8 tips for growing SaaS SEO to 6 and 7-digit traffic numbers
Hey guys! Thought y'all might find this useful. I run an SEO agency and have helped grow Software as a Service (SaaS) companies to 5-6-7 digit monthly traffic numbers (can show some screenshots/traffic numbers to mods if y'all want proof).
r/saas loved the post, so thought I'd repost it here too, since a lot of you guys run SaaS companies.
See tips below! If you dig em', I write an SEO tip a day on my sub,
r/seogrowth, think you'd find that useful too.
#1. SEO is a late-game play
If you're just getting started with your SaaS / don't have much revenue, don't focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO is a late-game play. Initially, you want to focus on getting new users and revenue ASAP. Think, Pay Per Click (PPC), content marketing, outreach, etc. Once you are driving decent revenue and have the budget to spare for content / links, then you can focus more on SEO.
Otherwise, you might end up broke before you start driving ROI from SEO.
#2. Stick to basic SEO processes
If you've read just about any guide on SEO, you might get overwhelmed. There are so many technicalities, tips, tricks, audits, and so on that people preach.
With a fresh website, though, SEO processes are actually very straightforward:
• Do keyword research and find 100-200+ keywords you want to target within the year
• Start creating and publishing 10,000 – 30,000 words of content per month targeting these keywords
• Make sure these articles are optimized for on-page (RankMath or Yoast can help w/ this). Link articles on your own site together when possible.
• Build backlinks via outreach (more on this later)
If some agency or freelancer offers "monthly SEO audits," "web 2.0 backlinks," or any other bs, they're probably a scam.
#3. Target one topic cluster at a time
Google rewards websites that are an authority in a particular niche.
If you have 30 articles on accounting, they're all going to rank better than if you had 10 accounting, 10 sales, and 10 marketing articles.
So, first prioritize one topic cluster, and once you've wrapped that up, pursue a different one.
Also, when pursuing a new topic cluster, check keyword difficulties on Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or Ahrefs . Chase after keywords with lower difficulty first.
And before you call me out on this, no, these metrics aren't 100% accurate, obviously. They're third-party metrics. That said, they're good for giving you a general idea of how competitive a keyword is and allowing you to prioritize content production better.
#4. Use content outlines
Don't just hire random writers, give them a keyword, and tell them to "knock themselves out." Most writers aren't SEO pros and the output is going to be pretty mediocre.
When giving tasks to writers, give them exact instructions on what this article should cover / how it should be structured.
90% of the same, you want to go with the same structure as a top-ranking competitor, and build a bit on top of that.
Here's an example of what a content outline looks like.
Also make sure to actually oversee your writers and edit their work, especially if you're working with freelancers. If they realize you're not paying attention to their output, they'll eventually start filling out the articles with fluff.
#5. Build links the right way
Most link building emails look like this:
"Hey Name, I just read your article, it's the best thing since sliced bread. I have an article too. Can you link to it? It's amazing!"
And, well, obviously they don't work too well.
When doing link-building outreach, you need to offer something in exchange for this link you're asking for. It's < year > – everyone knows links are valuable. They won't include it in the article just because you asked nicely.
Instead, you gotta offer something of equivalent value in exchange. Now, that "something" can be:
• Free access to your software
• Free credit to your software
• Backlink back to their site
As for the link-building process, here's what ya gotta do:
• Collect link prospects (usually a task given to a Virtual Assistant (VA)). There are a bunch of ways to do this, but the most common one is to reverse-engineer whatever your competitors' backlinks.
• Warm up an email for outreach. The email should not be your primary domain, since sending a bunch of link-building emails might flag you for spam.
• In the outreach email, include an offer for the site owner, whether it's software access, credit, whatever.
#6. (Optional) Focus on content volume
In some cases, it makes more sense to focus on content volume first. E.g. publish a TON of sub-par content ASAP, and then go through these articles and refactor them to be quality.
Google takes a while to index / rank your content, so just by getting them out sooner, they start indexing faster.
Some SEO users swear by this method, others prefer to go the conventional route (publish quality content, but go slower). Up to you which one you pick.
#7. Know how to rank landing pages
One of the most confusing SEO topics for most people is how to rank landing pages.
With content, it's more or less straightforward – see what your competitors are doing, and do something better.
With landing pages, since you're basically just selling your software, it can be a bit confusing.
So – how do you rank your high-intent landing pages?
First thing's first, pick a keyword for your homepage. This should be your software's main use-case. E.g. if you're an HR tool, your homepage should be optimized for "HR Software." By optimize, I mean, include the keyword in your H1 header, title, meta description, and throughout the copy.
Your homepage is going to be getting a ton of press release (PR) links, so it's a sin not to take advantage of all those backlinks. Sure, you could create a separate page, but ranking that is going to be much harder.
Then, do keyword research and find other ways people find your software. W/ above HR software example, people will probably look for keywords like:
• HR approval software
• Applicant tracking system
• Employee records software
And the like. For each of these keywords, you want to create a dedicated landing page that explains how your software has the respective feature. If the page is a copy-paste of your homepage, it won't rank.
Then, I usually recommend adding all these links under a "Solutions" drop-down on your nav bar. Pages linked to from the nav bar are more likely to rank.
Sometimes, you'll also see that there are keywords related to your software that have the same search intent as your main keyword. E.g. if your tool is "workflow management software," the synonym keywords would be "workflow automations software," "process management software," etc.
In such cases, you can simply duplicate your homepage and change up the copy to target the respective keyword.
Once you've got all these landing pages up, you're probably wondering if there's anything else you can do to rank them. The answer is yes, yes you can:
• Create blog content associated with the keywords and link to the landing page. E.g. you can create an article on "workflow automation ideas," "what is workflow automation," etc. Having multiple articles on a topic shows Google your site is an authority on the topic, making your landing pages more likely to rank.
• Interlink your landing pages throughout your (relevant) blog posts.
• Build backlinks for these landing pages specifically (or blog posts that link to them).
Overall, keep in mind that ranking your landing pages is (most of the time) very hard. There are a lot of big competitors (E.g. Capterra) and in some cases, it can even be impossible to rank (you're not going to outrank MailChimp for "email marketing software," trust me). So, proceed with caution.
#8. Use the right SEO tools
There are a TON of SEO tools out there but most of them are optional. Here's the exact SEO stack we use to grow our client websites.
• An SEO Suite (Paid). Basically SEMrush or Ahrefs . Both of these tools offer an insane number of features – backlink analysis, keyword research, and a ton of other stuff. Yes, 99 USD a month is expensive for a tool. But then again, if you value your time 20 USD/hour and this tool saves you 6 hours, it's obviously worth it, right?
• On-Page SEO Tool (Free). RankMath or Yoast. Basically, a tool that's going to help you optimize web pages or blog posts as per SEO best practices.
• Technical SEO Tool (Freemium). You can use ScreamingFrog to crawl your entire website and find technical SEO problems. There are probably other tools that also do this, but ScreamingFrog is the most popular option. The freemium version of the tool only crawls a limited number of pages (500 URLs, to be exact), so if your website is relatively big, you'll need to pay for the tool.
• Analytics (Free). Obviously, you'll need Google Analytics (to track website traffic) and Google Search Console (to track organic traffic, specifically) set up on your website. Optionally, you can also use Google Track Manager to better track how your website visitors interact with the site.
• MozBar (Free). Chrome toolbar that lets you simply track the number of backlinks on Google Search Queries, Domain Authority, and a bunch of other stuff.
• Website Speed Analysis (Free). You can use Google Page Speed Insights to track how fast your website loads, as well as how mobile-friendly it is.
• Outreach Tool (Paid). Tool for reaching out to prospects for link-building, guest posting, etc. There are about a dozen good options for this. Personally, I like to use Snov for this.
• Optimized GMB Profile (Free). Not a tool per se, but if you're a local business, you need to have a well-optimized Google My Business profile.
• Google Keyword Planner (Free). This gives you the most reliable search volume data of all the tools. So, when doing keyword research, grab the search volume from here.
• Tool for Storing Keyword Research (Free). You can use Google Sheets or AirTable to store your keyword research and, at the same time, use it as a content calendar.
• Hemingway App (Free). Helps keep your SEO content easy to read. Spots passive voice, complicated words, etc.
• Email Finder (Freemium). You can use a tool like Hunter to find the email address of basically anyone on the internet (for link-building or guest posting purposes).
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