When you’re an early-stage startup, it can feel like resources and funding are in short supply. But when it comes to SaaS startups, the odds are often stacked against you, making success even harder to achieve.

To overcome these challenges, you need a growth plan that balances your marketing spend across various strategies.

We often hear SEO labelled as a “slow burner” in terms of ROI, and to some extent, that’s true. However, investing in SEO can be the secret ingredient to unlocking success and achieving goals. From boosting brand visibility and creating a robust customer acquisition funnel to improving customer retention and service, SEO has the power to make it happen.

Let’s take a deep dive into why SEO should be an integral part of every early-stage SaaS startup’s strategy.

Importance of SEO for SaaS startups

In today’s digital world, SEO is an absolute must for businesses. For SaaS companies, a robust SEO strategy is non-negotiable. If your website and customer journey fail to inspire confidence, you’ll lose potential customers right from the start.

Startups need exposure and, while SEO may take time to deliver ROI, it’s a game-changer for reaching a wider audience, establishing thought leadership, and dominating the SaaS industry.

The SaaS landscape is fiercely competitive, demanding you to be ahead of the game from the get-go to have a shot at success. With SEO, you can gain enhanced online visibility, increased organic traffic, targeted audience reach, improved brand awareness, and long-term growth. It’s an investment in a sustainable, long-term strategy that you won’t regret.

Challenges of SEO for SaaS startups

SaaS startups can often encounter unique SEO challenges that can make add bumps to their strategy. Let’s explore some of these hurdles:

  • Competition: The SaaS market is a battleground filled with competitors fighting for the top spot. Standing out and securing higher rankings can be a challenge.
  • Scalability: As SaaS startups grow and evolve, expand their offerings, or venture into new markets, maintaining a scalable SEO strategy becomes daunting. Adapting and optimising for growth can be challenging, requiring constant adjustments and fine-tuning.
  • Content: Creating exceptional content is key, but it’s not just about churning out words. SaaS startups must craft high-quality, optimised, and engaging content that resonates with their target audience. Thorough research and strategic planning are essential to align content with the right audience and search intent.
  • Consistency: SEO success relies on consistency. SaaS startups need to deliver consistent content updates, website optimisation, and strategic SEO efforts. It’s an ongoing commitment that requires discipline and persistence.
  • User experience: In the SaaS realm, user experience is paramount. Ensuring a smooth and user-friendly website experience is pivotal for retaining customers and attracting new ones. Balancing SEO optimisations with a seamless user experience can be a delicate dance.

While these SEO challenges may seem like a challenging feat, they also present opportunities for SaaS startups to differentiate themselves, innovate, and find creative solutions that propel them to the forefront of the industry.

How to create an SEO strategy for an early-stage SaaS company

SEO for SaaS startups provides opportunity, growth, and discovery. By implementing up your SEO tactics from the get-go, you set yourself up for success.

Complete a site audit

A healthy, organised, and optimised website is music to Google’s ears. The first step in any SEO strategy is conducting a comprehensive site audit. An audit allows you to uncover any issues hindering your website’s indexing and crawling potential, such as slow loading speed or structural problems.

You can analyse and prioritise identified issues post-audit to understand their resolution timelines. While some fixes are quick, others may require more in-depth work and take longer to address.

There likely won’t be immediate improvements to traffic. It takes time for Google to recognise and process the changes you’ve made — patience is key.

As mentioned, consistency in SEO is crucial. Regular audits are a must to keep up with Google updates and the ever-changing digital landscape. Consistent site maintenance and audits ensure your website remains optimised and up to date.

Don’t forget about basic SEO

While the depths of technical SEO can be fascinating, it’s important for SaaS startups to stay grounded in the early stages and not overlook the fundamentals that benefit any website.

From optimising URL structure and metadata to setting up Search Console and GA4, never underestimate the power of the basics that can boost your site’s performance.

Keyword research & analysis

Keyword research forms the backbone of a successful SEO strategy, providing invaluable insights into user search behaviour and aligning your business with their needs. For early-stage SaaS startups, it’s crucial to identify broad topics relevant to your offering and explore the specific keywords used by your target audience.

When conducting keyword research, three key factors come into play: relevance, authority, and volume. Google ranks content based on these elements, making them essential for your analysis.

To kickstart your research, leverage industry-leading tools like Ahrefs and Mangools. These platforms offer deep insights into keyword performance and competition.

You can also explore Google Trends, investigate “people also ask” sections, and study related searches. These sources provide valuable data and user insights to refine your keyword strategy. Additionally, tap into your SaaS expertise to identify keywords that align with your audience’s search intent.

Uncovering the intent behind each keyword — be it informational, navigational, or commercial — shapes your content strategy, enabling you to deliver valuable content that resonates with your audience. Analysing your competitors and even unrelated businesses that rank well for relevant queries also offers inspiration and insights.

Remember, it’s not just about chasing popular keywords. The SaaS landscape is fiercely competitive, with both large and small players fighting for authority. To truly stand out, garner a deeper understanding of your customers, their language, and their search patterns.

Create a high-quality content plan

Once you’ve completed your keyword research, it’s time to create compelling content that attracts real users to your website.

Google’s content guidelines, known as E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), are the golden rules when it comes to creating your content. In a fiercely competitive landscape, especially for early SaaS startups, creating subpar content that results in high bounce rates and low traffic is simply not an option.

Strategic content plays a pivotal role in any marketing strategy, particularly in the world of search. Here are some tips and things to consider:

  • Carefully map your keywords to different pages on your website.
  • Analyse search volume and relevance.
  • Beware of cannibalisation.
  • Research and deep analysis are crucial in determining where each word should go. Take cues from the SERPs — do blogs, FAQs, or product descriptions dominate the results?
  • Utilise tools like Google Sheets or Excel to map out your content strategy.

For early-stage SaaS companies, supporting content is paramount. Establish your knowledge and thought leadership to buildi authority and a strong online presence.

Consider creating a comprehensive and well-structured content hub — a repository of long-form content, informational articles, FAQs, and more. Categorise and organise the hub to cover various aspects of your industry. This approach drives organic traffic and positions you as a valuable source and a thought leader in your field.

Optimise your landing pages and technical pages

Your landing page sets the stage for your users’ journey on your site. It’s their first impression, so it’s crucial to grab their attention and keep them engaged.

You have the opportunity to hook them at the top of your landing page. Encourage them to scroll down by offering value and captivating content.

Remember — don’t overwhelm them with excessive information. In the middle of the page, provide compelling details and a clear call to action (CTA). Guide them to the desired next steps, whether it’s signing up or exploring further pages on your website.

When it comes to technical pages like pricing, consider your content carefully. These users are likely close to making a purchase decision. Showcase your authority through awards, professional affiliations, or logos of reputable companies who use your product or service.

Lastly, ensure all content on your website is valuable, engaging, and optimised to the highest standard.

Utilise digital PR

Early SaaS startup companies can improve their SEO strategy by leveraging the power of digital PR.

By incorporating digital PR techniques into your marketing efforts, you can amplify your online presence, increase brand visibility, and generate valuable backlinks.

Digital PR involves creating and distributing high-quality content that attracts attention from relevant online publications, influencers, and industry experts. It usually involves the creation of press releases, guest blogging, and influencer outreach.

Tactics such as these can lead to valuable media and organic website traffic. Combined, they can improve search engine rankings and establish authority. By effectively utilising digital PR, early SaaS startups can gain a competitive edge in the market and solidify their position in the online landscape.

Measure, analyse, and reflect

After implementing your SEO strategy, you must measure, analyse, and reflect. By utilising powerful SEO tools like GA4, Search Console, and Screaming Frog, you can closely monitor the effectiveness of your SEO strategies. These tools unveil valuable insights, revealing what’s yielding positive results, what requires improvement, and what’s failing altogether.

Given the frequent updates from Google, tactics that once worked may suddenly lose their impact. That’s why a robust analytics system becomes essential for tracking key metrics like bounce rate, organic traffic, and conversion rates. Regularly scrutinising your website data and metrics empowers you to pinpoint issues and identify opportunities for improvement.

Final thoughts

Crafting an SEO strategy for a fledgling SaaS startup may appear overwhelming at first. However, with an inventive mindset, you can swiftly establish your presence and differentiate yourself from others.

By formulating a strong and proactive SEO plan from the outset, you’ll be well-equipped to adapt to algorithm changes while concentrating on continuously creating engaging content, gaining deeper insights into your target audience, and ultimately thriving in the competitive SaaS arena.

If you’re an early-stage SaaS startup looking for support with your SEO strategy, contact us here.