saas seo

SaaS SEO – A Definitive Guide for SaaS Marketers & Founders For 2021

Growing a SaaS business from scratch is difficult. It’s even more difficult when you are bootstrapping it without any outside investment. You will need customers to thrive. Paid ads work, but when you are bootstrapping a SaaS from scratch, that is not a viable alternative. So where should you focus on? Enter SaaS SEO.

SEO is where you should focus on from Day 1 of your business. This is where you will get customers, increase your brand exposure and compound your traffic over time.

In this definitive guide, I am going to lay out a simple yet effective SaaS SEO strategy that will help you get started and get your 1st organic customer from Google Search.

P.S:- This guide will be a small overview of the big ocean of SaaS SEO. I am writing an In-depth & Actionable eBook on SaaS SEO for Marketers & Founders like you. It is a work in progress & I am excited to share it with you once it is done. You can join my waitlist here.

So let’s get started.

Step #1:- Laying Down Your SEO Strategy

This is a crucial step before you do anything. I have already told you that you should start SEO from Day 1 itself. What exactly do I mean by that?

Well, you should know who your competitors on Google are, which are keywords you want to rank for, which keywords you are going to focus on, and most importantly, what are your priorities.

So I would highly recommend creating a database of all these things and keep it handy because this initial research of yours is going to be the groundwork for your long term SEO success.

Pro Tip #1: Always have a google sheet with all this information that is easily accessible. You will need this for many purposes like link building, creating landing pages, spy on your competitor, creating better content, etc.

Things you are going to research & list down are:

  • List of competitors
  • All the keywords
  • Priority keywords ( These are high intent keywords)

Step #2: Research, Research, Research

Without research, your SEO strategy is not going to work. Your initial research strategy will involve extracting the keywords relevant to your business, then segregate those with high priority keywords, categorize them and prioritize them.

What you will need for keyword research is:

  • Keywords
  • Their Volume
  • Their difficulty to rank (you can either use KD metric from Ahrefs or we can manually check using Mozbar, more info below)
  • A tool for keyword research

Tools you can use for keyword research:-

Ahrefs, Semrush & Moz are expensive but worth the price. If you are a bootstrapper, I would recommend going with Google keyword planner (which is totally free), Mozbar (for checking metrics such as DA, PA), and Keywords everywhere.

Bootstrapper Tip #1:- It doesn’t matter which tool you use. What we are looking for are keywords with volume metrics. That’s it. Later we can determine their difficulty just using Mozbar. But it will be really good if you have any of those premium tools I recommended above.

I will be explaining the keyword research process in detail in my eBook for SaaS SEO.

Step #3:- Collate, Segregate & Prioritize

Here’s what you should do here. Collate keywords as many as possible, segregate them with proper labels that will fit into your marketing funnel, and prioritize them according to business potential.

There are 6 types of keywords you can segregate:

  • Informational Keywords ( What is {KW}, How to {KW}, Best ways to {KW}
  • High Intent Keywords ( {your brand} pricing, {your brand reviews}
  • Comparison Keywords ( {your brand} vs {brand 1}, {your brand} vs {brand 2})
  • Branded Keywords (keywords that include your brand)
  • Integration Keywords ( people who are looking to connect your services with automation tools, CRM, etc)
  • Evergreen Keywords ( There is a strong overlap with informational keywords. These keywords are evergreen and their search volume never declines, in fact, it might increase over time due to the popularity of these evergreen topics)

Here’s a graphic from my upcoming eBook on SaaS SEO:-

You need to segregate your keywords accordingly and map your landing page and blog for each of these keywords. Maybe you can have a landing page and a blog for Integration keywords.

Blogs for Informational, High Intent, and Evergreen keywords.

Landing page for comparison based keywords.

Prioritize all of these keywords based on your business potential.

Pro Tip #2: If you want to see if your blog can rank on page 1 and 2 of Google. Do this. Install Mozbar (It’s Free). Search your keyword, Enable Mozbar. Now you can see their DA/PA of all the websites on search results. If you can see a site less than DA 18-20 in the top 10 search results, you can easily come on Page 1 and also in the Top 3 with outstanding content. 

Note: This filtering is for those saas sites who are beginners and have less authority on Google. Their DA is usually 5-10. For those who don’t know what DA is, it is basically a relativity metric defined by Moz to determine the authority of a website.

P.S: I have started writing a big chapter on this segment of SaaS SEO in my eBook. I believe this a very crucial concept and requires thorough detailing, which I will be explaining step by step in my guide.

Step #4: Write Pillar Articles That Attracts Links

I am a huge believer in quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter if you write 1 article a month or 1 article a week, every article that you publish must be thorough, crisp, filled with extreme value and actionable steps, a lot of insights, supportive facts (data-driven), visually appealing.

Pillar articles are those articles that are the cornerstone of that particular topic. These are some of the examples of pillar articles:

These are In-depth articles that automatically attract links because of their informative nature and step by step content.

That is also the reason why Wikipedia English Version Ranks for a whopping 182 million keywords just in the United States and has over 3.75 billion backlinks to their website. That is the power of In-depth articles.

Wikipedia English has over 3.75 Billion Backlinks

 

Wikipedia English Version Ranking for 182 Million Keywords in the US

Step #5:- Offer Free Resources and Tools (The Side Project Marketing Approach)

Free resources and tools are often a great way to attract quality traffic, acquire organic links to your website and also increase brand exposure over time.

Here are some of the best side projects by big SaaS companies that are still successful and gets over 100s of thousands of visitors and a ton of free backlinks:

Here’s my side project, a Swipe file of Best Tools and Resources in Marketing.

I simply link back to my website at the footer to drive traffic. The side project marketing approach is one of the best ways to attract traffic, links to your site.

Another best side project/free tool was Ahref’s backlink checker.

Ahref saw that there were 100s of people searching for a backlink checker but all of the tools were paid. They acted. They Launched a free backlink checker & boom. Their tool was on the top of the search.

What did they do?

They combined the power of Side project + Free tool + Satisfying search intent + making a valuable tool for customers to come back.

Results?

They now have 2.8k Referring domains, 868k Backlinks, and a whopping 131k organic traffic monthly.

Step 6:- Adapt Programmatic SEO to build 1000s of Landing Pages

Preetam Nath, Co-founder of Delightchat, recently executed programmatic SEO for their SaaS. The results were astounding.

Search impressions for DelightChat went from 600/mo to 240,000/mo in 90 days.

What is Programmatic SEO?

Programmatic SEO is an approach to publish SEO optimized landing pages at a large scale.

If you search for “top things to do in {}”, you will often see tripadvisor on Google.

They have 1000s of pages like this. It would be crazy to build these pages manually. Programmatic SEO is the way you can build up a large number of pages at scale.

Of course, not every SaaS will require programmatic SEO. But it is good to know stuff.

Preetam Nath launched a course on Programmatic SEO & he got pre-orders worth $6,622 in just 6 days. This shows the demand and curiosity for programmatic SEO.

You can get the course on Programmatic SEO here.

Note:- This is an affiliate link, meaning if you buy you won’t be charged extra but I will make something that will help me keep running this site and publish this type of content regularly.

If you don’t want the course, here are some resources where you can learn programmatic SEO:-

Step 7:- Build Links To Boost Rankings

This is a very obvious step in SEO. Without links, you can’t outrank sites with high authority. Links are one of the major factors concerning SEO.

There are many strategies for SaaS Link Building. I already shared a strategy called Side Project Marketing, where you can acquire some real, nice organic links to your site.

Some more strategies that you should know & try:

  • Guest Posting ( The Old School SEO Strategy to Build Links)
  • Competitor Outreach
  • Unlinked Mentions
  • Podcast Link Building
  • Data-Driven Link Building Strategy ( more detailed info in my upcoming eBook)
  • Resource Link Building
  • Broken Link Building
  • Round-Ups Link Building
  • SaaS Review Sites Link Building
  • Google Image Reverse Search Link Building
  • Mentions Link Building

I know you might not know some of these strategies. But don’t worry, I will be covering a lot more strategies than this in detail in my upcoming eBook.

I will be also including proper outreach templates for free so that you can just plug-in and start reaching out to people for links.

Pro Tip #3:- Without having good, quality content on your site, it will be really difficult to start building links. So to begin with, make sure every blog post you write is value-driven and 100% quality-focused, actionable.

Final Thoughts

SEO, according to me is the best way to acquire customers for any SaaS. Why? Here are some benefits:

  • It’s free
  • You get quality customers.
  • You get signups passively without putting many efforts once SEO power kicks in.

But as a T-shaped Marketer, here’s my recommendation:

  • Focus on SEO from Day 1.
  • Always have an Omnichannel presence.
  • Try 1-2 more platforms to get traffic ( Eg:- Twitter, LinkedIn, Email Lists)
  • Divide energy in a 60-40 ratio. 60% Focus on SEO & 40% Focus on other channels till they grow. (There is no hard and fast rule of the ratio that I suggested. It will differ from person to person and their respective skillsets)
  • Always keep learning and experimenting with different channels for growth.

What’s Next?

This SaaS SEO guide was just a small overview of how you can get started. In my eBook for SaaS SEO, I will be laying down exact step by step processes & will be covering many topics that I have not even written in this mini-guide.

Here’s what you can expect:-

  • Complete SEO SaaS Strategy with Step by Step Process
  • In Detail, On-Page SEO to 10x your Traffic (15+ Strategies)
  • SaaS Link Building Strategies To Acquire Links & Boost Rankings (15+ Strategies)
  • Structured Data for Optimizing Blog Posts.
  • SaaS Website Architecture
  • Technical SEO Factors to Consider While Building SaaS
  • SaaS SEO Audit Sheet & Template
  • SEO for Single Page Applications (SPAs)
  • International SEO Guide
  • SEO Rank Tracking Sheet ( For Tracking Important KPIs)

& many more topics that I am adding in my notion doc weekly. You can also suggest to me a topic here

I have started writing this actionable guide & I intend to complete it in the next few months.

I will be giving a sweet discount to those who are on my waitlist. You can join here & you will be notified when the guide is on pre-order for limited copies.

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