Starting your own SaaS company in a competitive market is quite challenging.
However, as by the end of 2020 85% of small businesses will invest in SaaS solutions, it’s also an excellent opportunity for those who successfully establish their position and manage to catch the attention of their target audience.
In the digital world we’re doing business in, this is impossible to achieve without search engine optimization (SEO).
For those of you who are just starting up your SaaS companies, here is a quick SEO guide to get you started.
Understand the Market
From the early days of starting your business, you need to be very clear about the market you’re targeting with your product.
A thorough insight into the needs of your prospective customers, as well as your competition, is a foundation for creating your marketing strategy, and, more specifically, your SEO campaign. This will help you understand what your potential customers need as well as what they mostly search for while surfing the internet.
Try to find out the answers for two fundamental questions:
1 Who will use your product?
Learn as much as you can about your target customers. Start with their demographics, such as their age, gender, and location, but move on to other characteristics that could be relevant – income level, relationship status, education, etc. You should also try to determine their habits, needs, desires, interests, and pain points. Create a few typical buyer personas that you can use for your SEO campaigns and all your other marketing efforts.
2 Why will your prospective clients choose you rather than your competition?
Research your competition so that you can make the benefit you offer to your customers evident, or to be more precise – define your unique value proposition that will set you apart from all others on the market. Besides, by keeping an eye on your competitors, you’ll also be able to see what SEO tactics they use, what keywords they try to rank for, as well as whether their strategies work.
The more effort you put into the research phase, the better you’ll understand the market and your position.
The next step in building the SEO strategy for your SaaS startup is determining the keywords you’ll use when optimizing your website and your content for the search engines.
It’s crucial to know the difference between short-tail keywords and long-tail ones. Short-tail keywords are the ones that are more general or less specific. They have high search volume, but at the same time, they’re highly competitive. Not to mention that it’s very difficult to rank for them.
On the other hand, long-tail keywords are more specific when it comes to what your prospective clients are searching for. They have a lower search volume than the short-tail ones, but your chances to rank well in those searches are much higher.
Apart from learning how to research for your most valuable keywords, you could benefit from using tools such as KWFinder or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.
Whatever your objectives may be, understanding how to choose SEO keywords for your business is critically important. This will be the foundation for all of your content writing, so you don’t want to pick the wrong topic.
However, if you think you can rank your content high in searches by relying on your keywords only, the results will be disappointing.
Backlinks are the building blocks of every successful SEO strategy.
For your SEO efforts to be effective, you need to build backlinks to the relevant websites and portals in your industry. It’s a good idea to learn more about the most-common link-building strategies and determine which ones to focus on.
Links from the relevant and credible sources that point to your content will be an excellent indicator for the search engines that your website and your content are reliable, so your search visibility will grow.
These authority websites are, in a way, vouching for the quality of your website and content.
Producing High-Quality Content
After you’ve identified the target keywords for your SEO purposes, it’s essential to plan your content strategy and move on to creating content that is useful and valuable to your prospective clients.
Content and SEO go hand in hand, and you can’t pull off search engine optimization without superb content – no matter how hard you try.
Even with the right keywords and strong backlinks, your content won’t perform well if it’s of low quality and doesn’t deliver on the promises it makes to your target audience.
Stats show that websites with a blog have 434% more indexed webpages and get 97% more links to their website.
Try to make your content diverse.
Use infographics, photos, gifs to enrich your written articles. Don’t shy away from creating videos, as they are now the most popular type of content. Podcasts, webinars, e-books, those are all great tactics you should focus on to capture more leads and nurture them into becoming loyal clients.
Use your social media channels to share your posts with your audience and engage in discussions. It’s a good idea to connect with reputable influencers in your industry and ask them to share your content too.
Match Your Content to Your Audience Segments
When creating your content, always have your prospective customers on your mind. Are they just becoming aware of a problem they have? How much do they know about possible solutions? Is your content helping them overcome a challenge they’re dealing with?
Each one of the content pieces you publish needs to be about your prospective customers, so tailor it to their needs depending on the traits, and their position in the content marketing funnel.
Think about each one of your customers’ segments, and what kind of content they could use.
If they are at the top of the funnel, you’ll need content that catches their attention by offering solutions to their pain points.
For those in the middle of the tunnel, who are aware of the problem and are considering their options, you’ll need more informational and educational content.
In contrast, for those who are at the bottom of the funnel, you’ll need more personalized content that deals with specific use cases of your product or service.
However, not only your content needs to be optimized for search engines, but your website also needs to be optimized both for your visitors and the search engine crawlers.
Keywords, backlinks, and quality do matter, but if your prospective clients reach your website and can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll bounce. This aspect of optimization mainly refers to technical issues such as page loading speed, user experience, and navigation.
The Google Rank Brain algorithm uses metrics, such as bounce rate, dwell time, pages per session, and many others to determine how your website visitors enjoy your website, and your rankings depend on such signals as well.
As for making your website attractive to your visitors, to boost their satisfaction, make sure it loads fast and that it can be accessed from any mobile device. It also should be simple to use and navigate, so that the visitor can finish whatever they came for effortlessly, without any interruptions.
When it comes to more technical details, here are the basics:
- Make use of and include keywords in your meta titles and meta descriptions
- Ensure you alt-tag your images, as search engines understand them only by the description and the name you provide
- Avoid duplicate content
- Look for any broken links and orphan pages and fix them timely.
SEO may take a while to give results, but it’s worth all the effort you put into it. Be persistent, monitor your metrics, and fine-tune your approach, as that’s the way for improving your rankings and catching your target audience’s eye.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.