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Why SEO is important for your SaaS?

We discuss how you can run SEO for your SaaS growth, its benefits, and how useful and practical running a community is for SaaS founders.

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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: 20/03/2022

What is SEO for SaaS?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is ranking your SaaS website to show up in search engines when a user searches a relevant query. SEO is majorly driven by Google search but can also expand to other search engines like YouTube, Google Play Store, Google Chrome extension, Shopify marketplace, WordPress plugin search, Amazon product search, etc.
SEO can help in putting your SaaS in front of your audience already looking for your solution. This is in a way pull-based marketing where your leads find and come to you. SEO usually takes months (if not years) to properly index and so it is a long-term strategy. But the volumes of traffic it can generate over time will effectively help you build a huge pipeline of passive leads.

Why is SEO important for your SaaS?

It’s not just a growth engine, it’s a demand compass. Basic SEO research using tools like @SEMRush can tell you that the search volume for ‘painting class’ is 2.5x higher than that for ‘drawing class’. Which do you think has a larger Total Addressable Market (TAM)?
SEO helps SaaS companies that have long and complicated sales cycles. The purchasing decision lies in the hands of many stakeholders. S
By publishing high-ranking content, you can keep your brand top of mind and appear in front of each stakeholder, whether he/she is searching for a product like yours or asking questions that are related to your field of expertise.
A lot of SaaS founders wish they invested in SEO and content marketing earlier. ~ Carolina Posma

SEO can tell you a lot about your business

like:
  • How many people are searching for this?
  • Should I advertise on mobile or desktop?
  • How seasonal is demand?
  • Is this space really competitive?
  • Who are the major players in this space?

Organic channels keep Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) low in the long-term

SEO requires upfront cost but pays dividends for years after. Creating organic content also expands the surface areas and channels on which you can be discovered and people can share what you’re about.
Companies get addicted to the paid marketing sugar high. It gets you customers fast instantly and predictably but it’s expensive and doesn’t last.
Ex.@MasterClass early days were fueled by trailer ads on FB/IG. Still, once CACs grew, we built our SEO program. Second, what do you need to know to be dangerous?
When it comes to SEO, there is always more to know. In my mind, here are the essentials to your startup strategy:
  1. Don’t treat SEO like paid The biggest challenge in starting SEO is getting execs to think of it differently. SEO requires upfront investment and frustratingly takes ~3 months to show even early results. Prepare yourself for this and don’t freak out.
  1. Target your SEO efforts
    1. As a starting point, you can think of this in terms of Platforms (Google, YouTube, App Store, ec) or if you’re focused on one platform like Google, in terms of page type (Video, Local, Recipe, Editorial, etc). This choice is based on the queries your target customers make. E.g. A local food chain is probably best suited for local SEO (i.e., “best barbacoa tacos near me”) but a food influencer may be better suited for recipe / editorial (i.e., “authentic barbacoa taco recipe”).
  1. Practice good hygiene
    1. Minor errors will kill your SEO efforts if done poorly. So many companies lose $$ because of bad technical hygiene. Make sure site architecture, crawlability, indexability, structured data, speed, and mobile friendliness etc. are all up to par.
  1. Give content purpose with keyword research Just because an article is published doesn’t mean it will rank. Basic keyword optimization is essential to give any page a chance to rank.Tools like @clearscope are great for measuring your effectiveness on this.
 
  1. Invest in UX
    1. Increasingly Google’s ranking algorithm values good UX over external optimizations like link building. Excellent UX means many things, and the important parts are content discoverability, site architecture, mobile friendly design, and fast loading pages.
Each SEO strategy has their own dynamics and you can never be 100% confident that you’ll get the results you want. But, when it pays off, it really does. And that’s what makes it fun.

How SEO can help your SaaS business growth?

Organic traffic

It is the best kind of traffic you can get. SEO gives you consistent and reliable traffic.
Focus on SEO from day 1.
Don't wait till your product is built to start working on SEO.
Get the basics of on-page SEO right.
  • Add relevant tags to your page - title, meta, h1s, h2s. • Optimize these tags & your content.

Website authority

Put efforts to increase your website's authority from day 1.
Higher your website authority, more the chance of Google ranking you higher.
Writing guest posts is the best way to increase your website's authority.
Set up a process to:
• Research opportunities
• Automate outreach
• Create outlines
• Write content

Linking

Everyone loves linking to data & analysis.
Create such pages on your website to get links organically.
People will link to you only if you have quality content.
Publish guides & in-depth content on your website and reach out to others asking to link to your content.
Internal linking is the most powerful way to improve rankings.
Get the SEO juice from your top pages flowing to all other pages. No orphan links. As a rule of thumb, each page on your website should have at least 1 internal link.
Do your website's SEO audit regularly and clean up the errors.
Recommendation: @ahrefs
Use Google Search Console to track your website's organic traffic.
It's the most reliable way to know your actual organic traffic. Other SEO tools are great, but they can only provide you estimates.

Keyword research

It is key to ranking on Google. If you find the right keywords, half your job is done. Keywords don't rank themselves.
You still have to write quality content that your website visitors would like to read. Optimise your content for the reader, not just for keywords.
Google also actively tracks this by measuring factors like time spent by users on your page.

Search intent

Ranking in top 10 and yet getting no traffic will do you no good.
Your goal should always be to kick out at least one of the existing top 10 results.
Make sure you have >1-2 results that have a lower authority than you and/or have poor quality content.
For SEO - if you’re a top-down SaaS, your content should focus on the sale and helping buyers buy and see the value you provide. If you’re bottoms up/PLG, content should focus on the sale, and value, but also pain/need/use case at the user level, since an entry point can spread. ~ JH Scherck

SEO takes time to show results.

Wait at least 3-6 months before you decide to change your existing strategy.
The wait for SEO to show results it totally worth it. Your website traffic grows exponentially afterwards. Regularly monitor the keywords you are actually ranking for.
Optimize your content for those keywords to improve your ranking. Improve your website's page speed. Go a step further and optimize your core web vitals too.

Establish a topical authority

Once you start ranking for a few blogs on a topic, there's a high chance Google will favor your website over other content on that topic.
Optimize your already ranking pages in one country for other countries.
It's the easiest way to get more traffic. Update and optimize your old content regularly.
You don't want your competitors to outrank you just by including latest updates.

Research your competitors for content & keyword ideas.

Don't hesitate to even borrow their SEO strategy.
If you can, pick your domain name wisely.
For example. our domain is http://remote.tools and ranks number 1 for the competitive keyword "remote tools".
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Read:

Never use sub-domains

Google treats them almost like separate websites. Always use sub-folders.
SEO is a long-term strategy. Make sure you set up the right processes to research, write & distribute content.
SEO is amazing to drive website traffic, however, the conversion rates aren't as high as paid marketing.
Don't rely entirely on SEO.
Diversify your traffic sources through distribution and launches.
Channels include social media, Product Hunt, Reddit, HackerNews, Indie-Hackers etc.
 

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