Why B2B SaaS Struggles with SEO Content ROI

If you were to look at your Google Analytics data at this moment, most of your blog traffic likely comes from a few blogs, probably around 2-5 blogs.

To verify this you can easily set up events in Google Analytics. This will enable you to track traffic and conversions coming directly from your content. 

What’s intriguing, however, is that most often the posts with the highest traffic do not necessarily generate the highest volume of conversions.

And that’s where most marketers fall into the trap because in many cases traffic can be a vanity metric. 

So what's the disparity?

This is not as complicated as it can appear. The content produced is top of the funnel for your product. They inevitably have more people searching for them, but they don’t have high buying intent if any at all.

The data backs this up, let’s look at 2 keywords. One top of the funnel and one bottom of the funnel. And we use the US as the location since it’s the best benchmark. 

Example 1: cold call

Example 2: best cold calling software


Terms that target the middle or bottom of the funnel usually have a lower volume of traffic, but the buyer intent is much higher. Have a look at the highlighted areas in the screenshots above.

Going back to “the trap” mentioned earlier, many companies are focused on ranking for high-volume keywords in their content marketing and SEO. Our priority is to target the high-buyer intent keyword which we call “money”-keywords. They will likely have lower volume, but the conversion potential is much higher and that’s where you’ll find potential buyers that are in the consideration or decision phase.



Note: Prioritizing high-volume keywords might be effective if your main goal is to generate traffic (media sites, affiliate sites, or ad/impression-based content sites), newsletter, or email list sign-ups. Or for any other business where ToFu traffic is valuable. When we say “conversions”, we’re specifically addressing product-related signups, form fills, or booked demos, rather than email or newsletter opt-ins

Our keyword strategy is pain point-driven SEO and not volume-driven SEO

Suppose you’re doing content marketing for a B2B SaaS company whose target audience is sales experts. For the sake of ease, we’ll use this example, despite its wide-ranging target audience.

A plethora of marketers approach their content marketing with keywords first.

So what do we mean by this? 

They start by conducting keyword research that they think is relevant and interesting to sales experts, and they end up with a list of keywords that resemble this: 

Usually, after creating a list of ToFu keywords, they prioritize what keywords to target based on volume (high-volume keywords), and keyword difficulty (low-competition keywords). On top of that, they (sometimes) try to figure out which keywords are relevant and add a relevancy score. 

The main reason for having this approach is because often their (only) metric to measure success is traffic, not booked demos or sign-ups. 

In this case study we show how traffic does not equal business growth (vanity metric).


We prioritize Search Intent and bottom-of-the-funnel keywords

Instead, the method we employ for generating SEO-driven content flips the conventional process. We begin by understanding the buyer's intent (the customer's pain point), and then we identify keywords and topics that address solutions to the problem the searcher seeks to resolve.

This approach allows us to map the intent of the search and connect it with the buyer’s journey. This will enable us to have a better predictor of which SEO content will generate qualified leads and sign-ups. Compared to just measuring which posts will generate traffic. 

Now that we’ve discussed the differences between targeting high-volume keywords and leveraging pain point-focused SEO, let’s dive into the exact process we use for ideating topics and driving qualified leads. 


Content frameworks that generate leads

We have a rigid process we follow when ideating content. And we typically adhere to certain content frameworks we’ve identified as the most effective for SEO content conversion. Having implemented these frameworks and strategies for our client for years, we’ve managed to categorize these into three tiers for better understanding: 

  • Category keywords
  • Comparison and alternatives
  • Job-to-be-done keywords

Category keywords are related to content that directly aligns with your product or service category. These can, for example, be “sales outreach software”, “marketing analytics software”, or “CRM software”.  Category keywords should be easy to identify since they’re the most obvious keywords for your brand - and are just different descriptions, expressions, or phrases of your product or service. People think differently and, commonly, they search for a phrase that’s similar to your product but is still a variant of it. 

Let me give you an example here. If someone searches for “task management software” and you have a project management software, you’re still within the same category. If that searcher lands on your page and you have the right selling points, they will likely convert. After all, they’re looking for software that can help them manage their and their team’s tasks and projects, which is what a project management software can help them with.

Going back to category keywords, most often, people searching for these terms don’t need to be guided through a “buyer’s journey” or awareness of their problems; they are actively searching for solutions and are already in the market for what you sell. Your responsibility is to ensure that you show up for these search terms and persuade them that your solution is worth considering. And to be fair, it’s on the edge of inexcusable to not strategically target these keywords with dedicated pages on your website, even if it means optimizing your homepage. 

The beauty of category keywords is that there are often tons of variations you can go after, make sure to think of all the variations that people could call your product or service. Aim to rank for all synonyms within your category.

Comparison (or alternatives) keywords signal that the searcher’s intent is to evaluate (compare) your or your competitors’ products. Examples of this include “Salesforce vs Hubspot” and “Pipedrive alternative” etc. Similar to the category keywords, prospects searching for these terms are typically deep in the purchasing process and are positioned to try or purchase a product within your category. Many of them may be contemplating a switch from a competitor or comparing options before making a decision. If your brand doesn’t show up for these searchers, they will inevitably go to your competitor, because they’re highly converting. 

When we initially targeted these keywords a long time ago, they were less prevalent, making them easier to rank for. However, they have since gained traction within the SEO community, which has increased the competition. Nonetheless, we still believe that they remain an underutilized content opportunity that can greatly benefit most brands. 

Jobs-To-Be-Done keywords: Last but not least we have the core of Pain Point SEO. The JBTD- keywords represent a significant portion of your unique insights. These are the keywords that indicate that the searcher has a pain, challenge, or problem that your product or service solves. Now it’s important to note that these searchers, compared to the framework above, are not explicitly searching for your solution, instead, they’re searching for the problem they are facing and seek guidance on how to solve it. These search phrases include “how to” queries, such as “how to maintain a healthy pipeline” and “how to manually analyze customer support tickets” etc. 

JBTD content is the middle of the funnel, which means that you should provide helpful advice but also position and sell your product or service as a viable solution, often the optimal one. This is the main differentiator between JTBD keywords and the above; they still have buying intent but not as much as the previous frameworks, since they’re not bottom of the funnel. But they convert much more than the top of the funnel.


As you can see in the figure above, frameworks 1 and 2 are at the bottom of the funnel, while JTBD is in the middle. It’s hard to pinpoint which converts the best (between 1 and 2), since we’ve seen that keywords in both categories have been converting extremely well for our clients, therefore categorizing them similarly.

Observe that the BoFu takes up less area on the triangle, this means that there is a limited set of bottom-of-the-funnel keywords to go after. However, for some clients, we've dedicated years solely to keywords within these two frameworks. 

In the middle of the funnel, we have the JBTD keywords. As we mentioned earlier, these are typically lower converting than frameworks 1 and 2, however, these keywords still have buying intent. You can reasonably assume that some people searching these keywords are willing to consider using your product or service to solve their problems.

Last of all, at the top we have the ToFu keywords, which in most cases have very little buying intent. We rarely go after these, it happens if we find a keyword that is extremely relevant to the ICP and still has some buying intent. They’re good for traffic, but the conversion rate is low.

Keep in mind that this outline is just a useful way to understand these keywords; it’s not intended to be interpreted literally. While it may show distinct boundaries between these categories, in practice, these distinctions can be less clear, and there will always be keywords that defy easy categorization. However, that’s not the point (and it shouldn’t matter). If you focus on finding keywords within these three categories and prioritizing based on buying intent, you’ll see significant improvements in content and SEO performance. 


How do you find high-converting topics for your content?

Now that you understand the frameworks and the differences between search intent. How do you get content ideas that fit into the frameworks we presented above? 

Fundamentally, all ideas should originate from your prospects and current customers. Our entire strategy hinges on gaining an in-depth understanding of your customers. When you have an in-depth understanding of your (best) customers, you can easily generate content ideas that your competitors overlook because they prioritize traffic, in comparison you will prioritize addressing your customers’ needs and challenges.

Think about it, by understanding who your customers and prospects see as your competitors (framework 2), the pain points your customers and prospects believe your product or service addresses (framework 3), what features or parts of your solution provide the greatest value to them (framework 1), how your customers articulate your product or service and the benefit they derive from it (1 and 3), you should be able to generate numerous high-converting content ideas.



This was a long article so let’s tie the knot. We’re not suggesting that you should exclusively produce content within the three frameworks. Based on our experience, across multiple clients, we’ve noticed significantly higher conversion rates when creating MoFu and (particularly) BoFu content targeting long-tail keywords.

With this said, we recommend prioritizing the bottom of the funnel and then working your way up. Instead of (what most marketers do) starting with the top of the funnel and trying to guide the prospect through the whole funnel. Our way means prioritizing search intent and buying intent over volume. 

Once you’ve thoroughly explored all the potential long-tail keywords using the frameworks we’ve walked you through, it’s then appropriate to adopt a broader approach and target higher-volume keywords relevant to your niche and audience interests.

Furthermore, effectively implementing this strategy also relies on crafting high-quality content that aligns with the search intent of the user, and is written at the same expertise level as the reader. If you want to delve deeper into how to do this, we’ve written a detailed article on our process for SEO content writing and SaaS content writing.