Do you want your SaaS business to rank higher on Google and bring more visitors to your site?
Of course you do; that’s a no-brainer. One of the most effective methods to achieve this is link building.
With competition rising in every SaaS field, getting valuable backlinks is key in establishing your brand and appearing above competitors in search results.
As a link-building agency, our team has experimented with various strategies to achieve results for our clients. In this guide, you’ll learn all about link building, backed by real-life examples.
What We'll Cover:
What is SaaS Link Building?
SaaS link building is the practice of acquiring links from other websites to your SaaS website. This increases your SaaS brand’s visibility and ranking on search engines. We know this because Google has confirmed that backlinks are one of their three important search engine ranking factors.
It makes sense. Having more backlinks for your articles or web pages indicates that you have high-quality content worth visiting.
This is an example of what link building looks like.
It’s important to note that the quality and relevancy of the backlinks are equally important as the number of backlinks in determining your ranking.
Why is Link Building Important for SaaS Companies?
Everything about SaaS is online. So, it won’t come as a surprise that you need to have a solid online presence.
Link building helps you create that presence by providing four major benefits:
- Builds trust and credibility: The more mentions you have on high-authority sites, the more trust and credibility visitors will have in your brand.
- Increases traffic: With more visitors coming to your website through backlinks, your traffic will rise.
- Better search rankings: High quality and quantity of backlinks increase your domain authority, and your website will likely rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
- More leads and sales: Strategically placed links will generate high-quality leads that can easily be converted for your business.
- Become an authority leader in your niche: The more mentions you get, the more highly respected your content will be.
What Makes a Good Backlink?
Google does not consider all backlinks equal. Some actually harm your ranking. What your business needs are “good” and “high-authority” backlinks.
Let’s look at the five main factors to help you determine what backlinks will move the needle in the right direction.
The link should make sense for the user to click on. For example, if your SaaS tool is about project management, and you gain a backlink from a pet food article, the link is irrelevant.
Google’s algorithm is highly intelligent when detecting links from irrelevant websites, and it won’t impact your rankings well.
The higher the domain authority of the backlink, the more valuable the link.
For example, if you get a backlink from websites with a high Domain Authority (DA), like Forbes or Business Insider, this establishes trust in your SaaS brand instead of a low DA website linking back to your brand.
Even if websites have high DA, not all their pages would receive great traffic. That’s why it’s important to look at the traffic of the individual page.
The ideal backlinks drive more traffic your way; thus, it’s a factor you shouldn't miss out on.
If the article your brand is mentioned in has many outgoing links, the less PageRank (Google’s algorithm) each one passes on.
So, your ideal link-building prospect should have a limited number of outgoing links on their page.
An anchor text is the clickable text of your link.
Google uses it to understand how other websites refer to you and what your content will likely be about. Therefore, your anchor texts must be related to your main keyword or variations of it.
For example, “project management” or “project management techniques” for your project management tool.
Common Mistakes in SaaS Link Building
As mentioned above, not all backlinks lead to a positive impact. The same applies to the strategies used to build them, and many can lead to your site being penalized by search engine algorithms.
Here are some common mistakes you should avoid while building backlinks:
Black Hat Link Tactics
Black Hat tactics can work in the short run, but they end up causing significant damage in the long run.
Google will penalize questionable llink-building tactics, including paying for low-quality links, sharing misleading links, getting links from shady websites, and participating in over-promotion.
These practices can cause irreparable damage to your domain and business.
Sending Traffic to the Home Page Only
Instead of making your home page the target page for your link-building campaigns, drive traffic to those landing pages that help you achieve goals and conversions. For example, if you’re driving a link from an article comparing the best project management tools, you can drive visitors to your pricing page or features section.
Anchor Text Over-Optimization
Your anchor text should be relevant but don’t try to over-optimize it by adding multiple keywords or using repetitive phrases.
Authority Over Relevancy
Driving links from high-authority websites is good, but it doesn’t serve any purpose if those sites aren’t relevant to your SaaS business.
For example, getting links for your project management tool from a high-end fashion store’s website won’t do you any good because search engines like Google use this information to understand your website.
Many businesses started guest posting to get links back to their website, which encouraged a torrent of low-quality posts. However, search engines have become smart enough to understand this practice, and thus it’s crucial that you create high-quality content when getting links back to your site.
Not Leveraging Internal Links
Using internal links, you can pass authority to your pages if you have some with high authority and others with low authority. This internal linking structure also teaches search engines about your website.
Taking care of these mistakes can help you create a solid link-building strategy that doesn’t get penalized by search engine algorithms.
Proven Effective Link Building Strategies for SaaS
Now that you know the mistakes you need to avoid, here are 15 powerful link-building strategies that are proven and tested by our team at MADX.
1. Guest Posting
Guest posting is one of the oldest link-building techniques.
Here’s a simple process that will help you find a lot of relevant guest posting opportunities for your brand:
- Use a tool like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool and enter a relevant keyword
- Apply the domain rating filter and select the one article per domain check box and you’ll find a lot of websites you can start approaching
When you write this guest post, ensure you provide high-quality information and don’t force links where they don’t belong.
Here are some additional tips to find the right opportunities for your SaaS company.
2. Industry Benchmark Data & Trends
By creating original content in the form of industry data and trends, you can get backlinks from any articles that mention the numbers from your report and link back to the source.
Take this example from HubSpot.
According to Ahrefs, this report generates 6100 monthly visits, amounting to $19.4K in traffic value.
Moreover, the report has high-quality backlinks from over 3000 domains, many of which have domain ratings of over 80.
HubSpot also uses these statistics in its own articles to create solid internal linking.
Creating these research reports and data trends may take time, but the return is well worth it, as you could get backlinks from authoritative websites.
3. Unlinked Brand Mentions
Unlinked brand mentions refer to those websites that have mentioned your SaaS product or business but haven’t linked back to you.
These opportunities are the easiest way for you to earn backlinks.
One way to find these mentions is by using Ahrefs Content Explorer:
- Search for a brand name and exclude your domain.
- Filter these results for domain rating and traffic
- Next, you can use a tool like BrandMentions to find out which of these sites have not linked back to you
- Reach out to these sites via an email or a tweet and kindly ask them to provide you a backlink.
4. Broken Links
Have you ever clicked on a link that pointed to an Error 404 page? That’s a broken link, and it spoils the user experience.
You can capitalize on this by contacting the site owner and offering them to link back to your content instead. Having some existing content ready for these broken links is important, as it can be time-consuming to create content from scratch to get these backlinks.
You can use Ahrefs’ ‘Best by Links’ report and apply a 404 filter to search for these broken links.
5. Press Releases
Press releases provide a great opportunity to earn quality backlinks for your SaaS business.
For example, Asana was featured in Tech.co for its new feature release. This helped the brand get a backlink and reach a wider audience to create hype around the new workflow features.
Press coverage can have a knock-on effect; when other news sites notice the feature, they may also create coverage.
You can do the same for your SaaS brand when you unveil a new plan or feature. To increase your chances of getting links from press releases, ensure you target news sites focusing on software, tech, or your niche.
6. Free Tools
Offering free tools is a great way to draw visitors to your website and utilize product-led growth to generate leads and scale conversions.
One brand that utilizes this strategy well is Ahrefs. They provide many free tools like a website checker, keyword generator tool, backlink checker, etc.
Can you guess the volume of traffic these tools are getting?
A whopping 71,000 monthly visits. To date, this tool has received 9000 backlinks.
While you may not want to offer many free tools at the start, you can start with one powerful free tool.
You might also need to promote this free tool in relevant communities and get people to use and link back to it.
7. Product Embed
While this may not be possible for all SaaS tools, it can be a goldmine for getting backlinks for the ones embedded on websites.
For example, when businesses use Typeform to embed any form on their website, a link back to Typeform’s form page is automatically included, boosting their rankings.
This is what it looks like:
Can you guess the number of backlinks Typeform may have generated with this simple strategy?
A crazy 107M backlinks!
The best part? These mentions are not annoying to the readers, and you might also attract the attention of those that want to use your product.
8. Shareable Links
If you have a tool that helps users create projects or content they can display on their websites, shareable dofollow links can be a great way to earn backlinks.
For example, when users share their Invision projects on the Internet, they link to the tool.
To achieve success from this strategy, you’ll have to educate your users by building resources and motivating them to share these links via email marketing and in-app content.
9. Give Testimonials
If you’re a SaaS company, you’re likely using multiple SaaS tools for sales, SEO, content marketing, or handling multiple projects. That means you can provide testimonials for these tools and earn a link back to your brand.
Here’s how Zen Pilot earned a backlink from ClickUp by providing a testimonial on their website.
Apart from SaaS tools, you can also review the services you are using or the agencies you’re connected with.
Podcasts have exploded over the last few years, and you can use them for your link-building efforts in two ways:
- Speak on someone else’s podcast, and when they feature you on their website, you earn a backlink
- Feature someone on your podcast, and you earn a backlink when they share that on their website.
This could be a valuable strategy as you don’t have to spend much time writing content. Instead, you can speak about your expertise for 30 to 45 minutes.
You can also find a lot of tech or niche-specific podcasts that can be relevant to your brand.
Here’s how Ahrefs got featured in a podcast by Mastermind.fm
11. Thought-leadership Content
There’s no better way to build links than creating thought-provoking and engaging content that appeals to your niche.
Many brands like HubSpot, Ahrefs and Zapier create this kind of content, whether it be a data-backed guide to learning something, an unpopular opinion on a topic, or covering a recent trend in their niche.
The best part about creating thought-leadership content is that you also earn trust and credibility for your SaaS brand, bringing more leads to your business.
12. Journalist Outreach/Interviews
You can start with link-building outreach by contacting a journalist to get backlinks from high-authority news sites. HARO is a great platform to explore where journalists and reporters looking for relevant and engaging comments leave queries for industry professionals; these replies are then quoted in their upcoming stories.
Journalists from great media such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider are often spotted on this platform, so it’s definitely worth a shot. You’ll first have to review their rules and regulations to get a fair idea of the quotes and interviews they accept.
Note that quotes solely to get a backlink may be rejected. So, it’s important to provide content that is original and data-backed.
13. Product Reviews
Product reviews are a great link-building strategy that can also be used to create brand awareness and generate leads.
Find bloggers and contributors who write about your niche and ask them to review your product. In return, you may have to offer them a few months of subscription so they can try out the tool in exchange for a review on their website.
This frees up your time instead of guest blogging, and getting your product review on the right websites can get you a lot of traffic and leads.
14. Integration Partners
Most SaaS tools now offer integrations with other tools to let customers perform different tasks on unified platforms, saving a lot of time.
These integration partners can help you improve customer experience and build links by strategically partnering with them.
For example, Mailchimp gets a backlink to its homepage from the Zapier-Mailchimp integration page on Zapier.
That’s not all.
Zapier also created a blog for its audience to educate them about the integration with Mailchimp and how they can use it. Mailchimp also earned a backlink through this blog.
While Zapier’s content team wrote this blog post, you can ask your integration partner to publish a guest post where you talk about how to utilize the integration with your tool.
You can participate in online conferences and webinars to discuss your SaaS tool and increase brand awareness. Most hosts repurpose this webinar into an article, so you can gain another backlink.
Clearscope, an AI-powered SaaS tool, used this link-building campaign when they participated in weekly webinars for almost two years. That got the brand a lot of exposure and over 12k new links.
When you participate in these webinars, portray the different features relevant to the topic to increase awareness about what your product can do and back it up with relevant case studies to build trust in your tool.
Example: Effects of Link Building on Websites’ Performance
A successful link-building strategy can impact your website’s performance in a great way. Here are three examples to support this claim.
Our team at MADX helped Postalytics, an automated direct mail platform, with many different activities like page optimization, search engine optimization, landing page & blog creation, etc. But the most important one of all was link-building.
Postalytics went from 3k to 81k organic monthly visitors, backed by 525 new referring domains.
This graph explains it all:
Search anything about marketing, and HubSpot will be in the top 10 search results 8 out of 10 times. The SaaS brand gets more than 7 million monthly visitors, and they have amassed over 2.5 million backlinks.
The most unique thing about the brand is that they are great at creating highly-linkable content assets for almost every article.
Salesforce was one of the foremost SaaS CRM companies that took the world by storm with its tool. Today, it has over 90M backlinks from 221K referring domains.
It also receives a lot of organic traffic, and like HubSpot, its content is read and trusted by many in the marketing and sales domain. .
Selecting the right SaaS link-building strategies may take some research about your niche, but it can work wonders when you get it right.
You don't have to only focus on one strategy; you can club some of the above strategies to deploy an integrated approach to link-building. Remember, it’s not so much about earning more backlinks as it’s about earning high-quality links.
Unless you’re adopting blackhat practices, you’re all set to go. If you feel this would take up too much of your time and resources, contact our team, which will help you take the right path.
Read more about SaaS:
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How to Create an Effective SaaS Marketing Plan?
The Ultimate Guide to SaaS Pricing Models