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Unlocking Growth Through Enterprise SaaS SEO

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Unlocking Growth Through Enterprise SaaS SEO

Enterprise SaaS SEO is the practice of improving the visibility and rankings of an enterprise SaaS website in search engines. The goal is to attract people who are looking for solutions that your product can provide.

It works like this:

Let’s dive in.

There are many reasons SaaS companies should focus on SEO. These include:

  • Credibility. With every new touchpoint, you have the opportunity to be seen as the expert and dominant offering. This helps with the perception of your brand and makes your product an easier choice.
  • Growth. SEO brings you increased visibility and brand awareness.
  • Revenue. Every touchpoint is a chance at a conversion or sale. You’ll increase customer lifetime value and reduce customer acquisition costs.
  • Supports other marketing channels. For instance, you can use paid advertising to retarget an audience based on the content they consumed on your website.

Some common SEO challenges include:

  • Long sales cycles. Enterprise SaaS products often have longer and more complex sales cycles. You need content to support users at each stage of their journey.
  • Stiff competition. There’s a lot of money at stake, and your competitors are also making investments to improve their results.
  • Complexity. Everything is more complex. The organization, the website, coordination between teams, globalization, etc.
  • Getting buy-in for SEO. If the company you’re working with doesn’t see the value of SEO, you’ll lose resources and prioritization to whatever the company considers more important.

Here are a few examples of enterprise SaaS companies doing SEO well.

Ahrefs

We are usually the example people use for product-led SEO. We combine top-of-funnel informational content with middle-of-funnel solution-aware content. Every blog and video teaches people what something is and shows how Ahrefs can help them with their tasks or fix their problems.

Here’s an example of how we incorporate this naturally into our content.

We incorporate product screenshots showing how to solve customer problemsWe incorporate product screenshots showing how to solve customer problems

We also have free tools, data studies, programmatic plays that incorporate our data, content targeting specific verticals, and more.

Notion

Their templates section is a perfect example of showcasing how to use the product for different purposes.

Notion ranks templates that solve customer problemsNotion ranks templates that solve customer problems
Source: Notion

Atlassian

This is another company whose content is well-aligned with user needs and showcases the product.

Atlassian also showcases how their product can help customersAtlassian also showcases how their product can help customers
Source: Atlassian

Enterprise content marketing involves creating and sharing relevant content to attract, engage, and retain an organization’s target audience.

The highest ROI will be creating product-led content that helps the reader solve their problems using your product. This creates a natural path for new subscriptions and is the basis of our strategy at Ahrefs.

For every article we’re planning to write about on the blog, we give it a business potential score. This score is our estimation of how valuable it is to pitch our product for a given topic.

Business Potential score for product-led content.Business Potential score for product-led content.

Making your content marketing successful takes a lot of work. Here are some things you can do.

Create new content

There are many different types of content you can create, but with limited resources, it’s usually best to start out with bottom-of-funnel transactional content and then move to informational content and videos. After you’ve got more resources, you can create things like virtual events, courses, e-books, case studies, white papers, podcasts, or even magazines or books.

The sales process for enterprise companies is typically longer. Many companies want to skip top-of-the-funnel and informational content and focus more on the end-of-funnel traffic that converts. In doing so, they narrow their pipeline and give their competitors opportunities to be seen as experts instead of them.

Starting with bottom-of-the-funnel content makes sense, but eventually, you’ll want to create that top-of-the-funnel content and expand your pipeline.

Enterprise companies focus on bottom of the funnel contentEnterprise companies focus on bottom of the funnel content

When creating content, you have to find a process that works best for your company and content creators. That will change depending on who is creating your content.

What content should you create?

I like to start with my competitors’ top pages rather than starting research with a list of keywords. If you export and combine this data, you end up with a list of your competitors’ most successful content, and you can start with the content you know already works and is likely driving value to a competitor. I talk about my process for this in our article on how to create great content.

Every team I ever worked with, whether product-focused or marketing-focused, loved to see this data. You may want to keep track of your content creation in Google Sheets or Airtable.

Alternatively, you can use the Content Gap tool to find these opportunities, but you may see some repeated opportunities because of similar keywords. We will soon update this to add clustering and help reduce this extra noise.

The Content Gap tool helps you find opportunities based on what your competitors rank for.The Content Gap tool helps you find opportunities based on what your competitors rank for.

For now, you may want to export the keywords from the Content Gap tool, paste them into Keywords Explorer, and go to the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab. This should give you actual content opportunities you may not be covering.

Cluster your keywords by Parent Topics to reduce the noiseCluster your keywords by Parent Topics to reduce the noise

SEOs creating content

For SEOs writing the content, I recommend you talk to the experts or interview them to get their insights. They may have papers, presentations, podcasts, or webinars you can repurpose. The sales team is another great source of information. I’ll also look at what people search around a topic and what other pages cover.

A lot of organizations create copycat content, but that’s just more content that’s the same as what is already out there. This isn’t future-proof. I encourage you to do better. If you can put in a bit more work and add to the information that already exists, your content will be more successful.

Writers creating content

You likely have a team of people who create the content, and you may be able to empower them to do this process themselves.

One of the things that I liked to use with content teams was a card-sorting exercise. Take the data you’re looking at around what people search and what the top pages talk about, and put them on index cards.

Have your content writers organize this in a way that makes sense to them. They’re going to be grouping your data into topics and subtopics and coming up with the content sections or pages they should write.

This helps train people to do this task themselves, and there’s no right or wrong answer as to how it should be organized. You can also show how top pages cover this information as confirmation that it works. As long as you’re writing about what people are looking for, you’re likely to be successful.

Alternatively, your SEOs can provide writers with easy-to-digest outlines or content briefs that cover what should be talked about in the articles.

To see how each author or team is doing, you can create Portfolios. This will help identify star performers or writers or teams that might need some additional help.

Portfolio of pages by an author in AhrefsPortfolio of pages by an author in Ahrefs

Experts creating content

If your employees want to write content, you need to find a way to empower them to do so. These are your experts, and while the content they create may require some editing, the insights from these employees are valuable and may not be anywhere else.

If your experts don’t have the time to write content, another option is to interview them or have them review the content you create. Most people are usually happy to give quick insights verbally, which you can then use in your content.

Improve existing content

Making your existing content better can lead to quick wins. Here are some things you can look for.

Content with declining traffic

Apply a filter for “Traffic: Declined” in the Top pages report in Site Explorer and set your time period for the last six months or a year. Take a look at pages that lost traffic to see which ones are important to you and that you think you can improve.

Filter showing content with declining traffic that you may want to improveFilter showing content with declining traffic that you may want to improve

Low-hanging fruit

One common way to prioritize content improvements is to check for low-hanging opportunities, like pages ranking in positions 4-15 for their main keyword. You might be able to quickly improve these pages’ content to rank higher and get more traffic. Use Google Search Console or the Organic Keywords report in Site Explorer to find pages that fit the bill.

Filter showing low-hanging fruit keywords. You may want to improve this content.Filter showing low-hanging fruit keywords. You may want to improve this content.

Optimize for featured snippets

For informational content, targeting featured snippets can skyrocket you to the top of the SERPs.

Here’s how to find the easiest opportunities:

  • Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  • Enter your domain
  • Go to the Organic keywords report
  • Filter for keywords in positions #1–5
  • Filter for keywords that trigger featured snippets “where target doesn’t rank”
  • Look for keywords where your page is missing the answer, then add it
Finding the best featured snippet opportunities in Ahrefs' Site Explorer
Finding the best featured snippet opportunities in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This is arguably the most important section that you can write if you want to rank for informational queries. You can see what is already eligible for a snippet and the kind of things that these snippets mention, along with why one may be better than another. Now you just have to make something that’s better.

Here’s an example: For “how to create content,” the main snippet is from inc.com:

Search for "how to create content" showing a featured snippetSearch for "how to create content" showing a featured snippet

If you append “-inc.com” to your search, you’re removing this site from the results and can see the second eligible featured snippet from hubspot.com:

Search for "how to create content -inc.com" shows additional featured snippetsSearch for "how to create content -inc.com" shows additional featured snippets

You can repeat this process, removing more sites from the results to see more eligible featured snippets. Also, you can glean insights into what it takes to get featured snippets and figure out why one may be considered better than another.

For some head terms that are more informational in nature, you may have to refine the query as “what is [head term]” for this to work.

Translate successful content

Most enterprise companies operate in many countries and in many different languages, and their enterprise SEO teams will have to work on international SEO. If you have content that’s working well in one language, it’s likely going to work well in another language as well. You should translate successful content for those other languages.

We’ve had success with this at Ahrefs despite allocating minimal resources to this process. It’s one of the areas where I expect massive growth as we start to focus on it more.

GSC data showing when we started focusing on translating Spanish contentGSC data showing when we started focusing on translating Spanish content

One new feature in Keywords Explorer that can help with this is the ability to translate and see metrics for keywords on a saved keyword list.

For example, we have a saved list of SEO keywords. In one click, I can translate those keywords into German and see metrics like search volume and Keyword Difficulty (KD) for their translations in Germany. This helps me to understand which topics have the highest search demand in other languages and markets.

Translating keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerTranslating keywords in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Create branded content – sometimes

You’re probably going to run into content that is too brand-focused, too product-focused, or even too keyword-focused. People will ask you to rank for terms with pages they control that don’t align with search intent. A good example is someone wanting to “sprinkle some keywords” into their product page to rank for an informational term.

You can use the “Identify intents” feature in Keywords Explorer to show the main intent of each term and the percentage of traffic to each result type. A product page for “enterprise content management” isn’t likely to rank for this query as the main pages ranking are informational intent.

Identify intents feature in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerIdentify intents feature in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Sometimes, there may be one product page ranking for terms like this where you have a shot at ranking, but it’s usually the most popular product in that position.

There are times you may want to optimize and even create content for branded terms, but this shouldn’t be your usual strategy. Nor should you “sprinkle some keywords” into brand-or-product-focused pages to try to rank for informational terms. These pages may be full of marketing or sales jargon and not have the content you actually need to rank.

Many enterprise websites get a lot of their overall traffic from branded searches, and they may not rank well for unbranded terms. Branded traffic is a good thing. It’s high-quality and converts well, but you should be getting it even without SEO help.

The exceptions to that may be for terms related to companies that were acquired or products that were renamed. You may still need content or documentation to help you keep traffic for those terms and direct people to new versions of the product.

Syndicate content

Content syndication is when one or more third-party sites republish a copy of content that originally appeared elsewhere. It frequently happens with news content, although, to be honest, any popular site is going to have scrapers, and enterprise sites may have a paid syndication strategy.

There are a lot of benefits to syndication, including increased reach. Check out our article on content syndication to learn more about it and how to follow best practices.

Redirect relevant old content

In many cases, your old URLs have links from other websites. If they’re not redirected to the current pages, then those links are lost and no longer count for your pages. It’s not too late to do these redirects, and you can quickly reclaim any lost value and help your content rank better.

Here’s how to find those opportunities:

  1. Paste your domain into Site Explorer (also accessible for free in Ahrefs Webmaster Tools)
  2. Go to the Best by links report
  3. Add a “404 not found” HTTP response filter

I usually sort this by “Referring domains.”

Best by links filtered to 404 shows pages with links that aren't redirectedBest by links filtered to 404 shows pages with links that aren't redirected

Create “vs” pages

Creating content that compares you against competitors can be difficult to create in an enterprise environment because of all the legal hurdles. I still think it’s useful to push for these kinds of pages so that you can control the narrative.

There are ways you can do this without having giant tables comparing each feature. Those are always biased anyway. For instance, on our vs. page, we show what users think of us and talk about the quality of our data and unique features.

This page has done well for us, and I believe we will create more pages like it in the future.

Traffic of our "Ahrefs vs" pageTraffic of our "Ahrefs vs" page

Create free tools

If you can create free tools around your product or data, you can use it as a lead-gen tactic for your main products.

We use this strategy at Ahrefs, and some of our most trafficked pages are free tools. We even created a bunch of free writing tools, which we are starting to monetize.

Estimated organic search traffic to our free tools, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerEstimated organic search traffic to our free tools, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Create programmatic content

If you have the ability to create good pages programmatically using your data, it can be a great way to scale quickly.

We had some success with a small amount of effort by re-using components to create “SEO for x” pages, where x is different types of business. Most of these are ranking well already, but at some point I believe we will put in more effort and pull more data to make these pages even better.

The success of our programmatic "SEO for x" pages, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerThe success of our programmatic "SEO for x" pages, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We’re working on some additional programmatic plays that showcase our data even more, and I expect will drive a lot of leads.

Create video content

Video content can work extremely well for businesses. Sam Oh drives tons of leads for Ahrefs.

Ahrefs’ YouTube has over 500k subscribers with less than 300 published videos. Many of those videos have over 1 million views!

Subscribers and video count on our YouTube channelSubscribers and video count on our YouTube channel

In my past jobs, I’ve always treated videos the same way I would blog content and structured the talking points around the things people are searching for and want to know. This worked extremely well, even for industries where people were convinced that folks in the industry didn’t watch videos.

Enterprise link building is the process of acquiring links to an enterprise website with the goal of improving visibility and rankings in search engines.

Enterprise companies get a lot of links naturally. While they may have some challenges with link building, these companies also have a ton of opportunities because of who they are and how much money is at stake.

You have a lot of different options for link building in an enterprise environment. If you’re not sure where to start, I’d check out the Links section in Opportunities report in Site Explorer. This report has shortcuts to other reports with filters applied, that help you with some common tasks.

The Opportunities report in Site Explorer shows high-value quick wins for SEOThe Opportunities report in Site Explorer shows high-value quick wins for SEO

Here are some of the things you might want to try.

Create linkable assets

In SEO, we use the terms “linkable asset” or “link bait” to refer to content that is strategically crafted to attract links. Such linkable assets can take on many different forms:

  • Industry surveys
  • Studies and research
  • Online tools and calculators
  • Awards and rankings
  • How-to guides and tutorials
  • Definitions and coined terms
  • Infographics, GIFographics, and “Map-o-graphics”

You can also use any industry-famous employees or thought leaders you have to create interesting quotes that might be linked.

There’s also a phenomenon where high-ranking pages get linked to more over time. If your content is good enough to get you near the top, you’re more likely to get more links. Tim Soulo calls this the vicious circle of SEO.

The vicious circle of SEO where you need links to rank, but top results get more linksThe vicious circle of SEO where you need links to rank, but top results get more links

For more ideas, check out our guide to enterprise content marketing.

Combine similar content to create a stronger page

Keyword cannibalization is when a search engine consistently swaps rankings between multiple pages or when multiple pages rank simultaneously for the same keyword but are similar enough to be consolidated. Consolidating similar content into comprehensive guides or pillar pages can improve your chances of ranking and earning links.

Chart showing keyword cannibalizationChart showing keyword cannibalization

Promote your content

The more visibility your content gets, the more links you are likely to get naturally. Leverage those other teams I talked about earlier to promote your content on social and maybe paid media. Use influencer relationships to amplify your reach. Use your PR teams for potential media coverage.

Keep in mind that these other teams are busy and have their own priorities as well. Be selective on what you ask them to promote. If you ask for them to promote everything, they’re likely to promote nothing.

Go after unlinked brand mentions

Unlinked brand mentions are online mentions (citations) of your brand—or anything directly related to your brand—that do not link back to your site.

Enterprise companies tend to get talked about a fair bit, and each one of those mentions offers a chance to get a link. Even if there’s not initially a link, it doesn’t hurt to ask for one. You can use Content Explorer to find these mentions on the web and the built-in filter to highlight unlinked domains and hone in on unlinked mentions.

You can also look for unlinked brand mentions of key employees, famous quotes of theirs, or statistics from your studies.

Use Content Explorer to find unlinked brand mentions and turn them into linksUse Content Explorer to find unlinked brand mentions and turn them into links

Recover links with link reclamation

Sites, and the web in general, are always changing. We ran a study that found that ~two-thirds of links to pages on the web disappeared in the nine-year period we looked at.

In many cases, your old URLs have links from other websites. If they’re not redirected to the current pages, then those links are lost and may no longer count for your pages.

It’s not too late to do these redirects, and you can quickly reclaim any lost value and help your content rank better.

Here’s how to find those opportunities:

  1. Paste your domain into Site Explorer
  2. Go to the Best by links report
  3. Add a “404 not found” HTTP response filter

I usually sort this by “Referring domains.”

Best by links sorted to 404 to show pages you may want to redirect to reclaim link valueBest by links sorted to 404 to show pages you may want to redirect to reclaim link value

I even created a script to help you match redirects. Don’t be scared away; you just have to download a couple of files and upload them. The Colab notebook walks you through it and takes care of the heavy lifting for you.

While this script could be run periodically, if you’re constantly having to do redirects, I would recommend that you automate the implementation. You could pull data from the Ahrefs API and visits from your analytics into a system. Then, create logic like >3 RDs, >5 hits in a month, etc., and flag these to be redirected, suggest redirects, or even automatically redirect them.

If you had redirects in place for a year or more already, the value is likely already consolidated to the new pages. That’s what Google recommends, and it seemed to be true when we tested it. You could also add a flag for “was redirected” into the automation logic that checks if the page was previously redirected for a year to account for this.

Copy competitors’ links and strategies

There are a few different ways to do this. The usual recommendation for SEOs would be a link intersect report, which we have, but it’s pretty noisy for large sites.

What I would recommend instead is the Best by links report in Site Explorer.

Steal the strategies your competitors use to get links with the Best by links reportSteal the strategies your competitors use to get links with the Best by links report

This is going to show you the most linked pages on a website. For us, that’s our homepage, some of our free tools, and our blog and data studies.

Another option is the Site Structure report in Site Explorer sorted by Referring domains or Referring pages.

You can also use Site Structure to identify the most linked sections of a siteYou can also use Site Structure to identify the most linked sections of a site

This lets me quickly see that things like our blog, free tools, glossary, and training academy videos are all well-linked.

Build internal links

I’ve always found internal links to be a powerful way to help pages rank higher.

Even these links may be difficult to get in an enterprise environment. Sometimes different people are responsible for different sections of the website, which can make internal linking time-consuming and may require meetings and a lot of follow up to get internal linking done.

On top of the political hurdles, the process for internal linking can be a bit convoluted. You either have to know the site well and read through various pages looking for link opportunities, or you can follow a process that involves a lot of scraping and crawling to find opportunities.

At Ahrefs, we’ve made this simple, scalable, and accessible so anyone can find these opportunities. The easiest way to see internal link opportunities is with the Internal Link Opportunities report in Site Audit. We look at what your pages are ranking for and suggest links from other pages on your site that talk about those things.

The Internal Link Opportunities report in Site Audit suggests internal links you can addThe Internal Link Opportunities report in Site Audit suggests internal links you can add

I’d also recommend watching out for opportunities to use better link anchor text. It’s common for page creators to overuse generic link anchor text such as ‘learn more,’ ‘read more,’ or ‘click here.’ You can look for usage of this kind of generic copy in the Internal anchors report in Site Explorer.

Use the Internal anchors report to identify generic anchor textUse the Internal anchors report to identify generic anchor text

Build links from other websites you own

If your company owns multiple websites, you’ll want to add links between them where it makes sense. Ultimately, you may want to consolidate the content into one site, but that’s not always feasible. Even if it is, it may not happen within a reasonable timeframe, so you may want to add links between the sites in the meantime.

This can be abused and goes into a gray area, but for the most part, if you’re linking naturally to relevant pages, you’ll be fine.

Buy other companies’ websites

I wrote all about SEO for mergers and acquisitions. When you buy another company, you inherit their content and their links. This opens some nice options for consolidating content and links to stronger pages.

Enterprise technical SEO is the practice of optimizing an enterprise website to help search engines find, crawl, understand, and index your pages. It helps increase visibility and rankings in search engines.

Enterprise websites are where technical SEO shines. There’s so much money at stake. One mistake can keep millions of pages out of the index or remove an entire site from search results. One fix can potentially be worth millions in revenue.

Check out our guide to enterprise technical SEO where I talk about different types of crawl strategies, prioritization, submitting tickets, and some of the technical SEO projects below.

Check indexing

Priority – high

You probably have some pages indexed that shouldn’t be, and many pages noindexed that should be indexed. Canonicalization is another issue to check to make sure the version of a page you want indexed is the one that is indexed.

First, check the Indexability report in Site Audit for “Noindex page” warnings.

Noindex issue in Site AuditNoindex issue in Site Audit

Google can’t index pages with this warning, so it’s worth checking they’re not pages you want indexed.

You can also check the Site Structure report in Site Explorer for any pages with organic traffic that shouldn’t have traffic.

The Site Structure report shows you a breakdown of the website with metricsThe Site Structure report shows you a breakdown of the website with metrics

Add schema markup

Priority – high

I’m a fan of schema markup as long as it gets you a search feature. Check out our guide to schema markup to see which ones you should be implementing. There are some cool tools now that can even suggest schema markup based on what is seen on the page.

Fix Page Experience

Priority – medium

While many of these aren’t necessarily going to move the needle for SEO, they are good for users and how they experience your website, so they’re worth working on.

  • Core web vitals. This is how fast your pages load.
  • HTTPS. You want your pages to be secure. A surprising number of sites, >6%, redirect HTTPS to HTTP.
  • Mobile-friendliness. Are your pages usable on mobile?
  • Interstitials. You don’t want intrusive interstitials or those that take up a good chunk of the screen.

We cover most of these in Site Audit. For example, we pull PageSpeed Insights data so you get actual Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) metrics for Core Web Vitals as well as Lighthouse metrics in Site Audit.

Page speed issues in Site Audit with CrUX and Lighthouse data for Core Web VitalsPage speed issues in Site Audit with CrUX and Lighthouse data for Core Web Vitals

We also flag mobile SEO issues.

Mobile usability issues flagged by Ahrefs' Site AuditMobile usability issues flagged by Ahrefs' Site Audit

General website health and maintenance

Priority – low

These may not have much impact on SEO, but they can be an important consideration for user experience.

  • Broken links. Find them and fix them.
  • Redirect Chains. Google will follow up to 10 hops. I don’t worry until after five hops.
  • Add sitemaps. I would make sure this is automated. If you are asked to manually create them, you can do it, but just know that if it’s manual, these will rarely be kept up-to-date. If you’re creating them based on crawled pages, then it’s likely all search engines can crawl them anyway.

You may want to check if any of the chains are too long. Look for this in the “Issues” tab in the Redirects report.

Redirect chain issuesRedirect chain issues

Hreflang

Priority depends on the site

Hreflang helps show the right page to the right user in search. This can be crucial for enterprise companies to get right as the dropoff from bad pathing or annoying users can cost you a lot of money.

We flag a number of different hreflang issues in Site Audit.

Hreflang issues flagged by Site AuditHreflang issues flagged by Site Audit

There are also some nice visualizations to help you explain issues like this first-if-its-kind hreflang cluster visualization. It shows and tells you what is broken, making it much easier to explain to stakeholders than the typical spreadsheet.

Hreflang cluster visualization that shows hreflang issuesHreflang cluster visualization that shows hreflang issues

Crawl budget

Priority depends on the site

Crawl budget can be a concern for larger sites with millions of pages or sites that are frequently updated. In general, if you have lots of pages not being crawled or updated as often as you’d like, then you may want to look into speeding up crawling.

E-commerce

Specialized task

Ecommerce SEO would be important for any site selling products.

For enterprise sites, faceted navigation can be particularly tricky. Luckily we have a great guide on faceted navigation.

Javascript

Specialized task

The bigger the site, the more likely you are to run into multiple tech stacks. Some of those may be JavaScript frameworks. These are relatively newer than CMSs and less understood by SEOs, so we have a guide on JavaScript SEO that covers many of the issues you’ll face, how to troubleshoot them, and how the rendering process works for Google.

Migrations

Specialized task

A website migration is any significant change to a website’s domain, URLs, hosting, platform, or design. Big companies like to change these things and it creates havoc. Try to write any standards to keep things consistent and minimize the impact of changes.

Mergers and acquisitions

Specialized task

Enterprise companies buy other companies all the time. When I worked in enterprise SEO, I felt like I was constantly doing one website merger project or another. There’s a lot that can go wrong and a lot of money on the line. Check out our guide on SEO for mergers and acquisitions for more info.

Log file analysis

Specialized task

I would typically consider this task firmly in the developer department, but it is something that technical SEOs may be asked to do at times. Logs can be expensive to store and analyze and they contain private information (PII) with IP addresses. Many companies won’t give SEOs log file access. I’d say in 99.9% of cases, the crawl stats report in Google Search Console will meet your needs instead of logs.

Enterprise SEO metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. Monitoring these metrics helps you prove value and shows the success of your SEO program.

You’ll create a lot of different SEO reports for a lot of different people in an enterprise environment. Check out our guide on enterprise SEO reporting to see some of the reports you’ll want to create and the metrics to include in them for different people. It includes things like:

  1. How to equate SEO metrics to money
  2. Selling SEO by comparing against competitors
  3. Different SEO metrics to include
  4. Creating status or project reports
  5. Reporting on opportunities

Some popular enterprise SEO tools include:

I’m obviously biased towards Ahrefs, but we’re really in a league of our own with 44% of the S&P 500 choosing us. Look how we compare to other enterprise SEO tools in the market.

Enterprise SEO tool market shareEnterprise SEO tool market share

And our organic search share of voice (SoV).

Enterprise SEO tool share of voiceEnterprise SEO tool share of voice

Check out our article on enterprise SEO tools to learn why you should choose us.

Final thoughts

There’s so much at stake in enterprise SEO and so many opportunities. When a company and its people finally get behind SEO, they can dominate an industry.

If you have any tips, enterprise SEO experiences you’d like to share, or questions, let me know on X or LinkedIn.



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SEO

How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

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How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

Getting to the top of Google can be quite slow. Especially so for small, new websites. And the competition can often be too strong, which makes it quite unlikely for you to outrank your rivals in the first place.

Well… if you can’t win, change the rules.

There’s a very simple trick for getting search traffic for the keywords that you want to rank for—without actually ranking for them.

Enter…

One of the most common pieces of marketing advice is to “go fish where the fish are.” Whatever product or service you want to sell, you have to follow three simple steps:

  1. Figure out who your ideal customers are.
  2. Find the places where those people are hanging out online.
  3. Go to those places and find ways to promote your product.

Quick example: if you want to sell fitness gear, it would be good to figure out how to tap into the r/Fitness community on Reddit, which has over 12M members.

What does it have to do with SEO though?

Well, whatever search traffic you want to drive to your own website… someone is already getting it to theirs, right? And their website is not necessarily your direct competitor.

If you own a bagel joint in Singapore, you definitely want your website to rank in Google for “best bagels in Singapore.” But the pages that actually rank for this keyword are listicles, which give readers a bunch of different suggestions. So your job is to get featured in as many of those top-ranking listicles as possible.

Ranking for a keyword with your own website isn’t the only way to get customers from Google. Getting featured on other pages that rank for this keyword is incredibly effective too.

I call this tactic “second-hand search traffic”.

The underlying idea is not new though.

You might have heard of the concept called “Barnacle SEO,” shared by Rand Fishkin back in 2014. There’s also a concept called “Surround Sound,” coined by Alex Birkett. And another one called “SERP Monopoly strategy” by Nick Eubanks. There’s also a reverse concept, called “Rank & Rent.”

The idea behind all of these tactics is practically the same: if a page gets a lot of relevant search traffic from Google—you have to try and get your business mentioned there.

1721330765 614 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330765 614 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything
Source

But that’s easier said than done, right?

Why would anyone bother to feature your business on their website?

Well, one simple answer is money.

If a website owner can make money from mentioning your business on their page, there’s a good chance they’ll do it. This money could come in the form of an affiliate commission or a flat fee for an annual or permanent placement. Sometimes these things can also happen as part of a broader partnership deal.

Getting listed for free is very, very hard. Especially so if you’re not already a big and respected business that people naturally want to feature on their website.

And yet—it’s not completely impossible to get listed for free.

Case in point, we just published our own “best SEO conferences” post, in order to rank for relevant search queries and promote our upcoming event, Ahrefs Evolve Singapore.

And then we went ahead and reached out to all websites that rank for the “best SEO conferences” keyword and asked them to add Ahrefs Evolve to their listicles. So far 10 out of 17 featured us on their pages, without asking for any payment whatsoever.

1721330766 734 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330766 734 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

The most straightforward way to execute this strategy is to compile a list of highly relevant keywords (with high business potential scores), pull all the top-ranking pages for each of them into a spreadsheet, and start your outreach.

But there’s one other fruitful source of pages to get second-hand search traffic from. These are pages that are linking to your competitors, while getting a decent amount of search traffic themselves.

Here’s how to find these pages in 3 simple steps:

  1. Put the website of your competitor in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the Backlinks report.
  3. Apply the “Referring page > Traffic” filter.
How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for AnythingHow to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

Here’s an example of a page I found while trying this out for the ConvertKit website:

1721330766 665 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything1721330766 665 How to Get Search Traffic Without Ranking for Anything

As you can see, this page is not about “email marketing” (the primary topic you’d go for, if you wanted to promote an email marketing tool). And yet, this page is receiving 2.6k visitors per month from Google (as estimated by Ahrefs), and it recommends a bunch of email marketing tools to its readers.

So if you own an email marketing tool—like ConvertKit—you definitely want to get mentioned on that page alongside your competitors.

The moral of this story is that you should look outside of the topics that are immediately relevant to your business. Any page that gets traffic and mentions a competitor of yours should become your target.

And Ahrefs makes it super easy to find such pages.

That’s it.

I hope you found this tactic useful. Don’t sleep on it, because there’s a good chance that your competitors won’t.

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What SEO Should Know About Brand Marketing With Mordy Oberstein

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What SEO Should Know About Brand Marketing With Mordy Oberstein

For the SEO industry, the Google documents leak offered an important view behind the scenes. Although the leak was not a blueprint of how the algorithm worked, there was considerable confirmation that SEO professionals were right about many elements of the algorithm.

From all the analysis and discussion following the leak, the one insight that got my attention was how important the brand is.

Rand Fishkin, who broke the leak, said this:

“Brand matters more than anything else … If there was one universal piece of advice I had for marketers seeking to broadly improve their organic search rankings and traffic, it would be: “Build a notable, popular, well-recognized brand in your space, outside of Google search.”

Mike King echoed this statement with the following observation:

“All these potential demotions can inform a strategy, but it boils down to making stellar content with strong user experience and building a brand, if we’re being honest.”

Mordy Oberstein, who is an advocate for building a brand online, posted on X (Twitter):

“I am SO happy that the SEO conversation has shifted to thinking about “brand.”

It’s not the first time that “brand” has been mentioned in SEO. We began to talk about this around 2012 after the impact of Panda and Penguin when it first became apparent that Google’s aim was to put more emphasis on brand.

Compounding this is the introduction of AI, which has accelerated the importance of taking a more holistic approach to online marketing with less reliance on Google SERPs.

When I spoke to Pedro Dias, he said, “We need to focus more than ever on building our own communities with users aligned to our brands.”

As someone who had 15 years of offline experience in marketing, design, and business before moving into SEO, I have always said that having this wide knowledge allows me to take a holistic view of SEO. So, I welcome the mindset shift towards building a brand online.

As part of his X/Twitter post, Mordy also said:

“I am SO happy that the SEO conversation has shifted to thinking about “brand” (a lot of which is the direct result of @randfish’s & @iPullRank’s great advice following the “Google leaks”).

As someone who has straddled the brand marketing and SEO world for the better part of 10 years – branding is A LOT harder than many SEOs would think and will be a HUGE adjustment for many SEOs.”

Following his X/Twitter post, I reached out to Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Brand at Wix, to have a conversation about branding and SEO.

What Do SEO Pros Need To Know About ‘Brand’ To Make The Mindset Shift?

I asked Mordy, “In your opinion, what does brand and building a brand mean, and can SEO pros make this mindset shift?”

Mordy responded, “Brand building basically means creating a connection between one entity and another entity, meaning the company and the audience.

It’s two people meeting, and that convergence is the building of a brand. It’s very much a relationship. And I think that’s what makes it hard for SEOs. It’s a different way of thinking; it’s not linear, and there aren’t always metrics that you can measure it by.

I’m not saying you don’t use data, or you don’t have data, but it’s harder to measure to tell a full story.

You’re trying to pick up on latent signals. A lot of the conversation is unconscious.

It’s all about the micro things that compound. So, you have to think about everything you do, every signal, to ensure that it is aligned with the brand.

For example, a website writes about ‘what is a tax return.’ However, if I’m a professional accountant and I see this on your blog, I might think this isn’t relevant to me because you’re sending me a signal that you’re very basic. I don’t need to know what a tax return is; I have a master’s degree in accounting.

The latent signals that you’re sending can be very subtle, but this is where it is a mindset shift for SEO.”

I recalled a recent conversation with Pedro Dias in which he stressed it was important to put your users front and center and create content that is relevant to them. Targeting high-volume keywords is not going to connect with your audience. Instead, think about what is going to engage, interest, and entertain them.

I went on to say that for some time, the discussion online has been about SEO pros shifting away from the keyword-first approach. However, the consequences of moving away from a focus on traffic and clicks will mean we are likely to experience a temporary decline in performance.

How Does An SEO Professional Sell This To Stakeholders – How Do They Measure Success?

I asked Mordy, “How do you justify this approach to stakeholders – how do they measure success?”

Mordy replied, “I think selling SEO will become harder over time. But, if you don’t consider the brand aspect, then you could be missing the point of what is happening. It’s not about accepting lower volumes of traffic; it’s that traffic will be more targeted.

You might see less traffic right now, but the idea is to gain a digital presence and create digital momentum that will result in more qualified traffic in the long term.”

Mordy went on to say, “It’s going to be a habit to break out of, just like when you have to go on a diet for a long-term health gain.

The ecosystem will change, and it will force change to our approach. SEOs may not have paid attention to the Google leak documents, but I think they will pay attention as the entire ecosystem shifts – they won’t have a choice.

I also think C-level will send a message that they don’t care about overall traffic numbers, but do care about whether a user appreciates what they are producing and that the brand is differentiated in some way.”

How Might The Industry Segment And What Will Be The Important Roles?

I interjected to make the point that it does look a lot like SEO is finally making that shift across marketing.

Technical SEO will always be important, and paid/programmatic will remain important because it is directly attributable.

For the rest of SEO, I anticipate it merges across brand, SEO, and content into a hybrid strategy role that will straddle those disciplines.

What we thought of as “traditional SEO” will fall away, and SEO will become absorbed into marketing.

In response, Mordy agreed and thought that SEO traffic is part of a wider scope or part of a wider paradigm, and it will sit under brand and communications.

An SEO pro that functions as part of the wider marketing and thinks about how we are driving revenue, how we are driving growth, what kind of growth we are driving, and using SEO as a vehicle to that.

The final point I raised was about social media and whether that would become a more combined facet of SEO and overall online marketing.

Mordy likened Google to a moth attracted to the biggest digital light.

He said, “Social media is a huge vehicle for building momentum and the required digital presence.

For example, the more active I am on social media, the more organic branded searches I gain through Google Search. I can see the correlation between that.

I don’t think that Google is ignoring branded searches, and it makes a semantic connection.”

SEO Will Shift To Include Brand And Marketing

The conversation I had with Mordy raised an interesting perspective that SEO will have to make significant shifts to a brand and marketing mindset.

The full impact of AI on Google SERPs and how the industry might change is yet to be realized. But, I strongly recommend that anyone in SEO consider how they can start to take a brand-first approach to their strategy and the content they create.

I suggest building and measuring relationships with audiences based on how they connect with your brand and moving away from any strategy based on chasing high-volume keywords.

Think about what the user will do once you get the click – that is where the real value lies.

Get ahead of the changes that are coming.

Thank you to Mordy Oberstein for offering his opinion and being my guest on IMHO.

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Featured Image: 3rdtimeluckystudio/Shutterstock

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4 Ways PPC and SEO Can Work Together (And When They Can’t)

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4 Ways PPC and SEO Can Work Together (And When They Can’t)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your pages to rank in a search engine’s organic results.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee each time someone clicks their ad.

There’s no conundrum between the two types of marketing. You don’t have to choose one or the other; the best companies use both.

Here’s how they can work together and produce magic:

Creating SEO content is the process of figuring out what your target audience is searching on Google and aligning your content to their search intent.

To start off, you need to find out what they’re searching for. The easiest way is to use a keyword research tool, like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Here’s how you might find keywords for a hypothetical coffee equipment store:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a relevant keyword (e.g., “coffee”)
  3. Go to Matching terms

Go through the list and pick out keywords that are relevant to the site. For example, the keyword “how to grind coffee beans” seems like a good keyword to target.

The keyword "how to grind coffee beans" and relevant SEO statsThe keyword "how to grind coffee beans" and relevant SEO stats

Once we’ve chosen our keyword, we want to know what searchers are looking for specifically. Sometimes the keyword gives us an idea, but to be sure, we can look at the top-ranking pages.

So, click the SERP button and then click Identify intents to see what searchers are looking for:

The Identify Intents feature in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerThe Identify Intents feature in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

We can see that searchers are looking for techniques and methods to grind coffee beans at home, and especially without a grinder. If we want to rank high, we’ll likely have to follow suit.

Those are the basics of creating SEO content. But doing just this isn’t enough. After all, the quote goes, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?”

This applies to your content too. You don’t want to create into a void; you want people to see and consume your content. This is where PPC comes in. You can run PPC ads to ensure that as many people see your content as possible.

For example, at Ahrefs, we run Facebook ads for our content:

An example of a Facebook Ad we ran for our contentAn example of a Facebook Ad we ran for our content

We also run ads on Quora:

Our Quora ads campaigns we ran for the blogOur Quora ads campaigns we ran for the blog

This way, we make sure that none of our content efforts go to waste.

Links are an important Google ranking factor. Generally speaking, the more links your page has, the more likely it’ll rank high in the search results.

But acquiring links is hard. This is why it’s still a reliable ranking factor. And it’s also why there’s an entire industry behind link building, and tons of tactics you can use, all with varying levels of success.

One way you can consider building links to your pages is to run PPC ads. In fact, we ran an experiment a few years ago to prove that it was possible.

We spent ~$1,245 on Google search ads and acquired a total of 16 backlinks to two different pieces of content. (~$77-78 per backlink.) This is much cheaper than if you had to buy a backlink, which according to our study, costs around $361.44.

(It would be even more expensive if you acquired links via outreach, as you would have to consider additional costs like software, manpower, etc.)

Retargeting allows you to target visitors who have left your website.

Here’s how retargeting works:

  1. A visitor discovers your article on Google
  2. Your ad management software sets a cookie on the visitor’s browser, which allows you to show ads to these visitors
  3. When the visitor leaves your website and surfs the web, you can show ads and persuade them to return to your website

Depending on where they are on the buyer’s journey, you can convince them to take the next step.

buyer's journeybuyer's journey

For example, if someone found your website via your article on the “best espresso machines”, it’s likely they’re looking to buy. So, you can set your retargeting ad to encourage them to visit your espresso machines category page.

On the other hand, if a visitor discovered your website from your “what is a coffee grinder” article, they might still be early on the journey. In that case, it might be prudent to encourage them to sign up for your email list instead.

Every site has important keywords. For example, besides our brand and product terms, critical keywords are “keyword research”, “link building”, and “technical SEO”.

Since these keywords are important, it makes sense to dominate the SERPs for them. You can do this by simultaneously running ads for them while ranking in organic search. For example, Wix ranks for the keyword “create website for free” in both paid and organic SERPs:

Wix ranks for the keyword “create website for free” in both paid and organic SERPsWix ranks for the keyword “create website for free” in both paid and organic SERPs

This is especially useful if you’re a new or smaller site. The keywords that are important to you are likely important to your competitors too. Which means you can’t compete with them overnight.

So, a good strategy is to target those keywords via PPC first, while investing in your SEO strategy. Over time, as you acquire more backlinks and gain more website authority, you’ll be able to compete with your competitors in organic search too.

While both channels are complementary, there are times where it may make more sense to choose one over the other.

When to choose PPC

If you fit these scenarios, it might be a better idea to go for PPC:

  • You’re promoting a limited-time offer, event, or launching a product. According to our poll, SEO takes three to six months to show results. If your event, offer, or launch is shorter than the expected timeframe, it’ll be over even before SEO takes any effect.
  • You need immediate, short-term results. If you need to show some results now, then PPC will be a better choice.
  • You have a disruptive product or service. SEO depends on figuring out what people are already searching for. If your product or service is completely novel, then it’s likely no one is searching for it.
  • Hyper-competitive SERPs. Some niches have competing sites with large SEO teams and deep pockets. Coupled with Google’s preference for known brands, if you’re in these niches, it can be difficult to compete. PPC offers a viable alternative for gaining visibility on the first page.

When to choose SEO

Here are times when it may make better sense to choose SEO:

  • Keywords are too expensive. Some industries, like insurance or finance, have cost-per-clicks (CPC) up to a few hundred dollars. For example, the keyword “direct auto insurance san antonio” has a CPC of $275.
  • Your niche is restricted. Certain industries or niches (e.g., adult, weapons, gambling, etc.) are prohibited or restricted from advertising.
  • You have a limited budget. PPC requires money to begin, whereas SEO can drive traffic to your website at no direct cost per visitor.
  • You’re building an affiliate site. Affiliate sites earn a commission when people buy from their recommendations. While it’s not impossible to build an affiliate site from PPC, it’s difficult to control the return on investment (ROI) since affiliate site owners cannot control sales conversion rates.

Final thoughts

There are cases where focusing on either SEO or PPC makes sense.

But most of the time, the best companies don’t discriminate between channels. If they produce positive ROI, then you should be using all marketing channels.

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