Join the next cohort of the PLG Certificate Program. Application closes Feb 1.
Join the next cohort of the PLG Certificate Program. Application closes Feb 1.

Build Sustainable SEO that you can be proud of

SaaS SEO is one of the most valuable acquisition channels you have working for you. Sustainable SEO has the power to continuously work for you even when you’ve stopped putting in the investment. 

How do you know if your SEO has staying power or if what you’re doing will work in the long term? 

In this article, we’re going to review the difference between building SEO into your product and not just building content for SEO. We’ll touch on:

  1. Content doesn’t scale, it’s easy to replicate and it’s expensive.
  2. Product-led SEO drives both traffic and revenue.
  3. Invest in all aspects of the product.
  4. Focus on the user.
  5. Find your Blue Ocean and go from there.

1. Content doesn’t scale, it’s easy to replicate and it’s expensive.

Let’s review the way most people develop their SEO.

  1. You sell widgets, so you search widgets on a keyword research tool
  2. You make a big list and then go on Upwork to find someone to write content for you. 
  3. You hire a link builder to go build guest posts
  4. Sit back and wait for the money to roll in

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with this method.

If all you’ve done is create content with keywords that anyone with $99 can find. And you can find anyone on Upwork to write. 

So you haven't accomplished anything unique. 

Unfortunately, KPI’s can be misleading because users are using rankings. And rankings are not clicks

Sustainable SaaS SEO is the idea that you’re building something of value for users. This perceived value brings in quality users that will bring in revenue and grow your business. 

Good SaaS SEO will give you the right visibility, not just visibility.

2. Product-led SEO drives both traffic and revenue.

Product-led SEO is the concept of building a product of value specifically for users. You’re not creating content because a keyword research tool tells you to, but telling a story about a product that users want. 

The difference is, you’re creating a product description that helps people decide whether they want to buy your product instead of a product description that’s loaded with keywords. 

The idea is to create something that helps users learn something after they have clicked onto your website. Beyond driving keywords, you're building something of value.

2. Invest in all aspects of the product.

Products start with strategies and plans. Instead of throwing keywords into content because a tool told you to, it’s best to use keywords because it’s part of the following list of inputs:

  • Content
  • Engineering
  • Design
  • Database

Anytime you build a product, you start with a strategy or plan to help your company target one topic. How does the content you create work with the rest of your inputs?

3. Focus on the User

When beginning a SaaS SEO effort, there’s a strategy with an end goal in mind. Many companies start by asking, “What is the content I’m going to create?” instead of asking “Why?”

  • Why should this blog post exist? 
  • Why should I write content towards that keyword? 
  • How does it help my users?

Use people, not metrics.

Instead of using keyword research tools, use people to decide how it should be built. How do you do this?

  • Create Surveys: Ask questions to existing users, other people’s users, even people on the street to find out what they want in your vertical. How will they find your product? What do they expect once they find it?
  • Customer Data: Get ideas of what people want, what they’re looking for, and what their expectations are once they locate it. If you have existing customers, they will tell you.
  • Customer Support: They will have the best insight if there’s a drop-off.    

Remember that content should always be created for the users, not for keyword metrics or a keyword tool. 

Don’t forget about branded content

Think conversion, not search volume.

For many marketers, branded content isn’t considered very sexy because of the low search volume. 

However, conversion rates tend to be much higher.

If you think about your brand versus another brand, think of how you can create brand recognition associated with your product. What queries could potentially lead users to your competitor's site?

If people are searching for your brand’s price or contact information, don’t ignore that query because the volume is low. This is where you could potentially lose a customer to a competitor.

To generate ideas around your brand queries try the following:

  • Use search suggest: Put your brand in a keyword search box and look for the kind of queries that come up. If you don't rank for those queries, fix that immediately.
  • Build content for all related queries: If there are any related queries that you don't currently rank on and don't currently have content, create content for that.
  • Create competitor comparison: Create content addressing product comparisons with your competitors. If you don’t have content, check out Reddit or Quora.
  • Data mine Google Search Console: Look at any query that shows your brand and make sure the content fits.
  • CTR optimize all of your titles: Look at anything related to your brand. If you want to be the official brand, don’t try to stuff non-branded keywords in your title tags, but engaging, valuable material.

Find your Blue Ocean go from there.

There is no one size fits all. 

Are you in a red or blue ocean?

A red ocean could be a taxi service that wants to compete against other taxi services, perhaps with lower prices or more comfortable cars. 

A Blue Ocean is if you blow the whole thing out of the water and say, “forget taxis” and create Uber.

I believe you can always find a Blue Ocean in SaaS SEO.

By talking to your users, using surveys or customer support, you will always find what your Blue Ocean is.  

If you haven’t found your Blue Ocean, you are simply trying to compete against your competitors by creating better content for the same keywords. 

Leverage your resources

As you work on your Blue Ocean, aim for it to be programmatic and scalable. 

Here some ideas of data you can steal to build out scalable and programmatic, blue ocean, product-led, programmatic SEO:

  • Government Resources: Most government-produced content found on government websites is typically not very accessible.
  • PDFs: Information locked away that people can't necessarily find, especially information that’s price-driven.
  • Price Driven Content: People are always looking for prices.
  • Many Granular Details: One example is people looking for the cost of medical procedures and then combining them with typical reimbursement rates. Anything combining multiple sets of data that aren’t readily available to the public.

Product-led SEO is about combining traffic and revenue. It’s about going beyond the search engine or tricking the algorithm. By focusing on the user, your content will fit into your design and architecture, creating valuable traffic that keeps users engaged and in turn, drives revenue.  

Eli Schwartz
Eli Schwartz
Eli Schwartz is an SEO expert with more than a decade of experience driving successful SEO and growth programs for leading B2B and B2C companies. He is the author of Product-led SEO: The Why Behind Building Your Organic Growth Strategy.