SEO is the single biggest lead generator for many SaaS companies. If you’re looking to leverage SEO for your SaaS. This post is exactly for you.
As Head of Growth for SaaS, I know my way around SEO rather well. It can be intimidating if you’re a beginner, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.
You can check my efforts below since I started working on Userpilot’s SEO & traffic .
I’ve put together all the information you could need to get started, all in one place. Let’s get started!
Focusing on SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn’t new. It has been a part of the online experience for more than a decade now and its importance in terms of digital marketing keeps increasing every day. Tons of successful websites claim that their gain to fame is SEO and it has been proven to bring in tons of traffic. BrightEdge has found it to be ‘the largest driver of Web traffic for most sectors and a crucial component of revenue.’
With a whopping 53%, SEO’s capabilities and reach is clear. Which is exactly why it needs to be a part of your brand.
Why should you do it?
- It’s cheaper.
- Cost of Acquisition (CAC) keeps rising in the digital world. Research has shown that 83% of the traffic from search engines comes from SEO, while only 17% is raked in by paid searches. The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to results!
- It lasts longer.
- Albeit requiring initial work, once you have cemented your search engine rankings, they prove to be a long-term investment! Unlike ads, this is organic traffic and so has no media cost. Instead they’re a great ROI. This is because search engines tend to reward work that is customized for audiences and readers; none of those bots!
- Highlights your brand in the business.
- Every company is looking to make their mark in the industry and for that they need a sense of authority. SEO makes that possible; success in SEO ensures that your company’s voice and vision is heard and seen on the result pages. This creates brand trust which is essential to make your name known.
- Think about how essential search engines are to everyday life, especially when it comes to research purposes. If someone is considering purchasing a product or service, you want your name high in the result page. Focusing on SEO builds market consideration.
- It brings in great conversions.
- SEO traffic tends to outperform when it comes to conversions. This is because result page rankings show a sense of trust from the search engines. On the other hand, paid searches (while quick) lack uniqueness which is not favorable.
- Focusing on building legitimate connections and links leads to relevant content that addresses concerns. This is the kind of content that gets you shares and retweets.
- It’s easy.
- It really is. It’s not a walk in the park but even I had to start somewhere with SEO. I could do it, and so can you. SEO success depends greatly on your attitude towards it and your dedication to make it work.
When should you do it?
Right from the start as soon as you have some validation and your beta users love it!
Like we’ve established, SEO is a long-term process. It takes from 6 months to 1 year for it to produce results.
When starting up, you should look into structuring your website with SEO in mind. Look into keywords that match your content and smoothly put them in; do not be heavy-handed, natural is the best way to go.
Understanding your customer
We’ve talked about how SEO works best with genuine and meaningful content. But for that, you need to know your customer well enough to predict what they’ll click on. What are the kind of people that would be interested in a SaaS company?
Taking a look at behavioral data will make it clear to you which content or features customers have leaned towards and which they didn’t care for. The key to developing a good content strategy is knowing your own most well-received works.
For this, you can take help from Predictive Modeling Software such as RapidMiner and Angoss Customer Analytics. These basically look into existing customer data and identify patterns and trends, which you can then use to make a decision.
But first, let’s look at 7 different questions to answer when understanding your customer:
What’s their designation/job?
How does your product/service help them?
Your job is helping these people increase their conversion rates. Pitch yourself, how well can you get them to connect with hot leads?
What are their daily challenges?
Salespeople are driven to help their customers and they have a certain quota to do so. Marketing managers, on the other hand, lookout to boost their website traffic.
Where do they hang out?
A big part of engaging with your customer is knowing where they are more accessible. Messenger is a popular contender for customer service channels. Drift lets you talk to people as they go through your website.
What do they like to read, listen and watch?
Work is all about bettering yourself in your field; everyone wants to go higher in life. If not your content, your customer is reading or listening or watching someone else. Not only does finding out who helps you understand your customer, it also helps you understand your competition. Study the market and look for another angle to pitch your content; it will help in getting early leads and will generate momentum for your online strategy.
Who do they get influenced from?
People in every profession look towards others in their field who are doing better than them. Look for those higher-ups, the pros if you will, and try to evaluate who to ask for guest posting.
What makes them share something on their own networks?
Once you’ve understood your customer’s persona, you can deduce what their needs are. Target those needs and you are more likely to get shared amongst their circles.
How do you create a topic?
Looking into your customer profiles and observing your market competition will easily allow you to see the gaping holes in terms of content. This is your point of entry.
What exactly is a content gap? It’s the difference between what your customers are looking for and what they seem to be able to find in the current online content. Here are some ways you can create topics:
- Topics around your product/service
- The trend in your industry
- News in your industry
- Research in your industry
- Social network: Quora, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Tools: Ubersuggest, Kwfinder, and Buzzsumo
Protip: Now admittedly, if you are already an authority in the industry, then this should be smooth sailing. But if you’re not, there’s no need to despair. Take interviews of people who are, and blog about their best practices & tips. Their name and stamp of approval will do wonders.
Think of SEO as a funnel.
- The top of the funnel is full of generic information. It’s educational guides and to-dos.
- The middle of the funnel narrows it down a little. Now this person surfing the web is interested in being a customer and has a particular want. They are now looking for names, brands, and companies; the whats and the whos.
- The bottom of the funnel is the action stage. It’s when this person becomes a customer and buys or makes a purchase.
Keyword research is essential to be successful at the bottom of the funnel.
How do we find keywords to use?
Know your topic. What category are you serving? What topic is related to your industry?
It seems simple and obvious but I cannot stress its importance enough. You need to know what your content is or is going to be.
And then you will need to look at your niche in the market. Topics are broad but niches are specific.
Topics as keywords are obvious enough. Our content here concerns itself with user onboarding. That is a keyword itself.
But the problem of using these kinds of keywords is that the market is already so saturated with them that you will naturally get a lot of competition.
So instead, look at your niche and know your niche. My niche was user onboarding so I wrote below articles (Bottom of the funnel first):
These are what you call long-tail keywords. You can find these long-tail keywords from answer the republic.
The more specific you are, the bigger chance you have to generate qualified traffic because of lower competition.
There are tons of resources you can use when researching keywords. These include KWFinder:
Here is a list of things to always do:
- Have a high volume keyword (above 100 to 10,000)
- Have a keyword with low difficulty, which are then easy to rank (Under 30)
- Check the Search Engine Ranking and try to rank in the top 10
- Go for keywords with fewer backlinks
- Do your research
Why should you do it?
Having your name, brand or company attached to a good piece of writing can have some great benefits. Here are some reasons why you should do it.
If there is one thing that search engines love, it’s content. It’s what they’re made of. And what they love even more is content that is relevant to their audience. Posting good blogs consistently helps you rank higher in internet searches. Statistically, companies have seen 67% more leads from just blogging.
Becoming the go-to source
By blogging, you can show your customers (and competitors!) that you are an expert in your field and that you can be trusted.
Blogs are considered the 5th most trusted source of information, and we have seen that regular blogging results in an improved customer acquisition.
Blogging is the best kind of advertisement because it does not limit you to your locality. Anyone with an internet connection and just a mobile phone can read your blogs, be it on a national or an international level.
Once you get your name out there, people are bound to develop a sort of familiarity with it. Customer loyalty and trust is your biggest asset as a brand or company because people tend to go back to names that they trust.
This also results in a strong buying influence. In the age of social media that is today, we’ve seen how bloggers are sponsored by companies to advertise their products. This is because 61% of customers have reported that they bought a particular product because of a blog post.
We’ve talked about how blogging, when done right, can really reel in amazing results. Let’s go through what we should be doing when writing our content.
Use Eye-catching Headlines
Your headline or title is what reels a person in. If it fails to appeal, that means it failed its job as a headline. This is your article’s first impression. Quick tip – Headlines should be unique, useful, ultra-specific, and urgent (recent/now).
Post on a Schedule
Your mind might be confused between three options: should I post daily, weekly, or fortnightly?
Honestly? The choice is yours. It depends on your own independent variables and how often you can put up good, sound content. For that, you need to develop your own posting schedule and stick to it. People make the mistake of posting a lot for a couple of months and then going off the grid for a couple more.
Regularity gives your audience expectations and falling out of those expectations for a long period of time will cause your audience to forget you. You don’t want that to happen after all that hard work because that just means you have to start all over to reconnect with them.
However, experts do recommend posting on a daily basis because more content means more chances of getting readers. However, I recommend only doing that if you have the means to produce good content every day.
Use Design Wisely
You might have not seen that one coming but let me tell you that your viewership also depends on how your blog looks.
It’s natural behaviour for our eyes to gravitate to graphics rather than words. Think about it, you must know a lot more avid movie watchers than book readers. That alone is proof of this statement. Images, illustrations, and more are a great way of keeping your audience’s attention, and photographs have actually seen extra SEO boosts. Make sure they are relevant and are supplementing your text.
If you can take the extra step, make sure your blog itself is well-designed. The space that your content resides in also makes for your first impression. Your article could be excellent, but if the blog’s design is poor it could yield poor results. Good design looks professional and hence the brand is thought to be professional as well.
I am personally a big fan of Ahrefs, and you can see how appealing their graphic design is.
Share It Everywhere
Use social media to your advantage and share your content on your platforms. More often than not, people stumble upon great blogs on Facebook and Twitter. Use cross-channel communication to your advantage.
This method also makes it easier for people to share about you. Readers are more likely to retweet or share content when it’s there at the click of a button. It helps you gain visibility, attract new readers and convert them into potential customers.
I cannot stress this enough. Spelling mistakes and a lack of punctuation make for a bad impression, no matter how stellar the meat of your matter is. The editorial aspect of blogging is often overlooked but is actually of immense importance.
If you’re weak in this regard, that’s not a problem either. Perhaps get a team member to look over your work; a fresh set of eyes can catch things that you might miss.
Online tools also exist to help remedy this problem. Grammarly, in particular, is a great resource. It has a browser extension and a desktop application so you can choose according to your needs.
With do’s come don’ts, so let’s dive into what you should not be doing when writing your blogs.
Nobody likes Debbie Downer.
That’s just a fact. Rants might work for Facebook posts and small tweets but that is not the kind of content your customers are looking for. Content that is more positive is more likely to be seen all the way through and is hence more likely to be shared.
Going on and on and on and on
See what I did there? That’s called rambling and rambling isn’t something you should be doing in blog posts. Your content represents you and your brand and so it needs to add value to it. Keep your posts relevant and to the point.
Jump on the Bandwagon
Don’t just create content for the sake of getting followers. Trends are temporary and there is no point in chasing them endlessly.
But if you write authentically and from the heart, with the hopes of addressing concerns and imparting knowledge, now that will get people reading.
Checking it all off
This is the ultimate checklist for all your blogging needs. Go through it and if your blog meets all these, then it’s great to go!
- Is the title eye-catching?
- Is the blog longer than 2000 words?
- Have you provided enough examples and data to support your points?
- Have you mentioned other bloggers and linked other articles?
- Does your blog have an introduction, body and a conclusion?
- Is the blog posing a question to open for discussion?
- Does the blog have headings and subheadings?
- Are the paragraphs in the blog short and easy to read?
- Does the blog have eye-catching visuals to support the content?
We’ve already talked about knowing your audience, and that is key to creating your content. But what does your audience need?
Surveys are an excellent way to gauge your customer’s needs and wants. Survey data is a great starting point to analyze your topic and then conduct primary research from there.
A few kinds of survey questions that you can ask are:
- What kind of problem are you facing that needs solving?
- What company or brand do you find yourself leaning towards to solve that problem?
A good place to start surveying is social media. Reddit, Quora, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn and just digging around in a search engine can give you a grasp on market needs.
People’s questions on spaces like Quora are practically a blog article waiting to happen! Just don’t forget to share your work on these platforms when you publish it!
From there, you can start creating:
- “In journalism and blogging, a listicle is a short-form of writing that uses a list as its thematic structure, but is fleshed out with sufficient copy to be published as an article.”
- The ‘Skyscraper’ technique
- ‘Created by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, the Skyscraper Technique is a system for turning content into high-quality backlinks.
- Here’s how it works: You start by researching popular trends, topics, and already well-received pieces of existing content across the topic areas your business typically covers. Then, you look for new and unique ways to create content that communicates a similar message — with a twist. This might mean that you leverage a new, more engaging medium, update the statistics, or employ a better design. Once you’ve created a new and improved piece of content, reach out to the folks that have already linked out to similar content to put your piece on their radar … and hopefully earn a link.’
- Expert roundups
- These are posts that are full of contributions from multiple experts in the field.
- Case Studies
- Best Practices
And the list goes on. There are tons of existing formats of the types of content that is possible to be worked on.
Protip: Let people write on your blog as guest writers! It brings a new voice to the table, a new perspective that your audience might enjoy, and it’s a nice change to things. Plus, the guest writer will share the work on their platforms and you can get more traction like that. Collaboration is key!
So when you’re creating your content, make sure you strongly consider the following:
- Your URL should always have your main target keyword.
- Your introduction, i.e. your first paragraph, should reel the person in.
- Keep your image sizes small so that they load faster on your reader’s end.
- You can use resources like TinyImages to ensure that.
- Make sure your information is up-to-date with the times and happenings.
- Organize your information using headings and subheadings, and make that visually clear with the H1, H2, and H3 text styles.
- Really beef up your meta-description.
- Your keywords density should take up from 1% to 4% of the blog.
- Your images should also have focused keywords.
- Contain all your blog posts on your website’s blog page
- Eg, www.website/com/blog/xxx
Content for SEO
Now the aforementioned are guidelines for all kinds of content. But here are some topics that do especially well on SEO:
- Posts that compare two products or services
- These appeal to people in terms of how direct they are. You can compare and contrast your service and your competitors, or compare two products that you have used (like how I wrote a blog on a comparison between N26 and Revolut).
- Lists of best products or services
- Articles talking about case studies
- Blogs that pitch alternatives
- Kind of like how Chanty wrote about trying 7 Slack Alternatives.
How to promote your blog?
Now that you’re all set and ready with a brand-new, shining blog post, the next natural step is to post it.
What’s the point in posting it and working that hard, if no one’s going to see it?
That’s where promotion comes in. So how do we do it?
- Repurpose your content on Quora
- Pose your blog title as a query and share it on Quora. People are likely to stumble upon your post in pursuit of a solution to the same problem and this will lead them directly to your proposed solution wrapped up in a blog. To learn more, ready my ? organic promotion on Quora.
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook groups do tend to be full of spam so be warned there. Sharing there can be a hit or a miss but there’s no harm in putting it out there.
- Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, etc
- I might sound like a recorder in this regard but social media is your go-to tool for promotion. As of 2020, 3.8 billion people around the world use some kind of social media or the other.
- Slack Channels
- Slack channels are online spaces for teamwork and communication. It’s where people share messages, tools, files and more. So maybe share your work there too! Read ? my slack promotion strategies to learn more
- Ask your teammates to share it.
- People will always be your best asset. We started with understanding people, i.e. your users, and then we progressed to surveys with people and it also ends with people. Ask your network to share the word.
- Tag influencers, companies and sites that give you backlinks and ask them to promote it.
The Technical Implementation SEO
It doesn’t end there! Technical SEO is a whole new side that you have to consider as well if you want those SEO leads.
Here’s what the founder of Narrative SEO, Franco Valentino, has to say about having a technical SEO strategy:
“Your website is the digital front door to your customers. It can either welcome them in or repel them if the site isn’t fast and inviting. A technical SEO report shines a light on the hidden connection surrounding your server. Identifying that digital sludge, and scraping it off can dramatically improve keyword densities and conversion rates. We’ve seen traffic increases of 87%, and lead growth of +160% or more after correcting problems uncovered by these reports.”
So let’s look at some technicalities we need to take care of for prime SEO functioning.
Page loading time > 2 seconds
That number might look absurd to you, but i’m serious. In fact, more than 40% of people close websites if they take too long to load. We’ve all been there.
Users are much more likely to abandon your site if it doesn’t load in under three seconds on mobile, and under two seconds on desktop.
This hurts your SEO ranking on Google.
So how do you remedy it?
- Large images can be the biggest culprit. As aforementioned, compress images before uploading them.
- Minimizing HTTP requests.
- HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) Requests are counted whenever a browser fetches a file, page, or picture from a web server.
- Try unchaching your browsers and removing scripts that are not being used at all.
- If you really want to get into the meat of the matter, check out this blog here.
- Use resources like WebPageTest to see what your existing speed is and what problems to troubleshoot.
Secure Sockets Layer (Or SSL)
SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private.
SSL is basically that little extra ‘s’ in “https://”.
Websites without a security certificate are marked as ‘Not Secure’ on search engines. This alone prevents high ranking, as you’re automatically behind websites that are secure.
The solution? Install a security certificate.
Crawling, Indexing and Ranking
These three terms make up search engine functions.
Crawling is how search engines discover content. They send out a team of bots that scour the web and find brand new content. Now the type of content could be anything: webpages, images, videos, PDFs, etc.
Indexing is the organization that takes place. This is how the search engine stores the content it finds and is displayed later as search results after you Google something.
Ranking is a term we’re already familiar with, how results are organized by most relevant to least relevant.
The following are also things to consider when looking into technical SEO:
- Not too external app many scripts or plugins
- Site structure
- Structured data
- Internal link building
Try page speed insights to fix your issues: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
Backlinks and How To Get Them
Now backlinks are websites that link to your website. This blog alone has a lot of links, which counts as backlinks for those other websites. Backlinks are great for ranking higher.
Now there are links between traffic and the quality of backlinks. If a brand with a lot of authority has a backlink that leads to you, chances are that it will greatly boost your ranking and increase your traffic.
It may look daunting for a newbie to get quality backlinks, but it isn’t impossible. Let’s look at some ways how you can get backlinks.
Outreach is as simple as it sounds. It’s the act of reaching out to other companies or brand representatives and asking for backlinks. You can contact them through any means that they provide, and it’s usually done through email or Twitter. This is considered a quick and easy way, since it involves you proactively taking a step to market yourself and put yourself out there, instead of waiting for people to stumble upon you or come to you.
It is best to start with websites that are similar to yours in terms of content but are not direct competitors. If it’s relevant to them, they are more likely to agree, and- as we said earlier- quality backlinks are what we want. Those get you rankings.
“But link building is a numbers game!” You’ve probably heard that one before.
But you also need to understand that the time you spend link building, doesn’t always translate to success in your campaign. Again, quality over quantity. Targeting the wrong people is a waste of time and a misuse of assets. Instead, I would encourage you to focus your energy on contacting suitable possibilities that you can predict will give you positive results.
Protip: Always give backlinks to the link which have higher chances to get ranked. For example, it’s at 11 rank. By one more backlink, you get to 10 because of it.
In the words of Bamidele Onibalusi, “One major lesson I learned that stuck with me to date is the fact that guest blogging for backlinks is the most profitable form of guest blogging.”
Effective link building is about trust. We’ve talked at length about taking the time to build relationships with your readers and customers. Brand loyalty causes wonders, and backlinks are no exception. According to CopyBlogger, the trust your customer has accounts for almost a quarter of the ranking algorithm:
So guest posting, getting your name out there to cement your authority in the industry, has shown itself to be a scalable process and it automatically offers a lot of control, with the nature of the work.
The negative of guest posting is that it defnietly takes the most time, especially when you compare it to outreach. The act of writing a blog takes more time and energy than any other technique.
This type of marketing consists of backlink exchanges. It’s when you and another website owner make the decision of providing links to each other’s websites. It’s kind of a tit for tat mechanism and it benefits both parties involved.
This tactic works best if both brands are in the same, or similar, industry or share a persona.
Protip: Focus on building your website brand by supporting it with any podcast, interview or media coverage you can get. Relevant backlinks are important.
Measuring Your Performance
Now to gauge whether or not you’ll get leads from your work, you need to find a way to measure it. I know what you’re thinking, I’ll check one metric, see if it gives me good results, and if it does i’ll let out a massive sigh of relief.
But one metric is only one part of the picture. You need to track multiple metrics so that you can see the whole image in front of you. These metrics will come from your analytics and SEO tools of choice.
Let’s go through a few:
Search Engine Keyword Rankings
As if you haven’t heard enough about keywords today!
Your keyword rankings will show you:
- If you’re using the right keywords or not
- If your website is actually growing
I’ll let Moz, the ones who coined the term, explain:
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
Now your domain authority can greatly depend on your industry. The more domain authority you have, the higher you will rank, which shows that your hard work is paying off.
CTR (Click Through Rate) Increase
Click-through rate is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement.
The higher your CTR, the more traffic your website receives. This is what you really want. Ranking high isn’t worth anything if it doesn’t get you clicks!
Want to figure out your CTR? Use Google Search Console.
Which brings me to…
Increase in Search Traffic
We all start doing SEO for that boost in search traffic after all.
The success of an effective SEO strategy shows best in boosts in search traffic, which is why you definitely need to keep an eye on those graphs. These can prove to be one of your most accurate metrics.
And what better resource to use than Google Analytics?
Increase in the number of Backlinks
Backlinks are definitely one of the top variables to your rankings.
How do you know your backlinks are good?
- Citation Flow
- This is the number that predicts how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it.
- Domain Authority
- Trust Flow
- This is the number that predicts how trustworthy a page is based on how trustworthy sites tend to link to trustworthy neighbors.
Remember: the higher the metrics, the more valuable the link.
Your bounce rate is how many users enter your website and immediately hit the back button to exit out. This is definitely not what you want.
Now bounce rates also really depend on website type, as shown by the following statistics:
- 20% – 45% for e-commerce and retail websites
- 25% – 55% for B2B websites
- 30% – 55% for lead generation websites
- 35% – 60% for non-ecommerce content websites
- 60% – 90% for landing pages
- 65% – 90% for dictionaries, portals, blogs and general websites that revolve around news and events
You can check your Bounce Rate on Google Analytics.
Average Session Time
This one feels pretty obvious. The longer someone spends on your page, they probably like what they’re seeing.
This is called satisfying user intent. People have intentions when they fill out those search engine bars. And if they end up on your website and spend a lot of time on it, then your website is satisfying their intent. That boosts your rankings.
Some other metrics to look into are:
- Pages per session
- Referring domain
- Page speed
- Conversion rates
And there you have it! You one-stop shop to generate SEO leads for SaaS. it may look like a whole lot, but once you get down to work you will see just how essential every bit of it is. SEO is long term labor and so requires a lot of patience and dedication. If you’re just starting then I’d recommend Mangools, Ubersuggest, Search Console and Google Analytics will be enough.
The only way to get better in it is so to keep practicing and analyzing other content creators. Some of my personal favorites are Brian Dean, Niel Patel, Kevin Indig, Ryan Steward, Jade Muri, and Rand Fishkin so be sure to check them out! If you want to dive deeper then reach out to me or get a course with Ahrefs here: https://ahrefs.com/academy/blogging-for-business
And like I always say: if this helped you, always share this knowledge with others. This is how we all grow.
P.P.S. If you’re looking for a content and backlink agency, reach out to me [email protected] I know a couple of good ones.