1. Why is homepage SEO so challenging, especially for SaaS brands?
  2. The role of a homepage in the SaaS SEO strategy
  3. Then what keywords should be used to optimize a SaaS homepage?

When it comes to SEO, the homepage is usually the most problematic element on a typical SaaS website.

For many early-stage SaaS brands, the website consists of the home page and possibly a handful of supporting pages that don't offer much SEO value.

But the more established SaaS companies – companies with larger websites and lots of pages to improve the visibility of their search – are also struggling to make good use of their home page.

How can you optimize the homepage of your SaaS company? Below are some ideas to increase rankings, traffic, and conversions for new business.

Why is homepage SEO so challenging, especially for SaaS brands?

Let's face it, homepage SEO is confusing to almost everyone. Whether it's a SaaS company, a local business, or any other type of business, there are many in any industry who struggle to make good use of these properties from an SEO perspective.

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At the same time, the homepage is the only asset that is most important to almost every company.

Regardless of the traffic source, this is often the primary landing page. For this reason, it is also the one asset that occurs most frequently:

  • Greets visitors.
  • Make a first impression of the brand.
  • Describes what the company is doing (or at least gives clues about it and suggests where else someone could learn more about it).
  • Explains what value the company offers and what makes the company and its products stand out in the market.
  • Alerts visitors to where they can find the information they are looking for (both via navigation and any internal links you place there).

How Yoast explained the typical approach to homepage SEO:

"One purpose that a homepage doesn't have in my opinion is to rank for keywords other than your company name or brand."

That goes for most brands. However, I would argue that the SaaS market (and related SaaS marketing) is different from other industries.

What's different about SaaS?

Many early-stage brands lack other commercial assets (or even the ability to create more).

For many SaaS companies, the home page plays a commercial role and may be their only commercial site.

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Example:

Homepage SEO example.An example of a SaaS website where internal pages have little commercial value.

Then there is the problem of Brand perception.

Everyone has heard of Asana. Drift. HubSpot.

These companies can use fancy taglines in their meta title tag and get away with it. They know people are looking for their brand anyway.

As with other keywords, these companies have thousands of pages to target these phrases.

(Even so, Hubspot is still optimizing its homepage for product categories.)

However, if you're a relatively new SaaS company looking to secure a place in the industry – trying to beat more established competitors and focusing on fueling growth – you can count on someone to be there Searching your name on google and going to the homepage (remember, the only page on the site) won't get you very far.

So what are your options?

The role of a homepage in the SaaS SEO strategy

The importance of your homepage goes far beyond the fact that you don't (yet) have any other pages to optimize.

The clearer you explain what your product does, what category it falls into, and what value users get from it, the easier it is for the search engine to determine how you are ranked in search results.

If you're just starting out with SaaS, the homepage will attract most, if not all, of the organic links.

Regardless of any mentions, media references, or other PR your product acquires, a link to your home page will likely be created.

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Your initial link building strategies – guest posting, digital PR, podcast appearances, or submitting the website to SaaS directories – are most likely targeting the homepage as well.

When other websites link to your homepage, they pass on the PageRank, which can then be distributed on your website so that certain pages can be found by Google.

Using smart internal links, you can take advantage of the PageRank accumulated on the homepage to carry over to new pages as you develop them.

Then what keywords should be used to optimize a SaaS homepage?

There are three types of keywords to focus on. The first is obvious, but to find the right phrases for the others, you need to do a little bit of keyword research.

1. Your brand

Despite the need to focus on other terms, it is still a good idea to include branded terms on the homepage.

Include at least the company or product name in the homepage's title tag, usually at the end of the tag.

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This way you ensure that the main focus of the tag is on your primary target keywords.

Example:

Meta title on a SaaS homepage.

In most cases, of course, you'll sprinkle the mark across the page too. You will mention it in the meta description, perhaps in the main subheading, under the tagline, in alternate text for an image or two, and elsewhere in the copy of text (e.g. in reviews or testimonials) as it naturally occurs.

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2. Product category (if the intention is correct)

This is where you start positioning your homepage (and brand) for phrases that can drive valuable commercial traffic.

Keywords related to product categories describe the main category that best defines your product.

These are not the keywords that could define the attributes or functions of the project, but more general keywords that tell a user what the product is and are in no way related to your brand.

These are often the terms you use to describe the product to customers, investors, or various stakeholders – enterprise resource planning software, CMS and e-commerce, communication platform, etc.

These are the terms that sales reps refer to in their emails, sales materials, and so on.

Where should the keyword for the product category be inserted?

Since this is the primary keyword you are targeting, use it on every page:

  • In meta tags.
  • In the H1 tag of the site.
  • When opening the page content of the page.
  • In alt tags etc.

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One exception: if the keyword has a different user intent than the homepage

There may be situations where the user's intent for a product category related phrase is different from what you can target with the home page.

While the term may seem at first glance to have a commercial intent, upon inspection you may find that it stands for a whole range of intentions.

Take the keyword phrase (Small Business CRM). The keyword seems ideal for use on a software product home page.

But look at the SERP. These lists mainly contain informational content:

  • Most of the top ranking pages are lists of collections of CRM software solutions.
  • None of these pages are product homepages.
  • There is only one actual domain ranking for CRM software, and even that is not a commercial site.

SERP example.

Ranking a homepage would be pretty difficult if not impossible, especially for a lesser-known SaaS brand.

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You have two options here:

  1. Compromise and identify another keyword for the product category (or at least one that is close enough to the product category.) Create a separate page that targets the original keyword that you intended and whose content is relevant to that intent.
  2. Just focus on the brand. Personally, I think this is too big of a compromise for an early stage startup.

3. Keywords relating to the product's core offerings

We covered the positioning of your brand and the product category.

But what about the other phrases that describe your product? What about keywords related to the features or functions of the product?

These phrases aren't your primary keywords, but there is a way to weave them together.

In addition, you can use the homepage to support specific pages that you may be building for those keywords.

Here's how:

Add a list of your products Functionality. You most likely already have it on your side in some form or another.

Example for a homepage.

Then link each of these sections to a relevant landing page.

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Ideally, use the additional keyword in the link's anchor text to increase relevance. In this way you will achieve three goals:

  • They increase the current relevance of the homepage. Google and other search engines have a better understanding of what your product does and which terms are relevant to your domain.
  • They help visitors to find content that is relevant to their needs.
  • And finally, you'll gain page authority on the additional assets you've created to rank on keywords related to the features or functions of the product.

Your SaaS brand's homepage is more than a landing page for brand inquiries and face-to-face visits.

Make sure you understand how this can affect your organic search rankings now and in the future for different types of queries and make the most of these opportunities.

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Credit:

All screenshots by the author, March 2021

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