Having a successful business in today’s technological world means having a formidable online presence. However, getting your company’s name out there above the competition can be incredibly difficult – especially when you’re not selling a physical product.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has added hurdles to building their online presence because traditional techniques for increasing online traffic and sales don’t always work. Their companies and products are unique, and as such, they require a unique approach to SEO.
How SaaS is Different
The first SaaS company emerged in 1998, and over the past couple of decades, the industry has grown immensely. They initially sold CDs, then progressed to licenses, and finally found incredible success in the cloud market. Essentially, SaaS gives you access to applications and storage on any device with no hidden costs or downloading complications.
While both traditional software and SaaS are both still popular, SaaS products have several components that give them an edge in modern-day sales.
Traditional Software Products:
- Just a product, not a service
- Pay upfront for a downloadable product
- Potential additional costs
- Limit on the number of users
- Can only be used on the device where you downloaded it
- They are a service, not only a product
- Do not need to be installed
- Can be accessed anywhere
- Monthly payments for software with no hidden costs
- Easy to cancel the subscription
More than likely, you have already come across SaaS. Some of the most common companies include Dropbox, MailChimp, and Google Apps. If you have your own SaaS business, the key is getting your product out there on the same level as these household names by using SEO for SaaS correctly.
How SEO Can Benefit SaaS
As shown above, SaaS involves a new and innovative approach to selling software. While there are multiple advantages to SaaS, one potential downside is generating traffic amid so much competition in a very niche market. Since SaaS companies are almost exclusively online, SEO for SaaS is the key to expanding and strengthening your client base.
If done correctly, SEO can generate a higher organic search rate, lower bounce rate, and more sales. Because a SaaS product is a particular solution to technological needs, you must rank high on search result to ensure continued revenue.
Of course, any business wants their website to appear first on the list for many search queries, but getting there involves a lot of work and research.
Metrics That Matter
Effective SEO requires you to consider numerous aspects of your website. Search engines look at everything from how long it takes your page to load to how many people visit your page. It would be best to consider every possible angle when creating your SEO plan of action.
One of the most important things to look at is your organic traffic. While paid ads help get your name out there, your organic leads show how many people are actively looking for the product you offer and could potentially be future clients.
You want to have as much organic traffic as possible, as the conversion rate is much higher than paid traffic. These people weren’t brought to your page out of curiosity because of an ad, but because they are genuinely interested in the software you offer.
As you work on a plan to improve your SEO, monitor the amount of organic traffic and conversions. The number should go up as you understand your audience better and optimize your website so you can rank higher in searches.
With a high number of organic traffic comes more conversions. A conversion is when a person who visits your website doesn’t just look at it and leave but interacts with it positively.
A conversion could be signing up for the newsletter, requesting more information, chatting with customer service, or purchasing. The most desired conversion, of course, is a sale. However, any conversion is positive and shows interest in your product.
Tracking the conversion rate for sales, sign-ups, and interaction is vital to see how your website is doing. If you have lots of traffic but a low conversion rate, that’s a potential red flag. However, if you have a high conversion rate but a small traffic number, that is a potentially good sign. It means that once you get your traffic rate up with SEO strategies, your sales could be fantastic.
Be sure to track the organic versus paid conversion rates to see how much of your clients’ interest comes for your ads or people searching for you. These percentages are also an excellent way to tell if your ads are worthwhile and profitable.
Keywords can make or break your Google ranking. While most people know that keywords are essential, they do not always use them correctly.
Because SaaS concentrates on a specific service, it is important to do sufficient research about what keywords will work for your company. Going too broad and including every possible keyword can be detrimental to your ranking.
Start your keyword research by putting yourself in your potential client’s shoes. What would they search for in Google? How would they word it? What are the possible terms and phrases that could lead them to your website?
Take time to do searches with those terms and see what suggestions come up in Google as you type them. If some of the recommendations apply to your content, add them to your list. Also, consider the top competition and what keywords they are using.
Make a list of generic and long-tail (phrases) keywords and run them through a tool like KWFinder. These keyword tools will help you find which terms and phrases have low difficulty and low competition, and you can start with those first.
Keep track of your keywords, how you are ranking for those terms, and what words you can focus on next.
Just like you need to monitor how many conversions your website is making, you must track how many customers you are losing, or the churn rate, as it affects your ranking.
You can look at the churn rate either monthly or annually. An ideal rate would be between 5 and 7% yearly, but that percentage can be much higher depending on the type of company.
Smaller SaaS often have higher churn rates because of the type of subscriptions available (usually shorter), and customers don’t also make a long-term commitment to the service.
As you look at your churn rate, consider your conversion rate, the type of service you offer, and your company size.
Another metric that can affect your Google ranking is what links you include on your pages and blogs. Both internal and external links are crucial to SEO for Saas.
Internal links, or links to other pages on your website, help Google bots analyze how your website is structured and what pages are most important. Structured websites with internal links will rank higher on Google.
While it may seem counterproductive to include external links in your articles, it can help boost your ranking. Linking to other sources gives your page credibility and shows that the information is well-researched and authentic. While you don’t need 20 links in a single article, a few links to high-quality content (don’t link to any old website!) will help your SEO.
How Can You Monitor These Metrics?
Analyzing each of the above metrics is essential to creating SEO for SaaS. If you are doing well in one area but are lacking in another, it could affect your Google ranking.
So, how can you keep track of all these digital marketing components?
Numerous tools can analyze your website, compare it with your competitors, and track keyword trends. Here are some of the top tools for technical SEO:
- Ahrefs – Use this to compare your website to competitors’ content, analyze keywords, and find areas needing improvement.
- SEMRush – This tool lets you keep track of your rankings in comparison with your competitors.
- SpyFu – If you need some help with keywords and generating organic traffic, SpyFu can help you discover keyword trends and where your competitors’ traffic originates.
- Google Trends and Google Search Console – Both of these give you an insight into how and what people search for on Google. If you want to look at keywords, check out Google Trends. Likewise, use the Search Console to see how your specific website is doing. Learn more about how to use Google Analytics.
- Screaming Frog – This marketing tool offers a bit of everything by analyzing your website and suggesting how to improve it.
What Doesn’t Work for SaaS
Now that we’ve covered why SEO is essential and what things you should consider when designing an SEO campaign, it’s time to look at some of the mistakes SaaS make when trying to improve their Google ranking.
Expecting to Rank High for Every. Single. Thing.
Continually checking your rankings after adding new content can be extremely stressful and frustrating. Remember, you won’t rank high immediately, nor for every keyword.
If you are just starting or have a smaller-scale business, set realistic goals. Improving rankings takes time, research, hard work. Set monthly and yearly SEO goals and check your rankings periodically. If they are increasing, even slowly, that’s a win!
Using Varied Keywords
As mentioned above, you can’t cover every keyword when you are trying to sell SaaS. Other companies that offer a wide range of products and services can incorporate numerous keywords into their content and rank high for most of them.
However, SaaS companies’ focus is often much more narrow, and their keywords should reflect that. You want to choose your keywords wisely and focus on ranking high for a select few at first. Make sure that the keywords you choose relate to your business, or else they can backfire.
High Quality Blog Content
Some large, popular SaaS companies publish dozens of blogs a month. If you are looking at them to design your marketing strategy, you will probably think you need to produce just as much content.
However, the average SaaS companies are small businesses that just don’t have the time, resources, or workforce to be pumping out that much content – and that’s fine.
You don’t have to – and shouldn’t – go above and beyond to produce content that doesn’t necessarily have to do with your brand and goes over budget. Start small, make sure what you are creating is high quality, and meet your client’s needs with that content.
Key Tactics for SaaS
Knowing what to avoid is helpful, what should you do instead? Here are some SEO tips that work for SaaS.
Since you are offering a service, you want to connect as much as possible to your customers and build up brand loyalty. Having regular clientele is especially vital if you provide your software for a monthly rate, as you want to lower the churn rate and have people renew their subscriptions.
Some ways to create loyalty is to provide excellent customer service, a great user experience, an easy-to-use website, and high-quality content.
Providing helpful and engaging content is essential to bringing in organic traffic and maintaining a strong customer base. There are two main types of content you should be focusing on: product and educational content.
Dedicate the product pages to explaining the software you offer and how it works. Educational content helps answer questions your current or potential clients may have about your software or any topic related to your product.
Writing blog posts about topics that could interest your clients is a great way to include new keywords, internal and external links, and information that shows your technological expertise.
Other Content Options
Content doesn’t only mean blogs and sales pages. A crucial part of content marketing is communicating with your audience through social media and other platforms (like video and email).
Post about new blogs, tips, quotes, sales, etc. on all your platforms. These will bring in more organic traffic from places like Facebook and Twitter, not only search engines.
Additionally, make sure every part of your website is easy to understand and attracts potential clients, including meta descriptions. When someone does a Google search and is scrolling through the options, what are they reading to decide which link to click? The meta description. Customize each excerpt for your blogs and pages to make sure they are simple, direct, and appealing.
You don’t need to produce a large amount of content if what you do publish has ideal keywords and plenty of links. Use the tools mentioned above to research what backlinks your competitors are using and consider doing something similar in your articles.
The key to link building is to include at least one respectable external link to prove that your content is well-researched, and a few internal links to lead your customer to buy your product and establish a hierarchy of webpages.
Excel in your niche
Again, SaaS is a niche market. Focus on what your company does best and make sure you excel in that area. Don’t fall in the trap of trying to reach every market. Do your research, produce new content, choose keywords that work for your SaaS, and monitor your website’s traffic. By doing so, your SEO rankings are sure to improve!
If you are ready to improve your SEO, let me help you! I have helped other businesses increase their search traffic, and we can do the same for your business. Or, you can start the process yourself with our SEO checklist.