SaaS companies have been cropping up pretty rapidly in the industry over the last few years. In 2021, there were 25000 SaaS companies, 7000 of which are in the marketing niche alone.
So it doesn't need to be stated expressly- SaaS or Software as a Service tools are to be found aplenty. And the market is very cut-throat for them.
Now, a SaaS product can't be marketed offline for obvious reasons. So the whole promotion and marketing affair of these tools is done online. There are a few approaches to how a totally online marketing feat can be carried on.
There is always social media, email marketing, and paid advertising. But the most used and preferred route which gives long-lasting results is SEO.
A successful SEO can help your SaaS product garner awareness and visibility like nothing else.
Why Link Building for SaaS?
Backlinks are basically embedded hyperlinks to your website, anchored to different elements or anchors, as they are called in technical terms. Backlinks can go both ways.
Your website might have a backlink to another website. Or a link to your domain might be embedded into some other page. And these links don't just appear normally. Content marketing is a big part of the SaaS link-building process.
Link building is a very vital part of SEO if you want to direct the right traffic to your website. When you create content that is the potential answer to relevant customer queries, however good the quality, if the search engine does not discover them, it's of no use.
Link building helps search engines discover your website. And if your content is of good quality, then it will end up ranking in the search results.
Just like you look after the quality of your content, the quality of your backlinks matters a lot too. If you want to hold any authority in your domain, you need links from websites that hold credibility.
But how do you go about doing SaaS link building?
Outreach is the answer.
Outreach for SaaS Link building
Outreach is nothing but the process of putting out the word that you are interested in collaborating with someone for link building. For this, you, the seeker of a backlink, have to reach out and communicate with a website owner and let them know your offer. Said offers could be of some kind of link exchange or a piece of a blog post in return for a link.
Building your network through outreach can benefit you greatly in the future as people you have already worked with in the past can be approached again for other co-marketing activities.
The key is to go for the big guns, websites with higher domain authority, as we mentioned earlier. This score needs to be on the higher side as it equates to being in Google's preferences.
Link building for SaaS is not a simple task, but once you acquire those backlinks, your position on the SERP goes on improving. The right sort of backlinks will reward you on a long-term basis.
Now, if you want to build good-quality links for your website to fulfill various marketing goals as a SaaS company, you have to know the right hacks and have a plan. In this article, we are going to list out some sure-shot ways you can depend on to earn you some good backlinks.
Link Building Strategies for SaaS Companies
There are many ways SaaS marketers, such as you, can use to get backlinks for their websites. Most of them are related to using some sort of relevant content you might have in a niche industry for the right audience. Let’s walk you through them one by one.
Guest Posting is one of the most common but effective ways you can approach for your SaaS link building. Creating content is necessary within the SaaS industry, and link builders are always on the lookout for such opportunities. Because these are the places on the internet, you can get discovered.
It's a perfect match!
Here, by guest posting, we mean you can write for other established websites. One of the benefits of guest posting is you can have a link to your domain referenced in that established website.
But let us give you an insider's tip. Initially, you might not have such good connections in your sect to easily get backlinks. You might be tempted to get some easy links from acquaintances.
That would be a mistake because Google is way ahead of us to be tricked!
Backlinking with websites that are not connected to you whatsoever is the one that earn you brownie points in Google's books. The quicker you grasp this and start working on actual outreach to make those connections and get those links, the better off you will be.
As we had mentioned in the earlier section, outreach is a very vital part of SaaS link building. So set a strategy to start before you start to send feelers out to prospective collaborators.
Scout and churn out the websites or bloggers whose content has relevance to your SaaS tool's functionality. Then you need to analyze whether they are open to any co-marketing opportunities from you. Let them know your offer and your willingness to participate. Remember, don't sound too eager in your communication.
Convey the scope of a mutually beneficial deal to them. That will improve the chances of them saying yes.
Once you get their thumbs up, start pitching away!
You can always have your pitch communication ready and aligned as a series of templates. This can save a lot of your time.
To get the best possible results, write content on topics that are being searched by the target audience. Target keywords that are popping up in the frequently asked questions. The more researched your content is, the better the chances of it ranking in the SERP.
If you manage to write your content with these points in mind, your guest post to another website will not be rejected.
Yes, it might take some time to be published, so don't get impatient. It's all a waiting game once you have sent your final draft. Your article will be published, hopefully with a do-follow link.
The main difference being while doing guest posting, we create fresh content for the website to insert our link into it so it can be published on it. But while pursuing link building for SaaS, you can get your link added to the pre-existing content on the website.
You just have to find the perfect piece of content on a suitable website on which you want your domain to be referenced. Then you have to approach the website owner with your request.
Again, it can be a bit tricky convincing someone to give your website a backlink from their content. You have to offer an appropriate value in reciprocation. If your website has a decent domain authority score, then your job will become much easier, that's for sure.
If your SaaS product is related to, say, social media management, and the website you want to get a link placed on is related to social media marketing strategies. In this case, you share a big chunk of your target audience. Hence you can find a lot of blog posts or articles which might relate to your SaaS product and can easily and naturally fit a link to your website.
Those instances are hard to pick out, but sometimes, there could be occasional mentions of your brand in another's website content but no link attached to it. This is an opportunity served to you on a silver platter. So go claim that backlink to your name.
No one can refuse you for these instances. Because your name is being mentioned in the article, hence it must hold certain credit and authority in the article.
If you have good prior relations with the owner of the content, they might even let you tweak their content, of course, within acceptable limits. This helps ease up the link insertion in the pre-written content, so there is no disruption in the flow of the piece.
SaaS marketers go for link insertions more than guest posting while link-building for their SaaS products.
This preference is very easily reasoned!
It's because it takes a lot less effort to locate the perfect spot for your website's link to be placed rather than craft a whole blog post.
And don't forget, link building is all about returning favors. So when a fellow webmaster helps you out, be open to collaboration offers when they approach you in the future.
Building Linkable Assets
Now that we have told you all about how to use others' content as well as write for them to acquire backlinks, it's time you thought about what you have on that front.
If you have material on your website which is useful and attractive to others of your domain, you will be considered eligible to give out links of your own. According to a survey done by SparkToro in 2019, the two factors which influence your Google rankings are:
- Relevance of the content of your page
- Quality of the domains whose links refer to your website
These findings imply to facts you, who are going for SaaS link building, already know. To achieve any amount of success in this field, quality content and efforts in link building are equally important. One cannot survive without the other.
Now that we are talking about building linkable assets, there is quite a realm of possibility as to what sort of content you want to go with. Especially being from the SaaS industry, you can aim to educate, assist or offer any new and trending information to your audience.
But before that, do you know what qualities your marketable content assets should have, no matter what format you are going to go for? So here are the things your content should have:
- Non-promotional: SEO is all about being authentic or "organic," as many experts would like to say. Promoting oneself monotonously and illustriously will get you nowhere. So try to keep the major chunk of your on-page content to be non-promotional in nature.
- In-depth: If you want people to refer to your website, remember they will never want to redirect their audience to the content that only contains surface-level knowledge. So keep your content informative and well-researched, so people who end up on your website find some value in it.
- Top of the funnel: When you think of content in pursuit of link building for SaaS, think of TOFU content or top of the funnel. This type of content is the best contender for this purpose as they cover a wider variety of subjects. Hence they can draw in more collaborators to you.
- Evergreen: As SaaS marketers, you belong to an industry that is dynamic and ever-evolving. So it's highly likely that you would want to make content that is all about hot and trending topics. And there is nothing wrong with that. But before branching out with the latest news, you have to have a strong base of content which are general but is always needed by your audience. These generic topics are your constant source of traffic.
- Useful: Sometimes, we keep thinking about the backlinks a bit too much. But the main purpose of creating content by a SaaS product company is to be useful for their audience. So do keep in mind the intent of your visitors and create content accordingly.
If your content pieces have these qualities, they will prove to be more efficient in acquiring those backlinks for you. But now comes the actual part of making up content.
You have a lot of variety to choose from, as we mentioned earlier. Now, we're going to list some of them. All of these are tried and tested ways to go when it comes to SaaS link building.
List Posts or Listicles
For some reason, these are pretty popular types of content that audiences love and are easier to rank. They are especially useful in the SaaS link-building scene as they provide easy links and, in turn, traffic!
And good thing that these need lesser effort to make rather than the in-depth articles that content writers need to concoct.
Now there is a problem with these listicle-type articles. Since they are so famous among visitors, creators try to outdo each other in these by sheer numbers.
Suppose you are looking for automation tools for Twitter marketing. There is a blog that talks about 12 of them. You can easily find your choice of tools from these. So a listicle that has 93 Twitter marketing tools in it is not really necessary to the searcher.
So, always, and we say, ALWAYS concentrate on the quality of tools you mention in your listicles and not the numbers.
Articles with the Statistics
Statistical data is always a requisite when creating content, as writers reference it to prove their point. And collecting it is a bit of a headache and needs a lot of research.
So imagine, if these numbers could be conveniently found in one place, how great would that be for you?
This is the exact reason for the popularity of content pieces with statistical data in them. Whether to simply check the numbers or to refer them into their own content, these articles are an efficient device for generating backlinks.
We too have referenced a statistical report previously in this article!
The only issue with them is they hold relevance for a very short time period. Since data keeps on changing rapidly and people need the latest stats, you have to keep updating them. Outdated stats are pretty useless.
So keep refreshing your statistical content meticulously.
Research and Case Studies
Just like statistics, research and case studies are authentic data that need time and resources to be collected and framed. Case studies are especially useful for educating anyone, be it a marketer or a member of the target audience.
These types of content pieces bring in a lot of backlink opportunities for marketers like you. They are used to prove the authenticity of others' claims.
These pieces are truly worth being called assets because they are unique and valuable to not only the prospective customers of a SaaS company. They are also resources that come in handy when further market research is being done.
If your reports are authentic and dependable, you gain a lot of authority and credit for them in your niche.
Long-form content has always been a hero when it comes to SEO. And guides are one of the best performing lengthier content pieces.
Just as this article is trying to effectively walk you through the basics of SaaS link building, detailed guides answer a lot of questions any visitor might have in a single place. This is why they are successful in getting backlinks.
Not following? Stay with us.
As we had mentioned earlier, webmasters want to redirect their audience to sources that fulfill their actual intents. So if your guide is answering the questions which are being asked by the audience, all the relevant websites would want to refer you to their visitors!
These are some of the top-performing pieces of content you can put on your website to successfully earn backlinks naturally. But yes, there are even more genres you can go for, such as glossary pages, templates, Comparison pages, checklists, infographics, event pages or calendars, etc.
You can be as versatile as you want or concentrate on a certain category, but the bulls-eye to go for is quality. Only then will others want to associate with your website.
References from Reviews
If you are a SaaS product marketer, you might have a pretty good idea about the importance of reviews. Potential customers always refer to review websites to look up previous users' experiences with the product. One bad word can deter the visitor from their decision to subscribe to your tool.
Be sure to keep an eye out for these reviews as they are said to make up for 10% of the criteria of how Google rates websites for ranking purposes.
So when making a choice for the review website you want to concentrate your link-building efforts on, remember that choice is very crucial. Some of the things to consider while choosing the platform are:
- The number of websites registered on that platform
- Number of reviews being written each month
- Measures the platform takes to reduce fake reviews
There are many of them scattered on the net, some very generic while others are specific to a particular niche. As far as SaaS products are concerned, some of the stalwart review websites are G2, GetApp, and Capterra. They have a massive amount of followers on social media, and millions of people refer to their reviews.
Getting positive reviews from websites like these can skyrocket your traffic like you can't even imagine. Such exposure with a prospective audience is not to be taken lightly.
You can give your personal product reviews on these websites as well as reach out to your customers to put in a good word. An authentic testimonial goes a long way in terms of social proof. But depending only on organic reviews is simply not enough.
This is where your networking comes in. Reach out to influencers of your niche, and offer them a free trial of your SaaS product. Then ask them to give their genuine reviews. Hopefully, things go in your favor.
Getting Started with SaaS Link Building
As we have pointed out earlier, you have got to be picky when selecting a website on which you want to place your backlinks. Because people often run so hard after the numbers, the quality of the links takes a back seat.
But both numbers, as well as quality, are important if you want to get traffic that converts. So if you go about with strategic moves, both of the above criteria will be maintained.
So here are the steps you need to treat as gospel when scouting for potential backlinks:
Step 1: Decide What Page You Want Links To
Initially, you need to outline your target pages. Going for the right ones will help you achieve your goals faster.
People often miss this important tidbit of information, but if you give it a little thought, it's pretty apparent that the majority of your traffic will come from a couple of pages that have your backlinks. These are the bigger and more renowned ones.
Your job is to search for these websites, the ones that hold the most value for your niche audience.
Keep in mind what objective you want to fulfill with that collaboration. It could be:
- Lead generation
- Social media promotion
- Audience education
Being centered on your objectives while picking websites to approach for backlinks helps you make the right choice.
Step 2: Prospecting
Once you have targeted the desired pages, look for backlink opportunities on them. There are several elements in a webpage that can grant you a link.
We have already listed certain strategies for SaaS link building in the earlier section. So you know, there are several ways and opportunities to place links on a website. So before you make the offer to the webmaster of that particular one, figure out by yourself, what route is preferable and convenient to you.
Step 3: Final Checks
Before reaching out to prospective partners, wait just a minute before jumping the gun.
Check all the important metrics to see whether the website is qualified to be pursued for backlinking or not. The principal factors you absolutely can't ignore while passing a website are:
- Domain authority
- URL rating
- Organic traffic
- Relevance of the topic
- Number of pre-existing backlinks
You can check these numbers from Ahref or Semrush. For quality backlinks, the DR or domain rating of a website must be at least above 50.
Also, keep a dedicated record of domains you are already connected to. You don't want to go to the same source for too many links. That does no good for any party involved.
Pro-tip: If you are looking to increase traffic, social media backlinks might help some. But they will prove to be fruitless when you are looking to increase your own domain rating.
Step 4: Outreach
We have already talked about the importance of outreach earlier, which is the last rung on the ladder of the whole back-linking process. But it's not something that can be quickly wrapped up. It's prolonged communication.
It is always a good thing to keep templates ready for any step of the outreach, whether it is the first approach you have to send the other party, the pitch you offer them, or any follow-ups required on your part.
While carrying out your outreach program, you have to proceed with utmost care. Keep these things on top of your recall to avoid silly mistakes which may spoil your impression in front of the prospective collaborator.
- Do not go about promising mentions on your web pages or link opportunities in exchange for link placement just because they demand it.
- Stick to the primary goal of backlink during initial communication. False promises for future collaboration might get you into trouble if you don't have any intent toward it.
- Be transparent about your intentions with the other person. Being out there to simply acquire a backlink is not a bad thing.
- Always, and we say ALWAYS, be humble and considerate in the face of rejection or refusal.
There should always be ethics involved while carrying out the outreach program. This will help you build an image of decency as a person. Hence make you more approachable to the potential collaborators to want to join.
After all, you are the face of your brand on the SEO front. So make every move a decisive one.
So far we have talked about the strategies for SaaS link building and how to approach prospect step by step.
But now we would like to give you some easy and quick hacks to make some effortless link juice that will support your other SEO efforts and take lesser time to build more links.
These tips are especially useful for SaaS link building!
Tricks to Boost your SaaS Link Building Success
Building a strong base of backlinks takes a lot of strategizing and networking. You cannot just base all of your SEO efforts for SaaS link building on easy-way-outs. That would be very harmful for your website.
But if you have built some authentic and strong links, there are some small tricks which can help you bolster your efforts. Mind you, these tricks are actually shortcuts, but they are not the pillars your SEO stands on. They are the cherries on top of the cake.
So let us tell you some of these back alleys to take to earn those extra links.
Freebies for Exchange
Many a times, brands give away free goods to attract the potential leads to their products and boost their sales.
As a SaaS marketer, you can do something very similar- give free trials to your tool in exchange for a link. You can even go a step ahead and provide free subscriptions. This tactic has immense value if you reach out and make the offer to the right person.
This practice can also garner some authentic user reviews for tool you are marketing to the user. So make sure that the person you are offering the free use of your tool really has a need for it.
In lieu of free product experience, you can also give them gift cards and vouchers and coupons.
Follow the Competition
If you are looking to save time and make the minimum effort, follow in your competitors' footsteps. Figure out what sort of sources are linking to your competitors will be half the job done for you.
Backlinks on any other SaaS website which is your direct competition will most definitely be relevant to your niche. So if you pursue these domains for backlinks yourself, they will result in very authentic links for your website.
Now, analyzing a competing domain for its backlinks can be a huge and time consuming task. But no need to fret! There are lots of free tools to perform a complete backlink audit of any domain you want.
Just put the URL of the competing domain and the tool will generate the backlink profile. But remember, dont go racing into this practice blindly. Keep sharp watch on the backlinks you go after. Because there is no guarantee that this domain has good links only.
Rebuild Broken Links
When we find links which show a 404 error message when clicked upon are called broken links. These links can be yours or your competitors.
You can use these links for your benefit. If you find any broken links on a website, approach the owner, making them aware of the issue. Then you can request them to replace the broken link with a link of your own.
Ofcourse the renewed linking should be contextually relevant, otherwise your offer will be rejected in a heartbeat. You have to provide value to the receiver of the link if you want to make it a fair trade.
There are two ways you can go about this.
- Either you can find broken links by anayzing competitor websites. Use backlink analysis tools like SEO SpyGlass. The results will guide you towards high authority links with 404 error. You can go to their content and see if you have something relevant to replace the link with your own. If yes, then reach out and make your pitch.
- Analyze any other specific website want links from, and prospect it the same way we described in the above method.
Links from Images
Images or visual content of any kind is always more appealing to the visitor on a website, hence, more clickable. So its never a bad deal to get backlinks from them.
These can be any sort of images including infographics, graphics, product photos, comics, etc.
Infographics especially can be informational and attractive and easier to grasp and are able to evoke a reaction out of visitors as are.
But remember, the link should direct the visitor to a page with content that elaborates on the image. If the link takes the visitor to the image directory, links ending in .gif, .png, .jpg, etc. that's a dead-end for you.
Now that we are done giving you all the tips and hacks for SaaS link building let us familiarize you with the things to avoid.
Things to Steer Clear from While Link Building
Buyer Beware - The practice of buying links is a complete no-no. Google states that exchanging money for links is against the Webmaster guidelines. So if caught, you might be in for serious consequences. So it's better to avoid it.
Avoid Guest Post Farms - Easy but poor quality links come with penalties like bad quality traffic, reduced exposure to the audience, and web pages going unindexed. So avoid going for them.
Overreliance in DR - Prioritizing DR over the website's content relevance is a folly. It's tempting to get links from big websites, but if their content has no relevance to you, the traffic from that source would be a dead end.
Lazy Outreach - Sending monotonous emails for outreach doesn't leave a good impression. Outreach is the most crucial part of passing a backlink deal. So adding a personal touch to your messaging makes the receiver think you have taken the extra effort for them.
Lazy Content - Creating fluff content is a waste of your time and theirs. People will not be willing to link their content to irrelevant pieces. So even if you have lesser marketable content, create good ones, which can become assets.
Overdoing Link Exchanges - Being heavily dependent on link exchanges within your own domain is equal to living in delusion. So do it cautiously and be stringent about it.
Let’s Wrap Up
Link building for SaaS is an art & it takes time to master. Developing the judgment to select the right websites and opportunities needs research on the domain.
So don't try to rush the process.
Create a strong base of quality that can sustain the links and go a long way to benefit your overall position on the SEO scale. Chasing easy backlinks will never bring long-term benefits to your website.
After all, quality content and backlinks together make the perfect recipe for the success of all SEO efforts from our end.
If your SaaS can benefit from link building and you're looking for a partner to help out, we can be the link building agency for you. Let's connect and discuss ways to work together (the contact form is below).