One of the most important stages of any marketing plan, website build, or content creation campaign is the keyword research – after all, you want to be found by as many searchers as possible.
Doing keyword research for SaaS companies is just as critical, and can be more challenging than you might think. Often, SaaS companies don’t have large websites with plenty of existing content, and the services often have a lot of technical jargon attached or even in the name that makes search volumes low.
With that in mind, it’s essential to think about what your users will be searching for, what content they’ll need and how you’re going to deliver it to them. With that in mind, you must first have a good idea of who your ideal customers are by building out buyer personas. These will give you a better idea of who exactly it is that buys your new service and why they use it.
Next, you’ll want to identify what they would be searching for – the jobs they need to do, the challenges they face, the types of content they already read and enjoy – and use that as the base for your keyword research.
The next step is to perform the keyword research – but after that, it’s also important to put that research to good use. You should structure your site accordingly, building out pages to suit high-volume, relevant terms, supported by other related content. You’ll also want to make sure you provide the right sort of content to answer customer queries throughout their journey towards becoming a customer (and beyond).
To put all that in a simple step-by-step list, the steps for SaaS Keyword Research are:
Identify your buyer personas.
Work out what they’re searching for.
Perform your keyword research.
Build website pages and content based on the research.
Let’s go into more detail about each of these steps.
Creating Buyer Personas
Buyer Personas are, as we’ve covered briefly above, generalised representations of your ideal customers. They’re extremely useful, as they give you a much deeper understanding of exactly who it is you’re selling to, what they like and don’t like, and what their needs are.
But how do you create them? Generally, buyer personas are based on a combination of market research, information from existing customers and a few educated assumptions.
If your SaaS company is established, this can be simple, as you’ll already have a customer base who will (hopefully!) be willing to spare you a little time to help you flesh out these personas. If you’re a SaaS startup or bringing a new and unique product onto the market though, don’t worry. You can gather the information you need from prospective customers, or from research into the customers of existing competitors. Also, when you do pick up clients, you can interview them and have them help you fill in the gaps in your personas.
Working Out The Needs Of Your Personas
Once you’ve identified your buyer personas, the next stage is to identify the problems they have in their role and relate those to the product or service you offer.
To do this, look back to your buyer persona, and think about the issues they face in their day to day jobs. Think about what they’d like to get done during their work day, the problems they face in doing that, and then see how your service helps. This will allow you to both identify the value of your software to a customer (does it save them time, or help them organise better, for example?), and to see some of the existing problems they are currently looking for a solution for. This helps inform you what you need to base the first elements of your keyword research on.
Perform Keyword Research
The next stage is to perform your keyword research. I won’t go into too much detail here, as the process is the same for most companies - if you’d like a guide on exactly how to perform it, check out our guide here.
Your work with your buyer personas will have informed you about the type of queries your customers will be asking, you’ll also want to analyse industry terms for your broader content topics. This ensures that you’ll be able to produce content on a range of topics, while also tailoring it to suit the questions and issues that your ideal customers are having.
To do your keyword research, I’d recommend using a dedicated keyword research tool. You can use the Google Ads keyword planner, but this does give results that are more slanted towards use for paid search purposes. I’d recommend Moz’s Keyword Explorer – you can get two free searches a day, and even more if you’re signed up to use Moz’s other great SEO tools.
Build Out Website Pages
Once you’ve done your keyword research, you’ll have a list of key terms to focus on, not just for the content you’ll want to produce, and the questions you’ll answer, but also it can help you decide on the titles for your web pages. Often, a SaaS company website is very product-focused, so there’s room to expand your page list.
To do this, I’d recommend building out a keyword mapping document. This takes the keywords from your research and maps them to the existing pages on your website. This will show you where you might need to make content changes, as well as where you might be missing pages that you need to add. By building out a keyword map, you can easily plan out what you’ll do next, which pages you’re missing, which blogs you need and assign content creation to your team members.
Following these steps will allow you to get your keyword research done, and have your pages targeting the right keywords – and, as a bonus, the buyer personas you’ve created will help you not just decide what content to make, but also the tone of voice you use, where you post, and the strategies you should take not just on your own website, but on every channel of communication with your customers.