Link Building for Saas Companies
According to a study by Statista.com, the SaaS industry is poised to double over the next five years, going from a 103 billion dollar industry in 2020 to a 215 billion dollar industry in 2025.
As the demand for convenience surges, we are seeing an explosion of new SaaS companies entering an already crowded market. This means now more than ever, you need to stand out online to thrive. SEO is the ticket to getting noticed and growing.
SEO consists of three pillars. Technical, Content, and Links. SaaS companies that seize opportunities in all three of these areas are seeing unparalleled growth. Companies like Semrush have gone from startup to publicly traded, riding the wave of sales generated by a sound SEO & marketing campaign.
While most marketing executives are aware of the importance of a corporate presence on social media or the value of targeted ad buys on popular platforms, not as many are mindful of the importance of link building or the value that proper implementation of this practice can have.
Whether you’re reading this guide as the CEO of a SaaS company wondering why not enough eyes are on your site, or as a digital marketing associate looking to expand your company’s campaign, this guide will highlight the importance of link building in any successful SEO strategy, giving you a solid foundational understanding.
What is Link Building, and Why is it Important for a SaaS Company?
Link building is a means of organically building traffic to your website by attaining “votes of confidence” from other sites and building credibility with consumers and Google. If this process is done effectively, the results will amplify the likelihood that your page will be seen and interacted with by customers.
Search engines like Google treat a website as more inherently valuable to the consumer when it has been linked to by other, authoritative websites in your field. This makes it more likely that your website will “rank” highly and show up more prominently when the customer looks up your specific service.
The massive caveat, of course, is that for maximum impact, these linked websites must be authoritative and connected in some way to your field: you’ll likely get more of an SEO boost out of a link on Business Insider than Joe Schmoe’s Warhammer Blog, for example.
In addition to boosting the overall likelihood of your page being ranked highly by search engines like Google, backlinks on authoritative, highly-trafficked sites can enable you to tap into that site’s user base. This effectively allows you to siphon off of their users and generate organic traffic in a different, but not less effective, way.
Link Building Strategies for SaaS Companies
Now that you know the definition of link building, the question remains: how can you implement it and get the most out of your SEO-centric efforts?
Here are a few effective link building tactics that should be part of your overall SaaS link building strategy. Along with creating content, the tactics below will help you earn relevant links while building relationships with other sites.
Guest posting is perhaps one of the most well-known ways to build links, involving a writer for your company drafting up a piece with embedded links that will be published on a reputable authority site.
However, it should be noted that while guest posting is a demonstrably good way to raise your site’s overall “rank,” it is work-intensive and won’t fit every business or situation. In addition to making sure that your writer produces a quality piece, negotiating and following-up with publishers, and making sure you also link to other high-value authority sources, it can take anywhere from weeks to months for your piece to get published and for your company to see results.
However, when it works, it WORKS.
In order to maximize the SEO value of your guest posts, you won’t want to necessarily shoot for the massive, big-name publishers, like Business Insider or PC Mag, as sites like those have backlogs going back for months. Instead, focus on niche relevant websites that share a similar audience. This will allow you to get published sooner and more often – which will get things moving in the right direction. Once you have a solid foundation, you can always circle back to “top tier” sites, just don’t use all of your time and resources on them.
Embedded in the sites of most major organizations is an underutilized asset for SEO marketers known as the resource page, a portfolio of trusted sources unequivocally endorsed by the trusted organization with links included.
For consumers, the resource page represents a wealth of available resources at their fingertips, able to be accessed from one convenient location at any moment. For the hosting organization, resource pages represent an opportunity to shake hands with other companies in their field, mutually boosting each other through these often-consulted pages.
With that in mind, all you have to do to get on a company’s resource page is ask; The resulting negotiations, and their success, will likely depend on the quality of the content on your page, and whether your company is deemed worthy of their endorsement.
This can be very time-intensive, but it is a great way to land extremely valuable links from trusted organizations.
Boost Your Signal Via Podcasts
Podcasts are growing in popularity as people continue consuming more audio & video content. Appearing on credible podcasts can be a great way to build brand awareness and display expertise.
Do some research on the most popular podcasts in your industry, then reach out, explaining what value you can offer to their listeners.
This will allow you to earn links from their “show pages” as well as from the syndication of your podcast. As part of a diverse link building strategy, podcast appearance shouldn’t be overlooked.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
As your brand grows in popularity, chances are other writers and publications will mention you by name without linking to your site. While this does increase the likelihood that their readers will visit your website, failing to get them to link to you is a missed opportunity for better rankings.
As such, reach out to the writer or publisher that mentioned you by name, thanking them for their interest in your work and asking if a link to your website can be included. This is a low-effort, high-impact way to produce more backlinks, as you aren’t paying anyone or attempting to convince an uninterested party to sponsor you; you are instead capitalizing on already existing, organic interest.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is a high-impact means of capitalizing on already existing opportunities, taking advantage of those instances where a high-profile website links to a page that is no longer accessible.
No publishing site wants this to happen, as it represents a glaring flaw in their user experience design; however, with the sheer volume of content on most publishing sites (and the massive number of corresponding links), it can be time-consuming for webmasters to keep them all up to date.
When you find a broken link on an industry-relevant site and pitch the inclusion of your link, you’re actually proposing something that is mutually beneficial.
Now, if you have ever tried broken link outreach, you know that not everyone is going to be interested or even reply. That is because this has been widely used and abused across the industry. However, when you have a great resource, you can still get links using this tactic – just be prepared to work!
How to Identify a Quality Backlink
It isn’t enough just to have a bunch of backlinks scattered across the net… Google (and other search engines) weighs each backlink on its own merit, determining the value of your website not from the quantity but from the quality of your backlinks. With that in mind, what makes a quality backlink?
Here are four factors that need to be taken into consideration to make sure your backlinks are of the highest quality and most likely to be weighed heavily by search engines:
- Relevance: Your links must be relevant to the particular niche you’re attempting to make a way in, or something closely connected to it; Random links across pages that have nothing to do with your niche will not benefit you.
- Authoritative: Your links must be placed on sites that are trusted and highly trafficked or sites with a higher ranking than your own.
- Contextual: Take care to make sure that your link is integrated naturally and is not isolated or seems out-of-place.
- Editorial: Links that have been approved by an editor or links on websites with constant oversight, are more valuable than links where anyone can post anything uncensored.
How to Build Backlinks in 3 Steps
Now that you can recognize the plethora of link building tactics, how do you go about actually building links? Here is a high-level overview. For a more complex breakdown of how the link building process works, feel free to check out our link building guide here.
Identify Your Target Pages
Before you reach out to anyone, wasting valuable time on an outreach attempt that will yield less-than-optimal results, you’ll want to conduct some research to see which websites will give you the most significant SEO boost.
One of our favorite hacks is to look at existing keywords ranking in positions 4-10. These keywords can start producing traffic for your site more quickly than new pages. If you don’t have any good keywords in those positions, you can also look at those in positions 11-20.
When your site is new or has minimal content, this option isn’t likely to be viable. Instead, your focus should be on the “bottom of the funnel” and long-tail keywords found during your research. If this all sounds foreign, you should take a step back to the “content” pillar before proceeding with links.
Now, once you have your core pages identified, it is time to build out a prospect list..
Prospect and Qualify
Prospecting simply means looking for websites that you would like to reach out to and potentially get a link from. There are countless guides on prospecting, so we won’t rehash it in detail here.
If you are interested in learning more about how to prospect, you can find a great process in our link building guide.
Once you have created a list of prospective sites, the next step is to cull the list. Finding contact information and customizing outreach is time-consuming, so you want to make sure the sites you do reach out to are worthwhile.
A wide range of criteria is taken into account when going through this process, including the website’s organic traffic, ranking, the possibility of future collaborations, and more. There aren’t set metrics per se, but if you establish some guidelines, it will make the process much easier.
Once you have a short list of quality sites to contact, it is time to start reaching out.
Learning how to effectively conduct link outreach is no small feat. It can take years to master the craft, but there’s no better time to start than now.
As illustrated below, outreach is the culmination of many hours of research and planning, so take the time to do it right.
Here are a few tips for maximizing response rates and not looking like a jerk when you start sending emails.
- Put your best foot forward with your subject header: research shows subject headers that are longer, as well as personalized, tend to get a higher response rate than those that are not.
- Personalize the body of your message, making sure it reads as more than a copied-and-pasted spam email. Emails with a personal touch tend to get more responses on average than those that do not.
- Link to company social media profiles, such as your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram: out of these, emails that link to Instagram tend to be the most likely to boost your response rate, correlated with a 23% increase.
- Follow up often, as emailing the same contact multiple times can increase your response rate by two times.
- You’ll also want to reach out to multiple contacts with the same company, as this has been shown to increase your chances of getting a response by 93%. If you do this and follow up with all of them, your chances increase by 160% instead.
While those will get you started, there are many more things you can do to increase your likelihood of success – starting with how your email is composed.
Also, be sure to be courteous, no matter what kind of response you get back: the goal of link building is to build relationships on which you might later be able to capitalize, and if someone says no now, that doesn’t mean opportunities won’t crop up later.
Getting Started with SaaS Link Building
As you can see, link building is a complex effort that requires a lot of time and energy to pull off successfully. If you’re looking for a more thorough guide on the subject, you might want to take a look at our link building guide.
If you’re looking for help navigating this new, unfamiliar territory, you can take a look at our custom link building services as well.
It’s tough making your mark on our internet-driven world. But with the right know-how and a team that will work with you to ensure you get the best results from your link building efforts, it can prove to be extremely effective and beneficial.
However, if you don’t take action, your competitors will leave you in the dust. Even if it is a small step, make a step in the right direction each day.
SaaS Link Building FAQs
High quality links paired with quality content will help your SaaS Businesses website traffic grow exponentially. If you are going to invest the time and resources to build links, you want to make sure you have the knowledge to get it right. Below, we explore some common questions about SaaS Link building, to help you make the most of your outreach efforts.
How Can I Build An Effective SaaS Link Building Strategy?
Good SaaS link building strategies can help your website grow exponentially. In order to build a good plan, you need to understand your end goal. Once you have a set end-point, it will be easier to determine how many links you need and whether or not you have enough high quality content to earn them. As you set out to create your own SaaS link building strategy, you should identify your desired outcome, find and analyze competitors who have already achieved it, and determine where your site is falling short. This will allow you to understand the time and resources needed to reach your goals.
Is Link Building the Same as Content Marketing?
Content marketing is defined as the combination of white-papers, e-books, educational blog posts and other content with the intent of informing potential customers.
Link building on the other hand is more focused upon outreach and promotion of both education content and when possible, sales content. In either case, the goal is to secure high quality backlinks that improve the visibility of your web pages.
That being said, there is definitely an overlap in the content & link building. For example, if you are trying to build resource page links, having a definitive educational guide on a topic is going to improve your success rate tremendously. So instead of content marketing vs link building, you should be thinking content + link building = better ROI.
How Can I Find Content Marketing Ideas for My SaaS Business?
As with building links, analyzing your competitors is a good place to begin. This process is referred to as a keyword gap analysis or content gap analysis. The idea of both is to find out what types of content are sending traffic to competing websites that you have not currently covered on your site. From this, you can identify related target keywords to expand your content strategy. Once you have the core pages setup, that is when you can start to think about related white-papers and other content assets that would further engage your target audience.
Is Building Links A Guaranteed Way To Increase Organic Traffic?
A sound link building strategy is a good way to improve your rankings and organic traffic. However, without a technically sound website and high quality content, the impact of link building will be diminished. While nothing in Google is guaranteed, high quality backlinks have a profound positive impact, when used as part of a holistic SEO strategy. You also want to steer clear of risky links, like those placed on private blog networks or paid sidebar homepage links, as they can negate the gains from your other links.
Is Listing My SaaS Business on Review Sites a Good Way To Get Quality Links?
Getting your SaaS website listed on review sites can be a good way to generate referral traffic. Unlike guest posting and outreach to resource pages, you may find that many SaaS review sites give you nofollow links. While nofollow links do not pass link equity, they can help you generate traffic. This is known as referral traffic and when coming from the right site, it can lead to conversions. While you don’t want all the links to your site to come from review sites, having some will help you maintain a natural link profile – while increasing your site traffic. Remember, when it comes to building links, it is important to define your desired outcome. This will help you determine which tactics make sense for a particular page or campaign.
No Follow Vs. Dofollow Links
When you are getting a link placement, it is important to understand if they are nofollow links or dofollow links. Some sites will by default set all of their external links to ‘no follow’.
As mentioned above, nofollow links do not pass link equity, nor will they help you boost domain authority. Do follow links on the other hand do pass link equity, which can help you improve your websites positioning in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages ). As part of your traffic generation and search engine optimization strategy, both types can be helpful.