June 12, 2015

5 SEO Best Practices for SaaS Websites

5 SEO Best Practices for SaaS Websites - Fast pace environment - color lines

The market for SaaS applications is projected to grow to $33 billion in 2016, causing unprecedented competition in this space. As such, the pressure is on for companies to generate leads, increase conversions/sign-ups/demos, acquire new customers, decrease churn, and achieve long-term profitability.

The good news is there are quite a few digital marketing tools that can help SaaS companies edge out the competition and accomplish their short-term and long-term objectives. The one we’re talking about today is SEO, as it remains an integral part of any successful digital marketing strategy and can help SaaS companies boost visibility – and profits. To that end, here are five of the most effective SEO best practices for SaaS websites:

1. Adopt an updated keyword strategy. When developing a keyword strategy for your SaaS company, it’s important to speak your audience’s language to make sure prospects can find you online. To that end, avoid using technical terms your customers aren’t familiar with and inventing your own jargon. Rather, think about the solutions your audience is searching for and build your strategy around those terms. For example, are they searching for “cloud-based invoice systems” or “online invoicing software”? From there, we recommend incorporating short (competitive) keywords like “marketing automation” and long tail (less competitive keywords) like “marketing automation software for ecommerce.”

2. Consider user intent. Most of the organic search traffic SaaS websites receive is from prospects that aren’t quite ready to buy. Rather, the intent behind their search is to compare solutions and gather information. By adjusting your SEO marketing strategy to consider this intent, users are more likely to stick around and engage with your content, which has a positive effect on your ranking.

To identify the intent behind the search, analyze Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for your brand’s keywords. The results you find on the first page will be a strong indicator of what people are looking for when they search your targeted words and phrases, because they reflect the content users engage with most often.

3. Focus on your service’s benefits – not the features. The reality is that users aren’t searching for your service’s features, like the tools you offer or how the product works. Rather, they are searching for solutions to their needs. When you create your content, focus on how your solution helps them solve their problems. For example, demonstrate how your service can reduce IT costs and improve efficiencies. Create your content around these selling points and work in relevant keywords to ensure users 1) can find your company online and 2) like what they see so much that they stick around, engage with your site, and boost your rankings.

4. Prioritize user experience. It’s no longer enough to simply acquire web traffic through any means possible. Today, your website needs to give users a positive experience, because that will translate to earned metrics that drive high rankings, including high click-through rates, low bounce rates and increased time spent on the site. To engage your audience in the SaaS space and give them an exceptional user experience, we recommend posting engaging images and video; answering buyers’ questions quickly; and providing clear next steps that allow them to efficiently move through the sales process.

5. Embrace visual SEO. In 2015, original content featuring visual elements is incredibly important when it comes to boosting your rankings, because it gets priority in the SERPs over pages that only feature text. Plus, visual elements make your content more socially shareable, which increases the number of tweets, shares, and links it receives. This helps search visibility because social signals and content are becoming increasingly integrated, with higher quality content receiving more social shares and earning higher positions in the search engine results.

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Gartner, Forecast: Software as a Service, All Regions, 2010 – 2015, 1H12 Update, https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/1963815