Buyer acquisition value (CAC) could be huge for a lot of SaaS corporations. A great way to scale back that’s to stability promoting with cheaper and infrequently extra sustainable advertising channels and techniques. Your greatest guess right here could also be web optimization and content material advertising.

On this article, you’ll be taught every little thing it is advisable know to construct a profitable SaaS web optimization technique.

This technique relies on two issues: First, the success of Ahrefs, a $100M+ ARR SaaS firm that has web optimization as a principal contributor to its progress. Second, my 5 years of expertise working and consulting for international SaaS corporations.

We’ll undergo the next steps:

Let’s dive in.

1. Determine your natural search opponents

Not all web sites that you simply compete with inside natural search are your enterprise opponents. In reality, your SERPs could be full of:

  • Affiliate web sites.
  • Evaluate web sites (like G2 or TrustRadius).
  • Business professional blogs.
  • Firms that no less than partially goal your viewers by fixing overlapping issues.

All most of these web sites additionally need a piece of the “natural search” cake. You’ll want a listing of those for additional web optimization analysis and to trace your progress.

One of the simplest ways to seek out your natural search opponents is to examine key phrase overlap studies. Plug your area into Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer and head to the Competing Domains report:

Competing Domains report results

This report reveals a listing of internet sites that ranks for most of the similar key phrases because the area on the enter.

Rinse and repeat this course of with different dominant web sites in your area of interest. Or you can begin the analysis immediately in your closest enterprise opponents in case your web site doesn’t drive any strong search visitors but.

In case you come throughout an unknown web site, examine it. Create a listing of 10–15 most related web sites competing in your area.

2. Analyze what works to your opponents (to reverse engineer that later)

We’ll make use of the listing of your natural search opponents. Take into account this an web optimization competitor evaluation.

The principle aim right here is to seek out out what works to your opponents by way of the:

  • Finest performing web site sections.
  • Finest performing pages.
  • Sorts of content material that entice probably the most backlinks.

You must make notes so that you could be impressed by your opponents and presumably execute the concepts even higher than them. Let’s look into these factors.

Finest performing web site sections

Do your opponents drive most of their natural visitors to a weblog, product pages, instrument pages, a data base, and even another kind of content material? What about their strategy to web site structure, i.e., how do they construction their URLs?

You’ll discover solutions to those questions by plugging your opponents’ domains into Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer and clicking by way of the High Subfolders report:

Top Subfolders report results

We will already see within the report above that among the most essential subfolders are positioned on HubSpot’s weblog subdomain. Many different web sites even have content material on subdomains, so be sure that to examine the High Subdomains report as effectively:

Top Subdomains report results

Finest performing pages

Now that we’ve seemed on the high-level image of a web site’s natural efficiency, it’s time to be extra granular. Ultimately, you propose your content material piece by piece, so figuring out what items of content material drive probably the most natural visitors to your opponents is invaluable.

To get this knowledge, merely open the High pages report in Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer:

Top pages report results

Undergo this report for each competitor and write down content material concepts value overlaying in your web site as effectively.

Nevertheless, needless to say oftentimes, pages that generate probably the most visitors don’t convert effectively as a result of they cowl top-of-the-funnel issues. Ensure these content material concepts are related to your audience.

Sorts of content material that entice probably the most hyperlinks

You’ve in all probability heard that backlinks are probably the most essential rating components in web optimization. It’s no surprise attracting and constructing good hyperlinks to your content material is onerous.

Some items of content material can get hyperlinks a lot simpler than others, although. In web optimization, we name this linkbait content material. One of these content material doesn’t essentially must drive natural visitors, but it surely’s worthwhile, attention-grabbing, or distinctive sufficient to make different individuals reference it on their web sites.

As with the earlier studies in Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer, you may as well discover out which of your opponents’ pages get probably the most hyperlinks. Open the Finest by hyperlinks report, choose the 200 standing code filter to solely present stay pages, and make notes about the kind of content material that could possibly be thought-about linkbait in your area of interest:

Best by links report results

We’ll discuss creating linkbait content material later on.


It’s value stating a situation the place chances are you’ll discover out that your most related opponents truly don’t rely that a lot on natural search visitors.

I do know this from firsthand expertise. Would you could have ever guessed the next web site with simply ~6.4K clicks from natural search a month belongs to a SaaS firm producing over $100M in ARR?

Typically, a SaaS enterprise gives merchandise fixing issues which have a negligible search demand and/or goal such a distinct segment section of its market that there are more practical advertising channels than natural search.

It’s all the time a good suggestion to have a strong web optimization basis. However typically, it doesn’t make sense to take a position into it that a lot.

3. Do correct key phrase analysis

Getting impressed by opponents is crucial in web optimization, however so is arising with your individual concepts and analysis knowledge. Key phrase analysis is a very powerful a part of this.

Key phrase analysis is the method of understanding the language your goal prospects use when looking for your merchandise, providers, and content material. It then entails analyzing, evaluating, and prioritizing one of the best key phrase alternatives to your web site.

In case you’re new to this, be sure that to undergo our newbie’s information to key phrase analysis. I’ll simply give attention to the SaaS web optimization side right here.

To start with, we must always discuss search intent. It’s the “why” behind a search question. Search engines like google and yahoo all the time attempt to present probably the most related outcomes—be it a information article, a daily weblog submit, a information, an interactive instrument, a YouTube video, and so on.

For instance, the key phrase “ examine backlinks” has two search intents, based on the highest 10 search outcomes—searchers need a information that tells them how to do that (in blue) and/or a instrument that checks backlinks immediately (in inexperienced):

Usually, key phrases in SaaS could be divided into 4 principal classes, every representing a kind of content material that seems on the SERPs:

  • Weblog posts – “saas search engine optimisation information” or “ construct hyperlinks”
  • Information base pages – “ahrefs area ranking” or “4xx error which means”
  • Product and repair touchdown pages – “backlink checker” or “free search engine optimisation instrument”
  • Comparability and assessment pages – “greatest search engine optimisation instruments” or “ahrefs vs moz”

Anytime you do key phrase analysis or encounter a listing of key phrases related to your enterprise, save the key phrases to a listing that you simply’ll come again to later when planning content material.

We’ll be working with the aforementioned content material classes, so labeling the key phrases like this immediately can save time.

Right here’s the way it appears like in Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer, however you are able to do the identical in Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer studies too:

Related terms report results

There might be many overlapping key phrases with blended search intent, e.g., “saas search engine optimisation” is related to each guides like this and companies/freelancers providing SaaS web optimization providers. Keep on with the label (search intent) extra related to your enterprise.

You may as well label every key phrase with its intent within the extra conventional sense as navigational, informational, and transactional searches. However the SaaS-specific labels are far more helpful once you get again to your key phrase analysis.

That’s it for creating a listing of key phrases that you simply’d prefer to rank for. We’ll be constructing on this basis within the subsequent steps.

4. Deal with producing product-led content material

Now it’s time we begin turning all of the analysis and aggressive evaluation into content material creation.

This complete information is a superb instance of product-led content material. On this case, it isn’t attainable for me to jot down this information with out mentioning Ahrefs instruments.

In reality, product-led content material advertising is our principal advertising tactic. Our weblog drives greater than 300K natural visits each month to articles just like the one you’re studying now. In our articles, readers study a sure web optimization or broader advertising subject whereas discovering how our merchandise may help them:

Overview of Ahrefs' blog in Site Explorer

In case your key phrase analysis unveiled tens, a whole lot, and even hundreds of various subjects individuals are looking for that relate to the issues your product is fixing, you may leverage on natural search and make it your #1 advertising channel as effectively.

In fact, the diploma to which you’ll be able to pitch your product inside an article varies. It’s all the time higher to not point out your product if it feels unnatural or too pushy.

That’s why we internally use a metric referred to as “enterprise potential.” For each key phrase we’re fascinated by overlaying on our weblog, we give it a enterprise potential rating. This rating is an estimation, displaying to what diploma a key phrase can allow us to naturally pitch our product.

Business potential: Table with scores 3 to 0. And explanation of criteria to meet each score.

Clearly, this isn’t the one metric we take note of when prioritizing content material creation. There are three extra features we take into consideration: visitors potential, key phrase problem, and the worth we are able to present to the reader.

Chances are you’ll be used to the thought of judging a key phrase based mostly on its search quantity. However there’s a greater strategy.

That’s as a result of each piece of content material ranks for a lot of key phrases with completely different search volumes. And the one key phrase you’re might contribute to only a tiny fraction of the general visitors.

That is when the primary side, visitors potential, comes into play.

Overview of keyword "content marketing strategy" in Keywords Explorer

Right here you may see the overview of the key phrase “content material advertising technique” from Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer.

Our Site visitors Potential metric tells us that the web page at the moment rating on the high for “content material advertising technique” will get 11K natural visitors a month. That’s a lot greater than its search quantity of 1.8K within the U.S. and akin to its 12K international search quantity.

Secondly, there’s the Key phrase Problem (KD) metric on the left. It’s an estimate of how troublesome it’s to rank for the given key phrase on a scale from 0 to 100. The decrease the rating, the simpler it’s to rank on the high for the key phrase.

And lastly, we now have the experience and worth side.

Have a look at the content material at the moment rating within the high 10 SERP positions. Then ask the next: Are you able to write a greater piece of content material than that? Are you able to present distinctive insights or add comparative worth in another means? It’s all the time a lot simpler to rank effectively with content material that’s objectively higher than what you’ll find on the SERPs.

Let’s sum issues up right here.

Your “low-hanging fruit” content material alternatives are present in subjects with excessive visitors potential, cheap key phrase problem, and excessive enterprise worth that may mirror your experience.

Nevertheless, in actuality, you’ll nearly by no means discover a key phrase that meets all these standards, so that you’ll need to make compromises. Be ready for that.

5. Develop free instruments as touchdown pages

Now we’re onto the product pages. Many corporations have discovered making merchandise (or only a fraction of them) accessible with none friction to be a profitable advertising tactic. These touchdown pages can drive visitors, entice backlinks, make individuals conversant in your product, generate leads, and even convert some guests.

At Ahrefs, we now have seen vital success in providing free instruments. These additionally play an essential half in our web optimization technique and total progress. To this point, we’ve launched 13 free web optimization instruments that you may attempt proper away:

Excerpt of page showing Ahrefs' free tools for keyword research and link building

All these touchdown pages of free instruments mixed generate round 365K natural visitors per month:

However the enormous visitors potential isn’t the one profit of getting a spin-off of our product as a touchdown web page. Our instruments also can act as linkbait, which we defined earlier.

Many of those pages have a excessive URL Score (UR) that may be a proxy metric to a web page’s hyperlink profile power:

List of URLs with corresponding data; notably, all pages have high UR ratings

The identical ideas of prioritizing content material creation apply right here as effectively. Some instruments might be extra worthwhile than others as a result of they could entice a extra related viewers. Some SERPs will already be stuffed with instruments that do kind of the identical factor, so will probably be troublesome to get to the highest in the event you don’t innovate.

On high of the common web optimization prioritization standards, you’ll additionally want to consider developer sources. They’re scarce for us SEOs, so that you’d higher allocate them to a web page that may repay properly sooner or later. Fortunately, most of those pages are an web optimization gold mine.

6. Create comparability pages

Signing up and paying for a SaaS product normally requires fairly a little bit of analysis. It’s no surprise there’s a strong search demand for key phrases with product comparability search intent.

Simply check out these examples of key phrases with comparability search intent that one of many largest software program assessment web sites, G2, is rating for:

Organic keywords report results; notably, pages have high monthly search volumes

To be trustworthy, we did resist making a comparability web page for a very long time. It’s a chunk of content material that’s simply manipulated. (An enormous factor for us is being moral with our advertising efforts.)

With this in thoughts, we finally gave it a shot and created our model of a comparability web page.

Excerpt of Ahrefs' comparison page against Semrush and Moz

Whereas the key phrases might not have probably the most spectacular search volumes and visitors potential, one factor is for positive: These pages are extremely worthwhile as a result of individuals trying up these key phrases are shut to creating a purchase order.

As hinted earlier, you have to be cautious with the copy right here. Most SaaS companies’ comparability pages are centered round a desk with options and costs designed to make their merchandise look higher than the alternate options.

In fact, this normally entails cherry-picking and/or omitting higher merchandise from the itemizing altogether. You are able to do higher than that.

If you need inspiration to create one thing completely different, examine our comparability web page. There, we give attention to word-of-mouth advertising and emphasize our distinctive knowledge and options.

7. Dig into your knowledge to publish business insights and research

We’ve coated the primary use instances for key phrase analysis. However there’s nonetheless a kind of content material that doesn’t essentially should be pushed by visitors potential: business insights and research.

The fantastic thing about SaaS companies is that they typically have tons of knowledge that may be analyzed and interpreted into business insights. For instance, one among my newest knowledge research is about the best way Google handles title tags after one among its controversial updates:

The research isn’t presupposed to drive any natural visitors. However it’s a nice alternative to get extra hyperlinks that may assist our common title tags article (and others) rank higher on the SERPs, due to the backlinks it bought (and can get).

We’ve printed fairly a couple of of those research and insights. They’re unquestionably one of the best kind of linkbait content material on our weblog:

Best by links report results

It’s no shock. Claims with knowledge or attention-grabbing findings are items of knowledge that discover their means into many articles.

As with the free instruments, it is a kind of content material {that a} author can’t normally produce alone. You’ll in all probability need assistance out of your knowledge science staff. Simply make it possible for the hypotheses and potential findings really stand out; it will enable you obtain your required web optimization outcomes.

Yet one more factor. Content material distribution performs an much more essential position right here (as in comparison with content material distribution to your customary articles). Ultimately, if there’s no search quantity, then it is advisable actively push the content material in entrance of individuals’s eyes to get clicks. Listed below are a couple of ideas for that:

  • Plan an outreach marketing campaign to get backlinks and/or publicity from distinguished individuals in your area of interest
  • Promote the content material utilizing social media advertisements on high of the usual natural social posts that normally have restricted attain
  • Share it along with your electronic mail subscribers
  • Repurpose your content material into social media posts, solutions on Quora, newsletters, and so forth., after which share repeatedly
  • Replace your inside hyperlinks so readers of your different articles can click on by way of and pages can cross their hyperlink equities

8. Construct on strong web optimization foundations

Final however not least, we now have to speak about technical web optimization briefly. All the pieces that we went by way of up to now is expounded to on-page and off-page web optimization for SaaS companies.

But when your technical basis isn’t proper, it might be all for nothing—regardless of how good your content material is or the hyperlinks you get.

You might want to make it possible for search engines like google can simply entry and correctly course of the content material that you simply wish to rank with on the SERPs. Sure, this may contain many issues, but it surely isn’t rocket science.

One of the best factor you are able to do is to arrange common crawls in Ahrefs’ Web site Audit (free in Ahrefs Webmaster Instruments). Our crawler will undergo your web site and create a complete report that can inform you what’s presumably fallacious and repair it:

All issues report results

A great proxy to your total state of technical web optimization is then the Well being Rating:

Site Audit overview showing health score of 98

You’re additionally in luck right here. SaaS web sites aren’t normally complicated from a technical web optimization perspective as a result of they’re usually quite small. Anybody who does e‑commerce web optimization and works on web sites consisting of thousands and thousands of pages will probably snicker at our technical web optimization issues.

Last ideas

Offering one of the best SaaS web optimization ideas I can consider is one factor. However ensuring that every one of this is sensible within the massive image of selling is one other.

Be sure that every little thing you do pertaining to SaaS web optimization aligns along with your total advertising technique and goals. It’s additionally essential to trace your web optimization progress.

On high of that, it’s helpful to broaden your expertise and data in different areas associated to SaaS web optimization. So in the event you like this text, you’ll additionally discover the next articles useful and related:

Acquired any questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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