Common SaaS SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them | Linkflow
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Common SaaS SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

November 16, 2023

I’ve been in the business for 10 years. There’s almost nothing I haven’t seen.

In today’s article, I’ll break down the most common SaaS SEO mistakes. If you aren’t getting the results you want from your SEO efforts, you’re probably guilty of at least one of them.

Since B2B sales cycles are so long, SaaS content marketing has to cover a lot of bases. You have to create content for technical and non-technical decision-makers, engage buyers at every stage of the sales pipeline, and differentiate your product.

And, since you’re using a recurring revenue model, part of your SEO strategy has to focus on making the right content available and easy to find for existing customers.

There’s a lot of room for error here.

Here’s a look at the three most common problems I find when I look at SaaS companies’ content.

Keyword and intent mismatch

Your commercial and informational content target different keyword sets. By matching your page’s content to the user’s search intent for a keyword…

  • you’re creating content that fulfills your users’ goals
  • you’re showing Google your content is valuable and relevant to its users.

On the surface, you might think, “Duh…” but it isn’t that simple.

There’s a lot of overlap between informational and commercial intent, so you might unknowingly target an informational intent keyword with your landing page or vice versa.

  • Navigational intent means the user wants to find a specific page (e.g., “Salesforce admin login”).
  • Informational intent means they want to learn something (e.g., “What is SEO?”).
  • Commercial intent comprises the keywords they’ll use when they’re researching for a purchase (e.g., “best ERP software” or “ClickUp alternatives”).
  • Transactional intent means users want to do something specific. This could be making a purchase, completing an online form, or starting a free trial (e.g., “HubSpot pricing”).

Usually, this is pretty easy to figure out. You obviously wouldn’t write a blog post targeting the keyword “{My Company} pricing” because you already have a pricing page.

But, sometimes, keywords could go either way.

Here’s a look at an informational query that could easily be mistaken for a commercial one:

Informational query: “What is CPQ software?”

In this case, the user clearly wants to learn about the topic. In addition to the normal search engine results, it highlights a brief definition of CPQ from the top-ranking page.

Commercial query: “CPQ software”

Here’s where it gets a little confusing.

You might not think right away that “CPQ software” is a commercial keyword because it doesn’t sound like it. And, logically, it’s possible that users want to learn about the topic when they type it in.

But…look how far down the first page you have to scroll until you find a result that isn’t an ad or a “best of” list.

Before you decide to target a particular page, do what I just did: check the SERPs to make sure the keyword you want to rank for is the right one.

Do the results match up with the content you want to create? If not, pick a different keyword or choose a different type of page to create.

Since Google sometimes updates its rankings to match user intent more accurately, it’s also a good idea to cross-reference your search results with a keyword research tool.

DealHub CPQ used to rank #1 for that keyword with an informational glossary article.

Now? #6. And they lost 400+ in organic traffic.

The trend is clear: new informational content probably won’t rank for this search term in the future.

Quantity over quality

There’s a common misconception in the marketing community that volume = better search engine optimization.

TL;DR: It doesn’t. Sometimes, it means the opposite.

If your content agency is the type spewing the “if you aren’t using AI, you’re behind” narrative, I’d seriously question their digital marketing prowess (and judgment).

  • Yes. AI can write basic content in perfect English that makes sense.
  • Yes. It can do it really fast (and cheap).
  • No. The content isn’t compelling.
  • And no. Your customers don’t want to read it. In fact, they can spot it from a mile away.

If a professional marketer/copywriter is an athlete, generative AI is a steroid. Not a replacement.

I see a lot of companies basing their entire SaaS SEO strategy on hundreds of generic articles that cover the most basic topics in their industry. And they use ChatGPT to inform that strategy.

You know the type:

They’re always 500-1,000 words, poorly formatted, and don’t really cover anything new.

They’re vanilla. Your audience won’t read vanilla.

If you’re publishing content just to publish content, then what’s the point?

Instead, focus on:

  • Creating top-of-funnel content that underscores today’s business problems and proposes actionable solutions (including your product)
  • Developing product-led content that helps customers visualize it in different use cases
  • Publishing in-depth comparisons that help your users determine whether your product is actually a good fit for them
  • Positioning your team members as thought leaders by writing from their point of view
  • Getting with your sales, CS, and exec teams to align on long-tail keywords and topics customers are actually talking about

Keyword research and mass content production is the old way to do SaaS SEO. To add value (and eventually convert), you have to speak directly to your customers. And that means putting the extra thought into it.

Traffic over conversions

When you search Google for something, do you type 1-2 words, or do you ask it a question?

Most SaaS companies want to go for the big industry keywords and forget that their target audience is likely searching for specific phrases and topics.

Then, they go after generic, difficult keywords they’re never going to rank for, like this:

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the gamification of SEO rankings and organic traffic. But revenue should be the ultimate motivator here.

  • Organic search isn’t your only channel. You’ll have users browse your website and land on your content. You need it to have the same impact on them.
  • Poor conversions aren’t a good sign. You’re either missing your target audience altogether or actively pushing them away.
  • Getting more eyeballs on your content only matters sometimes. It depends on whether you’re focused on lead gen or demand gen. It isn’t either or — you definitely need both. But don’t only focus on awareness-stage content.

Even if you could rank for those high-volume keywords, you’re better off developing your SaaS marketing plan around topics your customers say they care about, like I said. That’s what’s going to get you the ROI you’re looking for.

Which is more valuable?

  • A landing page that gets 10,000 monthly traffic with zero conversions
  • A landing page that nets you 10 visitors/month, but 2 out of every 10 books a demo and 1 out of those turns into a $10,000/month contract

You tell me…

Other SEO mistakes to avoid at all costs:

Confusing users

It takes around 50 milliseconds (or 0.005 seconds) for site visitors to form an opinion about your website and, by extension, your brand/product.

Over the next few seconds, they’ll try to figure out how to navigate your site. If they can’t, they’ll leave.

High bounce rate = low rankings on search engines. It tells Google your content isn’t what the user was looking for or that your site isn’t user-friendly.

You have to be intentional about how you design and structure your site, including:

  • The layout and structure of every page
  • Navigation menus and breadcrumbs
  • Internal linking to related content
  • CTAs and action items

Let’s look at one of my favorite SaaS websites (that converts like crazy),

Within one second of landing on the company’s home page, I know exactly where to go. I get started straight away. Or, without looking up, I’ve already found the three specific features I might have been looking for: task management, sales CRM, and dev tools.

Rather than clicking off the site, internal links enable users to explore within that seconds-long time frame they’re making a decision.

Up top, their navigation menu is easy to read and clearly outlines specific functions a customer might be interested in.

And their blog content is interactive and easy to read. I can jump between different sections and scan the page for its most critical information.

This is what your website needs. Your visitors should be able to use it without thinking.

Ignoring E-E-A-T

Every time Google rolls out an update, they prioritize E-E-A-T more and more. You need to make sure it’s part of your blog template.

Here’s this acronym in a nutshell:

  • Experience — What is your, the creator’s, first-hand experience with what you’re talking about?
  • Expertise — How well does your article demonstrate your knowledge of the topic?
  • Authority — How well-known is your brand and content in the industry?
  • Trustworthiness — Are you an honest, objective source?

Trustworthiness is the most important factor, especially when dealing with YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) topics that could have a real-life impact on users.

To boost your E-E-A-T, focus on:

  • Writing from first-person perspective (like I do in this article)
  • Highlighting the author’s credentials and expertise in their bio
  • Give your authors a spotlight on your Meet the Team page
  • Building a strong personal brand through guest blogging, influencer collaborations, and social media activity
  • Citing sources and linking to authoritative sites when making claims or providing data/statistics
  • Using images and media from reputable sources and creating your own
  • Creating a content structure that gives a full breakdown of the topic with a logical flow

Here’s an example of how that works in a blog I wrote on ecommerce SEO tools:

I wrote about tools I actually use here at Linkflow. And I discussed them in first-person.

Then, I showed actual descriptive photos of me using them.

By the way, I’m doing the same thing right now.

The good news is that as a SaaS company, you’re already halfway there.

  • You’re selling a product in the industry, so you have experience and expertise.
  • You’re an authority. Your product is proof of that.
  • You must be trustworthy because people pay you for what you do!

So, your main concern is creating content that highlights that expertise, brings a unique perspective, and feels organic (i.e., like it came from you, the expert).

Bulky (slow) web design

Technical SEO is really important for the same reasons having a navigable website is really important.

Except this time, Google is measuring how easy it is for its crawlers to get around your site and extract the information they need.

  • Page speed – Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to find out how fast/slow your website loads. Optimize accordingly (e.g., reduce image size, use caching plugins).
  • Indexing – Your website’s structure determines how effectively Google can crawl and index your pages.
  • Schema markup – Use schema (i.e., semantic) markup to help search engines understand the content on your site better.
  • Mobile-friendly UX/UI – Although B2B buyers have traditionally preferred web interfaces, you’re still going to get at least 50% of your total traffic from mobile devices.
  • Broken links – Run periodic site audits to check for broken links. Use Google Search Console to find and fix any 404 errors.
  • Redirects – Minimize the number of internal redirects on your site. Instead, use 301 redirects for permanently moved content.
  • Duplicate content – Don’t publish too many pages of content. Instead, create cornerstone content and pillar pages you can build off of and update regularly.

Beyond this, don’t use a limiting CMS like Squarespace or Wix. You’re best off with Webflow, Duda, or a similar advanced website builder that’s built for SaaS SEO. 

You’ll get some. Especially if you have a good product.

You won’t get a lot, though. And your results will pale in comparison to your competitors that incorporate SaaS link building into their SEO strategy.

At a glance, link building is kind of scary. You don’t need to go all in right away.

  • Start with your money pages. These are the ones that are central to your business and convert people into buyers. Examples include service pages for your core product features and pillar content.
  • Create link-worthy assets. SaaS companies have tons of opportunities to create valuable content that people will naturally want to share and link to. Conduct industry research, compile statistics, and create infographics others can cite in their web content.
  • Collaborate with others. System integrators, channel sales partners, and influencers are some of your best sources for backlinks.

Beyond the basics, you’ll need to be proactive about networking with website owners and guest posting.

Or, more realistically, you can get someone to do it for you.

Bypassing the foundations

In all the intricacies of SaaS SEO and Google’s constantly-changing algorithms, one thing remains the same: you have to do the basic stuff.

  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Alt tags for images
  • Headings and subheadings (h1-h6)
  • URL structure
  • Content quality and relevance

All the fancy stuff is just amplifying your SEO efforts. It can’t replace the foundations.

The good news is most of these are easy fixes and implementations. There are plenty of SaaS SEO tools (including free ones) you can use to spot discrepancies and fix them in a few hours.

It’s a lot to remember. We know…

Even with a background in digital marketing, SEO is a lot to handle. Especially if you’re already managing other aspects of your business. The good news for you: We already love this stuff (and know everything about it).

Brittney Fred, SEO Analyst
Brittney has been working in SEO and digital marketing for ten years and specializes in content strategy for the B2B SaaS industry. She is based in Denver, CO and absolutely fits the Denverite stereotype. You’re just as likely to find her hiking, snowboarding, or doing yoga as reading sci-fi or playing video games.