Keyword Analysis for SaaS Firms: Proven Tools, Tips, Strategies

For your kickass content and backlink strategy to work, you’ve got to be on top of your keyword research game.

So, what’s the best way to do keyword analysis for SaaS?

The key is to find keywords your target customers use in search queries and the intentions behind the searches. This will help you rank on page 1 and convert well.

After all, you want meaningful traffic that signs up or buys your services while you outrank your competition!

Here’s everything you need to know about SEO keywords for SaaS, including the most effective, step-by-step guide to SaaS keyword research and the best tools you can use. We’ll also look at the typical SaaS keyword research mistakes you should avoid!

This Article Contains

First things first:

What Are SaaS SEO Keywords?

SaaS SEO keywords are search queries your target audience uses to find the information they need. 

When the search query and your content’s keyword match, your SaaS company page or blog appears in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) for that keyword or its variations.

SaaS marketers need to target three types of keywords representing all stages of the content marketing funnel.

These are the phases your target customers go through in their buyer’s journey.

  • Awareness: Your potential customer has a problem but doesn’t fully understand it. They don’t yet know about your SaaS business offerings and are the least ready to convert.
  • Consideration: They know the issue and are looking for different ways to solve it. They’re aware of your brand and may already be a warm lead.
  • Decision: They know how to solve the issue and are evaluating a few products or services. They know your brand and competitors and are ready to buy.

At each stage, they have different questions and concerns. This clearly means that at each stage, they’d use different search queries on a search engine.

How do you weave this into your content strategy?

Your task is cut out. 

You need to identify the right keywords for each of these stages, which would correspond to these three stages of the content marketing funnel: 

  • Top of the Funnel (Awareness stage): Your target keywords at this stage of the content marketing funnel should be informational. These informational keywords would have a high search volume and wouldn’t be commercial or transactional. Here are some examples: “agile project management,” “how to sell an online course,” and “what is email marketing.”
  • Middle of the Funnel (Consideration stage): The right keywords would be long-tail and commercial in nature. An example of a Middle of the Funnel keyword would be “best project management software,” “lead magnet examples,” or “how does a conversion funnel work.”
  • Bottom of the Funnel (Decision stage): The keywords at this stage of the content marketing funnel should be transactional or navigational. “Mailchimp vs convertkit,” “salesforce pricing,” “freshbooks discount,” or “salesforce integration with sap” would be a good example of a Bottom of the Funnel keyword.

Creating stellar, relevant content using these keywords will turn your readers into leads and push them closer to sign-up or a purchase.

Time to get into the finer details!

Back to Contents

How to do Keyword Analysis for SaaS: A Step-by-Step Guide

Your first step should be:

1. Brainstorm and Identify Topics and Seed Keywords

Here are plenty of sources to put together a list of initial keywords:

A. Google Search

Type your broad topic on Google and jot down the phrases from Google autosuggest.

Google search

Also, note down the phrases in “Related Searches” and the “People Also Ask” questions.

B. Google Search Console

Use this powerful SEO tool to figure out which keywords and phrases you rank for already. Based on this, work out how to improve these positions using relevant content and on-page SaaS SEO (or technical SEO.) 

Where can you find this data on Google Search Console?

On GSC, click on “Search Results” on the left side. You’ll find the graph of total clicks, total impressions, average CTR, and average position.

Click on “New,” then “Page,” and input your page URL:

Page icon

You’ll get all the keywords your URL is ranking for.

Filter it on “Position” and get a bunch of keywords to target as secondary keywords on that article or page. Sometimes, you may need to create individual pages for the phrases depending on the search intent.

Position filter

C. Top converting keywords

Find super-valuable, top converting keywords through Google Analytics. 

It’s easy to find your paid and organic keywords on the tool. But, finding converting keywords isn’t that straightforward.

Don’t worry – we’ll tell you the easiest way to do it.

Once you’ve defined your goals (conversion types) on Google Analytics, create an advanced segment based on one or all of those goals by clicking on “New Custom Segment” in the Advanced Segments drop-down.

To find the organic keywords that convert, go to Traffic > Sources > Search > Organic. 

Click “Advanced Segments”. Apply the new custom segment to the data. Now you have all the organic queries that led to goal completions in the time frame you specified.

D. User reviews

This is a goldmine! 

Reviews from Saas aggregator sites like G2, Capterra, and others provide incredible insights into the voice of your customers

Suppose you look up “email marketing software” on Capterra.

Start by checking the “Related Software Categories” box on the right side to see if you can use them to find related target keyword ideas.

User reviews

Next, click on any SaaS brand in your niche. Take a look at the “Featured In” part that shows other categories in which Capterra has mentioned the company.

Let’s take Sendinblue as an example:

Sendinblue

All these are important terms you could use for further research in your keyword strategy.

Scroll down to the “Features” section. More keyword ideas await you:

Sendinblue features

We’re not done yet!

Now copy the URL of the Capterra category page onto Ahrefs “Site Explorer”. Open the “Organic Keywords” report to see what keywords it’s ranking for.

Organic keywords

This opens up a ton of other relevant keyword ideas to use in your content strategy.

Besides this, don’t forget to check social media reviews and whether there are any Reddit threads discussing your SaaS company services as well.

Back to Contents

E. Analyze competitor keywords and PPC keywords

To find the right keywords your competitor ranks for, key in the domain name in Ahrefs “Site Explorer”. Click on the “Organic Keywords” report on the left side.

Organic keywords 2

To find the paid keywords your competitor ranks for, enter the domain name on Ahrefs, and click “Paid Keywords” on the left side.

Paid keywords

Filter this to exclude branded keywords if you want to.

Click on “Ads” on the left side to see the ad copy and other information about the SEO campaign.

F. Analyze sales call transcriptions

Analyze your sales call transcripts to understand the prospect’s motivations, what they’re looking for, pain areas, and specific use cases.

Your sales team would use phrases that’ll nudge the prospect towards a sale. The transcripts will also contain key phrases that your prospects use to find your services. 

Incorporate those keywords or phrases in your service pages and blog post content.

Remember to catalog all these keywords in a spreadsheet to keep track of them. 

Next, you need to add metrics like volume, competitiveness, and more.

Back to Contents

2. Analysis of the Keyword Data

You need to analyze these keywords based on different parameters or metrics:

A. Search intent

Search intent (or user intent) describes why a user conducts a specific search.

To rank on Google now, you need a content creation process that aligns with search intent. This is because Google wants to provide users with the most relevant search result for their queries. 

How do you find the search intent?

You could do it manually by searching on Google. Use encrypted browsing, so your search engine results aren’t influenced by your location and browser details. Analyze the first 3-5 results to understand the user intent.

For instance, compare the search engine results when someone looks up “email marketing”: 

Email marketing search

… with the results for “email marketing software”:

Email marketing software

In the first case, the user is looking for broad information on email marketing and how to do it. In the second, the user is explicitly looking to compare the best tools to do it (and possibly buy one.)

The search intent reflects the “buyer’s journey” of your target customers – the Awareness, Consideration, and Decision phases.

The right keywords would evolve to match this journey. Then, identify types of content that help move your potential customer through the content marketing funnel. 

B. General & Long Tail Keywords

General keywords are broad in scope. For example, “employee productivity,” “sales automation,” etc. 

Long tail keywords are more specific in intent. For instance, “marketing automation for SaaS,” and “real estate CRM software”.

Longer tail keywords are usually the ones that drive conversions. The general terms will require more time, energy, and investment. 

Focusing on long tail keywords also helps you create a library of content under a broad term. For instance, under the general term “CRM software,” you could have content on “CRM software for small businesses,” “CRM software for real estate,” and many more. All of these can be categorized under the topic of CRM Software. 

With time, Google will recognize the volume of content on your site, the way it’s structured, and will deduce your site as relevant to the topic of CRM Software.

Back to Contents

C. Rich Snippet Results

Some keywords generate rich snippets that quickly give the searcher an answer without having to click through the result. Google pulls this information from a URL and displays it directly on the search engine results page. 

Productivity tools search

Ranking for a rich snippet boosts the authority of your site. 

Sometimes, rich snippets may steal clicks because users won’t need to visit the URL to get their answer on the search engine – so your SaaS website may not get traffic.

But in most cases, the user may be looking for deeper data and will click the URL to know more.

All the other metrics are easy to find on most SaaS keyword research tools and are pretty straightforward.

D. Search Volume (SV)

SV gives you an approximate number of times a keyword is looked up on a search engine within a specific period.

Since this metric indicates how many people are searching for a keyword on a search engine, it’ll make it easier for you to eliminate some keywords when comparing a few.

In some cases, it may be worth chasing keywords with 100-200 search volume if they have high potential value for your SaaS brand. Sometimes, you may want to ignore 100k+ volume keywords that aren’t specific to your business or are super-tough to rank for.

E. Keyword Difficulty (KD)

Keyword Difficulty is an estimate of how hard it will be to rank on page 1 of the search engine for a keyword. Keyword difficulty is measured on a scale of 0-100 (0 means easy to rank for, 100 is the hardest to rank for.)

Remember that different SEO tools calculate KD in different ways. 

Ahrefs, for instance, pulls the top 10 ranking pages for the relevant keyword and checks the number of websites linking to them. The more links these ten pages have, the higher its KD.

F. Cost Per Click (CPC)

It shows the average cost of a click on a paid search result for a keyword. If a target keyword has a high CPC value, it’s highly worthy of ranking for organically.

Remember that this is a dynamic figure that changes as SaaS product companies increase or decrease their ad spend. 

It’s best to use Google Ad Words to get the most updated, accurate CPC values for the right keywords.

G. Ranking

Check how you’re ranking for a keyword – this will tell you how relevant the search engine thinks your content is for the topic. 

If the keyword has a higher KD, you must know that your SaaS website is quite competitive already. You could easily shoot for keywords with a higher KD as well. 

H. Ranking URL

Check the ranking URLs to understand what page Google thinks is most relevant for a keyword. 

Take a look at the top ranking URLs for the keyword “productivity tools,” for instance:

SERP overview

Now revisit your pages to see how they can be better optimized for the respective keywords. These are your “low-hanging fruits” as they can quickly give you results with just a little optimization.

Back to Contents

3. Group the Keywords into Categories or Clusters

This will help you create several pieces of content under each category, and eventually rank for the broad, competitive terms. 

Also, think of categories as the name of the pages you want to create on your site.

To start with, categorize your keywords into clusters based on:

  • Product Type: Include general terms that include “system,” “software,” “solution,” “tool,” and so on.
  • Solutions: Think of terms that relate to your service from a SaaS solution perspective. For instance, “grow traffic,” “eliminate risk,” “cyber security,” and more.
  • Features: Break down the multiple features of your offerings into keywords. For example, “ab testing’, “api integration,” “campaign planning,” etc.
  • Industries & Customers: You might be serving several types of customers and industries. Use these as keywords. Examples include healthcare, aviation, logistics, retail, hospitality, and so on.
  • Integrations: If your SaaS business offering integrates with other tools, include those as keywords as well. For instance, “QuickBooks,” ‘Drift,” “Stripe,” “Slack,” “SalesForce”

You’ll also benefit from the search volume these companies have for their brand name.

  • Problem terms: These are the issues that a user may be trying to solve using your SaaS solution. Think “business proposal template,” “marketing proposal template,” “compare Word documents”.
  • Alternative Products from Competitors: Use keywords that compare your product with competitor offerings. Use terms like “salesforce alternative” or “competitors of sendinblue” to get super-useful content ideas for users in the decision stage.

4. Evaluate and Prepare a Final Set of Keywords

Your final step should be to delete keywords that aren’t good enough to target. 

The reasons could be a combination of low search intent, low search volume, too high a keyword difficulty, and so on. 

For instance, if you want your SaaS SEO content to rank quickly, there’s no point focusing only on broad keywords with huge search volumes. You need to target longer-tail keywords with lower search volume and specific user intent as well.

Back to Contents

Now, which SEO tools can help you in SaaS keyword analysis?

6 Super-Powerful Keyword Research Tools for SaaS

Here are some of the best ones:

1. Ahrefs

The Ahrefs SEO software suite has tools for SaaS keyword research, competitor analysis, rank tracking, and site audits. The SEO tool gives you tons of keyword ideas with metrics like search volume, keyword difficulty, return rate, clicks, and parent topic.

Ahrefs

2. SEMRush

SEMRush is a great SEO suite packed with tools for keyword research, competitor analysis, Google Ad campaign optimization, and more.

Semrush

3. Google Keyword Planner

It was formerly known as Google Keyword Tool. Use this to get estimates of the search volumes of your keywords over time.

(Note that you need to have a Google Ads account in order to use Google Keyword Planner.)

Keyword Planner

4. Agency Analytics

This SEO Analytics Tool helps you track keyword rankings, analyze organic traffic, landing pages, and conversions, check on-site optimization issues, and monitor your backlinks.

Agency Analytics Tools

5. Moz

The Moz Keyword Explorer has all the features of a good keyword research tool. Plus it provides an organic CTR or click-through-rate score (number of clicks you’ll attract on page 1 of Google), and a priority score (combines data on CTR, search volume, and KD.)

Moz

6. WordStream

WordStream’s free keyword research tool helps you with keyword suggestions, keyword grouping, keyword analysis, long-tail SaaS keyword research, and negative keyword discovery.

WordStream

Back to Contents

But here’s a word of caution before you dive in!

3 SaaS Keyword Analysis Mistakes To Avoid At Any Cost!

SaaS marketers and digital marketing agencies often end up in a soup when they make these errors:

1. Ignoring Your Existing Data

Some marketers and SEO agency experts focus only on competitor keywords and SERP statistics. 

If you don’t review your existing data (organic keyword data, paid search data, and others), you’re missing a golden chance to see the keywords that get you impressions and clicks. 

These can be optimized to perform better.

You’ll also know which ones are doing well, so you can stop spending any more time on them. 

2. Ignoring Your Competitors’ Data

You’ve got to look at the keywords your competitors are optimizing for their landing pages and web pages, and targeting in their SaaS SEO strategy, as well as their PPC campaigns. 

What’s working for them could be potential opportunities for you. What they ignore could also be golden opportunities for you!

3. Choosing Keywords Only Based on “Search Volume”

It’s easy to be allured by keywords that have a 100,000+ monthly search volume. 

But targeting them won’t necessarily increase traffic to your site. In fact, they’re tough to rank for while being more competitive. 

Even if you get a load of traffic, it doesn’t always mean more revenue.

Also, some of them could have only seasonal spikes in traffic (as you can validate on Google Trends.)

Typically, long-tail search phrases with a high intent to buy won’t have huge search volumes. They are the ones that’ll get you higher conversion rates and revenues. 

Back to Contents

Follow A Systematic Approach To SaaS Keyword Analysis For Outstanding Results

Before you spend thousands of dollars on a content creation process or a link building strategy, you’ve got to understand where the search volumes are, how competitive the keywords are, and the intent behind the search queries.

After all, you want to grab the most eyeballs, outrank your competition, and get your cash registers ringing!

If you need help in your SaaS keyword analysis and in creating a powerful, conversion-based content and SEO strategy, connect with a SaaS SEO specialist at Startup Voyager.

We can help you create valuable, well-optimized SEO content that’ll result in insane organic traffic growth.

About the author

Peter Banerjea is Co-Founder of Startup Voyager, a content and SEO agency with offices in UK, Canada and India. Startup Voyager helps startups rapidly scale up their organic traffic by 4x-20x a year. His work has appeared in Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Inc and Lifehacker.