The Ultimate Guide To Link Building for SaaS Companies
In the world of content marketing, one of the fiercest battles you will have to fight is the race to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is especially true if you’re running a SaaS brand or website.
Now, to get your SaaS website to the top of the SERPs, you need a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
There are many SEO techniques you can use to help your website rank higher. There are common on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO practices.
One of the most effective off-page SEO techniques is link building.
In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about SaaS linkbuilding. We will discuss what is, how it helps SEO, and how to do it right.
Ready? Let’s dive right in.
What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites to your own.
A backlink, also sometimes called an inbound link, is simply a link from another website that points to your website.
For example, if I were to link to your SaaS website from my blog, that would be a backlink to your website.
Why Is Link Building Important For SaaS Businesses?
As we mentioned earlier, building links is helpful for SaaS businesses and other organizations (or individuals) who want to rank higher in the SERPs.
How does it actually do that? And what other benefits does link building have?
Let’s talk about them.
Backlinks Help Your SaaS SEO Strategy
Backlinks are important because they are one of the many factors that search engines like Google use to rank websites.
In general, the more backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in the SERPs.
This is because backlinks act as votes of confidence from other websites. They show that your website is popular and people are talking about it.
Of course, not all backlinks are equally beneficial to you.
A link from a high-quality website will carry more weight than a link from a low-quality website.
This is why link building should be strategic. You want to focus on getting links from websites that are relevant to your industry and have high domain authority.
Backlinks Drive Traffic To Your Website
In addition to helping your SEO efforts, backlinks also help drive traffic to your SaaS website.
This is because when people see a link to your website on another site, they may click on it out of curiosity.
If they find your website interesting and relevant, they may even become regular visitors or customers.
Backlinks Build Your Website’s Authority & Credibility
It’s not just Google that sees backlinks as votes of confidence. Readers and potential customers will recognize it too.
When high-quality websites link to your website, it shows that they trust you and think that you’re an authority in your industry.
Imagine a popular and reputable content site like Forbes quoting one of your articles and linking to it.
Not only would this help your SEO, but it would also boost your website’s expertise and credibility in the eyes of your readers.
Now, link building can be a long and difficult process. But it’s worth it because of the many benefits it provides.
So how do you actually go about building links? Let’s talk about that next.
SaaS Link Building Strategy: How To Do It Right
There is no magic bullet or surefire method when it comes to building links. The process looks different for every website and industry.
That said, there are some general link building strategies that tend to work well for most websites, including SaaS companies.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1) Create & Promote High-Quality Content
The most organic, most natural, and therefore the best link building strategy is to simply create and promote high-quality content.
If your content is undeniably useful, interesting, or otherwise valuable, people will link to it without you even having to ask.
But how do you create content that people will actually want to link to?
Here are some tips:
Make sure your content topic is relevant: Write about a topic that is interesting and relevant to your audience. Conducting thorough keyword research on your potential topics can help with this.
Make your content comprehensive: Don’t just scratch the surface of your topic. Write in-depth, comprehensive articles that cover everything people need to know about a topic.
Try providing relatable examples to further convey your points. Give even real-life examples, if possible.
Doing these simple things will go a long way in providing more valuable content to your readers. In turn, this will make it more likely that they’ll link to your articles.
Make your content engaging: Write in a clear, concise, and easy-to-read style. Using short paragraphs and subheadings to break up your text can make your content piece easier to read.
You can also use relevant images, infographics, and videos to add visual interest. Just make sure that they’re actually relevant to your topic and that they complement your written content.
2) Ask For Backlinks
If you create high-quality content, there’s a good chance people will link to it without you even asking. But sometimes, you may need to give them a little nudge.
Perhaps you have friends, family members, or colleagues who are running their own content websites. You can ask them to link to your content if they think it would be useful for their readers.
You could also reach out to other businesses in your industry and ask if they’re interested in writing a guest post for your blog.
Of course, you’ll have a much better chance of getting a link if you have a pre-existing relationship with the person or website in question. But even if you don’t, it’s still worth reaching out and asking.
3) Write Guest Posts On Other Websites
Guest posting or guest blogging is when you write a blog post for another website in your industry, with a link back to your own website included in your author bio.
This is an excellent link building strategy because it allows you to get your content in front of a new audience.
If they like what they see, there’s a good chance they’ll visit your website and perhaps even link to your content.
What’s more, guest blogging can also help you build thought leadership.
If you’re able to contribute high-quality articles to well-known websites in your industry, people will start to see you as an expert in your field.
And when people see you as an expert, they’re more likely to link to your content. And even better, they will be more likely to trust your SaaS product.
But how do you even find websites that allow guest posting?
You can try some of these things:
Do a simple search: The easiest way to find guesting opportunities is by simply Googling “[your keyword] + guest post” or other similar queries.
For example, if you’re in the digital marketing niche, you could search for “digital marketing guest post” or “guest post + digital marketing.”
This will bring up a list of websites that have published guest posts on these topics in the past. You can then reach out to them and see if they’re interested in publishing a guest post from you.
Find a community of SaaS bloggers: If you can find a community of bloggers who write about SaaS-related topics, that’s even better.
This way, you can introduce yourself to the group and let them know that you’re interested in writing guest posts for their websites.
There are several Facebook groups and forums dedicated to SaaS blogging. Do a quick search and see if you can find any that look promising.
4) Turn Unlinked Mentions Into Backlinks
A brand mention is when other websites or bloggers mention your SaaS business, product, or website. If it doesn’t contain any backlink, it’s called an unlinked mention.
For example, let’s say someone writes a blog post about the best SaaS solutions for small businesses and they mention your product in their list. Even though they don’t link to your website, this is still considered a brand mention.
Mentions are valuable because they help increase brand awareness. And the more people who are aware of your SaaS product, the more likely they are to link to it.
There are several ways to find mentions of your SaaS business:
Use Google Alerts: Google Alerts is a free online tool that allows you to get notified whenever someone mentions a certain keyword or phrase online.
All you have to do is set up an alert for your SaaS business name, product name, or website URL. Then, Google will send you an email notification any time someone mentions one of these things online.
Both of these tools work similarly to Google Alerts, but they usually offer more features and options. They’re also generally more accurate, which can save you a lot of time in the long run.
Once you find a brand mention of your SaaS business, reach out to the person who wrote it and let them know. Thank them for the mention and see if they would be interested in adding a link to your website.
In most cases, they’ll be happy to oblige.
5) Partner With Other Content Creators
Another great link building strategy is to partner with other content creators in your industry. This is a great way to get high-quality links, while also promoting your SaaS product.
What kind of content creators can you partner with?
Here are a few ideas:
SaaS product reviewers: There are many bloggers and reviewers dedicated to writing extensive feedback on SaaS products.
Reach out to them and see if they would be interested in reviewing your product. Most of the time, reviewers are happy to do this, especially if you offer them at least a temporary free subscription to your SaaS product.
If they do say yes, not only will you get a link back to your website, but you’ll also get some valuable exposure for your SaaS business.
Influencers: You can also partner with social media influencers in your industry.
For example, if you have a SaaS product that helps businesses with their social media marketing, you could reach out to an influencer who specializes in this topic.
See if they would be interested in using your product and writing a review. Or just mention it on their blog or social media channels.
Remember, the key here is to find content creators who already have an audience that would be interested in your SaaS product.
This way, you can not only get a link back to your website, but you can also tap into their audience and get some valuable exposure for your business.
6) Create Linkable Assets
A linkable asset is a piece of content specifically created to attract backlinks. These are usually visual content pieces that can complement other people’s written content.
Here are some linkable assets that can help your link building strategy:
Infographics: People love infographics because they’re easy to understand and share.
If you create an interesting and informative infographic, there’s a good chance that other people will link to it.
You can also reach out to bloggers and website owners in your industry and let them know about your infographic. See if they would be interested in featuring it on their site.
Videos: If you create a video that’s both informative and entertaining, there’s a good chance that other people will want to share it.
To get the most exposure for your videos, submit them to popular video-sharing sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo.
And if you published that video on your website, make sure to provide an embed code so that other people can easily share it on their own site.
Interactive content: This could be anything from a quiz to a specialized calculator.
The key is to create something that’s both useful and engaging. Something that people will want to link to and share with their readers.
Studies and research: If you’ve done any original research or studies, make sure to create sharable tables and charts.
This is the kind of linkable content that people in your industry will be interested in. And if you make it easy for them to link to, there’s a good chance they will.
7) Pursue Backlinks From Authoritative & Relevant Websites
As you try to find opportunities for guest posting and partner with other content creators for backlinks, it’s important to keep one thing in mind:
Not all links are equally beneficial to your link building campaign.
As we mentioned earlier, a link from an authoritative website (like Forbes or Entrepreneur) is going to be worth a lot more than a link from a low-quality website.
The same goes for relevancy. A link from a website that’s relevant to your industry or niche is going to be worth more than a link from a website that’s not related to what you do.
So, when you’re trying to get backlinks for your SaaS business, make sure you focus on quality over quantity. It’s better to have a few high-quality backlinks than a bunch of low-quality ones.
8) List Your Website On Trustworthy Directories
Website directories are another link building strategy that’s often overlooked.
But if you can find a few high-quality, relevant directories to list your website on, it can be a great way to get a high quality backlink.
What’s more, most SaaS directories are also platforms where your customers can leave user reviews.
The key is to make sure you only list your website on reputable, well-established directories. There are a lot of low-quality directory websites out there, so you need to be careful.
A few good options to consider include:
9) Have A Good Mix of Nofollow and Dofollow Links
Okay, allow me to get technical here for a bit. To understand what a nofollow link is, we first have to know what a dofollow link is.
By default, all links are dofollow links.
This means that when a website links to another website, they’re effectively vouching for that website and telling Google that it’s a high-quality, trustworthy site. And therefore, Google will crawl and index the website the link leads to.
A nofollow link, on the other hand, is a link with the nofollow HTML tag, which looks like this: rel=”nofollow”
The purpose of the nofollow tag is to tell Google to not crawl that website. In other words, it tells Google not to consider the link as a backlink.
Now, that may sound a bit confusing. You may be thinking, “I thought the whole point of link building is to get backlinks from other websites?”
Yes, it is. And yes, using nofollow links is a good link building strategy.
How does that work?
We need to understand that before the nofollow tag was created, people who wanted to get backlinks exploited Google’s algorithm. They did all sorts of gimmicks and black hat techniques to get as many backlinks as possible.
Most of these black hat practices included spamming blog site comments with their links. They also added their own websites as references to hundreds of Wikipedia entries.
This led to a lot of low-quality websites getting backlinks, which in turn had a negative impact on the quality of search results.
To combat spamming, Google introduced the nofollow link.
This was their way of saying, “Hey, we’re only going to consider links from websites that are relevant and that we trust.”
Since then, website builders like WordPress automatically add the nofollow tag to user-submitted links, such as those in the comments.
Wikipedia also started doing this to any external links that are added to their entries and references.
Legitimate outbound links, on the other hand, were usually left as dofollow links.
But still, the question remains, “How does a nofollow link help my link building strategy?”
Don’t worry, we’re getting there.
Since the first introduction of the nofollow tag, Google has evolved in how it views links that contain them.
After all, not all links in blog comments or Wikipedia references are really spammy. There are still legitimate and reliable sites that deserve some credit.
So Google continued to refine its algorithm and now considers the nofollow tag more as a hint rather than a strict stop sign.
What’s more, according to Google Search Center, its web crawlers generally do not follow links tagged with the “rel” attribute, including the nofollow tag.
Notice that word “generally.”
This means that Google still crawls some nofollow links.
In other words, even if you’re getting a nofollow link from a high-quality website, there’s still a chance that Google will find and crawl your site. So it’s still a valuable link.
What’s more, it’s able to establish what seems natural and which are unnatural.
If you’re only getting dofollow links to your website, that looks unnatural. Google will think you’re up to something fishy.
On the other hand, if you only have nofollow links, Google may think that your site is indeed spammy.
But if you have a good mix of both nofollow and dofollow links, that looks more natural. Google will be more likely to trust your website and give it a higher ranking in search results.
Link Building Strategy: What NOT To Do
From the long story we just talked about, we already know that spamming blog comments and Wikipedia pages will only bring more harm than good to your SaaS SEO strategy.
As you build your backlink profile, it’s important to avoid black hat link building techniques that will get you penalized by Google.
Here are some other practices you should avoid:
Link Buying: This is when you pay someone for a link to your website. Google considers this as link manipulation and will penalize you for it.
Excessive link exchanges: In link exchange, or link swapping, you and another website owner agree to link to each other’s websites. This is still a common practice among many webmasters.
However, Google sees this as link manipulation if done excessively. So, if you’re partnering with other content creators and exchanging backlinks, make sure not to overdo it.
Hidden links and text: This is when you try to sneak in links by hiding them in the footer of your website or using white text on a white background.
Google will penalize you for this because it’s considered a deceptive practice.
Using One Anchor Text For All Backlinks: If all your backlinks use the same anchor text, that looks unnatural.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for the keyword “best link building software” and all your links say “click here,” that looks like you’re trying to game the system.
The natural way to avoid this is to just let people come up with their own anchor texts. Even if you asked or partnered with someone for that backlink, don’t dictate what the anchor text should be.
Final Thoughts On SaaS Linkbuilding
Link building is an important part of SEO for SaaS businesses. It helps you rank higher on the SERPs, drive traffic to your site, and build your own topical authority.
While publishing high-quality content is the best way to naturally attract backlinks, there are some techniques you can use to build links manually.
However, be careful not to use link schemes and other black hat link building techniques as they will only get you penalized by Google.
Most importantly, stay up to date with Google’s guidelines so you can avoid any future penalties.
Remember that it continuously revamps its ranking algorithm, so what works today may not work tomorrow.
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