SaaS For SEO

7 Reasons Why SaaS Developers Need To Understand SEO

With increased marketing growth, there’s no doubt that being in the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry is very competitive. Most SaaS companies are already implementing SEO strategies on their website. So if you’re not doing that yet, you better catch up now.

Whether you work in a digital agency or are new to the marketing industry, you’ve probably heard a lot of people talking about SaaS. You’ll be amazed at how this industry has quickly evolved and is growing exponentially.  Heck, my old friend Arlo Gilbert even has a new Start-Up called MetaSaaS that focuses on helping companies reduce SasS spending. How much do you spend a month?

man running CTA

How Are SaaS And SEO Related?

First of all, the keywords in SaaS industry are incredibly competitive. You’ll always go up against a competitor with much bigger marketing budget than yours. So if you’re competing with another SaaS provider, you’ve come to the right place.

Not only will I be providing tips on how to handle marketing your SaaS business, but I also will be discussing the importance of SaaS developers understanding SEO. It’s not just about your product, but it is also about your developers who are behind it.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Is there a guide out there that I can give to my web developers to learn more about SEO? But as a developer, is SEO even important to me?” Well, think again.

SaaS SEO

When your developers understand more about SEO, not only they can manage your website better, but it will also help to maximize your online exposure to attract more customers. There are more than 12 billion searches being conducted in a month on Google alone, and the number is still increasing every month.

So if your website isn’t being indexed or ranking well, you’re probably missing out on hundreds or even thousands of opportunities for people to visit your website. If you’re still wondering why, here are the seven reasons why your SaaS developers need to understand SEO:

 1. Happy Site, Happy Visitors

Yes, you read that right. Not only your sales or copywriting team, but the developers have to keep the audiences in mind as well. Although developers are mostly dealing with coding, having this thought will bring benefits to your website’s success and SEO efforts.

You can tell how the results are from your visitors. If you see an increased of interaction on your website and more backlinks, it means that your developers are doing it right. Google will notice it when your site gets more traffic because it can indicate a long Time On Page from the visitors (meaning lower bounce rate).

conversion rate increase

When visitors like what they’re reading, they will automatically share your blog post on their social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Google will take these signals as an indicator that people found relevant content on your website, and they love what they read.

With this, Google will slowly rank your website higher in the search results.

Another thing that developers should take note is to resist the urge to build the website the way they think is best. Remember this – the website isn’t about your company, so it shouldn’t be done on how your company wanted it. Instead, listen to your audience and see what they want.

2. Make Your Site Crawlable

Not only your website needs to have easy navigation for your visitors, but it is also important to make it easily crawled by Google bots.

Think of your website as a library and Google bots as the librarian. If you’re not labeling the books (pages) correctly, it will be hard for your librarian (Google) to find it, right? And when Google couldn’t find it, your website will not be indexed.

make your website crawlable

If your developers understand how SEO works, they will then arrange everything in a proper folder to make it crawlable. This is where the robots.txt file comes in place. You can decide and let the Google bots know which of your page should be indexed and which to be ignored.  In another word, you should be the one who tells Google bots what to do because they only understand HTML.

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To make sure that they understand your website, you need keywords. With keywords and crawlable site, your content will be properly indexed and discovered quickly.

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But take note of the way you create the anchor text to the internal pages of your website. This is because anchor text plays an important part in on-page SEO where it will contribute to your link juice, helping you to a higher ranking. Don’t ever forget about anchor text as it is an important key to link everything together.

3. Target The Right Keywords Related To Your SaaS Product

Doesn’t matter what position you are, as long as you’re in the SEO industry, always remember this – you need keywords, keywords, and keywords.

keyword analysis professional

 

Keyword research is the basis of a successful SEO campaign. Until today, I still find Keyword Planner by Google AdWords to be most useful when it comes to keyword research. I will usually aim for keywords with less than 1k average monthly searches because I know that I stand a chance to rank for that keyword.

For instance, if you’re an SEO company, I will avoid targeting the main keyword, “SEO company”. Instead, go for keywords like “SEO company in New York City”. With this, you can better target your website to the buyer personas, at the same time, avoid competing with companies who have spent millions on SEO. I recently wrote a blog on the top SEO tools, several keyword tools are included.

example of heading tag

When your developers understand how SEO and keyword research work, they can then proceed with the web page copy instead of waiting for the copywriter. Trust me; you will save so much time in the progress.

 

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Remember to place your keywords in:

  •    URL
  •    Title of the page
  •    Headings like H1, H2, and H3
  •    ALT text on images and videos file name

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4. Focus on the Meta Title and Description Tags

The meta title tags are the ones your visitors will see when they stumble upon your website on the search engine results page (SERP). Having meta tags is as important as having HTML markup tags to tell search engines what your page is about

It serves a purpose for both human and robots to understand the information on your website. Meta tags are placed in the head element in a web page and contain a name and content attributes.

Example Title and Meta Description Tags
Example Title and Meta Description Tags

However, you have to be aware of the character count for the meta title and meta description. When your meta tags are too long, Google will truncate the rest of the sentence, and if you place your keyword at the end of the sentence, your visitors wouldn’t be able to expect what kind of information that they will get from your website. 

So another good tip is to move your keyword to the front of your title and meta description.

With the changes that Google made to their SERP in 2016, I’d recommend keeping your meta title in less than 70 characters and meta description with less than 160 characters.

5. Write Tidy And Easy-To-Read Code

We all know that the size of Javascript or CSS when coded to a web page, can be enormous. However, there are many ways to minimize the size as well.

You’ve probably heard about schema markup. It’s one of those SEO techniques that you will seldom hear about, but it can be one of the most effective methods for getting quality traffic.

service as a software

Like every other author, they are known for writing a clear and compelling story through books. We use tools like chapters and paragraphs to organize thoughts and guide the reading flow. The same thing goes to developers. The only difference is that they use jargons of namespaces, classes, and methods.  

Writing code is always easy for developers, but reading the code is the real problem. Every developer codes differently. So when another developer takes over, they’d rather skip the hard work and rewrite it in their way since some of them will have a fresh perspective when the structure falls out of memory.

So keep this in mind – do other developers a favor and write your code as clean as possible.

6. Use 301 Redirects To Pass On Link Juice

301 redirect link juice

My mentor once told me that no matter how perfect you’ve planned for something, there’s still a chance that it could go wrong. The same goes to your website planning.

You could have planned very well on your website planning, but years later – things changed. You’re rebranding your website, and you need a new web page, but you can’t lose your current rank and quality traffic. So the only way to keep your traffic and rank is to use 301 redirects to your new website.

Over the past few years of running your website, there are potentially thousands of other sites that will link to the pages that you had long since forgotten about. This is when redirects will come useful for you to maintain every traffic the rank, traffic, and impression from Google.

301 are detours for google

301 redirects will tell the search engines that your website is moving to another new home and they will follow all the data and transfer it to your new website instead of deleting it all. There are only two mistakes that you could make:

  1. Losing your traffic and rank.
  2. Leading your visitors to a dead page.

When your visitors go to your site and get a 404, they will not keep trying to get into your website. Instead, they will just go to the next site to get the information that they’re looking for. This is why your SaaS developer should also understand about 301 redirects in order to keep your website healthy.

If this is not done correctly, you could lose all these (as if you’re building your website from scratch all over again).

Always, always remember the canonical link. It’s better to let search engines to know about your main website rather than giving them two places that lead to the same content because this will be confusing to them. And trust me, when search engines are confused, it will do no good for your website.

7. Increase Your Page Speed

This could be a challenge to every website owner, but who doesn’t want to make their website faster and faster? I am sure you already understand the potential value of every click, every potential customer.

Visitors are happiest when your site loads fast. Who would wait if you can get the information in just 1 second compared to 5 seconds? According to Hubspot, the ideal page load speed should be less than 1.5 seconds

on-page-speed

As a Software as a Service developer, you need to know exactly how many requests are being made per page load so that you’re able to make a backup plan if there are too many requests at a time.

Most importantly, Google looks at site speed as one of the ranking factors. So naturally, the faster your site is, the higher chance that your website will be ranked. Other than getting a higher rank, a faster site will also improve the user’s experience. Even Kissmetrics has proven that faster page loads are better for everyone. 

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A slow website can indicate that a search is taking too long to load or a memory is leaked somewhere. If you’re not taking action and use the resources on your server efficiently, you’re probably spending extra money on a package that you don’t need.

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Improve Your SEO

Further Improve Your SaaS SEO Now

If your developer understands all of these and why SEO is important to them, you’re making a great start on your website. But what’s most important is to avoid duplicate content from the web. Content duplication can confuse search engines on which page is the authority.

So if you want to be the industry expert and stay at the forefront, get everyone in your team to learn how SEO works and optimize your website for more traffic and a higher rank. How long does it take to rank on Google?

I hope this has given you an insight into why understanding SEO is important to your SaaS developers. Whether they are used to help make great decisions or simply to better identify the opportunity that could further improve your website, this will bring a huge advantage to your business.