SaaS is a highly competitive field. To survive and thrive in this niche, traditional SEO and content marketing techniques will not be enough. Having top-quality backlinks used to be the most important SEO ranking factor in SaaS, but with John Mueller advising that the importance of backlinks will drop over time, the future of backlinks is uncertain. Still, as of today, backlinks play a decisive role in highly-competitive niches like SaaS.
Link building isn’t just about manipulating ratings; it is also an opportunity for you to establish your brand’s authority in its niche. In this article, we’ll discuss how to build an effective link building strategy.
Link building: What it is & Why it’s important for SaaS companies
Link building, in simple terms, is any attempt to get backlinks to a website. The accepted strategies around it have fluctuated over the years because Google and other search engines have changed their backlink score criteria. It used to depend on backlink count; now it depends on backlink quality. That means your approach to link building for SaaS should focus on getting links from high-quality Internet resources.
If you own an Saas company, you must build a robust backlink profile to increase your site’s ranking and visibility, strengthen its authority, and get higher conversions. The initial goal of your SEO strategy should be to increase relevant traffic from leads. This means tapping into what they’re looking for and meeting their demands by producing valuable content.
Choosing the right link building strategy for your busy SEO specialist
Getting natural links to your site safely, quickly, or for free, can be a confusing mess of an ordeal, especially if you’re new to the process. Today, there are many active time-tested link building strategies, but some new strategies have recently entered the fold that need further testing. Determining which method will be the most effective in your case depends on your budget, your niche situation in, and the methods your competitors are using. But there are strategies that are especially effective for commercial and information projects.
It is also important to have an end goal in mind because it takes time, effort, and patience to see results. You can also try different strategies as you progress to see what works and what doesn’t. Let’s take a look a few of them to find out how to get backlinks for your SaaS company.
Below are 5 link building strategies you can start using right now.
Tip 1. Make a link out of the brand mention
Brand mentioning is a top promotion strategy. You can do research to find brand mentions of yours with no backlinks attached to them. If your searches turn up any results, contact the webmaster to discuss including a link to your site. This will add weight to your site and build link mass.
There are four types of brand mentions:
- Thematic. Topical content mentions with no company, product, or brand name.
- Direct. Mentioning of a specific brand by their name.
- Product. Mentioning of the product being sold with no reference to the company. If the content fits the product, you should try to get a backlink.
- Branded. If your site sells branded products, there should already be a link to one of your popular brands. To get a backlink, go to sites that mention your brand (or similar terms) and offer them a link to your products.
Brand mentioning has a high return, but only if you have already established some credibility and your brand is being talked about. The process goes as follows:
- Track mentions of your brand. Do this manually or with the help of specialized software on third-party sites.
- Contact the editor. Find out who was responsible for editing the content.
- Send a request for a link. Do this instead of requesting a mention.
- Track mentions regularly. Set up ongoing mention tracking and repeat this process periodically.
You can track unlinked brand mentions using one of Google’s tools. Consider using Google Alerts (you can find it here). To use Google Alerts, enter a word or phrase. Whenever it is mentioned on the Internet, you will receive an email notification.
Google Alerts is a good free tool for beginners. To learn how to set up Google Alerts, check out this guide.
Tip 2. Create roundups
Roundups are collections of the best tools or resources for a distinct topic. Many SaaS companies favor this link building method even though it can be pretty labor intensive. The process is as follows:
- Select the online service or product that interests you.
- Write a detailed review.
- Contact service or store representatives to share your review with.
- Hint that the post will be of interest to their users who will want to share it amongst themselves.
- Wait for the link.
In the review, bring up a topic or question that people are looking for an answer to and offer practical advice. All questions should be answered by an expert. Here is a good example of roundups in the SEO and marketing field:
Tip 3. Create free tools
Free SEO tools allow you to attract your target audience to your SaaS site and to stimulate product subscriptions. By creating resource pages to show off to your users your most valuable tools, you’ll see more links to those tools.
It will take effort to get people to link to your tools after promoting free content in topical communities. For example, Invision created a free design plugin for Sketch and Photoshop.
SE Ranking also uses this approach. It has a number of custom free SEO tools, such as Robots.txt Generator, which allows you to create a robots.txt file at no cost. SE Ranking does this to bring value to its users, acquiring backlinks from people who tend to share free useful sources.
Tip 4. Use broken links
Broken link building is an external website optimization technique that involves searching for and replacing broken links on authoritative thematic resources with working links to the promoted site.
Broken link building is mutually beneficial for both parties involved. The marketer receives “juicy” links to their site while the resource owners get a free audit of their internal links. They quickly replace broken links with active ones, which improves the user experience. Recovering broken links involves three simple steps:
- Finding the broken link on the website (a 404 page)
- Creating something similar to a broken resource
- Asking the website affiliate to replace their broken link with your new working one
But how do you find relevant broken links in the first place? Here’s how to do it with the help of SE Ranking’s tools (we’ll also include a spreadsheet):
- Pick 2-3 of your competitors with strong backlink profiles and audit their websites to find 404 pages. SE Ranking’s Website Audit will scan all of the website’s pages within minutes and provide you with a list of broken pages, images, etc., on top of dozens of other technical issues.
2. All 404 pages and broken site resources can be found in the HTTP Status Code section of the Issue Report. Next, click the cell showing the number of those pages and then export all the links. You’ll also need a list of the backlinks pointing to your competitor’s site. Go to the Backlink Checker tool, enter your competitor’s domain name, and hit the Get full report button. Then, go to the Backlinks section and export the backlinks.
In the example above, the analyzed website only had broken images, so before exporting the list, we used the Target URL filter to single out any backlinks pointing to site images. You can use filters to set minimum Domain Trust and Page Trust values to filter out backlinks from high-quality websites only.
3. The final step is to compare the two datasets and see if any of the broken URLs have a noticeable amount of backlinks pointing to them. You’ll need to add the list of broken URLs to the file with backlink data and use the MATCH function to see if any values in the two columns match.
In the example above, the function checks to see if any of the broken URLs in column K are also present in column C, which contains backlink destination URLs. While many of the broken URLs have no backlinks pointing to them, cell K11 features a URL that is also present in cell 64 of column C:
If you get back to the exported Website Audit take, you can see if the broken image was used on the following page:
Tip 5. Use guest posting
Guest posting is a classic strategy used by many link building professionals in the SEO field. This method takes a lot of effort, but it pays off over time in terms of domain authority and driving organic traffic to your site. Many SaaS companies use guest posting to promote their content because of the principle it’s based on: building relationships with authoritative sites or turning to guest post marketplaces.
Let’s look at how to search for guest post sites manually. Sites can be found using the Google search engine and keywords. But you have to use search operators to do this. For example, let’s take a CMS platform that’s looking for a way to publish guest posts. You can use the following search operator:
This search operator helps us find all the blogs in this niche that accept guest posts.
You can also recheck your competitor’s backlinks.
To do this, go to Backlink Checker and enter a competitor’s domain. Then, go to Backlinks—Active, and apply filters to speed up your analysis. Consider analyzing one backlink per domain. Additionally, you can filter out dofollow/nofollow links, text/image links, links with a particular anchor text, links earned within a certain period, and more.
After analyzing your competitors’ backlinks, export all links into a table and add their contacts, ideas for guest posts, etc. When all the preparatory work is done, you can move on to the process of outreach. Drafting an outreach letter is a crucial part of this process. Here, you can find interesting ideas on how to write it.
The second option for guest posting is special services. With a marketplace like Collaborator, you can easily post a PR article. The nice thing about using the marketplace is that you can quickly find sites that are relevant to your topic and post an article in just a few clicks.
Link building isn’t as hard as it sounds, and using proven strategies helps. The methods listed above will work on all sites; you just need to implement them or find a good SEO expert to assist you. Forget the standard approaches to increasing sales. Experiment with link building to boost your performance and build customer loyalty, build customer relationships, and improve your brand reputation.
Anyone working in the SaaS industry can surely benefit from these 5 link building strategies, but some strategies may work better for you than others. That’s why you should try each to understand which ones work best for you.
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