SEO for IT: How to Promote Outsourcing and SaaS Businesses in 2023
Table of contents
- What to consider before starting SEO promotion
- Discovery analysis of competitors and niche
- Website technical optimization
- How should you get traffic and new clients for IT business?
- Specifics of working with content for IT business: what should you write about, and whom do you need to hire?
- How to find keywords for promotion and high-converting keywords without Ahrefs?
- What mistakes do specialists make during promotion, and what should they avoid?
In this article, our SEO Team Lead, Anton Daliba, shares the secrets of SEO promotion of IT companies to Western markets.
The guide is based on real cases and many years of experience working on various projects. It is worth noting that our specialists develop unique promotion strategies for each project, and we take into account the specifics of each business. However, there are some basic rules common to all projects. Anton Daliba describes them in detail further in the article.
What to consider before starting SEO promotion
Before starting to promote any business, including IT, the company has to determine the following:
- target audience
- types of companies they want to work with
- company sizes (small, mid, enterprise)
- countries, states, and cities where they want to attract clients
- in some cases, even specific types of applications
It is important to note that such division is performed mainly at the start of the promotion. As SEO promotion continues to work and brings results, it is also important to segment client types and focus on specific industries.
What to do?
You should clearly prioritize industries/services/solutions at the start of the promotion. I do not recommend setting goals and promoting more than two industries or services simultaneously. It is better to achieve results in 1-2 industries, establish a stable flow of requests and new customers, and then set new goals and only then take on the next 1-2 industries or services.
One of the cases in our portfolio is an IT company that turned to us with a classic selection of services (Web App Dev, Testing, UI/UX, Big Data & Analytics) and with expertise in 6 industries:
- Logistics & Transportation
- Human Resources
When we only started to work with this client, we extensively consulted with them to choose an industry to begin with, as there were 1-2 cases in each one. We chose Finance, as it became apparent that this industry had the most marginal projects and more long-term ones.
We have been working with the company for more than a year and recently updated the site template. We removed all the individual pages of industries, transferred information to a single page, and left only Finance as a separate page. The results in creating content and promoting this industry were so great that the client does not want to develop 5 others. The client received good leads, and several of them were converted into projects.
Discovery analysis of competitors and niche
It is necessary to select competitors and analyze their pages only after determining the priority of the promotion.
You should carefully examine competitors’ landing pages in a priority industry or service. On the page, you should analyze the following:
- keywords that are used higher in the text on the page
- keywords in the titles
- the total number of keywords on the page
- overall content volume
- available rewards
- text blocks available on the page
- blog articles links that are used in anchors
- where CTA forms and buttons are located and how they are used
- unusual and interesting features present on the page
With the help of the service, you should discover:
- traffic volume and its dynamics (growth, direct, stagnation)
- number of links, their types, and their quality (you should pay attention only to high-quality links to the page, their numbers, and their domains)
You should also focus on:
- How many cases does the competitor have on this topic?
- How many blog posts are available on this topic?
- How often is blog content posted on this topic?
As a result, you should have a general idea of what content should be available on the page and what elements you need to add to the future page. You will also determine the average number of links you require and their quality + interesting features that can be improved and used (a calculator on the page, a photo of the development team, etc.).
A separate and vital part of niche analysis is searching for keywords with less competition in the same cluster.
- software development company
- bespoke software development company
This important task allows you to quickly achieve results for the project and get new customers faster.
Website technical optimization
This is how a technically optimized site with high-quality content “skyrockets”:
For 3.5 months, we have been working on fixing the client’s website from a technical standpoint with the development team. When we finished the work, we got the result that you can now see on the GSC graph. The website traffic skyrocketed.
This is how it started:
The site has to be technically ready for the TOP-1 position in organic search results. Otherwise, all your efforts may not bring the outcome you expect.
How should you get traffic and new clients for IT business?
There is a reason why I explained earlier to choose 1-2 industries/services and focus efforts specifically on them. To bring new customers to the website, you should first create a stream of targeted traffic to this site. For the search engine to provide you with a stream of such traffic, you need to show expertise and credibility in this (these) topic(s).
What to do?
The main idea is to create a critical mass of commercial and informational content related to a specific industry on the website. Essentially, search engine algorithms have to establish a link between the industry expertise and the website. You should comprehensively describe services and solutions only in this industry.
To achieve this, the site should have the following:
- a landing page of the industry/services/solutions/technology
- at least 2 cases in this topic (the more, the better)
- author’s page with experience and qualifications in this industry/service/solution/technology
- numerous (!) blog articles related to this industry/service/solution/technology (how many should you have? Until the client is satisfied with the results)
First, we create a landing page (based on a previous niche analysis):
We create case pages:
Next, we prepare a content plan with topics related to our industry (more details below):
We create a technical task for a copywriter and start writing blog articles. The quality of the content is highly important:
Next, we create an author’s page if it’s not already available. The author’s page should contain links to social media accounts with industry-relevant content — posts, news, etc.
By taking such steps and with this combination of pages, we achieve the result that our client needs:
Positions of the landing page:
The client is satisfied with the results:
And we continue to develop this area.
The combination of these actions will most likely bring you targeted traffic and conversions. As a result of the work, our client had numerous new customers, even in the off-season!
Specifics of working with content for IT business: what should you write about, and whom do you need to hire?
Work in competitive niches
First, I want to talk about competition. Many novice SEO experts, and sometimes even experienced specialists, greatly overestimate KD calculated by Ahrefs.
It is possible, and you should work in highly competitive niches. With the help of high-quality content, you can achieve success in these niches. Here are some examples of how expert content, written for people by a qualified author with proper SEO optimization, works:
And by the way, we have yet to work with links in these examples. The high-quality content alone attracted several reputable publications to these articles.
A series of similar articles on the same topic:
It is better to create one high-quality and expert article than 2-3 articles without elaboration and expertise. Your content has to be the best and worthy of being TOP-1!
What to write about?
In the previous section, I discussed preparing a content plan. The topics you include will determine the traffic and its conversion rate.
We already have an understanding of the industry we promote, and to answer the question of “What to write about?” I always recommend opening the “Case Studies” section. With the help of cases, you can create the most expert content on all possible topics. You should study the cases in detail, breaking them down into components.
What do I mean by in detail? For example, a client developed a fitness app to track workout results, vital signs, workout programs, etc.
Yes, your first topic may be “How to Develop a Fitness App…”, but then you need to understand what modules this application consists of. For example, the application may have a time-tracking module. Will you write an article about how this module works and what functions it offers to the user? You need to break down this application into components, understand how it works, and what it consists of. And then you should look for demand or create it.
It is essential to understand that not always the lack of search volume according to the service (for example, Ahrefs) means the absence of traffic. For example, here’s an article that was written with keywords, and it showed zero search volume:
The article brings 30 users a month:
And, more importantly, conversions!!
Where can I get more cases?
Another important point when preparing a content plan based on cases is that usually, only a part of the cases is on the client’s website. Regardless, some cases cannot be talked or written about (with a signed NDA), and also those that simply have not been added to the website. In such instances, we hold a meeting with the client, where we learn about all the projects.
What else to write about?
You have to remember that the purpose of content is to solve a specific problem of a user who will be reading this content. In the article, you need to convince the user as much as possible that the company has experience in solving a similar problem. And, if you succeed in convincing the user, they will become your new client.
This is why I don’t like articles on general topics (Awareness) that just focus on some aspect of the industry but don’t solve the problem (top books to read, trends for 2022, lists of the best development tools, and more).
Before looking for topics for your content plan, you must understand the target audience as much as possible. What are they looking for? What are their problems? And, can you help solve those problems? Even if you write content not related to cases, you should still focus on the target audience of the project you are promoting.
For example, I often see articles similar to “UI/UX Books that Are Absolute Designer’s Gold” on a site that offers website design services.
And who is the target audience for this article? Whom will it bring to the site?
People who are most likely to read the article are:
- beginner designers who are looking for valuable literature to upgrade their skills
- experienced designers who are looking for new features in design or are also trying to constantly improve their skills
- entrepreneurs with a small budget who want to update or create a new application/site design on their own
Yes, this article brings traffic to the site:
But what about conversions? You will spend time, effort, and money on this article. What will you get as a result?
You should avoid chasing the traffic alone when preparing a content plan. You can write articles on general topics, but these articles should constitute at most 30% of the total.
Whom do you need to generate the content?
There are several good combinations:
- Ideal Option: Native copywriter with niche experience
- Option 2: UA copywriter with niche experience + proofreader
- Option 3: Native copywriter + client consultant + proofreader
- Option 4: UA copywriter + client consultant + proofreader
How to find keywords for promotion and high-converting keywords without Ahrefs?
Services that help collect keywords are not perfect and cannot know everything. In addition, it is not always possible to use paid services like Ahrefs. But don’t worry, I will tell you how to find keywords without any assistance, including high-converting ones.
Option 1 — General collection of keywords in the SERP
We already know the industry/service/solution, which is a priority for the client, and we include it in our service. For example, fitness app development services. The search engine itself will highlight relevant keywords that have to be added to the page for promotion:
Option 2 — Collecting keywords on pages of competitors
After collecting the keywords in the SERP, you should go to the TOP pages and explore the content there one by one. You will also find many keywords for your content here:
Option 3 — Asking the Sales department
Another great way to find out about demand is by talking to the sales department or the individual who specializes in sales. The main goal is to determine the entry points of customers. This includes determining their requests and what they are looking for at the initial stage. What is usually sold to them?
We take note of this demand and go to the SERP. We then use options 1 and 2 to find keywords.
Option 4 — Technical texts from developers
I also know another method that has provided great results. We ask the developer to write a straightforward technical text about any development. It shouldn’t have any code and has to focus simply on how a specific module, API, integration, etc., works.
We proofread the text, get to its core, take the main points, and then go to the SERP and use options 1 and 2 to collect the keywords.
Option 5 — Freelance services
We study various service offers from freelancers. Let’s take https://www.fiverr.com/ as an example. You should choose the category you need:
And then you should focus on the services provided by freelancers:
The point is that these people mention what real customers order from them in the title. This is a direct supply for a specific demand. You should pay attention to the number of reviews. The higher the number of such reviews, the more in-demand a particular service is.
These supplies are then taken to the SERP. You can then use options 1 and 2 to find the keywords.
It is possible to achieve great results without using keyword collection services. Moreover, their absence will allow you to concentrate on the conversion rate of a keyword rather than its frequency. Use it!
I love link-building. I like high-quality links and an expert approach to working with a link profile. And I really don’t like it when people do link-building just because everyone else does it.
I will not dwell on this section for long, but I want to say that I use external links mainly to “push” pages to the TOP. In this way, I do not buy links to the page until I reach the TOP 30-35 with the help of the content that contains the main keyword. If the page doesn’t reach the TOP-35, I work on the content and its optimization until I get the minimum position I need. And only then can I focus on bringing it to the TOP.
I use exclusively high-quality sponsored (eternal) links from trusted resources. I think getting one do-follow link from a thematic and expensive trusted resource is better than getting ten links inexpensively from sites of average quality.
By tracking the dynamics of the main priority pages, I understand where I need to refine the content and where to push it forward with the links.
The content you post on the sites is also important. You should always pay attention to the quality of the content that links to your site.
What mistakes do specialists make during promotion, and what should they avoid?
Articles on general topics without understanding the target audience
I run into content created for the sake of content all the time. It is written without understanding the target audience and without having expertise in the article, cases, and structure.
Content creation is a very expensive service. Creating content for the sake of content will simply waste your money and achieve no results.
You should immerse yourself in the industry, ask questions to the client, get the right information, read the news, and learn about trends in the industry you promote. You have to be a pro at what you promote because you are the one who recommends what to do and how to do it to make the project successful!
Promotion of all services and industries simultaneously
When choosing and analyzing competitors, I always go to the Blog section (also cases and About Us page, obviously) and look at what people write about and how frequently. I regularly see this desire to be at the TOP everywhere simultaneously. Consequently, they post each new article on a new topic.
Even if you have a budget for promoting more than 1-2 industries, you need time to develop each article. You need it to determine the target audience, understand the development of the solution you want to write about, prepare technical specifications, create structure, collect keywords, proofread the finished article, etc. You should avoid churning out content like a weekly TV show that has to be on air on Friday night, and it doesn’t matter what an episode is about.
I recommend you focus efforts on a specific industry and create content for it. It will help you achieve the necessary results in generating new customers for the business and only then switch to other industries.
Trying to cover 2-3-4 topics in one article
I am all for highly specialized articles that comprehensively respond to a specific request and problem of the user. There is no need to try to cover several topics simultaneously, even if they are related. Typically, such articles do not have the right level of expertise because two or three sections will not fully cover the topic and show the solution. As a result, such articles convert fewer customers.
It is much better to take one topic and elaborate on it in as much detail as possible. This will show expertise and give you more conversions.
Incorrect anchors when working with manual linking on the site
I often encounter incorrectly set anchors on website pages as a result of manual linking. Before completing this task, you must ensure you understand how it works. Otherwise, it’s better not to start doing it because there will be more harm than good.
Lack of control over the technical condition of the site
If the pages of the site give the 200 response status code, it still does not mean that everything is working correctly.
You have to scan the site once a week for any errors in its work. It is a good idea to monitor the errors that occur in the site console constantly. If any errors occur, you should try to fix them as soon as possible.
An attempt to push a page located at the TOP-50 to TOP-10 by using links
If the content on the page has yet to reach at least the TOP-50 with organic traffic, there is no point in trying to push the page to the TOP-10 with links. You will put in a lot of effort and money, but this will not bring the desired results.
You should work on developing content until the page appears at least at the TOP-50, and only then start working with links.
- View the SERPs for different regions — https://valentin.app/
- Excellent tool for working with files, especially PDFs — https://tinywow.com/
- Visualization of the site structure — https://miro.com/
- Visualization of the site structure — https://xmind.app/
- Tools for searching questions in different countries and languages — https://answersocrates.com/ (alternative for Ahrefs for blog semantics)
- People Also Ask Tool — https://searchresponse.io/
- Visualization of metadata in Google, FB, and Twitter — https://metatags.io / (what it should look like)
- Emoji — https://emojipedia.org/
- More emoji — https://getemoji.com/
- Even more emoji — https://www.emojicopy.com/
- Shareware tool for collecting keywords — https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/
- Tool to check text uniqueness (for EN texts) — https://www.quetext.com/
- Another tool to check text uniqueness (for EN texts) — https://copywritely.com/ru/
- If you need to retrieve text from a screenshot — http://structurise.com/screenshot-ocr/
- Service for analyzing site positions — https://seranking.com/
- Google algorithm updates with dates — https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change