Article

Joseph Harisson
Joseph Harisson 14 May 2019

Which Ranking Factors Are Crucial for SaaS SEO

Google's ever-expanding machine learning capability is opening new vistas in understanding user needs and wants. Google uses ranking factors to assess your relevance to user needs. In the intensely competitive SaaS ecosystem, your survival depends on measuring up to Google's search engine metrics and changing algorithms. Read on to unravel the six-point cheat sheet that’ll rocket you up the stratosphere of high Google ranking.

​In the results-driven killing fields of SaaS entrepreneurship, total dominance of the niche is the only harbinger of success, and this goal is achievable by making SEO an integral part of one’s marketing strategy. With top players ever willing and capable of being disruptors, it behooves you to focus on the Google top ranking factors that ensure heightened visibility for your brand.  

Given this backdrop, it makes sense to incorporate  SaaS SEO best practices at every stage in the design and development process of your website to help your SaaS business emerge taller in search engine visibility and stand apart from the competition.

Back To Basics: Understanding Ranking Factors

When Google bots crawl your web page, they’re analyzing how relevant your content is to a search engine query.

Google tracks various parameters like the page content, your technical perfection, the kind of signals that you’re conveying to web users, and the quality of the backlink profile, mentioning just a few factors.

These factors and the way you relate to them determine how Google ranks you in search engine results.

Once you become aware of the importance attached to ranking factors, you begin to pack the right ammunition when you're firing from the hip in search engine optimization.   

The 6 Vital Google Ranking Factors Guiding Your 2019 SaaS SEO Strategy

In its never-ending search for user-friendliness and content awesomeness, Google ranking factors have undergone a sea change.

In 2014 the buzz was all about making websites more secure with HTTPS as the powerful ranking signal.

In 2015 the emphasis was on how friendly web pages were to mobile users.

In 2016, Google’s Artificial Intelligence powered algorithm RankBrain dictated how content ought to fulfill user intent.

Currently, we’re seeing considerable hype regarding mobile user speeds as a ranking factor. While Google continues to tweak search algorithms and add to its formidable list of ranking parameters, you’re in a win-win situation if you focus on six critical ranking factors that promise the biggest bang for your buck in 2019.

Ranking Factor 1: The Minimalist Web Design Presented Smartly

The challenge of SaaS marketing lies in attracting and retaining clients using pages designed for maximum impact while promoting user-friendliness. Try the following ideas:

  • Avoid chaotic layouts. Use the bare minimum of content wedded to stunning pictures that hold and retain customer interest. Maximize whitespace in page margins and between paragraphs giving a 20 percent boost to user comprehension. You are grabbing attention.

  • Bring on beautiful screenshots to give visitors a visual cue to what your product promises. Don’t talk through print; show through eye-catching visuals. You are retaining interest.

  • Position the most attractive calls to action in the top fold. Offer the opportunity to upgrade to better services, try product demos, or download white papers. Even a contact information prompt should offer value-added services. You are converting customers.

Ranking Factor 2: Bot-Friendly Pages That Facilitate Crawling and Indexing

Your top priority is to design web pages that Google bots can easily navigate and index because any glitch in this area could see you disappearing from search engine listings. So, if you want to make the bot’s job easier to execute, this is what you do:  

  • Get your site scanned using the Google search console, and rectify all crawl errors that are listed out for you.

  • Prepare a sitemap showing Google how you’ve organized your content. Better still, mark your sitemap within the robots.txt file so the Google bot knows which pages to index and what it should ignore.

  • Position the best keywords in anchor texts as this makes internal links informative, and purposeful, and gives you a better shot at fulfilling user intent. If your users love you, Google will too.

Ranking Factor 3: Keywords Customized to Psychographically Segmented Audiences

If that sounds like rocket science, we’ll simplify. Psychography is the method of analyzing the behavior, opinions, traits, and interests of prospective clients. It’s an effective way of building the buyer persona. When you know your audience, the logical follow up is to behaviorally segment clients so you can customize messages to fulfill specific needs.

Predictive analytics powered by Artificial Intelligence is personalizing content framing real-time responses to minute changes in consumer behavior.  

In adapting SEO for SaaS, you hit the ground running with a sharp focus on long-tailed keywords - you'll be targeting the keywords that SaaS clients frequently use. By merging long-tailed keywords into H1, H2 tags, titles, subheadings, and URLs, you’re in a better position to rank higher for those search terms.

In case you’re wondering which keywords you ought to be focusing on, use predictive analytics tools such as Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio, and IBM SPSS Predictive Analytics Enterprise.

Ranking Factor 4: Title Tag Descriptions That Are Precise Summations of Crucial Messages

Plan web pages to reflect user intent and use accurate descriptions in meta tags to make it abundantly clear that you’re offering solutions customized to your audience’s specific needs.

Don’t make clients wallow in the confusion of generic titles. They’ll pogo-stick elsewhere for answers. Avoid keyword stuffing.

Remember that accurate meta tag descriptions encourage conversions because audiences perceive that they’ve landed a quality solution that fulfills their need.

Restrict titles to 60 characters and meta tags to 160 to ensure that the message you convey gets emblazoned in uncensored bold blue ink in top search listings.

Ranking Factor 5: Packing Ferrari Firepower in Page Speeds

Google makes it abundantly clear that anything that enhances user-friendliness pushes websites up the pole of higher rankings, and page speed happens to be critical to favorable search engine listings.  

According to Hubspot, page speeds exceeding 1.5 seconds consign you to the Zombie Land of higher bounce rates and lower conversions.

Avoid the CSS route and use photoshop to scale down images while retaining image quality, or simply use an automated tool that does it all for you, like the Shortpixel's one we regularly use when optimizing images in Wordpress. Tweaking the browser caching will also reduce loading time. Use the CSS Minifier to compress CSS and Javascript files to optimize the load time.  

Ranking Factor 6: Restructuring Your Links to Climb the Search Engine Listings

If users click your links and land on a 404 error, you’ve lost the plot completely. Google, confronted with broken links, deals you a double whammy. The link loses relevance in Google’s index, and the web page the link is supposed to connect loses its ranking.

Fortunately, you can reduce the pain of users finding themselves in the “no man's land” of a 404 error by customizing the page. In the WordPress Admin, for example, you can navigate to the “404 template” link and edit what you want to convey. For example, you can provide links to popular searches that’ll keep users navigating your site and not go elsewhere.

To avoid being penalized by Google for 404 related crawl issues, use the Google search console to list, prioritize, and fix such errors and pave the way for a permanent solution.  

Conclusion

Staying on top of Google’s critical ranking factors may seem like riding a Tsunami to oblivion, but it’s an achievable goal provided you know what you’re doing.

If you toss our six-pronged pitchfork into your SaaS marketing strategy, you make yourself unique and distance yourself from the competition.

As you improve your technical proficiency, you’ll be heading the Wolfpack in lead generation, heightened business visibility, enhanced user relevance, and improved traffic. Soon you’ll be adapting in sync with changes in Google’s algorithms, with better results to show for your efforts.

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