Software as a Service, or SaaS, can be a very competitive industry. Because of this, businesses need to ensure their content is visible and seen by the right people. To achieve this, SaaS businesses need to have a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place.
However, SEO on its own won’t be enough to rank in the search engine results pages (SERP). If you want to get your SaaS website seen, you’ll also need to implement a powerful link-building strategy to prove to search engines why your content deserves the top spot.
Keep reading to discover more about SaaS link building and the ways you can create a strong linking strategy that will get your content noticed for all the right reasons.
Table of Contents
What Is Link Building for SaaS?
SaaS link building is a core SEO strategy in which SaaS companies earn inbound links from referring domains to improve their search engine rankings. While your SEO can benefit from a good internal linking strategy and the inclusion of external links in your content, the main focus of a SaaS link-building strategy is earning backlinks.
However, any old backlink won’t do; businesses need to focus on getting high-quality links. These links would be from referring domains that are considered trustworthy in their field and have high domain authority. Typically these referring domains also have a few other things in common, such as more traffic, a higher click-through rate (CTR), and more conversions. High-quality backlinks are important because they prove to search engines that your content is also valuable and relevant.
Now, you might be wondering what makes a good backlink. You’re not the only one. There are a few ways to identify good backlinks from bad ones. Good backlinks will:
- Be relevant to the topic linked to
- Be from a website with a high authority
- Be from a page with a lot of traffic
- Be from a page with only a few outgoing links
- Be from relevant anchor text
While you might get links from low-quality or small referring domains, these often don’t impact your SEO or search result ranking much. This is because search engines don’t view these websites as credible, and therefore, they don’t have a big effect.
However, be careful of too many low-quality websites linking to your content. When this happens, the search engine algorithm might suspect that there are link spamming practices in play and penalize your website or send it to be reviewed by Search Quality Raters. Neither of these will be beneficial for your SaaS business.
So, how do you get high-quality links for your SaaS website? There are a number of strategies you can implement. The most common strategy is cold email outreach campaigns, but there are a number of other ways you can build links to boost your backlink profile. Keep reading as we’ll be sharing a few of the top strategies.
Is SaaS Link Building Still Relevant?
Now, the big question is whether or not link building is still relevant. There’s a reason why many businesses are starting to wonder about this. The reason is all the recent updates to Google’s search algorithm. In the past, the more links you had from referring domains, the higher it would rank. This happened regardless of the quality or relevance of the link.
Unfortunately, this led to many websites spamming their content full of links that made the user experience for anyone on their website horrible. Not only that, but the core focus was more on adding links and keywords to rank high in search results rather than producing good content. This meant low-quality websites ended up in the top spots in search rankings rather than those with relevant content.
In recent years, Google has made many updates to the algorithm, such as the recent Panda update, to prevent this and ensure that users are provided with relevant, high-quality content. But what does this mean for link-building strategies? Are inbound links even worthwhile in the new landscape?
The short answer is yes. High-quality links from relevant, authoritative websites with a high domain authority score are still powerful. All that the changes in the algorithm have really done has stressed the importance of having a high-quality link-building strategy in place as opposed to using link schemes and spamming techniques.
Why Is SaaS Link Building Important for SEO Strategies?
The SaaS industry is extremely competitive. New businesses are popping up, existing ones are expanding and branching out, and everyone is fighting for their piece of the market. The US has eight times more SaaS companies than any other country in the world. This number is also expected to double by 2025.
Starting a SaaS company is quite easy compared to many other industries. For some, it can be as easy as registering your business and outsourcing the development process of your software to countries in Eastern Europe or Asia, where it can be developed for cheaper. Once it’s ready to be released, you can start selling your SaaS product. Sales for these products typically occur on a subscription basis to cover updates and improvements. An easy startup process with good market growth leads to high competition.
This means that SaaS companies need to do a lot of work to ensure they’re seen by their target audience. This means they need to implement an SEO link-building strategy that can deliver results and ensure their content ranks high in the search results. While on-page and technical SEO can bring your business a long way, a link-building strategy is really what’ll separate your company from the competition.
Challenges To Running SaaS Link-Building Strategies
Link building isn’t an easy strategy despite how simple the process may sound. It’s definitely one of the more time-consuming SEO strategies there are. But you know what they say, high risk, high rewards. However, no business wants to waste precious time on a strategy that’s not going to produce results.
As such, it’s important for SaaS businesses to be aware of the challenges that might impact their link-building strategies. If you’re aware of the challenges, you can prepare for them and overcome them without causing any delays.
Google Algorithm Updates
As we mentioned briefly, the recent string of Google updates has led many businesses to question the effectiveness of link-building altogether. Google also isn’t about to stop improving how they rank content just so that some businesses can figure out their link-building strategies. At the end of the day, search engines focus on providing users with the best possible results for their searches.
As such, it’s your responsibility to stay on top of any changes in the Google algorithm, whether they relate to link building or other aspects of SEO, to stay on top of your strategy. If you feel that you don’t have time to monitor Google updates and how they impact your link-building tactics, you might want to consider outsourcing this process to a link-building agency. The best backlink agency will always be on top of the newest changes to the algorithm and ready to update your strategies accordingly.
While a link-building campaign can have many benefits for your business, such as improved visibility in SERPs, you need content before you can even begin to think about building links. Content is a topic that always seems to come up when you’re thinking about link-building techniques. As tired as many are of hearing how content is king, the reality is that it’s an essential part of the process.
Without content, referring domains will have nothing to link to. Creating relevant, informative content should be at the base of your search engine optimization strategy. This is true even if you don’t plan on having link-building campaigns as part of your strategy.
This means that on top of spending money and resources on your link-building outreach, you might also have to consider the same expenses for content creation. When it comes to creating content that’s optimized for search engines as well as users, you can’t just have any high school graduate writing your articles.
All link-building outreach campaigns start at the same place – prospecting. Link prospecting and acquisition is the process of finding opportunities to build links. At the same time, niches can vary significantly in the SaaS industry. Some SaaS businesses might find that their niche is quite significant, which means there’s a vast pool of relevant content to source backlinks from.
Alternatively, some niches are small and very specialized. This could mean that the pool of relevant content is much smaller, making it more difficult to build backlinks. In these cases, the business might have to think outside of the proverbial box when acquiring links.
Building a strong backlink profile isn’t an easy task, which means it requires significant manpower. SaaS link-building campaigns typically consist of four stages. The steps in the process of link building for SaaS include:
- Prospecting or finding link-building opportunities
- Preparing your outreach sequence
- Finding the contact information of relevant websites or SaaS brands
- Personalizing your pitch to appeal to the website or brand
Ideally, you’d need at least one full-time staff member to ensure a constant flow of high-quality backlinks. This is an expense many businesses don’t take into account, and it can pose a significant challenge. Alternatively, backlinking agencies can manage this aspect of your business.
Takes Time To See Results
Not only can link-building campaigns take time to implement, but it can also take time to see any results from your link-building efforts. This is because the SEO benefits of any new strategy can take at least a few months of consistent effort to show.
While the exact time before seeing results will vary according to each niche, expecting to see results in a week is highly unrealistic. As such, businesses should consider link-building as a long-term strategy. Effective SaaS link building requires lots of consistent effort, but once those high-quality backlinks kick in, your business will quickly notice the difference.
SaaS Link Building – Top Tips to Improve Search Engine Ranking
If you want to get the most out of your SEO and ensure you rank high in SERPs, you need to use the most effective link-building strategies available. When it comes to SaaS link building, there are a number of tactics you can use. You might even already be aware of some of them, such as guest posting.
However, there are many other out-of-the-box tactics that you can implement that you might not have considered yet. This list contains some of the popular tactics that you might already be aware of or even already use in your strategy. However, there are also a few surprises and tactics that are easy to implement and can have great results for your SaaS link-building strategy.
Benefit From Unlinked Brand Mentions
Brands and websites may already be talking about your product without you even realizing it. The reason why you don’t know about these mentions is that they might not be linked to your content, and therefore you don’t see them when evaluating your backlink profile.
However, these mentions pose a great opportunity for link-building and are one of the easiest methods to use because the brand already sees value in your product. All you need to do is reach out to the website owner and request that they add a link to your content. You can use Google News Alert to find mentions of your brand, making it easier to find these opportunities.
Improving Linked Brand Mentions
There might be websites that already link to your content when they mention your brand. However, these links might point users to pages on your website that might not be relevant to the topic, such as your homepage. Remember, if users can’t immediately find value in your content, they’ll leave the website.
As such, you might want to direct them to more relevant content so that you can benefit from higher-quality referral traffic. In this case, you’d reach out to the website owner and ask them to change the link to a more relevant page. Remember to give them the link, don’t expect them to go looking for it themselves. And also, make sure that they understand the benefit to them of changing the link.
We’ve all heard about guest posts for link-building campaigns. If you start researching link-building strategies, this is, without a doubt, one of the first tactics that come up. Utilizing guest posts can be very valuable for any link-building strategy, and because of this forms part of many businesses strategies. However, the amount of competition within the SaaS industry might make this tactic quite challenging.
To start a guest posting strategy to build links, you need to find high-authority websites within your niche that have high domain authority. Then you need to reach out to the website owner and pitch an idea for a guest post that would be valuable and relevant to their audience. If they accept, you’ll write the blog post to be used on their website and place a link in the content back to your own site.
Guest posts are a great way to earn referral traffic from other websites that are already viewed as authorities in the industry. It’s also a good way to network and build a relationship with like-minded businesses.
Utilize Trend Reports Effectively
Trend reports have shown to be valuable, high-quality content that can be great for building links. However, this process can be quite time-consuming as the trend reports that do well with this strategy are those that use high-barrier-to-entry content that’s extremely well-researched and typically very long form. High-barrier-to-entry content doesn’t have a lot of competition, which can make it a great option to include in your content strategy.
This type of content works so well for link building because the competition is so low, making it more likely that other websites will link to it if the content is relevant and useful. This type of content can also easily be used for creating infographics and even YouTube videos which give even more linking opportunities.
Another beneficial thing about this content is that it can be easily updated each year to add new trends and remove old ones without having to create the entire article from scratch. That will keep any links that your article has earned up to date and relevant.
Utilize Alternate Forms of Content
Don’t think that building backlinks is limited to blog posts or written content on your website. Using other types of content can be another great way to earn links from other websites. This can be in the form of images, video content, and even audio content.
For example, in the last few years, podcasts have grown significantly in popularity. There seems to be a podcast on every topic imaginable, including SaaS products and businesses. If you were to be a guest on a SaaS-related podcast, not only would you reach new audiences, but there will also be a bio and link in the website description of the podcast.
YouTube is a popular platform for video content; again, creators cover any topic imaginable. You could start a channel for your SaaS company to showcase your products, give updates, announce new products, and more. All of this content can include links back to your website. If you feel up for it, you can even collaborate with other SaaS businesses that have YouTube channels to benefit from referral traffic.
Product embeds or widget link building is when parts of your SaaS product can be embedded directly in the client’s website and contains a link back to yours. Have you ever seen the tiny ‘Powered by’ link included in many different SaaS products? That is an example of a product embed.
If it’s already possible to embed your product, that’s great. If not, try to think about which elements your users would benefit from and create a product embed. A good example of this is Typeform, which allows users to embed a survey or other type of form directly on their website, and at the bottom of the product embed is a link back to Typeform.
Shareable links are another simple way that you can earn high-quality backlinks. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have your users share parts of their projects using your SaaS product online. A great example of this is how Invision, an online productivity platform, has user sharing their prototypes on their subdomain. These prototypes make great linkable content for other websites such as Adobe, Hubspot, and other high-authority sites.
This strategy might not apply to all SaaS businesses, but try to think of creative ways to make this possible. If you can, you might see that now your clients are creating a great deal of content that can be linked to without you spending additional time or resources.
Utilize Roundups and Resource Pages
Roundups or resource pages are another great linking opportunity for SaaS businesses. These types of content feature a collection of the top tools for a specific topic. Product roundups are some of the most popular types of content as they help guide users when purchasing. This is especially relevant in the SaaS industry as many different products are available that serve a similar function.
In order to benefit from this opportunity, you’ll need to find product roundups or resource pages that are relevant to your product. Then you’ll have to reach out to the creator and request that your tool be included in the list, with a link to your content.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is another popular strategy that you may have already come across. To use this link-building technique, you’ll have to find links on a website within your niche that no longer works. These broken links could be because the webpage or website no longer exists. This gives you an opportunity to link to your own content.
In broken link building, you’ll have to contact the website owner to inform them about the broken link. You’ll also provide them with a potential replacement that links back to your own content. This might be a time-consuming process to find relevant broken links, and there’s always a chance that the website owner might decide to just remove the broken link completely or replace it with something else. However, if they do use your link, it could have great results for your SEO and SERP rankings.
Use Infographics Effectively
By now, most content creators and SEO experts understand the value of a well-designed infographic. Not only do they add a visual element to your content, but they can also break down complex topics and present it in a way that’s easy to understand. You might already be using infographics in your content, but have you ever thought of giving it to someone else? Probably not.
Yet, this can be a good link-building opportunity. If you notice a post related to yours and you see it could benefit from an infographic, why not make one and send it to the website owner? If they decide they want to use it, all they need to do is add a link to your website. This can be a great way to connect with other websites, give them something of high value, and ask for something simple in return.
Get Image Credits
Visual elements are a great addition to any website. Do you create and use your own images? Whether they are photos of your products, created images, or even animations, there might be a chance that another website has used your images in their content – especially if the image is good. This could be another great opportunity for link-building.
When you find that your images have been used on another high authority website related to your niche, reach out to the website owner and ask for an image credit that links to your content. Since the image is yours, the chances are very low that they’ll decline a simple image credit. Please note that this will only be possible with images that your business created; any stock or license-free images that you use won’t count.
If you can start using this link-building tactic, you’ll notice not only an improvement in your backlink profile but also in many other aspects of your business. For one, having a good review about your product on a high authority website provides social proof regarding the use of your product. This not only leads to more traffic and better rankings in SERP but can also lead to more clients.
To start using this technique, you need to find high-authority review sites within your niche. Then you’ll need to reach out to the website owner and ask for them to review your SaaS product. Typically, you’ll give the reviewer at least three months of free access to your product. However, this period can be more depending on the type of product you have. In exchange for free access, they’ll then write a review about your product and link back to your SaaS website.
Benefit From Integration Partners
More and more SaaS tools are forming integration partnerships with other businesses within the field. For example, Google Workspace has a number of simple integrations across its products. Think about how Gmail integrates with other Google services, such as Google Meets and your Google Calendar. Many other types of software offer integrations similar to this to provide more usability to the user.
Integrations like this are great for your go-to-market (GTM) strategy and can also have an effect on your monthly recurring revenue (MRR). It also provides a link-building opportunity, which makes integrations with other businesses a good idea.
If you have an integration partner, you can ask them to add a link to your integration directory listing. You should also ask if you can write a guest post for their website with a contextual link back to your content. These steps often don’t just happen, and you might need to request this from your integration partners specifically.
Using rankings as content on your website is a great way to build links, but it can also be high maintenance. The reason for the success of this tactic is that businesses like to brag, and if they’re featured well in your rankings, they’ll be very likely to share this content.
First, you would need to create a special ranking report that’s relevant to your niche. Keep in mind that you don’t want to use direct competitors but rather software that would enhance what your product is capable of. Once your article is live and has a chance to gain some traffic, you can reach out to some of the brands listed in your ranking report and ask them to share the news.
Don’t Overlook ‘Badges’
Badges may seem like a rather outdated tactic, but they can still be quite effective for building links. If you offer your users badges, your website can soon start earning a high volume of referring domains simply because the badge is featured on their website.
G2, a software marketplace, is a great example of a SaaS brand that effectively uses the badge tactic. Many top brands are happy to add the G2 badge to their content as it provides social proof and can boost conversions. Think about badges that you can provide clients that they’ll want to include on their website, and use these badges as a linking opportunity.
Offer Free Tools
Free tools are a great way to attract new customers to your website and potentially get them to sign up for your paid products. Who doesn’t love a good free SaaS product? Aside from generating new leads, free tools are also a great opportunity to build backlinks.
You can start by creating a simple free tool such as a plugin or browser extension. Keep in mind that the tool should provide real value to the user without detracting from your paid tool. By creating valuable free tools, you’ll see more user-generated links back to your content from other websites and brands recommending your tool. However, in order for this tactic to be successful, you’ll need to promote the free tool to relevant communities and convince them to link back.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is a great tool to use for positive PR and SaaS link building. This online tool gives journalists valuable sources of information that they can use in any upcoming articles. When you sign up with HARO on either a free or paid account, you’ll receive opportunities daily to provide information to journalists.
If your information is used in an article, your SaaS website will be listed as a source with a link. The only thing to be aware of when using this strategy is that the link types given can vary. As such, you might receive a mixture of do-follow and no-follow links. Regardless if you’re aware of coveted do-follow links, you’ll still be featured and linked on a high authority domain which will drive organic traffic to your website.
Attend Conferences, Expo, and Talks
Speaking at or sponsoring conferences is another great link-building opportunity with added benefits. Not only can you build links, but you can also increase brand awareness and set yourself as an expert in your niche. This also provides an opportunity for you to network with other SaaS companies.
If you’re a speaker at a conference, either live or virtual, you’ll get a bio page on the event’s website along with secure backlinks to your website. Even if you aren’t a speaker, you can still be a sponsor of the event and receive a mention and backlink on their ‘Contributor’ or ‘Sponsors’ page.
Benefit From Responding on Q&A Sites
Q&A sites are another unsuspecting SaaS link-building opportunity. On these sites, people can ask a wide range of questions across multiple industries. SaaS-related questions are a common topic, and if you can provide value and answers to these questions, you can even add a link to your SeeS website.
However, you should be cautious when using this tactic. You can simply answer and link to any question and expect results. You need to make sure that when you answer, it solves the problem of the person asking and adds value to their efforts. If the question isn’t related to your product or service, and if you can’t solve their problem, it’s best to scroll on and find someone you can actually help.
What are the Best SaaS Link Building Strategies?
As you can see, there are many different SaaS link-building strategies available that you can implement to make your content more visible. In fact, this list contains so many tactics that you might be overwhelmed thinking about how to implement them all. You may even be wondering what’s the best one so that you can only focus on that strategy.
The truth is there isn’t a single strategy that’s ‘the best.’ All of them can have different results for different niches. As such, we suggest identifying a few that you feel will fit in best with your current SEO strategy and testing them out. Give them a couple of months to see how they do, and from that point, you can decide if you need to try another strategy to get better results or continue building on the ones that are working for you.
Link building for SaaS can be a challenge largely because the industry is so competitive. As such, you need to think carefully about your strategy and the methods you use to ensure you get the best possible results. The SaaS link-building process can be slow, and it takes a while to see the results of your efforts.
Despite that, it’s important to remember it isn’t always about how many outgoing links you have but rather the quality of those backlinks. Spend your time building backlinks from websites with high authority and trustworthiness, and soon you’ll start seeing the results.