It’s a strange, four-letter word that’s taken the business world by storm. You can’t turn around without hearing about some new SaaS company or product.
But what does that mean regarding SEO?
How do you approach link building for a SaaS company?
The truth is, it’s not all that different from any other type of link building. You still need to create great content, build relationships, and get involved in the community.
But there are a few special considerations you need to keep in mind.
Today, we’ll explore a few of them.
We’ll also look at some examples of successful link building campaigns in the SaaS industry and offer some tips and best practices to help you get started.
Before we get into the how, let’s spend a little time on the why. Why is link building essential for increasing organic traffic for a SaaS company?
There are two key reasons.
The first is that, in general, links are still the number one ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.
All other things being equal, the more links you have pointing to your site, the higher you will rank.
Of course, it’s not quite that simple. The quality of the links matters just as much as the quantity.
But we’ll get to that later…
The second reason link building is crucial for SaaS companies is that the competition is stiff.
Since the barriers to entry are relatively low, there are a lot of SaaS companies out there. That means you need to find ways to differentiate your site from the competition, and link building is excellent.
Link building can help you build relationships, establish yourself as an authority, and get your site in front of new audiences.
That can help you attract more organic traffic and ultimately increase conversions.
Besides, even if you’re not interested in increasing your organic traffic, link building can still be valuable for your marketing strategy.
Links are one of the most important signals that Google uses to determine the quality of a site.
So even if you’re not worried about referral traffic, building links can help you improve your overall search visibility.
Established businesses in the SaaS industry have massive existing link profiles, which brings a whole set of challenges for up-and-coming companies, especially in the B2B SaaS space. These are a few key areas that can slow down the process of building a strong link profile.
- Cut-throat Competition: It’s obvious the SaaS industry is one of the most competitive ones out there, with established vendors having higher domain authority, brand power, and impressive link profiles, making it tough for new entrants to navigate these waters.
- Limited By Niche Focus: SaaS products focus on specific functions like landing pages, chatbots, email marketing, etc. They cater to very specific audiences and topics, which in some cases can be tricky to find online; this limits their media coverage and link building opportunities.
- Complex Topics: Having high-quality content goes a long way to help build links, but complex and technical SaaS topics require professionals or SMEs to create content that isn’t just informational but also link-worthy.
- Less Backlinking Opportunities: The narrower the niche and topic, the harder it is to find an online audience, and the same applies to link building opportunities. However, breaking down complex topics into more digestible info, or finding other crossover topics helps SaaS companies broaden the scope.
Case Study of Qwilr
Here’s a case study of Qwilr, an Australia-based B2B SaaS firm offering products and services in the freelancer/SME space.
Qwilr’s Link Building Requests
- Building links for one specific product, centered around a very high value keyword
- Large international companies were battling for this specific keyword among the SERPs
- Links to priority pages would also positively impact their overall website’s SEO.
Link Building Process
- Built more than 120 links within the span of 11 months between February 2019 to February 2020.
- Resource and roundup links and guest post outreach were the main sources of these links
- Some of the top link placements were on FreelancerUnion.org, Salesflare, Webflow, GraphicMama, and RightInbox.
Key Success Indicators
- 21% increase in organic search traffic; 74% increase in referral traffic
- 74 signups through organic search visitors increased to an amazing 678+ signups after link building
- 184 signups through referral traffic increased to a whopping 2,075 signups.
Now that we’ve established why link building for SaaS is so vital, let’s look at some best practices to help you get started.
1. Make Sure Your Site Is Link-Worthy
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to ensure that your site is worth linking to before starting your link building campaign.
Take a look at your site from an outsider’s perspective. Is it well-designed? Is the content high-quality and informative? Will it be valuable to the people you’re trying to reach?
A solid foundation is key to any successful link building strategy. So make sure your site is up to snuff before you start reaching out to other sites.
2. Focus on the Relationships
Link building for saas is all about building authentic, genuine relationships. It’s not just about getting your link on as many sites as possible.
Make an effort to get to know the people you’re reaching out to. Find out their interests and what they’re looking for in a link.
You’ll get much more than mere links if you can build a relationship with the people you’re trying to reach. You’ll also build goodwill and rapport, which can pay dividends down the road.
3. Get Involved in Niche-Relevant Communities
This point is related to the last one. If you want to build genuine relationships, you need to get involved in the communities where your target audience hangs out.
There are a few different ways to do this. You can participate in forums, join social media groups, or become involved in offline communities.
The important thing is to find the places where your target audience congregates and gets involved. Only then will you be able to build the relationships you need for long-term link building success.
Not to mention, the community itself could even be a source of customers, so that alone makes this worth it.
4. Make the Most of Your Existing Assets
Creating new things from scratch isn’t always a smart move. Sometimes, it’s better to make the most of what you already have.
Do you have any existing content that you could repurpose for link building? For example, you could create an infographic from a blog post or turn a video into a GIF.
Maybe some of the content needs to be refreshed, and made more current.
You can also use your existing relationships to your advantage. If you have any existing connections in your niche, see if they’re willing to link to your content.
Perform an audit of your site’s current assets and brainstorm ways to use them for link building. It’ll save you time and effort in the long run.
5. Use Targeted Outreach
Outreach is a vital part of any link building strategy. But it’s important to make sure that your outreach efforts are targeted and strategic.
Don’t just mass email everyone in your niche and hope for the best. Instead, take the time to research each site and see if it’s a good fit for your content.
Then, when you reach out, make sure to personalize your message. A generic email is much less likely to get a response than a well-crafted one.
Of course, you can’t always control who links to your site. But by being strategic about your outreach, you can increase the chances of getting high-quality results.
6. Diversify Your Link Building Efforts
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
It’s important to diversify your link building efforts to minimize risk and increase results.
There are several different ways to build links. So mix things up and try a few other tactics. This will not only help you achieve better results, but it will also make your link building efforts more resilient.
7. Adopt a Strategic Iterations Approach
Link building is an ongoing process. You can’t just build a few links and call it a day.
To be successful, you need to adopt a strategic, iterations approach.
This means that you need to continuously monitor your results, learn from your mistakes, and improve over time.
It’s also important to keep an eye on your competition. See what they’re doing and try to stay one step ahead.
You can keep your link-building efforts fresh and compelling by constantly iterating and improving.
8. Avoiding Short-Term Link-Building Shortcuts
The focus of tactical link building is legitimate referring domains and quality content, which means shortcuts and black-hat practices will not get you much success in your business.
Google penalizes questionable link building tactics when it suspects excessive link placements on spam/PBN sites, or link farms.
So, if the shortcuts do bring you results, they will be short-lived. When search engines catch on, it will damage your rankings in the long run.
That’s why it’s true when they say that SEO is a long-term strategy.
Most people see link building as a numbers game. The more links you have, the better.
But if you want to run a successful link building campaign, you need to think about more than just numbers. You also need to understand the psychology behind why people link.
A few key psychological factors influence whether someone will link to your content.
People tend to link to helpful stuff.
Think about it: if you’re reading an article and you find a valuable piece of information, you’re more likely to share it with others.
The same is valid for links. If you have a genuinely helpful asset, people will be more likely to link to it.
And “useful” doesn’t necessarily mean complicated. Sometimes, the most superficial content can be the most useful.
For example, Title Case Converter offers a valuable tool that makes it easy to generate title case text. You only need to enter the text you want to convert, and the tool does the rest.
It’s a simple concept, but it’s executed well and offers true value. As a result, this page has racked up 6.1k backlinks from 905 unique domains.
You can take a strategic approach to helpful content creation.
Instead of relying on luck, try to reverse-engineer what kinds of content tend to be linked to. Is it tools? Complete guides? Or something else entirely?
Then, create content that falls into one of these categories.
You can also create an “audience bible” to document your customers’ most significant pain points and brainstorm content ideas that address these problems.
This will help you to create content that’s both useful and linkable.
2. Social Currency
In Contagious, Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger explains the concept of social currency.
Essentially, social currency is what allows us to impress others. It’s why we share news stories and talk about our favorite products.
When we share something, we want to look good. We want to be seen as in the know and ahead of the curve.
This is why social currency is such a powerful motivator. It’s what allows us to turn a simple act, like sharing an article, into a way to improve our social standing.
You can use social currency to your advantage in link building.
If you can create content that makes people look good, they’ll be more likely to share it. This could be something as simple as an interesting data point or a helpful tip.
For example, let’s say you’re a vegan enthusiast. You’ve just discovered a study that shows the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
What would you do?
Chances are, you’d share this information with your friends and family. After all, it makes you look good. It shows that you’re ahead of the curve and care about your health.
If you owned a vegan blog, you’d probably link to this study. Not only is it useful information, but it also makes you look good.
You can use social currency to make your content more linkable.
Emotional content tends to be more viral and more likely to generate links.
Think about the last time you read an article that made you angry. Chances are, you shared it with someone.
The same is true for other emotions, like awe, amusement, and even sadness.
When we read something that sparks an emotional reaction, we’re more likely to share it.
This is why emotional content tends to perform well on social media. And it’s also why emotional content is more likely to generate links.
For example, take a look at this post by Jon Morrow. It’s called “How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World.“
This piece is charged with emotion. It’s inspiring, it’s motivating, and it’s aspirational.
It’s the kind of content that makes you want to take action – one of the reasons this piece has collected 1.7k backlinks from 470 referring domains.
If you want to create linkable content, focus on creating content that elicits an emotional reaction.
Some helpful ways to do it include:
- High-drama stories: Stories full of suspense, conflict, and emotion tend to be more linkable.
- Data stories: Data can be emotional, especially if it tells a story about how your product or service is making a difference.
- User stories: User stories are a great way to show the emotional impact of your product or service.
People link to research-based content that helps them back up specific claims.
For example, if you’re writing about the benefits of a plant-based diet, you might want to link to a study that backs up your claims.
Suppose you’re making a case for why veganism is good for the environment. In that case, you might want to link to data that shows the impact of animal agriculture on greenhouse gas emissions.
That’d make your claims more credible.
Here’s a great example from Backlinko:
In this post, Brian Dean analyzed 11.8 million search results to see which factors correlated with first page rankings.
This post is full of data that supports Brian’s claims. And that’s one of the reasons it’s so linkable. This page alone has attracted over 26k backlinks from 6.3k unique domains.
People want accurate information. They want data to back up claims. And if you can provide that, they’ll be more likely to link to your content.
At this point, you know what makes content linkable.
Now it’s time to put that knowledge into action and start building links to your SaaS website. But with so many strategies out there, choosing the right one can be a true challenge.
So, instead of creating a massive list of link building ideas, I will focus on four that work particularly well for SaaS companies.
1. Reverse-Engineer Your Competitors’ Strategy
Trying to reinvent the wheel is a recipe for frustration.
Instead of starting from scratch, look at what’s already working for your competitors and reverse-engineer their high quality backlinks. Doing so will give you a head start on your link building efforts.
It’ll also help you discover multiple strategies that work in your industry.
For example, you might find that your competitors are getting a lot of links from guest posts. If that’s the case, you can start pitching guest post ideas to similar publications.
You might also find that comparison pages and roundups are a popular link building tactic in your industry. If that’s the case, you can start reaching out to bloggers and asking if they’d be interested in linking to your SaaS product.
Of course, you’d need to give them a good reason to link to you, like offering a discount to their readers or simply having a great product.
But the devil’s in the details, right?
So, how do you find your competitor’s high quality backlinks?
Here’s a simple process:
Step 1: List your top 5-10 competitors
Create a new Google spreadsheet and list your top 5-10 competitors in the first column.
For example, if you want to build links for a project management software, some of your top competitors would be:
Think of your direct competitors and companies that offer similar products or services, mainly if they’re actively producing new content.
Step 2: Analyze your competitors’ backlink profile
Once you have your list of competitors, it’s time to analyze their backlink profiles using an SEO intelligence solution. For this example, we’ll use SEMRush.
Simply log in to your account, head over to “Backlink Analytics,” and type in your competitor’s domain name.
You’ll then see a list of all the links pointing to their webs
SEMrush will also show you additional information related to each backlink.
- The link type (dofollow or nofollow)
- The linking page’s authority
- When the link was first found
This data will come in handy later on when you decide which links are worth pursuing.
Here’s where things get interesting.
As you analyze your competitor’s backlink profiles, you’ll see patterns emerge.
For example, you might notice that many of their links come from “Best of” lists or roundups.
Or, you might notice that they have a lot of links from guest posts.
Either way, these patterns will give you a good idea of what’s working in your industry so that you can start replicating their success.
Step 3: Filter your competitors’ links by patterns
Once you’ve identified the patterns in your competitor’s backlink profile, it’s time to start filtering their links so that you can focus on the most promising opportunities.
For example, analyzing monday.com’s backlink profile, we found many of their links come from “alternatives” pages.
So, we decided to filter their links by the term “alternative” to see if there were any other similar opportunities we could pursue:
As you can see, this filter uncovered some interesting pages we could target for link building.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to one filter. You can use multiple filters to narrow down your list further. Other common terms you could filter by include:
Step 4: Expand your list using Google
Once you have a good list of link building opportunities, it’s time to start expanding it using Google.
For example, if you found a lot of guest post opportunities, you could search for “[industry] + write for us” to find even more places where you could submit articles.
Or, if you found a lot of “best of” lists, you could search for “[industry] + best of” to find even more places where you could be featured.
The possibilities are endless. Just get creative and see what you can come up with.
Step 5: Enrich your list with additional data
Once you have a good list of link building opportunities, it’s time to enrich it with additional data.
You must find the right person to contact and their contact information.
There are a few ways to do this.
One way is to use a tool like Hunter.io, which allows you to input a domain name and receive a list of all the email addresses associated with that domain.
You can also use Crunchbase to find the contact information for specific people within a company.
For link building purposes, you might want to focus on the following titles:
- Content Manager
- Marketing Manager
- VP of Marketing
- Head of Content
- Blog Manager
Or any position related to content or marketing.
You’ll use this information down the road to reach out to these people and pitch your link building ideas.
Step 6: Reach out to your prospects
Now that you have a list of potential link building prospects, it’s time to start reaching out to them.
The key here is to personalize every email so that it doesn’t come across as spam.
Of course, you can templatize your emails to a certain extent. But, you should always try to include something that shows you’ve done your research and that you’re familiar with their work.
Also, you must go the extra mile and be helpful. You want to establish yourself as an expert in your industry and someone always willing to help.
For example, if you’re trying to get links from “alternatives” pages, you might want to write a detailed paragraph about your solution. This way, they can simply copy and paste your text into their page, saving them a lot of time.
The idea is to make it as straightforward as possible for them to say “yes.”
Of course, you can’t always be helpful. But, when you can, it goes a long way.
2. HARO Link Building (now Connectively)
HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is a service that connects journalists with sources for their articles.
It’s also a great way to build links.
Here’s how it works:
- You sign up for an account and choose your areas of interest.
- You receive daily emails with a list of opportunities.
- If you see an opportunity that’s a good fit, you pitch yourself as a source.
- If the journalist chooses you as a source, they will include a link to your saas website in their article.
It’s a pretty simple process. And it’s an effective way to get high-quality links from authority websites.
Of course, there’s a bit of a learning curve. But, once you get the hang of it, it’s a great way to build links at scale.
To better understand this strategy, we suggest you read our complete guide to HARO link building strategy. It’ll take you through the entire process, step-by-step.
3. Create and Promote TOFU Content
This strategy is beneficial for boring or “technical” industries.
The idea is to create content that’s easy to consume and appeals to a broad audience.
This type of content is often referred to as “top of the funnel” or “TOFU” content. It’s designed to attract attention and get people interested in your product or service.
For example, let’s say you run a cybersecurity SaaS company.
Instead of producing content on “Security protocols” or “Best practices for data encryption,” you would create something like “The biggest data breaches of 2020” or “How to keep your data safe from hackers.”
TOFU content is attention-grabbing and usually very shareable.
And, because it’s shareable, it can help you build links from authority websites.
There’s always space for technical content later in the buyer’s journey. But, TOFU content is a great way to get started with link building.
Just don’t forget to promote the hell out of it. The more people see your content, the more likely you will get links.
4. Guest Posting on Shoulder Niches
A “shoulder niche” is a related industry to your own.
For example, if you run a project management company, a shoulder niche would be something like “productivity” or “time management.”
Getting a bit outside of your industry can help you tap into new audiences and get more link building opportunities.
This is particularly useful when you want to build links to your mission-critical pages (aka “money pages”), like sales, pricing, and product pages.
These pages are high-value because they help you close deals and make money. But, they’re also usually pretty boring.
And because they’re boring (and sales-y), it’s hard to get links to them.
That’s where guest posting comes in.
When you write for a shoulder niche, you can still talk about your product or service. But, you can do it in a way that’s less sales-y and more interesting.
For example, let’s say you have a “business proposal template” page that you want to promote.
You could write a guest post on a business blog about “How to create a winning business proposal.”
This process gives you enough context to mention your business proposal template page. But, it’s not so blatant that it will turn people off.
For instance, you could include a section on “Resources” and mention your template as a helpful tool for creating proposals.
Just make sure you’re not being too sales-y.
Some editors will still be reluctant to publish your guest post if it’s too promotional. So, it’s important to strike the right balance.
5. Product Embeds and Shareable Links:
Although not for all SaaS companies, product embeds are a gold mine linking strategy for the companies offering client-facing features and tools.
These links are integrated within the badges or functionalities the SaaS company offers its clients, as seen in surveys, chatbots, widgets, and other embeddable features.
An example of embedded links is when you see “Powered by [company name]” or phrases like that on web tools. These are brand-centric links that don’t heavily depend on keyword-rich anchors.
This strategy is an ultimate game-changer because it brings in consistent, high-authority links, improves online brand presence, and signifies symbiotic yet trustworthy client relations.
Similarly, SaaS companies offering tools used to create content or projects for client websites can get shareable dofollow backlinks.
Invision is one of the primary examples of companies that use this strategy by encouraging their users to share their Invision-based projects by including a link to their tool.
Other SaaS companies can achieve this by educating their users about email marketing, creating blog content, or in-app additions to share their links within it.
6. CEO Interviews and Podcasting:
Professional expert opinions are respected and get quoted everywhere, which means interviewing experts like company CEOs and using their opinions to create content will easily get you backlinks.
You can start by gathering data and creating a prospect list of websites with interviews of Saas founders and experts; then, you can approach them with an interview request.
The plus side is that many websites are interested in expert opinions from SaaS professionals as long as you offer good pitch ideas and create long-term partnerships.
Although quite similar to interviews, podcasts are also a great way to get credible backlinks to your website.
How does this work? Every podcast channel also has a website, so when you speak on one of their podcasts, they will publish it on their website and include a backlink to yours.
7. Integration Partners and Rankings
One of the go-to marketing strategies to drive backlinks and monthly recurring revenue for many SaaS companies is integration partners.
SaaS products offer efficient useability of their services by giving users access to it through other apps, for example, accessing Google Calendar through Slack.
Having products integrated with other products gives you the opportunity to create content on the users’ websites.
There are two ways to get these backlinks – by adding your link to their website’s integration directory list and by writing a guest post that educates their audience about this integration to include a contextual link.
Speaking of rankings, this is one of the best yet high-maintenance ways of building backlinks to your website.
Creating content related to ranks, for example, a special ranking report of “The Top 5 SaaS Companies by Employee Size in 2024,” would capture the attention of the brands you include because they’ll want to boast about being “best,” too.
You can reach out to these brands with your article and ask them to publish this news on their blog in return for a backlink that will drive brand awareness and improve your company’s link profile.
8. Testimonials and Conferences:
As a SaaS company, there’s no doubt that you’ll be using other SaaS tools for content, sales, SEO, project management, etc, which means you can provide testimonials for these tools.
In fact, it’s not limited to SaaS tools, you can give testimonials for any products or services you use for your business.
Simply approach these companies offering to give a testimonial in exchange for a backlink to your business with it.
These companies will love sharing your testimonial on their website and with future prospects, especially to find more clients in niches similar to yours.
Similarly, you can host or sponsor online or in-person conferences with partnering brands to promote your business as well as theirs.
When the time comes to market the event with a promotional blog article or notice on their website, that’s your opportunity to get a backlink.
9. Infographics and Image Credits
As a SaaS company, you will have accumulated several valuable infographics on using or applying your products and knowledge.
You can reach out to other companies that overlap with your services by offering a high-value infographic that will be beneficial to an article.
Once they mention it on their website, you can ask them to include a link back to yours as a form of giving “credit” to the source of that infographic.
Similarly, SaaS companies have images on their website that are not easily available online since these are screenshots from their personal projects.
Other websites often use these images without giving any photo credits, which means you can run a check and easily get links to your homepage or feature pages through these uncredited images.
10. Q&As And Expert Featured Articles
Q&A sites such as Quora, Yahoo, SuperUser, etc. are flooded with prospects looking for answers to their questions; become their knight in shining armor by answering their queries.
When solving the question, you can include a link to your website that supports your answer, which means you don’t just get a backlink but will also have traffic driven to your page.
Speaking of sharing your expertise, it doesn’t end with Q&A sites. You can also get featured as an expert by offering opinion pieces to share your thoughts on industry-related topics.
Start by pitching article ideas to websites offering content in your niche. If your topic or article gets approved, you can ask that the website give you credit for your idea once they publish the article.
This way, SaaS marketers aren’t just helping themselves but also helping other brands by sharing insightful content with their audience.
Before we wrap up this guide, we want to answer some of the most common questions about link building for SaaS companies. This way, you can get started with your link building campaign as soon as possible.
How Hard Is Link Building for SaaS?
Link building can be a bit challenging, for some SaaS companies.
The reason is that most SaaS products are “boring.” They’re not the kind of thing that people are naturally interested in. So, you have to be a little more creative with your link building strategies.
Besides, SaaS is a highly-competitive industry. So, you’re not only competing for links; you’re competing for attention.
That said, if you’re in the B2B sector,, you have some benefit, as you have the advantage of being able to reach out to a large pool of other SaaS/MarTech companies, who are very familiar with content, and the concept of accepting guest contributors,and/or adding links.
With the right approach, you can build high-quality links from authority websites, and also niche relevant links – which is especially important if you don’t just want to get links from SaaS companies.
What Are Some Examples of Link Building Strategies for SaaS?
Many link building strategies work for SaaS companies. But, some of the most effective include:
- Creating and promoting TOFU content
- Building partnerships with other companies
- Creating helpful resources
- Getting involved in the community
- Reaching out to journalists
Read our complete guide to link-building strategies to learn more about different link-building methodologies.
Can I Outsource My Link Building Efforts?
Yes, you can outsource your link building.
Just be careful and make sure you choose an agency with a content-first approach.
There are a lot of “black hat” agencies out there that use shady practices. These tactics can do more harm than good in the long run.
At TLG, for example, we focus on creating and promoting high-quality content. We believe this is the best way to build links that will stand the test of time.
Link building is a crucial part of any SEO strategy, but it’s essential for SaaS companies.
By following the best practices and using the right strategies, you can increase your organic traffic and improve your bottom line.
Remember to focus on creating great content, building relationships, and getting involved in the community. With a little effort, you’ll be well on your way to success.