SaaS SEO Checklist
A strong SEO strategy that drives industry authority, brand awareness, and organic web traffic is critical to the success of companies in the SaaS industry. What is the key to doing SEO correctly? Why is SEO for SaaS companies different from SEO for many other types of companies? We've put together an infographic to make sure you don't lose sight of any SEO essentials.
Adding SEO to the mix is probably the most important thing you need to consider when developing a SaaS business. While you can always deploy PPC ads for good results, SEO presents you with a great opportunity to achieve long-term results at a lower cost.
Considering the fact that nearly 93% of web traffic comes from search engines, it's safe to say that a large number of your potential customers are using one of these to find a solution to their problem.
However, the question is what SEO strategies should you follow to differentiate your SaaS business from your competitors? To help you, we've created this SaaS SEO checklist of the most effective, actionable strategies for taking your SaaS business to the next level using SEO.
SaaS SEO Basics
Set up Google Search Console
If you don't know how your site will perform in Google searches, it's nearly impossible to design a proper SaaS SEO strategy. This is where Google Search Console can help you. This free web service from Google can help you measure website traffic, monitor keyword performance, and troubleshoot issues.
Set up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is another free analytics tool from Google that allows you to track the origin of your website visitors and analyze their interactions with your website. With the data provided by Google Analytics, you can not only measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, but also optimize your website's performance to make the most of them.
Build an SEO-friendly architecture
Simply put, site architecture is how your website pages are organized and linked. If your pages are clicked multiple times from the homepage or are not properly linked, Google crawlers will have a hard time finding and indexing them, and the end result is likely to be poorly ranked in the SERPs.
You can avoid this problem by making sure all pages are within three clicks from the home page, as shown in the image above.
If you have multiple similar or identical pages, it can confuse Googlebot and hurt their rankings. Ideally, you should avoid having similar content sections throughout your site. However, if you must use them for different purposes, use canonical tags to define the master version of the page and pages similar to it.
Submit a sitemap
The purpose of this is to help search engine crawlers understand and locate the web pages they should crawl and index. If you're using Yoast or Rank Math, you get a ready-to-use sitemap, which means you just submit it in Google Search Console. Alternatively, you can generate one using the XML Sitemaps Generator.
Create Robots.txt file
A robots.txt file tells crawlers how to crawl your site. You can use this to tell crawlers which pages they should and shouldn't crawl. If you're using WordPress, you can use Yoast or Rank Math to update your robots.txt file. Otherwise, you need to manually create it at https://www.domain.com/robots.txt.
SaaS keyword research
Finding the right keywords is the foundation on which SaaS SEO is built. When it comes to SaaS SEO, you need to target two categories of keywords: informational keywords (used by searchers to get information) and transactional keywords (used by potential customers to buy services).
Here are four efficient ways to generate these keywords.
Use Google Keyword Planner for Keyword Research
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool designed to help you identify relevant keywords and valuable data about them, including monthly search volume and competition. First, you need to brainstorm some keywords related to your service and enter them in the keyword planner. The tool will show you their insights along with a list of related keywords.
Note that the range of initial keywords will determine the number of suggestions you will see. If you enter broader keywords, you'll get more suggestions. Conversely, if you enter keywords that are too specific, the number of suggestions will be very low. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a balance when entering your initial keywords.
Use Ubersuggest for Keyword Research
Once you have a rough idea of which keywords your SaaS business is targeting, it's time to identify more specific keyword ideas. For example, we entered a broader term "SaaS" in Ubersuggest and it showed the following:
As you can see, we entered a number of long-tail versions of "SaaS", along with their monthly search volume, CPC, PPC difficulty, and SEO competition.
A cool feature that helps Ubersuggest stand out from other keyword research tools is its ability to generate different keyword ideas based on questions, prepositions, and comparisons.
Keyword Research Using Competitor Analysis
Analyzing the keywords your competitors are ranking for is another effective way to build your own list of relevant keywords. However, considering that not every competitor of yours is using SaaS SEO, you should first identify the top two or three companies using keywords related to your software.
Once you've identified these companies, use an SEO tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to identify the keywords they're currently ranking for. After the tool generates a keyword list, browse it and choose the keywords most relevant to your software.
Create a keyword table
Now that you've got a ton of relevant keywords using the strategies above, you should create a keyword research table that you'll use for all your further keyword-based optimizations. Here's what you should include in your keyword table.
your target keywords.
their personal monthly search volume.
Segment keywords based on priority. This should be distributed among high, medium and low priority keywords.
The status of each keyword. This includes whether the keyword has already been used and its current stage in its use.
Interrelated content (topic clusters) developed using keywords.
CPC (cost per click) per keyword.
On-page SaaS SEO
Here are four strategies that can help improve your site's on-page SEO performance.
Use short URLs
All of your page's URLs need to be easy to find and understand by search engines. Using overly complex and long URLs can ultimately hurt your page's ranking in the SERPs. Users can also inadvertently break the link, causing the URL to not work properly, resulting in a poor user experience.
To create short, user- and search-engine-friendly URLs, include explanatory keywords that provide additional information about a specific page. Avoid using numbers, dashes, or hyphens in the main URL field. It's also important to align the URL with the page's H1 headers. Finally, don't use dynamic URLs, as they can cause web crawling and indexing issues.
Optimize title tags and meta descriptions
Both title tags and meta descriptions are two fundamental aspects of on-page SEO.
When optimizing title tags, be sure to incorporate searcher-intent keywords that you generate from keyword research to serve the user’s specific purpose. The title tag also needs to include the subject of the page in question and the same important keywords you use in the page copy, URL, meta description, and image alt attributes.
When optimizing your meta description, make sure to keep it under 160 characters, include your main keyword, use a call to action, make it actionable, and mention the entire content of the page.
First, you need to include images related to the subject you are talking about. Second, use your main keyword in the image's filename to help search engines understand it. Next is choosing the correct image format. Choose between JPEG (which gives good results with a smaller file size) and PNG (ideal for preserving background transparency with a larger file size).
It’s also important to reduce images using a tool like TinyPNG or a WordPress plugin like WP Smush. Finally, add proper alt tags to describe the content of the image, which can help your website rank better in the SERPs.
You can read a detailed post on image optimization here.
Fix keyword cannibalization issue
Ranking multiple pages for the same keyword can hurt your keyword's performance, which is called the keyword cannibalism problem. This can lead to multiple negative consequences, including reduced page authority, value, and fluctuations in its SERP ranking.
To address keyword cannibalization, first create a list of all URLs and keywords associated with them. If you find any duplicate entries, especially in core pages, fix them immediately. You can use a variety of techniques, including creating new landing pages, finding new keywords, combining multiple pages into one (if they're not unique enough), and using 301 redirects.
Creating high-value content won't help you in terms of SEO benefits unless you optimize it. Simply put, content optimization is about making the content of your SaaS website optimized for search engines.
Let's look at some useful ways to achieve this.
Using Skyscraper Technology
To implement this technique, first you need to find successful content relevant to your industry. Then you need to create something better than that, and finally, promote the new work as much as possible.
When done right, the skyscraper technique can greatly help improve your website's ranking. However, you need to consider the following factors when creating new works:
Original works need to be in high demand, which means audiences are likely to embrace new works.
You have to create a unique angle or add something new to help the reader learn something new.
Create in-depth content
In-depth content refers to comprehensive, high-quality content. This means that you should create original, very thorough content with well-researched information. This article should not focus on selling your service or business. Instead, it needs to contain valuable information from authoritative sources.
So instead of writing something like "3 Steps to Building a SaaS Application", you might want to create something like "A Comprehensive Guide to Building a SaaS Application" that discusses all the steps in the process. This kind of content usually remains evergreen, providing value to readers over the years.
Post the latest content
When you frequently update pages with high-quality content, the chances of those pages ranking higher become very high. The reason is that when you update your website with fresh content, search engines visit it more often, giving it a chance to rank higher based on the quality of the content.
Including valuable, relevant keywords in your content can also help you drive more traffic to your website, and it can help improve your site's rankings when your visitors' dwell time increases. Finally, frequent additions of fresh content give you the opportunity to become an industry authority in the eyes of search engines.
Focus on better readability
Do you like to read incomprehensible or boring content? of course not! You need to think about the exact same thing when creating content for your audience. Each piece of your content should be designed to provide your visitors with a great reading experience.
To improve the readability of the text, use short sentences whenever possible. It is also important to avoid complex sentences, difficult words, and passive voice. While adding transition words, you should also try to write your essay in a catchy tone. To check the readability of your text, you can use Yoast SEO's Readability Analysis.
Working with images and videos
Compelling visual content naturally engages and engages visitors, giving them a clearer understanding of the message and what’s behind it. Also, readers are more likely to remember content with visuals than text-only content.
When adding images, you must use high-quality images that are contextual to your content. Adding a video is the best way to go when you want to show the effectiveness of your solution. However, to take advantage of this technology, your videos must be engaging, entertaining, educational, and need to resonate with your brand identity.
Internal link optimization
Although internal links do not carry as much weight as external backlinks, they are critical to the success of SaaS SEO. To optimize your internal links, you should conduct a site audit to find broken internal links and fix them by removing dead links or updating the target URL.
If your site has orphaned site pages with no incoming internal links, you should ensure that each page has at least one internal page linking back to it. As a SaaS business owner, you may want to use internal links to join your popular solutions page. When creating new content, you can refer to other pages or articles related to the subject of your current work. Whenever possible, try to include your target keywords as anchor text.
When relevant and popular sites in your niche link back to your homepage, they deliver link juice. You can help search engine crawlers find them by intelligently linking to other internal pages to distribute to your site. Even if you create a new web page, you can pass it the link juice collected from other related pages through smart internal linking.
Your internal links should be placed on relevant pages. While you don't need to follow a cluster or silo model to T, you should make sure that pages based on similar topics are linked together by internal links.
To keep links fair, you should limit the aspects you add to your navigation. In other words, you need to limit faceted navigation. Also, you should remove redirects that weaken link equity.
Technical SaaS SEO
Technical SEO helps ensure that your SaaS website can be easily understood and ranked by search engines, and that it is still easy to navigate for your users. You can use these tried-and-true technical SEO tips to optimize your website's infrastructure and drive more traffic.
Use 301 redirects
The purpose of using a 301 redirect is to inform the browser that the page has moved permanently to a new location so it can send the user there. You can use them when redirecting dynamic URLs to their SEO friendly versions, moving to new domains, and preventing duplicate content issues.
The easiest way to implement a 301 redirect is to edit your site's .htaccess file. If you're using WordPress, you can use a free redirect plugin to add 301 redirects.
Improve page load speed
Page speed has been a key ranking factor for Google since 2010, and it introduced a "speed" update to prioritize the importance of page speed. If you're wondering how poor page load speeds affect your website, check out the stats below.
There are several ways to improve page load speed. Some of the most common include compressing and optimizing images, switching to a performance-optimized hosting solution, caching web pages, enabling browser caching, and reducing redirects.
Create the correct URL structure
It's important to create well-formed, SEO-friendly URL structures to help your users and search engines understand them. It helps improve the user experience of your website and its ranking in the SERPs.
The first thing you need to focus on is creating a simple and logical URL structure. Also, try to include meaningful keywords, eliminate stop words, use lowercase words, and eliminate dates in blog posts. Make sure to add a 301 redirect when changing or editing the URL to redirect users to the new URL.
Use pattern tags
Schema markup (also known as structured data) helps search engines understand your site's content. This, in turn, not only helps them provide more accurate information to users, but it also helps your website rank better for different types of content and gain more visibility.
While many different tag types can be found, some common ones include org-mode tags, local-business-mode tags, article-mode tags, recipe-mode tags, event-mode tags, and rating/review-mode tags.
Enhance website security
No matter how great your site's content is, if it's not secure, it can hurt your site's rankings. Additionally, restoring trust is one of the main barriers to current and future consumer conversions, which means that if your website experiences some sort of lack of security, the impact can be huge.
There are several things you can do to strengthen the security of your website, including switching to HTTPS, taking additional steps to enhance the protection level of your payment processor, using a web application firewall, restricting file permissions, and restricting access to certain directories access.
If you're planning to switch to HTTPS, read our in-depth guide on migrating from HTTP to HTTPS to master the process.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly
With the explosion of mobile device usage in recent years, business websites must be mobile friendly. Google also prioritizes mobile sites when crawling and indexing websites. First, test your site's mobile-friendliness with Google's mobile-friendliness test tool.
If not, integrate responsive design first. Then, focus on improving the user experience by implementing easy-to-find CTAs, making fonts readable on smaller devices, limiting the use of pop-ups, and implementing an easy-to-use navigation bar. Creating a separate mobile URL is also another effective way to serve mobile users.
Fix 404 errors
When your users want to visit one of your pages but they can't find it on your server, they get a 404 error. Not only can this negatively impact the user experience, but it can also affect your site's rankings. Two common reasons for triggering a 404 error include removing a page from a website and moving the page to another URL.
To fix 404 errors, you can redirect the page with a 301 redirect and restore the deleted page.
Offsite SaaS SEO
Off-page SEO refers to activities performed outside of your SaaS website, primarily involving link building strategies. You can use these proven strategies to gain backlinks.
You need to find other publications or companies that accept guest posts and pitch them ideas for posts that are relevant to your target audience. If approved, you'll write it and publish it on a publication or company's website with a link to your own SaaS website.
To find guest posting opportunities, you can run a Google online search and reverse engineer competitor backlink profiles. You can even reverse engineer individual authors to find the sites where they submit guest posts to see if they are also interested in getting written contributions from you.
Just like guest posts, podcasts can be a great source of backlinks. They are an effective way to discuss your SaaS offerings with a wider audience that make a big difference in the lives of your target users. You can even use podcasts to talk about your innovative ideas or interesting case studies in the SaaS space.
While some podcasts are hosted on iTunes and Google Podcasts, most are hosted on their website and have transcripts. So by contacting such sites and letting them know you want to be interviewed, you can get backlinks in the podcast description if they accept your offer. This will boost your online brand awareness and help you get better search engine rankings.
Broken Chain Building
Nobody likes having broken links on their site. However, you will find several resource pages and websites linking to resources that no longer exist. If you find a broken link on a site related to your target niche, you can bring the non-functional link to the attention of the webmaster and ask that person if they would like to link to your content.
This will help those webmasters replace their broken links with recent, relevant content, and you'll gain backlinks in the process.
To check if you don’t understand the link building opportunities your competitors are taking advantage of, you need to do a link cross analysis to check if your competitors are getting backlinks from the domains you plan to target.
If yes, you will be more likely to get backlinks from them. Once you have prepared a list of these potential link building opportunities, you should contact them to find out if they are willing to provide you with backlinks. This strategy is great for revealing quick link building opportunities for you to profit from.
Design assets with link value
From creating infographics, videos and images to diagrams and visuals, you need to create a variety of link-worthy content. For your content link to be valuable, it should be non-promotional and audience-focused, in addition to being well researched and having in-depth information.
Also, if you can ensure it provides readers with useful information, such as actionable tips and tricks or answers to their pain points, it is more likely to be shared and linked back to. While content focused on current events can attract links, evergreen content is more likely to give you long-term, high-quality backlinks.
They can be a great approach to your SaaS offering. What's the best part? You will get backlinks as well as significant exposure. To get the most out of a product roundup, you first need to find articles that list the "Top 10" or "Best Products" for your niche.
Next, you can get in touch with the author of the article, provide them with a short sketch of your product, and explain exactly why it deserves a place on the list. If you have a great product and can come up with a convincing pitch, you can get tons of backlinks as well as brand recognition.
The key to SEO success is to pay attention not only to the tactics you use, but also when and where they are applied. The goal of this checklist is to help you understand SEO for SaaS and use it to grow your SaaS company. With this SEO checklist, you'll have all the information you need to optimize your website for Google. Come on... start ranking!