How to Optimise Your SaaS Homepage for Search Engine Traffic & Increased Conversions

A 15-point checklist

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Your product or competition isn’t what’s stopping your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) from growing. Your SaaS website is.

Roughly, how much traffic does your website get? How much of that traffic converts into actual users? Are you happy with the figures?

Fact: 93% of a customer’s journey online begins with a search engine like Google.

Which means when your customers/users go searching for a solution to their problem, 93% of them start on this particular search engine.

Is your SaaS website optimised enough to be discovered by them for relevant keywords other than your name? Is your home page (the most visited page on your site) optimised to convert visitors?

This blog post is a checklist of 15 points to help you write/optimise your SaaS homepage for qualified traffic from search engines and higher conversion rates.

Your page title is how both search engines and readers can tell what your site is about. It’s how you show up on Google’s SERP when a search is done.

You want this to be clear on what you do and to also include relevant keywords to increase your chances of ranking for something other than your brand name.

The best way to do this is to optimise for a term/description ideal users will be using while searching for a solution like yours. Simply, whatever keyword you choose should match the intent of a user who’s most likely to buy.

See how Hootsuite does this:

Hootsuite’s SERP title
Hootsuite’s SERP title
Image courtesy of the author

From the image above you can see Hootsuite shows up as part of the results for keyword ‘social media management software’. It’s the only brand whose homepage shows up on this page 1 because they are well optimised for this buyer intent keyword.

  • Install the Keywords Everywhere tool in Chrome
  • Insert your brand name in the Google search bar
  • The results will be shown with details on traffic volume and the number of keywords you rank for (like the image above). Click on the keywords icon to see more details.

By now you know if you build it, they won’t just come. You have to attract/lure them in. Same applies to your website which is why you have to optimise for search engine traffic.

When deciding on what title to give your homepage it may make sense to use something as simple as ‘social media marketing tool’ in the case of FPTraffic because that’s what it is right?

But how many of your competitors with stronger domain authority already use that? And how many searches done with that keyword are actually looking to buy/will generate quality leads?

A better page title for your SaaS website would be something that:

  • clearly speaks to the function of your software and what it is
  • has a high buying intent i.e people searching that keyword are looking to buy
  • has low-mid keyword ranking difficulty (which SEO tools will show you)
  • has a high paid difficulty/cost-per-click rate, meaning people are willing to spend more to advertise their product using this keyword.

So with FPTraffic, I’ll rewrite their page title to be ‘tool for scheduling social media posts’ which has an SEO difficulty of 28 and paid difficulty of 74.

FPTraffic’s SEO & paid difficulties according to Ubersuggest
FPTraffic’s SEO & paid difficulties according to Ubersuggest
Image courtesy of the author

Meta descriptions on the other hand, while not a direct ranking factor, improve click-through rates. These are the short descriptions underneath your page title.

They give more context to what you’re really about. Best practices when writing your meta description include;

  • Placing your primary keyword at the beginning of the sentence and then including some secondary keywords (where it fits) in the rest parts.
  • Using the FAB method where F stands for features i.e what your product offers or does. A is for the advantage of your product i.e how it’s helpful/a solution. And B stands for the benefits users get from using your product.

See how Zapier does this:

Zapier’s meta description using the FAB method
Zapier’s meta description using the FAB method
Image courtesy of the author

A breakdown

Feature: ‘Easy automation for busy people.’

Advantage: ‘Zapier moves info between your web apps automatically’

Benefit: ‘so you can focus on your most important work.’

One of the greatest turnoffs (for me especially) is seeing that message asking if I wish to continue to a particular site because it isn’t secured.

What this does is tell potential customers their data or information aren’t safe on your site. And if my data isn’t safe with you, why will I want to start/continue business with you?

Asides being a turnoff to prospects, Google advises against it as a secure site (HTTPS) is considered a ranking factor over a non-secure site (HTTP)

If you were to go before investors, you’ll want to look your best and prepared because you know first impression matters.

Well, the first impression many of your customers/prospects have with you is your headline. And considering 50milliseconds is all the time you have to make an impression on your website visitors, your headline is a critical part for both conversions and SEO.

This is what tells visitors who you are, how you can help them, and why they should bother to read further or signup for a free trial. These are my 5 go-to ways for writing solid headlines that convert:

5 powerful ways to write your saas website headline for more and better conversions
5 powerful ways to write your saas website headline for more and better conversions
Image courtesy of the author

P.S before you start writing your headline you should have created a user persona to help you understand who your ideal user is, what stage of awareness they are at (so you’re writing to them at that stage), and words they use in describing their problems/desired results.

See how Ahrefs does this:

Ahrefs’ headline
Ahrefs’ headline
Image courtesy of the author

P.S.S. Don’t be afraid to use as many words as relevant to describe your product and how you help. The common advice is to be short but more words like on Ominsend’s headline works too:

Omnisend’s headline
Omnisend’s headline
Image courtesy of the author

For a SaaS business, your software (app/tool) is the product. Users want to see it in use. They want to detect how easy/complicated it is, how it works, etc. Prospects want to see samples of the product before signing up, so show them.

The images you use should be relevant both to your product and the user. A screenshot of the product may not be beneficial as the user may not be able to tell what exactly it does and how it’s helpful to her problem. So what do you do instead of a plain screenshot or confusing graphics?

  • Visualise the problem you’re trying to solve. Like Muzzle does here:
Figpii’s integration images
Figpii’s integration images
Image courtesy of the author
  • Show it in working either through video demos like Wistia does or through screenshots as Drift does:
Drift’s conversational AI in working
Drift’s conversational AI in working
Image courtesy of the author
  • Whatever you do, avoid the use of ambiguous graphics/images that visitors can’t easily interpret like this one:
Churnbuster’s image demo
Churnbuster’s image demo
Image courtesy of the author

P.S. I couldn’t understand the image’s relevance to the problem Churnbuster solves so I took to Twitter to see if I was the only one who felt that way. Turns out everyone else was confused too.

Make it easy for visitors to understand and locate other pages of interest on your site. Be as clear as possible where a click on a tab/button will take them to and avoid long lists that could be overwhelming. All this is part of the user experience.

Consider Basecamp’s ‘Got Clients?’ tab, I’m not sure what it means/what to expect by clicking that:

Basecamp’s navigation bar showing a ‘Got Clients?’ section
Basecamp’s navigation bar showing a ‘Got Clients?’ section
Image courtesy of the author

Now compare to Loom’s menu which uses clearer terms:

Loom’s navigation bar
Loom’s navigation bar
Image courtesy of the author

To learn more on how to improve your navigation bar, check out this article on UX design for navigation menus.

If you’re not sure what to include in your navigation menu, I advise a pricing page as well as contact information which has been shown to improve conversion rates by .5%.

Also, do a quick look through of the contents on your competitors’ navigations and crossmatch that with information Mike Sonders found in his research on what SaaS buyers search for:

Graph of what SaaS customers search for at the consideration stage
Graph of what SaaS customers search for at the consideration stage
Image courtesy of Mike Sonders

Something very important but strangely, some brands ignore them. There are different types of social proof; logos of client’s brands, app store ratings, written client testimonials, or even videos.

P.S I’m pro video because it’s engaging and increases time on page (a good signal to Google).

Social proof boosts confidence in the minds of readers about the abilities of your product. If prospects see that others have used/still use your software and gotten results they hope for, it increases their trust in you.

The best testimonials show your site visitors where the testifier was (which could be where the visitor is now) and how much they’ve improved or achieved using your software.

contextual testimonial on Podia’s home page
contextual testimonial on Podia’s home page
Image courtesy of the author
  • Segment testimonials depending on how many audiences you serve, as Todoist does. This helps with accessibility.
Todoist’s segmented social proof
Todoist’s segmented social proof
Image courtesy of the author
  • avoid using carousels like this to show whether brand logos or written testimonials:

Copywriter and Web Consultant; Gill Andrews advises against this (except you’re a well-known brand like Drift, or if you’ve tested it and it works for you). Here are her reasons why:

Gill Andrews’ reasons why carousels on your homepage don’t work
Gill Andrews’ reasons why carousels on your homepage don’t work
Image from Gill Andrews’ book: Making Your Website Work

Now, what do you do if you’re a new SaaS company with no big names or testimonials yet?

  • If you had beta users, ask for feedback or testimonial from them
  • Make use of a free trial option. As a part of the emails sent during that time, ask users for feedback on how the product has been for them.
  • Display logos of popular publications that have written about or reviewed your product. See how BiqCloud does this with an ‘As Seen’ heading
As seen section of BiqCloud’s homepage. This serves as a form of social proof
As seen section of BiqCloud’s homepage. This serves as a form of social proof
Image courtesy of the author

Once we’re done with the headline and everything above the fold, it’s time to get into your SaaS product and sell it. But remember it isn’t all about you, it’s mainly about relating to the prospect.

In the headline, you had a few words to do so, now you’ve got a whole section to answer every question your target audience may have about using your software.

Before you begin writing, you should know what stage of awareness your ideal user is at or what stage a majority of users come to you. Your goal with the body copy is to give them valuable information that takes them further down the funnel till they’re ready to perform the call-to-action.

You want to create website copy that’s focused on relating to the prospect, while also showing off the benefits of your product as exactly what she needs. How do you do this?

  • Answer all objections/questions your target users may have while struggling with their problem/considering a solution like yours
  • Use subheadings that are customer-focused/read as benefits to the user. From your customer research, you already know what goals the user hopes to achieve or what problems she needs solved.

Take Intercom, for example, their major goal is to help improve customer relationships with conversational marketing. Any business looking for a solution like theirs will have common wants like say a smart bot that can help convert website visitors into buyers right?

See how they display their ideal users’ wants/goals as bold subheadlines (accompanied by images that show you how it works)

  • Display your features but your copy shouldn’t be all about that. The best way to do this in a way that still centres your target user is to write the features wrapped as benefits to the user.

Databox could have said * integrates with multiple tools, * DIY dashboard, etc. But see how they did this so right:

  • Make use of relevant keywords where necessary to enable Google understand what your page is about, and also to improve your chances of showing on the SERP for key terms that aren’t your brand name.
  • Include a ‘how it works’ in the product section like Pick a scheduling tool.
Pick’s ‘How It Works’ section
Pick’s ‘How It Works’ section
Image courtesy of the author

According to this research on what SaaS buyers search for, product price is not just one of the things your prospects look for, but the most common search by a margin.

Pricing is the most searched key term by saas buyers at every stage of the sales funnel
Pricing is the most searched key term by saas buyers at every stage of the sales funnel
Image courtesy of Mike Sonders

And if your customers are searching for your pricing then provide them with such information on your landing page.

The good thing about listing your price is that it helps you get more quality leads who are okay with your pricing instead of spending time onboarding people who’ll eventually get turned off by the price. A good way to present this is in bundles/packages like Wiza, an email extraction tool does:

Wiza’s 3-tiered pricing
Wiza’s 3-tiered pricing
Image courtesy of the author

Best practices

  • Instead of a 2 bundle pricing system try using a 3 tiered system as Wiza did above. This research on an eBook pricing model that resulted in $100,000 in sales, explains why.
  • To increase your chances of getting more paid signups for your highest-priced package, show components of each one against the other.
  • Components of the different packages should be made on similar basis i.e if in bundle A I’m paying for features, bundle B should also consist of (more) features, not features plus something else like usage time.

When you follow this method, you make it easy for people to easily compare the value of your different offerings, thus making it easier for them to convert.

  • Show testimonials from people who switched to a higher package or people currently using a particular package, this would help convince users to convert.
  • Do the things that reduce doubts aka friction that may make prospects reconsider your offer. Do this by clearly stating things like ‘no credit card required’ ‘cancel anytime’, etc.
  • Practice price localisation to see 25–50% higher growth rates. This basically means displaying your pricing in the local currency of the visitor.
  • Adopt these principles of effective pricing pages.

Still following the SaaS buyers research above, ‘alternatives’, vs’, and ‘why’ were part of the most searched terms.

Users searching for this are usually close to buying but are seeking out specific things to help make their mind. Who better to tell them than you?

Not only do you get the chance to tell your story/create a narrative by yourself, but you also increase your chances of ranking for such mid-intent keywords.

Best practices:

  • Take Podia, for example, on their home page there’s a navigator bar titled ‘compare’. They’ve created several pages for each competitor where they compare their features against each one of them. Now if you search ‘Podia vs Thinkific’ you’ll see a result from Podia.
Podia’s ‘Compare’ section
Podia’s ‘Compare’ section
Image courtesy of the author
  • using a short table or slides do a comparison of your product with the most popular competitors like SchooliQ a school communication app.
a section of SchooliQ’s homepage comparing their app to their closest competitor
a section of SchooliQ’s homepage comparing their app to their closest competitor
Image courtesy of the author
  • Include a ‘why us’ section. Here you don’t necessarily need to mention your competitors, you could simply highlight your benefits and why you’re the best fit. See how Zoho CRM does this:
Zoho’s ‘Why Choose Us’ section
Zoho’s ‘Why Choose Us’ section
Image courtesy of the author

A common copywriting tip tells you to list out all your readers' questions and answer them along the way in your copy.

Having an FAQ section on your home page helps you achieve this.

Think of the common questions prospects ask either during sales calls or in messages and answer them here.

Often, the body copy is focused on giving relevant information about the product – it’s benefits, how it works, testimonials, and getting readers to perform a given action like signing up for a free trial. There isn’t always the space to answer all questions so having an FAQ section on your homepage helps with prospects who may need a little more convincing.

See how Wiza does this:

Wiza’s ‘Things people often ask about’ section
Wiza’s ‘Things people often ask about’ section
Image courtesy of the author

And Voila Norbert an email finding tool:

Voila Norbert’s FAQ section
Voila Norbert’s FAQ section
Image courtesy of the author

This is one of Google’s ranking factors for SEO.

What this does is it helps google crawlers easily discover other relevant pages on your website so it understands what you’re about and can rank you. It also helps visitors who aren’t ready to convert discover content that could be relevant to them. This could be blog posts, case studies or customer testimonials.

See how Groove links to relevant blog content:

Groove’s linked blog posts on its homepage
Groove’s linked blog posts on its homepage
Image courtesy of the author

And how Zoho CRM links to a guide on what CRM is about. This would be useful to visitors at the top-of-the-funnel who are still trying to understand their wants, and not ready to buy.

Zoho CRM’s ‘What is CRM?’ guide linked in its homepage
Zoho CRM’s ‘What is CRM?’ guide linked in its homepage
Image courtesy of the author

A call to action answers the ‘what next’ question a reader may be having after reading other parts of your copy.

It tells them what to do next and how to get the product you’ve told them about. You should use this in several turning points on your SaaS homepage to increase conversions. Not just above the fold or after your headline.

Good points to input the CTA using other SaaS sites:

  • Above the fold. Immediately after your headline and sub-headline, use a CTA that tells people what to do next. E. g. You’re an infographics tool, great! How do I test your tool? Venngage uses ‘sign up for free’ as their CTA.
  • In the body copy. After each benefit or feature you highlight, give the next step to take. Each word in copywriting is geared towards action and in the case of your SaaS copy, that’s most likely trying out your demo and converting. So after touching on a point relevant to the customer insert the next step to getting it.

See how Venngage does this by still asking readers to ‘sign up for free’.

A section of Venngage’s body copy ending with a CTA to ‘sign up for free’
A section of Venngage’s body copy ending with a CTA to ‘sign up for free’
Image courtesy of the author

Don’t cause visitors to scroll through several words of copy without giving them instant ways of getting the benefit you’ve highlighted. Not everyone will read your full copy, so use multiple CTA buttons at different points to improve your conversion rates

  • Use clear benefit terms in your CTA copy. It should clearly tell the reader what they stand to gain by clicking. Instead of just ‘get started’, say ‘get started for free’ or ‘start (the benefit of your product)’ like FPTraffic a social media scheduling tool:
FPTraffic’s body CTAs ‘find great content’ and ‘start scheduling your content’
FPTraffic’s body CTAs ‘find great content’ and ‘start scheduling your content’
Image courtesy of the author

A good conversion practise when you use a free trial will be to state that and remove the credit card roadblock. See how OnVoard an eCommerce email marketing platform does this (I would make the ‘no credit card’ part bolder though):

OnVoard’s signup stating ‘no credit cards required’ as well as them being completely free till Jan 1st, 2021
OnVoard’s signup stating ‘no credit cards required’ as well as them being completely free till Jan 1st, 2021
Image courtesy of the author

I personally make it a point of touch to always interact with the chatbots. They help readers get quicker access to the assistance they may need and show them around.

When programmed to answer the most relevant questions visitors have when they visit your site, chatbots could be a game-changer for conversion rates.

While researching for this article, I was particularly impressed by the Pipefy ‘smart bot’ which was able to identify I had visited the site previously and was ready with questions and answers to get me to convert.

Asides your home page, chatbots can be used in other places like your blog posts like Drift does.

From my research of exactly 32 SaaS websites, I found just two that use pop-ups on their homepage.

Biq.Cloud an SEO tool uses exit pop-ups on desktop to get (remind/try to convince) visitors to convert before leaving.

Biq’s exit pop up on desktop
Biq’s exit pop up on desktop
Image courtesy of the author

Astra Security uses an exit scroll pop-up on mobile to get users to easily click on which category they belong to.

Astra Security’s pop up on mobile
Astra Security’s pop up on mobile
Image courtesy of the author

Steven MacDonald, a growth marketer, thinks using pop-ups on your homepage is a good idea. In his words:

“if it’s a good offer, it always makes sense (i.e sign up and get the first month free)”

It’s however always a good idea to test repeatedly and see what works best for you.

Another great way to use a pop-up on your website will be to get visitors email addresses. Not every visitor is ready to convert at the moment, some are still searching for other options.

By getting them to drop their email and sign up for your newsletter, you can stay top of mind while also displaying authority in your field.

These are a very crucial part of SaaS website conversions because this is where prospects/visitors eventually signup for your demo or free trial.

You want to make this step as easy and smooth as possible. You’ve gotten them to the point of converting, you can’t afford to lose them now. The only best practice I’ll give here:

Create. Shorter. Forms.

Shorter forms have been shown to cause a120% increase in conversion rates.

Don’t be the greedy founder who wants all the info now. Get your visitors through the door, delight them, then whatever other information is necessary, request for that later.

Bonus signup form optimisation tip: Avoid the use of captchas. They are confusing and frustrating. A simple ‘click to verify’ or email address verification will do.

While all these tips are important, the greatest optimisation tip whether for search engine traffic or qualified conversions on your SaaS website is knowing what your target users want and giving them that. Period.

Your software exists for the user so they should be your major focus. Which is where a tool that helps you understand how users experience your site comes in – Hotjar.

With features that let you collect direct feedback from your site’s visitors, a heat map that shows what areas of your homepage/content visitors are most interested in, and many others, Hotjar is useful for understanding your audience and optimising your site.

Disclaimer: at the time of publishing this article, I had no affiliations with Hotjar. I’m just a big fan of their tool.

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Ebosetale Jenna Oriarewo

Written by

I help growing SaaS companies get their first 1000 users through tested CRO strategies & SEO content. Email: ebosejenna@yahoo.com

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