Why SaaS Companies Need Agency Support For SEO Execution

Nick Brown is the Founder and CEO of accelerate agency, a SaaS SEO & content agency. Working with enterprise and scale-up brands.

Good SEO strategy is essential for growing any SaaS business, and most large SaaS companies I work with have some in-house expertise in SEO capability. This is a good thing. When I’m sounding out a potential new client, if they tell me they’ve invested in an SEO strategist, that means they understand the potential value of SEO to their SaaS business.

SEO strategy on its own can’t deliver growth, so inevitably any conversation with a new client turns to execution. This is where every SaaS company I have ever dealt with, whatever size they are, needs external support. This might surprise some people to hear. Successful SaaS companies can be enormous and boast huge resources. Why would they need to rely on agency help to execute an SEO strategy? Why not just do it themselves?

The plain truth is that they usually can’t — not if they want to maximize their sales. And this is true for SaaS companies of all sizes. Two critical parts of SEO execution — the quantity of content required and relationships needed to place that content — are simply impossible to deliver to the necessary standard using only in-house resources.

SEO Content: Quality Isn’t Enough

Being able to produce good sales copy is a specialist skill that most large SaaS companies possess, but sales copy and SEO copy are two different beasts entirely. Producing good SEO content requires precise words being placed in precise places at precise frequencies. It requires clear, persuasive writing, written to a very exacting brief. In some ways, it is more like solving a complex puzzle while you write. Doing this well enough that the resulting copy is compelling to the reader is something not every copywriter can do.

Even when an in-house team has the capacity to write quality SEO copy, the quantity required remains a challenge. To play in the big leagues, an SEO team writing for a SaaS company needs to produce hundreds of well-written SEO content pieces. It needs to be done as fast as possible and, depending on the situation, sometimes in multiple languages.

Maintaining this sort of capacity in-house simply doesn’t make sense for SaaS companies, even very big ones, as the amount of copy needed each month will vary substantially. It is much more efficient to outsource this to an agency that can dial up or down the content flow as needed.

But producing amazing SEO content in volume is actually the easier side of SEO execution. There’s also getting those links. …

Content Partnerships and Digital PR

The term “link building” has an understandably grubby ring to it. Just open your spam file and you are sure to find several suspicious-looking emails offering you suspicious-sounding link-building services.

But links remain a central part of how Google ranks its search engine results, and if you want to optimize those results, acquiring high-quality links is an essential part of any strategy. Doing this well is difficult and requires a lot of hard work, and like many industries, the content industry relies on trust and relationships built over time.

A good SEO account manager will work on building relationships with editors every day. This requires mass outreach, a lot of organization and the ability to deliver high-quality content that editors want when they want it. In this respect, SEO execution has a lot of overlap with PR and is now often referred to as “digital PR.” The term I actually prefer, though, is “content partnerships.”

These partnerships are essential for successful SEO. Publications need high-quality content, and SEO specialists can provide it to them. As editors learn they can rely on SEO agencies to produce good quality content, the outcomes of the process become more and more reliable for the agency’s clients. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

In theory, a large SaaS company could establish partnerships directly. They could hire staff to pitch hundreds of ideas to thousands of publications and then try to nurture relationships from the responses. The challenge is that no publication wants to feature the same company over and over again. They want a mix of sources and opinions and not an endless string of comment pieces from the same executive team.

This is where an agency with multiple clients has an advantage. By working with dozens of SaaS companies, an agency can provide the variety that editors and publications want, and with the frequency to keep relationships fresh and intact.

Quality Vs. Quantity: A False Dichotomy

In pretty much every walk of life, if you’re presented with a choice between quantity and quality, it’s pretty normal to assume that quality is the right answer. And rightly so — when it comes to everything from the food we eat to personal relationships, quality matters.

When it comes to SEO execution, at first glance this might appear to be a similar situation, but it really isn’t. If you are choosing between quality and quantity for your content and link building, then you have already lost the game. Another SaaS company with more resources (and a better agency) is going to beat you. Both quality and quantity have to matter. You have to have the right strategy and the ability to fulfill that strategy with lots and lots of high-quality content and links. To do this well enough to beat the competition, every SaaS company, big or small, needs a good agency partner.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?


Nigarai M Grusio

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