In this article, you’ll find ideas on how to research keyword opportunities for your SaaS product or solution. They are applicable both for new websites just starting with their ranking efforts and such with good organic traffic that are looking for fresh ideas on improving their SaaS SEO strategy.
Start with an SEO Brainstorming Session
Beginning your treasure hunt for keywords with a brainstorming session that includes representatives from marketing, sales, and product development can be a gold mine. It will help you get different perspectives, ideas, and customer pain points. More importantly, it will help you keep your strategy focused on your product. If you start copying strategies from competitors or leaning on suggestions from keyword research tools, you risk focusing on keywords that would not be valuable for your business and struggling with results.
Kick off the brainstorming with a short intro on SEO (after all, not everybody is an expert) and explain the search intent concept and how it relates to the marketing funnel journey of your buyer personas. For example, at the beginning of their journey your target audience would look for informational queries (for example, what is rank tracking), in the middle they’d search for consideration queries (like ‘best rank tracking tools’), and at the end of the journey, they’d look for specific features or offers (‘rank tracker with a GDS connector’).
Since most SaaS products have a variety of features and USPs, make sure to explore them all.
Get Data from Keyword Research Tools
Once you have the list of great ideas, it’s time to check the exact queries people use and their metrics. If you have the budget, it’s best to use Ahrefs or SEMRush, but a cheap option like Ubersuggest will also work. You can also start with one of the many free keyword tools, but have in mind that their database is not so big and it’s likely to have fewer metrics available.
Start by searching for the volume for the broader topics you’ve identified and narrow down the search with longer queries. All tools provide you with related searches and more ideas. Keep in mind that they are not always relevant, so you’ll need to review the SERPs to make sure that the intent behind the query is right.
The main metrics you need for a keyword:
- Search volume
- Number of clicks
- SERP features
- Google Ads competition
You can also include keyword difficulty, but keep in mind that it’s an automatic score that is not 100% accurate.
After you’ve reviewed all brainstorming ideas, check out what your competitors are ranking for. This will give you great new ideas to expand your keyword list. Keep in mind that in addition to your direct business competitors there are also search competitors. These are the websites that do not offer a similar solution, but they rank for your target queries. For example, software comparison websites like G2 or Capterra are natural competitors for almost every SaaS business.
Don’t forget to check out your branded searches and the branded searches of your competition. A good element of your SaaS strategy can be creating pages for “competitor + alternative” queries.
Now, group the keywords you identify as relevant. The next step of your SEO strategy is to optimise a page for each of the keyword groups.
Analyse Google Search Console Data
If your website already has some history and content, Google Search Console can be a priceless asset to your SEO strategy. If you have not used it before, make sure to set it up as it would give you key metrics for tracking the performance of your strategy. If you already have it, spend several hours (or days, if your website is bigger) analysing the search query data for the last year.
The main benefit compared to keyword research tools is that GSC will show you a lot more long-tail keyword ideas and variations. Here’s what to look for in your Performance report:
- Topics that are too small to be picked up by keyword research tools, but have the right intent and would bring you business;
- Trending topics that are still not picked up with keyword tools;
- Long-tail keyword variations and questions;
- Pages that have lost traffic during the last year (make sure to plan a strategy to recover it);
- Pages that are ranking for the same keyword (also known as keyword cannibalization).
Take Advantage of Paid Search Data
When we talked about keyword research tools we did not mention Google’s keyword planner. It has been actively used by SEOs in the past, but it has evolved to be a tool focused on advertising and not organic search. However, if you’re running Google Ads campaigns you can use the data for the performance of your campaigns. This can enhance your strategy for bottom or middle of the funnel queries.
The most valuable metrics are CTR and conversion rates. Knowing which are the keywords that drive traffic and conversions is the easiest way to prioritize optimizing your content and creating backlinks in order to get a paid and organic result on the search engine page.
Following these four easy steps will create a solid foundation for a good SEO and content strategy for your website. Now you can move forward to the next step and learn more on how to plan the ideal structure of your website and to start producing buyer persona oriented SaaS content to drive product sign-ups.