The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry is worth well over $171 billion.

With the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) well in its advanced stages, almost every business needs a SaaS solution. 

While the industry is fast-growing, many SaaS providers are popping up every day, making it more difficult for your brand to be visible. This proliferation of businesses creates a unique challenge for SaaS developers and providers. So how do you make your SaaS solution stand out from the rest? How will potential customers find your SaaS in the first place?

A SaaS SEO strategy needs to be part of your digital marketing strategy. It’s the most surefire way to ensure consistent organic traffic. After all, 73% of all business traffic begins with organic search. 

A graph representing B2B SaaS SEO sources
Image from Search Engine Land

So how should you construct your SaaS SEO strategy? We’re going to show you how to configure your own SaaS strategy to help your business or product get found by the people who need it!

Is SEO for SaaS Companies Even Worth It?

As a SaaS marketer, you’re probably wondering if SEO is even worth the time, effort, and investment. 

Well, the short answer is yes. And here are a few reasons why:

SEO is a Predictable & Scalable Lead Acquisition Strategy

One of the biggest challenges in SaaS marketing is driving traffic and generating leads

This is the challenge that SEO solves. 

With an effective SEO strategy in place, ranking for your keywords becomes easier, resulting in you driving relevant organic traffic to your site and products. 

Besides being one of the best ways of driving organic traffic, SEO also has the advantage of being scalable. Unlike other client acquisition strategies, SEO is relatively affordable, no matter which stage of your business growth plan you’re on. And once your SEO campaign is underway, gathering data to help you predict trends is super easy. This allows you to create better iterations of your campaigns.

SEO is an Excellent Way of Reducing CPA

Acquiring SaaS clients can be expensive. With other acquisition channels like PPC, the cost-per-acquisition (CPA) increases as the campaign matures. This is because you pay for every click. And as time goes on, you exhaust your relevant audience. With SEO, however, it’s the exact opposite. Your CPA reduces as your traffic compounds with time. And unlike paid media, you don’t have to pay for every click.

SEO supports other marketing channels well.

From social media marketing to paid ads and everything in-between, every marketing channel can only work if the right people interact with your campaign. You can use SEO to improve the visibility of your other campaigns and drive traffic to them. It also plays a big role in helping drive conversions.

PPC vs. SEO represented in a chart.

So, is B2B SaaS SEO worth it?

It certainly is.

That’s why we want to share our simple, actionable, and repeatable system with you.

SaaS SEO Special Considerations

Let’s start our SaaS SEO guide with some of the unique things about SEO for SaaS. Then we’ll delve into some general SEO best practices that are particularly effective for SaaS providers. 

Competition From Content Aggregators

Keyword density is inherent to the way search engines sort websites. That makes it difficult for smaller websites to compete against larger ones, especially if they’ve been around for a while. There are numerous enormous sites with extensive listings of every kind of software or website. 

Capterra is a top-rated aggregator site for software. They have over 800 different software categories alone. This is very difficult, if not impossible, for a newer or more independent website to rank against. 

This also becomes a “chicken and the egg” scenario due to the other ways that search engines assess SEO. With Capterra being the go-to expert for all things software, that means that other websites are going to be linking back to them far more frequently than an independent website would. Backlinks are just as crucial to SERP rankings as keyword density, if not more so. That means huge content aggregation sites like Capterra will continually pull further ahead while smaller websites lag further behind. 

However, you can look at some of Capterra’s strategies to get an idea of how you can conduct your own SaaS strategies. You’ll notice they don’t just rank for keywords but also for many related search phrases, as well. This is predominantly handled via the thoughtful use of landing pages. 

Someone looking up ‘productivity software’ most likely doesn’t want to be led to just one product page. Instead, they probably want to see an assortment of options to choose from. That page should also include information that decision-makers will find helpful in making a decision. This is information such as customer reviews and pricing information.

You can use those insights as part of your SaaS strategy in various clever ways. 

Getting Everyone On The Same Page

Digital businesses are often large, complex systems. It can be difficult to get everybody on the same page. However, it’s imperative that you do so if you want your SaaS product to be competitive. This means getting your design and development team working together with your SEO strategists. 

Developers and designers usually focus on creating a great, well-functioning product efficiently and under budget. As a result, SEO is often an afterthought, putting these two teams at odds against one another. 

Consider the simple metric of page load time, for instance. Developers often want to include everything, and the kitchen sink into their application. This can lead to unwieldy applications that are slow to load, however. On the other hand, SEO strategists know that every millisecond counts when it comes to page load time. 

40% of web users will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, after all.  

To help avoid these disagreements, your development and marketing teams should get together semi-regularly. You should create a master list of the main key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most relevant for your SaaS product.

You should also agree upon the terminology that you want your software to rank for. This will help get the development and marketing teams on the same page when it comes to beginning your SEO campaign in earnest. 

SaaS Has Longer Buyer’s Cycles

One final special consideration to keep in mind when promoting SaaS products is they feature a longer buyer’s cycle than other products. A study from HubSpot indicates that the average buyer cycle for a SaaS solution is 84.3 days. This means that a decision-maker will likely have to encounter a SaaS application several times before they’re ready to buy. 

You can work these insights into your SaaS SEO strategy. You’ll want to create content for each individual stage of the buyer’s cycle. You’ll want to think about keywords and phrases for different stages of the cycle, such as awareness or the consideration phase. 

The buyer's cycle and timeline represented in a flow chart.

Don’t rely solely on landing pages, either. You can also optimize blog posts and premium content for specific stages of the buyer’s cycle. 

How To Create Your Own SEO Strategy

To start our guide to setting up a SaaS SEO Strategy, let’s start with SEO itself. SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s how a website or digital asset gets found by search engines. 

Website owners can polish their digital content to get noticed by search engines. This is part of an SEO strategy.

However, there are some aspects of setting up an SEO strategy that are particular for SaaS providers. A SaaS strategy requires optimizing your content for standard SEO considerations and taking these special considerations into mind. 

Some common SaaS SEO strategies include:

  • Creating landing pages
  • Integrating rich content
  • Finding guest posting opportunities

SaaS SEO strategies have some of their own unique considerations as well. There are often a rather limited number of users looking up SaaS applications directly, for one thing. Many of the top search engine result page (SERP) listings will automatically be taken up by huge content aggregation sites. 

Luckily, you can configure your SaaS strategy to be more competitive by using particular keywords. You can also hone your strategy to increase actual conversions, which is the main point of SEO anyway. 

1. Choose Your KPI Targets & Goals

One of the very first steps you must take when creating your SEO strategy is to set goals and define your key performance indicators (KPIs).

A huge caveat with SEO is that it sometimes takes a long time to see your campaign results. This is where setting goals and defining KPIs are very helpful. They help you keep your eyes on what matters most. They also help you remain focused even when it may seem as if there’s no movement behind the scenes.

So what are some examples of goals you can set as a SaaS business?

  • Lead generation
  • Trial/demo sign-ups
  • Brand awareness
  • Sales
  • Activating dormant users

Some of the primary KPIs You can use to track the performance of your campaigns include (among others):

  • Unique visitors
  • Cost per conversion (demos booked, meeting booked, & contact forms)
  • Total monthly conversions
  • Monthly conversions by channel
  • Total keywords ranking in positions 1-10 for target keywords
  • Top content (by new users, conversions)
  • New users by channel
  • User > lead conversion rate
  • Lead > customer conversion rate

The KPIs you use will largely be dependent on your business model, campaign goals, and other unique qualities that make up your industry vertical. 

SEO KPIs to have on your radar.

2. Keyword Research

Every SEO campaign should begin with keyword research. Otherwise, you’re simply guessing rather than using your time, energy, and resources most efficiently. The problem is that many SaaS providers don’t have a simple, straightforward keyword for their product or service. 

Many SaaS providers feature extremely niche products. They tend to think in terms of copywriting rather than keywords, “empowering end-users by freeing data from its siloes,” which sounds nice but doesn’t feature one definitive keyword or phrase. 

This is where competitor research comes in. Even if your SaaS product is entirely new and innovative, there’s bound to be some sort of application that does something similar. 

Think about some of the applications that inspired you to create your SaaS application in the first place. Also, think about any others that you might have learned from during development. As it gets closer to implementing your SaaS strategy in earnest, use some of those sites to conduct competitor research. 

You should also spend some time on some of the leading software directories like Capterra. You might come to find that other software solutions aren’t really optimizing their content for SEO, whereas Capterra is always clean, clear, and well organized. This could yield potential opportunities to pull ahead in SERP rankings. 

Software listings on Capterra have a section where they show where they’re listed. Like with Google Drive, for instance, which is listed as ‘file-sharing software,’ ‘remote work software,’ or ‘document management software.’ These listings will give you further ideas for additional keywords to optimize your content for. 

You can do the same for other software in those categories, as well. You’ll have a full list of keywords to create content around before you know it! 

Understanding Search Intent — Going Beyond Basic Keyword Discovery

Keyword research plays a significant role in SEO. However, as much as discovering relevant keywords plays a huge role in the success of your SEO campaigns, keywords alone aren’t enough. 

You also need to know the reason people are using those particular keywords. This is called search intent, user intent, or keyword intent, and there are four main types:

  • Informational. This is when a user searches to know more about their problem or your solution. Creating guides and how-to content is essential at this stage.
  • Navigational. This is when a user knows the website they want to go to. Search queries that match this type of intent usually contain a brand name or even the page the user wants to visit. A typical example would be “RevenueZen services page.” 
  • Commercial. People who fit this type of intent intend to buy soon and research products to solve a problem. They usually need some convincing, so developing great content that earns trust is essential here.
  • Transactional. People searching with transactional intent are ready to buy and are probably looking for product pages. This is why you must ensure your “money pages” are optimized for search. Doing so makes it easier for you to appear for this type of search intent.

Understanding search intent is essential as it enables you to create the kind of content your prospects are looking for. This will result in you capturing more search traffic as search engines have become so sophisticated they understand the intent behind a query.

That’s why keywords alone won’t help you rank. You must marry keywords and keyword intent to get the best possible chance of ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs).

As a SaaS marketer, to get the best performance out of your search campaigns, you need to align your keyword intent to your buyer’s journey. Doing this ensures that your content meets users’ needs at each stage of the buyer journey. As a result, your conversion rates will improve.

3. Conduct Competitor Research 

After you’ve spent some time on Capterra gathering your seed list of keywords and phrases, the next step is to go back to Google. Start looking through the SERPs to find additional web pages not listed on Capterra. You’re going to do competitor research on those sites, as well. 

Next, you’ll want to go to some sort of keyword research tools like Ahrefs or Moz. On Ahrefs, you can investigate a domain by Prefix. This returns a list of all of the keywords a website ranks for. 

You’ll also get a listing of posts that are performing particularly well for particular keywords. You can browse those keywords, as well. And with any luck, you won’t see Capterra among those listings. 

This will give you an idea of keyword alternatives that you can rank for and aren’t already dominated by the content aggregation sites. That’s the bright side of SaaS SEO, which focuses more on long-tail keywords than immediate results. 

4. Audit Your Content

A content audit is another essential element of a B2B SaaS SEO strategy.

If you’re wondering, a content audit means running a performance-based analysis of your website’s content. Using SEO and user behavior metrics, your audit will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your content marketing. It can also reveal opportunities you can leverage to improve your SEO results. Some of the SEO and behavioral metrics you can use to audit your content include:

  • Organic traffic
  • Time spent on page
  • Pageviews
  • Bounce rates
  • Conversion rates
  • Backlinks
  • Internal links
  • Word count

These metrics will give you insight into the pages that perform well and those that don’t. For those that don’t perform as expected, further analysis will reveal whether they should be optimized or deleted altogether.

How do you conduct a content audit?

Here are a few steps to help guide you along:

  • Understand the goals of your SEO campaign and define relevant metrics.
  • Inventory your content, taking into account all relevant pages.
  • Collect and analyze the data for each page using your defined metrics.
  • Create an action plan based on the data you’ve analyzed.

There are many different tools you can use for this. Examples include Ahrefs, Semrush, Screaming Frog, and a whole host of others.

How to conduct an SEO content audit

Adjusting your content marketing strategy according to the results you get from your content audit is a great way to boost your SEO. Not only does it result in increased traffic to your site, but it also leads to improved conversion rates. That’s why content audits must be an integral part of your broader inbound marketing strategy.

5. Perform Technical Analysis With High Priority Issues In Mind

Effective SEO requires that you take a holistic approach to your campaigns. That means you must focus not only on content but also on the technical aspects of your website. 

You must regularly conduct a technical SEO analysis to ensure everything is optimized as far as technical issues are concerned. 

One thing to note is that not all technical issues are created equally. As such, you must prioritize issues based on:

  • Impact they have
  • Resources available
  • Company needs (for example, traffic bandwidth) 

Some of the basic technical SEO elements to keep an eye on include, among others:

  • Website and pages are being crawled and indexed properly
  • SSL certificate is set up properly
  • Adequate internal linking to key pages
  • No status errors, 404s, 503s, etc
  • Core web vitals and load performance 
  • Title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs
  • Url structure and navigation is optimized 

Again, this can be done with the help of some SEO tools like Google Analytics, Screaming Frog, Website Grader by Hubspot, and many more.

6. Landing Page Creation

Once you’ve got a list of the keywords you’re hoping to rank in, you’ll want to begin creating landing pages integrating those insights. Landing pages are of particular importance for the SaaS SEO strategy, as you have complete control over what’s included. They also allow you to optimize content for different stages of the buyer’s cycle, as we discussed earlier.

There are a few types of landing pages that are of particular importance for SaaS applications. 

Solutions Pages

Product solutions pages are the heart of a SaaS website. They’re where you describe, in as great of detail as possible, what your SaaS product is and does. In addition, product pages are where you want to focus on the main keywords you want to rank for. 

This also means that those keywords are also going to be some of the most competitive. It’s going to be difficult to stand out against the content aggregation sites. The ones that do often focus on page design and the amount of content on the page. 

To help your product pages perform competitively, you should include one or two instances of the main keywords before the first call-to-action. Rich content, such as a product demonstration video, will also make your product page more SEO-friendly. 

You’ll want to include some graphics on your product landing pages, as well. High-quality screenshots are an easy way to integrate graphics. So are logos and graphic design. 

Remember to include the keywords you’re hoping to rank for among the alt. title and meta description of the images you upload. One of the main keys of a successful SEO strategy is taking advantage of every opportunity. 

Features Pages

Features pages are very common on SaaS sites, as well. These fulfill multiple functions. First and foremost, they tell your customers what your SaaS application can do. They also help optimize your site for SEO. 

Feature pages can be stacked, as well. You can have an overview page similar to a category page. Then you can have each individual feature lead to its own landing page. This gives you even more opportunities to integrate the keywords to help your site get found via the search engines. 

SaaS SEO strategy isn’t that dissimilar from traditional SEO, but it has some unique challenges. Following this guide will get you thinking like an SEO strategist, helping you to construct methodical SEO and content creation campaigns that will have you ranking competitively as quickly. 

Industry Vertical / Target User Pages

Personalization has become an essential aspect of successful B2B marketing. 

But with the buying decision in the hands of committees, how do you personalize B2B marketing, especially from an SEO and content perspective?

This is where industry vertical pages come to the rescue.

Industry vertical pages are created to target a particular industry vertical specifically. Because of this, the pages focus on that industry’s major pain points. As a result, your target audience will relate to your content, leading to your gaining credibility.

For example, one of our industry vertical pages is the B2B SaaS SEO Services page. We clarify which industry we serve and the challenges we help players in that industry overcome.

Building industry pages also has the advantage of helping you send important signals to your target audience. 

  • Similar companies use your product
  • You solve industry-specific problems
  • You understand and value your target’s audience

As a result of these signals, your content will be primed to convert better and generate higher-quality leads. 

Build Domain Authority and Reputation with Focused Link Building

A critical element of B2B SaaS SEO is to build your reputation, domain authority (DA), and domain rating (DR). That’s because the higher your DA and DR, the more search engines trust you to serve relevant and helpful content.

So what exactly are domain authority and domain rating?

  • Domain Authority (DA): DA is a metric developed by Moz to help predict the likelihood of a website to rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs).
  • Domain Rating (DR): This is an Ahref’s developed metric that shows the strength of a website’s backlink profile. The backlink profile is compared to others in Ahref’s database and is rated on a scale of 0-100.

Both these metrics are essential to running an effective SEO campaign. The good thing is you can develop strategies to boost your DA and DR.

By pushing your DA and DR up, the chances of your content ranking higher improve.

How do you boost your DA and DR?

One of the most effective ways to boost these two metrics is to build backlinks. 

Not only will link building boost your DA and DR, but it can also help you tap into the traffic of the referring domains. As a result, you can also drive new customers from this strategy.

While link building is one of the least sexy disciplines in digital marketing, it’s an integral part of an effective B2B SaaS SEO strategy. Here are a few tips to help you pull off a successful link building campaign:

Conduct Original Industry Research

One of the best ways to build backlinks is to conduct and publish industry. Not only does this help build your reputation, but it’s an excellent way to build backlinks quickly. That’s because every publisher wants to give their content more authority. And the best way to do that is to cite stats and facts.

Publish “Best of” and Roundup Posts for Different Software

Another great way to attract backlinks is to publish or participate in “best of” posts and “roundup” posts.

  • Best of posts: these are posts where you compare different products in your vertical. Done well, the vendors you feature will also link back to your pots.
  • Roundup posts: These are posts where you aggregate opinions from industry experts. Each expert contributes their opinion and gets a backlink from your site. They also reciprocate by linking to the post.  

Get Listed on Business Directories and Review Sites

One of the easiest ways to get backlinks is to list your business on industry-relevant directories like DiscoverCloud, Software Advice, Ready SaaS Go, and others. Besides business directories, you can also get listed on review sites like Capterra, G2, TrustPilot, e.t.c. 

Each platform that you’re listed on earns you a backlink.

Press Releases 

Press releases have mainly been used to get the word out about your business and what you’re doing. 

But you can also use them to build quality backlinks.

How?

Easy, look for bloggers and publishers with an audience interested in your product. News about when you raise money, go through an acquisition, an invention, or some other big event will surely interest their audience. Because of this, your press release will provide them with free relevant content they can publish on their site. And, of course, they’ll link back to the original source — you. As a result, you’ll earn backlinks from every publisher who agrees to share your press release on their websites.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is another excellent way of building a healthy backlink profile and boosting your DA is to guest post. This is the practice of creating content that you publish on sites other than your own.  To succeed at this, your content must be:

  • Relevant to your target site
  • Helpful and actionable
  • Value-packed
  • Well-written 

Make sure to target publications that cater to the same audience as you. This way, not only will you build backlinks, but you’ll also drive relevant traffic to your site.

B2B SaaS SEO: Still a Very Effective Marketing Strategy

Many digital marketers have been declaring the death of SEO, particularly for B2B SaaS brands. 

But B2B SaaS SEO is still an excellent strategy for getting the word out about your product, driving traffic to your site, and generating leads.

Those who proclaim its doom are just doing it wrong.

With this actionable, repeatable, and scalable system we’ve outlined above, dominating the SERPs for your keywords and search intent will become much easier.

However, if you feel you need expert help in implementing this strategy, feel free to reach out, and we’ll run your SEO campaigns for you.

So, go ahead and get in touch for our SaaS SEO services.

B2B SaaS SEO: Our Clear, Actionable, and Repeatable System For Success
Ken Marshall

Ken Marshall is the CGO and a Partner at RevenueZen. He’s been doing some version of digital marketing for the past seven years and has shifted his focus to all things SEO and inbound for the last five. Husband, mini Australian shepherd puppy dad, and serial entrepreneur (mostly failures, lots of lessons).