I’ve grown hundreds of SaaS businesses from small seed-funded startups to multi-billion dollar publicly traded SaaS behemoths. I know what fundamentals you should make sure you’re accounting for, and when to add some spice.
This is a simple checklist you should be using to audit if you’re accounting for the most important items that will lead to your SaaS having success in SEO in 2023.
Most are simple, but simple doesn’t mean wrong. There is some spice in here too though!
This should act as a refresher, and ground you in what’s important — the fundamentals. If you routinely do the fundamentals right you should have a very successful year. You can always scale those fundamentals up and be more aggressive to have even faster growth as well.
Here’s your 15-step SaaS SEO Growth Checklist and Q&A for 2023:
- Do you have all of the different core pages you need? If you’re not sure what pages you should have for your SaaS website, see my Twitter thread here for a pretty extensive list of 12 pages each SaaS site should include.
- Do you know what core topic clusters you want to own in 2023? Think about your niche, think about your customers and their core pain points. Think about the niche within your niche that your core customers are — if you’ve already tapped this, start thinking bigger, more general. If you don’t know what topic clusters you want — or should — own in 2023, talk to me and we can find out.
- Do you have a list of the pages that need to be updated or refreshed on your site? If your pages aren’t growing in rankings then they’re sitting still — or worse — falling. You need to be refreshing your pages iteratively to improve their rank. Test, monitor, iterate. If you’re not doing this, or don’t even know the pages you need to update — you need to find out.
- Do you have a list of your best content and why it performs so well? If you’re not taking advantage of your best content, you’re missing out. You should be crafting internal link paths from your best content, finding out how to replicate it with more content focused on other topics, and continually capitalizing off of your best investments/assets.
- Do you have clear content production schedules for publishing new, well targeted content on your own site? If not, this is fundamental and you should make sure you fix this asap. If you don’t have a plan already in place for 2023, by the time you do your competitors will already have plenty of new great pieces published.
- Do you have rhythms in place for content promotion and link building? After your content is published are you done with it? If so, you’re missing a massive chunk of the puzzle. You need to be promoting that content, and have rhythms, systems, and tools in place that repurpose that content and promote it to your audience multiple times in multiple areas. Repurposing content is one of the easiest ways to get multiplicative value out of one asset. Use it.
- Do you have plans to publish content or contribute content on other sites/mediums beyond just your own site? If you don’t, make them. Contributing to other blogs, being recognized by conferences, making appearances on podcasts, etc. All generate links, usually high authority links that can help all of your other SEO investments do better.
- Is your site speed slow? If you don’t know, it’s a good idea just to take a quick check up. This only becomes more and more important. Fix it.
- Is your site’s user experience positive and up-to-date? If not, or if you even have to hesitate in answering that question, it’s perhaps time for a nice user experience refresh. User experience is becoming more and more important as a ranking factor, and every algorithm update re-affirms that. If your designers are pushing to update things, you should probably let them.
- Do you have any major technical limitations still on your site? There’s a ton of different things that can hold your site’s performance back technically. We’ve created a guide outlining most of those, but ultimately you can use a tool like Lumar (formerly DeepCrawl) to find them, and if you’re confident enough either solve for most of them yourself or hire an SEO or agency to handle them for you.
- Do you understand your SERPs and what Google is really wanting to show your customers when they search for the terms you would want them to search to find you? If not, I recommend you start analyzing and manually searching a lot of those SERPs and understand the trends behind the content they decide to represent. This shifts more often than you’d think, and for most terms that seemed very straight-forward and transactional before, they are more education oriented today. For example search for “CRM” and see how even Salesforce has to use a “What is a CRM” article to rank for that keyword, even when they’re the default in most people’s minds when the term CRM is mentioned. You may have to change your approach in order to actually rank.
- Building off of #11, #12 is all about being attentive to what you actually need to create in order to rank for the terms you feel you should show up for. Go where the attention is, then understand what the intent is of that attention, and optimize for that. Not understanding the attention leads to irrelevant content (as far as Google is concerned) being created which leads to wasted budgets.
- Do you have your competitor pages in order? If not, your competitors likely do and are likely stealing your customers. Customers especially in SaaS will shop around — and competitor pages like “X Alternative” or “X vs Y” pages will rank easily, and will acquire customers. They typically convert pretty highly actually. They also help eliminate bad customers, it’s addition through subtraction. If they’re not a good fit for you then you can let them know they’re not a good fit for you quickly with this kind of page.
- Building off of #13, #14 is about listicles. Are you either updating existing articles or planning to build new articles where you mention a roundup of a bunch of apps/tools that accomplish what your users are looking to accomplish? If not you’re going to be leaving a lot of good ranking positions, traffic, and customers on the table. Customers that your competition can get pretty easily. Google is ranking more and more of this kind of content. Most “software” oriented keywords are dominated by large lists because Google wants to display as many options to their searchers as possible. This is why sites like G2 and Capterra dominate most SaaS-oriented “industry + software” keywords. If you choose not to play in this arena then you have no say in the conversation and you don’t control the narrative. Sites are going to rank regardless so it might as well be your site that ranks and you can optimize conversions from.
- Are you planning on utilizing ChatGPT and OpenAI to optimize a lot of the backend actions behind your SEO in 2023? If not you’re going to be left in the dust. This doesn’t mean you have to use AI-written content when you publish, in most cases that may not even be a good idea if you plan on that content ranking. There are some workarounds there which some SEOs are testing but for the broad market I would recommend steering clear of this for some time. That said, you can always use OpenAI to help generate ideas, topics, headlines, do research, things of that nature to drastically speed up the time to publish new content, new pages, and things of that nature. It’s pretty much the wild west right now as far as OpenAI is concerned right now, but the people who capitalize on it early will know how to use it best when it catches on mainstream.
Those are really the main things you should be focused on accounting for in 2023 to grow consistently and even rapidly. Most of these aren’t anything new, they’re the fundamentals, but there is a little spice in there as well.
If you’re unsure if you’re set up to do any of these right in 2023, feel free to reach out and we can help get you on the right track.
Here’s to great growth in 2023!