Technical SEO for SaaS: Actionable Guide for Marketers

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June 30, 2024
Technical SEO for SaaS: Actionable Guide for Marketers

Contents

Key Takeaways

Understanding SaaS Technical SEO—Technical SEO improves a website's technical aspects to make it easily accessible and understandable to search engines and enhance user experience.

Importance for SaaS Companies:

  • Essential due to the large volume of content.
  • Critical for competing in SERPs.
  • Enhances user experience, site performance, and user retention.
  • Ensures robust website security and trust with secure HTTPS connections.

Conducting a SaaS Technical SEO Audit

  • Identify and resolve technical issues that hinder performance and search engine rankings.
  • Ensure your website's crawlability and indexability.
  • Fix duplicate content issues using canonical tags and 301 redirects.

SaaS Technical SEO Checklist

  • Ensure HTTPS for secure connections.
  • Optimize XML sitemaps for efficient crawling.
  • Check and manage crawlability using robots.txt.
  • Improve page speed by compressing images, using browser caching, and leveraging CDNs.
  • Optimize for mobile-friendliness.
  • Regularly fix broken internal links.
  • Use clean, descriptive URLs with relevant keywords.

Tools for SaaS Technical SEO

  • Google PageSpeed Insights: Evaluates core web vitals performance and provides actionable recommendations.
  • Google Search Console: Reports performance and offers technical SEO features.
  • Screaming Frog: Identifies SEO issues and generates XML sitemaps.
  • SEMrush: Conducts site audits and detailed analyses of backlinks, keyword rankings, and competitors.

SEO Services—TripleDart offers tailored SEO strategies, including SaaS technical SEO, on-page SEO, Enterprise SaaS SEO, and conversion rate optimization.

You might have perfected your on page SEO and off-page SEO, but your efforts might be in vain if your technical SEO is lacking.

For SaaS websites, the quality of your technical SEO determines whether your site gets properly crawled, indexed, and ranks highly on search engines. Without it, you might find your competitors dominating the first page of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Obviously, you don’t want this to happen.

At TripleDart, we’ve helped over 100 SaaS companies solve SEO-related issues. This experience means we understand how critical it is to have strong technical SEO to support your lead-generation efforts. That's why we created the most comprehensive and reliable guide for SaaS companies to address technical SEO issues.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is a component of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that focuses on improving the technical aspects of your website. These enhancements ensure that your website is easily accessible and understandable to search engines. 

However, Technical SEO for SaaS isn't solely about optimizing for search engines; it's also about enhancing the user experience for your website visitors. Addressing technical issues can help your visitors have a seamless interaction with your site. 

For instance, if your website is very slow, your visitors are likely to leave. This not only hurts your conversion rates (potential customers leaving) but also increases your bounce rate, a metric search engines consider when ranking websites.

Why is Technical SEO Important for SaaS Companies?

SaaS companies must prioritize Technical SEO because their website often hosts a large volume of content. This complexity increases their vulnerability to technical issues, which can negatively impact search engine rankings and user experience. Below are more reasons why technical SEO for SaaS startups should be taken seriously;

To Beat the Competition on SERPs

It is common knowledge that all SaaS companies have their competitors, each hustling for the top spot on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). To be a strong contender, your technical SEO should be finely tuned and optimized. 

Neglecting technical SEO for SaaS is like wearing heavy boots in a marathon race; it drastically reduces your chances of securing the first position on Search Engines. Effective technical SEO ensures that search engines can easily crawl, index, and rank your website, which is crucial for outranking competitors and gaining visibility. 

Focusing on Technical SEO aspects like site speed, mobile-friendliness, structured data, and secure connections can help you improve your rankings on Search Engines, especially when your competitors are not doing them.

Improve User Experience

There’s a high chance that you’ve left a website because of one or more of the following reasons: 

  • Slow loading times
  • Broken links
  • Poor mobile responsiveness
  • Confusing navigation

The bottom line here is that you left because you had a poor user experience. 

Now imagine your prospects having a similar experience with your website. Not great, right? This means you must treat the technical SEO of your SaaS website with the same high priority as you do with on page and off page SEO. 

Ensuring a seamless user experience through SaaS technical SEO can improve your site’s performance, improve user retention, and lead to better ranking search engines.

Robust Website Security and Trust

An unsecured website is a big red flag to many internet users. Nobody wants to be on a website they can’t trust with their data, especially in an age where cyber threats are prevalent. 

One common indicator of a trusted website is the padlock sign that appears in the browser’s address bar, signaling a secure HTTPS connection. When it’s absent, people will quickly leave your site, leading to higher bounce rates and lost potential customers. 

This means that website security is an important aspect of technical SEO for SaaS companies. It not only protects your users' sensitive information but also builds trust and credibility. Search Engines also prioritize secure websites in their search rankings, so ensuring your site is secure can improve your SERP position.

Technical SEO audit for SaaS Websites: How do you do it right?

Technical SEO typically begins with an audit. Skipping this step is like setting out on a journey without a map—you won't get far. Here's how to get started.

What is an Audit

A technical SEO audit is a comprehensive examination of your SaaS website to identify and resolve technical issues that might be hindering its performance and search engine rankings. It’s like running a thorough scan through your site to detect problems that could affect your visibility and user experience. The results of the audit help determine the specific areas that need improvement, allowing you to optimize your site effectively.

Why do an Audit

The primary reason to run technical SEO audits is to ensure your website operates at peak efficiency and performs well in search engine rankings. Without identifying the root cause of technical issues, you wouldn’t know where to focus your efforts to improve your site's performance and visibility. 

Thorough technical SEO audits reveal hidden problems that could be affecting your site’s speed, accessibility, and overall user experience. This way, you’re able to address these issues strategically.

How to do a Technical SEO Audit (Detailed Step-by-Step Process)

This is where it gets technical. At this stage, it's important to consult an SEO expert to avoid mistakes. If you don't have an in-house expert, TripleDart can manage it for you. Nonetheless, this SaaS SEO guide should help you through the technical aspects.

Know your Website’s Crawlability and Indexability Status and Fix It

If your website is not indexable or crawlable by search engines, all your SEO efforts are in vain because search engines are unable to access and rank your content. Another issue with crawlability is that a Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  Audit might not be able to identify these problems if the website cannot be crawled properly. Most of these crawlability and indexability issues arise from incorrect configurations or simple negligence.

To determine if your website is accessible by searching engine crawlers, follow these steps:

  • Review your robots.txt file to ensure it is not blocking essential pages.some text
    • Visit yourwebsite.com/robots.txt
    • Look for any lines that start with "Disallow:". These lines specify URLs or directories that crawlers should not access. Make sure essential pages, like your homepage, product pages, or blog posts, aren't accidentally disallowed.

Fixing robot.txt issues requires technical knowledge. Therefore, it is advisable to read Google’s robots.txt guidelines before proceeding.

Another way to ensure crawlability is to ensure that your sitemap is submitted on your Google Search Console.

You can do this by navigating to the left-hand side of your dashboard. Click on “Sitemap” under the “Indexing” category.

Sitemap URL format;

For website: https://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

For websites category:

https://www.example.com/category/sitemap.xml (this is similar to blog pages).

Check for indexability;

You can use the Site Search Operator for this:

  • Go to Google.com and type “site:yourwebsite.com” into the search bar. Replace “yourwebsite.com” with the URL of the website you want to check.

If the website is indexed, Google will display a list of pages from that website.

You can also use the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console:

In case you notice that some pages are not indexed, you should check the "no-index" tag to ensure it’s not preventing the page from being indexed. To do this, you should:

  • View the page source by right-clicking on the web page and selecting "View Page Source" or using the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+U for Windows/Linux or Cmd+Option+U for Mac).
  • Search for the "no-index" tag by pressing (Ctrl+F for Windows/Linux or Cmd+F for Mac) and typing "no-index".
  • If you find a meta tag like <meta name="robots" content="noindex">, it means the page is marked to not be indexed by search engines.

Crawl Your Website with an SEO Audit Tool

Crawling your website with tools like Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, or SEMrush will help bring the essence of an audit to life. This process thoroughly examines your site's structure and identifies issues like broken links, duplicate content, and missing metadata.

To crawl your website, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a Search Engine Optimization tool that has comprehensive crawling capabilities, such as Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, or SEMrush.
  2. Configure the tool to crawl your entire website, ensuring it can access all pages and sections.
  3. Initiate the crawl and allow the tool to gather data on your site's structure and content.

Following the crawl, you will receive a detailed report revealing critical insights and actionable recommendations to enhance your website's SEO performance. 

While the crawl might uncover up to 100+ issues, it’s important to focus on the key areas.

Check for Mobile-Friendliness Issues

Checking for mobile friendliness is a crucial step in technical SEO. Even if Search Engines didn't prioritize mobile friendliness, the fact that 96% of the global population uses mobile devices to access the internet makes it indispensable. 

Without a mobile-friendly website, you risk losing a significant portion of your potential audience. And this can lead to poor engagement and missed conversion opportunities.

Since Google retired the Mobile-Friendly Test tool and Mobile-Friendly Test API in December 2023, you can use SEMrush's Site Audit Tool. When you have access to it, select the "Mobile SEO" category under the "Issues" tab.

This selection will result in a comprehensive analysis of your website's mobile-friendliness, identifying potential issues such as:

  • Viewport tag configuration: Ensuring that your viewport tag is properly set to make your website responsive on all devices.
  • Incompatible plugins: Detecting plugins that do not work well on mobile devices, can hinder the user experience.
  • AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and Layout Issues: Identifying problems with your AMP implementation and any layout discrepancies that affect mobile performance.
  • Text and content size: Checking that text is readable without zooming and that content is appropriately sized for mobile screens.
  • Touch elements: Ensuring that buttons and interactive elements are spaced adequately to avoid touch errors.

All you have to do is follow the suggested recommendations that come with the mobile user experience analysis.

Analyze Site Speed and Performance

Site speed is a crucial factor for both search engine rankings and user experience. A slow website can frustrate users, leading to higher bounce rates and lower engagement which will negatively impact your Search Engine Optimization. 

An analysis by Tooltester of 100 global web pages revealed that the average load time is 2.5 seconds on desktop and 8.6 seconds on mobile. Google Consumer Insights also found that 53% of mobile site visitors will abandon a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. These statistics underscore the importance of optimizing your site to be faster than these averages.

To evaluate your website’s speed and performance, use tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom. Among these, PageSpeed Insights seems to be the preferred choice for many SEOs due to its comprehensive analysis and recommendations.

To use PageSpeed Insights;

  • Click "Analyze": The tool will provide a score and detailed recommendations.
  • Review the suggestions: Focus on high-impact changes, such as optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, and reducing server response times.

Here’s what you should do if you discover that your website is slow;

  • If you use WordPress, plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Rocket can help enhance your site’s performance.
  • Use tools like TinyPNG or JPEG-Optimizer to reduce image sizes without compromising quality.
  • Consolidate CSS and JavaScript files, and use inline SVGs for icons to reduce the number of requests​.

Check for and Fix HTTPS Issues

Your website is expected to use the HTTPS protocol, which signifies that data exchanged between the user's browser and your server is encrypted and secure. This helps to protect sensitive information from being intercepted by malicious parties, enhances user trust, and improves your website’s search engine rankings.

However, there are some challenges associated with implementing HTTPS. Here are some of them and suggested solutions;

  • Expired or Invalid Certificates

Solution: Renew it or for free options like Let’s Encrypt.

  • Mixed Content: This occurs when a page served over HTTPS contains resources (such as images, scripts, or stylesheets) that are loaded over HTTP. This can trigger browser warnings and affect the page's security.

Solution: Update all links to use HTTPS. SEO audit tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can help identify these issues across your site. This Cloudflare post covers how this issue can be fixed.

  • Incorrectly Redirects: Improperly configured redirects can lead to security warnings, loss of SEO value, and poor user experience. Common problems include redirect loops and incorrect use of 301 or 302 redirects.

Solution: Ensure that all HTTP pages properly redirect to their HTTPS versions using 301 redirects, which are permanent and SEO-friendly. Use SaaS SEO tools to check and verify your redirect configurations.

  • Content Duplication: If both HTTP and HTTPS versions of your site are accessible, it can lead to content duplication issues, harming your Search Engine Optimization efforts.

Solution: Implement 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS and ensure that your canonical tags point to the HTTPS versions of your pages. Verify that your sitemap and internal links are updated to reflect HTTPS URLs.

Spot and Fix Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicate content confuses search engines, making it difficult for them to determine which version of the content to index and rank. This can negatively impact a website's visibility in search results.

Some of the factors that search engines interpret as duplicate content include:

  • Identical or similar text across multiple pages
  • Different URLs leading to the same content
  • Copied content from other sites without proper canonicalization.

You can spot duplicate content by manually reviewing content across your website for similar text appearing on multiple pages or just use tools Siteliner or Copyscape to do it automatically. In case you observed duplicate content. You can do the following;

  • Implement canonical tags to specify the preferred version of a page when duplicate content exists across different URLs.
  • Redirect duplicate URLs to the preferred version using 301 redirects.
  • Merge similar pages that serve the same purpose into a single page with unique content.

Technical SEO Checklist for Marketers

To enhance your website's performance, here is a concise SaaS technical SEO checklist for you;

  • Ensure HTTPS: Make sure your website uses HTTPS for secure connections. Search engines consider HTTPS a ranking factor and browsers mark HTTP sites as not secure.
  • Optimize XML Sitemaps: Create and submit an XML sitemap to Google Search Console. It helps search engines crawl and index your site effectively.
  • Check Crawlability: Use robots.txt to manage which pages search engines can crawl. Ensure important resources are not blocked.
  • Address Duplicate Content: Use 301 redirects or canonical tags to handle duplicate content, ensuring search engines index the preferred version.
  • Improve Page Speed: Compress images, use browser caching, minimize code, and leverage Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to enhance page loading times. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help identify areas for improvement.
  • Optimize Mobile Friendliness: Ensure your site is mobile-responsive. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check performance on mobile devices, as Google uses mobile-first indexing​.
  • Fix Broken Links: Regularly check and fix broken links to improve user experience and maintain crawl efficiency.
  • Enhance URL Structure: Use clean, descriptive URLs that include relevant keywords. Avoid overly complex or lengthy URLs.

Best Tools for Technical SEO

PageSpeed Insights

This is your go-to tool for enhancing core web vitals, developed by Google. It evaluates your website's performance on both mobile and desktop. With a single click on ‘Analyze’, you receive a performance score from 0 to 100. 

The tool also measures critical web vitals metrics such as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Beyond measurement, it offers actionable recommendations for technical SEO improvement.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is the most familiar Search Engine Optimization tool owned by Google. While its primary purpose is to report on your website's performance in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), it also offers a range of technical SEO features. You can use it to check your site's index status, submit sitemaps, and review link reports, among other functionalities.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a website crawler designed to enhance onsite SEO by extracting data and auditing common SEO issues. While Search Console and Google Page Insight offer free services, Screaming Frog is a paid tool with a free version that includes limited features.

Screaming Frog excels at identifying broken links, analyzing page titles and metadata, detecting duplicate content, and generating XML sitemaps. It delivers a comprehensive analysis of your website's structure, facilitating the identification and resolution of technical issues that could impact your search engine rankings.

SEMrush

SEMrush provides a comprehensive suite of features for technical SEO. Its site audits help pinpoint issues such as crawlability, HTTPS implementation, and site speed.

SEMrush also excels in conducting detailed analyses of backlinks, keyword rankings, and competitors. This robust technical SEO toolkit is crafted to enhance your website's performance and visibility in search engines.

Need Help With Your Company's Technical SEO?

Hire TripleDart to elevate your B2B business. We are a SaaS SEO Agency in enhancing organic traffic, generating leads, and significantly boosting sales through our tailored SEO strategies. Here are some of our success stories:

  • Rentomojo: Reduced customer acquisition costs by 62% and boosted orders by 15%.
  • DataBrain: Achieved a 16X increase in ranking keywords within six months.
  • Spendflo: Doubled their lead conversion rate.

So, choosing a SaaS SEO consultant shouldn’t be challenging. You can trust us to handle your technical SEO, On Page SEO, SaaS SEO strategy optimization, Programmatic SEO, SaaS SEO Link building, Hybrid Landing page creation, and Conversion Rate Optimization.

You can book a discovery call with us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should a SaaS website undergo a Technical SEO audit?

A SaaS Technical SEO audit should be conducted at least quarterly to identify and address any issues promptly. In addition to that, after significant changes to the website, such as redesigns or major updates, an audit is necessary to ensure continued SEO performance.

How can canonical tags prevent duplicate content issues for SaaS websites?

Canonical tags inform search engines about the preferred version of a webpage when there are multiple versions of the same content. This helps prevent duplicate content issues.

What is structured data and how does it benefit SaaS SEO?

Structured data, or schema markup, is a standardized format for providing information about a page and its content. For SaaS websites, implementing structured data helps search engines understand the content better.

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