If you’re aiming to improve the search engine results for your SaaS company, you’re in the right place. This guide will show you a detailed SEO checklist that can help you grow organic traffic quickly and effortlessly, as long as you stick to it.
As we’re sure you know, SEO consists of numerous categories — from on-page SEO through keyword research and link building to technical SEO and more. These are all the services Los Angeles SEO agency provides within its expertise span.
Rather than tackling all of these aspects at once, this checklist will keep you sane by helping you stay organized and handle one aspect at a time to cover all your bases.
Without further ado, let’s focus on the first category of your SaaS SEO checklist — the basic setup. The first item on your checklist is to create a sitemap.
1. Create a sitemap
Search engines use sitemaps to find important content on your site, so they can crawl and index your pages more efficiently. You can use the Yoast SEO plugin to create your sitemap automatically. If you do not want to use Yoast or do not use WordPress, you can find tons of other free sitemap generators on the internet.
2. Check for a robots.txt file
A site’s robots.txt file is a roadmap for search engines, instructing them where they can or cannot go on your site. For example, you may not want an indexing algorithm to crawl specific directories or pages, like RSS feeds or your cart page.
If you don’t know whether you even have a robots.txt file, type [your.domain]/robots.txt into the URL bar of any browser. You’re good to go if you see a plain text file with parameters like user-agent, allow, and disallow.
Otherwise, find any robot.txt generator on the web and create one.
3. Set up the essential Google tools
For insightful data on how visitors interact with your website, you’ll want to set up Google Analytics. This tool enables you to analyze things like time on page, bounce rates, and other crucial metrics, giving you an idea of user engagement and overall UX.
Another must-have tool for all webmasters is Google Search Console. With this tool, you can see all the keywords your site ranks for and track your performance on Google search pages.
Although keyword research is more of a fluid subject than an exact science, and there are many ways to approach it, there are a few fundamentals that every SEO strategist and marketer should follow, SaaS or otherwise. Let’s check these out!
4. Focus on a primary keyword target for each page
Every page you create should target one main keyword. This is particularly noticeable with blog posts. Look at the blog post titles of any SEO-knowledgeable company.
Once you know what you’re looking for, it becomes pretty noticeable which keywords a particular blog post is targeting from the title alone. You don’t need to look further than the title of this guide to see this practice in action. Chances are you found this post by googling something along the lines of “SEO Checklist for SaaS.”
To find the best primary keyword for a page, you’ll need a keyword research tool. These tools show you all kinds of valuable data for a given keyword, such as search volume, the keyword difficulty score, and essential metrics on the current top 10 pages for that keyword.
5. Analyze search intent
Search intent is precisely what it sounds like — it tells you what a searcher is looking for and why they used a particular keyword. The best way to analyze the search intent for a given keyword is to use Google search.
Search for the keyword you want to rank for and look at the top results. What you’re looking for is the type and format of the ranking pages.
Let’s go back to our “SEO Checklist for SaaS” example. As you could see when you performed your search, the types of page ranking for this keyword are similar to this one — blog posts in the form of tutorials and lists.
Let’s say you were looking to create a product page selling a SaaS SEO checklist. In that case, you probably wouldn’t rank with the keyword above because you would not match the search intent.
To help further explain this, here’s a different example: Let’s say you type into the search bar “Best pizza in NYC.” Results come up, and you click on one. The page launches into an opinion piece about why the best NYC pizza is actually homemade, then provides you with a step-by-step recipe on how to make pizza at home.
That’s not what you were looking for, right? You didn’t want a recipe, you wanted a list of the top pizza places in New York!
Matching the search intent of keywords to the type of content you produce is key to driving traffic through SEO.
6. Examine related queries
Once you have the search intent figured out, you’ll want to look at the queries related to your topic. This is another item that Google can help with. Type your primary keyword in the Google search bar and look at the autocomplete options suggested by Google.
The “People also ask” box is another good place to look, and so is the “Searches related” box at the bottom of each search results page.
At this point, you should have a firm idea of the content you should cover in your post and the questions you should address.
7. Find relevant subtopics and additional keywords
You can find which subtopics to cover by looking at the keywords that the top pages are already ranking for through a keyword research tool. Once you have that information, all you need to do is cover those same points on your page.
Use some of these keywords as subtopics and sprinkle a few others throughout your content, and generally do your best to cover the various relevant keywords to further expand your reach.
8. Assess your chances of ranking
To truly understand your chances of ranking for a given keyword, you need to know the SEO metrics of the top-ranking pages. The keyword difficulty scores in the various keyword research tools will provide a general estimate, but relying on that alone won’t get you far.
There is a lot more that goes into assessing ranking difficulty, and it goes beyond the scope of this checklist. We recommend watching or reading a few tutorials on the subject or hiring some outside help.
Now that we’ve covered the section of our checklist dealing with keyword research, it is time to move on to the next section, which deals with on-page SEO. Let’s begin with URLs.
9. Use short and descriptive URLs
The simplest and most effective way to choose your URL is to use your primary keyword. For example, a blog post on The Top 10 SEO Plugins could have the URL [your.domain]/seo-plugins. It is short and descriptive, meaning everyone can quickly tell what the topic is about from the URL alone.
10. Optimize your meta description and title tag
Your title tag and meta description show in search engine results. This is your chance to compel the user to choose your page over others that appear in search. Optimize these factors by including your primary keyword and explaining the value of your page to a user who is considering which page to click.
11. Add relevant links
Web pages that link to high-domain external resources tend to rank higher than those that do not. This means you should not shy away from including helpful links to other websites on your page if it will improve the user experience and the overall quality of the blog post.
Secondly, you should include internal links from relevant pages on your own website. You should already know which existing blog posts and pages could include phrases pertinent to your new blog post. Go to these pages and add internal links to this recent post on relevant anchor texts. This helps increase click-through to keep visitors on your website longer.
While it important to select a topic with high search traffic potential, you also want to make sure the keywords you’re aiming for aren’t impossible to rank for. Balance the search volume with the keyword difficulty go give yourself a chance to rank.
Here are a few essential items to add to your SEO checklist related to content creation.
12. Write an engaging intro
Your introduction serves to inform the reader that they are in the right place and that the post they’re about to read will solve their problem or answer their question. If it fails to do this, your visitor will leave before you can say “bounce rate.”
Here are a few tips on how to write a good introduction:
- Connect with the reader by acknowledging their pain points
- Build credibility/trust through relevant stats or studies
- Promise a solution to their problem
13. Focus on readability
When we talk about readability, we can separate it into two categories — visual comprehension and reading comprehension.
When a reader opens a page, the first thing their mind can process is the way the page looks. If your blog is a single wall of text in 10pt font, your visitor will likely want nothing to do with it.
To prevent this, keep sentences short and direct, and break your content up into small paragraphs (like we did here). This will increase your chances of turning a visitor into a reader and, ultimately, a customer.
According to The Literacy Project, 50% of American adults cannot read at an 8th-grade level. As depressing as this fact may sound, your SaaS blog’s job is not to improve literacy but to reach as many readers as possible.
This means you should try not to alienate half the population (or non-native speakers) by making your writing too complex.
There’s a really helpful free tool for improving readability called Hemingway Editor. All you need to do is paste your content into the app once you’re finished, and it will give you a readability score.
14. Solve the search intent
Great content solves the users’ problems. Aim to offer practical and actionable tips that your reader can try right away.
If the blog solves your reader’s original problem and also answers any questions they may come up with while reading, Google will likely recognize it as a high-quality piece of content.
That brings us to the end of our complete SEO checklist for SaaS companies. Hopefully, these tips will help you improve your SEO strategy and rank higher in Google search results.
That said, search engine optimization is a long-term process, and you should not expect a quick turnover. It will take some time for these tips to begin taking effect, so we recommend that you keep at it and remain patient.