Getting inspired by competitors is essential in SEO, but so is coming up with your own ideas and research data. Keyword research is the most important part of this.
Keyword research is the process of understanding the language your target customers use when searching for your products, services, and content. It then involves analyzing, comparing, and prioritizing the best keyword opportunities for your website.
If you’re new to this, make sure to go through our beginner’s guide to keyword research. I’ll just focus on the SaaS SEO aspect here.
First of all, we should talk about search intent. It’s the “why” behind a search query. Search engines always try to provide the most relevant results—be it a news article, a regular blog post, a guide, an interactive tool, a YouTube video, and so on.
For example, the keyword “how to check backlinks” has two search intents, according to the top 10 search results—searchers want a guide that tells them how to do this (in blue) and/or a tool that checks backlinks right away (in green):
SERP overview for "how to check backlinks"
Screenshot from the SERP overview in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.
In general, keywords in SaaS can be divided into four main categories, each representing a type of content that appears on the SERPs:
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Blog posts – “saas seo guide” or “how to build links”
Knowledge base pages – “ahrefs domain rating” or “4xx error meaning”
Product and service landing pages – “backlink checker” or “free seo tool”
Comparison and review pages – “best seo tools” or “ahrefs vs moz”
Anytime you do keyword research or stumble upon a list of keywords relevant to your business, save the keywords to a list that you’ll come back to later when planning content.
We’ll be working with the aforementioned content categories, so labeling the keywords like this right away can save time.
Here’s how it looks like in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, but you can do the same in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer reports too:
Related terms report results
There will be many overlapping keywords with mixed search intent, e.g., “saas seo” is relevant to both guides like this and agencies/freelancers offering SaaS SEO services. Stick with the label (search intent) more relevant to your business.
You can also label each keyword with its intent in the more traditional sense as navigational, informational, and transactional searches. But the SaaS-specific labels are much more useful when you get back to your keyword research.
That’s it for creating a list of keywords that you’d like to rank for. We’ll be building on this foundation in the next steps.