SaaS SEO: How We Grew the MRR by 300% in a Hard Competitive Niche With SEO.

Most SaaS founders agree SaaS SEO is important—like, REALLY important. In fact, SEO software Hike found that over 90% of SaaS rank SEO a solid 7 out of 10. Shocker? Not for us.

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Need Incredible MRR Growth With SaaS SEO? 

Most SaaS founders agree SaaS SEO is important—like, REALLY important. In fact, SEO software Hike found that over 90% of SaaS rank SEO a solid 7 out of 10. Shocker? Not for us. 

We've always held the opinion that only a few marketing strategies are as effective as SEO for SaaS. And our clients’ success stories have proven us right over and over again—from tripling their MRR to experiencing mind-blowing 10x+ growth, even on a shoestring budget

Case in point—Cleanvoice, an AI podcast production platform. 

In this Embarque article, we'll share the exact SaaS SEO strategy we used to boost Cleanvoice’s MRR by over 300% in just six months. This strategy kept them in business in a very competitive AI podcasting niche. By “competitive,” we mean, they were able to hold their own against VC-backed companies with marketing budgets that could buy a small island.

But first…

Why Listen to Us? 

If you want to understand SaaS SEO, wouldn’t it make sense to learn from those who've been there and have a good track record of success? This is what we bring to the table at Embarque. 

Before we started handling Cleanvoice’s SEO, their SEO strategy was a bit…well, let's just say it wasn't exactly setting the world on fire. But our SaaS SEO agency flipped the switch when we came into the picture. Just after six months of working with them, their traffic growth was ridiculously awesome.

Our service also boosted their MRR by over 3x in that time. What’s even more impressive is that we started with a modest budget. And as our strategies paid off, they had the resources to hunt down even bigger SEO wins.

We see results like this all the time. Instatus, another SaaS SEO bootstrapped client, saw an immense traffic surge after working with us. We’re talking over 833% revenue growth—also in a super competitive space!We have a whole portfolio of case studies showcasing these kinds of results and even more success stories that we’re yet to publish.

Alright, enough bragging (for now). Let's now walk you through the strategies we used to help Cleanvoice achieve such incredible results:  

1. Define Your Core Topics and Conduct Keyword Research

Core topics are the foundational themes that highlight your SaaS product's key functionalities and value proposition. Think of them as the central pillars that you’ll build your entire SEO content strategy upon.We have a simple heuristic for defining your core topics—a one-paragraph pitch:My SaaS is a ______________ platform that does the following things

So for Cleanvoice, this is:My SaaS is Cleanvoice, an AI noise removal podcast editing platform that:

…all of these are your core topics. After coming up with a list of your core topics, you should also do a bit of check and balance to make sure you’re not leaving any stone unturned: 

Once you've defined your core topics, they become the main basis for your keyword research. Plug each one into a keyword tool to find a list of relevant subtopics and long-tail keywords that your target audience is actively searching for. 

This leads us to our next section.

Keyword Research

To do effective keyword research, you'll need the right tools. Ahrefs is a fantastic all-in-one option for all your SEO research needs.

That said, there are other more affordable tools specifically for keyword research:

When you plug your core topics into these tools, focus on two types of keywords:

Commercial keywords connect you to users who are further along in the buying journey. They're actively researching products or services and are potentially ready to make a purchase. A good example of such a keyword is “best podcast name generator.”

The only reason anyone would be searching for the query is because they’re actively looking for a tool to help them create podcast names. By positioning CleanVoice as one of the top tools for this, we've helped them attract a lot of customers, boosting their MRR.

Informational keywords, on the other hand, are search queries that connect you to users seeking information, trying to learn something, or understanding a concept. They're not necessarily in the buying mode yet. Here’s an example–what is the average cost of producing a podcast: 

Some of these informational queries have an obvious informational structure like “How to remove background noise from podcasts.”  But for some, it might not be so obvious. 

A good way to confirm the intent behind a keyword is to search for it on Google and see the types of content that come up. If you mostly see informational blog posts, it's an informational keyword. If you see landing pages or service pages, they have commercial intent.

Once you have a list of commercial and informational keywords, use them to create a content calendar.

Create a Content Calendar Based on Your Keywords

The key to creating a successful content calendar is balancing your keyword types. We often recommend that you start by targeting 70% informational keywords and 30% commercial keywords. 

That’s for a good reason…

Informational keywords often have high search volumes, so they can drive a lot of traffic and backlinks to your site. However, people searching for these terms are usually just looking for information, not ready to buy. That's why conversions from these keywords tend to be lower.

But we managed to find a way to squeeze the maximum conversion and revenue from even those low-conversion informational keywords. That’s the magic of product-led SEO content, but we’ll save that trick for later.

Commercial keywords target users who are closer to pulling out their wallets. They're actively searching for solutions, which is great news! But the search volume is usually lower. So, focusing on these keywords won’t get you much traffic. 

With the 70/30 rule, you can still enjoy steady traffic growth and earn ROI from your SEO. And when your traffic becomes steady, you may then switch things up a bit, maybe going 60/40 or 50/50 

But we have a third keyword category that we call the “golden tickets” or trending commercial topics… 

Double Down on Trending Commercial Topics 

Targeting trending commercial topics is an important part of our SEO strategy for Cleanvoice. It’s what helped us quickly boost their traffic and achieve massive revenue growth without breaking a sweat. 

So, what are trending commercial topics? 

They’re fresh, high-demand queries that most competitors haven’t tapped into yet. SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush might not even show traffic for these keywords because they’re just starting to gain traction. This lack of competition gives you a fantastic early-mover advantage. But you have to be proactive and fast about it. 

How do you find these trending commercial keywords? Just keep a close eye on market trends and your customer's interests. You can do this by: 

By doing this, you’ll be able to anticipate the next big thing in your niche and capitalize on it before your competitors do.

Here’s how we pulled it off for CleanVoice.

In 2023, almost no one was targeting AI podcasting queries, SEO-wise. However, because we were active on the three channels mentioned above, we spotted these queries gaining traction early on.

Once we identified these trending topics, we created short-form product listicles and dedicated landing pages to test the waters. The key was to start with a few pilot articles and see how they performed.

SEO tools didn't give us the full picture at this stage because these queries were still emerging. So, we relied on Google Search Console (GSC) to analyze and iterate on the results. This means if you want to apply this strategy, you should have GSC in your corner. 

Within a week or two, Search Console revealed the true underlying traffic for these topics, confirming we were on the right track. Then, we added more high-quality content to those pages to boost their rankings.

And guess what? This strategy still works.

We barely rely on traditional SEO tools for keyword research now, yet CleanVoice’s average CTR has been a solid 8.2% over three months.

Now that you know what kinds of keywords to target, you're almost there. But there's still more research to be done...

2. Know your Competitors Inside-Out

An important rule in any battle is to know your enemy’s tactics. The same goes for SaaS SEO too. Conducting a thorough competitor analysis helps you pinpoint your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in their strategies. This intel allows you to:

In practice, this might involve targeting high-performing keywords they’re overlooking, creating content that resonates better with your audience, or building superior backlinks.

First, let's talk about the tools you'll need. Most SEO tools support competitor analysis, but if you can swing it, Ahrefs is a goldmine for all the insights you’ll need.

Competitor analysis starts with knowing who you’re up against. Once you’ve listed your competitors, perform a preliminary analysis using your SEO tool to determine their:

From this, categorize them into tiers:

You don’t need to analyze every competitor on your list because that would take forever. Instead, pick a representative from each tier for in-depth analysis. Ideally, these representatives should:

After selecting your reps, proceed to analyze them, starting from: 

Website & Content Analysis

Here comes the fun part – dissecting your competitors' websites and content strategies. Pay close attention to: 

Homepage

Subfolder SEO

Content Strategy

 That said, the point is that you should gather as much information as you can about their content strategy. And when you do, plug the information about each competitor into a centralized location to analyze them. Here’s an example of a template we use.

Now, it’s time to dig into your competitors' strategies across the three tiers you’ve identified. Here’s what to look for:

Backlink Profile Analysis 

After you’ve dissected their homepage and content, it’s time to dive into their backlink profiles.

Backlinks are like votes of confidence from other websites, and Google uses them as one of the factors to decide if your site deserves to rank for specific keywords. So, analyzing your competitors' backlinks is crucial.

Here’s what to do:

Let’s move on to the last part of our research process—conducting an SEO content audit.

3. Conduct SEO Content Audit

When we started working with Cleanvoice, one of the very first things we did was look inwards and evaluate their existing content strategies. This process helped us identify content that:

This kept our SEO strategy streamlined and result-focused. How can you content audit yourself? Pretty simple

Inventory Your Content

First, take a comprehensive inventory of all your website's content. This includes:

An easy way to do this is via Google Search Console. Go to your performance page and click “export.” 

This will automatically create a spreadsheet that includes all your website content. 

Right off the bat, the sheet gets populated with data on clicks, impressions, CTR, and SERP positions. But if you have other important metrics, like backlinks or content quality, you’ll need to add those manually.

Evaluate Your Content

Next, evaluate your pages based on these metrics and categorize them into groups such as:

From there, your subsequent SEO action plan becomes clearer. Basically, your priority now would be: 

Whether you’re creating new pages or optimizing existing ones, you should keep some basic things in mind. We’ll cover them in this next section… 

4. Create SEO pages

By now, you’ve nailed down the right keywords and have a solid grasp of the pages and content you need based on your competitor analysis. It’s time to put all that knowledge into action and create SEO pages. When creating these pages, your top priorities should be making the pages:

What does that mean? 

A findable page is one that specifically targets one particular topic that your customers are searching for. 

And trustworthy simply means your page has to be well-written and showcase your expertise. 

But there’s more to findability and trustworthiness than just these two things. Your pages should also be:

Let's see how this works with a real example from Cleanvoice. Here’s what we did for their blog on creating podcast summaries:

First, we optimized the page for one primary keyword—"podcast summary." This phrase appears about 22 times throughout the page. We also included related terms like "podcast description" and "podcast summarization" to enhance findability.

Word count? The page has over 2,000 words, providing comprehensive coverage of the topic.

And finally, social proof. The page also features a “Why Listen to Us” section, showcasing customer testimonials and social proof. Notice how we completely threw subtlety out of the window? Yes, the whole idea is to be very obvious that many people are using Cleanvoice and seeing real results.

This strategy isn’t just for blogs. If you browse Cleanvoice’s homepage and landing pages, you'll notice the same approach.

Now, let’s move forward. What pages should you create? For effective SEO in SaaS, you should generally create the following pages:

These are your absolute must-haves, but don't stop there. Look at your competitors to see what other types of pages are driving results for them, like a free tool page or a dedicated podcast page. Adapt and expand your content strategy based on these insights.

5. Optimize Relevant Pages for SERP Elements

Remember those SERP elements we mentioned earlier—featured snippets and AI overviews? These are prime real estate for traffic and clicks. Optimizing your pages to appear in these spots can drive fantastic results, just like we did for Cleanvoice.

For instance, Cleanvoice has snagged a featured snippet for the search “who should use AI audio cleanups.” 

Funny enough, the content holding this snippet isn’t even in the top 10 for relevant queries on Google. However, the impressions and clicks are off the charts, with an average CTR of 6.5%.

If you check the content, Cleanvoice gets AI overview features for too, like this one…

… the traffic, clicks, and impressions have been very equally impressive. 

So, how do you get your content into these coveted positions? It all starts with competitor analysis, as we mentioned earlier.

Here’s a high-level overview of the strategy—First, you have to discover the queries your competitors target to secure the spots. Then, create better answers to those queries in relevant pages to potentially steal their spots. 

Let’s start with featured snippets.

You can use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to see the queries your competitors are getting featured snippets for: 

Then, search for those queries on Google, and take note of your how your competitor answers them.  

As for AI overviews, here’s a simple step:

Once you have your list of featured snippets and AI overview queries and answers, it's time to analyze how your competitors have addressed these queries. Pay attention to:

Next, incorporate these target queries into relevant content on your site. For instance, if you're writing about podcast mixing strategies, you might include a query like “what is podcast mixing.”

Then, make sure your answers are better than your competitors and follow the same format they used. This approach increases your chances of securing a spot in both featured snippets and AI overviews.

6. Generate Word-of-Mouth Buzz

SEO and brand building are like peanut butter and jelly—they just go together. When you build a solid brand around your tool and core features, SEO success becomes a piece of cake.

Let’s break it down for you with Cleanvoice. 

We’re lucky to work with a founder who understands the importance of a buzz generation. When we started working on Cleanvoice’s strategy, the founder had done a great job of generating buzz on Twitter and LinkedIn with content like this.

The result? Loads of people started searching for “Cleanvoice” on Google and this has stayed pretty consistent for months. In fact, over the last three months alone, these searches racked up over 8k impressions. Google loves that kind of engagement—it tells them that your website has nurtured a real brand that people are willing to follow:

And Google's Helpful Content update actually rewards real brands with faster rankings in search results. So, it's no wonder Cleanvoice saw terrific business growth within just six months.

Plus, when people see a familiar brand in search results, they’re more likely to click. That's why brand-building efforts also gave Cleanvoice's Click Through Rate a nice boost.That’s not all though.

This same strategy has also helped us quickly organically acquire relevant high-quality links at scale. It’s like Digital PR, in a way.

So, how can you create an effective brand for your SaaS business? 

7. Product-led content SEO

When we were discussing keyword research, remember we said we have a nice way to squeeze every last drop of conversion juice from your content? That’s where product-led SEO comes in. 

So, how does it work? It's simple: with every piece of content you create, seamlessly integrate your product's core features. And if you’re creating content based on the core topics you defined earlier, you're halfway there. 

After all, your core topics stem from your feature in the first place, so you shouldn’t have a hard time integrating your product. 

For example, we created an article on how to isolate voice from background noise. And the goal? To show users how to do it with Cleanvoice.

As you can see, this query itself is informational, right? But by cleverly weaving Cleanvoice into the mix, you're turning heads. Suddenly, readers simply researching this issue (with low buying intention) see Cleanvoice as the go-to solution, nudging them closer to making a purchase.

You can also amp up your reader's buying intent with social proof. Real-life success stories from happy customers can banish any lingering doubts and push readers even closer to hitting that buy button.

So, how do you create product-led content? 

8. Track Progress Iterate Using Google Search Console

The greatest disservice you’d be doing to your strategy at this point is setting it in stone and leaving it. SEO is all about monitoring your performance and tweaking your strategies whenever that’s necessary. Without this, success is far from guaranteed. 

Google Search Console (GSC) is a tool you should have in your corner for monitoring your SEO performance and making necessary changes. 

Here’s how it can help. 

Track Your Progress Over Time

GSC shows you how your website traffic changes over time. You can see if specific keywords are gaining or losing traction, and identify seasonal trends that might impact your traffic patterns. 

It also helps you monitor the impact of your SEO efforts by observing how rankings and traffic fluctuate after you make changes.

So, if you see a keyword that used to be popular but is now declining, you might want to investigate why. Maybe your competitors have published better content, or perhaps the search term itself has evolved. 

Use this information to update your existing content or create new content that better addresses the current user search intent.

Page Level Performance

GSC lets you see which individual pages on your website are performing well for specific keywords. Basically, your top-performing pages. So, you can analyze these pages to see what makes them successful. 

Is it the content depth? Engaging visuals? User-friendly format? Use these insights to inform your content creation strategy for other pages.

Push Rankings Even Higher

You can also use GSC to identify pages that are ranking well (positions 2-20) for relevant keywords. These pages have the potential to climb even higher in search results with some extra effort.

For these pages, consider adding even more in-depth content, including relevant data, high-quality visuals, and internal links to other valuable resources on your website. You can also focus on building backlinks to those pages. This can often give those pages the extra push they need to reach the top spot within a short timeframe.

Uncover Keyword Opportunities

GSC can also give you an idea of specific keywords that you’d be very likely to rank for with the right content—but you’re not actively targeting them. Don’t worry, we’ll explain. 

For example, we had an article targeting “podcast editing” for Cleanvoice. After much analysis, we found out that the article was actually mostly ranking for queries related to “AI podcast editing.” This shows that we have topical authority on the query, and all we needed to do was flip the article to focus on “AI podcast editing.” And guess what? This became one of Cleanvoice’s top-performing pages.

Building a Revenue-Driven SaaS SEO Strategy

There you have it—eight highly effective strategies that contributed to Cleanvoice's MRR growth by over 300% in a fiercely competitive podcasting niche.

It's important to understand that results won't magically appear overnight. Sometimes, it takes months, or even longer. The key is consistency and continual refinement until you achieve your desired outcome.

Moreover, it's wise to entrust most of these strategies to experts who can manage them for you. You already have administrative tasks and business development eating into your time. 

The last thing you want is to throw in content creation, link building, and a million other things into the mix. Remember what they say about a jack of all trades? That's why the best strategy we can recommend is bringing in experts

And we (and our clients) believe Embarque is the best partner to leave the reins of your SEO efforts to. If you're ready to elevate your SEO game and experience significant revenue and traffic growth, we are yourideal partner.

Feel free to schedule a complimentary strategy call with us today!

Julian Canlas

I’m Julian, one of the co-founders of Embarque, which offers productised SEO content marketing services. I’m an SEO content strategist by trade. My line of work involves creating a top-to-bottom SEO content strategy for brands based on their current needs and how well they’re attracting clients through organic search.

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