Keyword Research for SaaS: Identifying Industry-Specific Terms

Keyword Research for SaaS: Identifying Industry-Specific Terms

The Software as a Service (SaaS) industry has grown exponentially, making the digital space more competitive than ever. Effective keyword research is paramount for SaaS companies looking to improve their online visibility, draw in organic traffic, and convert leads to loyal customers. Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding the nuances of keyword research specifically tailored for the SaaS industry.

Understanding the SaaS Keyword Landscape

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of keyword research, it’s essential to understand the SaaS landscape and the unique challenges it poses.

The Importance of Industry-Specific Keywords

  • Targeted Reach: The right keywords ensure that your content reaches potential users who are genuinely interested in your software offering.
  • Conversion Optimization: Industry-specific keywords are more likely to attract users further down the sales funnel, thereby increasing the chances of conversion.

Challenges in SaaS Keyword Research

  • High Competition: With countless SaaS platforms vying for attention, the digital landscape is highly competitive. This makes finding low-competition, high-volume keywords challenging.
  • Rapid Industry Evolution: As technology evolves, new terminologies and trends emerge, necessitating continuous keyword research updates.
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Laying the Groundwork: Preliminary Research

Before diving into advanced tools and techniques, begin with foundational research to ensure you’re on the right track.

Conversations with Your Sales and Support Teams

  • Direct User Insights: Your sales and support teams directly interact with customers. They can provide insights into the challenges users face, the terms they use, and the features they inquire about.

Competitor Analysis

  • Keyword Borrowing: While you shouldn’t copy competitors, analyzing their content can give you an idea of the keywords they’re targeting.
  • Identifying Gaps: This can also help in spotting keyword opportunities that competitors might be missing.

Industry Forums and Q&A Sites

  • Real-world Queries: Platforms like Quora, Stack Exchange, or industry-specific forums can be goldmines for long-tail keywords and user-specific queries.

Dive Deeper: Advanced Keyword Research Tools

While foundational research is crucial, specialized tools can provide detailed metrics to refine your keyword strategy.

Google Keyword Planner

  • Search Volume Insights: This free tool from Google provides estimates on monthly search volumes for specific keywords.
  • Keyword Suggestions: Based on your initial inputs, the tool suggests related keywords, providing a broader pool to select from.

SEMrush and Ahrefs

  • Competitor Keyword Analysis: These tools can give insights into the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
  • Keyword Difficulty: Understand how challenging it would be to rank for specific keywords, allowing you to target terms that give you a fighting chance.


  • Long-tail Keywords: This tool is excellent for unearthing long-tail keyword variations, which might have lower search volumes but can be less competitive and more specific.

Content Intent: Aligning Keywords with User Needs

In the SaaS industry, it’s not just about finding keywords; it’s about understanding what a user intends when they search for those terms. This comprehension can guide your content strategy.

Understanding Different Types of Intent

  • Informational Intent: Here, users are looking for answers or more knowledge. Keywords might include “how does [SaaS product] work?” or “benefits of cloud storage.”
  • Navigational Intent: These users are looking for a specific website or product, like “[Brand Name] login” or “[Software] tutorial.”
  • Transactional Intent: These searchers are ready to buy. Keywords might look like “[Software] pricing” or “best CRM software for small businesses.”
  • Comparative Intent: These users are evaluating options. “X vs. Y,” “best software for…”, or “[Software] reviews” are typical formats.

Mapping Content to Intent

  • Blog Posts and Articles: These are great for informational and some comparative intents. They educate readers and guide them down the sales funnel.
  • Product Pages: Serve users with navigational and transactional intent, ensuring they find the information they need quickly.
  • Comparison Pages or Review Sections: Directly address comparative intent, offering users clear data and reasons to choose your SaaS product.

The Power of Long-Tail Keywords

For SaaS companies, long-tail keywords can be instrumental. They might have lower search volumes but can cater to a more specific audience.

Advantages of Targeting Long-Tail Terms

  • Lower Competition: Fewer businesses target these specific phrases, increasing your chances of ranking higher.
  • Higher Conversion Rates: As these terms are more precise, they often cater to users who have a clear intent, leading to better conversion rates.

Strategies for Finding Long-Tail Keywords

  • Voice Search Optimization: With the rise of voice assistants, people search using conversational queries. Think of how someone might ask Siri or Alexa a question related to your software.
  • LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords: These are semantically related to your primary keyword. Tools like LSI Graph can help unearth these terms.

Localizing Your Keyword Research

While SaaS is often global, there’s power in targeting specific regions or countries, especially if your software addresses region-specific problems.

Benefits of Localization

  • Tailored User Experience: Localizing content can cater to regional preferences, cultural nuances, or specific pain points of that region.
  • Improved Conversion Rates: Local users might be more inclined to invest in a product that seems tailored to their needs.

Strategies for Local Keyword Research

  • Google Trends: This tool can help identify if a particular term is popular in a specific region or country.
  • Local Forums and Social Media: Engage in region-specific platforms to understand the common queries and pain points of that audience.

Seasonal Trends and Event-Driven Keywords

The software industry isn’t immune to fluctuations based on seasonal trends or specific industry events. Knowing when and how to target these fluctuations can give SaaS companies an edge.

Benefits of Tapping into Seasonal and Event-Driven Keywords

  • Stay Ahead of the Curve: By identifying and acting on trends early, you can establish authority on a topic before your competitors do.
  • Increase in Short-Term Traffic: Seasonal events can lead to spikes in traffic. For example, Black Friday sales or an industry-specific event like SaaS conferences.

Strategies to Identify Seasonal Keywords

  • Google Trends Analysis: Monitor keyword popularity throughout the year to spot any seasonal upticks.
  • Industry Event Calendar: Be aware of upcoming events, conferences, or trade shows. Creating content around these can drive traffic from attendees or those interested in the event.

Building a Keyword-Focused Content Calendar

Once you’ve gathered a list of potential keywords, the next step is to systematically produce content around them.

Prioritizing Keywords

  • Keyword Significance: Begin with terms that are most aligned with your business goals and offerings.
  • Balancing Volume and Competition: While high volume is attractive, if a keyword is highly competitive, it might be challenging to rank for it. Find a balance based on your business’s current standing.

Scheduling Content

  • Consistency is Key: Regularly publishing content not only keeps your audience engaged but also signals to search engines that your site is active and updated.
  • Align with Product Launches or Updates: If you’re releasing a new feature or product, ensure your content calendar includes pieces that highlight and explain these updates.

Continual Monitoring and Iteration

The world of SaaS is continually evolving, and so is the language around it. Consistent monitoring ensures you’re always targeting relevant keywords.

Importance of Regular Reviews

  • Industry Evolution: New terminologies can emerge, and old ones can become obsolete.
  • Changing User Behavior: The way users search can evolve based on cultural shifts, technology advancements, or global events.

Tools and Techniques for Continuous Monitoring

  • Google Search Console: This free tool from Google allows you to monitor which keywords are driving traffic to your site. It can help spot new opportunities or terms you hadn’t considered.
  • Feedback Loops with Sales and Support: As mentioned earlier, maintaining open communication channels with teams that directly interact with customers can provide insights into changing needs and terminologies.

Capitalizing on Branded Keywords

For SaaS companies, especially those gaining traction, there’s a goldmine of opportunity in branded keywords—terms that include the company or product name.

Importance of Owning Your Branded Space

  • Reputation Management: By ranking for your branded keywords, you control the narrative. This is especially important if any negative reviews or press emerges, as you can position your content above or alongside these.
  • Higher Conversion Rates: Users searching for your brand already have some level of awareness or interest. Capturing this audience can lead to higher conversion rates.

Strategies for Optimizing Branded Keywords

  • FAQs and Knowledge Bases: Creating comprehensive FAQ sections or knowledge bases can cater to users looking for specific information about your software.
  • Engage in Google Ads: Even if you rank organically for your branded terms, running Google Ads can ensure total domination of the search results page.

The Power of Question-Based Keywords

In the SaaS space, users often have queries regarding the functionalities, integrations, or benefits of a software product. These queries can be valuable keyword opportunities.

Understanding the ‘Why’, ‘How’, and ‘What’

  • Why: These queries revolve around the benefits or reasons to use a software product. E.g., “Why use a CRM software?”
  • How: Focused on the operational aspect, like “How to integrate X software with Y tool?”
  • What: These are typically exploratory, such as “What features does X SaaS product offer?”

Harnessing Tools for Question-Based Queries

  • Answer The Public: This tool provides visualizations of questions people ask around a specific keyword. It’s a treasure trove for content ideas.
  • AlsoAsked: It provides insights into the related questions people ask on search engines based on a specific keyword.

Collaborative Keyword Research

SaaS is often about integrations and collaborations with other tools and platforms. This interconnectedness can be a boon for keyword research.

The Advantage of Integrative Keywords

  • Broadened Audience Base: By targeting keywords related to integrations, you can attract users of the integrated tool who might be looking for functionalities your software offers.
  • Highlighting USP: If your software has a unique integration or functionality, this can be a major selling point.

Techniques to Identify Collaborative Keywords

  • User Feedback: Often, users request integrations with specific tools. Monitoring this feedback can provide keyword opportunities.
  • Competitor Analysis: If a competitor integrates with a popular tool, it might be worth creating content around it, even if it’s a comparison or a feature highlight.

Harnessing User-Generated Content for Keyword Insights

User-generated content (UGC), like reviews, comments, and forum discussions, can provide invaluable keyword insights, especially in the SaaS space.

The Goldmine of UGC

  • Authentic User Language: UGC allows you to see the exact terms and phrases real users use when discussing your software or the problems it solves.
  • Uncover Pain Points: Negative comments or reviews can help identify areas of improvement and provide content opportunities to address these issues.

Strategies to Leverage UGC for Keywords

  • Monitor Reviews: Platforms like G2 Crowd, Capterra, or Trustpilot can provide insights into the language users utilize.
  • Engage in Forums: Industry-specific forums or platforms like Reddit can provide deep dives into user discussions, offering long-tail keyword opportunities.

Diversifying Keyword Strategy with Multimedia Content

As the digital landscape evolves, multimedia content, like videos, podcasts, and infographics, becomes increasingly crucial.

Why Multimedia Matters in SaaS

  • Complex Concepts Simplified: Multimedia can simplify intricate SaaS functionalities or concepts, making them more digestible.
  • Diverse User Preferences: While some users prefer reading, others might lean towards visual or auditory content.

Strategies for Multimedia Keyword Optimization

  • Video Descriptions: If you produce video content, optimize the description with relevant keywords. Platforms like YouTube are, after all, search engines in their own right.
  • Podcast Show Notes: Detailed show notes can be optimized with relevant keywords, making your podcast episodes discoverable on platforms like Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Navigating Negative Keywords in SaaS Advertising

When running paid advertising campaigns, negative keywords—terms you don’t want your ads to show up for—are as vital as the keywords you’re targeting.

The Power of Pruning with Negative Keywords

  • Cost Efficiency: By ensuring your ads don’t appear for irrelevant terms, you save on unnecessary ad spend.
  • Better Conversion Rates: Filtering out irrelevant traffic means that those who click on your ads have a higher likelihood of conversion.

Strategies to Identify Negative Keywords

  • Regular Ad Audit: Monitor which terms are triggering your ads. If you spot irrelevant keywords leading to clicks (and expenditure), add them to your negative keyword list.
  • Predict Potential Misinterpretations: If your SaaS product shares its name with something unrelated (e.g., a common word), ensure you exclude potential unrelated queries.

Wrapping it Up

The realm of SaaS is dynamic, marked by rapid advancements, evolving user needs, and an increasingly competitive landscape. Amidst this dynamism, keyword research stands as a pillar, guiding businesses towards meaningful interactions with their target audience.

To summarize:

  • User-Centric Approach: At the heart of effective keyword research lies a profound understanding of user intent. Aligning your content with user queries, from informational to transactional, can significantly bolster your SaaS offering’s visibility.
  • Diverse Research Techniques: From leveraging user-generated content to tapping into seasonal trends and incorporating multimedia keyword strategies, diversity is key. The more varied your approach, the more comprehensive your keyword list will be.
  • Continuous Adaptation: The digital space, especially in SaaS, is always evolving. Regularly reviewing, adapting, and refining your keyword strategy is not just beneficial—it’s essential.

Remember, while tools and techniques are invaluable, the real power of keyword research stems from understanding and empathizing with your audience. It’s about bridging the gap between their needs and your solutions. By mastering keyword research tailored to the SaaS industry, businesses can not only achieve higher visibility but also build stronger, more authentic connections with their users.

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