Alternative Keywords 101: Boost Your SaaS Blog ROI

Olga Mykhoparkina photo

Olga Mykhoparkina

Dec 30, 2023

What is more important: increasing your website traffic or getting more qualified leads?

If you’ve chosen the second option, you’re in the right place because that’s exactly what we focus on when creating content for our clients.

In this article, I’ll share a SaaS content marketing strategy I’ve developed years ago and it all started with keyword research.

Since then, we’ve used this specific type of keywords for numerous SaaS clients, and it worked like magic every time.

Get ready because it might be time to include new keywords in your SaaS content production and after reading this article you’ll know exactly what you need to do next.

What are alternative keywords?

Alternative keywords are search queries that consist of two words: “name of your competitor + alternative”. You can generate many potential keywords, depending on the size of your industry and how many competitors you have.

Now, why would anyone want to rank for their competitors’ keywords? Let me explain.

Imagine you’re a new SaaS brand in the email marketing industry. You could use your brand’s name as your main keyword, but if you’re new, I doubt it has a reasonable search volume.

No one is googling your name because they’re not aware that your company exists.

Keywords related to your biggest competitors such as Mailchimp or MailerLite probably have higher search volumes. That shouldn’t discourage you from trying to rank on Google.

Instead, you can use their branded queries with high search volume to your advantage. Open a keyword tool to see how many people are searching for “Mailchimp alternatives” or “ActiveCampaign alternatives” (or any other relevant keywords in your industry).

SaaS alternative keywords: Mailchimp alternatives

SaaS alternative keywords: Active campaign alternatives

If you discover that those keywords have a reasonable monthly search volume, that’s great news for you. I’ll explain how you can use them to your advantage.

Why do you need to use alternative keywords in your SEO strategy?

Alternative keywords are one of the quickest ways to reach people at the bottom of the sales funnel, who are ready to purchase.

When doing keyword research, most people focus on keywords with the highest search volume.

At Quoleady, we do keyword research a bit differently.

We aim for a perfect combination of search volume, keyword difficulty and intent – search intent being the most important factor to us.

SaaS keyword research: Choosing the right keywords

We want to find keywords with a high-purchasing intent showing that a person is ready to buy your product. Naturally, those keywords end up having a high conversion rate and here’s why.

If you’re looking for an alternative to a certain tool, it probably means you’re not satisfied with the tool you’re currently using or it doesn’t work for you for some reason.

The goal of this keyword strategy is to get your product in front of those people. Another benefit is that this strategy often allows you to skip the whole lead nurturing process as you’re targeting people who are actually ready to buy.

That’s why you definitely need to include these keywords in your Google keyword planner or other keyword tools you use.

But this is just one part of our high-intent content strategy. I’ll cover more content ideas further in the article.

SaaS keyword reserch: High intent blog posts

Which businesses can benefit from alternative keywords

We came up with this strategy for our SaaS clients, and it’s worked in different industries: from marketing automation apps to virtual phone systems.

But this strategy can also work for other product-based businesses, no matter whether you sell a physical product or a digital product.

It works especially well in these two cases:

  1. If your industry is dominated by one or two big names. A lot of people use their products but there are also a lot of people who are not satisfied with the mainstream product and want to find something different.
  2. If you offer a cheaper alternative to some popular high-end products. In some industries, like the beauty industry or personal goods, there are often some popular high-end brands. On the other hand, there are also people who want a similar product, but at a lower price.

My alternative keywords story

SaaS keywords: 8 Slack Alternatives

Here’s how I came up with a high-intent keywords based strategy.

Back in the days when I was working as a CMO at Chanty, we started our marketing efforts from scratch and we had to develop our pre-launch strategy.

Inspired by GrooveHQ’s blog success, I decided to place a bet on content marketing.

To be clear, I had no background in creating articles or doing content marketing since I was previously employed as a technical SEO specialist.

So we started reading and learning and testing things for Chanty.

We had to determine our positioning and messaging and I was digging through Ahrefs trying to find which keyword would better describe us as a tool – team chat, group messaging tool, team communication app or something else?

Then I came across the keyword “Slack alternatives” and it hit me – this is what people who are unhappy with Slack are looking for.

They are literally ready to pay us at this stage of their buyer journey.

I looked up the keyword difficulty score and it wasn’t very high unlike many popular keywords like “team collaboration tools”.

So we wrote an article about it. It was super detailed, contained tons of value, showcased our team’s experience when testing tools and even had a voting poll – which Slack alternative we liked better.

Of course, Chanty was #1 on that list. By that time our app was about 10% ready. We couldn’t show our potential users the actual app. But we could convince our readers it would be worth their time and money when we launch it.

So instead of collecting product sign ups, we collected beta testers. The conversion rate was around 10% which is, I understand now, huge. By the time the app was actually launched, we had thousands of users eager to test it.

Overwhelmed with this success we kept on writing other blogs, reviewing alternatives of other competitors, writing tool comparison articles and so on.

Yet that one single article has been a game changer for the whole business. It works up until now even though I’m not with the company for 3+ years.

Other high-intent keywords you should know about

Of course, you can experiment with other keywords and see what works best for you. Here are some keyword suggestions that also convert well:

1. Listicles

Quoleady's client blog topic: Top 10 automationn tools for lead generation in 2022

Listicles are another type of content that is great for lead generation. It also allows you to position your SaaS next to the most famous apps in your industry.

However, it’s not enough to simply list your tool and 9 other tools and call it a day. The competition is crazy and you really have to put in a lot of effort and deliver more value than other articles.

You can put your tool #1 on the list but you should stay unbiased and shouldn’t put your competitor in a negative light. Instead, you can explain who can benefit the most from which tool and focus on some features that your tool has and other tools are lacking.

Here’s an example of a listicle we wrote for our client Expandi that ranks #1 on Google for “top Linkedin automation tools for lead generation”.

2. Comparisons (vs keywords)

Quoleady's client blog topic: We tried Hotjar vs Microsoft Clarity

If people can’t decide between two tools, you can create a detailed guide where you compare their features, pros and cons, whether there is a free version, and so on. Then, mention your tool and explain who can benefit the most from it.

Here are some of the keywords we used for our client FullSession, analytics software:

  • HotJar vs Microsoft Clarity
  • MixPanel vs Google Analytics
  • HotJar vs Lucky Orange

3. Review

Quoleady's client blog topic: Detailed Zadarma review for 2022

People near the bottom of the sales funnel are often looking for reviews to help them make the final decision on which software to purchase.

You may think that there’s no point in writing reviews because search engines already have hundreds of reviews from platforms like Capterra and G2.

Although user-generated reviews might be genuine, they often fail to compare all the features and that’s why people are looking for more detailed feedback.

Here are some keyword ideas from the articles we wrote for our client RingBlaze:

  • GoToConnect review
  • Basic Talk review
  • Zadarma review

4. Pricing

Conduct keyword research to find out whether there are enough people looking for your competitors’ product price.

Beware that you won’t get as much traffic as Ahrefs promises as most of those people will end up on the Pricing page of your competitor. That’s what best answers their intent.

But you can try to lead some of that traffic to your website using the following tactic. You should come up with a catchy title, like: “Mailchimp pricing – how to pay less for email marketing automation?” where you can talk about Mailchimp pricing and pitch your tool as well, if it’s less expensive.

People who are comparing prices of different tools are usually at the bottom of the sales funnel and ready to buy. If they find a good deal, they could easily change their mind and purchase other software than the one they originally wanted.

Of course, I’m not saying that lower pricing should be the only thing that differentiates you from a competitor. We don’t want to attract people who are always looking for a better deal, because they can quickly switch over when a new, less expensive tool appears.

Instead, try to position your SaaS product as a better value for money, explaining which pains it solves for the users.

Let’s say you’re a new keyword research tool. You could try to rank for the following keywords:

  • Ahrefs pricing
  • SemRush pricing
  • Google keyword planner pricing

And then use the rest of the article to explain what makes your keyword tool a better solution whether it’s ease of use, some advanced features or a better value for money.

5. How-to articles

Quoleady's client blog topic: How to write a business proposal

How-to articles could easily be the most popular form of product-led content. The idea is to show people how they can solve a problem using your SaaS product.

You can use Google suggest or other keyword research tools to find the most common queries and discover keyword ideas and then create a series of articles answering them.

To illustrate this, here are a couple of keyword ideas we covered for our client PandaDoc, a business proposal software:

  • How to write a business proposal
  • How to write an NDA
  • How to terminate a contract

As a SaaS content strategist, I usually advise combining different types of content to see what works best for your business. Check out our B2B SaaS blog writing tips for more help.

Our alternative keywords process for our clients

When I ask clients about their big competitors and they mention someone well-known, I get thrilled as I know there’s a lot of potential there. Here’s the exact process we use for our clients:

1. We list all their competitors.

2. We generate high-intent keywords including alternatives.

Generating high intent article topics for SaaS

3. We look up those keywords on Ahrefs (but you can use any other keyword analysis tool you want, even some free keyword tools could be helpful up to a certain extent).

4. Then, prioritize the keywords depending on the keyword difficulty score, search volume and of course intent. I highly advise you to focus on search intent, although it may sound counterintuitive if you’re new to keyword research. For example, 10 searches per month for an alternative keyword is better than 30 searches per month for “vs keyword”. At the same time if your SaaS is $5 per month and LTV at $25 per customer, focusing on volume that’s so low won’t make economical sense.

5. Outline a content publication calendar and decide what content is going to be published and when. This will help you with consistency which creates a compound effect over time. (You can use Google trends for inspiration as well as questions your potential customers ask to get some content ideas). There are also a lot of free tools for content planning, check out Google keyword planner alternatives.

6. Start writing great articles that outperform the top search results. The best approach is to give a detailed and unbiased review of each tool and provide value and help to your readers. Check out these articles for more tips on SaaS content writing and optimizing your blog for SEO.

7. Publish articles but don’t forget to work on internal linking and building backlinks to your SaaS blog if you want your content to rank on search engines. (Check out this guide on how to choose websites for SaaS link-building).

8. Update older articles regularly. If you don’t know where to start, it might be a good idea to do a SaaS content audit first.

I shared what works for us, and now it’ll be fair to share what doesn’t work as well. Check out this article and discover the most common SaaS content marketing mistakes to avoid.

Alternative keywords: the real results of our clients

Here are two examples of how our clients ranked in organic search using the exact same strategy I shared with you.


FullSession is a web analytics software founded in 2020. When we started working with them, their website had a really low domain authority so it was impossible to rank for a big keyword like “web analytics software”.

That’s why we decided to go with an alternative approach. Their main competitor is HotJar, so we used a keyword tool to see if people were searching for HotJar alternatives. The answer was positive so we wrote an article about top 5 HotJar alternatives that helped them rank #1 on Google search for keyword “HotJar alternatives”.

Quoleady's client google search results

Here’s what happened after just a few months:

  • Their website traffic went from 0 to over 21.000 visits.
  • They got 1180 qualified leads.
  • Their domain rating went from 0 to 49.

Of course, we wrote some other articles, like comparisons and product-led articles, but “HotJar alternatives” was the one that brought the most leads. You can read the full case study here.


RingBlaze is a virtual phone system – as you may know, it’s a pretty competitive industry, so when we first started working with them we had them write a list of all their competitors.

We used that data to create our keyword list and we proceeded to write a series of articles covering competitors’ alternatives and comparisons.

Of course, we made sure that the articles were more detailed and more helpful than those already ranking for those keyword phrases.

We put RingBlaze as #1 alternative but we kept the articles unbiased and mentioned the benefits of other tools as well.

Quoleady's client blog posts

Here’s what happened after just a few months:

  • Their website traffic went from 0 to 50.000.
  • They got 650 qualified leads.
  • Their domain authority went from 8 to 30.

Quoleady's client metrics

You can read the full case study here.


Finding keywords that can help you rank on the first page of Google is much easier when you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Open a keyword research tool and see if there are any alternative keywords that you could rank for.

For example, if you have email marketing software, try using keywords like “Mailchimp alternatives”, or any other popular tool in your industry.

That way, you’re targeting people with a high-purchasing intent, people who are not satisfied with the solution they’re currently using and want to switch to another SaaS.

But that’s just the first step. Unfortunately, keyword research is not enough. Once you’ve got your keyword list, it’s time to create value-packed articles that will convert your readers into paying customers (alternatives, listicles, product-led content etc.)

That’s where we can help. Book a free call and let’s work on your strategy and content creation together!

Feel free to reach out to me on Linkedin if you have any questions.

Olga Mykhoparkina photo

Olga Mykhoparkina

Founder, CEO

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