The top 15 SEO challenges facing fast-growing SaaS companies

4 July 2023
5 minutes

In short

SaaS is a vibrant industry with over 30,000 different brands on the market today. In 2022 alone, 377 new SaaS companies entered the market. With all that competition, SaaS marketers have to go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd.

That’s why search engine optimisation (SEO) is especially important for fast-growing SaaS companies. Yet, navigating the turbulent waters of SEO isn’t straightforward for these brands. They grapple with a blend of industry-specific intricacies and general optimisation hurdles. 

While conventional SEO strategies offer a foundation, the nuances of the SaaS sector demand a more tailored approach. In this article, we break down these distinct challenges, shedding light on the pivotal areas of focus.

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The top 15 SEO challenges we encounter when working with SaaS brands

1. Extremely competitive keywords

SaaS marketers are always looking for competitive keywords that can help their content top the search engine results page (SERP) ranking. Finding the right keywords is always a challenge and requires significant time, effort and resources. For SaaS companies, it’s even more difficult, considering the highly competitive market. Established competitors with larger budgets and a stronger online presence often dominate keywords, making it harder for newer or smaller businesses to break through.

2. Highly specialised niche markets

SaaS products often cater to very specific niches or industries. This means it’s crucial for startups to optimise their SEO strategies for the right keywords and target audience. Identifying the right keywords and creating relevant content that appeals to a specific niche is a challenge. Many SaaS companies also struggle to find content creators with the experience and subject matter expertise to create relevant niche content for them.

3. Complex products and services

SaaS products are sometimes complex. They may also require technical knowledge to understand. This complexity makes it challenging to create content that is both user friendly and SEO friendly, while also clearly explaining the company’s value proposition. It takes talented content creators to break down the complexity and engage with the target audience.

4. Limited resources

Many fast-growing SaaS companies have limited marketing resources, including tight budgets and small teams. This makes it hard for them to invest in SEO activities, such as hiring SEO consultants or in-house content creators. Limited resources can also prevent SaaS companies from creating consistently high-quality content, which also impacts their SEO performance.

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5. Lack of SEO strategy

Many fast-growing SaaS companies do not have clear SEO plans in place. Their marketing teams are often just getting started, so they may be focusing more on simply creating content rather than optimising it. This leads to missed opportunities for driving traffic and conversions. It’s important to build SEO into your content workflows from the very beginning, so your company’s content marketing gets off to a stronger start

6. Evolving SEO trends and algorithms

Like the SaaS industry, SEO is rapidly evolving. Google’s algorithms are continually evolving, and new technologies like AI chatbots are changing the way people access information online. SaaS startups need to stay updated with the latest SEO trends and technologies to adapt their strategies accordingly. Yet this requires time and expertise, which can be a big challenge in young marketing teams with limited resources.

7. Ignoring technical SEO

SEO is not just about finding the right keywords. Technical factors like page load speed, mobile optimisation, crawlability, indexability and structured data have a big impact on SEO success. Yet marketing teams at SaaS companies often have other priorities, so they overlook important technical factors. It’s important for marketing to work closely with IT and web design teams to ensure they’re doing everything they can to optimise for findability.

8. Long customer journeys

SaaS customer journeys are often lengthy, involving multiple touchpoints and stages. This poses challenges for SEO, as SaaS marketers must ensure that their content and website are visible and relevant to many different audiences, at many different stages of the buyer journey. Especially for smaller teams, it is a major challenge to produce the volume of content that this requires.

9. Balancing lead generation and branding

SaaS marketers need to strike a balance between lead generation and branding in their SEO strategies. While lead generation is crucial for driving conversion, building brand awareness and establishing credibility in the market are equally important. Achieving this balance can be a challenge for startups seeking to optimise their SEO efforts, as they will often feel more pressure from the business to generate leads.

10. Limited backlink opportunities

Backlinks play a significant role in SEO, but acquiring high-quality backlinks is often out of reach for young SaaS brands. Compared to established companies, younger brands have a hard time attracting attention from highly authoritative websites or influencers who are more likely to link to well-known brands.

11. Frequent feature updates

To remain competitive, SaaS products are constantly being updated to include new features. While these updates are essential to drive sales, they create SEO challenges. Outdated content and broken links negatively impact your website’s search rankings, and it takes time and the right tools to continually monitor and keep your website fully up to date.

12. Limited user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for improving SERP rankings. Yet SaaS companies may be unable to leverage UGC because they have limited customer bases or low user engagement. As a result, UGC may seem out of reach for many young SaaS brands. This means that many marketing teams will overlook it and fail to leverage the benefits.

13. Difficulty scaling

As SaaS companies grow and expand their customer base, they face the challenge of scaling their SEO efforts effectively. Maintaining consistent SEO strategies across multiple markets, languages and platforms is a complex task. It requires continual monitoring, adaptation and optimization. In a super busy work week at a fast-growing SaaS marketing department, it can be difficult to find the time.

14. Balancing creativity and SEO

Young marketing teams are bursting with creativity. It’s exciting to be part of a fast-growing brand’s narrative. But it’s important for SaaS marketers to find the right balance between creativity and SEO optimisation. The key is to create content that is both engaging and keyword-rich. This allows search engines to understand their products, so they are easier for potential buyers to find online.

15. Inconsistent content quality

Lastly, SaaS marketing teams often struggle with maintaining high-quality content. Their teams may lack a clear strategy, tone of voice guide or style guidelines. All these foundational documents help ensure consistency and keep all content creators on the same page. This is essential to establishing a recognisable brand, but it also impacts your SEO rankings, since Google and other search engines prioritise domains that offer helpful, original content that is written to answer real search questions.

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Make SEO part of your SaaS success story

Fast-growing SaaS brands face unique SEO challenges that often impact their online visibility in a highly competitive market. From intense competition to niche targeting, complex products and limited resources, these challenges require tailored strategies to address them effectively. By building SEO into your overall content strategy from the beginning, you become better positioned to tackle these challenges and achieve your content marketing goals.

Understanding the intricate challenges of SaaS SEO is pivotal for growth. Ready to optimize and enhance your brand’s online presence? Consult our content advisors today and ensure SEO becomes an integral part of your success story.

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