Link building is more important than ever – especially for SaaS companies.
While many founders know this, few know how to secure links for their SaaS website.
Quality links are hard to earn, and that’s exactly why they give SaaS brands such a competitive advantage.
I helped Novorésumé use this advantage to increase their search traffic by 800%.
In this guide, I’ll share some important lessons I’ve learned while building links for SaaS websites. I’ll also reveal my top SaaS link building tactics in 2022.
But first, let’s explore the impact that link building can have on your SaaS company.
How Can Link Building Benefit SaaS Companies?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge opportunity for inbound traffic.
By improving search rankings, SaaS brands can achieve lower customer acquisition costs – a major predictor of growth.
While content is still king, content alone doesn’t necessarily mean you will rank. Search engines also consider off-page SEO factors, like backlinks.
Google relies on links as a signal of trust and authority. In competitive industries, they often become the deciding factor on who will rank at the top.
In other words, backlinks tell Google that your website is worth ranking.
More often than not, the “secret” to improving SEO is simple: secure more relevant backlinks.
SaaS Link Building: 4 Mistakes to Avoid in 2022
I’ve helped dozens of SaaS companies boost their SEO with links.
While link building is a challenge in any industry, it’s especially complicated for SaaS brands. If you take the wrong approach, you’ll quickly hit a dead end.
To preserve your time and resources, familiarize yourself with these common link building mistakes. Avoiding them will help you get better results.
Mistake #1: Promoting Commercial Pages
If you’re trying to build links to a product page, you’re working against yourself.
People rarely link to commercial pages. Instead, they link to resources that:
- Help them communicate an idea;
- Prove an argument they’re making;
- Offer a fresh point-of-view;
- Solve a problem for free.
To get quality links, your target page needs to improve someone’s day without asking for anything in return. If your content doesn’t do that, the ROI of your campaign will suffer.
In the world of link building, altruism is what converts.
Mistake #2: Ignoring Opportunities
To scale a link building campaign, you need content with a ton of potential.
You can start with what’s already on your site, but always keep an eye out for big opportunities.
For example, many SaaS companies offer a free version of their software. People love linking to free tools, especially when they offer a lot of value to their readers.
The free trial offered by Novorésumé has helped them reach 3,000 homepage links.
Never underestimate the power of “free” in link building. If you aren’t offering a free version (or a free trial) of your software, I usually recommend developing one for link building purposes.
Beyond that, there are plenty of asset types that you can leverage for links. Guides, whitepapers, templates, checklists, and infographics are all great ideas.
If you’re using content, here’s a word of advice: start with a topic with lots of traffic potential. The more people are writing about it, the more outreach prospects you’ll have.
With Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer, I can see that “color palette generator” has a lot of interest:
Whereas “inventory management software” isn’t nearly as popular:
You’ll find that this is true for most B2B topics. Fewer people are interested in them, which means there’s a limited outreach pool.
To build links with efficiency, you must focus on the top of your content funnel – content that people might see during the awareness phase.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your audience’s earliest pain points?
- What questions do customers have before they learn about your solution?
- Where does your business overlap with consumer-facing topics?
When you find an interesting topic, create a page around it and try your best to offer as much free value as possible.
You’ll be surprised by how many opportunities are out there. All you have to do is look!
Mistake #3: Sending Email Blasts
Outreach link building is effective, but it is also remarkably tedious.
To speed things up, some link builders opt to send a mass email. That way, they can reach thousands of prospects at once.
While link building is certainly a numbers game, I would caution against this approach.
Instead of fixating on how many emails you can send in one day, focus on the two metrics that actually matter:
- Response rate: how often do prospects reply?
- Conversion rate: how many emails are you sending to secure one link?
There are a lot of ways to improve these metrics, but personalization tops them all.
When asking for a link, show your recipient that your message is for them – not a thousand other websites.
Find the best person to contact. Good outreach always starts with finding out who you should bother with your request. While it requires more resources, you’ll waste even more by sending emails to people who can’t help you.
Mention how your business is connected to theirs. Giving your prospect context makes it easier for them to reply to you.
Tell the prospect why your link benefits them. If you make it about your website, your conversion rate will be much lower.
High-traffic websites get hundreds of outreach emails every day. To increase your success rate, personalize your outreach.
Mistake #4: Paying for Links
As links become harder to earn, many companies feel inclined to buy them instead.
Buying links is clearly against Google’s guidelines, but 63% of SEO experts say it works.
As a “white-hat” link builder, I’ve seen competitors benefit from backlinks that were clearly purchased. This is frustrating, as it’s much simpler to buy links than it is to earn them.
Despite this, I would never recommend that a SaaS company rely solely on paid backlinks – even if competitors are doing it.
While I agree that paid links can influence rankings, the true question is “for how long?”
Google eventually “catches” unnatural links and adjusts its algorithm to completely ignore them. This usually causes the offending website to lose rankings.
While I don’t doubt that paid links work in the short term, the results aren’t sustainable.
Yes, “natural” link building is difficult. But it provides the long-term ROI that SaaS companies need to stay competitive.
If you want to increase the value of your company in the long run, you have to play by the rules.
4 Link Building Tactics That Work for SaaS Companies
Link builders use a wide variety of tactics, and many of them work for SaaS websites.
Time and resources are limited, though, so it’s important to invest in tactics that will get the best results.
Here are 4 link building tactics that perform well for SaaS companies in 2022.
1. Unlinked Brand Mentions
If your brand is well-established, people are probably mentioning it online.
An “unlinked” mention happens when someone mentions your brand without linking to your website.
Unlinked mentions are a great opportunity because the prospects are already talking about your brand. If you ask nicely (and if their publishing guidelines allow it), some websites will update their article with your link.
I used Ahrefs Content Explorer to find the mention pictured above. Semrush and Buzzsumo are also helpful resources, or you can do it for free with our Google scraper tool.
2. Broken Links
As the internet evolves and grows, it tends to break.
Companies come and go, web pages get misplaced or deleted, and backlinks become 404 errors.
These links are bad for user experience, but website owners don’t always find them in the wild.
Here’s how broken link building works:
- Find a broken resource that has backlinks;
- Create a list of web pages containing the dead link;
- Reach out and offer your link as a replacement.
Broken link building is a huge opportunity in fast-paced industries. That’s why this is one of my favorite tactics for SaaS brands.
To find the easiest opportunities, start with a resource that you already have.
As an example, I’ll find an opportunity for these free resumé templates.
Let’s go to Google and find a page to search.
List posts are awesome because they’re more likely to contain dead links. That’s why I include the word “best” in my Google search.
Once I find a page, I’ll check it for broken links. I recommend Link Checker, which is a free browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.
This tool tests every link on a webpage and puts them into 1 of 3 categories: Working, Unverified, or Broken.
Then, it highlights links on the page so you can see where they are.
The tool worked great here, but it won’t catch every dead link.
Some pages 301 redirect to the homepage (also known as a soft 404), and others return a blank screen as a “success.” Therefore, the best way to check is by trying each link manually.
This blog is high-ranking and authoritative, and it hasn’t linked to Novorésumé yet. Pointing out the dead link is a great opportunity to secure my link as a replacement.
This method will help you grab a handful of links with relatively little effort. If you’re looking for scalable opportunities, though, you can use Ahrefs Content Explorer:
It’s also worth plugging competitors into the Site Explorer and clicking on “best by links.” From there, select an error code in the HTTP Code dropdown.
Once you find a relevant broken page with a lot of backlinks, you can work on creating your own version. Then, reach out to every website linking to the dead resource.
3. Resource Pages
Many websites have a page that links to helpful tools, articles, and resources in a specific niche.
If you have a super valuable page, you don’t need to beg to get links from resource pages. Just reach out, show the editor your resource, and kindly ask them to add a link.
To find resource pages in your niche, type a topic followed by +intitle:resources into Google:
You can also try “links” or “tools” instead of “resources.” In addition, it’s good to try a few variations of your topic to make sure you find all the best opportunities.
Pro tip: I’ve created a free tool so you can export these results into a spreadsheet. Check out my article to learn how to scrape Google results.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, double check each page to make sure you’re a good fit. If you have a resource that addresses the reader’s needs, this is a fantastic way to build quality backlinks.
4. Content-Led Outreach
Using web content to build links is an option for any website, but it can be particularly useful for SaaS brands.
There are two approaches you can take. The first one starts with your resource, and the second starts with a competitor’s resource.
Starting With Your Resource
If you have a resource that’s particularly valuable, you can use Google to find pages that might link to it.
Start with the ideal topic – what should the linking page be about?
Then, type intitle: into Google, followed by your topic.
When you find a relevant page that’s missing your resource, reach out and tell the website why they should add it.
Starting With a Competitor’s Resource
This is commonly known as the “Skyscraper” approach. Here’s how it works:
- Find a lackluster resource with a lot of high-profile backlinks,
- Create a similar resource that offers more value,
- Export a list of web pages linking to the weak resource,
- Reach out to those prospects and offer your improved resource as a replacement.
While I feel that this tactic is slightly over-hyped, it’s still a good way to find scalable opportunities for SaaS links.
For example, I’ll use Ahrefs to look at the top-linked pages on a competitor website:
The second resource in this list is a short article about the value of a college education. According to Ahrefs, this post has 848 referring domains.
This article is text-only, and it lacks a header structure. By creating a resource with multimedia content and a well-defined structure, we can provide more value than the competitor.
Once this resource is live, I’ll export a list of referring pages pointing to this resource. Then, I’ll reach out to those sites to show them my improved resource.
You can also use the Ahrefs Content Explorer to find opportunities like this:
To find this opportunity, I typed in “job interview” and set the minimum referring domains to 500. I also set the maximum word count to 1000 to find low-content pages.
I love this tactic because it doesn’t require you to explicitly ask for anything. Instead of begging for links, you’re offering to improve someone else’s content for free.
Link Building Doesn’t Have to Be a Constant Struggle
If you want sustainable rankings in the SaaS industry, you need quality backlinks.
Link building is complicated for SaaS brands. But as you start publishing link-worthy content and building relationships in the space, it becomes much easier.
Try to avoid these common link building mistakes:
- Promoting commercial pages;
- Ignoring big outreach opportunities;
- Sending email blasts;
- Paying for links.
Keep these link building tactics in mind, and try at least 2 of them:
- Unlinked brand mentions;
- Broken links;
- Resource pages;
- Content-led outreach.
With these tips and tactics, you’re well on your way to getting more search traffic to your SaaS website.
Think I missed something? Have your own tip to share?
Drop a comment down below – we’d love to hear your ideas!