You’re running a SaaS business.
You want to grow.
You focus on content and understand the importance of SEO for organic lead generation.
What’s the next step?
Link building can play a vital role in SEO. All SEOs debate the importance of links and their role in online ranking.
However, the evidence is there that Google considers links to be a major ranking factor. The correlation is strong and shouldn’t be ignored. There are many different ways to build backlinks and not all methods are equal, but we will get into all of that soon!
What is SaaS Link Building?
SaaS SEO link building is the process of obtaining links from reputable and niche-relevant websites.
Acquiring backlinks signals to search engines that your business is an authoritative source of information. Not only do backlinks help improve third-party metrics like domain authority they also help to pass PageRank to your website.
By building a network of high-quality links, SaaS businesses will be better able to rank for keywords that can drive targeted traffic to their website, and thus their products.
As you will see it’s the companies with tons of backlinks that are able to rank for competitive keywords like CRM software!
Benefits of SaaS Link Building
The benefits of SaaS link building are numerous and not all of the benefits are immediately obvious.
Instead, link building is a good long-term play for SaaS businesses, as such it can provide a significant return on investment for your business in the longer term.
The most obvious benefit of embarking on a link-building strategy is improved search engine rankings, as you will infer this can lead to you being able to generate a continuous stream of leads and traffic to your website.
This traffic is free and continuous. With traditional lead generation, you have to pay for every single lead. SEO can cost a bit in the short term, but it offers the opportunity to get free leads in the future.
It’s a good payoff that much is certain.
What else can SaaS link building offer?
Highly targeted referral traffic, will depend on the level of relevance of the links you are obtaining.
However, backlinks from high-traffic pages can be a great source of new leads. For example, suppose you are a business that sells CRM software and you have a link in an article about “how to use a CRM” with the anchor text “CRM software”.
People who are clicking on this link know exactly why they are coming to your website, and that’s a great thing for you!
High-traffic page backlinks offer you the opportunity to attract a portion of the linking website’s traffic to come to your own website.
SaaS link building can also contribute massively to your digital PR efforts. By earning backlinks from reputable websites in your industry your credibility and trustworthiness multiply. More media coverage, social media mentions, and an overall positive buzz around your business will drive you way more new leads.
The benefits of SaaS link building extend beyond just improved rankings and organic traffic. By investing in quality link-building solutions, your SaaS business can achieve long-term ROI…
Types of Backlinks
Backlinks can be primarily classified into two types: dofollow and nofollow links.
Dofollow links are hyperlinks that pass “link juice” (a term used to denote SEO value) from one website to another. The reason why these links are considered valuable for SEO is that Google’s algorithm considers these links in their PageRank formula.
On the other hand, nofollow links are links that do not pass any direct SEO value. With that said they are still important for referral traffic and brand exposure, but supposedly they do not directly impact search engine rankings.
That’s why when it comes to building links, it’s better to get do-follow links, however, no-follow backlinks are still an important element of a natural link profile.
Additionally, the quality and authority of the website that is linking to your site also matter. A backlink from a high-authority website, such as Forbes or The New York Times, will provide a gigantic boost to your website’s domain authority and rankings.
Conversely, a backlink from a smaller niche site e.g. a travel blog will not pack the same punch, although backlinks like this do still have a place in SEO.
Metrics like referring domains and domain rating (DR) in Ahrefs can be used as indicators of a website’s quality. Whilst these metrics are not always 100% accurate, they do give you a general idea of the value a specific link holds.
Referring domains is a metric that is all about the number of unique websites that are linking to your website. So, for example, if this website had 1300 links from 1000 different websites, you would say we had 1000 referring domains.
Additionally, DR is a metric that reflects the overall backlink profile of a website. So, a website like Forbes has a DR score of 94, while most small to medium-sized businesses will be between 20 and 50.
There is a significant correlation between these metrics and search engine rankings, but they should not be relied upon as the sole indicator of a website’s quality or authority. Content quality, relevance, and topical authority all play a major role.
In general, it’s best to focus on acquiring high-quality, relevant backlinks from authoritative websites in your industry. This can help improve your search engine rankings, drive referral traffic, and enhance your brand visibility and reputation.
How To Earn Backlinks
So, you know the benefits of building backlinks in the SaaS and B2B space, but how do you get there…
When anyone thinks of link building their minds always turn to guest posting. This is a great way for SaaS businesses to build links, share value, and enhance the credibility of their brand.
Collaborations start with guest posting in many cases. When you provide value (good content) to similar brands in your industry, you get the opportunity to communicate with a new audience and build the image of a “thought leader” and “innovator”.
The exposure that comes about from guest blogging is magnificent, just look at this one we wrote:
Content like this drives sharing and leads, it’s that simple.
When you are writing a guest post make sure it aligns with the host website’s audience, topics, tone, and style. This will enable you to create a cohesive partnership that provides mutual benefits.
Build your brand and become known as an authority in your field. This helps with attracting and retaining customers.
Using HARO (Help a Reporter Out) as a SaaS company is a great way to go about gaining media coverage and establishing your brand as an industry authority.
Responding to relevant queries from journalists and high-profile bloggers can help you secure valuable backlinks and mentions in top-tier publications.
Media coverage can be a fantastic way to further enhance your reputation and influence online. Additionally, media coverage can help you get verified on social media platforms which will allow you to leverage more credibility in that department too.
Tactical link exchanges between SaaS brands can be a valuable way to build relationships and acquire high-quality backlinks and features.
As long as the actual link exchanges are not excessive or done solely for the purpose of manipulating PageRank.
In fact, link exchanges for SaaS brands can provide mutual benefits for both parties involved. By sharing content with each other’s audiences, SaaS companies can build the credibility and authority they need to be successful.
Link exchanges should be the result of forming valuable partnerships, as such they can even lead to new business opportunities.
Create Linkable Assets
Linkable assets, such as comprehensive guides, original research, infographics, and templates, are a solid way to accumulate a large number of backlinks when compared to other more active link-building techniques.
Although, it is unlikely you will exclusively build new backlinks from other SaaS brands you might be able to get a few. However, the main benefit you will get is the large volume of links to your linkable assets. From here, you can apply a smart interlinking strategy to distribute ranking power across your website.
All in all linkable assets can attract backlinks continuously, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Having a great SaaS SEO content strategy in place will also attract lots of backlinks over time.
Competitor analysis is an essential part of any SaaS business’s link building strategy.
We recommend using Semrush’s backlink gap tool to analyze your competitor’s backlink profiles.
This is a great way to discover new link-building opportunities that are already working for your competitors and driving their new business.
Looking at the link-building strategies your competitors are using is a great way to uncover what is working well for other businesses in your space. Looking to acquire the same powerful links your competitors have for your own website is a foolproof strategy that continuously works for SaaS brands.
Poaching backlinks like this not only builds a strong backlink profile but also gains an edge over your competitors in search engine rankings.
How To Do SaaS Backlink Outreach
Step 1: Prospecting
The process for acquiring backlinks for SaaS businesses is no different from that of other businesses, except you often have more leverage as a software-based business.
The prospecting stage of outreach-based link building requires you to make a list of potential websites or blogs that have topical relevance to your SaaS business.
You can use premium software like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find potential prospects or you can just use Google search to find niche websites. Not all websites will advertise they accept guest posts or have labeled “write for us” pages, but if you can offer value, most websites will be keen to accept guest posts and be willing to link back to you.
Step 2: Research and Personalization
Once you have a list of prospects, do some research on each website and the individuals behind it. Get to know their content, their interests, and the specific audience you will be writing for.
Collating this information will help you to personalize your outreach emails. When you send outreach emails use a tool like Hunter.io or Snov.io to find a named contact, and be sure to demonstrate that you understand their website and their audience.
Step 3: Crafting Your Email
When crafting your outreach email, be concise, clear, and to the point. Check out this guide on how to write a cold email for a bit of inspiration!
Simply though, by introducing yourself and your company, and explaining why you believe your content would be valuable to their audience, you will be much more likely to earn an editorial backlink.
Step 4: Follow-up
After sending your initial email, wait a few days and then follow up with a friendly reminder. Try to avoid saying things like “just following up” or “checking in.”. Instead, remind your prospect that you can offer significant value to their website.
A follow-up email should be short and sweet, be sure to thank them for their time and remain professional in all circumstances. If you still don’t receive a response after your follow-up, you can send a second or third one, but avoid being pushy or aggressive.
Scheduling your follow-up emails is important. You can even do this within Semrush using their link-building tool.
Step 5: Schedule and Track Your Outreach
If you consistently just send out emails you may forget who you have reached out to already. As such, it’s important to note down your outreach efforts in a spreadsheet, including all the websites, contact information, the date and time of your outreach, and any subsequent follow-ups. Doing this will help you stay organized!
Tracking and Measuring Your SaaS Link Building
SaaS SEO link building is a gradual process. It doesn’t yield instant results, that’s why it may be wise to outsource your link building.
If you do decide to keep everything in-house, then you need to track and measure your success. Some of the key link-building metrics we recommend keeping tabs on are:
Domain Authority: While DA or DR doesn’t directly relate to a link’s value, it’s a pretty solid estimate in most cases of the strength and authority of the website’s domain.
Referral Traffic: You can use analytics software (primarily Google Analytics) to monitor the traffic that is coming to your website directly from other websites that have linked to your content.
Keyword Rankings: Good rankings mean more clicks and organic lead flow to your SaaS business. Tracking your website’s keyword positions in the SERPs for specific commercial keywords that are related to your business is the best way to measure organic growth from link acquisition.
Obviously, there are a lot of SEO KPIs, but these are some of the most important in the realm of SaaS link building.
Common Mistakes To Avoid In SaaS Link Building
Going out and just building or buying any old backlink isn’t good enough. There is a myriad of mistakes that SaaS businesses make when it comes to link building, these include (but are not limited to):
Quantity Over Quality: Acquiring $10 backlinks at scale or spammy links e.g. link farms and footer injections can do more harm than good to your website’s search engine rankings. These links offer no editorial value, as such they are not worth building, no matter if they are dirt cheap. Instead, focus on doing comprehensive SaaS keyword research, publishing fantastic content, and building strong backlinks.
Ignoring Relevance: Relevance is arguably the most important component of a good backlink. Links from irrelevant websites or pages don’t make sense to search engines or users, they will therefore pass less authority.
Not Diversifying: Diversification is a core component of SaaS link building. If you are too heavily reliant on one type of link or one source for all your links e.g. guest posts. This can be risky if that source becomes less valued in a future algorithm update.
How important is link building for SaaS businesses?
Link building is very important for SaaS businesses as it directly influences rankings, traffic, lead generation, and revenue.
How do I identify good link-building opportunities for my SaaS business?
You can identify good link building opportunities by carrying out substantial research on your competitors. Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs offer the advanced capability for this.
How many links do I need to rank first?
There is no specific number of links that will guarantee a first-placed ranking position. The quality and relevance of the links are way more significant than the number of backlinks. If all circumstances are equal you will need more backlinks than the company ranking first.