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When you’re running a SaaS, it’s tempting to target high-volume keywords.

A keyword such as “project management tool” may seem specific, but it’s not nearly as specific as “creative agency project management tool”. While the former gets a sexy 12,000 monthly searches globally and the latter only gets about 150 searches a month globally, the latter is also a lot more specific, and a lot less competitive.

If you’re targeting creative agencies with your project management tool, those 150 people are highly relevant prospects, whereas those 12,000 consist of a mix of all kinds of people and businesses looking for a project management tool – and most of them won’t be a good fit for your product.

Depending on the strength of your website and your niche, there is certainly a place in your SEO strategy for highly competitive, high-volume keywords. But if you want to get highly targeted traffic that consists of the right prospects for your brand, doing niche keyword research is the way to go.

What Are Niche Keywords in a B2B Context?

B2B niche keywords are keywords that point to search queries within a specific B2B industry. They are often hyper-focused, long-tail keywords that – according to SEO tools – have little to no search volume.. However, the latter is not a bad thing because these keywords point to a highly focused search or user intent, which means it’s much easier to connect with that part of your target audience that uses them in search.

On top of that, niche keywords tend to have lower competition, with fewer large sites targeting them. That means you have a higher chance of claiming a spot on the first page of Google.

It’s better to target highly specific keywords searched for by your ideal prospects than to go for more general keywords that also bring in a bunch of unqualified traffic. The more relevant your niche keywords, the higher your chances of getting conversions.

B2B Niche Keyword Examples

The slug of this post on the role of board directors in corporate governance by Diligent is literally “the-role-of-the-board-of-directors-in-corporate-governance”. Normally we’d say that’s a bit long, but look at some of the keywords this blog post ranks for:

These are low-volume, but hyper-focused, long-tail keywords searched for by a highly specific audience interested in board management. And board management just happens to be one of the core solutions Diligent offers.

Persefoni is an AI-powered carbon measuring and reporting tool with two main target audiences: businesses that need to track their carbon footprint across the board, and financial services that need to be able to analyze both their own carbon footprint and that of their investment portfolios.

For both of these audiences, it’s important to get acquainted with relevant terminology which is why Persefoni publishes articles explaining concepts such as Scope 4 emissions. While this article only ranks for 8 keywords at the time of writing, it ranks for the target keyword and highly relevant related niche keywords on the first page, such as “what are scope 4 emissions”:

This article likely won’t get the company thousands of views a month, but it will get them exactly those people who need to know what Scope 4 emissions are.

How to Find Niche Keywords for Your SaaS Startup

Whether you’re at the start of building a content strategy or have so far only targeted general keywords that have gotten you little qualified traffic, going after niche keywords can help you grow your brand in a focused, less competitive way. Here’s how.

1. Get clear on your target audience

When doing niche keyword research, it’s important to analyze if your target audience consists of smaller segments. If, for example, your SaaS has a Starter Plan targeted at small companies but it also has an Enterprise Plan, you are targeting two very different audiences. One might search for “software for small businesses” while the other might search for “software for large corporations”.

Here’s a real-life example:

ClockShark is a time-tracking app for construction businesses. It targets a well-defined B2B industry and that shines through in its content. Its post on “construction safety topics” ranks on the first page of Google for its target keyword and several other niche keywords:

When you read the article, it quickly becomes clear that this isn’t just a general post on safety topics that someone threw some construction-related terms into. It’s crafted specifically for teams working in construction and addresses safety issues that are typical for construction sites. In other words: ClockShark’s target audience.

When you’re defining your audience segments, it’s a good idea to do so with the help of those within your company who are most in touch with them. Brendan Hufford from Growth Sprints has created his 3S strategy to do exactly that: talk with your sales, success, and support teams to learn which questions customers have.

2. Brainstorm keyword ideas

We’ve written before about the different techniques you can use to brainstorm content topics and find niche keywords. Since popular keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush often show low to no search volume for hyper-focused niche keywords, things such as performing market research, keeping a swipe file with interesting content, and talking to your customers are crucial when performing niche keyword research.

SparkToro is a great tool for figuring out what your audience is talking about, and where they hang out to talk about it. You can also monitor industry-specific Slack channels, scan the chat during niche-specific virtual summits, and take note of what you hear at trade shows to get more keyword ideas.

Brendon’s 3S strategy is useful here as well. He recommends talking to your internal customer-facing teams to learn what customers want to know before they make a purchasing decision. 

For this exercise to be successful, Brendon shares 5 questions you can have your sales, support, and customer success teams ask your customers to gather information:

  • When did you first realize you needed something to solve [problem}?
  • What were you trying to do when this happened?
  • When did you realize the old way wasn’t working?
  • When were you forced to make a change?
  • Before you purchased, what did you imagine life would be like using the product?

Bonus (if an existing customer): Has that reality come true?

He also emphasizes that classic keyword research is just one tiny piece of the puzzle. SEO traffic should not be a goal in and of itself but part of your larger content strategy aimed at becoming a thought leader, building relationships, generating demand, capturing that demand (with SEO), and enabling sales.

The more a content topic can achieve for your business, the more it deserves to be published.

If you do want to use a keyword research tool to expand on the niche keyword list you’ve come up with, SEMrush tends to have better data than Ahrefs when it comes to very specific B2B keywords, especially when you’re doing research in a language other than English. 

That being said, don’t discard a search term that you think is a great fit for your audience but that none of your competitors is targeting. Chances are that they are blinded by high search volume numbers and gaining traffic for the sake of gaining traffic. If your competitors haven’t yet discovered how important it is to go niche, it’ll be much easier for you to rank for these highly relevant keywords.

3. Analyze and refine

Once you’ve done your initial research and have your list of niche target keywords, you can dive into them more and organize them based on which business objectives they help you achieve (achieving thought leadership, building relationships, generating demand, capturing demand, and enabling sales).

Then, for those niche keywords that are aimed primarily at getting search traffic, you want to look at the following:

  • Are you sure it’s a niche keyword and not a seed keyword? Can you make the keyword phrase more specific?
  • How competitive is the keyword? Are high-authority sites ranking for it? Are your direct competitors ranking well for it? In other words: what is the keyword difficulty?
  • How much monthly search volume does it get?
  • What is the search intent behind a keyword, based on the articles already ranking for it?

As mentioned before, search volume shouldn’t be a defining factor for whether to publish an article targeting a niche keyword or not, but it can help you decide which topics to prioritize.

4. Integrate Your Niche Keyword Research Results into Your Content Map

Once you’ve analyzed and refined the keyword list you’ve come up with, you can come up with the actual topics and angles for each article you’ll write and add them to your content map. As you do that, keep in mind the search intent behind each keyword – or better: where the target reader of this article finds themselves in the buyer’s journey.

5. Monitor and adapt

Lastly, make sure to track your target niche keywords and the associated pages leveraging Search Console for rankings and impressions and GA4 for traffic, engagement and conversions.  Questions to ask at this stage are:

  • Is my content ranking for the niche keywords I’m targeting?
    If not, do I need to optimize the article further, or do new keyword research?
  • Is my niche content converting?
    If not, did I get the search intent wrong? Is there anything I can improve?
  • Are the right readers converting?
    If not, do I need to change the angle of my article?

Perform Niche Keyword Research to Reach Your Ideal Customers

Finding niche keywords requires some creativity and brainstorming as you can’t just rely on SEO tools. When it comes to niche keywords, specificity and focus are more important than search volume. The goal of writing content that targets niche keywords is not to get as much organic traffic as possible but to reach those prospects for whom your product is the perfect fit.

Not sure where to start?

Get in touch to discuss how we can weave niche keywords seamlessly into your content approach to get you highly qualified leads.

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Sofie Couwenbergh
Sofie is an SEO-savvy content strategist, consultant, and writer. She helps brands generate more qualified leads and keep customers engaged with engaging optimized articles like the one you’ve just read.
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