Individuals and companies rely on software to help them run their businesses and daily lives. Most of the programs and apps people use run on the cloud today. Instead of developing software and running IT departments, many organisations have turned to hosted solutions to enjoy savings, efficiency, and uniformity.
For instance, Zippia reported that 99 per cent of companies use at least one SaaS solution, and 38 per cent rely entirely on cloud-based products and no locally hosted software. While the market for hosted software still has plenty of room to grow, it’s already grown highly competitive in popular niches. The most successful SaaS companies have developed powerful SEO strategies to obtain the visibility they need to appear when internet users query for solutions to their problems.
Why SaaS Companies Should Invest in SEO
It makes sense for people seeking hosted solutions to conduct their searches online. By working for higher ranks, businesses can enjoy these benefits:
- Visibility and traffic: When potential customers look for solutions, they will see highly ranked websites first. In turn, the prominent listings will attract more website visitors.
- High-quality leads: When internet users find a website in response to a search for solutions, they are more likely to be interested in the product. Enhanced visibility and name recognition also increase the company’s credibility.
- Cost-effective promotion: Generating search engine traffic will require time and money. Still, search engines don’t charge for organic traffic, as they do with paid ads, and the prospects tend to convert well.
SaaS companies with excellent search engine rankings can enjoy a competitive advantage over companies relying only on paid traffic sources. Better visibility and a relatively inexpensive source of high-quality traffic can make a significant difference in a competitive environment where each company needs to work hard to differentiate itself from rivals.
SEO Synergises Well With Other Marketing
Achieving top ranks generally requires creating marketing assets. Savvy marketers know they can stretch their budgets by reusing the same assets for other traffic sources. Content producers can easily repurpose content developed for SEO as posts on social media or paid advertisements. For example, a company might order a video for its website and then use an edited version for its Facebook, Youtube, or LinkedIn pages.
Also, individual and business consumers generally only purchase products after multiple encounters with a brand. For example, an initial engagement may occur on social media or through video sponsorship while using a mobile device. Later, the individual might return to their desktop computer and decide to search for the website to learn more. If searches for the product or brand don’t yield quick results, the searcher may give up and look for something else. Thus, achieving visibility on search engines can enhance the effectiveness of other traffic sources, but the lack of high rankings for relevant search terms might detract from it.
An SEO Growth Strategy for SaaS Companies
Top search engine ranks can offer multiple benefits, but it helps to start with clear-cut goals and solid metrics to measure progress. An effective SEO strategy to grow SaaS companies needs to begin by clarifying SEO objectives and defining measurable goals.
Examples of goals can include increasing brand recognition, collecting high-quality leads, reducing customer acquisition costs, and generating more revenue. Businesses can measure their progress by collecting traffic and conversion analytics or conducting surveys.
Define the Target Audience and Research Competitors
Effective SaaS campaigns begin with a deep understanding of the audience the marketing team plans to target. For instance, CRM, productivity, and bookkeeping Saas products don’t solve the same problems or succeed with the same audience. Many small business owners might need all three solutions. In that case, marketers would consider those individuals members of multiple audiences and may make use of the overlap for additional sales or partnerships.
The essential tools to gain and document this knowledge include:
- Buyer personas: Established product teams can use their existing customer base to develop fictional representations of ideal prospects. These documents may contain relevant demographic information and sketch a portrait of the buyer’s motivations, ideals, and concerns. Marketers can tailor content to suit these buyers.
- Underlying problems that drive searches: People buy SaaS software to use as a tool to solve a problem. They might not even realise the product exists or that software can offer a solution, but they do know they need to resolve an issue.Thus, excellent content strategies promote the product’s ability to empower remote workers, enjoy reliable security, and work more efficiently.
Established companies can develop buyer personas from their existing customer base by running surveys or from the information they gather about prospects and customers. New companies may need to invest in third-party marketing research and tune their personas as they attract more customers.
Research should also include reviewing top competitors that prospective buyers might consider when looking for alternative solutions to their problems. Learn which keywords these businesses target and understand how to differentiate your product from theirs.
Define Keywords Across the Buyer’s Journey
Buyers don’t typically hit the buy button on their first encounter with a brand or product. Instead, they proceed through several steps. For instance, buyers might begin by researching a problem. After that, they may proceed to explore various solutions. Finally, these prospects will narrow their choices and start digging deeper to learn about a promising product or service.
During each stage, the potential buyers will research slightly different topics using different search terms. SEMRush published a case study on grouping keyword lists by various stages in the buyer’s journey for the SaaS CRM called Pipedrive. These examples from the case study will help clarify how to uncover the best search terms for multiple stages of the buyer’s journey.
- Beginning the buyer’s journey: At this point, searchers might still need to learn that software or your particular product can solve their problem. Excellent examples of keywords Pipedrive ranked to capture interest and introduce their brand include send follow-up emails and sales management process. These keywords cast a wide net and may not provide high conversions. However, they can attract a qualified audience of primarily sales and marketing people, improve brand recognition, and lead to further engagement.
- Middle of the buyer’s journey: By this time, searchers know that software products exist and might be aware of your product. The CRM software’s website ranks well for relevant keywords like Sales CRM and pipeline management software.
- End of the buyer’s journey: These searchers have already narrowed down the choices, are almost ready to buy, and need to gather details to help make an informed decision. Prospects will expect to find the information they need with branded keywords like Pipedrive pricing and Pipedrive reviews. It also helps to rank keywords for comparison with competitors, like Pipedrive vs Salesforce.
Use Keywords to Optimise Web Pages and Content
Now it’s time to think about developing content for various pages on the site. Along with search terms for multiple stages of the buyer’s journey, consider keywords and phrases that highlight the product’s main features and benefits. For instance, a bookkeeping SaaS system for small businesses might emphasise that it’s easy to use, interfaces with other digital products, enables remote work, and has affordable starter plans or free trials.
Almost every business faces competitors. Just as companies strive to outdo their competitors with better products, strategise how your web pages can exceed the quality of your rivals. Find out which competitor pages rank well for each set of search terms, and figure out how you can improve upon them.
Ideally, work with product specialists and potential consumers to gather information about what they’d like to see in response to their queries for information about a product like yours. For instance, you could offer a better organised and more detailed information page or add comparison pages highlighting the benefits of your products vs competitors. You could add appropriate videos and images instead of only relying on text.
Pay Attention to Technical and On-Page SEO
In particular, pay attention to technical SEO. For instance, test your pages to ensure they load relatively quickly and work well on various devices. Primarily, this attention to detail ensures website visitors enjoy a good experience. Search engines also consider website and page performance as ranking factors.
Naturally, search engine rankings will also depend on the relevance of a page for a particular search term. Incorporate keywords and synonyms into page titles, headings, and text to ensure search engine bots understand how to index and categorise a page. Search engines have grown increasingly adept at understanding context. Thus, refrain from spamming specific search terms and always focus on readability over keywords.
Develop an Off-Page SEO Plan
The best website with relevant content may still need high-quality backlinks to rank well for competitive search queries. That explains why the old suggestion of only providing an excellent website with high-quality content and watching backlinks build naturally only works well sometimes.
Tactics to ensure a SaaS website gets noticed include:
- Online press releases
- Guest posts on relevant sites
- Offering interviews to tech journalists and bloggers
- Asking for inclusion on lists of resources and review pages
As part of your research, find out which sites link to competitors because these websites may also offer you an opportunity. In addition, the best links will help send some search engine “juice” to your website and serve as a direct traffic source.
Get Started Right With Your Saas Marketing Strategy
It takes time to optimise SaaS websites for competitive search terms. You’ll also want to keep track of metrics to test and tune your strategy. Google offers several useful tools, such as Analytics, Search Console, and PageSpeed and Mobile Usability tools. Examples of popular third-party competitive SEO tools include Semrush and Ahrefs. Many SaaS companies maximise their returns by relying on an experienced SEO consulting firm to help them develop and implement their SEO strategy. Many tools can provide the tracking and information needed for a data-based SEO strategy. At the same time, expect to experience a learning curve before utilising them fully. Professional SEOs can help clients maximise their investment and avoid pitfalls.