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SEO for SaaS: 12x uplift in organic leads
In July 2021 I was hired by my client who is a SaaS startup in the crypto compliance space.
They were concerned their main keyword was ranking on the third page of Google while their main competitor was on position 1.
Their competitor was already widely established and had more organic traffic, a better authority score and backlink profile:
I was hired by the client to help improve the SaaS website and to get them ranking in position 1 for several target keywords.
Client’s authority & backlink profile when I started:
Client’s authority & backlink profile following SEO:
Organic Traffic & Keyword growth following SEO
The value of SaaS SEO
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Result 1: “Book a demo” conversions have increased by 12x
The organic “book a demo” conversions on the website have increased by 12x, meaning more people are booking a demo with the client’s sales team as a result of SEO. Organic traffic makes up the most amount of conversions, with 55.4% of demos booked via organic search.
Uplift in completed “book a demo” conversions
Results 2: Increase in Organic Traffic by 6.5x
Since implementing SEO best practices, the client’s website has seen organic search traffic increase by 6.5x.
Client’s increase in organic search traffic
Result 3: Outranking the competitors in the top three keywords
As a result of the featured snippets, my client now outranks the competitors for the top three keywords within the industry. The client now ranks in an average position of 4.86 for a number of “SaaS product” and “main” keywords, with the nearest competitor 26 places lower. In total, the average position of the client has improved by 88%.
Client (blue) ranking above major SaaS competitors
Result 4: Non-branded traffic has increased by 50x
Non-branded traffic has increased by 50x since optimising the website for SEO.
Client’s non-branded traffic
Breakdown of demo bookings (blue is organic traffic).
Result 5: The website has received over 40 featured snippets for the main keyword and product-related keywords
Using on-page SEO, the client has received 40+ Featured Snippets (Position 0) including its main KW in addition to all of its product-related keywords having a Featured Snippet.
Featured Snippets Ranking
Result 6: We gained a Knowledge Panel after extensive schema markup research and implementation
Whilst adding SEO & Schema, the client now has a knowledge panel which will likely improve further as Google aggregates the data.
How did we achieve these results?
Created over 100 pieces of new content
Although the client’s website was not a one-pager, the site was fairly limited and thin on content. Therefore, I decided that it would be best to start creating product-focused content before producing high-quality blog posts. In total, we created over 100 pieces of new content during the SEO campaign which led to an increased search volume and also helped the client’s website become an educational hub in their industry.
Increase in organic traffic following content creation
Initiated the creation of a lead magnet which also served as a linkable asset
As part of content development, we created the only downloadable report of its kind on the Crypto Regulation Technology industry which acted as a lead magnet but also helped to attract multiple backlinks.
The summary of the report attracted 94 new domains, 10 of which had an Authority Score of over 41. Top publishers linking to the client’s report included, podbean.com, benzinga.com, and chainalysis.com.
The boost in backlinks as a result of the report provided a ranking boost for the client’s website.
Implemented Schema Markup on every page
Schema Markup is a type of coding which provides Google with extra information about the webpage or the whole website. As a result, it often provides the website with more features when it appears on Google SERPs which can help with ranking and drive organic traffic.
When I started working with the client, the markup schema was not implemented on the website. Therefore, it was decided that markup schema should be added to every page to provide more data to Google.
For example, we used product schema on the product pages to help signify they were products rather than a general page. In addition, location schema was also implemented as the client operated globally, this helped with ranking on the SERPs in different countries.
By using technical SEO, in the form of schema markup, it played a key part in helping improve how the website appeared on search results.
Developed an internal linking structure
Internal linking is integral to improving the authority score of a website, which in turn, improves the ranking of the website. Internal linking helps transfer link equity to the most important pages on the site and is often a key ranking factor.
Initially, the client’s website had some internal linking but it was not structured in a way which was beneficial to the ranking of the site. It was decided that we should direct the internal linking from the blog pages to the product pages.
This helped improve the ranking of the blog pages and is a contributing factor to why all of the product pages on the site have a featured snippet.
Fixed technical issues on the website
Technical SEO issues can often hold a website back as it violates the best practices which Google’s algorithm looks for when crawling websites. It can either mean that a website reaches a point where it cannot rank any further or the website is actually ‘punished’ and loses its rank.
Therefore, it was important to highlight and communicate to the tech team what technical issues needed to be addressed first. I did this by undertaking a technical audit of the client’s website, which highlighted any major technical issues the website was having. I then prioritised the technical issues that needed to be fixed first. Working closely with the dev team we were able to improve the overall health of the website.
Constant & Consistent reporting
It is all well and good to implement SEO best practices, but it’s pointless if nobody monitors it. That is why I implemented weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting to help track how the website was performing.
Weekly reporting allowed us to understand how the website was ranking in the short term, which allowed us to make quick decisions if need be. Quarterly reporting provided important information to the client that SEO was working and KPIs were being met.
Overall, it allowed us to keep an eye on what landing pages were working, a better understanding of customers’ search intent, and also informed us on how different marketing channels were performing.
Working with a small team
One of the challenges of implementing the SEO changes was that the team was very small.
Including myself, there were three people working on this project. In comparison, some of the client’s partners and competitors have a team of 7-8 people working on SEO optimisation and content creation.
The benefit of working within a small team was that we were able to communicate effectively with each other which made it easy to manage. However, the obvious downside is that a three-person team limits how fast assignments can be completed.
Nonetheless, we were able to overcome this and resulted in developing over 100 pieces of content despite working with a small team.
Working with a CMS that was not SEO friendly
One of the other hurdles when working with this client was that they were using a Webflow CMS. The major challenge that this created was that it heavily restricted SEO functionality, which made it difficult to make changes to the website.
For instance, one of the issues was that the CMS did not have a ‘Search & Replace’ function, which meant there was lots of repetitive manual work. This was frustrating as the team was very small which meant that what would’ve been a quick and easy task, took up more time and resources.
Nonetheless, despite the CMS not being conducive to SEO optimisation we were still able to implement the changes that we needed and had success with rankings albeit in a slightly slower timeframe.
The biggest competitor received major investment
Whilst working with the client, their biggest competitor was acquired by a leading multinational financial services corporation. It meant that the competitor had access to lots of extra resources which would make it more difficult for the client to compete.
Furthermore, the competitor was already outranking the client on a number of SEO metrics. The competitor had a 40% higher Authority Score, 3x more organic search traffic, and 70x more backlinks.
However, this did not deter the team or their efforts. Despite the competitor having a wealth of resources at their disposal and a greater amount of backlinks, we were able to rank higher for many keywords which are highly sought after in the industry.
Final thoughts & reflection
Here is just a quick reminder of where we started and where we have ended up so far:
SEO metrics at the starting point:
The most recent SEO metrics:
When reflecting upon my time working with this SaaS business, I am incredibly happy with what we were able to achieve in just over a year. There were a number of milestones that we were able to reach, especially the 6.5x increase in organic traffic and 6.5x increase in conversions.
This was despite some of the challenges of working with a small team and coming up against an established competitor with much more funding.
Overall, this case study shows how powerful an SEO marketing strategy can be when implemented correctly in the SaaS industry. It will be interesting to see where I can take my client next.
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