SaaS SEO: Your Roadmap to Better Rankings

Published: December 22, 2023Updated: March 1, 2024

Every entrepreneur knows starting a new venture is a stressful time. There’s so much to build, so much overhead to manage, timelines to plan. It’s truly a lot, and that stress mounts when your main service is sold online. Take Software as a Service, for instance. On top of everything else you plan for your startup, you also have to consider SaaS SEO.

There’s plenty of snake oil salesmen out there in the SEO space too. You’ve probably stumbled on a few, the kind that over promises and under delivers. Their presence, plus the ever-changing landscape that is Search Engine Optimization, can make tackling SEO a royal pain.

Enter your friendly neighborhood SEO specialists at Amplifyed, here to alleviate your rankings pains and help get you on the right path to search success. While we don’t have the secret to overnight No. 1 rankings (spoiler: no one does), we do offer sound advice and tried-and-true best practices that have helped many clients just like yourself.

In this guide to SaaS SEO, we’re touching on pretty much everything we can think of under that umbrella. Think of this blog as your roadmap to the world of SaaS SEO, and all the twists and turns it may hide.

 

SaaS SEO Roadmap: Learn Your Legend

Ever open up a map and try to find something without looking at the legend? Even in a place you’re familiar with, not understanding the markings or how to read the map can derail your journey before you begin.

Same goes for tackling SaaS SEO, you’ve got to understand the basics before you can really set off. So consider this your detailed legend for your SaaS SEO roadmap.

SEO

We’re really starting at the beginning here. You’ve seen us throw around the term “SEO” but the acronym bears explaining. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” which is a fancy way of referring to improving your rankings on search engines like Google. By optimizing your content, you improve your visibility to target clientele and show up higher on SERPs.

SERP

There we go throwing out acronyms again, they’re a big part of the SEO world. SERPs are “search engine results pages”, so essentially what page are you showing up on Google/other search engines.

SaaS

You’re likely not reading this blog unless you understand what SaaS is, but like the blue lines on a map that are labeled as water, a good legend lays it all out. SaaS is short for Software as a Service, a business model that provides customers with access to software products online. Obviously with the majority of sales happening on the web, SaaS SEO is crucial for success.

Content

This one might seem self explanatory, but “content” is much more than just words on a page. The quality of your content matters just as much as how much you have, if not more. Google prefers content that matches its requirements, broken down by the concept of E-E-A-T.

E-E-A-T

Yep, we said there’s a lot of acronyms in this space! E-E-A-T comes from Google itself, and it means Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These are the four key metrics Google uses to judge “helpful content” and you can learn more here on Google’s developer notes.

Search Intent

Improving rankings on SERPs is awesome, but if you’re not ranking for the right keyphrases then your work won’t be as impactful. Try to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. What are they searching for, and what type of page do they want (i.e. service page or blog page).

Keywords

A Keyword in the SEO world can be either one word or a phrase. These are also referred to as search terms, and they’re incredibly important for your rankings. Finding the right keyword, or keyphrase, can make or break your SEO efforts.

Keyword Difficulty

The difficulty of a keyword looks at how challenging it might be to rank for a keyword, based on the amount of content that’s already available online. If a word is particularly difficult to rank for, you may need to invest a lot more into promoting your content, and producing complementary content and backlinks.

Search Volume

Search volume refers to how often people actually look for the keyword or phrase you’re going to be using. If no one is looking for a keyword, it’s pointless to build an entire content strategy around it. Relevant keywords will have a high level of volume, and a low level of difficulty or competition.

Backlinks

Link building is the art of acquiring authoritative, relevant backlinks from high-quality domains, which direct customers to your SaaS company website. A strong high quality backlink strategy captures links from reputable websites around the world, to help enhance lead generation, and unlock new sales opportunities.

Domain Rating

Link building has a variety of benefits, like improving your website’s credibility to search engines, increasing your rankings on target SERPs and even opening new sources of revenue for your business. Your site’s entire backlink profile is compiled into one SEO metric called a domain rating (or sometimes domain authority). A site with a stronger backlink profile will have a higher domain rating, and a higher rating generally leads to a stronger ability to rank for high difficulty keywords.

Conversions

Conversions are people completing metrics on your SaaS website. You can set conversions in a variety of ways through Google Analytics or sites like HubSpot, but in general they track users completing goals you want them to. These include things like making a purchase, filling out a form, or even visiting certain pages on the site.

CRO

Yet another acronym, CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimization. While SEO works on getting users from Google to your site, CRO is the art of optimizing your site to best guide users to completing target goals. These changes include things like having clear Calls to Action on every page, and making sure your navigation is clean and easy to follow.

H1

Your page’s H1, or Heading 1, is a setting in the code of each page that signifies to Google what the page is about. The H1 is often the lead header on the page, and it’s important not to have more than one header labeled as an H1.

Other key terms

Above are the most important terms you’ll see pop up on your SaaS SEO journey, but here’s a few more you’ll likely come across:

  • Metadata: This refers to the data Google and other search engines display to users on search. The two main metadata components for SEO are the page’s title and Meta Description.
  • Indexing: This is the process of a search engine visiting, analyzing, and adding the page to its database of web pages, or index. Depending on the page and site, indexing can take anywhere from a week to a couple of months. 
  • Algorithm: You’ve likely heard someone with SEO knowledge refer to the Google “algorithm”, often in hushed terms. There’s nothing to fear here, however. Google, and other search consoles, use a variety of algorithms to better help determine what content should rank highest. 
  • Crawling: Crawling refers to a search engine sending a bot to read, or crawl, your page. This is a crucial part of the indexing process.

SaaS SEO Roadmap: Envision Your Destination

We’re all about stopping and smelling the roses along the way, but setting off on a journey without a destination will ultimately get you where you planned: nowhere. 

The same is true for your SaaS SEO strategy. If you’re not sure what you’re trying to accomplish, you won’t be able to accomplish anything. 

Failing to plan means planning to fail, so think about what you want to accomplish with each piece of content you produce. Some of your content pieces might be designed to accelerate brand awareness and attract attention at the top of the marketing funnel.

Other SEO content solutions might be intended to help customers compare your products with other solutions, or decide which software subscription they need. Set SMART measurable goals with a high focus on specificity. For instance, don’t just say you want to boost engagement and conversions, decide you want to achieve 5,000 free trial sign-ups within 6 months.

Defining your goals will also help you to establish which metrics you’re going to track to monitor the success of your content marketing campaigns. For instance, if you’re trying to boost brand awareness for your SaaS website, you might focus on monthly traffic, organic rankings, backlinks from other leading brands, and customer acquisition costs. If you’re looking at boosting engagement, you might focus on social media shares, brand mentions, demo sign-ups, and conversion rates.

SaaS SEO Roadmap: The Friends You Make Along the way

Inevitably you’ll come across people on your journey who offer to help get you where you’re going. Some of these people are much more trustworthy than others, however. 

There’s a difference between SEO for tech companies and SEO strategies used by everyday B2C brands. As a SaaS business, the goals of your SEO campaign and the techniques you use to reach your target are likely to come with very specific challenges.

A SaaS SEO consultant who specializes in your market can help address these challenges head-on, rather than trying cookie-cutter techniques that work on general websites. 

SEO consulting has a variety of benefits, including:

  • Boosting brand awareness and visibility by positioning you higher in search engine results when a potential customer enters specific, relevant keywords or phrases. 
  • Improve your authority by placing you above your competitors and showing customers that you’re invested in producing engaging, relevant content. 
  • Increase website traffic, leads, and sales opportunities by allowing you to target, nurture, and convert prospects throughout the purchasing cycle.

SaaS SEO Roadmap: Setting Landmarks

OK, so we’ve got a destination in mind, we’re setting off on our journey, but there’s got to be more than just getting from point A to point B, right? You need rest stops, food trips, roadside attractions, and it helps to plan those out in advance. 

When it comes to SaaS SEO, mapping out your keyword strategy and plan of attack is a similar concept. 

Once you have a base idea of the kind of content you need to create to connect with your audience, it’s important to iron out the logistics of your plan. Unfortunately, only around 41% of B2B marketers say they currently have a documented content marketing strategy.

Without a well-documented strategy, you don’t know who’s going to be responsible for writing and editing your content, where you’re going to publish each piece, or even what kind of cadence you’re going to follow with your plan.

Your content promotion plan for your B2B SaaS company should outline all of the following steps:

  • The content creation process, from ideation to writing, editing and publishing.
  • Your content calendar and how frequently you’re going to publish.
  • Your keyword research and how you’re going to use keywords in content writing.
  • The content distribution plan and promotional channels you’ll use (such as email marketing, social media, guest blogging, and outreach).

It’s also worth outlining how frequently you’re going to measure your content marketing results, and how you’ll determine which of your campaigns are generating the most success.

Keyword research

Keyword research is one of the first stages in any successful SEO campaign. The best SaaS websites in the world achieve their positions at the top of the SERPs because they know which keywords to use to connect with customers.

Conducting keyword research includes gathering as much information as you can about your target audience, then analyzing what that audience is searching and what competitors are doing to gather that audience’s attention. 

Using this data, companies can then use a keyword research tool which allows them to distinguish how “competitive” each keyword is. Keyword research involves not only coming up with ideas for what kinds of terms and phrases should be included in a sales, marketing, and branding campaign, but also evaluating the potential of each term. Some keywords will be more valuable to your business than others.

SaaS SEO Roadmap: Quality over quantity

You know what no one has said after an overly-long, arduous trip? “Oh boy, can’t wait to do that again!”

The content on your site shouldn’t make your clients dread continuing to read! In fact, not only will boring or overly textbook-like content drive away clients, it can also turn away Google bots. 

Google prioritizes helpful content, it wants to rank content that it thinks best serves a user’s intention. Here’s a few roadblocks to watch out for when creating content for your site. 

Choose a keyword that has search volume

One of the core components of building an effective content marketing strategy for SaaS companies is creating the right content. It’s not enough to simply write about your service or products. You need to ensure you’re targeting the keywords and phrases your customers are looking for.

To do this, you need a clear understanding of your target audience, their pain points, and the solutions they seek out. Examining your buyer personas, checking out the content created by your competitors, and using keyword research tools can help you find content ideas with high volume.

Ideally, your chosen keywords should have a strong search volume, and relatively low competition, so you can knock other market leaders out of the water with your valuable content.

Don’t just scratch the surface

While short articles, blog posts, and other forms of content can have a good impact on business growth in some cases, they often lack the depth required for SaaS companies. Remember, you’re targeting companies and consumers who want to build a long and enduring relationship with your brand. In order to build these relationships, you need to create a lot of in-depth, quality content.

Many of the top SaaS companies create extensive blog posts, articles, and listicles which feature thousands of words. You can determine whether your own content piece is too simplistic by researching the top-ranking articles for the keywords you’ve chosen.

Think about how you can use each piece of content to answer every question your customers might have. Don’t just introduce basic ideas. Provide your customers with plenty of educational content with actionable advice and takeaways.

Consider differences in content type

Not every page on your website serves the same purpose. The intent of a blog post (educational) is typically different from the intent of a service page (lead generation). 

The content you create for these two different intents is drastically different as well, from tone to layout and everything in between. If you’re ever wondering what kind of content you need for a specific page or keyword, once again turn to looking at competitors and highly-ranking posts for the target keyphrase. 

That will show you the type of content that’s ranking. Your goal isn’t to copy them, but to see what’s working and decide how you can put your own spin on it and make it better. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create a blog post or article. You can also experiment with different kinds of content, like videos and podcasts, to engage a wider audience.

Find out which keywords have the most volume, then see what’s currently ranking, and do a better job than them. According to a study by Ahrefs, quality content is said to drive demand and leads. One of the most common issues we see with SaaS companies is that they have lots of blog posts with almost no traffic.

SaaS SEO Roadmap: Bridge building (backlinks)

One of the biggest mistakes SaaS companies make is assuming that they just need to create great content to master their SEO strategy. 

The reality is there are numerous factors that contribute to your presence on the SERPs. Studies show that websites with higher “domain ratings”, generated by strong linking strategies, also appear more frequently on the first pages of Google. The more links you can generate for your SaaS brand, the more you demonstrate your credibility to search engines like Google.

How do you build links?

Excellent question! Unfortunately there’s not an easy answer to this, though there is a definitive one. 

Link building is the art of acquiring authoritative, relevant backlinks from high-quality domains, which direct customers to your SaaS company website. A strong high quality backlink strategy captures links from reputable websites around the world, to help enhance lead generation, and unlock new sales opportunities.

A SaaS link building strategy involves pinpointing domains you want to earn links from, and keeping on top of your “link network”. This means regularly removing broken links from your site which could harm your reputation. Link building can also involve other types of links, such as internal and outbound links, which we’ll come back to in a moment.

As to how to acquire those backlinks, here’s five helpful strategies to try out:

  1. Natural backlinks through quality content: This is probably the most risk-free strategy for high quality link building, as it doesn’t require you to use any schemes to improve your chances of featuring on another site. Natural backlinks are links you acquire organically, thanks to your production of high-quality content marketing assets.
  2. Guest posts: Aside from earning backlinks the natural way, guest blogging is one of the top SaaS link building strategies, used by businesses all over the world. The key to success is choosing the right platforms for your guest posts. Start with blogs in your industry you already like, reaching out to them with messages about the information you can provide and why it would be useful to their audience.
  3. Resource pages: Resource page SaaS link building is another strategy which revolves around creating high-quality, valuable content for your industry. The goal here is to build something valuable for your target audience, such as an eBook, guide, or free tool. When employing this strategy, make sure you have the correct resource for your backlink, and ensure you approach the resource site owners correctly. That way you don’t waste your time on content that will ultimately be removed. 
  4. Replace broken links: This is getting a bit on the technical side of SEO, but it’s still an important link building process. Broken links on a website have a negative impact not just on user experience, but also on a company’s chances of gaining search engine rankings. You can start searching for broken links using digital tools like the Broken Link Checker from Ahrefs. (more on tools in a bit)

Partnerships, collaboration, and influencers: We mentioned people along your journey who can help you out earlier, well here we are again. Only this time, it’s not an SEO sherpa you need. It’s a friend. Strategically partnering with other companies can significantly improve your chances of backlinks, as well as opening the door to other opportunities and promotions. You can expand this footprint though things like influencer marketing, link exchanges, product partnerships, or even PR campaigns.

SaaS SEO Roadmap: Keep tools handy

Going to put on our best dad voice here: “Make sure before you leave on your trip, you’ve got all the tools you need in case of emergency.” 

Flat tires aren’t going to pop up on your website, obviously, but like a tire jack there’s a bunch of incredibly useful SaaS SEO tools that can help you grow your digital footprint. 

SaaS SEO tools are essentially software solutions designed to help you improve your search engine presence. They can help with various aspects of SEO, from creating optimized and engaging content, to conducting an Seo audit (for technical SEO issues), and enhancing your keyword research strategy.

Most SaaS SEO tools fall into the following categories:

On-page optimization

On-page SEO refers to the search engine optimization techniques you use within content marketing and inbound advertising campaigns. They involve using keywords you want to rank for throughout your content, and making sure the content ideas you produce have the right internal links, and valuable insights. It is also best practice to review a content competitor analysis.

Off-page optimization

Off-page SEO looks at the tactics you use to improve the credibility of your website, and its overall authority. It can involve soliciting backlinks from other reputable companies to enhance the visibility of your site. Link building is notoriously time consuming, which is why it should be part of your SaaS SEO agency’s campaign. Your SEO success might also involve various strategies like using directories and guest posts to improve brand reach.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO revolves around the technical components of your website which influence the search experience. To thrive in this area, you’ll need to enhance the back-end of your website to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index. Technical SEO can involve reducing redirects, investing in user-friendly experiences, and making sure pages of your website load quickly.

Now there’s a few different tools the SEO pros use when planning out strategies. Here’s a breakdown of a few of our favorites.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is often the first go-to SaaS SEO tool for any brand. Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a free platform anyone can use to understand how Google views their website.

GSC is incredibly user friendly and easy to read, even for the non-SEO savvy. There’s a few code additions that need to be added to your site or you can submit your website sitemap through Google Analytics to see data in GSC. There, you explore data such as monthly search volumes for target search terms, as well as your site’s indexing status and alerts to potential problems on your pages. 

Ahrefs

When it comes to keyword analysis, you’re going to be hard pressed to find a better tool than Ahrefs. This versatile SEO software solution comes with all the tools you need to perform extensive keyword research, find backlink opportunities, and even analyze the competition. Ahrefs is one of the world’s largest site crawlers, which makes it an excellent resource for finding content and keyword ideas.

The software also includes a comprehensive site auditing feature, which allows you to highlight the parts of your website which need to be improved to help you rank better in the search engines. The dedicated “content gap” service will ensure you can pinpoint keywords and opportunities that your competitors aren’t ranking for, giving you room to grow.

Screaming Frog

This tool isn’t as user-friendly as some of the other options, but where Screaming Frog lacks in UI it makes up for in hard data. This software, which can be downloaded for free from their site, allows you to run deep crawls and evaluations of your site similar to those from a search engine crawl bot. 

Screaming Frog is actually a portfolio of different SEO tools which you can use together to achieve specific goals. There’s a log file analyzer which shows you how bots have crawled your page, an SEO spider to help you gather information from your website, and a link checking system.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is one of the most trusted brands in the space, and their WordPress plug-in is incredibly helpful for on-page optimization. The friendly interface makes it easy to update your content (such as blogs and web pages), with SEO-enhanced meta descriptions, title tags, keywords, and other factors. You can even add alt text to all of your images with Yoast.

Yoast comes with tools to add open graph metadata and social media images to your articles. It will also automatically generate XML sitemaps for your website content, which makes it a lot easier for the search engines to crawl and index your site. The tool can work alongside other plugins and solutions, such as SEMRush and WooCommerce.

Amplifyed: Your GPS for SaaS SEO

A roadmap is super useful when tackling a hard journey on your own, but the good news is you don’t have to do it alone!

Think of Amplifyed as your GPS to the SaaS SEO landscape. It’s a complicated concept with constantly updating algorithms and rules, and your SEO future is best left in the hands of a SEO expert.

If you’re looking for help planning and executing an effective SaaS SEO strategy, reach out to Amplifyed today for a chat and some expert advice.

How’s it going, thanks for reading this article. I’m Thorn, general SEO nerd and writer extraordinaire here at Amplifyed. I’ve soaked up SEO knowledge since transitioning from journalism to the industry in 2021, and I’ve learned the importance of effective communication and strategy when planning your SEO future. Drop me an email if you want to chat SEO, football, barbecue, or Great British Baking Show hot takes. I’m your guy!
- Thorn Compton

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