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What is Content Strategy in SEO for SaaS

We discuss how to create an effective content strategy for your SaaS to rank in SEO with curated insights from SEO experts and SaaS founders.

We curated the best content strategy in SEO for SaaS products from experts. Let’s go!
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Note: SaaSwrites is a curated growth marketing hub and resource built to help SaaS founders grow their products. We sincerely thank all our experts for their constant value addition to this world.
Updated on: 05/03/2020

How to build a content marketing strategy for SaaS with SEO?

Mark Thomas shares that Content marketing strategy for B2B SaaS doesn't have to be complicated
The goal is to reach the right people, with the right message and to create as little wasted effort as
possible Here's how you increase conversions and generate revenue from content:

1. Prioritize your content funnel

Lots of people think you should create top-of-funnel (TOFU) content first: there are more people there, right?
Content funnel for your SaaS SEO.
Content funnel for your SaaS SEO.
More chances to win!
But when volume goes up, conversion rates go down
This is where most waste happens
TOFU content doesn't convert as well as BOFU (bottom of the funnel) content
The intent is much higher here
People are considering buying
Create content for prospects who are directly searching for you or a solution to the problem your SaaS product solves

2. Blogging is content, but content is more than just blogging

People think: I'm publishing on my blog. I'm doing content marketing
And they are.
But they're missing HUGE opportunities by neglecting other content types.
notion image

3. Start with content that will convert well

Here are five types of content that convert well for SaaS and why they work:

a. Comparison pages: (you v competitor)

Someone searching for that term is looking to buy. Be responsible. Help them out with their buying choice by honestly evaluating the differences between the two products.
A lot of people worry about making an honest comparison between their product and a competitor. But no two products are positioned the same way.
Example of Paddle’s comparison page to Stripe.
Example of Paddle’s comparison page to Stripe.
You need to get the buyers who are going to excel with your product. And send the others elsewhere. Creating content that ranks for these terms allows you to frame the conversation.
I promise: if you don't do it, your competitors will. And do you trust them to do a good job of making the comparison on your behalf?

b. Alternative to pages: Alternative to pages (Competitor alternative)

When someone has an issue with one of your competitors, they'll search: 'competitor name + alternative. They're looking to solve the pain points they have.
Alternatives pages I've made have converted at upwards of 15%. People also search for alternatives when they're just evaluating lots of options.
Paddle’s guide as an alternative to Stripe.
Paddle’s guide as an alternative to Stripe.
If you're a new market competitor, this is a strong way to get your foot in the door. Create an alternatives page for several competitors. Lots of distinct pain points with one competitor Consider creating different versions that address unique pain points directly.

c. Product pages: Targeting terms like 'Helpdesk software'

People searching these terms are considering buying something from someone offering the same thing as you. Use these as an opportunity to explain clearly who your best-fit customers are.
Stripe’s use-case page for the term ‘SaaS payment software’.
Stripe’s use-case page for the term ‘SaaS payment software’.

d. Case study pages:

Use case pages are like product pages but address a pain point vs a whole category. For example, 'how to identify who visits your website' vs 'reverse IP lookup tools'.

e. Use case pages

Often case studies get seen as MOFU (mid-funnel) content. But readers are looking at how people in their industry used your product to create results. Tell them how they can get those results!
Jotform’s page on how their forms have a use-case for ‘Animal Shelter’.
Jotform’s page on how their forms have a use-case for ‘Animal Shelter’.
So that's the bottom of the funnel content.
Key idea: you'll rank for the bottom of funnel terms quicker on search because the competition is generally lower. But it's also valuable to send this directly when doing cold outreach or taking part in communities.

4. Target Middle of the funnel content:

Middle of the funnel is kind of a fuzzy place to live
  • It's not high intent
  • It's not low intent
But what's it for?
Best case: maintaining interest while a buyer educates themselves on your product and the wider market.
Here's what works for the middle of the funnel in B2B SaaS content strategy

a. Interactive tools (marketing as engineering)

Build tools related to your product's features so that users can solve problems without signing up. Consider adding some way to collect email addresses. But also add pixels so that you can deliver relevant remarketing ads to users.
Neil Patel offers a 7-week SEO action plan on its SaaS tool UberSuggest.
Neil Patel offers a 7-week SEO action plan on its SaaS tool UberSuggest.
The types of tools we have found work best include:
  • Calculators
  • Templates
  • Cheatsheets
  • Canvases
  • Questionnaires
Main concept: Give visitors a sample of the benefits of your SaaS. Show them how life could be if they signed up. And capture their interest.

b. Market intelligence:

In B2B SaaS, there can be a lot of people who need to sign off on a purchase
Market intelligence reassures top execs about the business case for your product
Unlike case studies, market intelligence is about high-level industry trends and benefits.

c. Product tour pages

Kind of like a demo page except it is self-guided. Ask for:
– job title
– use case
And then show people to the most relevant parts of the product

Here's what works for TOFU content in B2B SaaS:

  • Expanded list posts & expert guides
  • Ultimate guides
  • How to narrative content
  • Opinion and thought leadership content
Let me just qualify 'what works':
What works in TOFU means what gets you eyeballs, emails and people to pixel
Rather than tell you what each of these are, I'll link to a few great examples of each.
 
Marthak Rahul writes SEO is just a process & not the end business goal.
Many a time SEOs forget that Ranking the website was one of the many tasks. They also have to work on other stages of the interlinked funnel. 🔹 Learning content. 🔹 Exploratory content. 🔹 Product-related content. Goes on...

5. Know and Understand the Audience

Far to often, content is created with either:
  1. No real Purpose/Goal
  1. Too much focus on "SEO"
Content is there to attract, inform and aid prospects/users! SEO is (in many cases) secondary!
notion image

There's no shortage of surface-level info available.

Take the opportunity to dig deeper into those topics that fits with your SaaS offering.
Guide prospects through the three stages of:
  • Problem awareness
  • Solution awareness
  • Product awareness
If you don't know who they are, and what their problems are, and how your offering helps them, step away from the keyboard!
  • Do some research.
  • Do some thinking.
  • Do some feeling.
And when you have something - do it Properly!
You have business goals. They have consumer goals. You should be able to marry them, and produce content that contributes to your goals, whilst fulfilling theirs!
  • Cover each step.
  • Cover each scenario.
  • Cover each user type.
Stop wasting time creating bland, boring and generally pointless content with the sole purpose of "ranking".
Focus on satisfying their needs/wants, whilst supporting your business goals.
You'll target the right terms, and likely rank better/faster, and convert more too!

SEO and content marketing have changed the digital marketing world. SEO without content marketing is like a body without a soul.
In particular, SEO is actually strategized around content marketing since every website needs words, articles, substance, keywords, etc. In order to be successful, both must go hand in hand.

6. Keyword research is extremely important for your SaaS SEO Strategy

The essential element of SEO is about researching and finding relevant keywords and making use of them in your content so they rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
It's important to use keywords in an appropriate manner and follow a strategic approach. You should never stuff a page with keywords and overoptimize. SEO and content work in balance.
Embedding target keywords is essential to rank well and boost traffic. But again, follow a strategy and do not stuff them in the content. Repeating keywords has a negative impact on SEO. Follow a reasonable approach and use the main keywords in the title and body section.

7. Produce Quality Content for your SaaS SEO

SEO and content marketing require consistency. Fresh, unique and creative content gets rapidly indexed and ranks higher than low-value and repetitive content.
Content must be able to lure your clients as well as solve a particular issue. One can write influential content by using important keywords and targeting visitors.
This is the most important factor through which Google determines the relevance of a page and ranks a piece of content. Brainstorming creative ideas and embedding the most important keywords is the key to acknowledged content.

8. Have a great User Experience for your SaaS SEO

SEO is not just about blogs, articles, keywords and linkbacks but also about optimizing robots.txt, enhancing metadata and using tags appropriately.

Technical optimization

It makes a web page appealing to the search engine and ensures that the site has no broken links with any error codes (like 404s). Otherwise, the source will be poorly ranked by the search engine.
Optimizing URLs and making the slug -- everything after the .com -- concise drives the search engine to find the relevant subpages and categorize the different parts of your site.
This is vital to the success of any SEO campaign. The technical SEO elements benefit the UX and are present so as to publicize the content.

Good sitemap

It ensures an easy approach to content for users, and optimized robots.txt crawls the site so that viewers can access the content. The appropriate tag provides outstanding and superior indexing and authentic search results.
Tags like header tags and title tags benefit the user by strategizing the content in a way that is useful for readers and simple for the search engine to understand.

Good title tag

It ensures a great user experience as the visitor can recognize the information from the page before they actually click on it. Header tags (H1-H6) hold great importance to differentiate headings and subheadings within the content to make it well-organized.

9. Get Traffic on your SaaS page

Linkback, link-building, or inbound linking is another major factor of SEO. Connecting your links with high-domain authority sites like .edu and .org drastically increases traffic.
Though developing links is possible by connecting with link-building agencies, the best method is to create expert content. To get a link back and boost traffic, stellar content is worth it.
SEO and content marketing are not disparate departments. In fact, both need each other. Content marketing is only successful if it has appropriate SEO. Together, SEO and content marketing are explosive.

Tired: Content focused on SEO goals
Wired: Content that powers your entire marketing strategy

10. SEO-driven content works best in an underserved niche.

But many topics are saturated. Many industries — and search algorithms — have matured.
Examples where SEO may not be ideal:
• Legal
• Finance
• Health
It's harder to rank for related keywords. For health as a topic (as opposed to a clinic optimizing for local search), you may be better off leveraging other marketing to prove your credibility.
Content marketers should instead focus on creating content that powers the rest of their marketing efforts. This can still be inclusive of SEO goals.
Think: Content as a service.

11. Demand generation

Like it or not, people still download gated content. At @ShipBob , we get 100s of quality leads a month on e-books like this.
ShipBob turns guides into downloadable content.
ShipBob turns guides into downloadable content.
And to create content worth gating, we often turn to our own blog as an initial source of information.

12. Invest in your Public Relations (PR)

I love when Content and PR teams work hand in hand. So much of what content marketers are already doing can add even more credibility to what their PR counterparts are saying.
And sometimes, PR can be the blog content. More on how to do that, here:

People want company news.

Sort of. But only if it's clear how that news is valuable to them.
Launched a new feature? Great. How does this solve a user's problem?
Raised a Series B? Congrats. How will you use the $ to expand your offering?

People want the brand story.

Sure. But they don't care what your story means to you. They care what it means to them. Communicate:
  • Your origin and how it reflects your values • How your values inform your product • How your product makes their lives better

There's a captive audience.

Half true. An email list and social media followers ≠ a captive audience Having a following means you'll get at least some engagement. But it doesn't mean readers will bookmark your blog.
You'll need to hook and re-hook them.

13. Create valuable content that people are searching for.

Content should drive organic traffic, keep people on your site, and inspire them to come back.
Here's one way to look at it...
Content that builds affinity
Content-based on high volume keywords → drive organic traffic
Valuable, relevant cross-linked content → keep people on your site
Distribute content throughout marketing → get people to come back.
So, potential customers kind of want your news, updates, and brand story... as long it’s distilled into insights that improve their lives in some way.
That's the never-ending job of a content marketer.

14. Perform Product marketing

PMM offers the positioning guidance for Content, then Content spins that up into playbooks. The most successful Content and PMM two-for-one during my time at Fitbit B2B was this physical activity idea generator for HR/wellness leaders.

15. Host and join Events

It's best when Content and Events can empower each other. Content creates talking points for the execs who speak at events. Separately, relevant influencers can speak at your events.
They boost your brand with their stories. More here-I’ve sourced speakers for 80+ events, webinars, podcasts, and $1mm conferences.
The truth? You don't need a famous guest.
Slack regularly has live events or on-demand webinars at a city or on a screen near you.
Slack regularly has live events or on-demand webinars at a city or on a screen near you.
Here are the 3 types of speakers you actually need:
The “right type” of guest speaker aligns with at least 1 of 3 goals.
Goal → speaker type:
1/ Drive awareness → industry innovator
2/ Establish credibility → narrative partner
3/ Demonstrate value → gold standard
More on each...

Industry innovator

Someone who is building a new platform or driving an industry conversation. Examples: • @bernardjhuang , Clearscope: SEO • @KateBour , Customer Camp: Customer psychology • @randfish , SparkToro: Audience insights at scale
When you sign on a relevant innovator, they raise the profile of your event, and you give them a captive audience for their message.
It's win-win.
Plus, the people who matter most — the ones who are most likely to become your subscriber, customer, or fan — know who these innovators are. They're already listening.

Narrative partner

A relevant innovator is not always well-positioned to establish credibility in you. You need someone who's aligned with your content (or business) goals.
A speaker who can frame a story you're trying to tell. Think of the people who tell the stories you can align yourself with. They are the ones who can elevate your existing conversations.

Gold standard

All of your speakers will give value. But not all will convey the value in your product or brand. Speakers that do are the ones closest to your business: they’re probably your happiest customers.
Often, they're a future version of the listener or attendee. When I led editorial strategy for Fitbit's largest B2B event, I lobbied to have leadership from Dayton, OH's Regional Transit Authority (RTA) speak on the main stage.
My bosses were worried this wasn't a known brand. After all, who is the RTA? They're bus drivers. Who wore fitness trackers. Became physically active, lost weight, lowered their glucose levels. And helped save RTA $2.3mm in healthcare costs.
They represented the gold standard. This case study went on to be cited for years.
The lesson: Get story-struck, not star-struck.
Don't be blinded by bright household names. Don’t scrounge for a speaker you can't afford. You won't see the ROI. Find a guest speaker who can help you tell your story well.

Conclusion: Here’s our unique approach if your SaaS is new to SEO

If you are new to SaaS SEO, start your content with below-the-BOFU (bottom of the funnel).
What does that mean? Write for your existing customers first before you write for your new customers.
Here’s how:
Step 1:
a. Write user guides for all your smallest SaaS features
b. Optimize them for SEO by adding a benefit to the title.
For example: How <SaaSname> can help <bloggers> <create a super fast blog>
Then explain how your features added value to your product.
Add as many screenshots and get to the bottom of the information.
Add rich media to your below-the-BOFU content.
  • Add YouTube videos - screenshares would also help
  • Add podcast episodes
  • Perform internal linking within YouTube and your blogs
This will give some strong signals to Google.
Step 2: Once you cover all your user guides richly, start creating topical relevance with BOFU content
  • Start comparing your features
  • Add why your benefits matter more
  • Add 'Alternative to <WP> for <benefit> pages
This will slowly create topical relevance with each feature and comparison.
Step 3: Keep promoting and writing about your content in communities (reddit, quora)
All you'd need to do is repurpose.
This is something that I'd do really well for 6 months.
You'll build true fans and topical authority

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