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SaaS Keyword Research: Rank Better in The Serps

SaaS Keyword Research: Finding the Right Keywords To Rank Higher in the SERPs

Published on July 15th, 2021

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Keywords are what drive traffic for your SaaS. These are the words potential users type in a search engine to explain what information they need, which means choosing and ranking for the right keywords will have a crucial impact on your website traffic and lead generation. Additionally, 93% of the time an online session is initiated with a keyword search reaffirming the importance of a solid keyword ranking strategy. But how do you build one?

Earlier, Google search was a form of hit and trial session, where the user would enter relevant words or phrases and skim through the search results to find what they were looking for. But now Google has its own RankBrain among several other algorithm elements. This helps the popular search engine analyze even the most complex query and match it with the right content.

With Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, it is now able to understand words and their relationships and match them with the possible intent behind the search. This helps it display relevant search results. However, search engines still use keywords to determine what a page is about, only that now they have a deeper understanding of what a specific keyword is about. It has now become more interested in why we are searching rather than what.

What are SEO Keywords?

SEO keywords are words or phrases that describe specific information. For searchers, these are words (also referred to as search queries) they use to find a piece of information they need. For a SaaS marketer, these define your content in nutshell. And when the searcher’s intent matches your content’s keyword your page appears in the search result listings.

For SaaS marketers and writers, you’ll need to target 2 types of keywords: 

  • Transactional Keywords –  Keywords the user uses to find a product or service with the intention to buy, for example, “workers management software”. These pages lead the visitor to either sign up for a free trial or to click on a call to action.  
  • Informational Keywords – Keywords customers use in the research phase – they want to know more about a product or service before buying, for example, “how to hire engineers for a website development”. These keywords are mostly used with “how-to” or “what is“.

How to find the right keywords to target for your SaaS website?

Well, there isn’t a specific process that you can follow for SaaS keyword research but there are several ways to find relevant keywords for your SaaS website. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Identify the topics in your industry and find seed keywords for your business
  • Fine-tune the list of keywords
  • Evaluate these keywords to understand their intent and ability to deliver relevant information

Find Relevant Topics and Seed Keywords

Ask yourself, what topics are relevant to your SaaS product? “SEO Software” or “Scheduling Software” or whatever type of software you are selling. You need to identify the key topics that matter to your audience.

1. Think like a user

Do you know where you can get most of the keywords from? By Brainstorming. 

All you need to do is try to get into a user’s shoes and think, what would be your choice of words to search for your product?

Know your product in and out and try to describe it in plain English. 

  • What does your product do?
  • Who is your product for?
  • What features does your product offer?
  • How would you describe your product to others?

This will give you a good head start.

2. Find a Couple of Seed Keywords

Seed keywords are the foundation of the actual keywords. They are more like the initial stage of finding specific phrases or queries to target with the content. Jot down keywords, keyword variants, synonyms, etc. that you’d enter (as a customer) in a search engine to find your product or service.

3. In-depth Competitive Analysis

Once you have a couple of seed keywords or at least a primary competitor in mind, check the keywords they are currently ranking for using Ahrefs or SEMrush. One of the easiest and quickest ways to get started with keyword research is spying on your competitors and leveraging their data for your benefit.

  • Analyze your competitors’ title tags for any extra keyword opportunities
  • You can also use SpyFu or SEMrush to see which of your competitors are ranking high on Google and the keywords as well
  • You can also conduct a Keyword Gap Analysis using SEMrush, just add your domain and your competitors’ domain, you’ll get a list of all the keywords you both are targeting and also the ones that are unique to your competitor

Additionally, an amazing keyword strategy for SaaS marketers is to use your competitors as a keyword:

Competitorname + alternatives

If the pricing of your software is reasonable and it has additional features, this trick will work wonders. In fact, users looking for alternatives for a particular software are right in the consideration phase and ready to buy since they have already researched a lot.

4. Solid Keyword Research Using GKP

Google’s very own Keyword generator – Google Keyword Planner or Keyword.io, will help you understand what keywords to target based on the search volume and competition and since the data source is Google itself – it’s highly reliable.

5. Find Long Tail Keyword Variants With “Google Suggest

Apart from targeting “head terms” or “money terms”, make sure you also add long-tail keyword variants.

Enter any of these keywords in Google search, but don’t enter, just let Autosuggest work its magic. It will display a number of keyword variants for your search.

For more suggestions you can also use Keywordtool.io or Ahrefs, all you need to do is add these keywords in the Keyword Explorer (in case of Ahrefs) and a list of keyword variants, related questions, etc will be generated at the bottom of the page.

Search for New Keywords

1. Keyword Research for Voice Search

Ranking for voice search is another key strategy for SaaS companies since voice searching is becoming more accurate with each passing year (in fact a Google data indicated that 44% of adults are using voice search at least once a day).

Have you ever tried a voice search for your keywords? Try to search your business and your competitors as your customer would – with a voice search. Consider:

  • Find relevant voice search terms like “[keyword] near me
  • Use keywords that are easily pronounced
  • Shortlist long-tail or question-form keywords as they are common with voice queries

Understand searcher’s intent and craft content that includes answers to questions your target audience might have.

2. Look for Money and Lead Gen Keywords

Identify “Money” Keywords or keywords that will help you generate leads. These are generally high volume, high competition keywords that depict what you offer, either at a topic or category level. 

Take the term “CRM Software” which is considered as a “Money” or Bottom-of-the-funnel keyword, so if you own a CRM software, include the below-mentioned keywords in your content and try to answer as many questions as you can.

You can use the keyword explorer (Ahrefs) to conduct keyword research around your products and services and identify your head terms.

3. Find Question Keywords With Ahrefs and Answer the Public

To find relevant question keywords, drop your search in Use Answer The Public to find relevant questions and then try to answer them. You can leverage this platform and rank for the featured snippets too.

Evaluate the Keywords

Now that you’ve spent time preparing a list of keywords, you will now want to know if these keywords will be profitable and helpful in driving potential traffic to your website.

The ideal keywords for SaaS are the ones that:

  • Have a high search volume
  • Have high Cost Per Click: If yes, this means they are profitable and people are willing to pay so that their website can rank well using these keywords.
  • Low competition: Although it’s difficult to find a keyword that has a high volume and a low competition as well, these keywords will be, no doubt, challenging to rank for but they will help your website rank.

Head over to the Keyword Explorer in Ahrefs or Keyword Overview in SEMrush and enter the keyword you intend to rank for – this will give you insights into how hard it is to rank on Page 1 for that particular keyword.

As a newbie in the digital world, you’ll struggle a lot with ranking for competitive keywords, so keep looking for less competitive keywords.

Mapping Keywords

Once you have a list of seed keywords, money keywords, and keyword variants, it’s time to map them with the right web pages. A lot of research and a better understanding of your web pages is what you need to map keywords. Make sure that each topic is mapped with the relevant primary and secondary keywords to build your content strategy.

Also, make sure that the keywords you choose for different web pages mirror your site’s structure.

Tools To Use For Keyword Research

Some keywords might have less than 20 searches per month. Many companies tend to ignore them, but these keywords (with commercial intent) might deliver additional 2-3 leads for your SaaS services. The above data can be obtained using the following tools:

  • Google Keyword Planner – To Target the Right Keywords
  • Google Search – To find relevant keywords and topics
  • Google Trends – To Check the Hot Topics
  • Yoast SEO – To Check Your SEO-friendliness of Your Content 
  • SEMrush – For Advanced SEO Analytics and Keyword Research

With this, you’re all set to optimize your SaaS website, create new content and increase your website rankings, traffic, and signups.

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