How SaaS Companies Can Find The Right SEO Agency

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

Finding the right SEO agency partner for your SaaS company can be an intimidating process. There are thousands and thousands of SEO agencies to choose from. Even just drawing up a short list to select from might seem impossible at first.

First, there are generalist SEO agencies that do just about everything for virtually any type of client. There are also specialist agencies that only help with very specific parts of the SEO process, like technical SEO. There are also lots of agencies that will conduct audits and draw up comprehensive SEO strategy documents, but then leave it up to in-house SEO managers to execute them.

Here are two rules of thumb I suggest following if you’re trying to find an agency:

1. Work with a specialist agency rather than a generalist. There are some big advantages to working with a generalist agency, but the right specialist agency partner can provide the same advantages plus several additional ones (more on this later).

2. Choose an agency that specializes in your sector rather than a particular part of the SEO process. For example, if you run an e-commerce platform, work with an e-commerce specialist SEO agency.

If you’ve read any of my previous Forbes articles, you will have seen me refer to the fact that I run a SaaS specialist SEO agency. Of course, I think this kind of agency is usually the best option for any SaaS company that aspires to a hockey-stick-style growth chart, but I can back this up.

Let me explain.

Working With A SaaS SEO Agency Vs. One That Specializes In Just One SEO Area

Getting your company’s website to the top of highly competitive search results is a very complicated process. In my most recent Forbes article, I compared managing an SEO campaign to maintaining a race car: The website needs to be calibrated exactly right (like an engine) and it needs to be powered by high-authority links (which are like the fuel) and carried along by content that provides great traction (like high-performance tires).

Working with an agency that specializes in just one of these factors (as many do) might result in a very fast website, lots of links or great content. A specialist agency is unlikely to produce top-level results for everything you need to climb to the top of search results, however.

The reason is simple: Specialists naturally tend to think that their specialty is what’s most important and then underestimate the importance of everything else.

In other words, to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

An agency that doesn’t specialize is more likely to be objective and ensure that nothing is overemphasized or overlooked. This is great, and important. But it’s not everything.

Why SaaS Specialist SEO Agencies Are Usually The Best Choice

Working with an SEO agency that specializes in your sector can provide a huge range of benefits for your business without the drawbacks I mentioned above. Like a generalist agency, a good sector specialist agency will take responsibility for all aspects of the SEO process and won’t focus on one factor like technical SEO or SEO strategy.

Sector specialist SEO agencies can also provide advantages that no other agency type can match, however. These include:

• A thorough understanding of your customers and your sales process. The sales funnel for a SaaS product is totally different from the sales funnel for online insurance sales or a B2C product. Working with an agency that already knows how your marketing team works makes life much easier, and results will likely come faster.

• Content partnerships with highly relevant domains that provide benefits to all of a sector specialist agency’s clients.

Tips For Finding The Right SaaS Specialist Agency

Working with a SaaS specialist agency is something I strongly recommend, as it’s a highly competitive sector.

This still leaves an important question, however. How can you be sure that a SaaS specialist agency is able to deliver on its promises? Here are four things to look out for:

1. First, check that a prospective agency has relevant case studies and testimonials from SaaS companies on its website. If an agency claims to have expertise in SaaS SEO but doesn’t have these, that’s a serious red flag.

2. Next, ask to see examples of their work, particularly their SEO content briefs, and examples of link acquisitions. If the content briefs are very basic, and don’t contain more than a list of keywords, this is a clear sign that this agency probably won’t be able to compete in SaaS SEO. If the links are not from high-authority websites, or are from websites that aren’t highly relevant to their client’s SaaS niche, this is also a sign to move on.

3. Be sure to ask the agency whether they take their own medicine. Are they practicing good SEO for their own website? SaaS SEO is a narrow enough niche that a specialist agency should be able to rank for some relevant keywords. If they don’t, ask them to provide a compelling reason why.

4. Lastly, ask about their content partnerships. Specifically, ask whether they have a list of partnerships that are strong enough to deliver quick results (something that is sometimes referred to as a “little black book”). This should be a list of long-standing, trusted content partnerships that the agency can turn to when they want to get new content published quickly. This is especially important if you want to see results from your campaign sooner rather than later.

Want more tips for finding the right agency? Just check out the five questions your SEO agency must answer that I shared in a previous article.

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