Search engine optimization is a tricky game.
To win this game, you have to make it onto the first page of Google.
How do you make it onto the first page of Google?
It’s not that easy, but we found the only marketing strategy you’ll ever need.
How to Increase Search Engine Optimization
You have to consider a few different plays to rank like a champion in the SEO world.
- SEO is nearly synonymous with keywords. Novice and experienced marketers will hear industry terms like, “keyword research,” “on-page versus off-page SEO,” “what is SEO and SEM,” or “what is white hat SEO.”
- The biggest part of search engine optimization has to do with user experience. As Google’s algorithms (constantly) change, they prioritize content that’s knowledgeable, relevant, and helpful in solving common search queries.
If you copy and paste duplicate content or forget to optimize for desktop and mobile experiences, consider yourself benched.
- Google’s algorithm considers how much of an expert a source is on the query when deciding which pages to put first. To be an expert in Google’s eyes, you must be recommended often, which builds domain authority.
When you’re recommended by other websites, it’s called link-building. It’s a long-term marketing strategy but one that shouldn’t be ignored. We even wrote an entire guide on how to build backlinks.
- PPC campaigns are, ironically, the cheapest play. While they’re an easy strategy to get ranked, pay-per-click campaigns can actually put a big dent in your marketing budget — especially if you don’t know which keywords to put money toward or how to optimize landing pages for lead generation.
With so much to consider, how do you know which marketing strategy is right for your SEO goals?
The answer is all of them.
It seems like a lot to create and adjust keywords, links, UX, and PPC bids every day.
Yet, there’s a simple answer for SaaS companies that encompasses all components of SEO: Software review websites.
Why Software Review Websites?
Software review sites are a hidden gem in the race to Google’s first page. Here’s why you need them:
- Software review sites usually have a high domain authority. Overall, these product review websites are more trustworthy and relevant compared to individual websites, because they’re unbiased.
They’re not trying to sell you. They’re trying to inform you to make a proper buying decision.
These review sites are also easy to navigate. They typically have few web pages, clean branding, and mobile optimization. This all creates a user-friendly experience and a higher rank.
- These websites include quality on- and off-page SEO techniques, so you don’t have to do the work.
Ranking highly for words like “X software,” “best software for X,” and “alternatives to X product” is hard. The competition is fierce, making it much easier to create a profile on a review site that already ranks for those target keywords.
Consider it an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality.
Bonus: If you earn reviews from customers, they often include relevant keywords in the description of their experience.
For example, when customers review The Magazine Manager (www.themagazinemanager.com), they often use words like “magazine crm software” and “contact management system.”
These are the exact keywords we’re targeting in our everyday SEO strategy. Our customers are helping us increase search visibility and improve our online reputation by sharing positive experiences with our sister software.
For example, this review for The Magazine Manager software mentions the CRM, billing, and production modules, all keywords we look to rank for.
- Similar to keywords, links are a given in review websites. Internal links keep users on the review site. They offer users the abilities to leave a review, compare product alternatives, view pricing options, and explore categories.
External links are everywhere, too. For an individual listing, think about it:
- Each listing has a link to their website.
- Each profile has a link to a contact page for a free trial or demo.
- Some listings also have links to social media profiles.
- Every profile has pricing pages, whether they open into a new tab or as a PDF.
- Some websites ask for links to mobile apps for iPhone and Android.
- Most websites ask for screenshots of the interface and/or an overview video, which can also link to your YouTube channel or another landing page.
To complement this simple external link-building strategy, review sites are also often cited as a resource in “best of” guides, “top 100” blogs, and “based on real user data” case studies.
For those familiar with search engine optimization, you know it’s hard to organically rank for target keywords.
That’s where Google AdWords comes in. You can skip the line and jump right to the top of the first page.
Not so fast…
If you thought it was hard to rank organically, paying to be at the top is just as expensive.
But there’s a solution.
As we mentioned before, review websites are often at the top of search pages, whether it’s organic or paid — and they found a loophole for smaller businesses.
They started their own PPC campaigns.
Like Google AdWords, individual profiles can pay to place at the top of their categories at a sponsored position. Some review websites, like Capterra (www.capterra.com), offer PPC campaigns in multiple countries and/or categories.
These PPC bids are more affordable (depending on how saturated your category is) and easier to adjust than AdWords.
The Best Software Review Sites of 2021
Wondering where to put your efforts when creating product listings? Don’t know who to trust when it comes to reviews? Look no further than these go-to websites for software buyers and companies:
Capterra. The gold standard of software review websites, Capterra stands above the rest as the leader in this industry.
In a December 2020 analysis on SEMrush for search engine results pages, Capterra tops the ranking for the basic keyword “software reviews.”
Owned by Gartner Digital Markets, this software review site helps businesses make informed buying decisions. It searches, sorts, and compares various software in over 700 categories.
These categories encompass hundreds of industries, including but not limited to:
- Advocacy, fundraising, and nonprofits
- Art, fashion, and entertainment
- Business (human resources, accounting, marketing and sales)
- Computer, data, and cybersecurity
- Education and childcare
- Publishing and subscriptions
- Restaurant and catering
- Retail and ecommerce
- Sports and recreation
Automatically sorted by sponsored listings first, each category details a list of the top software. It can also be sorted by most reviews, highest rated, or alphabetical.
Each listing includes a detailed description, target audience, pricing/free trial, deployment, and training and support options. It also offers a checklist of must-have features and a scrollable index of alternatives.
If you’re serious about buying the best software, use Capterra’s comparison tool to compare up to four products on a single screen.
The comparison accounts for price, number of users, reviews, ease of use, customer support, functionality, value for money, and platform.
If you’re interested in marketing your software, consider prioritizing a listing on Capterra. With a listing, you’re able to rank for target keywords (without even trying) and engage in their global PPC campaigns for a top spot on their website.
SoftwareReviews. Coming in at No. 2, the aptly named SoftwareReviews focuses on enterprise software. While not as robust as Capterra, this website offers lists by role that include:
- Application Maintenance & Development
- Data & Analytics
- Finance & Administration
- Human Resources
- IT Infrastructure & Operations
- IT Security & Risk
- Project Management
- Sales & Customer Service
- Sales Management
- Web Content Management
SoftwareReviews also offers lists by industry, covering similar (but more limited) businesses as Capterra.
Users can sort by alphabetical order, CX (customer experience) score, or top rated, most liked, and most recommended products. You can also filter by award winners, emotional footprint, and emotional quadrant winners.
Each profile offers a description, similar software, social media handles, reviews, and more.
It also details the SoftwareReviews word cloud, which “aggregates the most commonly experienced pain points and prevailing opinions held by its users. Use this at-a-glance summary to evaluate the vendor-client relationship and product effectiveness.”
For vendors, SoftwareReviews is best to assist with SEO and online reputation management. Unfortunately, pay-per-click campaigns aren’t available. However, if you’re ranked highly, it’s because your software really is top notch.
G2. G2, also known as G2 Crowd, comes right out to say this is “where you go to buy software.” Rightfully so, G2 offers more categories than any other software review website.
Covering the basic industries and then some, G2 is a comprehensive resource for those looking to buy software. Not only does it cover software, this site also ranks services including:
- Value-Added Resellers
This niche differentiates G2 from its competitors, as does the community discussion feature on each profile. It allows users and potential buyers to talk about the pros and cons of the software.
Each profile also details a description, screenshots, reviews, and more. It even gives users the opportunity to leave a video review as seen below:
For users, this review platform offers unique advantages to find the best of the best, including video testimonials and community forums.
For vendors, it’s more complicated in terms of updating and claiming your profile. It’s not as user-friendly as Capterra, but it does offer the benefit of PPC bidding to help your rank.
Software Advice. Another branch of Gartner Digital Markets, Software Advice is a reliable website for reviewing software. It’s focused on providing research and helpful advice to supplement customer reviews.
Their articles and buyers' guides detail everything, from best practices and digital tools to product comparisons by their advisors. To find exactly what you’re looking for, sort the articles by:
- Business Intelligence
- Human Resources
- Learning Management Systems
- Project Management
- Property Management
- Supply Chain Management
- Software Buying Tips
Software Advice offers an average amount of categories to sift through, but each individual listing offers a unique feature: A voice memo. This memo can be used to describe the software, thank buyers for considering the product, and so on. It’s also a considerate tool for accessibility purposes.
The product overview, comparisons, and reviews are standard and helpful. Each listing even lists the articles that feature the software as an extra boost to buyer confidence.
Inbound marketing company HubSpot demonstrates the voice memo feature along with popular buyers’ guides that mention the software.
GetApp. The final branch of Gartner Digital Markets, GetApp is another review website for software. GetApp offers 28 major software categories with dozens of subcategories under each one.
This website offers recommendations from experts, an AppFinder, integrations lists, and reviews from real users. Nearly identical to SoftwareAdvice, GetApp offers the basic information on individual listings.
Both websites auto-populate Capterra reviews onto their pages, which makes it easy from a vendor perspective. You can focus your efforts on a single site and get the work done for three. The same logic goes for the PPC campaign, though bidding is reserved for individual websites.
PCMag. While not a review website in the sense of customer satisfaction, PCMag (www.pcmag.com) is an honorable mention on this list.
This established digital magazine covers everything computers and electronics, software, and tech industry. Readers can find:
- News articles about trending topics
- Professional reviews and Editor’s Choice lists
- Comprehensive how-to guides
- Tips and tricks blogs from tech experts
If you’re looking to rank on the first page of Google, it takes more than one or two marketing strategies. Patience is key, and so is effort.
Work smarter not harder by paying attention to valuable software review websites. They’re great for search engine optimization, online reputation management, link building, and more.