but you should add more internal links to make it easier for Google to find these pages and ultimately crawl them.
Check That Google Can Discover Your Content
The last part of SaaS technical SEO is ensuring Google can discover your content.
Again, if Google can’t discover your URLs, they won’t be able to crawl or index them, meaning you’re missing out on potential traffic and maybe even conversions.
This process involves making it easier for Google to discover URLs on your website and guiding their hand with crawling your pages.
If you have an older page that hasn’t been indexed yet, you can inspect it using the Google Search Console’s URL inspection tool.
After inspecting your URL, click the dropdown below to see if Google discovered it in their sitemap.
If you still need to submit a sitemap, create one as soon as possible, as it helps Google discover more URLs on your website.
Improve Your Website’s Page Speed
While page speed is a ranking signal, it’s not the holy grail of SEO.
However, you should still prioritize user experience, not just for search engines but for your users.
To optimize for user experience, your website needs to be fast and user-friendly.
From a user standpoint, they don’t want to wait for a website that’s taking ages to load.
And from Google’s standpoint, they don’t want to show slow websites that might frustrate users.
Make Sure Your Website Has HTTPS Implemented
Security is a priority, not just for users but also for Google.
HTTPS is a user experience ranking signal that Google uses to show secure websites. Not that they would exclude your website if you didn’t have HTTPS, but you may find your website less competitive.
It’s straightforward; just install an SSL certificate on your website to make your website secure.
Fix Broken Links to Conserve Link Equity
Another aspect of SaaS SEO you’ll want to consider is finding and fixing broken links on your site.
Broken links are both bad for your users and Google. With Google, you lose out on valuable PageRank that could be used for other pages.
And with your users, you’re misleading them about their destination. They might become frustrated and leave if you have too many 404 errors.
You can use tools like Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to find broken links on your website.
Fix Redirect Loops So Users Can Access Your Content
Just like broken links, redirect loops are also problematic.
Redirect chains are sequences of redirects that create an endless loop that makes your page inaccessible to readers and search engines.
You can use the tools mentioned above to find these issues and to fix them; all you need to do is kill the redirect causing this loop.
Ensure You’re Using Proper Canonical Tags
Another element of SaaS technical SEO is to ensure you’re using the proper canonical tags for your pages.
Ideally, you should use self-referencing canonical tags for most of your content, at least for your sitemap pages.
If you’re missing a canonical tag or pointing it toward the wrong page, your content will most likely be excluded from Google’s index.
It’s fine if the non-canonical is intentional, but you at least want to have a canonical tag on each page so you can influence how Google indexes your pages.
How to Create Content for SEO that Isn’t Just Blogs
A common misconception about SaaS SEO is that it needs to be blog specific. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While marketing funnel pages are usually built out through your blog, you can use videos, images, and infographics to take up more SERP real estate.
For example, you rank a video and image from an “employee retention software” search.
Think about it too, the more touchpoints you have, the more likely users will click on your website.
So when you’re creating content, don’t limit yourself to blogs.
How is SEO Content Marketing Different for SaaS Companies?
SEO content marketing is an entirely different entity for SaaS companies.
Unlike traditional content marketing, where you’re marketing a physical product or service, SaaS content marketing takes a product-led approach to entice users to sign up for your software.
So instead of pitching yourself, you’re showcasing how your software can solve your target audience’s issues.
What Makes an SEO Campaign Effective for SaaS Companies?
The effectiveness of a SaaS SEO campaign hinges almost entirely on the quality of leads being generated from your content marketing efforts.
When you use a product-led approach, you drive highly qualified traffic that’s potentially interested in your software product. From there, you can help establish your software as a solution and guide users toward converting.
You can also leverage middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel keywords to get more qualified traffic.
So if you’re going for middle of the funnel, you can build out a page dedicated to the “best employee retention software.”
For bottom of the funnel, you can create content that compares your brand vs another.
These keywords not only bring in highly qualified traffic, but they bring in searches who are close or ready to convert.
Successful Content Strategies That Work Well for SaaS Companies
If you want to drive revenue with your SEO, you will need content.
This can either be service pages, articles, or even product pages.
Whatever it is, it’s still content and needs to be optimized for search.
Pillar and Clustered Content
Pillar content will likely be your best bet to build topical authority.
Content clustering or the hub and spoke approach will make building content within your niche easier while demonstrating to Google that you’re an authority on that topic.
Ideally, you’ll want to have a main hub page that acts as an ultimate guide for that topic and then use smaller subtopics to cover specific subsections more in-depth.
You can even use this page as an example.
This is my main hub page that targets SaaS SEO, and then I have smaller pages that cover more specific topics in depth.
So while I mentioned KPIs in this article, I also have an entire page dedicated to SaaS SEO KPIs. Same with my SaaS SEO tools article.
“Best of” Content
To capture more middle-of-the-funnel searches, you can use “best of” content to attract users comparing different products in their market.
If a user was to take this search, they’ve already shown interest in this type of product, and now they’re gauging who the “best” provider is.
So if you have a page for the “best employee retention software solutions,” users want to know their options and which product is the best.
This is a great opportunity to control the narrative and pitch your software as the “best.”
If you do go down this route, make sure you don’t just insult the other products. Make your product the “best” while giving honest reviews about yourself and your competitors.
Similar to “best” content, this type of content applies to the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.
Users are aware of a leading SaaS product but might be looking for alternatives in the market.
Say your main competitor is Ahrefs. Ahrefs is known as one of the best tools in the industry, but they are pricey.
Users are likely looking for alternatives when Ahrefs is too expensive. So you can capitalize on this by creating an article around “Ahrefs alternatives.”
This is a great opportunity to highlight your product compared to your competition.
You can highlight the pros and cons and show why your product should be considered.
While this is similar to “alternative” content, “vs.” content focuses on your product vs a competitor.
Think about the user doing this type of search. They’ve narrowed their options to two different companies and are now deciding which is best for them.
This is bottom of the funnel type content.
So if you’re SEMrush, you’ll want to create content optimized around “Ahrefs vs. SEMrush” or “Moz vs. SEMrush” that reviews both products honestly.
You don’t want to be too salesy, but this is a great opportunity to control the narrative about your product rather than having another website do so.
Ahrefs has a similar article that covers the differences between themselves, SEMrush, and Moz. This article is averaging 1,300 clicks per month.
If you want to attract links automatically, you’ll want to create link magnet-type articles.
You can build content like “employee retention statistics” or “employee satisfaction statistics,” which help you earn links from relevant websites.
Monitor and Improve Existing Content
While SEO may seem like “create, create, create,” you’ll still need to spend time optimizing your existing assets.
Sometimes it only takes a few minor updates to see significant results.
Find the keywords ranking between positions 4-25 and prioritize them based on search traffic potential.
Then review each page to see how you can improve it.
How to do Link Building for SaaS
Link building is a crucial pillar of SaaS SEO that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Link building is the process of building trust with search engines. Each link acts as a vote of confidence for your website.
While you can execute a SaaS SEO strategy without backlinks, you’ll see much better results for your content if you build quality links.
In some cases, link building is required, especially for SaaS companies operating in a “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) industry.
YMYL means that Google requires an additional layer of trust for your website, usually falling under the “A” and “T” of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness).
Google uses these guidelines to ensure their results are highly reliable and won’t result in users losing money or potentially impacting their health.
So with link building, you’re establishing your website as a credible source for search engines. There’s more at play here than just links, but they’re a big part of E-E-A-T, especially for finance and healthcare-related industries.
But with that being said, here are some SaaS link building strategies you can use to get more links:
Guest posting is one of the most traditional forms of link building. The process involves finding relevant websites in your industry and pitching content to them that has a link in it.
Another link building tactic you can use is Digital PR.
This involves creating digital assets that you can use to pitch to authoritative websites, like publications.
The goal is to have them cover your story/assets while linking to your website.
This link building tactic not only works great for getting quality link placements, but it also works for driving brand awareness.
If you’re pitching national publications relevant to your industry, you can position your software product in front of others who may be interested.
As an example, say you compiled data on employee retention trends. You can now use that to pitch to websites like HR.com.
An important thing to remember; data is just data, but data with a story is newsworthy.
Broken Link Building
Another SaaS link building strategy you can leverage is broken backlink building.
This involves finding broken pages with backlinks on other websites and recreating their content to use for the sites still linking to this 404 page.
You can let them know they are linking to a broken page and then offer to use your page as an alternative.
This is an effective way to build links without spending $$$ doing so.
Creating linkable assets is a great way to build links on autopilot.
By creating statistic roundup articles, you provide a resource people can reference when creating their content.
The goal is to have your site show up when someone is looking to cite specific data for an article they’re writing.
You don’t have to pitch them or pay for anything; they’re just using your content to cite data.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
Unlinked brand mentions are probably the lowest-hanging fruit when it comes to link building.
Unlinked mentions are opportunities where your brand name, products, research, or even team members are mentioned on other websites without a link.
This process is pretty straightforward: find the opportunities and contact the site owner, asking if they would be willing to attach a link to your name.
This works surprisingly well and only takes 5 minutes max to find the opportunity.
Leverage LinkedIn for Link Building
LinkedIn can be a powerful link building tool, especially when finding easy opportunities and building relationships.
You shouldn’t engage with people on LinkedIn hoping to get a link; instead, you’ll want to build relationships that could lead to link opportunities further down the line.
Reach out to writers, journalists, and other professionals in your industry and foster relationships with them so they can turn to you when they’re looking for expert sources.
And for this link building tactic, the only investment required is the time it takes to build these relationships.
Use Resource Pages
Resource pages are another opportunity you can go after when doing SaaS link building.
If you have a course, white paper, or e-book that aligns with the content of a resource page on a .edu site or another website, you can ask if they would be interested in including your resource.
However, if you use this link building tactic, just be aware that these site owners probably receive hundreds of similar pitches daily.
So if you want this link building tactic to work, you need to make your pitch mutually beneficial.
Broken backlink building and this pair well together since you’re offering something that acts as a solution.
Build Links to Both Your Product and Blog
When building links, don’t limit yourself to just your homepage.
Aim to diversify your link targets outside your home page, including your product and blog pages.
This will help balance link equity distribution throughout your site, and it’s often easier to pitch links through your blog posts.
Once you’ve built enough backlinks for your pages, set up internal links that pass your link equity to your product pages and other blog posts.
How to Use SaaS SEO With Other Marketing Channels
SEO doesn’t have to operate in isolation.
You can use a holistic approach to your SaaS marketing, including other channels like social media or PPC.
For instance, you can use PPC data to find keywords with the most conversion potential. You can also use your content to create engaging carousels for social media.
Best Tools for Building Your SaaS SEO Strategy
You’ll need reliable SEO tools if you want your SaaS SEO strategy to work.
Here are some of the best SEO tools that can help your SaaS marketing efforts while being cost-effective.
Ahrefs is one of the best all-around tools for SEO.
It’s one of the best for competitor research, keyword research, site auditing, and link building.
While Ahrefs might seem a bit pricey, its features easily outweigh the cost.
This is or SEMrush is a must for an SaaS SEO strategy.
SEMrush is a strong competitor to Ahrefs, offering very similar features.
Both tools have their strengths and weaknesses, but if you’re choosing between the two, I’d lean toward Ahrefs.
However, SEMrush is still a solid option.
It’s all about finding the best SEO tool for your needs and budget.
While Reddit isn’t an SEO tool, it can be beneficial for keyword and audience research.
If your product addresses a specific pain point, you can use subreddits to uncover content ideas and audience pain points that keyword research tools won’t show.
For example, if your product is employee retention software, you could use R/HR or R/entrepreneur to find common issues people face when trying to retain employees.
You can use these insights to improve your content, build new content, or better understand your audience.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is non-negotiable for any SaaS SEO strategy.
Google Search Console allows you to monitor your organic performance using Google’s data and also check if your pages are being indexed.
It’s one of the main tools I use when auditing websites and doing SaaS keyword research.
It’s a must-have for any SaaS company looking to improve its SEO.
Google Analytics is another must-have for SaaS websites.
While it’s not directly an SEO tool, it can track SaaS SEO KPIs and measure your overall campaign against other channels.
Starting with the source is always a good idea, and in this case, that’s Google.
By starting with the SERPs, you can get ideas for what you should target and the search intent and relevancy behind each keyword.
For example, if you’re targeting ’employee retention software,’ you can use Google’s autocomplete and ‘People also ask’ to find different content ideas.
These could be sections to include within your existing content or new content topics.
Either way, Google is a great way to gauge the demand for the keywords you want to target.
Google Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner, which is free to use, is another great tool for SaaS SEO.
Google’s Keyword Planner works best if you’re running paid ads because you’ll only be limited to search volume ranges without an associated account.
In addition to Google’s Keyword Planner, you could also use Google Ads Planner to use conversion data to find the keywords driving the most business for you.
If you want to generate keywords on a large scale, I recommend looking into the Keyword Sheeter.
It’s a way to mine autosuggest data and have it in spreadsheet form.
I recommend getting as much data as possible from autosuggest, transferring it to a spreadsheet, and then using Regex to find valuable keywords for your site.
Also Asked is an SEO tool you can use to visualize Google’s ‘People also ask’ section.
Just enter your target keyword, and it will visualize all of the PAA questions associated with that keyword. AlsoAsked is a paid tool, but you still get three daily searches.
Answer the Public
Another SEO tool you can use is Answer the Public.
While it doesn’t use ‘People also ask’ data, Answer the Public scrapes hundreds of questions that might be relevant to your target keyword.
Bonus SEO Tips for SaaS
Having covered the majority of SaaS SEO, here are some bonus tips to keep in mind that can help with your strategy.
Set Up Brand Alerts
Always set up brand alerts.
This way, you’ll get notified whenever your name, brand name, or product gets mentioned.
Once you receive a brand alert, reaching out to websites that mention you will become much easier.
Find Low-Hanging Fruit Keywords
Don’t neglect your quick wins.
Low-hanging fruit keywords are queries ranking in positions 4 through 20 on your website that just need a little update to see big wins.
To find these pages, go to Google Search Console, filter the last 28 days, export your data, and set up a custom filter for the queries that show positions between 4 and 20.
Once you have that data, you can optimize your content by either:
- Adding additional sections
- Adding internal links
- Improving existing sections
- Optimizing for a featured snippet.
Optimize High-Performing Content
Just because content is high-performing doesn’t mean it doesn’t need attention.
Optimizing high-performing content can lead to quick wins by attracting customers to your website and directing traffic to higher-value pages.
Like low-hanging fruit keywords, you’ll want to filter queries in positions 1 through 3, driving the most clicks.
Once you have that, you can:
- Add CTAs
- Improve content for more user engagement
- Add internal links
Update Outdated Content
Freshness is a ranking factor for SaaS content, so always check that your content is current.
If you’re covering trends or statistics, it’s best to keep it updated for both search engines and users since readers want to read content relevant to today, and search engines want to show readers that content.
So if you have any outdated content, update it to keep it fresh and relevant.
Get Started on Your SaaS SEO Strategy Today
There’s no better time to start your SaaS SEO strategy than today.
SEO is a long-term game; the more time you give it, the more valuable these results will be.
As we say in SEO, the best time to get started was yesterday, and the next best time is today.
Use an Experienced SaaS SEO Consultant to Help
If all of this seems overwhelming, consider hiring a SaaS SEO consultant or agency who can help with operations.
As an experienced SEO consultant for SaaS, I’m here to help with your SEO.
Feel free to schedule a call with me to discuss how we can grow your pipeline.
Don’t Fall Behind on the Competition; Start Your SaaS SEO Strategy Today
Hopefully by now, you will better understand how to structure your SaaS SEO strategy.
If all this seems too involved to handle internally, you can contact me for SaaS SEO consulting.
Frequently Asked SaaS SEO Questions
Why is SEO Important for SaaS?
SEO is important for SaaS companies since it reduces the cost of acquiring a customer and delivers leads over a more extended period, usually without additional involvement.
SEO also allows SaaS companies to drive results without any additional marketing cost.
The only cost to consider with SEO is the initial cost to do SEO.
It’s different from PPC or advertising, where you also have to factor in ad spend.
How Do I Market My Software with SEO?
You can market your software product by using a product-led approach.
Remember, with product-led SEO; you’re not pitching your product; you’re showcasing it.
How Should I Structure my SaaS Website for SEO?
To structure your website for SEO, you should use subdirectories to make it easier for users and search engines to navigate your site.
Also, ensure every page is at least one to three clicks away from the homepage.
How Do I Get High-Quality Clients Through SEO?
To get high-quality SaaS leads through SEO, targeting all aspects of your marketing funnel and your target audience’s buyers’ journey is important.
This means covering every touchpoint and search related to your product that your target audience might make.
Clients typically don’t decide to spend $10,000s after reading one article; it’s usually the result of multiple engagement points like your sales and product demo teams.
What is SaaS Copywriting?
SaaS SEO copywriting involves creating optimized content for search while optimizing your content for readers.
This content is designed to attract and convert as many users as possible while getting visibility from organic.
Is SEO Worth it for SaaS?
SEO is extremely beneficial for SaaS companies.
When it comes to attracting clients and generating leads for SaaS, there’s no better marketing channel than SEO.
With SaaS SEO, you’re essentially generating leads for free.
What are the Benefits of SaaS SEO
Benefits of SaaS SEO include:
- Lower CAC
- Higher ROI
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
How Will SEO Help with SaaS Customer Acquisition?
SaaS SEO can significantly lower customer acquisition costs while generating autopilot leads.
If your website is optimized for search properly and continues to build authority through link building, your rankings and leads can remain steady for a long time.
If you optimize your content for conversions, you’re turning your website into an inbound lead magnet.
There’s no need for sales pitches or ad spend; customers can decide whether to sign up for your software or demo it.
The ball is in your customer’s court with SaaS SEO.
Why is SaaS Content Marketing Important?
SaaS content marketing is important because it helps build trust with your target audience and search engines.
It’s also important that you’re targeting the right people with your content and not just creating content for the sake of it.
How Do You Create an Effective SEO Strategy for SaaS?
An effective SaaS SEO strategy blends off-page SEO, on-page SEO, and technical SEO with content marketing tailored to your target audience.
How Do You Scale SEO Content for SaaS?
Scaling content for SaaS is challenging, especially when scaling quality and quantity.
But scaling your SaaS SEO content efforts is necessary to see any ROI on SEO.
You can scale your content by hiring more subject matter experts or using AI to help speed up the editing/revision process.
How Do You Use SEO to Promote Your Software
When it comes to SEO for SaaS, it’s almost always worth it to use a product-led approach with your content marketing.
This means showcasing your product within your content, making it a solution to the problems your target audience is searching for.
What Should I Put on My SaaS Landing Page?
Your SaaS landing page should be optimized for both search and conversions.
This could be software descriptions, software benefits, customer testimonials, a call-to-action (CTA), and visuals (images, videos) showcasing your product in action.
How Do You Build Topical Authority for SaaS?
Building topical authority for SaaS involves building pages for every subtopic within your main pillar topic.
Going back to the employee retention software example, your topic cluster for this should revolve around retaining employees.
- Keeping employees engaged
- Keeping them happy
- Retaining employees
- Why you should retain employees
- Employee retention statistics
Ideally, you want a main guide covering employee retention and then use subtopic pages to flesh out specific aspects of that topic.
What Tools Help with SaaS Content?
Tools like Surfer SEO, Jasper, and Clearscope can help scale up your SaaS SEO content.
These SEO tools can help with keyword research, content optimization, and content creation.
How Long Does it Take SaaS Content to Rank?
The time it takes for SaaS content to rank will depend on factors like site age, site authority, topical authority, and trust; however, with consistent effort and the right strategies, you can start seeing improvements in only a few months.
What Helps Speed Up a SaaS SEO Campaign
If you want to deliver fast SaaS SEO results, the best way to speed up your campaign is by building as many high-authority links as possible.
You can create as much content as you want, but what’s going to propel your SEO efforts is backlinks.
How Do You Write Unique SaaS Content?
Writing unique SaaS content involves understanding your target audience’s needs and pain points and meeting them with content they can find through search.
As I mentioned before with keyword cannibalization, you’ll want to check the SERPs before you create each piece of content.
How Do You Capture SaaS SEO Leads?
As mentioned before, you’ll want to include some kind of call-to-action (CTA) within your content to help capture SaaS leads.
This could be a contact form, a “call now” button, or a request for a demo. Having at least one of these makes a lead more likely to convert.
How Do You Write SaaS SEO Content?
When writing SaaS SEO content, you’ll want to optimize your content for search while using a product-led approach.
You need to focus on keyword relevancy and create the best content possible.
You can gauge keyword relevancy by searching your target keyword and reviewing the top results to see what Google finds relevant for that keyword.
If you can create something more relevant or better, go for it.
It’s still important to review the SERPs for each keyword to understand how to nail the search intent and match the relevancy of your content to that keyword.
While heading and title tags are important, the most important part of any SaaS SEO strategy is nailing down the relevancy of your content.
Ask yourself, what is a user trying to learn when they search this keyword?
Let’s Drive Organic Growth For Your Software
SaaS companies should get started with SEO as soon as possible.
SEO is a long-term game, so starting as early as possible is the best way to get your foot in the door, especially if your competitors aren’t leveraging SEO.
You can gain a leg up on your competition and outrank them before they even start their SaaS SEO strategy.