SaaS Keyword Research by George Chasiotis of MINUTTIA
Webinar recorded on February 9, 2023
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George Chasiotis, Managing Director of MINUTTIA, shared how to perform keyword research for your SaaS company by breaking down his step-by-step process using a hypothetical scenario.
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About George Chasiotis:George is the Managing Director of MINUTTIA, an organic growth acceleration agency for B2B SaaS companies. George started out as an independent marketing consultant but was soon pulled down the path of creating an agency. In his free time, he imparts wisdom (read: rants) on LinkedIn or buries his head in psychology books to get down the “why” of human behavior.
Connect with George on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgioschasiotis/
Read the transcript
Let's get started. Keyword research for SaaS companies. I'm very excited about today's webinar and we've been preparing a lot about it and discussing things internally. My only concern, is that I have so many things to share and I've prepared so many slides, which is not my typical thing when preparing for webinars. My only concern is whether or not we will be able to make it and make it on time. If we don't make it on time, just keep in mind that there will be some extra slides with this presentation that you will all get access to that go through some very interesting examples, but I hope that we can make it and make it on time.
Couple of things about me, George Chasiotis, Managing Director at Minuttia. We are an organic growth acceleration agency for B2B SaaS companies and we help these companies accelerate organic growth through data-driven content marketing and SEO.
Before we get started, let's try to make the case in favor of SEO. Many people, especially this happens at the end of the year, at the end of every year you hear that, "You know what? 2022, SEO is dead," and many people may be concerned, "Is it true? Is SEO really dead?" I can assure you that it's not and it works. It works for many companies, some of them your competitors, it may even work for you. I would like to make three points before we begin.
The first point in favor of SEO, is that in most categories, the way people search has already been developed. Organic search is still a big part of the customer lifecycle journey for SaaS companies. Why shouldn't we focus on it and why shouldn't we explore it at least as a growth channel, acquisition channel for our company? Most SaaS categories are quite saturated. I used to say a year ago, that SaaS is moving towards commoditization. I say now to you, that SaaS has become a commoditized market. Customer acquisition costs are on the rise, and as far as I'm concerned, SEO can still be a channel with a relatively low CAC, customer acquisition cost. There are several examples of SaaS companies that prove that SEO still works and this is the third point.
Speaking of examples, shameless plug here, but Respona is an example of a company that used SEO to grow and to get to product market fit and to the growth stage that the company is at today. They achieve that of course with the help of Minuttia. Before we begin, let's all accept that we are here because we believe that this thing that's called SEO works. Now in that context, webinar is about keyword research and more specifically, we are going to see keyword types, describe the process, share something beyond the typical process of keyword research, see some examples, many interesting things, but let's start with some basics.
The basics are, what are the keyword types for SaaS companies? As you can see, we have two columns here. The first one is a type and the second one is an example, just to try to make things clear. The first type, errors. An example, safari can't establish a secure connection. This is an error. It doesn't apply to all cases for all SaaS companies, but it applies if for example you are a wordless plugin, you may want to talk about errors that WordPress has. Informational, how to create an online course, and this is just an example of course. There are so many other modifiers and keywords when it comes to informational keywords for SaaS companies.
Then we have commercial and I think that a mistake that many companies do when it comes to commercial search intent and these keyword types, is that they put them all in the same bucket. While we feel that this is wrong, because it's another thing talking about something like live-streaming platforms, a person who is searching for something like live-streaming platforms most likely don't know that, "You know what one of the biggest and most prominent, let's say live-streaming platforms is Uscreen or Dacast, they are at a earlier stage in their lifecycle journey. While if someone is already user of one of these platforms and maybe they have reached a switching moment or if they are aware of the solutions, the most prominent players in this category and they are comparing different solutions between each other, this person is obviously in a different stage. This is why we split things here and we say commercial tier A, live-streaming platforms, I'm not aware of specific solutions yet, let alone I'm not a user of any of these solutions.
We have commercial tier B, where we are talking about the usual suspects like alternatives, vs, comparison pages, and so on and so forth. The example that we have here, asana vs Monday. Then we have integrations because guess what? In 2023, your tool needs to integrate with other tools or it may be that your tool supports the integration of other tools like Zapier for example. As you can see here the example that we have Shopify to QuickBooks, then we have navigational, keywords with navigational intent. An example here, HubSpot Academy, I'm looking for something specific on HubSpot's website. This is what I'm interested in.
We have keywords that we call transactional. I'm looking for something specific on Clearscope's website, which also seems that the moment I search for that, I may be in the mood to take some action with my monetary value. I'm looking, in this case and the example that we have here, for Clearscope pricing, then we have keywords that we call at Minuttia, job to be done. The example here, business proposal template. "I have a very specific job that I need to do and I want you to help me do it. I need to draft a business proposal. I need you to help me with that."
Last but not least, we have what we call at Minuttia again, linkable assets. Linkable assets, the example that we have here is statistics. One are types of keywords and as an extension pages that indicate that, "You know what, I may be searching for information, I may be looking for something to reference, mention, link back to on my piece of content. Can you help me with a statistics page and I will make sure to mention you and give you a link for that help that you have provided me with." These are the keyword types.
Now let's take a step back and try to see where these keyword types fit into what we call keyword strategy dimensions. The keyword strategy dimensions that we have are the company stage, competition, objective, and the life cycle stage. Let's get right into it. The first dimension, which is company stage, and we will try to understand where do these keyword types that we just saw, fit in three company stages that as you can see here are early stage, we are an early stage company, a company that has reached a product market fit, and a company that is in the growth stage. When it comes to early stage, I would say that it's case specific. Of course this is very opinionated, but as far as I'm concerned, in my opinion and based on the experiences I had so far, a company should not care as much about SEO in the early stages of its existence.
You should start caring about SEO when you find a product market fit, because then you may know what may be the errors that you should have visibility for. You may know what are the topics that you should write, informational content. You may know what are the best use cases and features of your product and the ones that people get the most value out of. As an extension, you know what your best and direct competitors are, so you can create pages with commercial search intent. You may know and have identified opportunities for integrations pages and of course since we talked about use cases, we will talk about job to be done. This can be a great opportunity for companies that have reached, have found a product market fit.
When we are talking about companies in the growth stage and beyond that, well your keyword strategy should include all of the keyword types that we just saw, errors, informational, commercial, integrations, but guess what? As your brand grows, people search more things about you, your brand, specific parts on your website and so forth. In that context, you need to start caring more about keywords and pages with navigational intent, transactional intent, and of course, let's not forget, job to be done and linkable assets.
Now the second dimension we have is competition. Competition is also important when it comes to what keyword types should we focus on and what keyword types should we include as part of our keyword strategy. I should say to begin with, that for the most part, competition is keyword type and category specific. However, in general, in the SaaS industry in most categories, we are noticing a general tendency towards increasing competition, especially for keyword types with commercial search intent, which I guess we can all agree on because you know what? When it comes to these keywords like alternatives for example, well of course competition will be higher.
We did a study last year and I guess that we need to repeat it because it was quite successful when it comes to alternative keywords. No surprise, what we discover is that the top 10 websites with visibility for 102 alternative keywords, are review sites like GetUp and even in some cases, affiliate websites. Definitely when it comes to especially some keyword types for SaaS companies, competition is getting more intense. This is something that you need to be aware of and factor in when you're making decisions as to what keywords you will go after as part of your strategy.
I mentioned the alternative keyword study. We also did one for keywords that include the software inside them, for example, presentation software. We have seen that, no surprise, these keywords have a relatively high keyword difficulty. Now, keyword difficulty is by no means a perfect metric. It's only focuses on the number of referring domains back to the pages that rank for that specific keyword, but this shows us that there is a lot of competition out there, and this is no surprise why. When we are talking about review sites like G2, Capterra, GetUp, and so on and so forth. Well for these websites, traffic and especially traffic back to these pages, is their livelihood. Of course they are going to build links back to these pages. The problem is that you as a SaaS company have to compete with them. You need to accept that competition is something that things get more difficult as the time passes and goes on, especially for some categories and keyword types with commercial search intent.
We talked about objectives. The third dimension that we have here is keyword strategy objectives. The objectives that we have, even though we can argue about that and debate what the objectives are and how many objectives we have and so on and so forth but for the sake of this webinar, let's accept that the objectives of a keyword strategy are to increase your brand value. We want to become, for example, the NerdWallet of our category. That's great. Once we hear that name, we can all understand that, "Yeah, I understand what NerdWallet means and what topics they discuss and they are experts in." You want to generate revenue. Nothing wrong with that. You want to build topical authority.
If you want to do that, by the way, I would suggest that you watch our webinar with Clearscope, which was very successful and breaks down all the elements of building topical authority. You want to create something and you want to target keywords that will help you amplify these pages behind these keywords online and we will see which keyword types can help you with that. Also, you want to create pages that will help you support your product.
Let's see how things look like when it comes to that dimension. We have here keyword type by SEO objective. When it comes to increasing brand value, as you can see in the second column, I would say that anything besides commercial pages, it can help you increase your brand value. The reason for that, why we exclude commercial pages from that column is because, come on, I mean no one is going to come to your website and see an alternatives page or a comparison guide and they will be like, "Oh yeah. I mean I have just positioned myself, your company to my mind, as the absolute authority or the brand that I value based on this comparison page." This is never going to happen.
When it comes to revenue generation though, of course these pages help, right? They can generate leads or get you trials or demo requests or whatever the offering may be. Of course based on the case, other pages that may help here are errors, integrations of course, transactional, job to be done, and so on and so forth. When it comes to building topical authority now, I would say that even though this is case specific, but for the most part we talk about content. We talk about errors, content with informational search intent, commercial pages, and of course let's not forget, job to be done and linkable assets.
Now, when it comes to amplification, and this is extremely important because I see that so many companies still don't get it. How can you expect that you will create a piece of content around how to create an online course and you will reach out to another website to ask a link for this page and they will tell you, "Yeah, I don't know why I should give you this link. I will give you this link only if you link back to me." Then you do this exchange and of course I would say, as I see it doesn't benefit anyone. By design, these pages are not created for amplification.
The only two keyword types that can help you when it comes to amplification and can be amplified both, as I mentioned an example I gave in terms of link building, but also in terms of we published that on social media for example our job to be done templates or something that's really unique, not just a simple template page and of course linkable assets. This can be amplified. With this piece of content, even if you reach out to someone, you can reach out with confidence that, "I have something that has something to tell. I'm not willing to give you back a link because I have created something that has value by its own."
What about product support though? We discussed and said earlier that the fifth objective is product support. I would say that this is case specific and we have three examples here. We have this great page by G2, which is a website that you all know. Of course the intent is commercial and belongs to a group of pages that are tightly connected to the products capabilities and of course it supports the product. Another example that we have from Vervoe, I hope I got the name, the intent here is job to be done. This page obviously is connected to the products capabilities because Vervoe can help you with different assessment tests for candidates for your company. Once again, it supports the product. T.
He last example that we have from Lusha, which as you can see here, the intent is slightly mixed. They create these pages for companies that people may be looking for online when it comes to their email and telephone number and so on and so forth. Of course, once again, this supports the product, it lies under the product. I would say that when it comes to the objective of we want to create something and target keywords that will support the product, this is case specific. The objective of product support is case specific.
Now, this is the last dimension that we have, which is the lifecycle stage. I would like to make three points here. For the purpose of this webinar, the only stage we are focusing on is the acquisition one. We all know and can understand that there are several other stages. The second point, there are several other stages and the third point that I would like to make, which we often forget, is that the customer journey is not linear. Let's see an example here of why the customer journey is not linear or as ideal we would like it to be.
Let's say that the user searches for something like what is live-streaming on Google. They end up on a blog post by a company called Uscreen. Couple of weeks later after this person, they have understood what live-streaming is, they got the idea of, "Wait a minute, why shouldn't I put a livestream on my website?" They search for that. Once again, they end up at a blog post by Uscreen. That's great. At that stage, they have acknowledged the problem and they try to use a search engine like Google to find a solution to their problem. Now, while they did that, they understood that the way to put a live-stream on your website is through a live-streaming platform.
After a few more weeks, the user once again goes to Google and searches for live-streaming platforms. Even though this time Uscreen's result may not be the first that comes up because the searcher already has interacted with Uscreen's website a couple of times in the previous weeks, they will click on it and visit it and they will see that Uscreen in this case, is one of the live-streaming partners in this list post. That's great. A couple of days later, the user searches for Uscreen reviews because they know about Uscreen, but they are not quite convinced yet that Uscreen is the best solution for them so they are searching for reviews. After being convinced that, "You know what? Yeah, this is the best solution for me and my business." They get to the point where they are most aware and what they are searching for, as you can see here in this last stage is, "I'm searching for a Uscreen demo." From there they may be connected to a sales rep, get a demo, and so on and so forth.
Now, this is an ideal lifecycle journey. Content marketers and SEO professionals, I guess that we would all like things to be as ideal as in this lifecycle journey. The problem is that the journey is not linear and this leads us to say that you have to be omnipresent in all these different stages and are problem aware, solution aware, product aware, in all these different stages of the journey and do not expect that I know the final. If someone reads about my what is live-streaming piece of content, then they will search about how to put a live stream on your website. This is simply not how it works. Your focus and goals should be to be omnipresent and not expect that the journey's linear and after this page, the person in a couple of weeks, they will sign up for a demo or they will sign up for a free trial and so on and so forth.
Having that said, when it comes to trying to understand where the keyword types that we saw earlier fit to these lifecycle stages, when it comes to unaware, of course informational pages, of course pages with informational search intent. Problem aware, informational and job to be done in some cases. Solution aware, what we said earlier, live-streaming platforms, commercial tier A. At this stage, I'm not aware of whether or not Uscreen is the tool that will help me with live-streaming, but then when I am aware, I may be searching for something more specific about this tool or I may be comparing this tool with another tool, or I may be searching for alternatives to this tool and so on and so forth. When I've reached the stage of, "I am most aware that this is exactly what I need," then we are talking about of course navigational or transaction. Do we have any questions before I move forward?
No, we're good to go.
No? Okay, let's do it. Keyword research process. This is where things get interesting. This is a hypothetical scenario. We are an online proofing software that design companies, creative studios, and web development companies use to collaborate on their work with each other and with their clients. This is our hypothetical scenario, a way to frame things for what's going to follow in the slides that follow.
We have four steps here. The first would be to make a list of seed semantic and branded terms. We will see how that looks like in a minute. Then we need to make a list of competitors, but not just, "My direct competitors are three, I know them and these are the ones that I would like to examine and analyze," no. We need to make a list of competitors from an organic search and a business standpoint. We will see what this means in a minute. Then we need to identify keywords by using search intent modifiers on a keyword research level. Sorry. By using the seed semantic and branded terms on a content gap level, we will see how that looks like as I'm going to jump off this presentation and share some screenshots, sorry about that. Last part at least, we need to assign different attributes because let's not forget that we need to be in the position to evaluate and prioritize these keywords that we IDE identified as opportunities, in order to say that these are the ones that we will focus on and we will cover as part of our cure strategy.
Let's get started with the first one, which is seed semantic and branded terms. Let's not forget the hypothetical scenario that we saw in the beginning. When it comes to seed terms, it could be anything like proofing, markup, review, approve, approval, annotation, feedback, video, PDF, image. These terms are tightly connected to the products capabilities, what the product can do. Now, let's take us a step further and let's talk about semantic terms. Where I would say that of course we are and we want to be as close to the product as possible, but at the same time, we need to open up things a bit and talk about website and web because as we saw earlier, one of our audiences are web development companies design, ux, workflow, collaboration, project, process and so on and so forth.
Then we have branded terms. We split them into two categories. As you can see in the first little column that we have here, we include tools that could be used, could be leveraged, could be part of the, let's say, daily professional life of our target audience, like Figma for example. Adobe XD, Webflow, Contentful, Shopify, Squarespace, Sitecore, GitHub, and so on and so forth. At the same time, we need to make a list of branded terms from our direct and indirect competitors like Markup io, Atarim, ProjectHuddle, GoVisually, Markup Hero, Frame.io, ProofHub, Wipster, and so on and so forth. We made all this, which is the basis of what's going to follow.
Then we need to make a list of, as we said, and as per our process of competitors, and we have two categories when it comes to competitors. We have organic search competitors, who are all the websites whose audience and organic visibility have an overlap with our website and the organic visibility we want to develop. This is extremely important because you can't assume that the only brands and websites that you will compete against when you will start creating content on or rolling out pages, are your direct and indirect business competitors. As we saw earlier, especially for SaaS companies and especially for some keyword types, things become way more complex. You have to compete with review sites, magazines, publications, affiliates, and so on and so forth. You need to map all these and you need to take them into account when it comes to conducting your keyword research.
Then we have of course business competitors, direct and indirect. When it comes to making this list, as you can see here, organic search competitors, we will take everyone into account, Creative Bloq, Web Designer News, Design Inspiration, The Futur, 99Designs and so on and so forth. Now, we are not going to compete. We don't target the same customers with these brands, these publications, these magazines, but rest assured that somehow one way or another, you will compete with them against them on the search engine results pages. Of course you need to make a list of your business competitors and their websites because these are the websites that you will use when conducting keyword research.
Yeah, it's been recorded and of course there will be templates and Google slides and everything, so no worries at all. Let me example for a minute and get to Ahrefs. Full disclaimer, Ahrefs is also the sponsor of our podcast, The SaaS SEO Show. Of course we use them either way, but I just want to be honest with you. Let's start by what I said earlier, using brand names and having the assumption that some of these tools are being used by my potential audience. We added them in keywords explorer and we also added, in this example, some informational modifiers, search intent modifiers. You can see here that of course not all of these terms are going to be relevant and they're going to be the great opportunity that we need to produce a content piece or a page about, but rest assured that some will be.
Taking this a step further and still on the branded side of things, we take all the brand names and you should try also different variations when it comes to the brand brand names, by the way, of our direct and indirect competitors. In this case, we use some commercial tier B modifiers in order to come up with opportunities for alternatives, comparison guides, and so on and so forth. Now, when things get a bit tricky I would say, is when we try to use the terms that I shared with you earlier, the seed and the semantic ones. If you do that using a tool like Ahrefs for example, and you combine that as you can see here with some search intent modifiers, like informational for example. What you will end up getting is a bit, I would say, generic and broad and not something that you can easily use. Of course you can spend a lot of time going through these results, but I would recommend taking a different route here.
This is why making lists of websites both organic search competitors and your business competitors is important. What you can do, is just take them as the basis of your research and then just try to see what keywords they rank for and of course combine that with these seed terms that we saw and these semantic terms which you know are relevant to your products capabilities and what you want to achieve through your content strategy. Combine the two, their visibility with your understanding of the product, the audience, the target customer, and so on and so forth, and use that to get results faster.
This is what we do here and the website that we use as the basis is munittia.com, of course, totally relevant, but then we compare ourselves to a relevant website that we know is doing great when it comes to organic search Markup.io, and then we say, "Okay, Markup.io, that's great." We compare them with us and at the same time we use all these little terms as we saw earlier, the seed terms and the semantic terms in order to get an understanding of or identify terms that could be of value for us. I could go on and on regarding that, but I will stop because of course we have limited time. I will say that you will have access to our list of search intent modifiers. These are the exact ones that our team is using when they are conducting keyword research and the modifiers are in the search intent modifiers tab.
In the start here tab, you will see a video that we have prepared more than 150 people have watched this video. We didn't have any people reaching out to us, "I didn't understand how this works," or anything like that. I want to hope that it's pretty clear after watching the video how to use the search intent modifiers. Of course, you will also get access to the tool that we, not the tool, but the keyword research template that we use when conducting keyword research for our clients.
Of course, one thing that I would like to mention here is that we have developed a proprietary methodology of scoring each of these opportunities, something that we call the opportunity score. You will need some guidance when it comes to how to use it. We will make sure to add a video here in a start here tab, just so you can watch this video before you can use this template. After you watch the video, I'm pretty confident that it will be very clear what each of these columns is all about, how to use it to make keyword research for my company, the company I'm working on or the companies I'm working with, and so on and so forth.
Let's get back to our Google Slides presentation. The question here is that, okay, that's great. We have a step-by-step process. We also have some tools, search intent modifiers, that's great. Is that enough to help us reach our goals? I would say no. Your competitors are most likely doing some or all of the things that we've just said. Many of these keywords and keyword types are quite saturated, especially when it comes to keywords with commercial search intent as we saw earlier. I will repeat something that I said earlier on, understanding that the lifecycle journey is not linear and your goal to change from being present only when there is intent, to being constantly present since the SaaS lifecycle journey is becoming multi touch.
Let's get back to our hypothetical scenario and let's add a minor tweak this time. We are an online proofing software that design companies, creative studios, and web development companies use to collaborate on their work with each other and with their clients. The person who buys from us is either the business owner or someone who manages other people. This is the person we are trying to reach. Can we do something more about it? In the context of the lifecycle journey is not linear and the journey becomes multi touch, can we do something more?
The answer is yes, we can do. What we can do is what we call at Minuttia, role-based keyword research. We have to stop thinking about alternative pages and comparison pages and things like that. Your competitors are already doing all these things, by the way. We have to start thinking that the journey is multi touch. I would say that it's really rare that it's linear as the ideal one that we saw earlier. How can I be present at all times and assume that further down the line, this omnipresence will make me my brand, the company I'm working at, mentally available in the minds of the people that I'm trying to reach.
Here we have a framework. This is not a process, it's a framework and a mindset above all, a new way to think about things when approaching your keyword strategy. You have to think about how this person is going to run their business. Help them run their business. An example here could be, "I'm searching for something like graphic design sales tax." This is totally relevant to us. We are an online proofing software. How is this connected? Well, you have to change your mindset and accept that, "I want to be present when that person is searching for something. I don't care if they are going to buy from me today," then you need to help this person grow their business. How to get clients from web design.
Then you need to think about terms and ideas and opportunities to help this person work and interact with people. For example, graphic designer interview questions because as I mentioned previously, we are targeting the person who owns the company or who manages other people. It's highly likely that this person is looking for, "What are the interview questions I can use to hire a graphic designer?" You need to help this person work and interact with technology.
If you know that this person, for example, is using Webflow as part of their professional life, why shouldn't you write a piece of content on Webflow plugins? You need to help this person be up-to-date. An example here could be best design conferences. An argument here could be, and you would be totally right that, "You know what? George, what are you talking about? A business owner, they're not going to search for something like best design conferences because they already know all these conferences." I don't disagree with you. All I'm saying is that this is a mindset and the framework above all and what we want to achieve, our ultimate goal is to be present. Last but not least, you want to help this person learn new things. For example, graphic design books.
We have examples and practices, but from what I can see, we will not be able to make this section. I will leave it, but I would highly recommend that you take a look at it. I will skip that and I will get to the last section. Travis, do we have any questions that we can do?
Nope. We're good right now. I've been knocking them out.
Okay, Let me drink some water please. Sorry about that.
That's it. When you get excited about things, you need to drink water. This is the last part of this presentation and I would really like to share the examples because they are amazing and because they will really transmit knowledge and things that you need to know when it comes to the pages now for each of the keyword types that we saw. You will have access to it and you can go through the slides and read them to yourselves. Now, we are going to talk about something that we call heuristic SEO and close with some final thoughts.
Let's take a step back. Let's pull ourselves from everything that we have discussed so far and discuss a bit, how is SEO done nowadays? We have on the one hand algorithmic SEO, which has to do with all the SEO actions and activities that aim to satisfy the algorithm of prominent search engines like Google, in order to help the website get as much organic visibility as possible by outperforming other websites in the search engine results pages. This is algorithmic SEO. Keep that for a minute because we also have heuristic SEO. This is a concept that we about and we really want to push companies, especially SaaS companies in the context of the market becomes commoditized and help them push, think, and act in that direction. Heuristic SEO is the approach that does not aim to satisfy the algorithm or the search's existing needs, what they think and search for right now, but rather aims to create those needs through something entirely new and innovative.
When it comes to some differences now, just to try to frame things. When it comes to algorithm SEO, of course we are biased because we still look and evaluate opportunities when it comes to keywords on things like search volume, keyword difficulty, and so on and so forth. While heuristic SEO doesn't take into account any of these things, it's completely unbiased based on preexisting notions, algorithmic SEO, while heuristic SEO is based on intuition. We feel that this is something that we should do and we should plan for and execute on. Algorithm SEO is sort is focused on short and long-term outcomes, while heuristic SEO is focused on just long-term outcomes, and I would say bigger bets, right? Algorithmic SEO, mostly predictable outcomes like, "If I do this, then most likely this will happen," while heuristic SEO, "We don't know. We really don't know." It's completely unpredictable.
Algorithmic SEO, especially for sales companies, competition is intense and things are going to, if anything, going to be more intense in the future, while heuristic SEO doesn't have any competition whatsoever because remember, we are exploring and navigating on territories that no one has ever tried to navigate on. Algorithmic SEO, I would say is in many cases, entails instant gratification while heuristic SEO is definitely something that has delayed gratification.
Let's see some examples. The first one is by CoSchedule, their headline analyzer, as you can see here, which is something that they have up to this day. The current performance, of course, is very impressive. As you can see here, more than 17,000 organic visits and more than 3,700 organic keywords according to Ahrefs at least. Now, the interesting thing is that this headline analyzer, as you can see here, this screenshot comes from archive.org, and the first entry that we have here is on December 9th, 2014. Now, as you can see here, we are on Google Trends right now. This screenshot is from Google Trends for the term headline analyzer, and I would say before 2015, there wasn't many searches or a lot of demand let's say, around something like headline analyzer. Did that stop CoSchedule from doing that and from launching their headline analyzer tool? No, it didn't. And of course, after they did, they created the demand for headline analyzer. From what we can see from this screenshot, after late 2014, early 2015, things started to pick up for headline analyzer. There was no demand. They created it.
The second example that we have a company we all know and admire on many different levels, HubSpot with their website grader. I don't know if you know that, but they used to have, it's still there, a website grader. Now, the first entry, once again, archive.org, the first entry on their website grader was back in December 2008. As you can see here, a similar pattern, I would say, of course, more hyped in this case. There was no demand or little to no demand for something like website grader, and then it started in 2008, 2009, and of course then it kind of slowed down, but there was no demand, they created it. They didn't get into their SEO software and QR data provider, and they were like, "It seems that the search volume for website grader is slow. Let's not launch it." What they did is that, "You know what? We talk to people, we know that people are searching for something like website grader. We are going to launch it either way."
If you tell me that, "You know what, George? What you're saying is interesting, but you know what, these are big brands. Everyone knows them and uses them and so forth. How can you say that we can do something similar?" I would like to share with you an example today of a company that you probably know or have heard or have even used, which is Scribe. Scribehow.com, I think is the website and their gallery, and this is one of the greatest examples of heuristic SEO. Also, how to kind of integrate and illustrate and highlight the products capabilities and launch something entirely new.
They have their gallery, and as you can see here, their website is doing pretty good. They get more than 105 organic visits per month, according to Ahrefs at least. It seems that more than half of that, 55,000 according to Ahrefs once again, comes from their gallery. This is by the way, a curation or a list of posts on how to do specific things that, as far as I can understand it, users do indeed using the product. This is just a great example of innovation and thinking beyond keywords when it comes to how we approach SEO.
I will close with this slide and say that keyword research, SEO content marketing is changing everything. It's changing. Since we are talking about keyword research, I will focus on that. Keyword research is definitely changing. We used to say that every page needs to have a target keyword. Nowadays, we say that, "You know what? A website needs to be a like a list or a curation or something beyond keywords. There should be pages that do not have a target keyword because this simply seems unnatural. The keyword difficulties too high." Well, I can tell you that cure difficulty and any other metric for that matter is good, but it definitely has its limitations. Even if the keyword difficulty is high, you should go after this keyword if you feel that this is something that we need to talk about.
The same applies to search volume. I can tell you that when it comes to search volume, most tools use averages from the last 12 months. In most cases, what you see now represents the past and not the present. Do you want your decisions to be based on the past? Most of these tools that we all use, they simply can't predict or tell you whether or not this is a trending topic that you should talk about because people talk about it and so on and so forth. At the same time, we also need to take a step back and think that, "Okay, the search volume is low. I understand that, but what if it doesn't matter if it's low? All we need is to capture the attention of 3, 4, 5 visits per month in order to achieve our goals because we are a software that sells to enterprises."
Always take these metrics with a grain of salt. I would say that in that context, the template that we shared with you and our approach when it comes to how we evaluate these opportunities, will definitely help. Yes, you take these metrics into account, but they are not the kind of sole determinants of your decisions. You just factor them in on the level that you want. This is how we come up with the opportunity score by assigning a weight to each of these metrics. This keyword is not relevant to our product as we discussed earlier, and as I want to believe that I have stressed how important this is, things change. Your goal should not be to write only about what's relevant to your product. Your goal is to write about anything that's relevant to your audience because you have to be omnipresent. "I can't find this cured on my SEO software," that's fine. This may be a topic that people discuss and are interested in, but it's simply not reported to your SEO software. That's fine. You should still talk about it.
Let's launch alternative and comparison pages and call it a day. SaaS companies, they love alternative pages and comparison pages. Nothing wrong with that. As we saw earlier, they can serve very specific purpose, which is to generate revenue, help people during the buying process, and so on and so forth. But your keyword strategy cannot be just alternative and comparison pages. Why? Many reasons. One of which we saw, because these keywords become increasingly competitive.
Let's use AI to conduct keyword research. AI is great in the context of being a tool that can help us do things faster and get insights that we wouldn't get otherwise. I would argue that it cannot tell you what your customers can tell you. Keyword research, yes, but your focus should be on the customer and the target audience that you have. You should go to them and talk to them, and not rely on AI to do keyword research. This of course brings me to my last point, which is that we did customer research a couple of years ago. Well, if you did that, that's great, but chances are that your customers and your target audience as an extension, they are at a different stage right now. You need to repeat that, okay? It's not one-off, like talking to your customers, running customer surveys, and doing everything you can in order to be as close to your customers as possible, is not a one-off. It's something that should be ongoing.
Here we have the resources for this webinar. One thing that we need to do before we share everything, is to add a video for our template on to use it, as I mentioned. That would be our webinar on keyword research for SaaS companies.
Awesome job, George, fantastic. Looking forward to getting that slide. We'll include that in the recap email tomorrow once George and his team finish that video. We do have a couple of questions and anyone that has additional questions, just drop it in the Q&A box, and we'll ask George in the next seven minutes, but kind of kick us off, we have a question from Clements. What are your tips to get executive buy-in to solidify a heuristic SEO approach?
That's a great question. I would say that's the best way to do that, is to show that what you do works. Even if that means that, "You know what? We check all the basic boxes first, in order to show that what we do works and we know our staff and we know how to make it work." After you do that, I would say that you kind of build more and gain more internal capital, and you build the confidence needed to go on and ask for more. You can do that only after you have proved some things.
It's the same for us as an agency. We can't go to our clients with the craziest ideas straight away because there will be, "What is this all about? At this point, you don't even know our business. What are you talking about? What is this heuristic SEO?" Let's do the basic stuff first. Get some buy-in, and then we can go on and say that, "You know what? As you can see, what we do works. Can you allocate some budgets so we can do something that we have thought of and it's a more, let's say, long-term bet," then you can have this discussion.
Awesome. Kind of piggybacking on that question, how do you prioritize heuristic opportunities versus algorithmic, ratio of time spent?
I would say it's the same. Goes back to what I just said. If you're just starting out now and you just have to prove yourself and you have goals to meet and so on and so forth, heuristic SEO is not going to help you with that. You have to go back and do all the basics, study the keyword types that I shared with you, see how you can map them to your objectives and your company stage and so on and so forth. Then, only after you have managed to get some results to prove yourself at the end of the day, then you can say that, "You know what? Yeah, the next quarter I can ask from my CMO, whoever, to also chase this idea and try to plan for it that it's a bit crazy, but I think it's a bet that is worth placing. Let's see."
Awesome. Cool. That's all the questions we have for right now. Everybody, definitely give George a shout on LinkedIn, let him know how much you appreciate his time today. Looking forward to seeing the templates and we'll get those out tomorrow. Thank you so much, George. Do you have anything you wanted to share with everybody before you give them their day back?
No. Thank you to everyone who joined us. Knowing how busy our lives are and have become, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you very much to you, Travis, and the great team at Clearscope for doing this and looking forward to more great webinars like this.
Director of Marketing, Clearscope
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