SaaS SEO plays a huge role in creating a successful SaaS growth marketing campaign. That’s why you need to tick all the boxes regarding your SEO strategy. One of the most important aspects to get right from the start is technical SEO.
What is SaaS technical SEO you ask?
Technical SEO is a branch of SEO that focuses on optimizing the technical aspects of your SaaS website. Doing so ensures that your site can be properly crawled and indexed by search engines, while also being more accessible to users.
On the search engines’ front, technical SEO ensures better crawlability and indexation, resulting in better rankings. For users, optimizing the technical aspects of your site leads to better user experience (UX), resulting in higher CTRs, dwell times, and conversions.
Optimizing your website’s technical aspects is essential to ranking, driving traffic, and growing your SaaS business.
SaaS Technical SEO Is Different
When it comes to SEO, it can be tempting to take generic SEO best practices and apply them to your SaaS site. Doing this will cripple your efforts and result in a wasted budget. This is because SaaS technical SEO is different from, say, B2C SEO. Here are a few unique issues SaaS companies face when competing in SEO:
Lack of Internal Resources for Early-stage Companies
Unearthing technical SEO issues is tough and requires technical expertise. This can be costly, and not all early-stage startups can afford the resources required for this.
Pressure from Investors/Leadership to Move Quickly
Success in SaaS depends on the speed at which you move. This involves everything from product development to launch. It also involves the speed at which you execute your SEO.
Unfortunately, SEO can’t be rushed. The best you can do is optimize every element, from on-page SEO to off-page SEO to your technical SEO and then give your strategy time to start producing results.
Because of this, investors and the company’s leadership can put pressure on SEOs for faster results.
Competitors Prioritize Rapid Growth
SaaS is an extremely competitive industry. That’s why you’ll discover that your competitors prioritize rapid growth, as should you. By going all out on implementing SaaS SEO best practices, you’ll be in a better position to get faster wins.
3 Free & Simple Technical SEO Tools To Make Your Life Easier
Because of the technical nature of technical SEO, it’s impossible to do it manually. Instead, you need some SaaS SEO tools to help you go under the hood of your site and see what to improve. Let’s briefly look at some of the simple technical SEO tools you should add to your SEO toolbox to make your life easier.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is a powerful SaaS technical SEO tool every SEO or marketer should have in their arsenal. It offers various useful performance reports to help you fine-tune your website, ensuring it’s at its optimum.
- Sitemap submission
- Penalty reviews
- Backlink analysis
- Troubleshooting errors
- Page position tracking
The best part of GSC is that it’s 100% free.
Screaming Frog is another powerful tool designed to make technical SEO way easier. It’s an SEO crawler you can use run deep crawls of your SaaS website, making it easy for you to run technical SEO audits of your site.
- Broken link checker
- Log analysis
- Sitemap generator
- Review robots and directives
Screaming Frog also integrates with Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Page Speed APIs.
Google Page Speed Insights
A crucial element of SaaS technical SEO is page speed. Page Speed Insights (PSI) is another powerful tool from Google designed to help you monitor your site’s speed and offer recommendations on improving poor page speed.
- Mobile and desktop analysis
- Lab and field data testing
- Core Web Vitals assessment
With Page Experience now a huge ranking factor, Page Speed Insights is an excellent SaaS technical SEO tool to help ensure both users and search engines are happy with your site.
SaaS Technical SEO Audit Action Plan
Now that you know what technical SEO is and some important tools that can help you optimize your site, let’s get to the fun part — creating a SaaS technical SEO audit plan.
Yes, I know. This isn’t sexy. But, it is important to the growth of your brand.
Wondering what an SEO audit is?
An SEO audit is a full analysis of all the fundamental factors that affect your SaaS website’s visibility in search. Therefore, a technical SEO audit analyzes all the technical factors that impact your site’s performance and ranking.
Technical SEO audits aim to identify the issues affecting your site’s organic search performance. Examples include site structure, crawlability and indexability, broken links/404 errors, duplicate content, slow load times, missing HTML tags, and more.
With that out of the way, let’s quickly dive into creating your own technical SEO audit action plan.
The first step to designing an effective technical SEO audit is to create a plan of action. A few elements to consider in the planning stage include:
- Decide which sections of the site need to be audited
- Determine the limitations of your CMS or codebase
- Give roles and responsibilities internally
- Make backups of your site in case you need to reverse any changes later
- Determine the tools you’ll use to benchmark current site performance
Creating a plan of action will help you focus on the most important elements of your website to tackle. It will also ensure that you deal with your technical SEO issues more efficiently and strategically. These will result in better technical optimizations, improved rankings, and more traffic to your site.
Once you’ve laid out your action plan, the next step is to create a technical SEO audit checklist. Some of essential elements to include in the checklist include:
Ensure Key Pages are Being Indexed
Indexation is one of the most critical aspects of technical SEO. That’s why your primary priority must be to ensure that all key pages are indexed. A simpler way to check the indexed pages on your site is to run a site search of your website on Google.
The number of results indicates the number of indexed pages.
To help improve indexation, consider implementing proper canonical and robots meta tags, among other best practices. Optimizing for indexation results in better chances of ranking for your keywords.
Robots.txt files contain directives on how search engines should crawl your site (pages to crawl and those to exclude from crawling).
Optimize your robots.txt file and submit it to Google for better crawling and improved indexing.
You should also add your sitemap to your robots.txt file, so search engines know which pages to prioritize. This results in efficient use of crawl budget and increases the chances of important pages being indexed.
Missing Title Tag
Title tags help search engines understand what your page is about. They also help drive user clicks. Check all your pages to ensure they have optimized title tags.
Missing Meta Description
Your meta description is a mini sales pitch to encourage users to click on your snippet in SERPs. It also helps search engines better understand what your content is about. Missing meta descriptions can result in poor indexing and CTRs.
Ensure Proper Use of Heading Tags
Make sure all pages have header tags (H1-H3 tags) and that they’re properly used.
Header tags are an excellent way to give search engines more context about your content. They also improve your content’s readability score, thereby improving page experience.
Proper use of header tags also helps with better indexation.
200 Response Codes
200 response status codes mean a server response is successful, and your page can be displayed. You can check this in GSC, Ahrefs, and other tools.
Make sure that all the pages you want indexed return 200 status codes. Also, make sure all the pages that return 200 status codes are real pages, so you optimize your internal linking.
404 error status codes mean the requested page can’t be found. This results in high bounce rates and poor overall website ranking.
To avoid 404 errors, implement proper redirects to affected pages. If your page has been moved or deleted permanently, implement a 301 redirect. Otherwise, use a 302 redirect for temporary changes.
Proper redirection ensures positive UX, leading to a good page experience. It also helps you maintain the link equity of the pages you’re redirecting from.
Employ the Right Url Structure
Site structure deals with how content on your site is organized, linked, and presented to users. It impacts the way users access your pages as well as how search engines crawl them. A few tips for optimizing your URL structure include:
- Use the hub/spoke internal linking structure to define page hierarchy.
- Create category-based URL structures to optimize the passing of link equity. It also makes it easier for users to navigate your site.
The right URL structure improves crawl efficiency and UX, making it a necessity when optimizing your technical SEO.
Ensure Your SSL Certificate is Set Up Correctly
Another element to consider as you run through your technical SEO checklist is to ensure your SSL certificate is set up correctly.
Having an SSL certificate is essential to ensuring that your site is secure. This is essential to SEO as it impacts your Google E-A-T score. Websites without security score extremely low on the trust factor. On the other hand, secure websites are considered trustworthy, leading to them being ranked higher in search.
User-friendly Navigation + Anchor Text
Giving users a positive experience is a critical part of technical SEO. That’s why you must ensure your site features user-friendly navigation. Doing so helps reduce bounce rates and increases critical ranking signals like dwell time and page views.
In the same vein, you should also ensure the anchor text you use when linking internally or externally also provides users with a clear indication of what to expect beyond the link.
Page Load Performance
Page load performance refers to the amount of time it takes for content on a webpage to load. This is an essential aspect of Google’s core web vitals. These standardized metrics developed by Google are designed to help developers understand how users experience a web page.
Better page load speed equals better core web vitals, which results in better rankings. You can use a tool like Page Speed Insights to monitor page performance and diagnose critical issues that affect your page speeds.
Create and Optimize a Sitemap
A sitemap is a blueprint of your SaaS website. It tells search engines. It’s a file that provides information about the essential pages, media, and other files on your site.
Creating and optimizing a sitemap helps search engines crawl and index your content more efficiently. Again, this is important to improve your visibility in SERPs.
One way to optimize your sitemaps includes ensuring they are dynamically generated. This ensures your latest content is included and shows up at the top. You should also consider dividing your sitemaps according to the type of pages you have on your site.
Data shows that mobile has overtaken desktop in terms of internet usage.
Research shows that 59.32% of web visits are from mobile devices, compared to 38.46 from desktops.
This means you must ensure that your site offers an excellent mobile experience. One way of doing this is by using a responsive theme. You should also optimize for speed and ensure your pop-ups are mobile-friendly.
Ensuring your site is optimized for mobile is essential if you’re to rank well for mobile searches. It also helps boost your overall rankings on SERPs.
No Orphaned Pages
Orphan pages are pages with no internal links pointing to them. Because of this, they result in poor search performance and UX, thereby negatively impacting your site’s overall SEO.
Fixing orphan pages involves building internal links to them. Doing so makes them easier to crawl and index. It also results in better search performance for the pages.
Eliminate Duplicate Content
Duplicate content refers to content that exists on multiple URLs. This makes it difficult for search engines to know which URL to rank higher for relevant search terms. As a result, all pages suffer since search performance is split among the pages. Alternatively, search engines may opt to rank a URL with unique content higher than your duplicate content.
If duplicate content exists on your site, you may want to implement 301 redirects to your original page. This will result in that page performing better in search.
As you can see, technical SEO is as broad, if not more expansive, than on-page and off-page SEO. That’s why you must have a good plan for implementing it. Some ideas to help you do so include:
- Build a checklist with the factors mentioned above.
- Use tools to help identify issues affecting the technical aspects of your site.
- Prioritize each issue with a list of the required resources, priority level, e.t.c.
- Work through the implementation of the checklist and update the status of each issue along the way until you’ve ticked off every item.
You must also ensure that the human resources working on your technical SEO are competent and know what they’re doing. Otherwise, they might make mistakes that could be detrimental to your SEO and site.
Once you’ve implemented all the action items on your SaaS technical SEO checklist, you must take time to review each task. Tips for doing so include:
- Use SaaS SEO tools to double-check that fixes were done correctly.
- After a set time (2-3 months), review progress against benchmarks to see if your improvements drive more rankings and result in more traffic.
Reviews must be done regularly to ensure you get accurate data to monitor the impact of your implementations.
SaaS Technical SEO: The Key to Winning in Search
SaaS technical SEO is a critical aspect of your overall SEO strategy. You’ll struggle to rank well if it’s lacking, even if you nailed your on-page and off-page SEO. That’s why you must regularly check your technical SEO health to avoid significant issues cropping up. This will result in big, costly projects if left unchecked.
Granted, SaaS technical SEO can be quite complicated. This is why you must outsource to technical SEO professionals.
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