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On-Page SEO Basics For SaaS | The Complete Beginner’s Guide (2021)

on page seo basics

On-page SEO for SaaS doesn’t look much different from SEO for a regular website.

That’s precisely why so many marketers get it wrong.

The fundamentals of SEO are the same for SaaS as well, but your approach to on-page optimization will be completely different from an affiliate site or an authority blog.

In this detailed guide, I’ll tell you why SEO for SaaS is a different ball game and what on-page SEO tactics you need to use to drive organic search traffic to your website.

Table Of Contents

So, keep reading.

What Is On-Page SEO And Why Is It Important For B2B SaaS?

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing the content of individual web pages to drive organic search engine traffic for a set of target keywords.

It relates to everything that appears on your website, including text content, images, page titles, scripts, CTAs, links, etc.

This kind of search optimization is different from off-page optimization (another branch of SEO), which covers things like backlinks, citations, and other search ranking signals coming from third-party websites.

Technical SEO is the third branch of search engine optimization, which is about the performance and infrastructure of a site.

Here are the main differences between the three of them.

Is on-page optimization still important? 

Yes, it’s crucial!

Google’s algorithms have become much more sophisticated and use more than 200 factors to evaluate websites for search rankings.

Nevertheless, well-optimized content remains one of the strongest ranking factors, along with backlinks.

Why?

Because using relevant keywords in your page content and titles tells both Google and your target audience exactly what your page is about.

This is why most titles ranking on Google’s first page contain their target keyword.

source: backlinko.com

With a content-driven strategy (which forms the core of on-page SEO), your traffic and leads steadily increase with every new content asset you create. 

This is vastly different from PPC advertising, where the results are faster, but the acquisition costs are always rising, and the traffic stops coming in as soon as you pull the plug on your campaign.

According to a study cited by Maryville University, 90% of the traffic from Google’s page 1 goes to the organic search results that are ranking because of SEO. Search ads and paid results get only 10% of the clicks.

Multi-million dollar SaaS companies like HubSpot and Groove have built their customer base primarily on the back of high-quality content assets that are strategically optimized for their target keywords.

They no longer need to spend money on advertising to bring in new leads and customers.

They have content assets for all stages of the buyer’s journey that continue to generate leads without any additional costs.

How can you do the same?

Let me explain in the following sections.

9 On-Page SEO Tactics For B2B SaaS Companies

The core idea behind on-page SEO is to create useful web pages that serve the content that searchers are looking for while giving them a memorable user experience.

The following tactics will help you achieve this goal for your SaaS website.

Tactic #1: Keyword Research for SaaS

Keyword research is the foundation of on-page SEO.

Simply put, keyword research is the process of identifying the keywords that your target audience is using on search engines (mainly Google Search) to search for the problems that your product solves.

Once you identify the right keywords, you can use them to optimize your content and other on-page SEO elements.

What does the ideal keyword look like? 

The image below sums up the answer quite well.

The biggest challenge in SaaS keyword research is low search volume.

Many SaaS companies offer niche services, which means the search volume for their brand name and the key services they offer aren’t enough to drive regular traffic.

The solution? Target informational keywords.

Informational keywords are about the different problems and questions related to your core product that people are searching for.

They’re mostly long-tail search terms with higher search volume as compared to product-specific searches.

For example, the global search volume for the term “project management app” is under 8K monthly searches.

In comparison, a more generic long-tail keyword like “what is project management” has 4x more searches.

Targeting such keywords will help you drive more traffic to your site from people who know that they have a problem but aren’t sure how to solve it.

Where do you find such keywords? Here are a few places to start your research.

Capterra Product Categories

Capterra is a SaaS aggregator site that lists thousands of products along with their detailed reviews and customer feedback.

Because of its content quality and strong on-page SEO, Capterra dominates the search results for numerous high-traffic SaaS keywords for most categories.

If your product has been in the market for a few months, you might already find it listed on Capterra. Even if it’s not, just search for any of your main competitors to see what categories and keywords Capterra has used for it.

Let’s take GetReponse as an example.

The two areas to look at are:

  • The main product category for the software
  • Other categories listed in the “Featured In” section

As you can see, GetResponse is listed in categories like marketing automation software, lead generation software, email marketing software, and lead management software.

Do this for your product or a competing tool.

These are great starting keywords that you can plug into Google Keyword Planner or a tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush to find more relevant long-tail keywords and questions that you can target.

Apart from Capterra, you can follow the same strategy using other aggregator sites like G2, TrustRadius, GetApp, etc.

Google Keyword Planner

Google keyword planner is a research tool for advertisers. Still, it offers priceless insights for SEO as well.

There are a couple of ways of using it for keyword research.

Head over to the keyword planner and choose “Discover new keywords.”

The first option here is to use a broad keyword that describes your topic to generate different keyword ideas from your niche.

For example, let’s search for “project management” and see what comes up.

Google Keyword Planner shows 700+ keyword ideas related to project management, some of which you can see in the screenshot above.

Filter this list for the most relevant long-tail keywords and questions you can target in your SEO strategy.

The second option is to search for a competitor’s URL (instead of your topic). This gives you the list of the most relevant keywords that other established companies in your niche are ranking for.

For example, I searched for Monday.com, a leading project management app, that has a popular blog and ranks for several high traffic keywords.

Google Keyword Planner returned with more than 1300 keyword ideas some of which are visible in the screenshot below.

Based on this list, any SaaS looking to break into the project management niche can find relevant keywords for its on-page SEO strategy.

Google Search Autocomplete

If you’re looking for quick keyword ideas, just head over to Google Search, type your keyword, and add an asterisk (*) at the end to see a list of the most common search terms related to it.

Want more suggestions? Move the asterisk to the start of your keyword.

Still, need more? Add different terms like “tips”, “for”, “to”, or any other word that makes sense.

With this simple technique, you can come up with dozens of informational long-tail keyword ideas to use in your on-page SEO strategy.

People Also Ask

For most search terms, Google Search shows a “People also ask” section, which lists the most common questions searchers have about a topic.

This section offers priceless information about the topics your audience wants to learn more about and the keywords that you can target.

These three methods are free to use and you can generate a ton of keyword ideas with them.

Try coming up with at least 10-15 informational keywords for your niche along with a set of related keywords of each idea.

If you want more detailed keyword research insights, with more accurate search volume and competition data, consider using a professional keyword research tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs.

Both offer fantastic features that’ll allow you to find hidden keyword ideas for your SEO strategy.

Tactic #2: Optimize Titles, URLs, and Meta Tags

Once you have identified your target keywords, it’s time to start using them on your website.

You’ll need to optimize the title, URL, headlines, and meta description of every page on your site using your target keyword.

For example, here’s a search result optimized for the keyword “productivity tips”.

You can see the keyword in the URL, title, and meta description of this page.

According to research, using your target keyword in the page title with an H1 tag improves your chances of ranking for it because it’s a strong indicator of the topic of your page.

If you’re using a WordPress site, your page title has the H1 tag by default. 

Plus, you can use SEO plugins like Yoast, SEOPress, or All In One SEO to optimize your site’s title, meta description, and URL.

For example, Yoast SEO adds this section to your WordPress editor, so you can use it to optimize your content for your target keywords.

In the meta description section, you don’t necessarily need to use your target keyword, but there’s no harm in it either. 

As long as the description is compelling and persuades the searcher to click on your page title, you’re set. 

Tactic #3: Optimize Content Body for Primary and Secondary Keywords

This is a core part of on-page SEO where you need to use your target keyword (along with its natural variations) in the content body.

The important thing here is to use the keywords naturally in your content instead of stuffing them just to meet a certain keyword density (an outdated SEO concept).

This is where your copywriting skills will be tested.

Overall, optimize the body content of your page by using your keyword in the following ways.

  • At least once in the first 100 words.
  • In the page title and H1 heading.
  • In your H2 and H3 subheadings (at least once each)

Use LSI keywords (terms closely related to your main keyword) throughout your content and at least once in H2 and H3 sub-headings. This helps Google determine the topic of your page more accurately.

You can generate LSI keyword ideas using a free tool like the LSIGraph.

Use your main keyword and its variations to optimize the alt-text of your images and rank for image search queries.

Optimizing body content is much easier thanks to the advancements in Google’s search algorithms.

If you’re knowledgeable about your topic and write for your target audience, you’ll naturally use all the relevant keywords that describe your topic.

Some writers don’t think much about on-page SEO while writing content.

Instead, they analyze it from an SEO perspective and add keywords (without hurting the content quality) where needed.

You can either take this approach or make the effort to incorporate them right away, as you write. 

Use whichever approach works best for you.

Tactic #4: Use Responsive Website Design

More than 54% of people are now accessing the internet on their mobile phones.

If your website’s design is unresponsive and fails to adapt according to the device it’s being viewed on, its user experience will suffer.

This has a direct impact on your search rankings as well.  User experience is among the top factors Google considers while evaluating sites for search engine rankings.

Here’s what responsive website design looks like.

You can use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to evaluate your site’s device compatibility.

Tactic #5: Create a Content-Rich Homepage and Features Pages

Most SaaS website homepages have conversion-focused copy with short sentences, tag lines, and calls to action.

That’s perfectly fine.

However, if that’s the only content on your homepage, you have a problem.

You see, content drives on-page SEO.

The more content you have on a page, the better you can cover a topic and attract relevant traffic as a result.

So along with conversion-focused copy above the fold, you need to have detailed content that describes your product using your target keywords.

For example, this is what users see when they land on the homepage of Bidsketch

They see targeted copy designed to convert visitors into free users.

That’s not all.

When you scroll down, you find there’s a ton of content on the page (1500+ words) optimized for their target keywords.

Naturally, this page has a much better chance of ranking for competitive search terms than a page with just a few hundred words.

Your feature pages are equally important.

Many SaaS companies make the mistake of describing their features ONLY on the homepage of their site.

Briefly describe each feature on the homepage, yes. 

But make sure you also create dedicated landing pages for every one of your main features with a ton of content (product screenshots, benefits, testimonials, use cases, etc.), targeting the right keywords.

Shopify’s homepage, for example, lists all its main features with a short description.

However, each description links to that feature’s dedicated landing page, with a lot more content (1K+ words in this case).

These landing pages not only provide useful information to your target audience, but also serve as traffic sources for their respective features.

Tactic #6: Create Long-Form Informational Content

To rank consistently for high-traffic keywords, you need to keep regularly creating new content.

This is where long-form blog posts can be a gamechanger for your business.

Studies show that content marketing directly impacts your brand image, sales, and lead generation.

More importantly, 70% of consumers prefer to discover brands through blog content, not advertisements. This makes it a vital source of search engine traffic for your brand.

Blog content is the cornerstone of any SEO strategy.

It allows you to target more keywords, attract more backlinks and social shares, and generate more leads for your business.

This is why marketers consider it an extremely important part of their overall marketing strategy.

Unlike your site’s homepage and other landing pages, the objective of your blog content is not to drive sales immediately.

Instead, the goal is to build brand loyalty by answering the questions of your audience and turning them into subscribers/free users.

How long is long-form content?

Anything beyond 1500-2000 words is categorized as long-form.

The exact length of your content will be determined by the average word count of the articles ranked on page 1 for your target keyword.

Analyze the top 10 results for every keyword in Google Search, calculate their average word count, and create an article/page that is significantly longer and more comprehensive than what’s already out there.

But that’s not enough.

You need to create a well-rounded content marketing funnel to rank for the right keywords and convert readers into subscribers/leads.

Don’t worry.

I’ve shared the step by step process of creating a content marketing funnel in this detailed guide.

Tactic #7: Optimize for Alternatives

An important on-page SEO technique for SaaS websites is to optimize for three specific keyword types.

  • Alternatives
  • Vs.
  • Best 

Let me explain.

Your target audience is already searching for alternatives to your most popular competitors.

For example, any product competing with Hubspot will find it hard to outrank it for keywords like “inbound marketing software” or “inbound strategy.”

But it can easily rank for a term like “Hubspot alternatives” which has almost 2K searches per month and a low difficulty score according to SEMrush.

The same goes for “vs.” keywords where people compare different tools or simply use this search query to find out new products.

For instance, type “Clickfunnels vs.” and look at the suggested searches.

There are several services on this list that I’m seeing for the first time.

If you analyze the keyword “Clickfunnels vs. Kajabi” in SEMRush, it has more than 1K monthly searches and is pretty easy to rank for.

How can you take advantage of this?

Publish long-form articles or create dedicated landing pages that target the alternative and “vs.” keywords.

For example

  • 11 Popular Hubspot Alternatives You Must Try In 2021 (list your product at the top and with the most details)
  • ClickFunnels vs. Kajabi vs. [Your Product]

This approach helps you piggyback on your competitors to attract easy traffic.

However, there’s more.

Say you’re in the email marketing niche and trying to target the keyword “best email marketing software”.

Let’s see what’s currently ranking for it.

The top three results are blog posts, not homepages of different email marketing software.

If you’re running an email marketing company, you will obviously optimize your site’s homepage for this keyword.

But don’t stop there.

Publish a super in-depth article about the best email marketing software with screenshots, feature details, tips & tricks, etc.

Make the in-depth article the best resource on this topic, but list your product at the top and describe it in the most detail.

Do this in whatever niche you’re in.

This is one of the lower hanging fruits of SaaS on-page SEO that many companies ignore.

The featured snippet, also called position zero, is the text snippet that Google often shows at the top of its search results for different keywords.

A study has shown that featured snippet results get approximately 8% of the clicks.

If you want to increase your chances of ranking for the featured snippet for your target keyword, structure your content in the following style.

  • Create question headings [H2] at the start of your page. For example, if you’re marketing a CRM solution, create headings such as “what is CRM?”, “What are the different CRM types?”, etc. (Hint: target the questions in the “People also ask section”)
  • Don’t use any brand names in your answer, including yours.
  • Write a brief answer to the main question headings in 50-60 words before going into the details later on the same page.
  • Use bullet points and lists in your answers.

That way, your content will present solutions to your audience’s pain points in a readily accessible manner.

One of the biggest mistakes I see on SaaS websites is the lack of integration between different content assets.

By assets, I’m referring to things like landing pages, case studies, testimonials, blog content, social media profiles, and any other content on your site.

On most SaaS websites, these assets exist in separate sections without any internal linking.

For example, you’ll find case studies only on the case studies page or eBooks and white papers only in the Resources section.

Huge mistake.

Use internal links frequently in your blog content, landing pages, and even on the homepage to interlink the different sections of your site. 

For example, don’t let your client testimonials or case studies sit quietly in a forgotten corner of your site.

Feature them on your homepage, talk about them in your blog content, link to them whenever possible.

Similarly, if you’ve published blog content related to any of your product features, make sure your visitors can see them on the features page as well.

Internal links are not only good for user-experience but also make it easier for search engine spiders to crawl your site.

Plus, they help you distribute your site’s authority to all its pages.

It’s an easy SEO win that you shouldn’t ignore.

Ready to Improve the On-Page SEO of Your SaaS Website?

SaaS SEO is less complicated than some people think.

If you understand the needs of your audience, perform in-depth keyword research, and publish useful content on your site, you’ll have most bases covered.

All that’s left is to evaluate your content from an SEO perspective and use your target keywords at the right places to ensure that both Google and your readers know what your content is about.

If you need help in improving your site’s search rankings or want to discuss your SaaS SEO strategy, feel free to contact me.

Davor Bomeštar

Davor is CEO & Founder of Fortis Agency — SEO & content marketing agency for B2B SaaS. He is an SEO expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. Davor specializes in content marketing and link building and loves helping startups grow their traffic through search engines.

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