SaaS Link Building: 5 Strategies That Work
There’s little doubt SaaS is a competitive niche, which can make it difficult to get your product or service in front of the right customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tried and tested method for getting eyes on your website. The thing is, a core element of any good SEO campaign – building backlinks – can be tough going.
It’s definitely not impossible, though. To help you out, here we:
- define what SaaS link building is
- explain how to go about SaaS link building,
- and detail key SaaS link building best practices.
What is SaaS link building?
SaaS link building is the process of acquiring links to a SaaS company’s website in order to improve its search engine ranking and visibility. The main goal of SaaS link building is to increase the number of backlinks to a website from third-party websites – known as referring domains.
Ideally, these backlinks would be sourced from high-quality websites.
Search engines view backlinks or inbound links that originate from high-quality referring domains as more valuable than those that originate from low-quality or small, less credible websites.
Well, high-quality referring domains tend to have a higher click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate than low-quality referring domains. This is because visitors are more likely to trust websites that are referred to by a reputable source.
Further, high-quality referring domains are viewed by search engine algorithms as more authoritative than low-quality referring domains – websites that don’t hold as much credibility in the eyes of Google and other search engines.
What is SEO and how does it benefit a SaaS site?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a technique that endeavors to improve a website’s visibility on a search engine’s results pages (SERPs). This can be accomplished through the optimization of various factors, including content, structure, on-page factors, and, most important to the context of the topic in focus, the acquisition of backlinks.
Does this approach work for SaaS sites?
Most definitely. In fact, as the SaaS and overall software industry is highly competitive, ignoring the importance or not making use of SEO best practices will only bury your SaaS website at the bottom of the SERPs.
As a SaaS company, this can be devastating to the success of your business.
Is SaaS link building still relevant for SEO?
While the process of link building can be complex, it is critical for any SaaS company looking to increase website traffic and improve their search engine optimization.
Recently, however, this complexity has led some people to debate whether link building is still worth it or even necessary.
In the early days of SEO, link building was a key strategy for ranking websites. But as Google has gotten better at identifying and devaluing spammy links, many online marketers have started to question the effectiveness of link building.
SaaS companies are no exception to this debate.
To put this question to rest, Databox conducted a survey of companies from a bunch of different industries – SaaS included. They found that over 50% of the respondents estimated backlinks factored into their SEO successes.
Don’t just take Databox’s respondents’ word for it, though. Google themselves have also said the quiet part out loud: backlinks are a significant ranking factor for any and all websites, no matter the niche.
Keep in mind, while backlinks are still important for SEO (SaaS websites included), as I’ve covered above, the type and quality of links matters more than ever. In order to build high-quality links, SaaS companies need to focus on using effective link building strategies that attract high-quality backlinks.
How hard is link building for SaaS?
There’s no doubt link building for SaaS, and in general for that matter, can be hard. However, if the right strategies are employed, building a backlink profile full of high-quality backlinks isn’t impossible.
In fact, when it comes to building backlinks, the SaaS industry has some significant advantages up its sleeve that aren’t available to other industries.
What are some examples of link building strategies for SaaS?
There are many ways to go about acquiring backlinks for a SaaS site. You could use traditional methods like guest posting or pitching authors that have broken links on their web pages.
But why not take advantage of a SaaS tool’s features and functionalities to acquire high-quality backlinks?
Seems silly not to.
How do I get SaaS backlinks?
The most effective link building strategies for SaaS include:
- adding a blog to a SaaS website,
- being featured on link roundups,
- appearing as a guest on podcasts,
- leveraging integration partners,
- and taking advantage of product embeds.
To help you take advantage of the items mentioned above, let’s take a look at exactly how each of these SaaS link building strategies work.
How to do link building for SaaS sites
Righto, let’s do this. Here’s 5 super effective link building strategies for SaaS sites.
1. Add a blog to a SaaS website
Okay. So this strategy isn’t exactly unique to SaaS websites. It’s something any old website can do. But the reason it’s added to this list is because there are far too many SaaS tools out there that simply aren’t taking full advantage of a blog.
A well-curated blog can be used to provide a space for your company to share updates about the best parts of your SaaS product. Plus, blogs are a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field and it will allow you to connect to your customers in a way you were never able to before.
The benefits of this cannot be understated.
Trust is everything in SaaS. If your customers doubt your product, customer service, or expertise, they’ll simply take their business to one of your many competitors.
Take one of the best in the business here as an example, Ahrefs. Ahrefs is a SaaS company that understands the importance of informative content that’s super helpful to their customers and readers.
What’s genius about the Ahrefs team’s approach to their blog is that they choose topics that are not only helpful to their readers but also present their written content in a way that showcases their product as the solution to their readers’ problems.
So how about those backlinks?
Well, there are quite a few content strategies that you can use to generate the best opportunities for your website to secure backlinks from referring domains. These include:
- Use long form content. When creating content, focus on quality over quantity. Write in-depth, well-researched articles that are informative and engaging.
- Adhere to on-page SEO. Make sure your content follows on-page SEO best practices. Include keywords throughout the article, use heading tags correctly, and add a meta description and title tag.
- Include citations. Use external sources to back up your claims and data points, as this will help establish your content as a reliable resource in the eyes of both readers and search engines.
- Leverage social media. Promote your content on social media and other online platforms. Share it with your followers and target audience, and encourage them to share it with their friends as well.
- Monitor your results. Keep an eye on your website’s search engine rankings and web traffic metrics after publishing new content. If you see an improvement in rankings or traffic, you know that you’re doing something right.
Follow these basic steps and establish your blog as a credible source of information, and you’re sure to begin securing backlinks left, right, and center.
2. Pitch link roundups
Link roundups aren’t inherently limited to SaaS, but they are very effective at securing links on a regular basis.
So what are they?
A link roundup (or link list) is a collection of links to articles, blog posts, or other web resources that are typically posted on a weekly or monthly basis. For audiences, they can be a great way to discover new content to read and share. For website owners, they offer a surefire way of securing backlinks on a regular basis.
To guarantee your spot on reputable link roundups, you’ll want to follow the tips detailed in the first tip of this list – create high-quality content that adheres to best SEO practices.
Content that is informative, well-researched, and backed-up by credible references is far more likely to be featured on link roundups. You see, link roundup authors want to feature the best content they can on the topic at hand.
If you can be a resource of high-quality content, it will vastly help your chances of being featured.
Additionally, make sure that you are putting your content in front of the right people. Make a list of bloggers and journalists who write about your niche and the topics you regularly cover, and reach out to them individually. If you can build a strong relationship with these publishers, they will be more likely to link to your site again and again.
How do you find link roundups that are relevant to your brand?
The easiest way is to use search operators. Search operators are a set of symbols and words that allow you to refine your searches on Google and other search engines. By using search operators, you can target specific websites, web pages, and information with greater precision.
Additionally, you can also use search operators to exclude certain websites or pages from your search results. Something that comes in handy when scoping the SERPs out for quality link roundup publishers.
Some examples of search operators that will assist you in finding SaaS related link roundups include:
- “SaaS” + “link roundup”
- “SaaS” + inurl:roundup
- “SaaS” + intitle:roundup
- “SaaS” + “monthly roundup”
- “SaaS” + “monday link roundup”
- inurl:roundup “SaaS” + “this week”
- intitle:roundup “SaaS” + “best of”
When using search operators to scope out relevant link roundups, be sure to set an appropriate time frame using Google’s search functions. Here I’ve used the search operator ““SaaS” + inurl:roundup” and searched for pages that have been published in the last 12 months.
As you can see from the results, I’ve already found a handful of publications that have posted a SaaS link roundup in the past year.
Once you’ve found link roundups you’d like to reach out to, it’s time to get your outreach game on. If you’d like to read more on link roundups, check out our guide on link roundups here.
3. Make guest appearances on podcasts
Guest appearances on podcasts can help you secure backlinks from highly trafficked websites. Podcasts are a great way to share your expertise with a new audience and attract attention from potential customers.
Here are a few tips for to hunt down and prepare for a guest appearance on a SaaS podcast:
- Start by finding podcasts that are relevant to your niche (using the search operator ““SaaS” + inurl:podcast” worked well).
- Read their guidelines carefully and make sure you fit the criteria for guests.
- Reach out to the hosts and introduce yourself. Make sure your pitch is well written and concise.
- Prepare for the interview by rehearsing answers to common questions.
- Be prepared to promote the episode when it airs.
- After the interview has concluded, as the host to credit you. Most podcasters are happy to oblige and will include a link in the show notes or in the audio file itself.
And, of course, make sure your website is presentable, well-optimized for search engines, and easy to navigate. That way, it will be ready for the new wave of customers you’ve attracted by participating in niche-specific podcasts.
4. Leverage integration partners
If you have the ability to and haven’t already, SaaS websites can use integration partners to secure backlinks. Integration partners are companies that offer services that complement those of the SaaS company. When SaaS companies work together, they can promote each other’s products and services to their customers. This can result in more website traffic and backlinks for the SaaS company.
You can see an example of this here. The cobrowsing tool RemoteHQ has a bunch of high-profile integrations. By integrating these integrations into their tool RemoteHQ has not only made their SaaS tool more attractive to potential customers but also opened the doors to a reciprocal backlink. A reciprocal backlink is a link on one website that points to a page on another website, and vice versa.
One way to find potential integration partners is to look for companies that offer complementary services.
For example, a SaaS company that provides online marketing tools could partner with a company that provides website design services. The two companies can promote each other’s products and services to their customers, this leading to increased website traffic and more backlinks for the SaaS company.
5. Utilize product embeds
SaaS companies have a unique opportunity to use their product embeds as a way to secure backlinks. For clarity, this strategy is only applicable to certain SaaS tools – those that possess the ability to be embedded in their users’ websites.
If this is you, as an example of how this strategy works, check out Hubspot’s form builder.
HubSpot’s form builder is an online tool that allows the company’s customers to create free, customizable forms and surveys.
Once customized to their customer’s liking, HubSpot’s form builder generates a code snippet that can be inserted into a website to capture leads. For website owners, it presents a simple way to collect information from website visitors without having to create a separate landing page.
The embed form includes a customizable form and thank-you page, and it can be used to collect information like name, email address, and company size.
Why would Hubspot offer this product for free?
Well, to encourage users to embed it in their website and begin generating Hubspot backlinks. As you can see indicated above, the Hubspot team has included a link back to their homepage within the form. That way, every time a user embeds the form into their website, it generates a backlink for the company’s website.
SaaS Link Building Best Practices
Okay, that’s the link building techniques out of the way. But what about best practices? Is there anything specifically you should pay close attention to when building SaaS backlinks?
Yes, most definitely. Let’s take a quick look at this now.
Most of the strategies I detailed above revolve around outreach. And unfortunately, no matter how well written your content may be or how well you can present yourself on a podcast, if your outreach skills aren’t up to scratch, acquiring backlinks is likely to be tough going.
What is outreach?
Essentially, online outreach is a form of marketing that employs digital channels to reach out to potential and current customers. It uses online tools such as websites, email, and social media to communicate with prospects. In this case, partner SaaS websites, publications, or podcasters.
Typically, the type of outreach you’d employ for building backlinks will involve email outreach. Here’s an example of how a well-curated outreach email would look.
I hope you’re well.
Here at [your company name] we’re big fans of your work and believe our SaaS tool would be a great addition to your [content/link roundup/etc].
I’m writing to see if you would be interested in a [having me on as a podcast guest/setting up an integration partnership/etc.] for our SaaS tool. Our tool is a great fit for your audience, and I believe it would be mutually beneficial for both of our [sites/audience/social media channels].
The tool is [tool name + link to product page] and it’s the perfect solution for [problem]. It would be great if you could take a look and let me know what you think.
Wrapping it up:
If you’re interested, please let me know and I’ll send you more information. Kind regards,
Dofollow vs. nofollow links
When hunting down backlinks from referring domains, ideally, securing dofollow links is the best-case scenario.
Dofollow links are the bread and butter of SEO. They are links that Google counts on to pass PageRank and authority to the pages they link to. Conversely, nofollow links don’t have that same effect, which is why many people think they’re less valuable for SEO purposes.
However, recent research has shown that nofollow links can still be beneficial for SEO when used correctly. As proposed by the Semrush team’s recent case study, they conclude that nofollow links are still valuable in terms of SEO. Nofollow links contribute to a diverse backlink profile – a factor that Google’s algorithm takes into account when ranking websites on the SERPs.
So while the premise that dofollow links add the most value to your site stands, oftentimes you won’t have the power to dictate whether a referring domain will be kind enough to add this type of link to their website.
After all, beggars can’t be choosers.
With that in mind, if the next time a referring domain adds a link to your site that’s nofollow, don’t be discouraged. It’s a good thing.
Summary: Does my SaaS site need backlinks?
Without a shadow of a doubt, if you want your tool to be successful, your SaaS site requires backlinks. Without high-quality backlinks, your website is likely to be buried deep in the SERPs and not where you’d like it to be – in front of your customers.
If you’d like more help with acquiring high-quality, rank-boosting backlinks, why not check out our link building services? Our experienced link building team will work directly with you to create a custom campaign that meets your specific needs and goals. That way, your SaaS tool will get the exposure it deserves.