Link Building for SaaS: What It Is & Why It’s Essential for Business
By Maulik Patel
04 May 2023
Backlinks are an important part of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and play a major role in determining your website’s rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs). By building high-quality backlinks, you can improve your search engine rankings, drive traffic to your site, get more leads and sales, and ultimately increase revenue.
However, link building for SaaS can be a complex and time-consuming process unless you approach it strategically. This article will describe how SaaS link building is different from other businesses and provide you with eight strategies you can use to build a strong backlink profile with the help of a link building agency.
What Are the Specifics of SaaS Link Building?
SaaS companies are often creating a new niche or disrupting an industry that doesn’t have a market just yet. The ad spend in these companies tends to be on the higher side, and the median sales and marketing spend is around 38%.
As link building is an important part of marketing, it is a highly competitive field that keeps growing bigger and more competitive as more companies join the competition.
At the same time, there are hundreds of websites that publish material about topics important for SaaS businesses and could provide backlinks to your website. Most will link to you under the condition that you publish great content and are worth linking to.
So the key to successful SaaS link building is to focus on quality over quantity. A fewhigh-quality links that come from authoritative websites in your industry or niche are more valuable than multiple low-quality, irrelevant ones.
SaaS Link Building Strategies That Are Essential for Growth
Implementing these strategies will help you to attract more traffic to your website, improve your search engine rankings, and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.
Guest blogging is the process of writing and publishing a blog post on another website. It can come with a link back to your own website in the body of the article or in the author bio section.
Some websites will only have you link to a relevant blog. Others, like Hubspot, are okay with you mentioning your company and what it does in the article.
Guest posting on relevant websites in your niche and creating useful, valuable content does not violate Google’s guidelines, so it’s a safe, inexpensive, and effective way of link building for SaaS businesses.
Start this process with link prospecting — find relevant websites that fit your link-building strategy. There are two ways to do this:
Manually, by using Google and its search operators, like [your keyword] + intitle: “write for us”. I.e.: time tracking + intitle: “write for us”.
By using tools, find out which websites link to your competitors, and then reach out to them with a guest blogging offer. You can use SE Ranking’s backlink tool to analyse the backlinks of any website, compare them to yours, and compile a list of sites to reach out to.
Industry Podcasts, Webinars
When properly leveraged, podcasts can have an impact on organic search, and both podcasts and webinars can become great resources that people want to link to.
There are two ways to go about creating podcasts:
Hosting your own. It can be in a monologue format, where it’s only you, or in an interview format — interviewing other experts in the industry or having a co-host.
Being a guest on the podcasts of others. Aside from backlinks, this is also a great way to create publicity for both you and your company.
The situation with webinars is similar — host one yourself or appear on someone else’s.
If you do guest appearances on other webinars and podcasts, you’ll earn links right away. It could either be a link to your website or to a relevant blog post from the episode transcript.
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Source: Transistor.fm/Build Your Saas
Getting backlinks to your own podcast may prove a bit harder as the podcast needs to be either popular or very informative, both of which are hard to achieve.
You can get links from all the podcasting platforms if you post episodes there, but they typically have a subscription fee.
Tools and Calculators
The reason why most content isn’t linked is that it doesn’t really have much value. What does have value is a resource of some kind.
Develop a free, useful tool that can be embedded on a website like a calculator or a widget, and get free links every time people embed it on their websites.
Developing a widget could be a bit difficult, so here’s a simpler way to provide value that’s worth linking to. Create a comprehensive cheat sheet, checklist, template, or something else blog editors might like and link to as a resource.
Toptal recently acquired this Pomodoro timer to add the four thousand backlinks it has gathered over the years to its portfolio.
The drawback of this way of link building for SaaS is that you’ll need to actively reach out and promote your resource before people learn of its existence and start to link back to it on their own. Consider starting with pitching it to lists of tools or running a search ad campaign.
A list is one of the most popular article formats because it is highly digestible. There are hundreds of articles out there that review something relevant to your industry: a list of the best tools, a list of tips from the experts, etc. You can reach out and ask a blog owner to add your company to their list.
It’s even better if you focus on listicles that rank in the top 10 for the target keyword. This is the best link building strategy for achieving two things at once: driving traffic to your blog and getting some quality SaaS backlinks.
Here’s how you can do this:
Google “your industry +list -company name” e.g. “branding +list -Clickmatix”
Copy the relevant listicles to a spreadsheet
Get email addresses or LinkedIn profiles of editors with an email marketing tool
Craft a compelling message as to why it’s a good idea to include your company
Start an outreach campaign
You can automate the first two steps with a web parser and points 3 and 5 can be done with Snov.io and MailChimp.
If you think this strategy doesn’t work, you don’t have to look very far to notice that a large part of listicles that rank well have been updated with more items in them.
This page is in the top 10 results for the search term “best email marketing tools”.
Below is its previous version from 2021. In two years, two businesses reached out and got featured on this list.
Brand mentions are references to your product or brand on the internet without a link. They appear in discussions on Reddit, Quora, customer reviews, news articles, social media, and, of course, in blog posts.
You can make use of brand mentions when doing link building for SaaS businesses and most other businesses, too:
Set up alerts for when your brand is being mentioned (tools that can help: Google Alerts, Awario, Talkwalker Alerts, Mention).
If your product or brand is mentioned in a blog post, news article, social media, or elsewhere, send an email to the publishers and ask them to credit you with links.
Below is an example of a brand mentioned on the author’s page. This is not a link — but it could potentially become one.
Trend reports are an effective way to build links that can serve as your evergreen backlink generator for years — provided that you follow a few simple tips when creating them.
Create an in-depth, comprehensive report packed with information: experts’ opinions and predictions or fresh industry statistics.
Boost its value further by making an infographic with the same data that is easy to understand and share.
Update the report every six months to include new stats or delete ones that are no longer relevant.
Conducting thorough, in-depth research and then distributing the article takes time and effort. It’s a high barrier to entry that your competitors will not be able or willing to beat. This will keep your article unique for longer (together with all the backlinks it will generate).
Once the article starts to rank in the top 10 for the relevant keyword, you’re in for a whole lot of links. Dozens of writers are looking for statistics, and not a lot of them are willing to go the extra mile and link to the original source instead of the roundup. They’ll find your article on the SERP and link to it.
Some of the most authoritative and beneficial links in link building for SaaS websites come from media sources. One way to get these links is through news sharing.
Monitor niche news and see where a mention of your brand or product would make sense. Then, prepare a pitch and pitch it to interested journalists/contributors in the relevant niche.
Journalists love quoting experts in their articles, and you can be that expert. The chances of getting a backlink from each individual email are pretty low, but if you target the email list correctly and send enough emails, you’ll get a few news mentions per month.
To find the right people to send your pitches to, you can parse large media sites for journalists’ contact info or use a specialised service like Roxhillmedia. The price for accessing the database is very high, though.
You could also go to HARO (Help A Reporter Out). It’s a resource that connects reporters and journalists to knowledgeable sources and contributors for their articles. In return, contributors can get mentioned in the article — and sometimes also get backlinks.
Links From Relevant Listings
The easiest method of SaaS link building is to get a link from directories and review sites like G2, Clutch, TrustPilot, GoodFirms, and others. There are dozens of them, and submitting your site will grant you a link and (potentially) a source of direct traffic.
Make sure to filter them by traffic and DR or whatever metric you’re using carefully, as links from poor-performing sites are not going to improve your standing.
Here’s an example of what a listing page looks like. It can contain several links to your site.
What to Avoid Doing When Link-building for SaaS
While there are plenty of great ways to build backlinks for SaaS sites, there are also a few things you want to stay away from.
Avoid spammy resources and sites that are not relevant to your niche. I.e., websites that rank for keywords that are irrelevant to your niche and for spammy keywords like “casino”, “essay”, “gambling”, etc.
Do not get backlinks from websites that sell links. If Google finds you getting too many paid backlinks, it might penalise your website. In any case, dozens of paid links won’t work as well as a single link from a reputable site.
Avoid publishing poor-quality content. If your content is not worth linking to, or you are inconsistent (poor-quality articles published alongside great ones), people will not want to link back to your website, and your chances of getting good backlinks become fewer.
Avoid private blog networks (PBN). PBN is a group of websites that only exist to provide backlinks to other websites, and they are easily detectable by Google — getting a link from them is against Google Search Essentials and can result in harsh penalties.
By building high-quality backlinks, you can increase your website’s search engine visibility, credibility, and brand awareness. This, in turn, can help you attract more qualified traffic to your site and generate more leads and sales.
There are a number of effective strategies in link building for SaaS websites — guest blogging, roundup articles, trend reports, tools and calculators, news sharing, links from relevant listings, and more.
You do not need to be a major SaaS company to build backlinks at scale — having a clear plan and choosing SaaS link building tactics that suit your abilities is a good enough starting point.
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