Nick Brown is the Founder and CEO of accelerate agency, a SaaS SEO & content agency. Working with enterprise and scale-up brands.
To succeed in SEO for e-commerce SaaS, you need excellent on-site and off-site content, links from high-authority websites, and solid on-site technical SEO practices. This is very similar to the path to success in other SEO niches, but there is one absolutely huge difference: The customer base for e-commerce SaaS has more SEO knowledge than perhaps any other customer base in the world.
This crowd can instantly see how good your SEO is and how well your SEO and customer journey match up, and they will judge you by it. When it comes to SEO for e-commerce SaaS, there’s simply nowhere to hide.
Selling Water To Fish
Being a digital-first industry, e-commerce companies sign up for SaaS products in huge quantities. They eagerly invest money into everything from online shop software to AI-powered automated shopping assistants. This sector is already huge and expected to grow to $7.3 billion in global sales by the end of 2025.
That’s big, but it’s not the size of the e-commerce SaaS market that makes it such a challenging SEO niche. What makes it particularly challenging is that e-commerce companies make some or all of their money through SEO. Using SEO to sell to these people is exactly like selling water to a fish. And trust me, I know all about this.
My Life As An SEO Fish
Several years before I started helping other companies with their SEO, I launched and managed a highly successful e-commerce shop. It was a great experience and an opportunity to learn SEO for the first time.
The shop was an online version of an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar bed linen store that had been in my family for generations. For the next two years, I worked extremely hard, learning how websites worked and teaching myself SEO. Within a year of launching the online store, our website was ranking in searches alongside sector specialists like Just Linen and House of Fraser and consistently ranked above retail generalist sites like Amazon and eBay. Not bad for an old-fashioned, small-town store!
Thanks to this experience as an e-commerce manager, I know exactly what it is like to fight and scrap to build an e-commerce store from scratch into a profitable business. I also know what it’s like to do this with limited resources. I was the only person in the business focused on e-commerce, so I ended up doing most of the work myself. This was only possible thanks to timesaving SaaS tools that helped me automate the sales process and manage customer support. SaaS tools which saved time and helped me automate processes were crucial. They helped me scale the business into profitability.
I was always on the lookout for new SaaS products that could help me as the business needed them to keep growing. If I found a good one, I would invest in it. Selling SaaS to e-commerce companies through SEO to someone like that must be easy, right?
Well, no. Not really.
Fish Understand Water Better Than Anyone
Successful e-commerce businesses live and breathe SEO in much the same way that a fish lives and breathes water (except for with fish, of course, they live and breathe water a bit more literally).
After several years of managing an e-commerce store well enough to beat the biggest brands in the bed linen industry, I developed an instinct for spotting good SEO anytime I was online. When I searched for a new SaaS solution, I would always use a vendor’s SEO performance to evaluate them as a company.
For example, when a website ranked high on search results but lacked the on-site content to justify that ranking to me, the customer, I would quickly move on. I could tell this was a company that was taking shortcuts to get sales, and that would make me lose confidence. Who wants to work with someone who takes shortcuts?
When I encountered an e-commerce SaaS seller that did SEO well, though, that made a great first impression. If their website was full of content that both helped it rank for search results and helped me the customer (something any experienced SEO expert will tell you is not always the case), I would know this is a company that values quality.
Also, as I’m an SEO fanatic, I often check inbound links to websites before making a purchase (honestly, I really do). If I find inbound links from relevant, high-authority websites then I feel much better about making a substantial purchase.
And if a website’s architecture is designed to guide me through a customer journey—from landing page all the way through checkout and post-sale support—that was, to me, the ultimate hallmark of a company I want to do business with.
All of this may sound fanatical (and to be honest, it is), but there’s a reason I’m sharing this with you: successful e-commerce companies are full of SEO fanatics. If you want to sell e-commerce SaaS to them, you need to cater to their deep understanding of the SEO process.
How To Sell SEO Water To SEO Fish
Selling SaaS products through SEO to e-commerce companies means selling to a customer base that knows exactly what you’re doing at all times.
They’ll only need a few minutes to see why your website is ranking in their search, and they’ll judge you accordingly. If your e-commerce SaaS SEO strategy is based on shortcuts and gimmicks, they’ll see that. There’s nowhere to hide.
If your e-commerce SaaS website is ranking because it is well designed, gets organic links from high authority domains and is full of quality content, they will see that too. They will know you value quality and your customers and will want to do business with you.
E-commerce SaaS SEO isn’t the very biggest SEO niche nor is it the most competitive, but I’m certain it’s the SEO sector with the most educated customer base. If you can sell to them, you could sell water to a fish.