Is SEO for software companies a thing of the past? On the contrary, with all of the changes to Google and other search engines, SEO is alive and well, and more important than ever. However, many software companies’ SEO strategies have changed dramatically since the early days of the internet and Google.
As a result, the strategy you implemented in 2016 may not be effective in 2021 and beyond. After taking into account all of the recent changes in Google’s algorithm as well as the introduction of RankBrain, we’ll show you how to implement an effective SEO strategy for your software company in 2021.
Let’s get started.
Content is Everything
Let’s start with the right mindset: in 2021, most grey and black-hat SEO tactics will no longer work. Both Google and its users are becoming more knowledgeable: Various grey-hat tactics have been rendered completely useless by Google’s various algorithm updates, particularly RankBrain, which can result in your site being permanently penalised.
Even if you get results using these grey or black-hat tactics, if your content isn’t of high quality, the visitor will notice, and you won’t get any conversions. RankBrain will also demote your site from the SERP if it has a high bounce rate or a short dwell time, among other UX factors.
Apart from producing relevant and valuable content, there is no other way to build a successful B2B SEO strategy for a software company. In this way, we help Google achieve its goal of making the internet a better place for everyone by making it easier to find useful information.
It’s also important to keep in mind that today’s SEO content isn’t just about optimising for keywords. In fact, it may work against you.
So, how should we approach our content in order to achieve the best SEO results and develop a software SaaS SEO strategy that works? Here are a few guidelines to follow:
1. Optimization Starts From The Planning Process
Don’t just create content with the intention of optimising it later by adding links and optimising for keywords.
Instead, think about your content strategy in terms of SEO, and keep two things in mind: Relevant search queries/keywords in your niche, as well as the user’s search intent when searching for those queries:
For keyword research, use tools such as Ahrefs or Ahrefs alternatives, among others. The basic principles are as follows:
Look for keywords that are both relevant to your brand and to your target audience.
Find keywords with a high search volume but low competition.
Look for keywords that can be expanded into informative content.
BuzzSumo and Ubersuggests are two tools that can help you find trending content in your niche based on the keywords you found during your keyword research. There are some keyword research tools that can help with this as well.
Each keyword’s search intent should be understood. Your content should aim to satisfy this search intent by assisting the reader in completing a specific task. Longer content (1000-1500 words and up) tends to rank higher because it provides more information to assist the reader.
Remember that the goal of the content is to convert readers. Include compelling call-to-actions (CTAs) or direct them to the next step in the buyer’s journey. Lead magnets, for example, can be incorporated.
The most important part of optimising content for SEO is to remember that your goal is to align with Google’s mission of providing more value to humans. Focus on delivering relevant, informative content for your human readers rather than pleasing the search engine algorithm when developing your SEO strategy for a software company.
2. Proper UX Practices
- The way your audience consumes your content is influenced by the structure of the content, proper grammar, and the overall layout of the page. If the reader is properly engaged, it will increase their dwell time—which is a ranking signal—and the likelihood that they will share your content—which may result in more backlinks, which is the most important ranking factor in any SEO for software companies.
- While there are no hard and fast rules in this area, here are some helpful hints:
- Make sure your content is free of typos and grammatical errors by proofreading it.
- Find the right mix of straightforward and technical language. This will, of course, be determined by your target audience’s preferences.
- Make sure it’s well-structured, with short paragraphs, bullets and numberings as needed, bold text, and so on. Make sure the content is simple to comprehend.
- Use subheadings appropriately, and use these subheadings as an opportunity to naturally include keywords.
- When possible, link to your own content and to reputable sites. Also, double-check all of the information you’ve included in the content.
3. Keyword Optimizations
Nowadays, optimising for keywords should be one of the most important aspects of any SEO strategy for software companies. While there is no hard and fast rule for what percentage of keywords should be used, the best approach is to proofread your content and see if it flows naturally.
There are a variety of tools available to help you analyse your content for keyword density, but no clear consensus exists. Simply focus on naturally using your keywords and using semantically related keywords.
Within the body of the content, use keywords naturally—and their variants. It’s best not to overthink this aspect and just write about the subject naturally. Include your target keyword in the content’s beginning and end (within the first and last 100 words).
In the title, heading, URL, and image text, use keywords (and LSI keywords) naturally.
The main concept is similar to the one stated above: write naturally with the goal of providing value to human readers. Also, look at how your top competitors are approaching their content (structure, writing style, images usage, etc.). As a result, you’ll rank higher for the target keyword if you strive to be better than them. The ultimate goal of your SEO strategy is to get your software company on Google’s first page for competitive non-branded keywords.
Keyword optimization will be discussed further below in its own section.
Analyze The First Page of SERP
The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) of Google has evolved significantly over time. The truth is that ranking first for your target keyword is no longer as easy as it once was.
Rich snippets now appear as the top result for more than 40% of keywords, just below the paid ad and above the #1 spot.
In addition, the “PEOPLE ALSO ASK” box is now just above the top organic result.
The thing to remember is that getting featured as a rich snippet or in the “people also ask” section will not guarantee a click to your site. A rich snippet is intended to provide the required information without requiring the searcher to click and visit the website. Nonetheless, it’s a good opportunity for branding.
What does this imply? On the one hand, this will present a new challenge, but it may also present an opportunity.
If being featured as a rich snippet can assist you in achieving your objectives, go for it. For example, if you’re a local business, using local SEO services (also known as a rich snippet for local near-me queries) to rank in the top three Google Map results can significantly boost your conversion rate.
Ahrefs and other keyword research tools can assist you in analysing keywords with a high organic click-through rate (CTR). The majority of the time, these are keywords that didn’t get featured snippets as a result, but there are times when organic CTR remains high even when featured snippets are present. These are the keywords you need to concentrate on.
Ranking on featured snippets will necessitate a very different approach than normal SEO, and it is a complex topic in and of itself. If you want to incorporate rich snippets optimizations into your software company’s SEO strategy, you should read Neil Patel’s guide.
A Little Bit Different Is Better Than A Little Bit Better
The main goal of an SEO strategy is to get your software company’s website to rank for your target keywords (or get featured snippets). However, the more valuable the keyword, the greater the competition.
You must beat these competitors to get ranked, and there are two main approaches you can take:
Be the best: provide larger, more informative, and in-depth content than the competition.
Take a different approach, come up with some completely new ideas, and so on.
The thing is, in most cases, being unique is the less difficult option (not that it is easy). Most of the time, being just a smidgeon better than your competitor—by adding a smidgeon more information, for example—will not suffice. Also, others will come up with better content in the future, or the competitors you tried to beat in the first place will update the content, creating an endless cycle.
For example, if you search for “best SEO tools,” you’ll likely find content on the first page that lists 10-30 tools. Most of the time, creating another piece of content listing 20 tools will not suffice, especially if your company is still relatively new. To compete with your competitors, you might need to create a massive guide listing 100+ SEO tools.
On the other hand, if you can truly deliver something unique—even if it’s only slightly—you’ll usually be able to outperform the competition. This is the top-ranking content for “best SEO tools,” and it’s a bit different from the other content on the first page because it’s an expert roundup with pictures and quotes from industry SEO experts.
So, if you can come up with a unique way to approach the keyword or if you have different actionable tips than the competition, go for it.
Being unique also increases the likelihood of your content being shared and linked to, resulting in valuable inbound links for your software company’s SEO strategy.
Link Building In 2021
White hat backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors, and if you want to rank your software company in 2021, you’ll need to include them in your SEO strategy. However, a lot has changed in the last few years.
All of the changes, however, point to one thing: Google has improved its ability to determine the quality and relevance of your backlinks:
Quality trumps quantity: the quality of your backlinks is more important than the number of links you have. In other words, links from authoritative sites in your industry will be valued more highly.
Relevance: Even if your link comes from a high-quality source, if the site is unrelated to your niche, it will be of no use to you and may even get you penalised. For example, if you’re a digital marketing site and you get a link from a golf site despite the fact that your content has nothing to do with golf.
Frequency: If you receive too many links in a short period of time (but your content does not go viral or receive a lot of traffic), Google may penalise you.
As a result, you only need to build 2 to 3 backlinks per month from high-quality, authoritative sources. Obtaining links from large, well-known websites, on the other hand, is clearly easier said than done.
Here are some strategies that have proven to be effective in achieving this goal:
1. Make Your Content Linkable
Having very high-quality or unique content is the best way to get more backlinks (as discussed above). Someone will eventually link to your guide if it is very in-depth, complete, and informative. When you provide unique facts or tips that aren’t available anywhere else, the same thing happens—if the unique fact is actually relevant or interesting.
There are, however, ways to improve your content’s linkability, such as:
When citing data, many people include links to other websites. Linkability can be improved by including data and facts (for example, research findings or case studies).
You’ll get links if you can come up with completely new concepts and if they’re interesting or useful.
Find well-known things or concepts that a lot of people discuss in their content and write in-depth content about them. Many people talking about SEO for software companies, for example, will mention link building, and if you have an in-depth guide on link building, they may link to it.
People are more likely to link to pages that are already at the top of the search results (at least on the first page). This is why, at first, it’s best to concentrate on building links to just one or two really good pieces of content. It will naturally help your other pages if you get a lot of high-quality backlinks to this content.
2. Social media marketing and social bookmarking
While Google has confirmed that social shares aren’t counted as “true” inbound links, accumulating a large number of shares on social media can still help your software company’s SEO.
First, more people will read your content, which is now valuable as a ranking signal thanks to RankBrain. Second, the more people who see your content, the more likely they are to link to it. Third, sharing your content on social media and social bookmarking sites will aid in the indexing of your content.
In a nutshell, social bookmarking entails posting your content on social media platforms with two goals in mind:
Leaving a digital footprint—“bookmarking” your content—
Increasing the number of people who see your content and, hopefully, sharing it.
Brandwatch’s list will help you find the best social platforms for bookmarking your content based on your niche.
Additionally, being active on social media in general—and working with industry influencers—can help establish your credibility, increasing your chances of receiving more backlinks, and assisting you in achieving your SEO strategy goals.
3. Posting by Others
Guest posting is still a great way to get backlinks if done correctly.
A successful guest posting campaign relies on two factors:
You’ll have to establish your own reputation. It is generally more difficult for brand new or unprofessionally designed sites to obtain opportunities. The key, once again, is to have a strong content marketing strategy.
In most cases, you’ll need to establish a relationship with the sites before they’ll allow you to guest post. Comment on their blog posts (not as effective as it once was, but still effective), participate in their social media conversations or even send them an email to introduce yourself.
It’s also worth noting that some reputable websites will charge money for guest posting opportunities (in exchange for a backlink). It could be considered a grey-hat strategy, so there’s a chance of a penalty, in my opinion. It can, however, be a surefire way to get a quality backlink if the price is right and the site is reliable.
4. Don’t Ignore Dofollow Links
Although this isn’t exactly a link-building strategy, it’s still important to know.
Nofollow and Dofollow links are the two types of links. The only difference is that a nofollow link will have the rel=”nofollow” coding tag behind the html code. Human readers won’t be able to tell the difference, but it’s crucial for Google and other search engines.
In other words, Dofollow links are taken into account as a ranking signal, but Nofollow links are not.
How can you tell if your backlinks are nofollow? Use your browser’s find (ctrl+f) function to search for “rel=nofollow” in the page source of any site (especially in this case, look for sites that give you backlinks). You have a nofollow inbound link if you find any.
There are also a number of tools available to assist you. Take, for instance, this Chrome extension.
Backlinks from popular sites such as YouTube, Quora, Wikipedia, and Reddit, among others, are typically nofollow. Nofollow links are also common in blog comments, social media platforms (embedded links in a post), and forum posts.
So, if you want to help your software company succeed in SEO, go for dofollow links.