Two years ago, I quit my job leading SEO and content marketing at Webflow.
During my time there, I was able to create a SaaS SEO content strategy that grew non-branded search traffic from 25K visitors a month to over 300K visitors a month — all while growing sign-up and paid conversion metrics (from SEO) by 20% QoQ (quarter over quarter).
During my “professional career,” I learned how to scale a SaaS website from 1-100. But I wanted to challenge myself to grow a brand new website from 0-1. So, I left a promising career to start this marketing blog and newsletter.
A year into the challenge, this website started to grow. And today, it ranks for almost 10,000 keywords and drives around 2,000 visitors a day, with only a little over 50 blog posts:
So, with conviction, I decided to start a boutique SaaS SEO agency — where I work with venture-backed SaaS companies to help grow their SEO efforts.
I can confidently say that every SaaS website I’ve worked with has seen an increase in traffic and conversions. And today, I have a long waitlist of clients waiting to work with me.
Okay, so why am I saying all of this?
I definitely sound full of myself, and typing all of that made me feel really uncomfortable. I’m not one to boast about my accomplishments (even though I just did).
But, I know that writing requires you to be persuasive. And I hope I have caught your attention by now.
Because, there are tons of guides online about SaaS SEO. But how many of them are actually written by someone who does it for a living?
Along my journey, I had incredible mentors. So, hopefully, I can be that for you. I’m going to spill the beans on how I approach every SaaS SEO client I work with.
I’ll go over how I think about things holistically, and I’ll also go down to the nitty gritty of the tactics I use to make sure I’m maximizing all of my efforts.
I’ve already written some in-depth guides on concepts that we’ll go over in this article — I’ll make sure to link out to everything. So, treat this as a central hub of knowledge for SaaS SEO — you might want to bookmark this one. (Check the conclusion at the bottom for a roundup of guides that are related to this one.)
The first part of this article will be how I think about things holistically, and the second part that goes over the five stages is the tactical part. But please read through the holistic part, as it’s the fundamentals that separate the good marketers from the great ones.
Okay, let’s get into it.
What is SaaS SEO?
SaaS SEO is the strategy and tactics a SaaS company uses on their marketing site to help them drive organic traffic from search engines to their website, attract the right target buyers, and get users to complete a desired call to action — whether that’s a free trial sign up or becoming a paid customer.
SaaS companies invest in SEO because they believe it will help them drive revenue. It’s really as simple as that. Of course, you need to have great content and know how to create an effective content marketing strategy.
But, at the end of the day, companies invest in these initiatives because they believe it will help them drive organic growth for their companies. It’s a hedge against relying solely on paid advertising and social media algorithms to drive more users and sign-ups.
What is the difference between SaaS SEO and traditional SEO?
To be honest, “SaaS SEO” is kind of a buzzword. At the end of the day, it’s just SEO (search engine optimization). But, we use this term when we are talking about doing SEO specifically for SaaS companies.
In this article, you’ll learn how I think about SEO for SaaS websites, but you’ll also find that you can use a very similar approach when trying to do SEO for media sites (like this one) or even ecommerce websites.
So, in other words, traditional SEO and SaaS SEO are the same at their core. However, the content strategy used is specifically tailored to SaaS companies and their software-as-a-service subscription business model.
Do SaaS companies need SEO?
Most SaaS companies can benefit from some sort of SEO initiative. The degree to which SEO makes sense for a SaaS company will depend on the type of audience its target buyers are and what business model it operates on. Brian Balfour, ex-VP of Growth at HubSpot, calls this concept “product-channel fit.”
For example, B2B SaaS companies tend to benefit more from SEO where a SaaS product is targeting pain points business owners may have. This is the space I primarily work in — B2B SaaS.
B2C SaaS companies that have mobile apps tend to be a bit trickier to work with. I’ll show an example of this later in this article. But for now, know that most SaaS companies can benefit from SEO. But, the degree to which it becomes the main channel to drive traffic and conversions will depend on the industry, target customer, and business model.
How to think about SEO for SaaS companies
There’s no definite way you should think about SEO. I’m not going to tell you how you should or should not think. I say this because the SEO industry changes from time to time — just look at what’s happened in the past year alone. What worked 10 years ago may not apply today.
I’ve taken thousand-dollar SEO courses in the past, but most of my views came from doing this (almost) every day for the past +6 years. So, I will tell you my own personal fool-proof way of thinking about SEO for SaaS companies that has worked since I got really into SEO in 2018. It’s the same concepts that work today in 2024.
I think about SEO for SaaS companies in three core pillars: the engine, the fuel, and the oil.
These three pillars were inspired by Lenny’s Racecar Growth Framework — a framework for how to think about marketing and growth in general.
I’ve also gained inspiration from Emily Kramer’s concept for building an effective marketing machine.
There are many parallels between what Lenny and Emily talk about in their articles. But, both articles talk about these concepts in terms of an overall marketing channel strategy.
I decided to take some of these concepts and isolate them specifically to content marketing and SEO. And that’s how I came up with the three core pillars:
- The engine: Your website
- The fuel: Your content
- The oil: Your links
Let’s get into each one.
1. The engine: Your website
The engine is your website. Without a proper website that’s optimized for SEO, whatever our content strategy is, and how well that content is written, won’t matter.
Okay, that was a bit extreme of a statement. It’s not that it won’t matter at all, but that our content efforts won’t be maximized to reach their full potential.
Think of it this way: If you put race fuel into a 1999 Toyota Corolla, that (expensive) fuel is going to go to waste. And the car will not go faster than what it was designed to go. It won’t go more than 112 miles per hour based on its engine stats. And if anything, that race fuel may even damage the engine.
If you put that race fuel into a 2024 Ferrari F8, it’s going to go over 210 miles per hour.
So if you have the exact same fuel in both cars, who’s going to win the race? The Ferrari, duh.
Think of your website in this concept.
This means you need a website that is built for search engines, has incredibly fast hosting, has a great CMS for publishing content, is secure, and allows you to edit key technical SEO settings like adding canonical tags, adding schema markup, adding custom code, creating a sitemap, and creating 301 redirects (if needed).
Most modern website builders let you do most of these things. But, I’ll be honest — I have a preference for what I believe to be the best “engine” your website should be built on.
And that platform is Webflow.
I use it for this website, I grew the actual Webflow blog from zero (that is built with Webflow), and my most successful clients (aka the ones that respond the best to SEO-optimized content) are built on Webflow.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying other platforms aren’t good. WordPress, Ghost, and Contentful are CMSs some of my clients use that I’ve also worked with. It’s just that there’s less consistency with some other website builders.
The same concept applies to custom-built SaaS websites that integrate with other CMSs like Ghost. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t the best possible way to go. These sites may be a BMW M3 (pretty fast), but they’re still not a Ferrari.
Unfortunately, this part is hard for you to control if you don’t have a say over what website builder your company uses. However, the concepts in this article will still apply to most website builders. I’m just going to expand more on Webflow because it’s what I’ve seen do the best, consistently.
I really wish I could say I’m not full of it when I say this because I know traditional SEO folks will give me trash for saying WordPress is no longer “king.” It makes it even worse because I actually worked at Webflow (but I was a user before an ex-employee, if that helps). This is all anecdotal from working with over a dozen SaaS companies in the past year and from analyzing hundreds of others — you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Also, CapitalG (Google’s investment fund) is an investor in Webflow — so that should say something. Okay, I’m done. Let’s move to pillar two.
2. The fuel: Your content
The next part is your fuel, aka your content strategy and the actual content you publish on your SaaS website.
I think about content for SaaS websites in terms of landing pages and blog articles. The landing pages will be your conversion pages, but your blog articles will be your traffic drivers (and trust builders).
Some landing pages for SaaS websites include:
- Product feature pages (see example)
- Solution/audience pages (see example)
- VS/alternative pages (see example)
- Template pages – depending on the type of SaaS (see example)
Depending on the SaaS product, there may be a few more — like marketplace pages. But, these are generally what I see across most SaaS companies.
And, of course, the other content, which is actually the core of our entire SaaS SEO strategy, are blog posts — excuse me, SEO-optimized blog posts. I’m not talking about company news and product update articles. I’m talking about articles designed specifically to target keywords and be written in a way to rank #1 in Google.
These first two pillars are the core, and depending on the type of SaaS website you’re working with, you can get far with just these two pillars. For example, at Webflow, we only focused on these two pillars. And even with one of my current clients, I focus on just these two pillars. But, you can generally only do this with established brands (aka lots of branded search traffic) that have a really high domain rating (at least 80+).
In most cases, you’ll also have to focus on the third pillar — links.
3. The oil: Your links
Link building is the oil of your SaaS SEO strategy. It is the lubricant that helps you index faster, grow your domain authority/rating to rank for even more keywords, move your pages and articles up the ranks, and help Google better understand what your website and content is about to create topical authority.
Some SEO gurus call this EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). Links, and in this context, backlinks, help grow your authority in Google’s eyes — making your engine use up your fuel in the most efficient and best way possible.
When I talk about “links,” I mean it in two different ways: internal links and backlinks.
Internal links are the links you give yourself on your website. It’s how you “interlink” your articles and pages together to create a connection between the different pages on your website. These are extremely important and can often be just as good as getting a backlink from an external source.
For example, if you have an article about “how to create a website” and an article about “the best website builders,” you’ll want to make sure these two articles are linking out to each other in your article content. Generally, this helps Google make connections between content on your website and helps you build topical authority in a specific topic — in the case of the example we just talked about, building websites.
I mentioned earlier that the first two pillars were core, and you could get away with just those two. But I sort of stretched the truth — you definitely need to pay attention to internal links. But the part that can be optional for larger sites is backlinks. However, this is almost always recommended for new and smaller sites.
Backlinks are the external links you get from other publishers and websites on the web. These help you gain authority in the eyes of Google. Google is a robot. It’s constantly trying to figure out what it deems is good or bad content. It’s subjective. So it needs signals (aka ranking factors) to figure this out. One of those signals is the types of websites that link out to your website. The more relevant, high-quality, and highly authoritative websites link out to you, the more Google sees you as an authoritative brand.
Internal links and backlinks are important for every website to have. After all, a car with no oil will eventually fail. It’s not as extreme as it pertains to SEO, though. Like your website will not somehow combust without links. But it helps make everything easier. It amplifies your content strategy, which is why it’s so important.
In the next part of this article, I’ll go over some more technical stuff. And don’t worry, I’ll also go over some ways you can get backlinks (and how I did it).
5 stages to creating the best SaaS SEO strategy
Here are the five stages to creating a SaaS SEO strategy that sets you apart from the rest:
- Your website: Technical SEO and setting this up
- Ideate: Creating your SaaS SEO content strategy
- Create: Creating content briefs and writing for SEO
- Publish: CMS publishing and link-building
- Monitor: Analytics, conversions, and refreshing content
Grab a cup of your favorite drink, this is about to get interesting.
1. Your website: Technical SEO and setting this up
As mentioned earlier in this article, your website is your engine. Without a proper engine, you’re going to get nowhere. Assuming you already have a website, let’s go over some things you want to get right so your engine runs as smoothly as possible.
A lot of SEO gurus will try to complicate this section. And to give them credit, technical SEO can get complicated if you’re working on really big sites like Amazon, eBay, or Reddit. But as it pertains to SaaS websites, it’s not all that complicated (unless you’re doing domain or platform migrations).
For the 90% of us who are managing a simple SaaS website, ideally on Webflow but not mandatory, here’s a checklist of technical SEO best practices you should follow:
1. Make sure you have a sitemap
This generally lives on yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml. Most, if not all, website builders allow you to create this. Whatever you put in your sitemap is Google’s way of knowing that you believe these are the most important pages on your website. Google will still crawl pages that are not in your sitemap (unless you tell it not to with noindex tags), but the best practice is to place any pages you want to rank in Google in your sitemap.
When you have your sitemap, you’ll also want to submit it to Google Search Console to validate everything. Here’s Google’s guide if you want to learn more.
2. Add schema markup to your web pages
Schema markup is a snippet of code you add into your web pages (usually in the head tag) to tell Google what the page is. For example, you’ll want to have “Organization” schema on your homepage. And you’ll want to have “Article” schema on your blog posts.
These code snippets will be different for different page types on your website. It won’t make or break your SEO strategy (you’d be surprised how many large brands completely forget to add this). But I’ve personally found having article schema on blog posts helps my articles get pulled into featured snippets. The more information you can give Google, the better.
Google doesn’t want to guess what a page is about, although it’s very smart at doing so. So, if you can define pages to Google, it will have more confidence in where it should place you in search results. This is my favorite tool for generating schema markup.
3. Set canonical tags on all your web pages
Similar to schema markup, a canonical tag is a line of code you add into your web pages (see the last screenshot above for the canonical tag above the schema). When you add a canonical tag to a web page, it tells Google that this is the original version of this page.
It helps you avoid duplicate content if others rip your blog posts. It also helps Google understand what pages are the “source of truth” if you have too much overlapping content.
In Webflow, you can set a global canonical tag that will automatically add this to any page you create. But depending on the website builder you’re using, just make sure you figure out how to add this to each page (or ask an engineer who manages your SaaS website). Here’s a guide from Moz that goes more in-depth on canonical tags.
4. Setting 301 redirects
301 redirects are when you tell Google that the URL of a page has changed to a new one. If you’re working on a brand-new website, this won’t matter much. But where this can come in handy is if you’re working with a SaaS website that already has a bunch of content that is not optimized for SEO.
For example, I use 301 redirects all the time when updating old blog posts on a client’s website. There may be an article on “The top 10 remote work trends of 2024,” and the article could live on yourwebsite.com/blog/the-top-10-remote-work-trends-of-2024.
I would then update this article and change the URL to something more SEO-friendly, like yourwebsite.com/blog/remote-work-trends.
I then set a 301 redirect from the old link to the new one. This way, we don’t create a broken link on our website. The old article could already have backlinks or be linked elsewhere on our site, so we want to make sure that sweet SEO juice is passed to our new URL.
However, note that you should only do this as a last resort or if you’re very skilled in your ability to spot what pages to update. I’ve broken a lot of pages early in my career doing this until I started to figure out what made sense to 301 and what didn’t. Too many 301 redirects can slow down your site. This is why it’s much better to start your website with a solid knowledge of SEO, compared to trying to “save” a website that’s been SEO-neglected.
This list can keep going on if we want it to. Things like attributes for multi-lingual sites and robots.txt files are something I didn’t get too in-depth with. And that’s because I want to keep this guide on just the essentials. I personally don’t pay much attention to anything besides the main four checklist items. This is also because I mainly work with Webflow sites, so I know the other technical stuff is taken care of.
As long as your website is responsive, especially on mobile, and is following the four checklist items above, you should be generally good to go.
Now that we have our engine in check, let’s get to the growth levers — content, baby!
2. Ideate: Creating your SaaS SEO content strategy
In my opinion, this is the most crucial section of this entire article. Your content strategy is where you’ll spend 20% of your efforts to drive 80% of your results. Without a proper strategy, you’re going nowhere.
In other words, without a proper map, you’re going to drive your beautiful Ferrari into no man’s land. No new deals closed from networking with other Ferrari owners at a cars and coffee event, no head turns from attractive people, and no one asking you on TikTok what you do for a living. Okay, I kid.
The point is, you can’t afford to mess this part up. So I’m going to stop rambling and tell you something that took me over 3 years of doing this every day to come up with. (I should really be charging for this info.)
The way I think about content strategy for SaaS websites is constantly evolving. It’s not just jumping into a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or Semrush and figuring out what keywords are low competition and have a high search volume. In fact, keywords are the last part of this strategy (but they are still VERY important, and don’t let any content guru tell you otherwise).
What you need to do is create a user search journey — also known as a buyer’s journey (but in this case modified to talk about search behavior). This is what I developed at Webflow to help our content team really scale and focus on driving conversions. I wrote a super in-depth article on this concept that you can check out here. I don’t know what to call this framework. Sometimes I call it a “content lifecycle,” and sometimes, I call it a “user search awareness journey.” The point is, it’s a framework that will give you clarity on what content you should create.
In the article I linked previously, I showed this diagram in the example of a fake SaaS company called “ReachThem.” It’s a SaaS tool that helps you send cold emails. Here is that diagram:
It helps you view things from a ToF (top of funnel), MoF (middle of funnel), and BoF (bottom of funnel) perspective. But I don’t like using those terms because SEO is not linear like that. You can’t just funnel someone from ToF all the way to BoF — something many content “professionals” I’ve worked with still think.
You have to think about it in terms of the level of awareness someone has in a given moment. This is a concept first presented in what I believe to be the best marketing book of all time, Breakthrough Advertising. It was written during the ad boom in the 1960s. But it is such a profound book that its concepts are timeless — literally a marketer’s bible.
Here’s how it goes:
- Problem aware (ToF)
- Solution aware (MoF)
- Product aware (BoF)
Here’s a picture for more detail:
This framework is what the “user search awareness journey” diagram shown earlier is based on. It gives you a better idea of what content is designed to inspire (ToF), educate (MoF), and persuade (BoF). (I’m adding those ToF/MoF/BoF attributes just to give a better mental image, take them with a grain of salt.)
Having this diagram will also allow you to audit any existing content and categorize it into your diagram to see where you have gaps that can be filled.
Editors note: I forgot to mention this, but if you’re working on a SaaS website with tons of SEO traffic and content already, ask your growth or analytics team if they can generate a report of your top converting pages and blog posts. Both in terms of volume of sign-ups and conversion rate percentages. This will help you get a better picture of what MoF or BoF actually means for your business.
But this is just part 1 of 2 of our content framework.
Once we have our diagram, we know how to categorize content. But what about the actual content itself? Aka, what keywords do we target?
This is where we start to look at any existing feature pages or audience pages on our site to get a better idea of who our product is for and how it serves that person. This next framework, I have no name for. But we can call it ATK:
This is how you should think about content on a quarterly basis. First, you figure out who you want to talk to (audience), then figure out what you want to talk about (topics), and then you figure out what search queries make sense for what you want to talk about (keywords).
This is why I said keywords are the last part. But it’s the connection to your website and Google’s SERP (search engine results page) — so it is not to be taken lightly.
Let’s create an example scenario. Let’s say we work at Webflow and want to drive more traffic and sign-ups from web design freelancers in Q1. Here’s an example:
- Audience: Freelance designers
- Topic: Portfolios
- Keywords: design portfolio examples, web design portfolios, UX designer portfolios, how to create a web design portfolio, etc.
The idea here is that you can swap out Audience and Topic to create multiple combinations. And then, you can figure out what keywords make sense to go after by digging into a keyword research tool.
With the example above, we could switch the audience to “Marketers,” keep the topic to “Portfolios,” and now we have a whole new list of keywords. Or we could keep the target audience to “Freelance designers,” swap out the topic to something like “Software,” and then we have a whole new list of keywords like “web design tools, prototyping tools, animation software, etc..”
It’s very powerful.
And remember how I said some of the principles in this article can apply to more than just SaaS companies? Well, here is a real example from my own media blog you’re reading right now:
- Audience: Marketers
- Topic: SaaS
- Keywords: saas websites, saas seo, b2b saas marketing, b2b saas companies, etc.
I maybe shouldn’t have revealed that. But my goal with this entire brand, Marketer Milk, is to truly help marketers and not hold back. I often think about the content I post here as my own personal marketing diary. Heaven forbid I ever lose all my memories, I can come back to this blog and start making a living again (as an ethical marketer).
And that’s about it for the content strategy part. I could get into more detail with tons of examples and the different keyword formats (like “best” posts, “alternative” posts, “how to” posts, etc.) or page types (like “vs” landing pages, template pages, programmatic marketplace pages, etc.), but I did that already in my other article about SaaS content marketing.
For now, I hope these frameworks can guide you to think differently about how you approach your content strategy.
Assuming we now have a keyword we want to target, let’s talk about how to write for SEO.
3. Create: Creating content briefs and writing for SEO
You’ve made it. We have a keyword we want to target. But how do we go about writing it? Do we ask ChatGPT what to do? Do we use an AI writing tool to generate the article for us? Do we write it ourselves? How do we format it?
Let’s address some of these questions.
First off, the rise of AI has scared a lot of writers and SEO professionals. I would be lying if I said it hasn’t fazed me one bit. Because I do this stuff for a living, and I run a marketing newsletter curating marketing content, I’m constantly obsessing over the marketing landscape. Sometimes to my own detriment.
What I can say with absolute confidence is that humans care about finding the truth.
Truth meaning when someone searches for something in Google, they want to find an answer from someone who’s “been there, done that.” Most of the time, this means content written by real humans with real past experience. Take this article for example.
And sometimes, that can mean an AI-generated article that is rooted in truth and reviewed by a human to check if it’s factual. Google has stated it does not care about AI-generated content (for now). And I have experimented with it (not on this website) and have ranked articles #1 with AI content on other experimental websites. It really depends on the niche.
In a niche like “horoscopes,” AI content can thrive because all the information is subjective (sorry new age people). But in a niche like finance or healthcare, where people’s livelihoods are on the line, it might not fly.
I can get into an entire 10,000-word blog post on this concept alone, so I’m going to stop myself. But if you want my honest opinion. Human content that is engaging, inspirational, and educational will have the highest chance of success. It will give you a shield against any future algorithm updates Google may have and also strengthen your brand because you’re “people-first.”
Taking this approach, where the content creation process literally takes me two days to write a single blog post, is the reason why I’ve been able to outrank some large websites like HubSpot and Zapier with my tiny little blog. Google, and humans, are craving real content. How you create that content is up to you, but it needs to be valuable in the eyes of real humans first, then Google’s algorithm.
Okay, no more rambling. Here are the steps I would go through:
- Google the keyword in an incognito window to discover what the search intent is. In other words, what content is Google ranking in the top 3 spots? We want to follow a similar format.
- Create an outline of the article with proper H1, H2, H3, and H4 headings. The H1 is your main title, the H2 is the main headings in your article, and the rest are subheadings of each other. I wrote an entire in-depth guide on how to write for SEO that you should check out to learn more — I won’t go into full detail here.
- Use a content optimization platform like Clearscope or Surfer SEO. This will help you understand what extra keywords you should include in your article and help you with on-page SEO. I won’t go into full detail on how these tools work, but just know they’re good. I’m using one right now as I’m writing this article.
- Write your content! If you have a proper outline with headings, all you gotta do is start filling in each heading. Also, make sure to have an engaging introduction paragraph to hook your reader. Check back to what I did for this article.
As you’re writing a piece of content, you also want to make sure you’re linking out to relevant pages on your website. You can see I’ve done it multiple times in this article. Once the article goes live, we’ll also want to link out to our new article from older articles on our site (which we will get into in the next section).
Again, if you want to go into the nitty-gritty of creating an outline and writing out your article, please read my other post: How to write SEO-friendly blog posts that rank (in 8 steps)
Okay, now that we have our article ready to go, let’s publish.
4. Publish: CMS publishing and link building
This part is pretty straightforward. But we want to make sure we get some checklist items right. Far too often, I see content managers and managing editors mess this part up. Maybe I’m just a freak when it comes to the small details, but they really do make a difference.
Here’s what you should pay attention to when publishing your content:
- Make sure your main H1 title tag is under 60 characters long. For best results, under 56-58.
- Make sure you have a meta description that is under 155 characters long and includes the exact keywords you are targeting somewhere in the article.
- Make sure your URL slug is your exact keyword. For most CMSs, when you type in your title, the URL slug becomes your exact title. This is not good. Make sure to modify the slug to be your exact keyword. It amazes me that I have to constantly emphasize this to content teams (can you tell how traumatized I am).
- Make sure any images you use, that don’t require a transparent background, are JPG files that are ideally under 100 KB. You can achieve this by using JPG compressors or “PNG to JPG” tools (just Google them). And if your files are still too big, you can adjust the size. On Mac, I do this by opening an image in Preview -> Tools -> Adjust size and adjust to something like 1280 for the width or 1080 for the width (let the height adjust automatically).
- Make sure all of your images have ALT tags. This helps those who are visually impaired to understand what your images are when using screen readers. It’s a big part of web accessibility, so make sure to add those.
- Make sure your main thumbnail image is saved as a JPG and the name is the exact keyword you are targeting for that article (this will help you show up in Google’s image search). You also want to do this with any image you upload on your website — make sure you name your files properly and don’t have them be completely random. Image file names are a big part of image search.
Okay, now you want to upload with the same publish date as the day you upload. Once you publish the article, you need to interlink this new article with any existing articles on your blog that are relevant.
To figure out what articles to link out from, you can do a search on Google like: [site:yourwebsite.com/blog “keyword”]. Replace the word ‘keyword’ with either the main keyword you’re targeting in your new article or something relevant to the topic. This will show you a bunch of articles on your website that you can use to link out from.
Ideally, you add your new article to 3-5 existing pages on your site. If your site is brand new, it’s okay not to have that many, but make a note to come back to it when you upload more content within the same Topic. But, try to give your new article at least 1 link from somewhere else on your site because you don’t want to have any orphan pages on your site — I know a crazy term to use, but it’s just SEO lingo.
You’ll also want to make sure this article is in your sitemap. Once you have all of that, head over to Google Search Console and resubmit your sitemap. You’ll also want to paste your new article in the search bar at the top and request Google to index it. You don’t have to do this last part, but it can help with getting indexed more quickly.
There ya go! Now we can rinse and repeat this process for other articles. If, after 3-6 months, this article is not moving up the ranks, we can focus on driving backlinks.
My backlink strategy (don't tell anyone)
Once you start running a site that is ranking for valuable keywords, you’ll notice other bloggers and SEO outreach specialists reaching out to you to write guest posts. Most of these emails are garbage, but there are a few good ones.
You’ll start to notice that the SEO industry is really based on relationships (i.e. you link out to me, and I’ll link out to you). A lot of marketing agencies and large publishers do this with each other.
But in all seriousness, the way I started to grow my authority on Marketer Milk was through writing on other publications. I worked at Webflow, so I had the advantage of writing on the Webflow blog and getting backlinks to my site. But I also wrote on a ton of other SaaS blogs — whether it was for free or through freelance writing gigs.
For example, one strategy I used was helping SaaS companies rank in Google for a specific keyword for free. Instead of pitching a content marketer or manager about a guest post I could write for them, I would go straight to the founder or CEO and tell them they had the opportunity to rank for “X” keyword, and I could do it free of charge because I’m trying to build up my writing portfolio. Of course, I did my due diligence and keyword research to figure out what was a valuable keyword for that company. And I would write it with the intention of ranking it number 1 in Google.
And it worked! In fact, when I decided to start my SEO agency, some of my first clients were those SaaS companies I had written a guest post on a year earlier. And at that point, they were begging to work with me because I had ranked them for a valuable keyword that was driving real business — free of charge.
Today, however, my blog naturally attracts backlinks because I have a lot of content in the top 3 results in Google. Once you get to this point, you will naturally attract some links. Not a lot, but some. If you really want to accelerate your backlink-building efforts, you could do the guest post strategy I did, email content marketing agencies or other SaaS companies asking to collab on “link insertions,” join Slack communities where people give each other links (be careful here, lots of low-quality sites), or find a reputable link building agency to do all the work for you (if you have the budget).
What you absolutely don’t want to do is get links from trash media sites or any spammy-looking site with a bad user experience, for that matter.
If you’re a SaaS company, expect to spend anywhere from $200-$1,000 per link if you’re going to hire a reputable agency. Yeah, you read that right. These are the good-quality links. If you’re paying anything less than that per link, it’s most likely going to do you more harm than good.
Don’t buy link packages on Fiverr, and definitely do not engage in any PBN (private blog network) schemes. I’ve seen far too many SEO gurus lose all of their website traffic when Google does a core algorithm update to patch anyone trying to “game” them.
In the end, you want backlinks from other high-quality SaaS websites or relevant media sites. These are the best links to get. And if you can’t find those, focus on creating super high-quality content and ignore the external link-building efforts for now.
5. Monitor: Analytics, conversions, and refreshing content
This part I won’t get into too much detail (at this point, I sound like a broken record). But here, you just want to make sure your site is connected with Google Search Console, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), and you have a process in place to track conversions from different pages on your website.
You can also create a Looker Studio dashboard that pulls in Search Console data and you can filter things. I do this for clients. I’ll filter out different views for all SEO traffic, just traffic from the blog, and also just traffic from non-branded keywords.
Many SaaS companies also use product analytics tools like Amplitude or Mixpanel to help them view user behavior in their products. But you can also use these tools to view user behavior on your marketing site. For example, I’ve worked with SaaS companies that use Amplitude and have a blog dashboard created. In the blog dashboard, we filtered by referring traffic just coming from Google, filtered out anything that has a UTM attribute (to filter out Google PPC ads), and then we were able to see which pages are driving conversions.
This then helps us steer our content strategy and optimize around different topics or keyword formats that are working the best. At some point, you start to gain insight and intuition on what works and what doesn’t based on looking at data across multiple SaaS websites and finding recurring patterns.
Grow and Convert has a great article on the top converting keywords they’ve seen — you should check it out here. And I can confirm this is pretty much what I see as well.
Updating old content
After some time, you’ll also want to go back to old articles and refresh them. Depending on the competition around the article, you’ll want to do this at least once a year. Sometimes even quarterly. I’m going to write an article on how I do this soon because it is the easiest way to drive results on a website that already has a ton of un-optimized content.
You can literally see a 100%+ ROI within a week, compared to the 3-9 months it takes to see something tangible from new articles.
For now, Niche Pursuits has a great video on this topic you should check out:
It’s a bit outdated, but the principles still apply.
Okay, that’s it! I hope by now you’ve learned at least something new as it pertains to SEO for SaaS websites.
If you made it this far, I’m forever grateful for you. This article took me two days to write, so I hope it helped in some shape or form.
We went over a lot. I got in-depth in some areas, and I sorta flew over some other areas. But the areas I flew over were because I have in-depth guides on those. As a reminder, here are some other articles on my blog you should read in tandem with this one:
- SaaS content marketing: The ultimate guide
- How to write SEO blog posts
- How to create content outlines
- Editorial SEO: The ultimate guide
- Best AI content writers
I hope by now you know how to walk into any SaaS business and grow it with SEO-driven content. Remember that SEO tools and tactics do help. But knowing how Google works and how to think about content strategy holistically is how you know what you should do when algorithm updates inevitably hit.
If you focus on white-hat techniques and create content that is in the best interest of your target audience and Google, you will be rewarded during algorithm updates. You’ll also create a strong brand in the process, and maybe some SEO guru will use you as a case study of what you should do as it pertains to SaaS SEO (it’s happened with Webflow *winky face*).
Okay, I’m done. Subscribe to my newsletter. Bye bye.
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