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Top-of-Funnel B2B SaaS SEO Strategies | Bullseye Strategy

by | Jan 12, 2023

Most B2B SaaS companies are not surprised to learn that nearly 90% of B2B buyers will gather information about a potential purchase through the internet.Yet, many B2B SaaS companies are shocked to realize the pivotal role search engines will play in the purchase process. The average B2B buyer will conduct at least a dozen online searches.

Can you predict where your website will land on its search engine results pages (SERPs)? Likely not. 

In reality, there are a ton of ranking factors that will ultimately decide the position of your website on SERPs. One method to boost your organic discoverability, generate brand awareness, and drive product interest on search engines is through search engine optimization (SEO). B2B SaaS SEO is a trusted strategy to enhance visibility across search engines for software companies of all types. 

If you are just starting with B2B SaaS SEO, you have come to the right place. Below we will break down the importance of a B2B SEO strategy and how to set the foundation with a full-funnel approach. From how to capture B2B SaaS leads at the top of the funnel to how to increase conversions at the bottom, here is how to leverage optimized content for B2B SaaS SEO.

The Importance of B2B SaaS SEO: Is it Worth the Investment?

With a recession and inflation influencing digital marketing budgets for 74% of companies, you might wonder if B2B SEO is worth the investment for your organization.The good news is, it is. At a time when ad dollars need to be stretched to the maximum, the return on investment (ROI) of SEO for B2B SaaS is an astounding 702%.4

It takes, on average, just seven months to break even on your initial investment, with positive ROI achieved as quickly as within the first six months.If you need any other reasons to invest in B2B SaaS marketing, it is also worthwhile to point out that SaaS companies that leverage optimized content experience approximately 30% higher growth rates than SaaS companies that do not.6 

One reason optimized content helps drive growth for B2B SaaS companies is its impact on search results. But, beyond the value directly measured in ROI, B2B SaaS SEO helps build awareness so a brand is more discoverable and recognizable, often bulking out the brand’s top-of-the-funnel audience for the immense value that does not immediately (but will eventually) translate into revenue. 

Begin your B2B SaaS SEO strategy with a full website SEO Audit.

Setting the Foundation for Your B2B SaaS SEO Strategy

Conduct a thorough SEO audit

Every B2B SEO strategy should begin with an SEO audit. An audit is a website inspection that identifies errors or poor practices that could impact your position on SERPs. In addition, a proper audit should categorize optimizations: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. Here are some critical considerations for these pillars of SEO. 

1. On-Page SEO refers to elements directly displayed on your website that impact rankings:

  • Keyword strategy
  • Internal linking
  • URL structure
  • Thin content
  • Metadata
  • Headers
  • Schema
  • Alt text

2. Off-Page SEO refers to actions taken outside of your website that impact rankings:

  • Backlink profile
    • Link quality
    • Unique referring domains
  • Online reputation
    • Citation building 
    • Citation management

3. Technical SEO refers to optimizations that help your website better meet requirements that impact rankings. 

  • Broken links and redirects
  • Mobile accessibility 
  • Core web vitals
  • Canonical tags
  • Site structure
  • Crawlability
  • Indexability
  • Site speed
  • Robots.txt
  • Sitemaps
  • Site Security

The audit results should provide a clear picture of your website’s health and point out the apparent changes that must be made for your website to appear where you would prefer it to on search results — page one of SERPs. Then, to complete the foundation of your B2B SaaS SEO strategy, analyze your B2B SaaS competitors to learn what is driving traffic to their websites. 

Gather insights from competitor research

Once you know what is working (and, more importantly, what is not) on your website, it is time to see how you stack up against your competitors. There are many free tools — like Google Search Console and Google Analytics — to analyze website performance. There are also paid software options, like SEMrush and Ahrefs, that can guide this process. In particular, you’ll want to gather these four details. 

  • Domain Authority: How authoritative are you compared to competitors? How were they able to build their authority?
  • Backlink Gap Analysis: What backlinks does your competition have that you don’t? Do multiple competitors share the same referring domains?
  • Competitor Top-Ranking Pages: What pages are driving organic users to your competition? How can we replicate and improve?
  • Keyword Gap Analysis: What keywords are your competitors ranking for that you are not? Are these valuable keywords, or are they artificially inflating the size of their keyword universe?

This information lets you move to your full-funnel keyword research for B2B SaaS SEO. 

Conducting Full-Funnel Keyword Research for B2B SaaS

A B2B SEO strategy is largely built on keyword research. Keyword research makes you aware of what your target audience is looking for and reveals the search intent behind specific queries. Search intent refers to why a user conducts a particular search — like with informational intent to learn more about a topic or with commercial intent to make a purchase. 

Search intent and the marketing funnel go hand-in-hand. At the top of the funnel is where you will find users — and relevant keywords — that reflect informational intent as users seek to learn more about a problem or solution. As the funnel narrows and you reach the bottom, you will find users and keywords that reflect more commercial intent, as these users are more prepared for conversion. 

Regarding B2B SaaS SEO, take a full-funnel approach to keyword research. A full-funnel marketing approach creates relevant, optimized content to target customers at each funnel stage. For example, while 67% of B2B marketers create top-of-funnel content, only 28% create content for the middle, and just 5% do for the bottom.7 Here is how to conduct keyword research for the whole funnel. 

Top-of-Funnel (TOFU)

The top-of-funnel (TOFU) is the widest part of the B2B SaaS marketing funnel. As such, the prospects at the top-of-funnel are likely to be brand or problem unaware. Prospects who are brand unaware have never heard of your SaaS company or what you do, whereas prospects who are problem unaware either do not know the issue you solve or do not know how it is relevant to them. 

This is where content that is optimized explicitly for TOFU comes into play. TOFU content helps drive brand awareness for a SaaS business by answering common questions and creating an informational background for a prospect to understand better the relevancy and product fit of a SaaS solution. Content optimized for the top-of-funnel should be both educational and engaging. 

To optimize top-of-funnel content, brands must identify TOFU keywords. TOFU keywords for B2B SaaS SEO are typically more general and informational. For instance, TOFU keywords for a B2B SaaS solution like a CRM will consist of broad queries, such as:

  • what is a crm
  • benefits of a crm
  • what is a sales pipeline

Middle-of-Funnel (MOFU)

The middle-of-funnel (MOFU) is for prospects who have discovered a problem or product but have yet to make a purchase decision. MOFU prospects are typically either category or product unaware. For example, B2B SaaS prospects who are category unaware have identified a problem, but are wondering if your industry or product category (like a CRM) is the best solution to their problem. 

On the other hand, prospects who are product unaware have identified your product as a solution to their problem; however, they may need help understanding its use cases, features, and benefits. In other words, MOFU prospects are not yet convinced you can solve their problems — that is where MOFU content, like service pages, frequently asked question (FAQ) pages, and comparison tables, come in. 

MOFU content for B2B SaaS SEO helps prospects narrow down the solution they need and build trust in your company as a provider of relevant solutions. As MOFU prospects start to compare brands and products, optimize your content to capture attention with keywords like: 

  • CRM solutions
  • software for lead management
  • Salesforce vs. HubSpot

Bottom-of-Funnel (BOFU)

Last but (definitely) not least, the bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) is the narrowest part of the B2B SaaS marketing funnel. As such, the prospects at the bottom-of-funnel are likely marketing qualified leads (MQLs), or sales qualified leads (SQLs) who are interested in converting but likely need a bit of push first. This is where content that is optimized for BOFU shines.

BOFU content targets prospects who are either free offer and/or paid offer unaware. Free offer unaware prospects know they have a problem, have found a solution, and believe your product may be the answer, but they need to know you have a free trial, demo, or consultation. Those who are paid offer unaware know they like your product but are unsure of pricing and proposals. 

The purpose of BOFU content is to remove any barrier to conversions, such as uncertainty about a complimentary demo or the cost of an annual subscription, through content that offers incentives. Specific BOFU keywords can get prospects into a buying mindset, such as:

  • salesforces pricing
  • salesforce trials
  • CRM free trials

Implementing a B2B SaaS SEO Strategy

Now that you have laid the foundation for a B2B SaaS SEO strategy, it is time to implement it. Fortunately, the implementation process can be broken down into the same categories you used for your SEO audit — on-page, off-page, and technical SEO optimizations. Then, with your competitor and keyword research in hand, you can begin to tackle each optimization one by one. 

1. On-Page SEO for B2B SaaS

On-page SEO content significantly affects how your website is ranked on search engines. To implement a B2B SaaS strategy for on-page SEO, optimize individual web pages to encourage a higher ranking on SERPs and garner higher value and more relevant traffic. You will want to start with pages with traffic, like your service or feature pages. 

Assign each page a unique target keyword that reflects the content on the page. Double-check your content or body copy for the search intent of each keyword. Create catchy titles, relevant meta-descriptions, and attention-grabbing H1 and H2 tags that incorporate each target keyword. Use proper page hierarchy and integrate only one H1 per page.

2. Off-Page SEO for B2B SaaS

Once you have optimized your on-page content, you can move along to off-page SEO. A critical component of off-page SEO for B2B SaaS is link building. Link building is the process of increasing both the quality and the number of inbound links to your web pages from a third-party website. For instance, you could likely find a link back to Salesforce on a “best of CRMs” blog on a review website. 

Link building is vital for B2B SaaS SEO because it helps build trust. Links back to your website from another trusted site makes your website appear as an authority, which signals to search engines that they can send high-value traffic to your page. The more trustworthy your link quality and backlink profile, the more likely your website will be ranked higher on SERPs. 

3. Technical SEO for B2B SaaS

Technical SEO encompasses less of the actual content on your website and more of how users and search engines access this content. In particular, technical optimizations help search engine spiders (web crawlers) more effectively scan your website to correctly identify each page’s structure and topic. With this information, search engines can then better direct search traffic to relevant pages. 

Since 42% of B2B buyers use a mobile device to research SaaS solutions, your technical SEO must optimize your content for mobile.8 You will also want to address any technical issues that were flagged during your SEO audit — such as site speed, site structure, broken links, and redirects — so that a potential customer can easily navigate your B2B SaaS website. 

Unique SEO Considerations for B2B SaaS 

Every B2B SaaS company has realized that what works for B2C or DTC audiences likely will not apply to B2B buyers. That is because B2B SEO must optimize content for the discoverability and preferences of up to a 23-person buying group, whereas B2C purchasing decisions are typically made by up to three people max. So be sure to account for these unique considerations for B2B SaaS.   

High levels of competition

It is no secret the B2B SaaS market is on fire right now. The global SaaS market was valued at 143.77 billion USD in 2021 and is projected to reach a staggering 720.44 billion USD by 2028.10 With the pandemic accelerating the rate at which B2B companies sought digital solutions to account for gaps in human capital and the global supply chain, the B2B SaaS industry is increasingly competitive.

Bear in mind, the more competitive the industry, the more difficult it is to rank for certain target terms — especially with dozens of companies vying for spots 1 to 10. Therefore, it is often more effective for B2B SaaS companies to optimize content with long-tail keywords rather than generic search terms. Long-tail keywords may have less search volume overall, but they also have fewer competitors. 

Different Goals and KPIs

The primary KPIs for B2B SaaS include bottom-line, sales-focused metrics like MQLs, SQLs, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and custom acquisition cost (CAC). However, those are not exactly the metrics SEO drives. A lot of SEO involves generating demand at the top-of-funnel. Though these TOFU prospects do not translate into immediate sales-focused KPIs, they may in the long term. 

Length of Sales Cycle

The average B2B SaaS sales cycle is much longer than the standard B2C sales cycle, often due in part to the larger number of individuals in a single B2B buying group.11 It is important to recognize that the B2B sales cycle length can make measuring ROI difficult. Likewise, as each buying group may take a different amount of time to move through the marketing funnel, a full-funnel approach to B2B SaaS SEO is necessary. 

Our Unique Approach to B2B SaaS SEO

Now that you understand the basics behind a full-funnel approach to B2B SaaS SEO, we can explain how our B2B SEO services work here at Bullseye Strategy. With robust competition in the industry, we take a multi-step approach that addresses all facets of your SEO, from on-page content and technical optimizations to off-page implementations that raise rankings.

First, we build a solid foundation for your B2B SaaS SEO strategy. Our SaaS SEO experts will start with your goals, outlining what you want to achieve with your strategy, such as a 10% increase in sales or a 50% boost in MQLs. Next, we will run an SEO audit and conduct competitor research, selecting the relevant, long-tail keywords that could benefit your website’s position on SERPs.

Once we have a robust foundation, the SEO experts at Bullseye will create a priority list that will act as a roadmap for your success. This priority list will determine what our teams should focus on to achieve your goals, both on time and on budget. Look at the unique contributions Bullseye brings to B2B SaaS SEO.

Our B2B SaaS SEO strategy prioritizes search intent over search volume.

Search intent will almost always take priority over search volume at Bullseye Strategy. That is because capitalizing on search intent means we optimize content based on what potential customers need most to convert, not necessarily on just what is being searched the most. Not to mention, the terms with high search volume often have higher competition. 

We develop outreach campaigns that leverage long-form content to build organic authority.

We prefer to combine the best of on-page and off-page SEO with outreach campaigns that leverage long-form content to build authority organically. Our SEO content marketing strategy relies on placing inbound links back to B2B SaaS websites in optimized resources on other sites with high domain authority. We also create ‘gated content,’ or content that is only accessible after the prospect fills out a lead contact form, to forge higher-performing outreach campaigns. 

Our B2B SaaS SEO approach both captures and creates demand.

There’s a difference between creating demand and capturing demand. Demand generation drives the need for a specific solution, whereas demand capture drives potential customers further down the marketing funnel toward a conversion. A holistic approach does not just look to create demand but also focuses on capturing existing demand in the market. That is why our SEO effort involves demand generation optimizations at the TOFU and demand capture initiatives at the MOFU and BOFU.

We report on the metrics that matter to you (no vanity metrics here). 

Regarding B2B SaaS metrics, consider our team your personal SaaS SEO consultant. We steer away from vanity metrics, like impressions and page traffic, to instead focus on the KPIs that drive actionable results for your SaaS business. Bullseye Strategy reporting includes the metrics that matter most to you, like MQLs, MRR, CAC, and more. 

We take a holistic approach, ensuring that your branding and messaging are consistent across all channels.

While SEO is fantastic for driving brand awareness, it can only be effective if your brand is recognizable across all channels. That is why a Bullseye Strategy SEO campaign focuses on creating a consistent brand image and cohesive messaging on all platforms. Our SEO experts ensure your voice, tone, and product differentiators are evident across all feature pages, blog posts, social media, and more. 

Optimize Through the Full Funnel for B2B SaaS SEO

Did you know that nearly 60% of B2B businesses do not conduct their marketing activities in-house, and approximately half of B2B marketing teams outsource at least one content marketing activity?12 If laying the proper foundation for a B2B SaaS strategy and implementing optimizations across on-page, off-page, and technical SEO seems daunting, reach out to a SaaS SEO agency. 

At Bullseye Strategy, we have more than a decade of experience crafting SEO campaigns for B2B SaaS companies of all sizes and across all verticals. As the global B2B SaaS market continues to grow — and competition on search engines becomes stronger — partner with us to drive effective SEO. Contact Bullseye Strategy to learn how we can implement a full-funnel approach for B2B SaaS SEO. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/the-changing-face-b2b-marketing/ 
  2. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/the-changing-face-b2b-marketing/ 
  3. https://www.insiderintelligence.com/content/30-of-advertisers-cutting-their-2023-budgets 
  4. https://firstpagesage.com/seo-blog/seo-roi-statistics-fc/ 
  5. https://firstpagesage.com/seo-blog/seo-roi-statistics-fc/ 
  6. https://www.profitwell.com/recur/all/does-content-marketing-pay-off 
  7. https://databox.com/how-to-measure-content-marketing-funnel   
  8. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/the-changing-face-b2b-marketing/ 
  9. https://martech.org/buying-group-marketing-the-next-evolution-of-abm/
  10. https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/06/06/2456875/0/en/The-Global-SAAS-Market-is-expected-to-reach-a-value-of-USD-720-44-Billion-by-2028-at-a-CAGR-of-25-89-over-the-forecast-period-2022-2028-SkyQuest-Technology.html    
  11. https://martech.org/buying-group-marketing-the-next-evolution-of-abm/ 
  12. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/the-changing-face-b2b-marketing/ 

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