The SaaS market is growing 20.6% year-on-year and is expected to touch $716.52 billion by 2028.
What does this mean for SaaS businesses? The competition will only intensify in the years to come. Whether you’re in the project management space or email marketing arena, SaaS businesses are fighting for the same audience. In such a scenario, you must understand who your competitors are and what strategies drive them the most conversions.
At MADX, we know first-hand how to conduct SaaS SEO competitor analysis to unlock insights to level up your business. Let’s get started.
What We'll Cover:
What is a SaaS SEO Competitor Analysis?
A SaaS SEO competitor analysis is the process of finding out who your competitors are and the different SEO strategies they use. There are many to consider, like keyword research, backlink strategy, content creation and optimization.
Most companies generally involve both direct and indirect competitors when performing this search. For example, while Slack may have other workplace communication chat tools as their direct competitors, their indirect competitors may be email tools that can achieve the same goal.
A well-rounded SaaS competitor analysis helps you discover unique insights on which to base your strategies.
Why Conduct a SaaS SEO Competitor Analysis?
With so many people heading to search engines like Google to find a tool or relevant content piece, you must be at the top of your SEO game to attract these high-quality leads. A SaaS SEO competitor analysis can help you:
Identify Missing Opportunities
You might be targeting a particular set of keywords for your content strategy. But what if your competitors drive more traffic to their site with other keywords?
You can find similar missed opportunities to help you rank higher by running a competitor analysis. You can also examine their top-ranking pages and their division of traffic from organic and non-organic sources using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush. Again, this can highlight new opportunities for your business to explore.
Outrank SaaS Competitors Effectively
A competitor analysis shows your strengths and how you can capitalize on them to outrank the competition. For example, if your competitor is targeting MOFU and TOFU content over BOFU, you can target that content to draw visitors who are likely to convert.
You may also find gaps in their keyword or backlinking strategy. Capitalizing on these gaps and optimizing your strategies takes you one step further.
Cater Increasing Number of Online Consumers
Most SaaS businesses now cater to multiple buyer personas and segments. A competitor analysis shows how your rival’s strategies change for different buyer segments. Are they targeting a segment more than others? What kind of content changes are happening for different personas?
Depending on these insights, you can target a wider audience or implement improvements to your existing content stack.
Optimize Your Own SEO Efforts
Competitive research highlights your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. But most importantly, it shows you areas where you’re lacking and need to optimize.
For example, when analyzing the competition, you may discover that you’re targeting high-traffic keywords but not high-conversion ones.
Based on these insights, you can create a comprehensive plan to target these areas and get conversions from them.
How to Conduct a SaaS SEO Competitor Analysis?
Whether you’re just beginning your SEO journey or are looking for ways to up your SEO game, these eight steps will help you conduct a successful SaaS SEO competitor analysis.
1. Identify Multiple SaaS Competitors
You need at least five competitors to run a detailed analysis and discover unique insights. So firstly, here are four ways you can identify your competitors:
- Type niche-specific keywords or keywords like “project management tools” in the Google search bar, and the top SERPs will give you a list of your competitors.
- Get in touch with your sales team. Ask them which tools the customers are migrating from or the ones also in their consideration set.
- Try SaaS review sites like G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius. You’ll find a list of tools fighting for the same audience.
- Search for specific features and use cases on Google, and you’ll find competitors ranking for those keywords.
2. Analyze Competitors’ Target Keywords
Once you have a list of your direct and indirect competitors, it’s time to find their target keywords.
Here are four keyword research tools and services that can help you in this search.
MADX Digital’s Keyword Research Services
At MADX, we break down the keyword research process into six steps (onboarding, existing data research, competitor analysis, keyword relevance, content planning, reporting & iterating) to get you high-volume and high-conversion keywords.
We run an in-depth competitor analysis to find keywords you might be missing out on. These services are best for businesses just starting or who need expert guidance on how to get things moving.
It saves you the time and money you’d need to spend on experimentation and finding those strategies that will bring results for your SaaS business.
Ahrefs’ Site and Keyword Explorer
You can find your competitor’s organic traffic keywords using the Ahrefs Site Explorer tool. You can also check how much traffic each keyword brings to their site.
All you need to do is enter your competitor’s URL into the search bar. You can use filters to narrow the list of keywords according to their difficulty levels, the traffic they bring, their position, etc.
Similarly, Ahrefs provides a keyword explorer tool where you can enter a particular keyword and see the top-ranking sites for those keywords. You can then dig deep to find similar keywords your competitors rank for.
Ubersuggest’s Keyword Explorer and Answer The Public
Ubersuggest’s free keyword research tool allows you to see the top-ranking pages of your competitors. This lets you know the popular organic keyword phrases you should be targeting.
You can see the volume, CPC, paid, and SEO difficulty of these keywords to prioritize them effectively.
To take this research further, check out the Answer the Public tool. After prioritizing keywords, this tool provides valuable data about the search intent behind a particular keyword. It listens to autocomplete data from search engines like Google and comes up with phrases and queries people ask about that keyword.
This insight helps you design useful content that the readers will appreciate.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz’s keyword explorer tool lets you uncover your competitor’s organic search keywords and their top-ranking pages. The tool also shows your competitor’s search engine rankings for different keywords.
One unique feature of Moz is it allows you to perform a competitor gap analysis. This analysis lets you determine how to improve your rankings relative to your competitors.
After getting a preliminary keyword list, you can shortlist them by filters like keyword difficulty score, search volume, ranking position, etc.
You can also export this list for further collaboration with your teammates or clients.
3. Review Their Site Size, Traffic, and Other SEO Efforts
How much traffic does your competitor’s site get every month? Is it increasing or decreasing? Which content pages bring the most traffic?
These are some questions that can help guide your SEO strategy. For example, you may discover that their monthly traffic is increasing. Using tools like Ahrefs and Semrush, you can hone in on the kind of content they are publishing and their division of organic and non-organic traffic sources.
MADX Digital’s Technical SEO for SaaS
At MADX, we provide technical SEO services where we delve deep into your SaaS business’s traffic sources and compare them with your competitors. We then optimize your site and SEO strategies for more rankings and conversions.
4. Audit Their Backlink Profile and Content Assets
Backlinks are an important ranking factor. They show how authoritative a website or content asset is. Checking your competitor’s backlink growth and the type of backlinks they are earning can guide your backlinking strategy.
For example, you can find the websites that have linked to your competitor’s pages but haven’t linked to yours. There’s a high probability of getting a mention from these sites so that you can include them in your outreach efforts.
5. Study Their User Experience
The keywords you use and other SEO strategies are one facet of ranking higher on SERPs. But search engines also look at the overall user experience of your site to decide rankings.
For example, if your site is not easy to navigate or is not accessible on mobile devices, many users would likely bounce, and this would result in a drop in rankings.
By studying your competitor’s user experience, you can get insights on improving your website's navigation style and structure. This helps create a user experience that your visitors will love.
You can head to review sites like G2 and Capterra to find reviews and gaps in your competitor’s user experience.
6. Check Their Social Media Channels and Customer Interaction
SaaS businesses can no longer publish content on their websites and call it a day. In the age where people head to social media for many purchasing decisions, you need a solid social media presence.
Here are a couple of tools that can help you with this step.
BuzzSumo offers a special use case for competitor intelligence. The tool allows you to find their top-performing content, the networks that work best for your niche, the people who are sharing their content, comparisons with your content, etc.
All you need to do is enter your competitor’s domain and put filters according to your requirements. The tool also offers detailed competitor reports, which include details like content format, average shares by network, publication dates, length of content, etc.
You can create dashboards to track competitor activity and set alerts to get notified whenever your competitor is mentioned online.
Whether you want to find the keywords your competitors are targeting on social media or find their top followers, Hootsuite Streams allows you to do that. These streams can be added for different competitors and social media platforms.
While you can create different streams, we recommend one stream to monitor all your competitors. It’s as easy as checking a dashboard and getting the insights you need. You can check the engagement rate, the kind of hashtags they use, and key social media metrics like follower growth, posting frequency, performance by post type, overall post-performance, etc.
7. Adapt Your SEO Strategy
You have all the competitor insights you need now. It’s time to revamp your SEO strategy with these new findings.
Instead of pushing all changes at once, start with gradual changes. For example, start by modifying your keyword research strategy and then your content strategy. This ensures you get enough time to review performance post-modification and denote which changes brought what results.
By adopting these changes, you’ll likely see an increase in key metrics like traffic, rankings, and conversions. It also saves you money and time that would have gone behind strategies that would ultimately fail.
You now have a more or less bulletproof strategy that has brought results for similar companies in your niche.
8. Measure, Rinse, and Repeat
With new Google updates and algorithm changes, you need to be on your toes and keep updating your strategies.
That’s why it’s crucial to stay aware of your SEO performance and the SEO modifications your competitors are making.
After all, with new SaaS companies starting up every single day, it would be a good practice to keep measuring and optimizing your strategies.
What Will Investing in SEO Do for My SaaS Company?
We have seen hundreds of SaaS companies go from 0 to thousands of users, all with a strong SEO strategy. Here are six benefits investing in SEO will bring to your company.
Increase Organic Discovery
You write great content and hit “Publish”! Does publishing great content mean you would start ranking on the first page of Google? Sadly, that’s not the only thing search engines see.
They look for things like whether the content matches search intent, whether the loading speed is proper, whether it answers all the reader’s questions, and whether it has proper keywords in the meta tags.
With SEO, you focus on all these aspects to ensure that your great content also performs well on SERPs.
Notice a Rise in High-Quality Website Traffic
When you put your SEO strategies into action, you attract traffic interested in the solution your SaaS tool provides. For example, you find relevant keywords with good search volume and less keyword difficulty.
When this content ranks, you're bound to draw high-quality leads. By providing a good user and reader experience, converting these leads becomes easier.
Reduced PPC and CPA
Pay-Per-Click and Cost-Per-Acquisition are tricky metrics to measure. These clicks are unpredictable, and you can’t guarantee a click will lead to conversion.
That’s why putting equal or more effort into getting organic conversions is essential. SEO can help you do that. While it may take some time to get results, the cost per acquisition becomes less, and you can start reducing your investment in paid ads.
Impressive ROI After Initial Investment
Your SEO efforts may take some time to show results, but once they do, you keep getting consistent traffic and conversions. For example, writing a good-quality article with proper SEO optimizations may take a lot of effort. But once you get that article on the top 3 search results, you build authority and get a lot of visitors to your site.
“Always On” Promotion
There are always more keywords to be found and strategies to implement. With new SEO strategies like content refreshes being implemented by SaaS businesses, ranking and staying at the top of SERPs has become easier.
Due to all these benefits, EO helps your business stay in front of its audience and be visible.
Increased Credibility with Potential and Existing Customers
What happens when you see a particular company ranking on the first page of SERP for all marketing queries? Does it make the company seem credible and authoritative when it comes to marketing? Would you head to that brand whenever you have a related query? Probably yes.
That’s how SEO helps your SaaS business increase credibility and stay on top of your customers’ and prospects’ minds.
When is the Best Time to Conduct an SEO Competitive Analysis?
Timing is among the most commonly asked questions in an SEO competitive analysis. Here’s how we time SEO competitive analysis for our clients.
#1 In the Onboarding Process
The onboarding process is the best time to get information about our clients and their competitors. The better and more focused the onboarding experience, the better our team can create effective SEO strategies.
First, we jump on a meeting with our clients to draw some basic knowledge about their business. Once they give us a fair idea of their competitors, the team starts an in-depth competitive analysis.
#2 In the Stage of Understanding
Here, we try to understand the landscape our client is in and how our clients fare against their competitors. We compare our client’s content, keyword profiles, organic visibility, and backlink profiles against their competitors.
Doing this gives us an idea of the SEO aspects we must focus on first and the kind of strategies that we’ll need to devise. For example, our client is getting a lot of traffic but limited conversions. In the comparative analysis, we find it’s because they don’t pay as much attention to BOFU content. It signifies that we’ll first need to find keywords for BOFU content and create well-rounded content that brings conversions.
#3 Once Every Month
You can’t stick to one strategy and assume it will keep bringing results for years. That’s why we recommend our clients conduct a competitor analysis at the end of every month.
Instead of running an in-depth analysis, you can use tools like Ahrefs to conduct a basic-level analysis that gets you key insights quickly.
#4 Once Every Six Months
In the world of tech, where new features are added every month and strategies keep changing, we run a competitor analysis for our clients every six months.
For example, your competitor may have started experimenting with different content formats. Their video content may be bringing a lot of new visitors to their site. You can include that in your content strategy as well.
SaaS SEO: Winning the Industry
A well-conducted SaaS SEO competitive analysis can give you the data intelligence you need to craft powerful SEO strategies. The analysis will highlight gaps in your competitor's strategy that your business can capitalize on.
Your content strategy can grow powerful by getting information on the kind of content that is already resonating well with your audience.
If you need help with your SaaS SEO strategies, reach out to our experts at MADX.