This is a comprehensive guide to SEO for SaaS companies. In fact, this is the same SEO strategy that software companies like HubSpot, Intercom and Drift have used to get millions of targeted visitors from SEO. So if you want higher Google rankings for your SaaS website, you’ll love the actionable techniques in this guide. Let’s dive right in.
- Step #1: Run an SEO Site Audit
- Step #2: Find 10 Informational Keywords
- Step #3: Write SEO-Optimized Blog Content
- Step #4: Publish a Power Post
- Step #5: Get High-Quality Links
Step #1: Run an SEO Site AuditYour first step is to run a quick SEO site audit. Don’t worry: this doesn’t take long. And it’s not super complicated. But it IS important. That’s because technical SEO is the foundation of SEO. And if your technical SEO is off, your site won’t rank (no matter how great your content is). For example, we recently started an SaaS SEO campaign for my site. And the first thing I did was make sure our technical SEO was in check… BEFORE we worried about content or backlinks. Sure enough, I found some major problems (like duplicate content). And once we fixed those technical SEO issues, our organic traffic instantly started to improve. With that, here’s how to quickly find and fix your SaaS site’s technical SEO issues. First, login to your Google Search Console account. Then, head over to the “Coverage” report. This report shows you how many pages your site has indexed in Google. There’s also a “Details” section that shows you errors that Google has run into. As you can see here, we have URLs that we submitted to Google that have the “noindex” tag. That’s not a huge deal. But it’s definitely worth fixing. And it’s one of those errors that you’ll only find in the Search Console. If you want to dig DEEP into your SaaS site’s technical SEO health, you can use an SEO tool like audit tool in Ahrefs. This is completely optional. Google Search Console is more than enough in most cases. Which leads us to our next step…
Step #2: Find 10 Informational KeywordsNow it’s time for keyword research. Specifically, you’re going to find a set of 10 informational keywords. So: what are “informational keywords”? Like the name suggests, they’re search terms that people use to look up information. For example, let’s say that your company sells productivity software. Informational keywords in that space would be things like:
- “How to be more productive”
- “Morning routines for entrepreneurs”
- “Productivity tips”
- “How to get more done after lunch”
- “best time to post on instagram”
- “small business ideas”
- “business plan template”
- “how to use github”
Step #3: Write SEO-Optimized Blog ContentSo now that you have a list of 10 informational keywords, what’s next? It’s time to create 10 blog posts that are optimized around each of these 10 terms. Here’s how: First, search for the keyword in Google. The SERPs will tell you what people searching for that term want to see (also known as “search intent”). For example, if you search for “SEO tips”, you’ll notice that most of the results are list posts. This tells you that the content that you write should be a list post… not a case study or ultimate guide. Next, create a piece of content that gives people everything they need to know. And I do mean “everything”. My team and I recently analyzed 11.8M Google search results. And we found that content that is “comprehensive” (according to Clearscope), tends to have higher search engine rankings. For example, take a look at this list of content marketing tips from our blog. This isn’t a typical list post. Instead of a bland list of items, this post is a SUPER thorough list of content marketing tactics. Including steps on how to execute each of them: In fact, this blog post weighs in at 2,537 words. That’s the kind of depth that you want for your content. Finally, optimize that content for SEO. In other words, add your target keyword in:
- Your page’s title tag
- In an H1 and H2
- 3-5x on your page
- 1x in your meta description
- At least 1x in your post intro and conclusion
Step #4: Publish a Power PostThe bulk of your content should be thorough content that’s optimized for search intent. And for Google. But around 1 out of every 10 posts that you publish should be a Power Post. A Power Post is a piece of blog content that’s engineered to get backlinks, social media shares, and traffic. These Power Pages are an important part of your SEO strategy for two main reasons: First, they build up your website’s Domain Authority. SEO industry studies have found that your site’s overall link authority helps all of the pages on your site rank better. So if your site is brand new, you’re going to have a tough time ranking for anything remotely competitive. Even if your content is legit. But when you build up your Domain Authority with a Power Post, it will improve rankings across your entire site. Second, Power Pages allow you to get the most out of internal linking. Specifically, you can link from your authoritative Power Post to pages that need a boost. Let me show you an example of a Power Post in the SaaS space: This page speed report from Unbounce. To date, that single Post Post has 735 total backlinks. Which has helped Unbounce rank #1 in Google for tons of competitive terms, like “landing page”. I’ve also used Power Post to help build up the Backlinko blog to 400k+ monthly visitors. For example, our Power Post about video marketing is 5k+ words. This post has a custom design. Lots of visuals and illustrations. Plus, it covers everything you need to know about video marketing. From filming, to editing to promoting your videos on YouTube. It covers it all. To be clear: creating a Power Post like this isn’t easy (in fact, our video marketing guide took weeks to put together). Which is why you don’t want to make every post a Power Post. Instead, these should be around 10% of your content. That’s more than enough for most sites to start building up their domain authority. Now: Power Posts are great for link building and SEO. They’re one of many link building strategies that SaaS companies can use.
Step #5: Get High-Quality LinksOur last step is to build backlinks to your SaaS website. Here are 5 link building techniques that are PERFECT for Saas: 1. Free Tools and Web Apps In other words: create a free webapp version of your SaaS product. Or just an awesome free tool. For example, CoverageBook is a SaaS company that helps PR professionals report their results to clients. And a while back they created a free keyword research tool called Answer The Public. This tool isn’t super related to their main business. But it’s close enough. Plus, they were a SaaS company. Which meant they had plenty of developers on staff that could create an awesome tool. So: how did it go? Well, that tool now has 77.6k total backlinks. The entire Coverage Book website only has 15k backlinks. In other words: this single tool has brought in more links than the rest of the entire business. That’s the power of creating a super helpful web app. 2. Broken Link Building Broken Link Building is one of my favorite link building strategies for SaaS companies. Why? Because there are a lot of resource pages out there that link to helpful tools. Here’s an example: And many of those pages have broken links. For example, Google recently retired one of their old web apps. So I found resource pages that still linked to that old web app. And reached out to the people that ran those pages. I politely suggested that they swap out their dead link with a link to me. Sure enough, that little campaign netted us a handful of really high-quality backlinks. 3. Guest Posting Guest posting is kind of a grind. But it can help you get a handful of solid links when you’re first starting out. And you can switch to more scalable approaches later on. In fact, that’s exactly what I did with my blog. In the early days of my blog I guest posted like crazy. Which landed me some solid links. But I quickly realized that guest posting did NOT scale. So I switched to the other strategies that I’ve talked about in this post (like Power Posts). 4. Publish Unique Data Bloggers and journalists LOVE linking to unique pieces of data. For example, we ran one of the first industry studies about voice search SEO. And because that post was packed with unique data, it got linked to like crazy. In fact, that single post now has over 1.87k backlinks. Your SaaS company might even have this data lying around. For example, BuzzSumo uses the data in their platform to publish super interesting data sets, like this: For BuzzSumo, putting together this post wasn’t a big deal. They basically just had to scrape their own platform. And write about what they found. But for people in the digital marketing world, this content is SUPER valuable. Which is why 1,341 different sites have linked to it. 5. Podcast Interviews Podcasts are an untapped marketing channel for SaaS companies. The right podcast can get you a surge in visitors and free trial signups. And a solid backlink too. As someone that’s appeared on 100+ podcasts, I can tell you that they’re well worth the effort. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years that can help you get on legit podcasts:
- Invest in a high-quality mic. Kinda pricey (mine cost about $400). But worth it if you plan on appearing on lots of podcasts.
- Treat your podcast like an audio guest post. You’re not there to talk about how your software is “disrupting” an industry. Instead, you want to focus 100% on providing value.
- Have your founder go on. Unless you’re DropBox, no one wants to hear from your head of growth.