SEM and SEO for SAAS: how to boost your business in the cloud

The software as a service (SAAS) application market is booming. It is expected to reach $623 billion in 2021, with an annual growth rate of 18%.

However, it is also a very competitive market, where standing out and attracting customers is not an easy task. Therefore, it is essential that SAAS companies use effective digital marketing strategies, such as SEM and SEO, to achieve greater visibility and profitability.

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SAAS profits in the United States

What are SEM and SEO?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are two ways of marketing on search engines, such as Google or Bing. Both have the goal of increasing traffic and conversions on your website, but they differ in the method and cost.

+ SEM consists of creating and managing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns on search engine platforms, such as Google Ads or Bing Ads. These campaigns allow you to show relevant ads to users searching for keywords related to your product or service, and you only pay when they click on them. SEM offers you the advantage of obtaining quick results, segmenting your audience and controlling your budget.

+ SEO consists of optimizing your website so that it appears in the first positions of the organic (non-paid) results of search engines, for the keywords that interest you. SEO involves improving the content , design, speed, structure and authority of your website , among other factors. SEO offers you the advantage of obtaining free, sustainable and quality traffic.

Why are SEM and SEO important for SAAS companies?

SEM and SEO are important for any type of online business, but they are especially important for SAAS companies, for several reasons:

+ Search engines are the main source of information and purchasing decisions for users. According to a Google study, 87% of B2B software buyers use search engines at some point in their purchasing process. Therefore, if you want to reach your target audience , you must be present and visible in search engines.

+ Search engines are an ideal channel tocapture qualified leads . Users looking for cloud software solutions have a clear and specific intent, and are closer to becoming customers. If you offer them a compelling value proposition and a satisfying user experience, you'll be more likely to convert.

+ Search engines are an effective means to differentiate yourself from the competition. The market for SAAS applications is very large and diverse, and there are many similar options for users. If you manage to position yourself above your competitors in search engines, you will be able to convey an image of greater trust, quality and authority, and capture the attention of users.

How to optimize SEM and SEO for SAAS companies?

To optimize SEM and SEO for SAAS companies, it is necessary to follow a series of steps and good practices, which we detail below:

1. Define your objectives and your target audience

The first step to optimize SEM and SEO is to define what you want to achieve with these strategies and who you want to target.

That is, you must establish SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and temporal) and create buyer personas (fictitious profiles of your ideal clients) that help you guide your actions.

For example, a goal could be to increase the number of subscriptions to your app by 20% in the next 6 months, and a buyer persona could be Juan, a marketing manager at a medium-sized company looking for an easy-to-use email marketing tool. use and with good support.

2. Conduct keyword research

The next step is to perform keyword research , which consists of identifying and analyzing the terms that users use to search for software solutions like yours in search engines.

These keywords will help you create your SEM campaigns and your SEO content, and to optimize the technical elements of your website.

To conduct keyword research, you can use tools like Semrush, which allow you to obtain data on the search volume, difficulty, competition, and cost per click for each keyword.

You can segment keywords according to their search intention, that is, the objective that the user pursues when making the query. For example, there are informational keywords (such as “what is email marketing”), comparative keywords (such as “best email marketing tools”), and transactional keywords (such as “hire email marketing”).

3. Create and optimize your SEM campaigns

The third step is to create and optimize your SEM campaigns, which consist of text ads that appear at the top or bottom of search results, depending on the keyword the user has entered.

To create and optimize your SEM campaigns, you must take into account the following aspects:

+ Structure your campaigns by ad groups, according to the themes or categories of your products or services. For example, if your app offers multiple features, you can create an ad group for each of them.

+ Choose the right keywords for each ad group, based on relevance, volume, and competition. Use the different match types (broad, phrase, exact, and negative) to control the level of match between the keyword and the user's query.

+ Write attractive and persuasive ads, including the main keyword, a benefit or solution, a call to action and an extension (additional information that improves the performance of the ad, such as a link to a specific page, phone number, customer ratings, etc.).

+ Set an appropriate budget and bid for each campaign, based on cost per click, quality score, and expected ROI. You can use the automatic or manual bidding strategies offered by SEM platforms, or create your own.

+ Measure and analyze the performance of your campaigns, using the key metrics and indicators provided by SEM platforms, such as the number of impressions, clicks, conversions, cost per conversion, etc. Perform A/B tests and adjust your campaigns based on the results obtained.

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4. Create and optimize your SEO content

The fourth step is to create and optimize your SEO content , which consists of the text, images, videos and other elements that make up your website and that provide value to users and search engines. To create and optimize your SEO content, you must take into account the following aspects:

+ Create a logical and simple web architecture that facilitates navigation and understanding for users and search engines. It uses a hierarchy of titles (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and a friendly and descriptive URL structure.

+ Create original, relevant and quality content that responds to the needs and interests of your target audience and that includes the appropriate keywords. Use clear, direct and persuasive language, and avoid duplicate or unhelpful content.

+ Create varied and multimedia content that captures the attention and interest of users and improves dwell time and bounce rate. Use images, videos, infographics, podcasts, ebooks, webinars and other formats that enrich your content and make it more attractive.

+ Create mobile-optimized content that adapts to the size and resolution of smartphone and tablet screens, and offers good loading speed and usability. Remember that mobile traffic exceeds desktop traffic, and that search engines penalize websites that are not responsive.

+ Create content optimized for voice searches, which are increasingly common thanks to the use of virtual assistants, such as Siri or Alexa. To do this, use a conversational tone, short sentences and direct questions and answers, and focus on long-tail keywords.

5. Optimize the technical elements of your website

The fifth step is to optimize the technical elements of your website, which are those that affect the operation, security and indexing of your website by search engines. To optimize the technical elements of your website, you must take into account the following aspects:

+ Optimize the HTML code of your website, which is the language that search engines use to interpret the content of your website. Use meta tags, such as title, description, canonical, robots, etc., that describe the content and instructions of each page. Also use structured data , which are code fragments that make it easier to understand and present your content in search engines, such as rich snippets or breadcrumbs.

+ Optimize the loading time of your website, which is the time it takes for your website to be fully displayed to the user. A high loading time can lead to a poor user experience, a higher bounce rate, and lower search engine rankings. To improve loading time, you can use tools such as Google PageSpeed ​​Insights, which offer you tips to optimize your website, such as reducing the weight of images, minifying the code, enabling compression, using the cache, etc.

+ Optimize the security of your website, which is the degree of protection that your website offers against possible attacks or external threats. An insecure website can suffer data loss, information theft, reputation damage and search engine penalties. To improve security, you can use the HTTPS protocol, which encrypts the communication between your website and the user, and avoid mixed content, which is what is loaded from HTTP and HTTPS sources at the same time.

+ Optimize the indexing of your website, which is the process by which search engines crawl, analyze and store your website in their databases. A well-indexed website has a better chance of appearing in search results. To facilitate indexing, you can use tools such as Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools, which allow you to send your sitemap (map of your website) to search engines, check the status of your website, detect and solve errors, etc.

Successful examples of SAAS companies that have optimized their SEM and SEO

To finish, we show you some examples of SAAS companies that have managed to optimize their SEM and SEO, and that have obtained excellent results:

Slack : Slack is a communication and collaboration platform for work teams. Your SEM strategy is based on creating personalized and segmented ads for each type of user, according to their sector, size or location. Your SEO strategy is based on creating quality and relevant content for your audience, such as success stories, guides, blogs, podcasts, etc.

Shopify : Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows you to create and manage online stores. Your SEM strategy is based on creating ads with clear offers and benefits, such as the possibility of creating a free store for 14 days, or accessing an affordable pricing plan. Its SEO strategy is based on creating varied and multimedia content, such as videos, infographics, webinars, etc., that cover topics of interest to online entrepreneurs.

HubSpot : HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform that offers CRM, marketing, sales, and customer service solutions. Their SEM strategy is based on creating ads with strong calls to action, such as the invitation to try their free software, or to download their free resources. Your SEO strategy is based on creating content optimized for voice searches, such as frequently asked questions and answers, or practical tips.


If you want to know more about SEM and SEO for SAAS companies, or need help implementing these strategies in your business, you can contact us. We are MHA Consulting, a digital marketing consultancy specialized in the software as a service applications sector.

We offer you personalized and effective solutions to grow your business in the cloud. Don't hesitate to request a free consultation with us!