Last Updated on by Artem K.
If you put the effort into your SaaS content marketing but your SEO has been negatively affected by a recent Google Algorithm Update, you are in the right place!
In this post, I share the experience from my link building service where go over what could possibly have gone wrong and, most importantly, how you can fix it.
This post is very actionable so let’s get right to it.
You can also check out my SaaS case studies for more actionable tips!
TF Are SEO Google Algorithm Updates?
Big G is a search engine that’s constantly being improved (or so they say) and amended.
SaaS SEO is inevitably affected by it.
Back in the day updates were less frequent and easier to trace.
In fact, many of them got those funny names – Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin…and were attributed to link building mistakes SEOs would do.
They too have different versions – Panda 1.0, Panda 2.0 etc.
Right now updates are rolled out almost every day.
Sure, there are big algorithm updates Google’s official Twitter account is kind enough to let us know about but…
There are tons of smaller updates that you and your SaaS can be negatively affected by even…when everyone else seems to be doing just fine!
It means you can easily fly through a massive core update that everyone talks about without even noticing the slightest change in rankings.
It also means that you can get hammered by a small tweak Google put out there and it’s you and a couple of other unlucky SaaS folks that get all the beating!
Now that we are clear on what Google SEO algorithm updates are about, let’s see what you can do about them.
See also – link building statistics for SaaS (emails, conversions etc)
5 Steps To Recover Your SaaS From Negative Effects of Google Algorithm Update
In the nutshell, the process is very simple.
Whenever in doubt, you should ALWAYS default to two natural things you should be doing any time, all the time:
- Build more content
- Build more links
Now let’s talk details.
1. Sit & Wait
Updates are brought in to promote great content so…if you got penalized by the recent change in the algorithm, does it mean your content is spam or crap?
Especially, when you put your heart, soul, and hard work into creating all of that?
While Google has its own opinion on this matter, you know that content you published on your SaaS blog is top-notch (it must be so).
This is when your work gets a reality check, if it is as good as you think it is, you will be reinstated during the next correction which tends to happen within 2-12 weeks after the initial update.
This is why it’s so important to leave everything as is and focus on two things – new content and links (especially when you know for sure that both of these are great).
If you get reinstated within that period – hooray – you can consider yourself as collateral damage when you first got hit!
If not, it’s time to move to the next step…
IMPORTANT: never EVER make any changes to your SaaS blog or SEO immediately after getting hit by the update! You must sit it all out for, at least, 3 months!
2. Check Technical SEO
If your blog is running on WordPress, you are using Yoast or RankMath then, chances are, there is no need to search for any errors in the technical side of things but…
It’s still worth noting that you:
- Check your .htaccess file is set correctly
- Google bot is not disallowed from indexing your website
- Crawling errors are taken care of
- Anything else technical you can think of (I’m not a tech SEO, so I have little experience in this stuff)
At times updates can coincide with changes you are doing with the website and that can create massive problems.
In fact, I had this one SaaS SEO client recently that managed to ruin its URL structure on the global level.
As a result, pages started disappearing from the index and it created a significant sh*tstorm.
It took 4 months to get them back to the original traffic level (which was their best month at the time).
3. Make Your SaaS Look Like a Real Business (Because It Is)
When we build links for SaaS, I always check for whether we are getting a backlink from a real business or is it just a content website that happens to sell links.
Nothing wrong with the latter (when it’s picked properly) but I’m a lot happier when we are able to get these top-tier backlinks from real businesses.
Here is what makes any website (not just a SaaS company) look more legit:
- Immaculate “About Us” page
- Careers Page – create even if you don’t have any careers available yet
- Contact Page – have one created, if you haven’t done so yet (you can use a contact form)
- Integrations Page – your SaaS tool probably works with some other tools out there, it’s time to showcase that
- Address and Company name in the footer
- Email and/or phone numbers are great additions
- Links to your SaaS Brand’s LinkedIn Business Profile, Youtube & Twitter (if applicable; or any other social platform that you use)
- Pricing Page – show how much your SaaS is
- GMB – if applicable, putting and verifying your SaaS brand with Google My Business is a great way to show you are legit
- Authors Page – show the world who is behind your content and make sure to list any relevant experience your writers have (along with their LinkedIn Profile links).
All of the above measures may indicate that your SaaS is actually a real business that’s an expert in its field and so Google needs to respect the content that’s coming from you.
Talking of content…
4. Take Care Of Content…On All Levels
As I’m writing this now at the end of October 2022, a lot of websites (arguably non-SaaS) have been affected by the recent spam update rolled out by Google.
I lightly interviewed their owners and in all cases (that is 100%) they published quality, on-page optimized content with no active link building.
As a result, they did have a lot of content published and it happened to generate a substantial amount of clicks but their efforts were smashed by the update.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be publishing content – far from it.
All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be focused on just one thing for too long.
The same piece of content can and will perform differently depending on the website it’s published on.
If it’s a high authority website, it’s far more likely to rank (immediately) than if it was sitting on a lower authority website.
Now, again, let’s go to the actionable side of things of what you need to do with your SaaS blog when it gets hammered.
4.1 Have You Got Content Clusters?
If you run a time-tracking SaaS and decide to write about freelance bookkeeping, you’ll need a tremendous amount of new content on the subject and loads of links to show Google that you are an authority on the subject as well.
I’ll give you an example…
A client of ours is #1 resource for things related to pianos.
They decided to also make it towards guitars.
It took us a year to start seeing positive gains for their guitar-oriented content.
The moral of the story – make sure you are covering your main topic above and beyond.
Become an authority in it, and maintain your level by publishing new content, industry news etc.
4.2 Have You Got Enough Informational Content?
This part is not usually that important for SaaS, since most of the content produced by SaaS writers is informational, and targeted at different purchasing cycles (or so it should be).
However, you should be aware if the fact that if most of your content is selling something (e.g. Affiliate stuff), then you are asking for trouble.
To summarize, make sure you have a lot of actionable info-based content that people would benefit from.
PRO TIP: you don’t only need to focus on keywords that have search volume; for example, I’m writing this article without any keyword research but I know that this topic is important and there you are reading it!
4.3 Publish Truly Unique Content (e.g. Research, Tools, Templates)
This is a long-term investment in any content strategy but it’s essential that you start producing this type of content as early as possible because it will become your “link cow”.
Truly unique content in the form of research, tools that you let others use or templates that you provide for free (in a manner that fits your audience) are types of assets that attract backlinks…naturally.
If you ever went through the link profiles of your competitors in the SaaS field (something I do frequently with my morning tea), you’d see that market leaders do one thing all the time…
They act as the source of information!
And if you are a source of information, you start getting referenced and linked to it as a result.
Any journalist or another SaaS blog writer can use and reference your data in their write-up.
People would mention your free tools and link to your templates…with time.
Besides that Google loves truly unique content, the type of content that no one published previously (and not the one that just passes the plagiarism checker lol).
Be the fire, not the moth – publish unique content, and get references!
And if you need some ideas, check out these types of content that attract backlinks naturally.
4.4 Interlink Heavily
Once you publish new content on your SaaS blog, you have to link to every other previous blog post.
I like to keep things simple and only link articles that are either extremely relevant to each other.
Usually, I interlink those articles that have the same/similar keywords in the title.
If you don’t have a list of all the articles you had published, enter this in Google search:
Here is how this translates:
Keyword – your article’s main keyword.
Domain.com – your SaaS website.
Google will then return all the related articles that you can link to and from.
Do that using almost exact anchor text and hit update – voila!
4.5 Update Old Content
Come back to your old posts to add and/or remove certain bits from it every 3 months.
Google loves curated content and it gives its “freshness boost” in rankings, when it reindexes a well-maintained page.
It’s also a good chance for it to pick up new content (through the interlinking you had done previously) and see that your SaaS blog is well-maintained.
Besides that, it will also help with CTR when visitors find your content online.
They are more likely to click on a search result that was recently updated rather than on something that’s been looked at a year from now…even if it’s a stellar piece of content!
In fact, updating old content is one of the few things in SaaS SEO that can have an almost immediate impact on rankings so…if you are looking for quick gains, make sure to update your content significantly, at least, every 3 months.
Regarding what it is “significantly”…
Adding even 100 words of content (while removing 0-50 words of old writing) is fairly significant.
Now on to what arguably matters the most – backlinks!
5. Do You Even…Link?
Regardless of what people tell you or you read online about links’ demise, remember that they always matter!
Google was all about links 20 years ago and the system hasn’t changed – it’s still all about backlinks albeit the ranking algorithm has improved.
Google is better at telling the difference between a link that comes from another high DR SaaS website and an absolute piece of crap…even if it has decent metrics.
So if your SaaS blog has been negatively affected by the most recent update, here’s what you do before you even have a link building campaign outline.
5.1 Disavow Link Spam Using Ahrefs
Chances are, spammy backlinks cause no real harm (after all, Google did learn, to a degree, to manage and ignore these) but it still is a good practice to disavow them, especially if…
…your DR is fairly low, and there are loads of those links incoming.
Disavowing links is not rocket science – here is what you do:
- Add your SaaS website to Ahrefs
- Go to Backlinks
- Choose every spammy backlink that comes from a web 2.0 property (e.g. Blogspot) and/or has DR of <10
- Add them to the disavow file (entire domain, nit just the URL) which you would then download in .TXT
- Next – upload them to GSC’s File Disavowal
- That’s it!
Basically, you want to pick out every link that comes from a page that brings no value to the internet (i.e. pure spam) and disavow them on the DOMAIN level.
5.2 Start Building Links
If you have a lot of quality content but your site still got hit, chances are, your DR is not big enough for it to be stable.
To put it in perspective, big authority sites are far less susceptible to algorithmic fluctuations because they are that – high authority sites.
So all you need to do to be more “stable” and actually improve rankings is to get backlinks from these high authority sites so your SaaS blog can too become an authority.
I’ve covered exactly how we do SaaS link building previously but here are a few quality guidelines:
- DR40-70 or more. We only build higher authority links because they move the needle faster
- 1000+ Traffic WITHOUT significant traffic drops. Frequently sites are manipulated to rank well which works…but only at the start! A huge traffic drop usually follows and, even if it’s still over 1000+ unique visitors per month, we still don’t use it.
- Relevant page. It means that the page our client gets a link from actually contains the keywords they want to rank for (i.e. A link to “freelance time tracking” URL on our client’s site would come from “time tracking benefits” URL)
Building 10-20 backlinks per month, is a great way to start and get going.
Note that you can’t just build 10 backlinks and wait for the results – it’s a continuous process and link velocity maintenance is vital for rankings and…maintaining these rankings!
See my list of link building tips for SaaS organic search engine rankings.
Looking for Help With Link Building?
Link building is a continuous, monotonous process that…needs to be done.
If you need some help with link building, check out our link building case studies and contact me to schedule a call.
You can also connect with me on LinkedIn!