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SaaS Homepage SEO: Keywords, Linking & More

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SaaS Homepage SEO: Keywords, Linking & More

Start-up SaaS websites typically consist of the home page and maybe a handful of supporting pages – neither of which offer any SEO value.

A good SaaS homepage will drive conversions and improve your business on the whole. But how do you optimize yours?

In this article, you will learn about SaaS homepage SEO challenges, the role your homepage plays in SEO, and different keywords to consider when optimizing a SaaS homepage.

Why Is Homepage SEO So Challenging For SaaS Brands, Specifically?

Let’s face it, homepage SEO is confusing for almost everyone.

Whether it is a SaaS company, a local company, or another business type, you’ll find many in each vertical who struggle to make good use of this real estate from an SEO perspective.

At the same time, the homepage is also the one asset almost every business cares about the most.

It’s often the primary landing page, regardless of the traffic source. Because of that, it’s also that one asset that most often:

  • Welcomes visitors.
  • Makes a first impression about the brand.
  • Describes what the company does (or at least hint at it and suggest where else someone could learn more about it).
  • Explains what value the company provides and what sets the company and its products apart in the market.
  • Points visitors to where they can find the information they’re looking for (both through the navigation and any internal links you place there).

As Yoast explained the typical approach to homepage SEO:

“One purpose that I feel a homepage doesn’t have, and that is ranking for keywords other than your business name or brand.”

That’s true for most brands. But I’d argue that the SaaS market (and what goes with it, SaaS marketing) is different from other industries.

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What’s Different About SaaS?

Many early-stage brands don’t have any other commercial assets (or even the ability to create more, at that).

For many SaaS companies, the homepage plays a commercial role and might be their only commercial page.

Example:

 Screenshot by author, April 2021An example of a SaaS website where internal pages carry little commercial value.

Then, there’s the issue of brand recognition.

Everyone’s heard of Asana. Drift. HubSpot.

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

As for other keywords, those companies have thousands of pages to target those phrases.

(Having said that, Hubspot still optimizes its homepage for product categories.)

But, when you’re a relatively new SaaS company trying to carve a space for yourself in the industry – when you’re trying to beat more established competitors and focused on kick-starting growth –  counting on someone searching Google your name and getting to the homepage (remember, the only page on the site) isn’t going to get you far.

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So, what are your options?

The Role Of A Homepage In SaaS SEO Strategy

The importance of your homepage goes far beyond the fact that you have no other pages to optimize (yet).

The clearer you are in explaining what your product does, what category it falls into, and what value users get from it, the easier it will be for the search engine to establish how to rank you in the search results.

When you’re just getting started in SaaS, the homepage will attract most if not all organic links.

Whatever mentions, media references or other PR your product acquires will likely link to your homepage.

Your initial link-building strategies – guest posting, digital PR, podcast appearances, or submitting the site to SaaS directories – will more than likely also target the homepage.

As other sites link to your homepage, they pass along PageRank which can then be distributed around your site to help specific pages get found by Google.

Smart internal linking will help you pass the benefit of that PageRank you’ve gathered at the homepage onto new pages as you develop them.

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What Keywords To Use To Optimize A SaaS Homepage, Then?

There are three types of keywords to focus on.

The first is obvious, but to find the right phrases for the others, you will need to do a bit of keyword research.

1. Your Brand

Despite the need to focus on other terms, it’s still a good idea to include brand-related terms on the homepage.

At a minimum, include the company or the product name in the homepage’s title tag, typically at the end of the tag.

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

Example:

meta title on a SaaS homepage. Screenshot by author, April 2021meta title on a SaaS homepage.

In most cases, you’ll naturally sprinkle the brand across the page, too.

You’ll mention it in the meta description, perhaps include it in the main subheading, under the tagline, in alt text for an image or two, and elsewhere in the body copy (in reviews or testimonials, for example) as it naturally occurs.

2. Product Category (If The Intent Is Right)

This is where you begin to position your homepage (and the brand) for phrases that can drive valuable commercial traffic.

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Product category-related keywords describe the primary category that best defines your product.

These aren’t the keywords that might define the project’s attributes or functionality but more general seed phrases that tell a user what the product is and aren’t related to your brand in any way.

These are often the phrases you use to describe the product to clients, investors, or various stakeholders – Enterprise Resource Planning software, CMS and ecommerce, communications platform, etc.

These are the terms you’ll find salespeople referencing in their emails, sales materials, and so on.

Where To Include The Product Category-Related Keyword? 

As this is the primary keyword you’ll be targeting, use it on every page:

  • In meta tags.
  • In the page’s H1 tag.
  • In the page’s body content’s opening.
  • In alt tags, etc.

An Exception: When The Keyword Has A Different User Intent Than The Homepage

There might be situations where the user intent for a product category-related phrase is different than what you can target with the homepage.

Even though the phrase might seem to have a commercial intent at first, upon inspection, you may realize it ranks for a whole variety of intents.

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Take the keyword phrase [small business CRM]. The keyword seems ideal to use on a software product’s homepage.

But look at the SERP. Those listings include mostly informational content:

  • Most of the top-ranking pages are listicles presenting collections of CRM software solutions.
  • None of those pages are product homepages.
  • There is only one actual CRM software domain ranking, and even that’s not a commercial page.
SERP example.Screenshot by author, April 2021SERP example.

Ranking a homepage would be pretty difficult to impossible to achieve, especially for a lesser-known SaaS brand.

You have two options here:

  1. Compromise and identify a different product category-related keyword (or at least one that is close enough to the product category). Create a separate page to target the original keyword you intended with content relevant to its intent.
  2. Focus only on the brand. I personally believe that’s too much of a compromise for an early-stage startup.

3. Keywords Relating To The Product’s Core Offerings

We’ve covered positioning for your brand and the product category.

But, what about those other phrases that describe your product? What about keywords that relate to the product’s features or functionality?

These phrases aren’t your primary keywords but there is a way to weave them in.

What’s more, you can use the homepage to support specific pages you might create for those keywords.

Here’s how:

Include a list of your product’s functionality. You most likely have it on the page already in some shape or form.

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Homepage example. Screenshot by author, April 2021Homepage example.

Then, link each of those sections to a relevant landing page. 

Ideally, you will use the additional keyword in the link’s anchor text to increase relevance. You’ll achieve three objectives this way:

  • You’ll increase the topical relevance of the homepage. Google and other search engines will better understand what your product does and what phrases would be relevant to your domain.
  • You’ll be assisting visitors in finding any content that’s relevant to their needs.
  • And finally, you’ll be strengthening the page authority of those additional assets you’ve created to rank for keywords related to the product’s features or functionality.

Final Thoughts

The ultimate takeaway is that your homepage should include the most relevant keywords and keyword phrases related to your business.

Whether or not you plan to optimize for the organic channel, it is important for you to understand that search engines are going to be picking up on these keywords and the various ways consumers will try to find your product.

So, don’t neglect the basics!


Featured Image: Andrey Suslov/Shutterstock

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Top 6 Free Survey Maker Tools For Marketers

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Top 6 Free Survey Maker Tools For Marketers

The number of online surveys has risen dramatically in the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center.

From short social media polls to lengthy feedback forms, it’s never been easier to survey your target audience and find out what exactly they’re thinking.

When it comes to free survey makers, you have plenty of options to choose from.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is you have to wade through your options to figure out the best survey tool for you.

In this article, I’ve done that dirty work for you.

Below I outline the top six free survey makers, with a simple bulleted list of their pros and cons, so you can quickly select the best one for your needs.

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But first up, the caveats.

What You’re Missing With Free Survey Makers

When something’s free, there’s usually a catch. The same goes for free survey makers.

Free survey tools, or the free plan offered by a paid survey tool, often come with the following limitations:

  • Limited export options. You may not be able to export your survey data for review in Excel or Google Sheets. There may be a PDF-only export option or no export ability at all.
  • Limited analytics. Free survey tools often skimp on the analytics. You may be left to your own pivot tables and Excel expertise if you want to create anything fancy from your survey data.
  • Limited survey functionality. This runs the gamut, from a limit on how many respondents or questions you can have per survey, to only allowing so many question types (e.g., multiple-choice, long-form, etc.).
  • Limited extra perks. By perks, I mean those other features that make software from good to great. With survey makers, that might mean easy-to-access support, the ability to embed surveys in email or webpages, multiple user accounts, or integration with other email marketing or CRM software.
  • No branding. Free survey makers give you their tools for free. In return, you provide them with free brand awareness. Don’t expect to be able to swap out their logo for your own. You’ll probably be stuck with their branding, along with a prominent link to their site throughout the survey or on the thank you page (or both).

If any of the above is a dealbreaker for you, you should plan to drop a little dough on a paid survey tool. That’s why I’ve also included the starting price for all six of the tools featured below.

In case you end up having to upgrade later, it’s easier to do so from a tool you’re already familiar with.

Top 6 Free Survey Tools

Without further ado, I present the best free survey makers you’ll find today. These are listed in no particular order.

1. Google Forms

Screenshot by author, June 2022

Do you live and die by your Google Drive?

Great news: Google also offers free survey software via Google Forms.

Alright, I know I just said these were presented in no particular order, but I’ll openly admit Google Forms is my personal favorite. Just look at all of the features they include in their free plan!

All you need is a free Google account to get started.

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Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited questions.
  • Unlimited responses.
  • Export to Google Sheets.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Ability to embed images and YouTube videos.
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website and share to social media.
  • Survey analytics, updated in real-time.
  • Integration with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides.
  • Unlimited collaborators.
  • Customizable survey templates.
  • Free branding.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Enhanced security and collaboration options.
  • Integration with your existing Google Workplace account.

Price: Completely free. Google Workplace pricing starts at $6 per user per month.

Best for: Anyone and everyone, for business or casual use.

2. SurveyMonkey

surveymonkeyScreenshot by author, June 2022

SurveyMonkey is the online survey tool. Established in 1999, it’s still the most well-known online survey software.

Despite the limitations of its free plans, SurveyMonkey continues to be popular thanks to its intuitive interface and brand recognition. Notable clients include Allbirds, Tweezerman, and Adobe.

One nice perk is that you can test out any of the paid features with your free plan. (You just won’t be able to actually use it in your live survey until you pay up.)

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions.
  • 15 question types.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Over 250 customizable survey templates.
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website.
  • Mobile app.
  • One user.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions, question types, and responses.
  • Data exports – this is a biggie!
  • Custom branding.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Team collaboration.
  • Advanced security (single sign-on, HIPAA compliance).
  • A/B testing.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $16 per month for individuals, $25 for teams.

Best for: Those who want a tried-and-true survey maker with all the features you could ask for.

3. Typeform

typeformScreenshot by author, June 2022

Many online survey tools are designed for the general public.

Readers of Search Engine Journal will be happy to hear that there’s a survey tool created just for us. Typeform was built specifically with marketers, UX researchers, and business owners like us in mind.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

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  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions per survey.
  • 10 responses per month.
  • Basic question types.
  • Basic reporting and analytics
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website.
  • Integrations with MailChimp, HubSpot, Trello, Google Sheets, Zapier, and more.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Custom thank you screen.
  • Custom branding.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Team collaboration.
  • Ability to accept payment.
  • Ability for survey respondents to upload files.
  • Integration with Facebook pixel and Google Tag Manager.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Best for: Enterprise users, UX researchers, and marketers hoping to track customer behavior.

4. Zoho Survey

zoho surveyScreenshot by author, June 2022

Zoho Survey is part of the same Zoho suite of apps that caters to sales, HR, IT, finance, and virtually any kind of business user you can think of.

Given their tenure creating SaaS software for business, their survey tool is just as robust as you might expect. Customers include big names like Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and Change.org.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions per survey.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Ability to embed surveys in email or website, or share to social media.
  • Export to PDF.
  • 250 survey templates.
  • Password protection and HTTPS encryption.
  • One user.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Ability to export to XLS or CSV.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • Team collaboration.
  • Real-time responses.
  • Multilingual surveys.
  • Integration with Google Sheets, Tableau, Shopify, Zendesk, Eventbrite, and others.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $25 per month.

Best for: Zoho users, or anyone who needs an extra level of security for their surveys.

5. Alchemer

alchemer survey makerScreenshot by author, June 2022

Alchemer is an advanced survey maker developed for the enterprise client.

Paid features include custom coding so you can customize every single element of your survey, from the survey URL to the form logic.

They stand out among free survey makers for being one of the few (besides Google Forms) to offer unlimited questions and Excel exports in their free plan. Clients include Disney, Salesforce, Verizon, and The Home Depot.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Three surveys at a time.
  • Unlimited questions.
  • 100 responses.
  • 10 question types.
  • Export to Excel.
  • Customizable templates.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited responses.
  • Unlimited question types.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • Ability to embed surveys in websites.
  • Export to PDF, PowerPoint, or Word.
  • Ability for survey respondents to upload files.
  • Survey analytics and reporting.
  • Ability to accept payment.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $49 per month.

Best for: Enterprise users needing to create long surveys with advanced logic and question types.

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6. Jotform

jotform survey makerScreenshot by author, June 2022

With over 10,000 templates, Jotform takes the cake as the survey maker with the most form templates on our list.

Jotform also stands out for letting you accept payments with the free plan (although you’re limited to 10).

This popular survey maker includes clients as wide-ranging as AMC and Nickelodeon to Redfin and the American Medical Association.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Five surveys.
  • 100 questions per survey.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Ability to embed surveys in email or website.
  • Export to PDF or Excel.
  • 10,000 survey templates.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • HIPAA compliance.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Best for: Users who want a template for every kind of survey possible.

Which Survey Tool Will You Use?

There truly is a survey maker for everybody.

The above options are all solid choices. Which one works for you may depend on your organization’s needs and your personal preferences.

Take advantage of the free trials and see which one you like best.

More Resources:

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Featured Image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock



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