Software companies are embedded in the digital world by their very nature. Establishing and growing an online presence is of utmost importance for a SaaS company.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the biggest source of organic traffic for SaaS companies, attracting 68% of users. Developing an SEO strategy for your software company can help you develop an organic presence as well as bolster growth.
But where do you begin with developing an SEO strategy and how do you formulate the most suitable one for your company?
We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide of the best practices software companies can follow to grow their online presence through actionable SEO. Read on to know more.
Why do software companies need SEO services
With the rise of the digital age, any and all companies are pushing their digital marketing efforts as that is where the audience is. However, a business that manufactures or provides tangible products and services usually opts for a hybrid of digital and on-the-ground marketing.
Software companies, by the virtue of being solely digital in what they produce, are usually more suited to digital marketing. As they are embedded in the digital world, that is where they need to establish and grow themselves.
The entirety of your success as a software company depends on people being able to find you online. This is where SEO comes in. It drives the maximum traffic for a software company, as stated above. It helps people find you.
60% of marketers say that improving SEO is their top priority when it comes to inbound marketing of their products, highlighting the importance of SEO as an indispensable tool in your online growth.
Why SEO landing pages work well for software companies
81% of all B2B purchase cycles begin with an online search. SEO landing pages play a crucial role in bringing leads to you. Any time a potential buyer searches for a software application that you provide, you have the opportunity to interest them in you.
The goal is to attract them to you whenever they look for anything related. This is where many companies struggle as they don’t know where to begin when working on an SEO strategy. A landing page is specifically created to attract potential buyers.
It’s where a user lands when they search for a related keyword and click on a page by you. This is why SEO landing pages work so well for software companies. They are the vehicle of your SEO efforts, and usually the first point of interaction with a potential buyer.
Top components to build a successful SEO strategy and best practices for software companies
The most effective SEO strategy for your software company is going to be one that is based on your unique needs as a company and directed at your audience with intention. Take a look at your current SEO strategy to get a general idea before formulating a plan.
We’ve outlined the key components that you should focus on when creating your SEO strategy as well as the best practices for driving online growth.
1) Establish KPIs
A Key Performance Indicator measures your business’ performance in a particular activity. Think of them as a way to measure how well you are performing in an area. Deploying KPIs helps you know where you stand and how far you need to go, adjusting your approach accordingly.
The key here is to choose the correct KPIs. Many companies make the mistake of deploying too many KPIs when you can achieve more targeted results by deploying the most important few.
For example, return on investment is an irrelevant KPI to measure when your company is just taking off. Measuring KPIs requires resources and effort, select the ones to measure wisely. Ideal KPIs for software companies in relation to SEO would be:
- Organic traffic — measures how many users are finding you through your content.
- Search rankings — shows how well your keywords are performing.
- Search visibility — lets you see if you are appearing when users look up similar topics.
- Conversion — checks the success of your SEO efforts.
- Bounce rate — helps you with better keyword targeting.
2) Create a detailed buyer persona
A user persona is the ideal person who would need your product or benefit the most from it. It usually consists of the age bracket, occupation, geographical location, likes, dislikes, and hobbies of a person. The focus, however, should be on the pain point they are trying to solve.
For example, the user persona for typing assistant application Grammarly would be someone who types a lot for work or as a hobby. The company would direct its SEO efforts toward people who look up keywords related to writing. It would create content about improving writing and making it sound professional as that is what an ideal customer would be interested in reading.
For your software company, here is how you can create user personas to determine your target audience:
- Research the audience that interacts with products similar to yours. Note their age group, interests, likes, dislikes, etc.
- Analyze their usage patterns and what they need the product for. Zero in on their pain points and the goals they want to achieve with the product.
- Come up with varied ways your product can solve the customers’ pain points.
Create a few personas that would benefit the most from your products and services. They shall serve as the foundation of all your SEO efforts, the target audience for whom the content will be created.
3) Select topics based on your primary keyword research
Your primary keyword is bringing in the most traffic to your site. You want to explore it as much as possible. Various topics and content centered around a single keyword that ranks the highest can tremendously help your SEO efforts.
Let’s take the example of a company providing an office communication platform and its primary search keyword being ‘communication tool for office’. First, it may come up with variations of the same keyword. Secondly, it may come up with various topics to create content on it.
These topics may be about using your office communication tool effectively, why every workplace needs a tool like that, or what are the different benefits of such tools. It may then take these topics and create content in various media for them, such as articles, videos, social media posts, etc.
Creating such a varied range of content allows you to target the same keyword in many ways, compounding the traffic you drive to it.
4) Develop a robust content marketing plan
Content is the single most important factor in driving your SEO efforts. You may have keywords figured out, but they’ll only be put to use when you build content around them. The ideal approach is to marry a robust content marketing plan with your SEO research.
Follow these steps to create a content marketing plan:
- Define your goals i.e., what you want to achieve with your content. It could be increased user engagement, growing your online presence, or increased sales.
- Set up the KPIs in relation to your goals.
- Decide on the type of content you’ll create, such as articles, blogs, videos, photos, social media posts, etc.
- Create the desired content.
- Release the content. Make sure to space it out for better longevity.
- Track your performance and adjust your plan accordingly.
5) Hire SEO experts
As effective as SEO is for your online growth, it can often be confusing and challenging to master, especially if you don’t know much about it. Hiring SEO experts can prove to be extremely helpful in forwarding your SEO efforts.
SEO experts offer a multitude of services, such as:
- Robust keyword research to help you hone in on the most profitable keywords to target.
- Help you stay updated on Google’s notoriously changing algorithm to tweak your approach accordingly.
- Conduct a thorough audit of your website and current SEO strategy and suggest ways to better them.
- Help you optimize your content for keyword performance.
- Research to support your SEO efforts
An SEO expert will take care of the technical side of things, simplifying concepts to help you understand them better and providing proactive ways to improve your strategy. This is especially helpful if you don’t have much experience with SEO or are struggling with it currently.
6) Enhance the experience of visitors on your website
Your website is the finish line of all your SEO efforts. You need to make sure that your website has a compelling effect on the users. It should engage them and convert them into paying customers by demonstrating why your product is what they need.
Take a look at Slack’s website for example. It already has a simple yet targeted structure, urging users to try it for free. Moreover, it enhances the experience of the visitors by having videos that demonstrate just how Slack will help them with things like funneling a large number of messages.
Showing the users how they can perform specific actions lets them understand how useful the product will be without taking much of their time. It also helps users get the most out of the service by knowing what to do.
There are quite a few ways you can work on enhancing the visitor’s experience on your site, such as:
- Optimizing your website’s loading speed. 53% of mobile users abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. It is the first step in grasping the user’s attention.
- Enabling voice search to facilitate better search. You don’t want user’s struggle to find what they’re looking for and leave.
- Optimize page titles and meta descriptions as they greatly aid your keywords.
- Add alt tags (alternative text) to the images on the website. It helps search engines pick up your images when you provide context.
- Use clear CTAs to guide the user on the desired path toward converting. The user should feel that they are on a journey and the page should flow with appropriate CTAs.
7) Create content that covers all search intents
A lot of times, companies focus too much on converting customers. The earlier stages of the sales funnel are just as important as they set up the foundation of a fruitful customer relationship. You need to create content that caters to all kinds of search intents.
Not every user is searching your keywords to buy products. They may be looking them up to get help with a task they are doing, gather information, or simply navigate around. The content you create needs to draw all kinds of users in, even if they don’t intend to purchase.
For example, if they are looking up your keywords to get help with a task, and an article of yours provides them with valuable information needed with the task, they are more likely to look you up again when they need help in similar tasks.
As they keep coming back to you, they might explore the rest of your content, website, and services. This helps create a solid foundation for a relationship that gradually nudges them down the sales funnel.
8) Work on your link-building strategy
Other websites linking back to yours are a huge boost for your SEO. First, it drives organic traffic to your site, especially new people. Second, it helps you rank higher in Google’s rankings. When working on a link-building strategy, focus on getting prime-quality backlinks.
You don’t want a link-back from every website out there. A website that might be spammy or unrelated to your niche will not be valuable. Here’s how you can build a strong link-building strategy:
- Research your audience. See what kind of content and websites they engage with.
- Make a list of websites your audience regularly engages with.
- Create the kind of content your audience would be interested in. You can only approach websites to link back to you when you have the relevant content to be linked.
- Reach out to websites with your content and request them to link back to you.
- Share your pieces on social media. It also serves as a platform to link your content on.
9) Think local SEO if your target audience belongs to your region
Local SEO is often not linked to software companies as their products can be accessed from anywhere. However, If your audience belongs to a specific region, Local SEO might be a helpful tactic. The goal with local SEO is to top rank on Google’s map pack. So that when people search for local keywords, you come up in their results.
Follow these steps to boost your local SEO efforts:
- Optimize your company for Google My Business, post on there, and engage with users.
- Engage with people in your target region through social media.
- Create content for local keywords. You may also optimize your existing content for local keywords.
- Add location pages to your website, if possible.
- Engage with the local community through message boards, etc.
- List yourself on all relevant directories as they provide relevant data to users.
10) Utilize the power of social media
Social media is a powerful tool to boost SEO and build your brand’s image. You can both create content on it as well as share content from your website — both linking back to the website garnering organic traffic for you.
Use social media to extensively distribute your posts. You can essentially have the same caption for all social media platforms, only tweaked for its terminology. It takes less effort but tremendously increases the lifespan of the posts.
Moreover, you can interact with people who are interested in your niche. It enhances your brand image while helping your form a bond with potential customers. You can easily direct them to your website to know more about you, generating true organic traffic.
11) Implement schema markup
Schema markup is a form of SEO that focuses on delivering valuable information to users. It’s a code that you place on your website that helps the search engine understand your content better, and in turn, better represent you in the search results by providing the most valuable information to the user.
Using schema markup helps your audience better understand your brand. As they receive useful information from you without having to dig around, they are most likely to come back to you for more.
To implement a schema markup, you’ll need to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. It lets you select the elements of your website you wish to highlight via markup. They will then be prominently featured in the search results.
12) Reward your existing customers to sharing glowing reviews
Customer reviews have the dual effect of building trust in your brand as well as improving your SEO. For starters, having reviews about your company on a third-party platform is a great way to build off-site SEO — a digital footprint outside of your website.
Secondly, displaying reviews on your website brings more organic traffic as your site appears more authentic. Give your customers incentives to get reviews out of them. You might give them discounts, deals, or redeemable points.
Seeing their review featured on your website will let them know you value their association with you. It would also show your gratitude toward them. You can heavily use good reviews in your content and SEO efforts to build trust in your brand.
Creating the perfect SEO strategy for your software company
Software companies, more than any other type of business, rely on having a superior online presence. Potential buyers need to be able to find them and connect with them to become paying customers.
SEO remains the most successful source of driving organic traffic to tech companies as it directly helps relevant users find them. There are a multitude of components that contribute to creating a successful SEO strategy.
Begin by optimizing your website for maximum engagement with users. Lock in keywords that drive traffic to you and create content around them. You might even take the help of SEO experts to guide you better.
Remember that the goal of an SEO strategy is to connect with users that will benefit from your services and build a strong relationship with them.