9 Essential SaaS Keyword Research Techniques To Rank #1

SaaS Keyword Research


Imagine for a second that you just produced a piece of SaaS content that is so relevant that a lot of people are reading and sharing it.

Then imagine that it starts to rank in Google for relevant keywords. Then even more traffic starts to come in and people find your content through search engines.

How great would it be if that were to come true?

You could make it come true if you do your content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) right.

And a huge part of that is SaaS keyword research.

In this article, we will talk about different ways you can maximize your keyword research to bring your content and SaaS website up the ranks in search engine results pages (SERPs).


What Is SaaS Keyword Research?


Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing words and phrases that people use in search engines to find content.

When you know which keywords to target, you can optimize your content around those keywords so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages. In turn, this will help you get more traffic to your SaaS website or blog.

But how do you actually make the most out of your keyword research?

Let’s talk about some tips that can help you with that.


1) Pick The Right Keyword Research Tool


There are a lot of great keyword research tools out there that can help you find the right keywords to target.

Some popular options include Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, Semrush, and Ahrefs.

Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to pick the one that’s right for you and your needs.

If you’re just starting out and are looking for a free keyword research tool, you may want to use Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Planner. They aren’t as comprehensive as the paid tools, but they get the job done.

However, if you’re looking for a more thorough keyword research tool, you may want to invest in a paid tool like Semrush or Ahrefs.


2) Use Keyword Research To Find Content Marketing Topics


One great way to use keyword research is to find content marketing topics that people are searching for.

You can do this by using any of the keyword research tools we mentioned earlier.

All you need to do is type in some relevant terms and see what comes up. For example, if you sell marketing software, you may want to search for “marketing tips” or “SEO tips.”

This will give you a list of potential topics that you can write about on your blog or website. What’s more, you can also see how many people are searching for these terms

This can help you prioritize the topics that are most popular. As a result, you can create and publish content that is relevant to your target audience.


3) Record Keyword Research Data On A Spreadsheet


As you research your target keywords, you would likely end up with an extensive list. And each keyword on that list would have its own set of data.

To keep track of your keyword research data more effectively, you need to input them on a spreadsheet.

If you’re only after organic traffic, there are two main data points that you need in your keyword research: the search volume and keyword difficulty.

However, if you’re also doing keyword research for a Google ad, you may also want to take note of the bids for it.


Search Volume


A keyword’s search volume is simply the number of people who search for that term every month.

This is an important metric because it can give you an idea of how popular a certain keyword is.

For example, if you’re selling an SEO solution, you may want to target the keyword “SEO tips.”

However, if you see that the monthly search volume for that keyword is only 10, you may want to reconsider and target a different keyword instead.

On the other hand, if you see that the monthly search volume for “marketing tips” is 10,000, then that’s a better keyword to target since more people are searching for it.


Keyword Difficulty


Another important metric is keyword difficulty. This essentially measures how difficult it would be to rank for a certain keyword.

A keyword with a high difficulty score would be more difficult to rank for, whereas a keyword with a low difficulty score would be easier to rank for.

Keyword difficulty is important because it can give you an idea of how much competition there is for a certain keyword.

For example, if you’re selling marketing software and you want to target the keyword “SEO tips,” but you see that the difficulty rating is high, then that means there’s a lot of competition for that keyword. As such, it would be more difficult to rank for that keyword.

On the other hand, if you see that the difficulty score for “marketing tips” is low or medium, then that means there’s less competition for that keyword. As such, it would be easier to rank for that keyword.

Ideally, you would want to target keywords with high search volumes and low keyword difficulties.

However, that’s not always possible.

In some cases, you may have to compromise and target keywords with high search volumes but medium or high keyword difficulties.


Top Of Page Bid


If you’re using Google Keyword Planner, you may also see a metric called Top Of Page Bid. This is simply the amount that advertisers are willing to pay per click for a particular keyword.

This metric can give you an idea of how much competition there is for a certain keyword. The higher the Top Of Page Bid, the more expensive it is to target that keyword.

It’s particularly useful if you’re planning to run a Google ad.

After all, you would want to know how much you would need to spend on your ad campaign. If the Top Of Page Bid doesn’t fit your budget, then you may want to consider targeting a different keyword instead.


Sample keyword spreadsheet with search volume and keyword difficulty


4) Find More Keyword Ideas From Each Primary Keyword


Once you have a list of potential keywords, it’s time to start expanding on that list.

Remember, the goal is to find as many relevant keywords as possible. The more keywords you target, the better your chances are of ranking in search engines.

While you’re at it, you might want to look for two types of low-competition keywords: long-tail keywords and question keywords.


Long-Tail Keywords


Long-tail keywords are simply longer, more specific keywords. They’re usually 4 words or more.

For example, “marketing software” is a short-tail keyword. One example of a long-tail keyword derived from it would be “best marketing software for small businesses.”

Long-tail keywords tend to have less search volume than short-tail keywords. However, they’re often easier to rank for since there’s less competition for them.

Despite the low search volumes, long-tail keywords can be useful if you’re only looking to attract high-quality leads that are more likely to turn into paying customers.


Question Keywords


Another type of low-competition keyword are question keywords. These are simply keywords that are framed as questions.

For example, “What is search engine optimization?” is a question keyword.

Question keywords are often easier to rank for because they’re more specific.


5) Know Each Keyword’s Search Intent


Search intent simply refers to the reason why someone is searching for a particular keyword.

It’s important for you to know the prevalent intent behind each keyword because you’ll also know what kind of content would best answer their questions.

Some keyword research tools already show the dominant types of search intent behind each keyword.

But if you don’t have one, you can manually look up the keyword on a search engine and see the top results. This will at least give you an idea of what most searchers are looking for.

There are four main types of search intent:

  • Informational
  • Commercial investigation
  • Navigational
  • Transactional

Let’s talk about them one by one.


Informational Keywords


Keywords with informational intent are those that people use when they want to learn something.

For example, if someone searches for “SEO tips,” they’re likely looking for information on how to improve their website’s ranking in search engines.

If you’re targeting informational keywords, your content should be educational in nature, not promotional. It should provide value and answer the searcher’s questions.

As a result, you can build trust with your target audience and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.


Commercial Investigation Keywords


People use commercial investigation keywords when they’re considering making a purchase but haven’t decided on a specific product or service yet.

For example, someone searching for “best CRM software” is still in the research phase. They haven’t decided which CRM software to buy yet.

If you’re targeting commercial investigation keywords, your content should provide helpful and unbiased information about their possible options.

Sure, it would be a great place to differentiate your SaaS product from your competitors. But potential customers know if they’re reading an unfair comparison.

So whatever claim you make, be sure to back it up with proven facts and historical data (if possible).


Navigational Keywords


Navigational keywords are those that people use when they’re looking for a specific website or web page.

For example, if someone types “YouTube” into the search bar, they’re looking for YouTube’s homepage.

Navigational keywords are simply just the names of the website or brand that the searcher is looking for.

If it’s your brand, there’s really no need to write new content because the searcher is already looking for your website.


Transactional Keywords


Transactional keywords are those that people use when they’re ready to make a purchase.

For example, someone searching “HubSpot pricing” is likely looking to buy the software

If you’re targeting transactional keywords, you need to make sure that your pricing or sign-up page is optimized for conversions.

Your content should be clear and concise, with a strong call-to-action (CTA) that encourages the reader to take the next step.


6) Build A Keyword Funnel


A keyword funnel is a great way to visualize the keywords you’re targeting at different stages of the buyer’s journey. It’s closely related to your content marketing funnel and SaaS sales funnel.

There are four main stages of the funnel:

  • Awareness
  • Evaluation
  • Decision
  • Delight

Let’s discuss keywords for these stages one by one.


Awareness Stage


Generally, potential customers in the Awareness stage haven’t heard of your SaaS product yet. They might not yet even know that they are in need of a SaaS solution yet.

But they do have questions and are looking to learn more about their problems and potential solutions.

So, generally, your informational keywords belong in the Awareness stage.

Your goal at this stage is to attract potential customers and provide valuable content. As you earn their trust, you can eventually start to promote your product in the later stages of the funnel.


Evaluation Stage


At the Evaluation stage, potential customers have realized that they need a solution, and are now looking for the best option. They’re evaluating their options and trying to decide which SaaS product is the best fit for their needs.

Keywords in the Evaluation stage mainly have commercial investigation intent.

Your content should help potential customers compare their options and make an informed decision about which product is right for them.


Decision Stage


At the Decision stage, potential customers have decided which SaaS product they want to buy. They’re now looking for information about how to sign up or purchase the product.

Decision stage keywords generally have transactional intent.

Your content should include a strong CTA that encourages potential customers to take the next step and sign up for your product.


Delight Stage


The Delight stage is when potential customers have already purchased and are using your SaaS product.

At this stage, your goal is to provide them with content that will help them get the most out of your product and continue to be satisfied with their purchase.

This might include tutorials, case studies, user guides, etc.

So in this stage, you might want to include keywords that specifically concern your product.

You may also target question keywords related to FAQs about your SaaS product.


7) Keep Search Engine Features In Mind


Google and other search engines have certain features that can help your SaaS website and content stand out in the SERPs.

If you’re not taking advantage of these features, you’re missing out on valuable traffic.

Here are some examples of search engine features to keep in mind:


Rich Results


Rich results, also known as rich snippets or featured snippets, are special search results that include additional information beyond the standard title and description.

It may look something like this:


Sample paragraph snippet


These rich results can vary depending on the type of information your content has. A snippet for a product listing would include its price and star ratings. A rich result for a blog post may contain a paragraph that explains a certain topic or answers a question keyword.

Although optimizing your content for rich results mainly concerns technical SEO, your actual content can still be helpful.

To help your content’s potential for rich results, you need to make sure that you are satisfying the search intent behind the keyword you’re targeting.

What’s more, placing your keywords on your subheadings may also help search engines better understand your content and match it with featured snippet opportunities.


Image Packs


An image pack is a special search result that appears when someone searches for something related to an image.

For example, if you search for “pizza,” you’ll see an image of pizza as the first result. And if you click on that image, you’ll be taken to a Google Images page with more results.

To take advantage of this traffic potential, make sure to include high-quality images on your website and blog posts. And make sure to add keyword-rich alt text to those images so they have a better chance of appearing in image search results.


Video Snippets


Google and other search engines are also starting to feature videos more prominently in the SERPs.

If you have any helpful videos on your website or YouTube channel, make sure to optimize your videos for SEO so they have a better chance of appearing as a video snippet.

Here are a few video SEO tips you can try:

  • Use keyword-rich video title, description, and tags
  • Add transcripts to your videos
  • Use custom thumbnails


8) Conduct A Thorough Competitor Keyword Research


Finding out your competitors’ target keywords can also be helpful in your own SaaS keyword research.

After all, your direct competitors are targeting the same audience as you. Knowing what keywords they’re using and how they’re performing can give you useful insights into your target audience.

What’s more, it may show some keywords that you’ve probably missed or didn’t know were relevant to your target audience.

How do you perform competitor keyword research? Here are some steps.


Search For Keywords In Your Competitor’s Domain


One way to find out what keywords your competitors are targeting is to check them out through some keyword research tools.

These include the following:

These tools will allow you to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for in the SERPs. You can also use these tools to spy on your competitor’s backlinks and get ideas for link building opportunities.


Track Their Content Pages’ Metrics


When you find your competitor’s content pages through an SEO tool, chances are that the platform will also show you their performance using different metrics.

These may include the following:

  • Target keywords
  • Organic traffic
  • Ranking
  • Backlinks

Tracking these particular metrics will give you a good idea of which keywords are driving traffic to their content pages.

What’s more, the ranking and backlinks they’re getting indicate that they have authoritative content for those keywords. So you might learn a thing or two from how they have used their keywords and content for those pages.

You can then further use these insights to improve your own content strategy and produce better content that can rank for those target keywords.


9) Track Your SEO Performance


SEO is an ongoing process. You can’t just set it and forget it. You need to track your progress to see if your efforts are paying off.

There are different tools you can use to track your SEO performance, such as the following:


Google Analytics


This is probably one of the most important tools for any content marketer. Google Analytics can give you insights into your website traffic, including your organic traffic.

This is important because it will allow you to see if your content marketing and SEO efforts are paying off. If you see a spike in your organic traffic after publishing a new blog post or optimizing an existing one, then you know you’re on the right track.


Google Search Console


Google Search Console is another essential tool for any SaaS content marketer, especially if you’re looking to improve your SEO efforts.

Google Search Console can give you insights into how your website is performing in Google’s search results.

It can also show you which of your pages are being indexed by Google and which keywords they’re ranking for. This information can be helpful in fine-tuning your SEO efforts.


Bing Webmaster Tools


Let’s not cut Bing out of the picture. After all, it’s still the second-largest search engine in the world (if you exclude YouTube).

Bing Webmaster Tools is similar to Google Search Console. But for Bing. It can give you insights into your website’s performance in Bing search results.

Like with Google Search Console, you can use the insights from Bing Webmaster Tools to make specific adjustments to your SEO campaign.


Final Thoughts About SaaS Keyword Research


Keyword research is an essential part of any SaaS content marketing strategy.

It allows you to understand what keywords your target audience is searching for and how you can use those keywords to improve your website’s visibility in the search results.

There are a lot of metrics that go into keyword research. But one thing you should not neglect is the search intent behind each keyword.

Knowing the searchers’ motivation for those keywords will help you make sure that you’re producing the right content for them.

And when you have the right content for your target audience, you’re more likely to rank higher in the search results and drive more organic traffic to your website.

Looking for more guides that can help you grow your SaaS business? Check out our blog here.

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Ken Moo