5 Ways SaaS Companies Can Use Feature Announcements to Gain Search Rankings
So you’ve built an amazing product. Or you’ve updated a product to address key user needs. Or you’ve worked months to add unique functionality that your user base has been asking for.
Now it’s time to spread the word.
Successful feature announcements:
Provide a unique opportunity to refresh old content, create new content, and capture more qualified leads to your website. At the same time, both customers and potential customers get their needs resolved and questions answered.
Unsuccessful feature announcements:
Just another “Press Release: App Update 5.3” article that doesn’t present value to existing and potential customers looking to solve a problem.
81% of B2B purchase cycles start with an online web search and 57% of B2B marketers say Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has the biggest impact on lead generation. Without solid SEO, you’re throwing away opportunities for people who want your products and services to find you.
We’re going to let you in on an important tip:
We believe that each product feature announcement is an opportunity to position your product and create space in a crowded sea. Leave the boring changelog jargon up to your competition and create compelling feature announcements that energize existing users and paint a picture for your prospective customers.
Insivia knows how to capitalize on this opportunity, especially in the SaaS space.
In this article, we will share with you suggestions that will allow you to maximize each feature announcement and impact your search rankings and traffic.
How to Make a SaaS Product Launch Successful for Your Company
Whether you’re launching a new product in a new space or an updated feature on an existing platform, good SEO will ensure launch success. A product can’t catch on if people can’t find it in the first place!
SaaS companies with solid SEO show up more often when users search on search engines. These SaaS companies performing well in search engines receive more focused traffic from prospects in the midst of their buying journey. This traffic has the potential to turn over into leads.
Success on search engines doesn’t happen by accident. These companies didn’t just get lucky - they focused on and invested in their SEO plan. By identifying users’ pain points and needs, they found ways to build content to offer up solutions to their target market.
Before digging into the details for turning your feature announcements into SEO success, we need to think at a higher level first.
Why should your customers care about product updates?
The content built around the updates should be created to guide users to discover why they should care. To get customers and potential customers to adopt new features or try new products, work backward to understand the customer and the value added to their lives. Build a story for customers about why they should care and how this will impact them in a positive way.
Three major keys to SaaS feature announcement strategy:
What should you consider before launching? We’ve got you covered.
- Know the customer who would benefit from this feature or product
Have customers been asking for this change? Is it something they didn’t yet realize they needed? Let the customer be the focus of your announcement. Create buyer persona use cases to help put you in the shoes of the customer.
2. Identify the problem the feature/product solves
Your feature update or product was created to fill a need. What need does it fill? Why do customers need or want this update? Why does this feature change the customer’s life (if even in a minor way!) Product management often creates a problem statement and solution story, so make sure you get your hands on those as you go to market!
3. Focus on the customer in the content - not the company
Rather than saying, “We’re excited to announce…” try things like “You’re now able to…”
Understanding the customer, solving their problem, and writing from their perspective rather than the company’s perspective, creates a benefit for the customer that solves a gap that they currently have.
Think about it in terms of the buyer funnel - with new products and new feature announcements, you’re hoping to attract potential new customers at the top of the funnel while connecting with your customers at the bottom of the funnel. Feature announcement content should be created in a way to “Attract” new customers by answering their questions and “Delight” existing customers by meeting their needs and showing you’ve heard their feedback.
High performing feature announcements help drive satisfaction in all areas of the Buyer Funnel (Source: yesoptimist.com)
Now that you understand your customer and are prepared to fill their needs, we’ll walk you through our top 5 tips to leverage feature announcements for stronger SEO.
SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #1: Refresh Existing Website Content When Launching Feature Announcements
Think of a feature update or a new product launch as a perfect opportunity to do some spring cleaning of your SEO.
Three major benefits of upgrading your existing content for a feature announcement:
- It gives new life to content you’ve already created. You’ve already done the work, your only job is to spruce it up and bring it into the new era of your business!
- Upgrading existing content sends people from tried and true content to new content that you’re creating about your brand new feature update.
- It becomes easier for people to discover the latest versions of products you have out there. Your product story becomes much more cohesive.
Not only does upgrading existing content help highlight the new features, but it simultaneously increases older content’s “freshness”.
Content gradually becomes less “fresh” over time as shown by Moz
How to upgrade existing content for a feature announcement
First, you should identify existing website content that is relevant to your new launch. Have you referenced previous feature announcements? Does this feature announcement change behavior you’ve previously created content around? Find existing content that naturally fits the user story of this feature update.
Next, identify new keywords relevant to this feature and refresh your identified existing content in a way to point to it. For example, if your feature update is a new integration, make sure to use keywords that highlight that integration in these existing pieces of content.
Updating old content also tells Google that this content is new. This improves your SEO chances with your old content. If you were searching for information, you’d prefer a recent article over one from 10 years ago, wouldn’t you? By refreshing old content, it creates an “evergreen” effect.
SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #2: Build Out New Relevant Content
Create feature announcements within pain point content
Strong SaaS content strategy focuses on customer needs and pain points. When content focuses on customer needs, updates to this content will be much easier to make in the future.
SaaS feature announcements perform best when they’re a part of the natural customer journey. When SaaS feature announcements are built to be a part of a customer’s search process to solve a problem, it creates a content experience that is lasting and won’t be irrelevant by the next feature announcement.
Feature announcements aligned with pain points serve the purpose of both your business and your customer for two reasons:
1. Your content will regularly rank better as it’s aligned with what people are searching and Google will recognize it as “recent” content if it’s regularly refreshed.
2. Your customers will find the content that helps them alleviate their pain points, and find the latest and greatest information to help them do so.
Pain point content is easy to upgrade as features change and grow
When SaaS feature announcements are built within purpose-driven content to be a natural part of the customer journey, this content will then rank for identified pain point keywords. Later on, when more updates are made, this content can then easily be repurposed.
Three easy benefits of pain point-focused content for feature announcements:
1. When future feature updates occur, any imagery can simply be replaced with updated images of the feature
2. Any features that are sunset in future feature versions can have their sections of the post removed
3. As mentioned above, Google often recognizes newer content as more relevant and serves newer content higher in the rankings
What is SaaS pain point content and how is it used for feature announcements?
Pain point content is crafted to be found by people with questions and with certain needs. For example, these could be guides sharing how to increase lower funnel leads, how to create complex SQL queries, and how to understand user behavior. They could be showing the benefits of one data platform compared to competitors. No matter what the topic, valuable SaaS content meets people at their point of need.
There are four popular types of SaaS pain point content:
1. How-to guides
How-to guides encompass everything from “how-to” guides to “top 10 ways to…” lists. Anything that teaches or guides a user how to use a product, service, or level up on a topic.
2. Tool lists
Tool lists share popular tools and their benefits - like “best tools for SaaS SEO analysis” for example. Naturally, including and highlighting your own tool is key here.
3. Competitor analysis and comparison guides
Creating comparisons between competitors highlights the features that make each competitor in a certain product/service type unique. For example, sharing different data analytics platforms and what their unique features are. The SaaS company writing the post should of course include their own product.
4. Alternatives pages
Similar to comparison pages, these pages show where you could go for a certain type of product as an alternative to a popular provider. If you were unhappy with Salesforce, for example, you could search “Salesforce alternatives”. If you are a Salesforce competitor, you want to make sure you’re there to catch these customers.
Salesforce has already thought of Alternatives Pages for their own product, and they’re there to catch people looking to defect.
SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #3: Use Imagery
63% of all consumers said good images are more important than product descriptions according to crowdriff.com research.
What is Image SEO and how does it help with feature announcements?
SEO isn’t all keywords. Image SEO is sometimes the forgotten piece of SEO strategy but is highly impactful and valuable.
On top of being a great SaaS SEO opportunity, using imagery helps users understand exactly what you’re talking about. Use imagery to highlight your new features and products instead of telling what great new things they can do with your product. No matter how well you describe your new features, actually giving users a visual experience gives them a true understanding of what you’re offering.
Visual content can also be published to other platforms like YouTube, which drives even more visibility.
What visual content can be used to help drive adoption?
A few options for adding visual SaaS content to improve your SEO and improve your UX:
Your already loyal customers will get a convenient walkthrough of what your new feature is and how it works. Potential customers who are browsing will get a peek behind the curtain of what could be theirs if they decide to take the leap and buy.
These potential customers now know what to expect, and getting a visual actually increases their likelihood to buy. Pinterest found that Pins that show a product or service in action are 67% more likely to drive sales.
When creating website content, use imagery to help your readers follow your “how-to” or “comparison” articles. Source: NeoMam Studios
Help give your users’ brains a break by putting the information in a digestible, easy to follow, visual way. At the same time, improve your SEO by creating validity and presence in the image SEO space.
SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #4: Build a Software Roadmap
We’ve talked about opportunities to capitalize on a feature announcement for your SEO strategy with keywords, content, and imagery. However, we’re about to get into another great SaaS SEO opportunity with a feature announcement: software roadmaps. A software roadmap is complementary to pain point content, and your SEO strategy will be strongest when they both exist.
Software roadmaps create the perfect chance to build the potential for backlinks. A software roadmap becomes a summary of what feature updates have taken place. This tells search engines that the software roadmap becomes a regularly updated resource for whatever the latest and greatest versions of your product may be.
A successful software roadmap attracts backlinks, while also creating opportunities for cross-linking and summarization.
How Have SaaS Companies Used Software Roadmaps for SEO?
Zoom has a smart take on software roadmaps.
- You are immediately presented with the option to update Zoom so it’s easy to make sure you have the latest features.
- You can click through different aspects of the Zoom experience: Home, Chat, Phone, Meetings, Contacts, and what’s new with each of them
- On the bottom left, there’s a GIF that visualizes how things have changed so users can see what they’re getting into - harkening back to our SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #3.
For a varied view on software roadmaps, check out some other SaaS examples:
The key point is to ensure that your software roadmap will encourage backlinks and cross-links while summarizing the highlights of your latest features.
SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #5: Strengthen Your Place in the SERP
The SERP is the Search Engine Results Page. We’ve saved the SERP for last because this is a culmination of so many of the tips we just talked about. In the SaaS space, the SERP is widely varied.
There are many SERP features in modern SEO. These include examples such as (but not limited to!):
- Paid results
- Knowledge graphs
- Featured snippets
- Image packs
- Related questions
As you can see, there are many features to contend with in the SERP. It’s important to identify what the SERP looks like for keywords and phrases for your products and services. When you understand your SERP, you understand where you have to compete.
For example, say you were seeking a project management tool to help keep your IT projects on track and on the same page. If you search “project management tool”, you receive paid ads, images, and a featured snippet from kissflow.com.
Google Search results for “project management tool”
If you search “how to organize it projects”, you still receive paid ads and a different featured snippet from kissflow.com for another piece of their content!
Google Search results for “how to organize it projects”
Kissflow has figured out what questions and searches people have when identifying their project management needs, and gotten themselves a strong place in the SERP with a featured snippet. Use this opportunity to identify what the SERP looks like for your keywords, and see where you can bust through the competition.
SaaS Feature Announcements: A Prime Opportunity to Find Customers and Show Off Your Hard Work
Insivia is here to help you set up your SEO strategy for success - contact us to find the people who are trying to find you!
We're a SaaS Growth Agency scaling SaaS & technology companies through brand positioning, integrated marketing, web design, sales and retention.
- How to Make a SaaS Product Launch Successful for Your Company
- SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #1: Refresh Existing Website Content When Launching Feature Announcements
- SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #2: Build Out New Relevant Content
- SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #3: Use Imagery
- SSaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #4: Build a Software Roadmap
- SaaS SEO Feature Announcement Tip #5: Strengthen Your Place in the SERP
- SaaS Feature Announcements: A Prime Opportunity to Find Customers and Show Off Your Hard Work