SaaS Keyword Research – Choosing Keywords That Drive Leads

SaaS Keyword Research - Choosing Keywords That Drive Leads

Keyword research is a significant part of developing a successful content strategy for SaaS companies. The right keywords can attract the ideal audience, guide potential customers through the sales funnel, and convert them into paying users. 

In this guide, you’ll learn how to select keywords that not only increase your website traffic but also drive quality leads.

The 4 Principles of Keyword Research

The 4 Principles of Keyword Research

1. Search Intent & the Sales Funnel

Understanding the intent behind a search query is important. Keywords should be categorized based on where they fall within the sales funnel: awareness, consideration, or decision. 

At the top of the funnel, your audience is seeking information. Here, educational content that addresses general queries works best. As you move down the funnel, the intent becomes more transactional, with users looking for specific solutions or products. 

By aligning your content with the correct stage of the funnel, you can guide your audience toward making a decision in your favor.

2. Keyword Difficulty & Search Volume

Evaluating the difficulty and search volume of keywords is essential. High search volume terms may seem attractive, but they often come with high competition. 

On the other hand, keywords with lower search volume can be more targeted and have less competition, making them valuable for niche audiences. 

Use tools to assess these metrics and balance your strategy between high-volume terms for visibility and niche terms for targeted traffic.

3. Topical Authority & Search Rankings

Topical authority is about becoming the go-to source for information on a specific topic. Search engines favor websites that cover a topic thoroughly, showing expertise. 

Build your content around clusters of related keywords to establish your site as an authoritative source. This approach not only boosts your rankings for individual keywords but also improves your site’s overall SEO performance.

4. Keyword Clustering

Keyword clustering involves grouping similar keywords together to create content that targets multiple queries. 

This technique allows you to cover a topic in depth and rank for a variety of related terms. Clustering helps in organizing your content strategy and ensures that your website provides value at every stage of the customer’s research process.

Keyword Research for Various Stages of the SaaS Sales Funnel

1. SaaS Top of the Funnel Keywords (ToFu)

These are broad, informational keywords. They cater to users in the awareness phase, looking to learn more about their problems and the available solutions. Content targeting these keywords should educate and inform, helping to establish your brand as a helpful resource.

For Example:

  • “Why Your LinkedIn Headline Matters?”: A beginner’s guide or explainer article would be perfect for addressing this query.
  • “5 Key Strategies for LinkedIn Automated Messaging”: Develop comprehensive guides covering different tips, best practices, or strategies to Linkedin messaging automation.

SaaS Top of the Funnel Keywords

2. SaaS Middle of the Funnel Keywords (MoFu)

At this stage, keywords become more specific. Users are evaluating their options and looking for the best solution to their problem. Comparison guides, case studies, and detailed feature explanations are types of content that work well for these keywords.

For Example:

  • “How To Grow LinkedIn Network”: Write blog posts or downloadable eBooks that offer practical strategies for attracting more prospects.
  • “LinkedIn Networking Software Reviews”: Compile customer reviews or user testimonials for key software options.

SaaS Middle of the Funnel Keywords

3. SaaS Bottom of the Funnel Keywords (BoFu)

These keywords are highly transactional. Users are ready to make a purchase and are looking for final reassurances or specific details about your product. Free trial offers, demos, and pricing information are crucial here. Your content should focus on converting the user into a customer.

For Example:

  • ” 10 Best LinkedIn Networking Tools”: Create a listicle of Linkedin Networking Tools, providing direct links to landing pages.
  • “LinkedIn Automation Tool for Sales”: Create use case pages with transactional keywords like “buy” or “get a free trial.”

SaaS Bottom of the Funnel Keywords

8 Best Steps for the SaaS Keyword Research Process

1. Generate a List of Potential Topics and Search Terms

This is the first step to your entire keyword strategy. Start by listing out broad topics related to your product or service, thinking about the problems your software solves and how potential customers might phrase their queries. 

If you have a SaaS tool for LinkedIn marketing, topics might include “LinkedIn automation,” “LinkedIn networking,” and “LinkedIn outreach.” Each of these topics can then be further broken down into specific keyword ideas that users are searching for.

Tip: Create topic clusters. Identify broad topic areas and group keywords accordingly. For example, if “LinkedIn marketing tactics” is your primary topic, related clusters might include “LinkedIn Marketing Strategy,” “LinkedIn Content Marketing,” and “LinkedIn Networking Tips.”

2. Analyze Competitors Ranking for Similar Keywords

With your seed list ready, it’s time to identify your competitors for these terms. Search Google using each seed term to see which businesses rank on the first page. These are your search competitors. Analyze their content to understand their strategies and see what gaps exist.

  • Consider using tools like SEMrush to identify competitors ranking highly on Google and the associated keywords.
  • Conduct a Keyword Gap Analysis from SEMrush, add your domain and your competitors’ domains to see shared and unique keywords targeted.Analyze Competitors Ranking for Similar Keywords

For the seed term “LinkedIn marketing,” competitors might include popular LinkedIn marketing software and tools. Check what type of content is ranking (guides, listicles, reviews) and take notes on how you can differentiate your approach.

Another strategic approach for SaaS marketers is to incorporate competitor names as keywords, followed by alternatives:
Competitor Name + Alternative

This can be particularly effective if your software offers competitive pricing and additional features, as it targets users in the consideration phase who are actively seeking alternatives after thorough research, indicating a readiness to make a purchase.

3. Plug Your Keywords into Keyword Research Tools

Once your keyword list is ready, it’s time to pick a tool of your choice like Aherf, SEMrush. This will help you discover related terms, evaluate search volume, and gauge keyword difficulty. You can identify opportunities that align with your goals by comparing metrics like search volume and competition.

Example: By entering “Linkedin Automation” into SEMrush, you might find related terms like “Linkedin Automation Software,” “Linkedin Automation Tool,” or “LinkedIn Outreach Automation” Evaluate these terms for potential inclusion in your strategy based on their volume and difficulty.

Plug Your Keywords into Keyword Research Tools

Prioritize long-tail keywords that are highly specific to your niche. Though their search volume may be lower, their relevance often leads to higher conversion rates.

4. Determine User Intent for Each Keyword

Categorize each keyword by the search intent behind it. Is the user seeking information (informational intent), exploring options (navigational intent), or ready to buy (transactional intent)? Knowing the intent helps you create content that aligns with the user’s needs.

  • Informational Intent: Use keywords like “how-to,” “best practices,” and “guide.” Content examples include blog posts, educational guides, and explainer videos.

Examples: “How To Automate LinkedIn Outreach,” “What is LinkedIn Business Networking.”

  • Navigational Intent: Users are searching for specific brands or products. Provide easy access to product pages, brand information, and FAQs.

Examples: “LinkedIn Summary Generator price,” “LinkedIn Sales Software reviews.”

  • Transactional Intent: These keywords imply readiness to buy. Optimize your landing pages, product trials, and demo offers for these keywords.

Examples: “buy Linkedin marketing automation software,” “best LinkedIn outreach software for sales.”

5. Prioritize Keywords for Search Visibility

Rank your keywords by their potential impact on your SEO goals, considering search volume, intent, and competition. High-volume keywords might bring more traffic but are often more competitive. A mix of high-volume terms and low-competition long-tail keywords can strike the right balance of bringing organic traffic.

“LinkedIn Networking Tool” may have a high search volume but intense competition, scoring lower on priority. In contrast, “LinkedIn AI Assistant” might have a lower volume but higher conversion potential due to its specificity.

Identify “quick win” keywords that have reasonable search volume and competition levels where your content can rank relatively easily with optimization. Look for terms where your pages rank on the second or third page of results.

6. Assign Business Value to Each Keyword

Not all traffic is created equal. Assign a business priority score by assessing each keyword’s potential to convert visitors into customers. Consider your ideal customer profile and the relevance of each keyword to their needs.

“LinkedIn Marketing Automation” would have a high priority score if you offer a tool that specifically caters to marketing.

7. Identify Target Keywords to Optimise Existing Content

Review your existing content library to see where these keywords can fit. Some keywords may be used to optimize current pages, while others will require new content. Identify relevant keywords that can help your content rank better.

If you already have an article titled “Guide to LinkedIn Marketing,” consider optimizing it for the keyword “LinkedIn Engagement” if it’s relevant to your audience. For keywords like “LinkedIn Engagement Strategies,” you might need to create a new article to address this specific topic.

8. Research Competitor’s Alternative Pages

Analyze your competitors’ alternative content pages to see how they’re ranking and identify opportunities to offer more value. Look for potential keywords for gaps where competitors lack depth or where you can deliver a more comprehensive, up-to-date resource.

One effective way to engage in discussions about competitors’ comparisons is to create dedicated competitor pages, showcasing how our brand stacks up against others.

“Competitor 1 vs. Competitor 2 vs. Your SaaS Brand“

Research Competitor's Alternative Pages

If a competitor has a list of “Top 5 LinkedIn Marketing Tips,” create an expanded list or a deeper guide with additional insights and examples that improve on their work. By offering a better resource, your page can become the preferred source.

Top 5 SaaS Keyword Research Methods

1. Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) & the Anti-ICP

Identifying your Ideal Customer Profile involves understanding who your perfect customer is, their pain points, industry, job roles, and what solutions they are seeking. Conversely, the Anti-ICP helps you recognize who your product is not intended for, preventing wasted effort on irrelevant keywords.

For LinkedIn automation software, your ICP might be marketing managers in B2B sectors looking for efficiency in their social outreach. Keywords like “LinkedIn automation for B2B” or “best LinkedIn tools for marketers” would be highly relevant. An Anti-ICP might be casual social media users, so you’d avoid keywords like “LinkedIn for personal use.”

2. Focus on Jobs to be Done

This method focuses on understanding the tasks that users hire a product to complete. By aligning your keywords with these jobs, you ensure your content matches user intentions and solves specific problems.

An individual using LinkedIn software might want to streamline the process of finding and engaging potential leads. Keywords such as “LinkedIn lead generation tools” or “automate LinkedIn engagement” directly address these jobs.

3. Use Reviews to Get Customer’s Search Intent

Analyze reviews of your product and competitors’ products to identify the terms and phrases customers use. Consider exploring the target audience of your competitors as an alternative approach. By examining customer testimonials on various software directories, you can gain insights into their consumer base and pinpoint potential buyers.

Use Reviews to Get Customer's Search Intent

4.  Create a Customer Journey Map

Map out your customer’s journey from awareness to decision to pinpoint specific content needs at each stage, helping you target keywords for each phase effectively.

Early in the journey, a user might search for “what is LinkedIn marketing?” As they move closer to a decision, they might look for “best LinkedIn marketing tools 2024.”

5. Monitor Industry Forums and Q&A Sites

Regularly check forums, Reddit, and Q&A sites like Quora to stay updated on what your target audience is discussing, questioning, and their terminology.

Common Keyword Research Mistakes to Avoid

1. Neglecting Valuable Insights from Existing Data

One of the most common mistakes in keyword research is ignoring the data already available to you. This includes overlooking analytics from your website, feedback from customer interactions, and performance metrics from previous content.

  • Organic keywords can be found through Google Search Console.
  • Existing customer data can be extracted from your CRM.
  • Paid search analytics (PPC) Keywords can be Extracted from Google Ads or Analytics.

Suppose your existing content around “LinkedIn content marketing strategies” consistently drives traffic and engagement. Ignoring these insights and not producing further related content or deeper dives into subtopics can lead to missed opportunities for engagement and conversions.

2. Overlooking High Intent Keywords with Low Search Volume

Another common mistake is dismissing keywords with low search volume. These keywords, often long-tail, can have a high buyer intent and, thus, potentially higher conversion rates despite their lower overall traffic.

The keyword “automated LinkedIn messaging for HR professionals” might have low search volume, but it targets a specific audience that could be highly likely to convert if you offer a tool that suits their needs. By targeting such keywords, you can capture a niche market segment that is more likely to purchase.

3. Failing to Align Keywords with Customer Intent

Not matching your keywords with user intent can result in attracting the wrong audience or not engaging potential customers effectively. Ensure your keywords align with the different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Using keywords like “LinkedIn tips” when your audience is searching for “LinkedIn marketing automation” can lead to lower engagement and higher bounce rates.

4. Overlooking Competitor Analysis

Not analyzing your competitors’ keyword strategies can lead to missed opportunities for improvement or differentiation. Competitor analysis helps identify gaps and potential areas where you can outperform.

5. Ignoring the Need for Continous Keyword Monitoring

Failing to regularly update and refine your keyword strategy based on performance metrics and industry changes can reduce its effectiveness over time. Regular monitoring ensures your strategy stays relevant and competitive.

Implementing SaaS Keyword Research Strategy

  • Understand Your Audience
  • Use SEO Tools for Keyword Discovery
  • Analyze Competitors
  • Create High-Quality Content
  • Optimize Content for SEO
  • Regularly Update Your Keywords
  • Measure Performance

Implementing effective SaaS keyword research means deeply understanding your audience and continuously adapting to their needs. 

By identifying keywords that align with customer profiles and their purchasing journey, SaaS companies can create targeted content that attracts and converts. 

Regularly updating your strategy based on performance analytics ensures your approach remains effective, helping you stay ahead. This focused effort not only boosts your SEO but also enhances user engagement and increases conversions, driving growth and success.

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