When SEO is done well, organic search can become a valuable and profitable marketing channel for a SaaS business, driving meaningful increases in trials, demos, and product signups.
However, over the last 6+ years running our SEO and content marketing agency, working with dozens of SaaS clients and having countless conversations with them about their experiences doing SEO, we have learned that many SaaS businesses don’t end up getting great results from their SEO efforts, whether that’s a lack of valuable keyword rankings, attributable leads, or both.
In this post, we’re going to walk through everything you need to know to create a SaaS SEO strategy that drives rankings, leads, and product signups. We’ll share the biggest lessons we’ve learned and the exact strategy that we’ve used to get page one rankings for hundreds of valuable buying intent keywords for our clients.
Table of Contents
- What is SaaS SEO?
- Our 5 step SaaS SEO strategy to grow leads & signups
- Step 1: Do keyword research to identify high-intent keywords
- Step 2: Create a single, dedicated blog post for each keyword
- Step 3: Sell your product in each piece of content
- Step 4: Fix & monitor for technical SEO errors
- Step 5: External link building
- Measuring traffic, keyword rankings, and conversions
- Work with us or learn more about our approach to SaaS SEO
Curious about having us do SEO for your business? Learn more about how we can improve your SEO results here. Or, if you’d like to learn the SaaS SEO strategy that we share below, we also teach our strategy and process in our course and community.
What Is SaaS SEO?
SaaS SEO is the process of selecting keywords that you want your website to rank for, and then creating or optimizing existing pages on your site to rank for those terms in organic search. The main activities involved in SaaS SEO are keyword research, content creation, and link building.
The Most Important Aspect of SaaS SEO Strategy (That Many Businesses Get Wrong)
Everything in SEO is done in service of ranking for keywords that are valuable to your business. Specifically, keywords that can drive measurable leads (trial and demo signups, MQLs, etc.) and ultimately paying customers.
So, focusing on ranking for keywords that can bring in potential customers — we call these “buying intent keywords” — is the most important aspect of SaaS SEO strategy.
And yet, we commonly see SaaS businesses, in-house SEOs, and SaaS SEO agencies focus very little on targeting keywords with buying intent. They’ll often target buying intent keywords with their homepage and a few product landing pages, and then spend the rest of their SEO efforts on targeting “top of the funnel,” low buying intent keywords on their blog.
Typically, these top of funnel keywords have the potential to bring in more search traffic, but the quality of that traffic is often low, and conversion rates from these keywords are often tiny.
As a result, this approach to SaaS SEO strategy tends to drive far fewer trials, demos, and product signups than it should.
To solve this, SaaS businesses can follow the SEO strategy laid out below, using blog content to go after all of the buying intent keywords that their core website pages don’t rank for, and thus significantly increase lead volume from organic search.
Note: For a more in-depth explanation of the mistakes in SaaS SEO strategy, check out our post on B2B SaaS SEO.
Our 5 Step SaaS SEO Strategy That’s Designed to Grow Leads and Signups
We use a 5 step SaaS SEO strategy that we’ve written about extensively. So here we’re going to list and describe each step in our process, and link out to the individual articles that dive deeper into each step.
At Grow & Convert, our SaaS SEO strategy consists of the following:
- Step 1: Do keyword research to create a list of keywords with high buying intent.
- Step 2: Create a dedicated blog post for each keyword that deeply satisfies search intent.
- Step 3: Sell your product in each piece of content.
- Step 4: Fix and monitor for technical SEO errors.
- Step 5: External link building.
Step 1: Do Keyword Research to Identify High-Intent Keywords
The most fundamental part of a SaaS SEO strategy is keyword selection. If you don’t pick the right keywords (ones that, if ranked for, will drive demos and trials), then nothing else in your SEO strategy matters:
- Your technical SEO doesn’t matter. (It doesn’t matter how well your site is optimized if it’s not ranking for search queries that bring in customers.)
- Your link building doesn’t matter (same reason).
- The number of blog articles you write doesn’t matter.
Thus, keyword selection is the most important thing to get right. And the key is to prioritize based on intent, not search volume.
In those pieces, we cover:
- High-converting SaaS keywords: The specific types of keywords we choose and content we create to drive lead generation and customer acquisition for our SaaS clients (categorized by bottom of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and top of the funnel topics).
- Live article examples: Examples of live articles we’ve written for clients that you can read, find ranking in Google, and use as inspiration to build your own equivalent content (following the structures used in those articles).
- Topics we prioritize for our SaaS clients: The mix of content that we typically prioritize for our SaaS clients in the first 3 months of an engagement.
Step 2: Create a Single, Dedicated Blog Post for Each Keyword That Deeply Satisfies Search Intent
Ranking on the first page for a high-intent keyword requires a very strategic approach to content creation. You can’t just sprinkle in keywords to a bunch of blog posts and hope that they’ll rank. You also can’t rely entirely on on-page SEO tools, because getting the right words on the page — while necessary — isn’t sufficient to rank for buying intent terms which are valuable and highly competitive.
Instead, from years of experience, we’ve learned that you need to satisfy these two criteria to be successful:
- Create a dedicated page for each keyword.
- Deeply match search intent with each piece of content.
Ranking Criteria #1: Create a Dedicated Page for Each Keyword
One of our key learnings (and a differentiator of our agency’s strategy) is that the best way to get top positions for high-intent keywords is to create a dedicated web page for each one — even when keywords are nearly identical and have similar meanings.
As we discussed in our conversation with Bernard Huang of Clearscope, you only get one SEO title, one H1 heading, one meta description, etc. — and these are key ranking factors of Google’s algorithm.
If you try to rank for multiple target keywords with one piece of content, it will often only end up ranking for one of them (or worse, you won’t match the intent of any individual keyword, and you won’t rank for any of them).
Ranking Criteria #2: Deeply Satisfy Search Intent with Each Piece of Content
Satisfying search intent begins with analyzing the search engine results page (SERP) for your target keyword to understand a) which topics need to be covered in your article for it to rank and b) how you can differentiate or improve on existing results to get a top ranking position.
We’ve explained in-depth the exact process we use when analyzing search engine rankings for target keywords in our post on SEO content writing. Check that out to view examples and learn how you can approach this.
Step 3: Sell Your SaaS Product in Each Piece of Content
In search engine optimization and content marketing, there tends to be an aversion to selling products and services through blog content. As we mentioned earlier, blogs are considered to be primarily for generating traffic and brand awareness, and most marketers think that you shouldn’t be too salesy.
But when you design your SEO content strategy to go after high-intent keywords, where people are at the purchase stage of the buyer’s journey, a key part of meeting search intent is discussing your product! This is what searchers are literally looking for. They want to know about what your product does, how it solves their problems, and how it’s different from your direct competitors and other potential solutions on the market.
Therefore, it’s crucial to discuss the details of your product features and its differentiators. And this has implications on how your content is produced — the person writing the content needs to know these things.
This is why we urge software companies not to fully outsource their content to freelance writers or agencies, unless those freelance writers or agencies have a process for developing deep expertise in your product or service and its differentiators (most do not).
At Grow & Convert, we solve this by interviewing the experts at our clients’ companies for each piece of content we create. This allows us to express the company’s expertise on each topic to create truly high-quality content. This is in contrast to doing what we call “Google Research Papers” — trying to quickly learn about a topic by Googling it and regurgitating what everyone else is saying (what many digital marketing agencies and freelancers do).
To better understand how you can approach selling your product through your content, check out our post on SaaS content writing which walks through an example.
Also, check out the SaaS content strategy post we shared above, which has links to a bunch of articles we’ve written for our clients. (We discuss our clients’ products in every article we produce.)
Step 4: Fix and Monitor for Technical SEO Errors
Technical SEO — the process of resolving any technical website issues that might hurt your organic search performance — is a necessary part of SaaS SEO.
However, while we occasionally run into larger site architecture issues with our SaaS clients, the need for ongoing technical SEO support is more common in eCommerce where sites can have hundreds of product pages that target tons of long-tail keywords (very specific product queries).
For SaaS companies with largely static marketing sites, you should think of technical SEO as a baseline housekeeping item. If you notice sudden drops in rankings (which can be monitored in tools like Ahrefs or Semrush, along with other SEO metrics), then it’s worth looking into whether technical SEO might be present. But otherwise, technical SEO for SaaS websites can usually be taken care of with a one-time SEO audit and occasional follow up.
Step 5: External Link Building
Link building — the process of generating backlinks to pages on your site — is helpful for supporting your website’s domain authority and keyword rankings.
However, it’s key to understand that link building is a supporting element of a good SaaS SEO strategy. Sometimes agencies or companies think that link building is the thing that gets content ranking. But in our experience, it’s not.
If you don’t get the key steps of creating your content right (i.e. creating dedicated pages for each keyword, and deeply matching search intent), no amount of outreach, link building, or internal links will get your content up to the first page. So, link building is something to do and pay attention to, but don’t expect it to be a magic bullet for your SEO campaign.
We’ve found that building links to individual articles can often give them a boost in rankings and help support content in getting up to the first page. Each month, we build links to different articles we’ve published as an ongoing effort.
To learn more about our approach to link building, check out our article on content distribution strategy.
Measuring Traffic, Keyword Rankings, and Conversions
Finally, you need to actually track the results of your SEO efforts in order to know if your strategy is working. Most SEO teams and firms track keyword rankings and organic traffic, that’s easy, but far fewer track product conversions from SEO traffic.
Without that last step — knowing if your SEO efforts are generating trials, demo requests, or sales form fills — you’re essentially conceding that your SEO strategy is traffic-focused and you are completely unaware if or how much it’s contributing to new revenue.
At our agency, we do the following to track and measure results:
- Conversions: We track and report on conversions using the Model Comparison Tool in Google Analytics.
- Keyword Rankings: We use Ahrefs rank tracker to monitor rankings progress for each article’s target keyword. (You could also use Semrush, Google Search Console, etc.)
- Overall Pageviews and Organic Traffic: We set up traffic dashboards in Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio) that measure overall pageviews and organic traffic to our articles.
Check out our article on tracking conversions in Google Analytics 4 to learn more about how to measure conversions from SEO content.
Want to Work with Us or Learn More About How We Approach SaaS SEO?
- Our Agency: If you want to hire us to execute SEO in this way, you can learn more about our service and pricing here. We also offer a PPC service which you can learn about here.
- Join Our Team: If you’re a content marketer or writer and would love to do content marketing in this way, we’d love to have you apply to join our team.
- Our Content Marketing Course: Individuals looking to learn our agency’s content marketing strategy and become better marketers, consultants, or business owners can join our private course, taught via case studies, and presented in both written and video content formats. We include several details and examples not found on this blog. Our course is also built into a community, so people ask questions, start discussions, and share their work in the lesson pages themselves, and we, along with other members, give feedback. Learn more here or watch our video walkthrough here.