Your Definitive Guide To Keyword Analysis For SaaS Businesses
Did you know that 68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine? As a SaaS business, even if that online experience doesn’t lead to a purchase, it could be considered the first step or an important touchpoint in the customer journey.
That’s why one of the most important things you need to do, not just for your content marketing campaign, but for a larger scope of your digital marketing strategy, is keyword analysis.
By the end of this article, you’ll know what keyword analysis is, why keyword analysis for SaaS businesses is important and some keyword analysis tools you can use to get started.
We will also dive into the specific data points you should consider when doing keyword research. And finally we will talk about some specific steps on how you can run a keyword analysis process.
So let’s dive right in.
What Is Keyword Analysis?
Keyword analysis is the process of researching and analyzing keyword phrases in order to determine their competitiveness, relevance, and potential for driving qualified organic traffic to your website
It’s an essential part of search engine optimization (SEO) since keyword research can help you discover what keyword phrases people are using when searching for topics related to your SaaS product.
You can use this information to optimize your content and make sure it appears on search engine result pages (SERPs) when those keyword phrases are being searched.
Why Is Keyword Analysis Important For SaaS Businesses?
As a SaaS business, your marketing efforts mostly (if not entirely) rests on online channels.
One of the great things about online marketing for a SaaS business is that you have a global market you could potentially reach. However, it also means that you’re facing off against global competitors.
Keyword analysis can help you stay competitive in many different ways. So let’s talk more detail about the benefits that a thorough keyword analysis process can bring to your SaaS business:
It Can Help You Create Relevant Content
Planning your content topics doesn’t just involve choosing a topic on a whim. You need to make sure that what you’re writing about is relevant and competitive.
Even if you create the best content piece out there, if no one is looking for it, it won’t do you any good.
Keyword analysis can show you which topics your target audience is actually searching for. This information helps you create content that meets a real demand and therefore will get significant traffic.
It Can Help You Understand Your Audience Better
When doing keyword research, you might be surprised by the keyword phrases people use when searching for topics related to your SaaS product.
By understanding what keyword phrases people use when looking into a topic related to your niche, you’ll gain valuable insight into their needs and the language they use.
This is valuable information for building effective marketing strategies and creating relevant content pieces that solve their problems.
It Can Help You Identify New Opportunities
A keyword analysis process can also help you find keyword opportunities that are more specific or niche than what’s already available.
This could help open up new avenues of traffic that were previously untapped by you or even your competitors.
It Increases Your Visibility On Search Engines
The keyword phrases you target with your content will determine how visible you are on search engines.
By targeting the right keyword phrases, producing high-quality content, and implementing a solid SEO strategy, you get a higher chance of having your web pages appear at the top of the SERPs.
It Can Help You Map Out Your Competitors’ Strategies
When you know what keyword phrases competitors are targeting and how they’re ranking for them, you can use that information to inform your own keyword strategy.
For one, having a thorough competitive keyword analysis may show you some keywords you may have missed out on on your own keyword research.
What’s more, a thorough competition analysis SEO strategy can also help you outrank your competitors by creating content of higher quality than theirs.
It can also help you outperform your competitors in other aspects of SEO, such as link building and site structure optimization.
It Can Help You Increase Conversions
Targeting the right keywords in your content can help you attract the right audiences.
When you have the right keyword phrases and SEO strategy, your content will appear in front of people who are really interested in what you’re talking about and would likely buy your SaaS product.
This, in turn, results in high-quality leads, shorter sales cycle lengths, and significantly higher conversion rates.
Keyword Analysis Tools for SaaS
There are a lot of keyword analysis tools out there that can help you with keyword research and keyword analysis for SaaS. Here are some of the most popular ones
Each of these tools have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to figure out which one is going to work best for you.
If you’re looking for a free tool with basic keyword analysis features, Google Keyword Planner is a great option.
However, you need more in-depth keyword analysis data, then something like Ahrefs or Semrush might be better suited for your needs. Although their advanced features might require you to invest in a paid plan.
Data Points to Consider In Keyword Analysis
Using one or more of the keyword analysis tools we’ve mentioned above can yield a lot of possible data points and keyword research metrics.
And it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information you get.
To simplify the keyword analysis process, here are some important data points to consider when analyzing keyword phrases and what they mean:
The keyword search volume shows you how often a keyword is searched for in a month.
This metric is especially important because it will tell you how much potential traffic your keyword phrase can bring in.
Change In Search Volume
Trends come and go, especially in the SaaS industry where innovation has a huge impact on what people are searching for.
As a result, search volumes for a particular keyword can rise and fall over time too.
Keyword analysis metrics such as three-month change or year-on-year change will tell you how much the keyword search volume has grown in the short term and long term.
If it’s on the rise, then that keyword is likely trending and can be a great keyword opportunity to target.
However, just because you’re targeting a keyword with a high or growing search volume doesn’t automatically mean that it’s the best keyword to target.
If you’re seeing the potential in that keyword, then your competitors do too. And the competition for that keyword might be so high that it’s not worth the effort of trying to rank for it.
That’s why you need to look at other keyword analysis metrics that measure how difficult it is to rank for a certain keyword.
And that brings us to the next data point you should be looking at.
This metric measures how difficult it is for a keyword phrase to rank on the first page of the search results.
Now, every keyword analysis tool has its own way of presenting keyword difficulty.
For example, Ahrefs may assign a number to show keyword difficulty. A keyword with 0 difficulty might mean it’s easy to rank for, while 100 might mean that ranking for that keyword will be extremely challenging.
On the other hand, other tools like Google Keyword Planner may indicate keyword difficulty using a “Low”, “Medium”, or “High” rating.
The reason for these differences is that they have varying ways of computing keyword difficulty as well.
However, these computations rely on more or less the same factors, including the following:
- Competition: The number of websites targeting a keyword and the quality of those websites can greatly affect how difficult it would be for you to rank for that keyword.
- Domain Authority: This is a metric used to measure the strength of an entire website. The higher the domain authority, the more likely that website will rank well for keyword phrases it is targeting.
- Backlinks: This is one of the most important ranking factors. Backlinks are links from other websites to your website, and these links add authority to your website. The more backlinks your competitors have for a certain keyword, the harder it would be for you to rank for that keyword phrase.
One keyword phrase can have multiple meanings and multiple search intents.
As a result, it is important to understand the keyword search intent so you can craft content that meets the needs of your target audience.
Here are the search intents you will likely encounter in your keyword analysis process:
Informational Keywords: These keyword phrases are used when someone is looking for information about a particular topic. Some examples would include “top sales strategies” or “how to start a blog”.
Obviously, the best content to create for informational keywords would be educational content.
Navigational Keywords: These keyword phrases are quite specific and usually include the name of a product, company, or website. For example, “Facebook” or “YouTube.”
You just know that anyone who puts keywords like these in a search query are just trying to look for a certain website.
Commercial Investigation Keywords: These keyword phrases are used when someone is looking to buy a product or service, such as “best SEO tool” or “cheap web hosting”.
Content for this type of keywords usually belong further along the content funnel, with the goal of showing that your SaaS product is the best choice for your potential customer.
If you’re targeting a keyword with commercial investigation intent, you may want to create product comparisons or buyer’s guides.
Transactional keywords: These keyword phrases are used when someone is ready to buy or sign up for a product or service, such as “buy web hosting” or “[SaaS product] free plan”.
For these keyword phrases, you should optimize your pricing pages, product pages, and signup forms so you can get more conversions.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
While keyword analysis is a potent tool for organic content marketing and SEO, it can also help you optimize your paid search campaigns.
One of the most important keyword metrics to consider when running a PPC campaign is the cost per click (CPC) for each keyword phrase. This metric measures how much money you will need to pay for each click on your ad
Obviously, the higher the CPC, the more expensive it would be to get clicks from that keyword phrase. The lower the CPC, the more cost effective it would be to target those keyword phrases with your ads.
How To Run A Keyword Analysis Process
Now that we have an overview of the tools and data points you will need when running keyword analysis, let’s go over the keyword research process.
Step 1: Brainstorm Keyword Ideas
The first step is to brainstorm and list keyword ideas for your website or blog.
You can use keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Semrush to get keyword suggestions from the search engines.
Make sure to list all your keyword ideas and prepare to record all necessary data points for each keyword phrase.
Step 2: List Related Keywords For Each Main Keyword
Once you have listed all the keyword ideas, it’s time to create a list of related keyword phrases for each keyword.
Again, tools Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs can help you come up with additional keyword phrases related to your keyword ideas.
At this step, you may want to look out for more specific keywords, such as long-tail keywords and question-based keywords.
Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that are more specific and usually have 3 or more words. Question-based keywords are keyword phrases in the form of a question, such as “what is keyword analysis?”
These kinds of keyword phrases tend to have lower search volumes but would be more relevant for your target audience. And because they are so specific, they also usually have lower keyword difficulties.
What’s more, content made for these keywords have a high chance of attracting high-quality leads or customers. Since they have very specific searches, they are likely to be further along in the buyer’s journey.
Step 3: Record The Key Data Points For Each Keyword
Now that you have a list of keyword phrases, it’s time to analyze each keyword further.
At this step, we will record the keyword data points for each keyword phrase. This includes the keyword metrics we’ve discussed above.
And like we mentioned, it’s best to tally these numbers on a spreadsheet so you can compare keyword phrases and identify the best keyword opportunities.
Once you have recorded all the keyword data points, you can use them to identify which keywords to prioritize. It will also help you come up with a keyword optimization strategy that would best fit your digital marketing campaigns.
Step 4: Build A Keyword Funnel
The keyword funnel is a tool you can use to identify keywords that you need to target for each stage of the customer journey or the SaaS sales funnel.
Let’s look at the different funnel stages and what kinds of keywords you should allot for them:
Top Of Funnel (TOFU) Keywords: At the top of the SaaS sales funnel, your target audience are potential customers who may not be aware of your SaaS product yet. But they do have a pain point and may be looking for content that would help.
The goal of your content for this stage is to attract these potential customers, provide value through your content, and build trust with them.
That’s why TOFU keywords usually include those with informational intent.
Middle Of Funnel (MOFU) Keywords: MOFU keyword phrases are those that target customers who have identified their pain points and started researching solutions. They may even be comparing your SaaS product with your competitors.
At this stage, your content should be able to answer the customer’s questions and help them understand what solutions are available.
So most keywords at this stage would be those that have a commercial investigation intent.
Bottom Of Funnel (BOFU) Keywords: BOFU keywords are those that target customers who have identified the best solutions to their problem and are now ready to make a purchase.
The keyword phrases at this stage tend to be transactional in intent and usually include words like “buy,” “order,” or “discount.”
Still, some of your content with commercial investigation keywords can still be of use here. After all, customers who reach this stage may still be researching more about the product before making that final decision to make a purchase.
By having keyword funnels, you will have a better overview of your keyword optimization strategy and where each keyword phrase should fit within it.
This will help you come up with content ideas that can attract potential leads, convert them into customers, and keep them loyal users of your SaaS product.
Step 5: Analyze Your Competitors’ Keywords
Keyword research for SaaS won’t be complete without a proper competitive analysis.
By researching your competitors’ keyword strategies, you can identify keyword phrases that may have slipped through the cracks or keyword opportunities that you haven’t thought of before. And like we mentioned earlier, they can help you outrank them for those keywords.
Here are a few tips and steps for a solid competitor analysis SEO strategy:
Find Your Niche Competitors: Niche competitors are those who are targeting the same niche keywords that you’re also trying to rank for.
If you have a hierarchical or siloed website structure, you may have different niche competitors per keyword cluster. So it would be best if you can identify which competitor you are facing off against for each group of keywords you are targeting.
Perform A Keyword Gap Analysis: After you have identified your competitors, you can run a keyword gap analysis to see which keyword phrases they are ranking for that you are not.
You can then record how well they are performing for those keywords. You can track various metrics, such as traffic volume, traffic share, CPC, and more.
Analyzing these well-performing keywords for your competitors can be your first step to closing the gap and outranking them.
Do A Competitor Backlink Analysis: Another way to close the keyword gap is by analyzing your competitors’ backlinks.
Backlinks from high-quality and relevant websites (referring domains) can boost a SaaS website’s keyword rankings, so it pays to look at what kind of links they are getting and if you can replicate it.
You can use various tools such as Semrush or Ahrefs for this type of analysis.
The key principle to doing a competitor backlink analysis is this: If the referring domains are linking to your competitor’s content, they may also be interested in linking to your content.
Publish Skyscraper Content: Skyscraper content is content that is better, bigger, and/or more comprehensive than your competition.
In other words, you create content with the express intent of outranking your competitors.
Not only will this increase your authority as recognized by the search engines. But by creating keyword-focused and link-worthy content, you can pitch the referring domains to get them to update their links with yours.
Step 6: Track Your Progress Consistently
Keyword analysis and SEO isn’t a one-time deal. You can’t just run keyword discovery, keyword optimization and all the other keyword research strategies mentioned above and be done with it.
You have to track your keyword performance consistently. This means monitoring the right metrics that measure whether or not your keyword analysis has a big impact on your bottom line.
Here are some metrics you need to track:
Unique Visitors: This metric allows you to track the number of unique visitors that are coming into your website from search engine keyword searches.
Returning Visitors: If you’re using Google Analytics, you can track how many visitors are returning to your website. This may indicate that you are producing highly relevant, valuable content.
Traffic Sources: This will give you an idea of how much keyword-focused traffic is coming into your website. In particular, you need to track how much of your traffic is coming from organic sources, PPC, and referrals (backlinks).
Conversions: This metric should be tracked for keyword phrases that are directly linked to conversions (purchases, newsletter signups, free trial signups etc.).
Rankings: Of course, you need to track the keyword rankings of all keyword phrases you are targeting. You can use a keyword rank tracking tool such as Ranktracker to do this.
By tracking these metrics and tweaking your keyword research strategies as needed, you will be able to get closer and closer to reaching your keyword analysis goals. Whether it’s more keyword traffic, better keyword rankings or higher conversions
Final Thoughts About Keyword Analysis For SaaS Businesses
Keyword analysis is an essential part of content marketing SEO for SaaS businesses. You need keyword-focused content and a keyword optimization strategy to rank higher in search engines and organically drive more traffic to your website.
By following the keyword analysis and optimization tips outlined above, you can outrank your competitors and dominate your target keyword phrases.
Keep in mind that keyword research is not a one-time deal — it’s an ongoing process. You need to track the right metrics to measure how well your keyword research strategies are performing, and then adjust them as needed.
Looking for more guides to help you take your SaaS business to the next level? Visit our blog here.