075 - SEO for SaaS Companies with James Scherer


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There is a difference in the overall content marketing strategy between SaaS companies and small to medium-sized businesses. Mostly it comes down to the budget the company has. For bigger companies, they would throw some significant budget at it for the first three to six months, see what's working and prove the value of this.  Small-sized businesses, on the other hand, will create content that is more targeted and intentional.  

This is a very, very interesting episode where Gert talks to James Scherer, the VP for Growth at codeless.io. Many significant nuggets can be learned from listening to this episode which essentially can push the ranking of your site to page one.

Podcast Highlights: 

00:01 Prologue

00:41 SEO Intro 

00:51 Introduction of the guest 

01:38 The background of James Scherer, his love for content marketing and how he became the VP for Growth at codeless.io.

08:20 How is the team of James Scherer able to manage writing 75 articles per month?

11:03 What is the planning process for topic selection at monday.com?

14:05 Besides the planning process, breaking up categories, and doing analysis, what else could be some takeaways from an enterprise-level content strategy? 

17:31 How do SaaS and B2B businesses view content across different platforms and are these completely different that need to be dealt with separately?

22:42 Is there any significant value in videos for an ongoing optimization that would have the same effect as you would for SEO for content marketing?

23:55 The difference on how James and Gert view transcriptions or AI generated content in general.

28:31 How do you go about creating and/or developing a content strategy? (...How do you use the Pareto Principle?)

31:18 What is domain authority and how can it identify what will actually rank for both the pillars and supporting content? (...What needs to be done if only the support content is ranking but the pillars aren't?) 

33:18 Why is internal linking strategy important for your ranking?

36:51 What do you need to consider in doing pillar analysis?

39:17 How does content decay play into a content strategy when you see that content slips down in traffic and becomes less relevant? (...What do you do about it?)

46:56 Where to connect with James Scherer?

47:19 End


Content ranking tool - https://surferseo.com/

Companies must find ways to straighten the curve in today’s competitive business environment. That’s why content marketing has become one of the essential tools in a company’s toolbox. 

For many companies, content marketing is the key to success. However, SEO for SaaS companies is different from other small to medium-sized businesses. While the basic principles are still important, there are some things when optimizing your website and content.

Why is content marketing important?

As the saying goes, “Content is King,” and that’s especially true for Saas companies. Besides that, James as a writer himself, loves the idea of content marketing. For one reason, it gives the pursuit of merit-based attention to clients.

In a world with few options, it’s essential to have a content marketing strategy. After all, what good is having great software if nobody knows about it? That’s where content marketing comes in.

James agreed that there’s something noble, or at least nobler, about creating something that attracts customers. Perhaps, give attention to the brand, rather than to them with an advertisement. And it’s true since it’s applied not just in his company but also with others.

What’s the difference between content marketing for SaaS companies and startups?

There is a difference in the overall strategy between enterprises and small to medium-sized businesses. Mostly it comes down to the scale of what each is doing. Since James and his team managed to write 75 articles every month, they’ve realized.

As for him, the main difference is a rocket launcher approach to doing content marketing. For bigger companies, they would throw some substantial budget at it for the first 3 to 6 months. Then review, and prove the value.

On the other hand, small-sized businesses will create content that is far more targeted and intentional. This includes key phrases that they’re going after in the articles and how they’re supporting them.

The smart move

One of the great ways for smaller ones is to figure out a content strategy that works within the budget. This means applying something valuable by being more intentional with the content.

Others believe that you need to increase the volume and rewrite or optimize those low-quality content to get traction. But, a strategy of secondary content with external or internal linking and social media is how you’ll make every article succeed.

Outsourcing content

What’s the difference between having an in-house and sticking to a Content Agency?

There’s a lot, but it’s best to have a team. You need a clear set of structured processes to bring writers into getting assigned content. 

Unlike in-house, content agencies are like focusing on what they are doing. In short, you need to have a dedicated team dedicated to doing important things.

For example, Codeless creates amazing content. They don’t promote it for you or don’t do lead gen, but they make great content that ranks.

The process for topic selection of enterprise-level content strategy

The planning process for topic selection can be tricky. There are a lot of factors, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, with a bit of planning and forethought, you can narrow down your options and choose a topic that will be both successful and engaging. 

Here’s how Monday.com started the content planning process:

Competitive research and analysis

One great way is to do a huge amount of research and competitor analysis.

Here are the steps to do it based on James’ experience:

  1. Identify 10 different businesses that succeed from a content perspective. This includes competitive competitors, content competitors, and ranking brands.
  2. Pull in the ranking keywords for all 10 of those competitors.
  3. Analyze keywords based on intent, linking perspective, ranking position, etc.
  4. You need to break up each content category from that kind of analysis.
  5. Once done, analyze each topic in each category and prioritize it from there.

Obviously, it would help if you balanced it out, Gert agreed. Remember, some websites will not get their articles ranked with a normal domain. It’s the website’s authoritativeness that contributes as well.

Other takeaways from an enterprise-level content strategy

Aside from focusing on the methods above, creating a content plan with a goal is also essential. James added that this would be a strategy that a normal business could take away.

Aside from that, it’s best to create a category structure. Not only is it an internal goal, but the goal is also that the article supports the article. 

Moreover, you can use a pillar and post content model within categories. So identify early-stage and small businesses, see what’s worked, and see what’s clicked with Google. And lastly, focus on creating more on the content which Google sees as an authority. 

How do SaaS and B2B businesses view content across different platforms?

Some people often think about content like YouTube and other social media. Other experts see it from an SEO perspective as content like blog posts and articles on the website.

But it doesn’t end there.

In general, the idea of content is creating value that attracts people to you. According to James, it’s about creating something worth seeing. Although any given platform differs, it should be about education. 

One way to start this is through blog content. It’s long-form educational content related to your business in some clear way. And as such, it is a jumping-off point for all content types and platforms. 

Is YouTube video the same as SEO for content marketing?

James believes that the video is somewhat different.

Different SEO-oriented research tools offer search volumes on YouTube. But, there are a lot of high volume searches on YouTube or on the video platforms that do not align with the blog content. Because of the content format, you can’t easily repurpose a blog content and have it succeed on YouTube.

Create a content plan devoted to a blog that feeds your social media and advertising efforts. On the other side, create a different one that shows YouTube or video search volumes and the keywords.

James also agreed that the video has significant value in optimizing written content. They usually leave the content and add a video to those articles. As a result, they see a significant running increase in the articles.

So, how do James and Gert view transcriptions or AI-generated content? 

Well, James thinks they have their place. He agreed that transcriptions have value from an SEO perspective. This is especially true if you use them as a jumping-off point to create an article. Plus, it’s very relevant, especially from user and reader perspectives.

However, Gert’s personal view is different. For one thing, when there is a video, he believes that it’s not good for readers. And since it’s not good for them, it’s also not good for search engines.

But there are also some downsides to transcriptions, especially if they are very repetitive on the same site. Take it from the expert; people who want to read will not listen to the audio or even watch the video. And the people who listen to the audio or watch the video are probably not going to read the entire article.

How to develop a content strategy

Of course, developing an effective content strategy isn’t always easy. There are a lot of different factors that you need to take into account. But don’t worry - here’s James to share some tips.


You need to start at the heart of content planning, as mentioned above. This includes identifying the categories of content you want to be known.

Also, place the pillars within each category and support content. The pillar article needs to be excellent, long-form, or short. 

Optimize existing URLs

Optimizing existing URLs is an important part of an effective content strategy. By analyzing your existing URLs and updating them with relevant keywords, you can help to improve your site’s ranking.

You can also update by adding images and more content and moving them more quickly to the first page. If a URL has been live for a long time, it is still more valuable to Google, even if it has no significant referring domains.

Use Pareto Principle

If you’re not familiar with the Pareto principle, it’s simple: 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This principle can be applied to several different situations. Also, it turns out that it’s also useful for content strategy.

In particular, the Pareto principle can help you focus on creating content that has the biggest impact.

For example, let’s say you only have 200 articles. The Pareto principle is true in content marketing; 20% of your content will drive 80% of your traffic even though none of them may be ranking in the top 30 positions for a higher volume key phrase. 

So, next time you’re planning your content strategy, keep the Pareto principle in mind. By doing so, you’ll be able to make the most of your time and resources.

Build domain authority

Domain authority is one of those terms that gets thrown around in SEO, but what does it actually mean? Simply put, domain authority is a metric that measures how likely a site is to rank on search engine results.

While there’s no sure-fire way to increase your domain authority, there are some things you can do. Basically, you need to identify what is realistic to rank for with both your pillars and supporting content.

You can go after more competitive key phrases if your domain authority is higher, say between 50 and 75. But for those early-stage lower startup kinds of businesses, don’t worry about starting with low search volume. Focus on getting the ranking URLs. 

Why is an internal linking strategy important for your ranking?

Many people focus on external links when improving their ranking in search engines. But an internal linking strategy is just as important.

Once you put an article in context with an internal link, you see how this starts ranking for more keywords. This strategy seems to be working well. That is, creating your supporting content based on when your article seems to be somewhat relevant. 

Additionally, ensure the internal links are well structured and ascending towards the pillars. It’s essential to keep your internal linking strategy balanced and proportional.

Note that too many links will clutter up a page and make it difficult for users to navigate. While too few links can reduce traffic by making it harder to discover related content. Overall, an internal linking strategy is essential for any successful content marketer.

What to consider in doing pillar analysis

The essential variable to consider is the intent behind the key phrase. For example, the key phrase is like project management tools or software.

Generally, the intention behind that search is clear. People are looking for tools to solve their pain points, project management-oriented pain points, etc.

So when you’re doing pillar analysis and identifying the pillars that you want to put into each category, consider the intent behind the search term. Even if the search volume is lower, you’re going to be on the first page if that has high intent search. Perhaps, you’re going to see far more bottom-line changes.

How does content decay play into a content strategy?

Content decay is a crucial aspect of any content strategy. For a piece of content to resonate with its intended audience, it needs to remain relevant over time. 

However, since Google is changing and evolving, it can be difficult for specific pieces of content to stay current and accurate. A good content strategy considers that content will decay over time. For James, incorporating content optimization within every scope of work is essential.

Aside from that, you need to incorporate focus. If there’s decay involved, identify if the article targets a known evergreen topic. With any kind of change, check-in to see if what you’ve done hasn’t improved the ranking position of that URL. If you are optimized in those tools and still falling in rankings, you need to talk about links.

Aside from Google Analytics, you can take advantage of a content ranking tool like SurferSEO. Plus, you need the writers to make the scale happen, and scale is one of the main themes. You can keep your website or blog to ensure that your visitors always have something new to read.

Wrap Up

If you’re looking to improve your SEO for SaaS companies, keep these strategies in mind. Other than that, focus on implementing them consistently over time.

With all the supporting articles, you start getting eligible for a page one ranking with a pillar topic once you’ve built this authority up. Although it’s a little bit tricky, you can surely achieve success with the help of experts.

Connect with James Scherer:

Website - https://codeless.io/

Email - [email protected]

Connect with Gert Mellak:

Email: [email protected]

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