The impact that SaaS (software-as-a-service) has had on professionals — and, really, the world at large — can’t be overstated.
This industry has transformed how, when, and where we do business, making us more efficient, productive, and able to grow like never before. But what about when it’s time for the SaaS company itself to grow?
That’s where digital marketing comes in. From B2B SaaS companies and startups to household-name software brands, technology businesses that leverage search engine marketing effectively to achieve their goals are the ones that stick around.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can have a major impact on your overall marketing success – and it’s something that too many SaaS companies overlook.
The good news: With a strategic SEO plan that encompasses on-page, off-page, and technical elements, your SaaS organization can be poised to exceed expectations and crush your SQL and MRR goals.
Why is SEO Important for SaaS Businesses?
Not only is content an important pillar of search engine optimization, but your SaaS SEO content can be repurposed for multiple channels, from your SaaS website to your social media and email campaigns, allowing you to work smarter rather than harder to drive leads and conversions.
A modern-day marketing plan that doesn’t include a hefty dose of search engine optimization is simply incomplete. On top of that, with all the competition most SaaS businesses are up against, it only makes sense to invest in efforts that’ll help you rank highly in organic search results when a potential customer searches for a term related to your product or service.
And while SEO is an investment of time and resources, of course, it’s one of the more cost-effective digital marketing tactics out there, especially when compared to paid search and other ad types.
What’s more, showing up in both organic and paid search results (and even in featured snippet spots like “People also ask”) helps you dominate the search engine results page (SERP). This drives home the impression that you’re an industry leader – a real win-win situation, in our experience.
But, back to the question at hand: SEO is crucial for SaaS companies in particular because it’s a proven way to drive consistent leads, increase brand awareness, and grow your reach. As a result, SaaS businesses that prioritize SEO are the ones who see improvements like better lead generation, lower costs-per-acquisition (CPAs), and scalable growth.
By mastering SaaS SEO, you can secure those high ranking slots for the relevant keywords people use when searching for a solution that your company provides.
SEO Deliverables for SaaS Companies
No matter which avenue you take for managing your search engine optimization program — an in-house expert or marketing team, an SEO agency, a consultant, or a DIY approach — don’t expect this to be a one-and-done endeavor.
Like most digital marketing methods, proper SEO is ongoing. A stagnant program can go stale, which can translate into outdated content, a sluggish site, and diminishing visibility in search results.
In terms of deliverables, here are just some of the most common SaaS SEO services an agency may offer:
Organic traffic goal assessment
Working with you on what goals are realistic for the agreed-upon timeline, budget, and channels
Increasing the number of inbound links to your site, resulting in a greater reach and more brand authority
Content marketing analysis and development
Assessing and auditing your content strategy and published content, then pinpointing areas of opportunity and optimization and facilitating content creation
Keyword research, analysis and recommendations
Reviewing your current keyword targets and negative keyword list, then seeing which terms should be added or removed as needed
Backlink audit, cleanup, and monitoring
Assessing what backlinks currently exist, whether or not they should be disavowed, and monitoring regularly
Page title & meta description optimization
Ensuring all site pages have optimized page titles and meta descriptions for proper crawling by search bots
Landing page optimization
Analyzing landing page design and performance and potentially leveraging heatmapping technology or other tools to maximize conversion rates
Google Search Console and Google Analytics setup
Checking that your GSC and GA accounts have been set up thoroughly and accurately
404 error identification, resolution, and redirects
Identifying dead-end or otherwise problematic pages and fixing these errors
Site architecture analysis
Reviewing your website’s navigation and ensuring that your site architecture is intuitive, streamlined and delivers a positive user experience (UX)
Page speed analysis
Testing how quickly page elements load on your site and identifying ways to speed them up as needed
Schema markup implementation
Adding or optimizing your site’s structured data to make it more likely to surface in accurate search results
Algorithm impact analysis and resolution
Measuring your site against the latest algorithm updates (such as Google’s Helpful Content Update and Core Web Vitals parameters)
“The deliverables you want to implement into your overall SEO plan will depend on a handful of factors, like your resources, the current state of your brand’s SEO, and your business goals.
Mileage logging mobile app MileIQ (acquired by Microsoft in 2015) was looking for an agency to help boost the amount of high-quality traffic landing on their site and app.
Through partnering with us at HawkSEM, we were able to expand MileIQ’s global reach to new national and international markets through an enhanced SEO strategy that included strategic content and backlink initiatives. As a result, we drove nearly 4,000 new first-page keyword rankings and grew year-over-year organic site traffic by 125%
What Are the Three Pillars of SEO?
Different digital marketing experts have varied viewpoints on what defines SEO. Our experience tells us that there are three main elements to keep in mind when building an SEO strategy:
Also called on-site SEO, this pillar focuses on optimizing elements on your website. This includes SEO-minded content, meta descriptions, headers and title tags, image alt text, and internal links.
Off-page (aka off-site) SEO is all about third-party sites and elements connected to your brand that don’t live on your own website, such as backlinks, social profiles, guest posts, online reviews, and directory listings.
This is often the most misunderstood SEO pillar, which means too many businesses let it fall by the wayside. But it’s arguably the most important, too. Technical SEO includes mobile-friendliness, structured data/Schema, meta data, site security, page speed, site architecture, and URL structure.
How SEO Agencies Help
SaaS Brands Scale
Those working in the SaaS realm know it’s one of the most quickly evolving industries around. Emerging technology, new competitors, and the ever-changing needs and wants of customers mean nothing stays stagnant at these companies for long – including processes and goals. (And if you do stay stagnant, don’t be surprised when you see other similar brands start to snag your market share.)
For all these reasons and more, many Saas companies look to partner with an experienced SaaS marketing agency rather than going it alone. This way, they can leave their SEO marketing efforts to capable pros who can help them manage and grow their efforts sustainably.
Think you only need paid search ads to scale effectively? Your competitors know better. Search engine optimization and paid search are two sides of the digital marketing coin — and together, they bring about results greater than the sum of their parts.
But, of course, not just any marketing agency will do. Choosing the right agency comes with pretty high stakes: You want to feel confident that your brand’s marketing strategy and reputation are in good hands. On top of that, you need an SEO team that can keep up with all the pivoting that comes with building and growing a SaaS company, not to mention prepping for a potential acquisition or IPO.
This handy checklist can help you determine if it’s time to hire an SEO agency:
- Are you looking to scale SQLs and drive sales pipeline?
- Are you looking to build or improve your SEO efforts efficiently?
- Are you struggling to get the organic site traffic and SERP visibility you want?
- Is trying to manage SEO in-house taking up too much time and resources?
- Do you find SEO tactics regularly falling to the bottom of your to-do list?
- Have you had a sub-par experience with a past agency that didn’t understand your industry?
- Are you looking to create a more well-rounded digital marketing plan to take your business to the next level?
If the answer to any (or all!) of these questions is “yes,” then we should talk.
All-in-one virtual desktop solution DesktopReady came to HawkSEM with little organic presence after having recently launched a new website.
To grow their visibility on search engines, we conducted a technical SEO audit, then worked to position them as a top competitor in the DaaS (desktop-as-a-service) space. By optimizing existing content, creating new content targeting key terms, and securing authoritative backlinks, DesktopReady increased the terms they rank for on the SERP from 4 to 468 and increased users by 406%, all in just six months.
What to Look for in a SaaS SEO Marketing Agency
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to amp up your SEO with help from an agency, the prospect can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
With a little preparation and a clear idea of what you want this partnership to look like, you can more easily weed out the agencies that aren’t a fit and home in on the one that’s right for you.
Some qualifications to look for in an SEO services agency for your SaaS organization include:
Experience in your field
Dozens of clients and glowing case studies are all well and good. But if an agency isn’t familiar with the nuances of SaaS (which often involves longer sales cycles and more focus on booking demos), you may be in for a bit of a learning curve.
Beware of agencies that offer you the moon and the stars, especially when it comes to SEO. While it’s great to aim high, solid SEO tactics take time to show significant results. Oftentimes, those “quick wins” are actually black-hat tactics that aren’t sustainable and can even get you penalized by Google.
A plan of action
While it makes sense that an agency isn’t going to give away all of its secrets in an exploratory call or consultation, they should be able to offer high-level feedback on your current SEO efforts. This can help you gauge whether or not they can walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
The right agency should be able to customize their frequency and style of communications to fit your team’s preferences. That could mean weekly status updates, monthly check-ins by phone, or something more. The last thing you want to do is hire an agency and then be left in the dark.
Trust and credibility
One of the best ways to gauge an agency’s trustworthiness is to seek out third parties that can verify their work. Check out their SaaS case studies (if they have them), online reviews, and client testimonials to see what others have to say about working with them.
Additional Services SEO Agencies May Offer
During your search, you don’t have to feel limited to agencies that exclusively wheel and deal in SEO. Many full-service marketing agencies offer services a la carte, meaning you don’t have to hand over your entire digital marketing plan to work with them.
On the flip side, some SaaS companies see great results from partnering with an agency for a single service, then decide later to add on additional facets.
Along with SEO, a full-service digital marketing agency may also offer:
Paid search (aka pay-per-click or PPC)
Paid social media marketing
Performance display campaigns
Conversion rate optimization
Shopping and feed management for ecommerce
Remarketing / retargeting
The ConversionIQTM System
Speaking of paid search, let us briefly introduce you to HawkSEM’s unique technology, ConversionIQ.
We built this unique platform to help our clients drive actionable insights, full-funnel attribution and high-quality conversions that continuously improve your bottom line.
How SEO Agency Pricing Works
Let’s talk money. Along with offering a variety of services, different agencies may have different standard pricing models. Let’s break down a few of the common ones you can expect during your agency search.
Some agencies will offer standard, deluxe, and enterprise-level packages geared toward different company sizes or budgets.
The agency gets a percentage based on goals met or results achieved through their SEO efforts.
You pay the agency a flat monthly fee (these can be sometimes be tiered models as well).
Lead generation or conversion model
The SaaS company pays based on how much lead generation or conversions are achieved (this one can be tricky, since.
While this is more common for SEO freelancers or consultants, an agency may charge an hourly fee for their SEO services as well.
The Bottom Line
Just like you, your SaaS clients don’t have time to waste. They need solutions to their problems, and they’re going online seeking answers. That’s where your SEO plan comes into play.
By building an optimized website, publishing quality content, and putting all the latest SEO best practices into action, you can attract more qualified leads, expand your reach, and scale your business.
Looking to partner with SaaS SEO experts who get it? Our team of experienced marketing pros have spent years in your industry. We know what works and what doesn’t, in SEO and beyond. We have a proven track record and can help you craft a best-in-class search engine optimization strategy that’ll help you connect with your target audience and boost your overall marketing ROI.
Ready to learn more? We’d love to connect.
Request a Free Consultation
No BS, just results. Average clients see a 4.5x ROI
- Dramatically improve ROI
- Outperform the competition
- Increase conversion volume
- Better track ROI
- Reduce cost per acquisition
- Improve lead quality