“What’s your content hierarchy? What’s your inner linking strategy? It seems like you don’t have any.” – our mentor said to me in our call and it slapped me in the face. Then, as he (he who scaled his SaaS from $ 2 million to $12 million ARR in two years!) went on to explain it, I felted stumped. It was so simple, and yet so powerful. How come we haven’t come up with it before?!
Now, if you’re starting a new SaaS business, you’re probably thinking of using content marketing and SEO as your acquisition channel. OK, everyone’s “doing” content these days and every company has a blog. But now, where do you start? You should start from keyword research, but how? Should you do competitive gap analysis? Should you build your content strategy around painpoint SEO? And having done your keyword research, how do you prioritize which topics to cover first? In other words – how should you create a content hierarchy for your SaaS?
In this post, I’m going to explain how to create an SEO content hierarchy for your SaaS step-by-step – so you know how to do your keyword research, build a content plan, prioritize content, and how to link the different pieces of content internally to make the most out of your content efforts.
Building your SaaS content hierarchy STEP 1: Decide on the “head terms” you want to rank for, build content hierarchy
Before you tap into Ahrefs or any other tool – you need to decide which head terms you want to rank for.
Your keyword research should follow the following hierarchy:
- homepage – which keyword (other than your branded terms) would you like your homepage to rank for? This should describe your product category clearly in a way that your potential users understand: e.g. Ahrefs – Keyword Research Tool; Userpilot – Product Growth Platform; Fullsession – session recording & heatmap tool.
- solutions pages – sales pages on your website explaining the solutions to the different problems your product helps to solve; e.g. Userpilot as a platform for “product growth” can be used for different use cases: user onboarding, measuring user sentiment, increasing feature engagement etc. To showcase all the different use cases, create a subfolder on your main domain (e.g. yourdomain.com/product/session-recording or yourdomain.com/solutions/session-recording). Your solutions pages will be the backbone of your content plan. After all – you want to attract people who want to find a solution to the specific problems they have, so creating a lot of content around these problems will be your fastest path to converting
- pillar pages – these are the pieces of “megacontent” – “The Ultimate Guide to [your head term from the solutions pages]”. These long, in-depth resources should be linking both back to your solutions pages and to the discrete blog posts optimised for long term keywords. In fact – you can repurpose each section of the Pillar Post into a separate blog post – going deeper into the topic.
- blog posts – these focus on long-tailed keywords covering all the subtopic touched upon in the pillar page. They should link back to both the relevant pillar page, and the solutions pages.
This is what the content hierarchy I’ve built for Userpilot roughly looks like:
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into this.
SaaS Content hierarchy STEP 2: Solutions Pages and Pillar Pages Keyword Research
Once you’ve decided which solutions pages and corresponding pillar pages you should build, it’s time to do some keyword research.
Sometimes, the way you think about the problems you solution is solving is not the way your potential customers are searching for it in Google.
For example – should you create a solutions page for “customer engagement software” or “user engagement software”?
Typing in such keywords into a keyword research tool (in this case, I’m using Keywords Explorer by Ahrefs) will reveal which keywords are searched most often by your potential customers.
It will also uncover other keyword opportunities in “Keyword ideas”:
From all the keyword ideas for your solutions and pillar pages, choose the ones with the highest SV (Search Volume) and the lowest KD (Keyword Difficulty) possible.
STEP 3: Research the Themes for Your Pillar Pages (this will also give you blog post ideas)
Now you have a list of your Solutions Pages and the corresponding Pillar Pages.
Each of the Pillar Pages is supposed to be the “Ultimate Guide” to the solution addressed in the Solutions Page.
But how do you know what to include in each Pillar Page?
Well, the simples way to do it is to see which themes have been included in the top-rankign (top 10) pages/ blogs in SERPs for the head term.
Google the keyword in incognito mode and open a few of the top-ranking organic results.
What are the H2s and H3s in each of the posts? What are the SERPs features (types of content in the organic results: e.g. solutions/software pages vs. blog posts vs. videos etc.) that rank highest for this term? What’s the search intent?
List all the H2s and H3s in the top-ranking posts for your solutions.
These will most likely be the themes you’ll need to include in your “Ultimate Guide”. They will be both your H2s and…inspirations for the smaller, more detailed blog posts you will write and link to in the guide.
Solutions Page: Customer Engagement Software
The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement:
- H2: What is Customer Engagement?
- H2: How to measure Customer Engagement?
- H2: Customer Engagement Metrics
- H2: How to improve Customer Engagement in SaaS?
- H2: Challenges in improving Customer Engagement for SaaS
- H2: Best Customer Engagement tools
- What is Customer Engagement? A brief guide to Customer Engagement for SaaS
- How to measure Customer Engagement?
- Customer Engagement Metrics
- How to improve Customer Engagement in SaaS? 11 Best Customer Engagement Hacks from SaaS Experts
- Challenges in improving Customer Engagement for SaaS
- Best Customer Engagement tools for SaaS in 2021
STEP 4: Keyword Research For Your Blog Posts
Once you have jotted down the rough ideas for your blog posts from the H2s you’ve collected for your pillar pages, run them through Keyword Explorer or a similar tool like you did with the solutions pages and pillar pages in STEP 2.
That way – you will come up with a lot of other keyword ideas based on the content clusters you’ve come across when researching the top search results for your head terms.
You will be able to add more topics (blog topics) to your content clusters, which will improve your domain relevance, SEO visibility for the specific topics and
But more about the benefits of building a content hierarchy like this below.
Benefits of Content Hierarchy for SaaS
Now, you may think – why should I bother with it and build a content hierarchy for my SaaS? It’s more important than it seems:
- it will allow you to build a content plan and content workflow that will allow you to scale your content ops infinitely (I will show it to you in another post!)
- …and scaling your content ops faster and cheaper means you can reap the SEO benefits of your content faster
- a content hierarchy creates an internal linking system that makes the relationships between your posts more intelligible for Google crawlers = will let you rank faster
- a content hierarchy allows you to prioritize your content by search volume and place in the funnel (bottom of the funnel before top of the funnel content.)
- it also helps you build your domain’s topical relevance >> which also helps you to rank.
Not to mention that is answers the very basic question of “where do I even start?!” 😉
Let me know what you think about this way of building your content hierarchy in the comments!