Don’t let anyone fool you.
Backlinks are still the most important search ranking factor along with quality content.
The more backlinks you have, the higher you’ll rank.
It’s that simple.
Now it’s time to build backlinks to it.
In this article, I’ll share more than a dozen SaaS link building techniques that you can start using right away.
Let’s dive in.
Link building is the process of getting backlinks to your site from other relevant and high-authority sites in your niche or other closely related niches.
Once you’ve created great content on your site, link building should be the next most important thing on your SEO agenda.
Technically speaking, Google doesn’t encourage link building because it wants sites to earn links naturally instead of reaching out to other sites and intentionally building links.
But we’re not living in an ideal world.
Even if you create the best content in your niche, you’ll earn very few backlinks naturally unless you’re a well known and widely followed brand.
This is why you need to actively invest time and resources in building relevant links to your site.
While doing this, you need to ensure that you play within Google’s guidelines and avoid the common link building mistakes.
Google considers every backlink a vote of confidence from one website to another.
But unlike real-world voting, Google doesn’t only count the votes.
It also weighs them.
This is why one high-authority backlink is better than a dozen crappy or low-quality links.
But what is a good backlink?
Here are the main qualities of the kind of backlinks you should look for.
- Relevant: Links from sites in the same niche or other closely related niches are worth more than links from completely unrelated sites that have nothing to do with your topic.
- High-Authority: Links coming from sites considered authorities in their niches are worth more than new or unknown sites.
- Contextual: Links contained in a contextually relevant text block are worth more than isolated links listed on a page.
- Editorial: Links that are manually approved by an editor are worth more than links from sites where anyone can publish their links.
- Do-Follow: Technically, do-follow isn’t a thing. But we use it to identify links that do not use the “no-follow” tag. You should mostly look to build do-follow backlinks unless the linking site has the potential to send you tons of referral traffic as well.
A link with all these traits is excellent for your site’s SEO and will help it rank higher for your target keywords.
Let’s see how you can get such links.
Here are some of the best link building strategies for SaaS businesses.
Everyone tells you that guest blogging is a great way to build backlinks from high-authority sites.
That’s only half of the truth.
Here’s the other half.
Guest blogging is a great way to build backlinks from high-authority sites IF you have
- Link-worthy content on your site that you can link back to in your guest post.
- A super high-quality guest post that you can be proud of.
- Dozens of hours for sending it to your target blogs and following up with them.
- Patience, because it can take anywhere between 2 to 6 months for your guest post to go live.
That’s the complete truth.
Having said that, guest blogging is indeed a proven way to get backlinks if you do it the right way.
What the right way?
Instead of targeting only the top tier sites in your niche, make sure you also pitch guest posts to sites that are slightly ahead of you in terms of Domain Authority (DA), traffic, and reader engagement.
The image below explains this further.
The highest-authority sites usually have their content calendars full for months. You should still target them, but mix it up with mid-tier sites that will publish your post much earlier.
How do you find relevant guest blogging opportunities?
Firstly, install Mozbar, a free Chrome extension that will show you the Domain Authority (DA) of every site in Google Search results.
Then use the following search queries to find relevant guest blogging opportunities.
- [your niche] + write for us (e.g., saas + write for us)
- [your niche] + guest post
- [your niche] + contribute
- [your niche] + guest author
Here’s the kind of results you’ll see.
As you can see, every search result also has the MozBar under it that shows the site’s DA.
Any site with a higher DA score than yours is a good target.
You can find guest blogging opportunities by using the same search queries on Twitter a well.
Once you find the right sites to target, analyze their content, read their editorial guidelines, and write a super high-quality article on a topic that they have not recently covered.
Now I’m assuming you have some link-worthy content on your site.
So in your guest post, link back to any stats, images, case studies, or any other link-worthy asset you’ve created on your site.
When you have the article ready, send the complete draft to the site’s editor for review.
Don’t worry — no professional editor would steal your content.
You can read more about how to write a guest post and structure your pitch in this detailed guest blogging guide.
Instead of doing all the hard work yourself, find the guest bloggers who already have access to your target sites and ask them to feature your brand in their posts.
As an incentive, offer them a free account of your product, give them exclusive research data that they can use in their guest posts, or simply hire them for a fee.
How do you find them?
Just head over to your target sites and see which authors regularly publish about the topics you’re interested in.
For example, here’s what I found when I searched for SaaS on Forbes.com:
Open the first 10-20 articles from these search results and see which ones have been written by people who identify themselves as topic experts (in this case, SaaS).
View their author page to see if they’re regular contributors to this site. If that’s the case, reach out to them via their social media profile or website.
Make them an offer and see if they’re willing to feature your SaaS brand.
To increase your chances of getting a positive response, give them a list of top quality link-worthy articles from your site that they can use for link building.
In my experience, this strategy is much faster and has a higher ROI than guest blogging yourself.
Resource pages are curated lists of the best websites, blog posts, tools, communities, or any other sites that a specific audience might find useful.
Their whole purpose is to link out to other sites.
You’ll find them in every niche.
For example, here’s a resource page in the blogging and digital marketing niche.
Here’s one from the DIY niche.
Finally, here’s one from the email marketing niche.
Assuming you have link-worthy content on your site, all you have to do is find high-authority Resource pages in your niche and ask them for a link.
A recent survey by SEMRush found that getting backlinks from Resource Pages is the third most popular link building strategy.
How do you find these pages?
By using the following search queries.
- [your niche] inurl:resources
- [your niche] inurl:roundup
- [your niche] “best resources”
- [your niche] ”useful resources”
- [your niche] intitle:links
- [your niche] “helpful links”
For example, here’s what I found when I searched “content marketing + helpful links”:
Here’s the page when I clicked on it.
As you can see, they’ve already listed lots of different websites. If your content is good enough, you can easily get a link from them.
There are nearly a million active podcasts on the web, with more than 30 million episodes.
Most of them are on iTunes and Google Podcasts.
However, a growing number of podcasts are hosted on their dedicated websites. And most of them come with transcripts as well.
There’s your opportunity.
Just like guest blogging, podcasts can also be a great source of high-quality backlinks.
Especially for SaaS businesses because they have innovative ideas and case studies to share.
To feature in a podcast, find the best podcasts in your industry, tell them about your product and what difference it is making to your customers’ lives, and tell them you’d love to get interviewed.
For example, SaaSclub has a popular podcast show about different SaaS topics.
Each podcast episode comes with a few paragraphs in the description, plus links to all the products mentioned in it.
This is just one example.
You can find numerous podcasts in your niche by searching “best + [your nihce] + podcasts”.
Getting interviewed in podcasts has many SEO benefits even when they’re hosted on iTunes or Google Podcasts.
First, people usually search for a company when they hear about it in a podcast.
Even if your site doesn’t get a backlink in the podcast description, the listeners would still search for it which will improve your brand presence in Google Search, and brand signals help you get better rankings.
Secondly, getting featured in a popular podcast can get you invited to more relevant podcasts.
Thirdly, of course, you’ll get a link to your site in the podcast description.
Overall, it’s a very powerful link building strategy that SaaS businesses can benefit from.
Marketers, bloggers, and content creators are always looking for reliable quotes to feature in their content.
It makes their content more credible and link-worthy.
You’re a SaaS business owner and an expert in your field.
Why don’t you become a consistent source of quotes for the top bloggers in your niche?
They’ll get the content they’re looking for, and you’ll get an easy backlink.
Here’s how to do it.
- Find the most active bloggers and writers in your niche who contribute to different publications.
- Reach out to them via email or social media
- Tell them you love their work.
- Introduce yourself, your business, and why you’re an expert.
- Tell them you’d be happy to cooperate if they ever need a quote or an interview for their content.
Do this with as many professional bloggers and markets in your niche and you’ll be surprised just how many backlinks you can get that way.
This one’s easy.
You only need to find instances where someone has mentioned your SaaS brand in their content without linking to it.
When you find such content, reach out to the editor of the site, thank them for mentioning you, and ask them if they’d be happy to add a link to your brand name as well.
How do you find such opportunities?
Just set up Google Alerts for your brand name.
Once you’ve set alerts for your brand name, you’ll get notified whenever a site mentions your name.
If you find that they haven’t linked to your site, just reach out with a request.
This is one of my favorite link-building techniques because it has a very high success rate.
It’s so successful because you’re not directly asking for anything.
Instead, you’re offering to make someone else’s content better for free.
Let me explain.
Most blog posts and articles are based on opinions rather than hard facts or evidence.
Even the best sites publish such content.
The reason for this is that finding data references, case studies, and examples takes time.
Very few writers are prepared to make that effort.
If you have published an original research study, survey results, case studies, or infographics that can add more credibility to an opinionated post, you can get a ton of links using this technique.
Just reach out to the writer/editor/site owner and:
- Tell them their content is great, but that it can be better.
- Share your resource that they can reference to add credibility to their content.
Any sane person would be happy to use your resource and make their content better without any extra effort.
And you get the link, of course.
Here’s another easy link building opportunity.
Find weak content published on a high authority site and check its backlink profile.
You’ll be surprised to see the number of links it has only because it is published on a well-known site.
Now, you have two options here.
- If you already have a much superior article on the same topic, you’re ready to pitch.
- But if you don’t, it’s a good idea to write one because you’re almost guaranteed a link.
Once you have the article ready, reach out to the website editor and tell them they’ve linked to a weak article, and your content is much superior because it has data, stats, visuals, etc.
Let demonstrate the whole process.
- Step#1: Go to Ahrefs Content Explorer and search for your topic. In this example, I’ve searched for “freelancing.”
- Step#2: Apply two additional filters to the search results – Word Count and Referring Domains. In this example, I’ve kept the word count to 900 and Referring Domains to 50
Now the results are showing articles that are up to 900 words long and have more than 50 referring domains (unique backlinks).
- Step#3: Find an article in the search results that you can replace. For example, here’s an interesting article I’ve found that is less than 900 words, but still has more than 50 unique backlinks only because it is published on a top authority site.
- Step#4: Open this article in a new tab to review its content quality.
As you can see, it’s a pretty average article with no images, screenshots, or examples—just a big wall of text.
- Step#5: If you have a better article, skip to the next step. If not, create one because there are more than 50 unique backlinks up for grabs here!
- Step#6: View all the backlinks of this article in Ahrefs Site Explorer (just click on the referring domain count)
- Step#7: As you can see, this article has some pretty high authority backlinks.
- Step#8: Find the linking sites that are most relevant to your topic and reach out to them with your resource to get your backlink.
It usually takes at least a couple of follow-ups to get a response from most sites. Bigger sites take longer to respond, so keep following up for a few weeks until you get a response.
“Best Alternatives To [Niche Leader]” is a very common and popular article format in the SaaS niche.
It also offers a great link-building opportunity to new SaaS companies.
Let’s say your SaaS is a writing product modeled on Grammarly or Writer.com.
To use this strategy, search for ‘Grammarly Alternatives” or “Best Alternatives to Grammarly”
There are thousands of results for this search keyword.
And each one of them is a link-building opportunity for you.
Just list down all the sites you want to reach out to with an introduction to your product, tell them why it’s a great alternative to Grammarly, and request them to add it to their article.
To improve your chances, you can even offer to write a small passage featuring your product so that they can simply copy/paste it to their blog.
Just make sure it’s unique and hasn’t been used on any other site.
What is broken link building?
Many sites have links pointed to resources or pages that no longer exist (for various reasons).
Such links are bad for user-experience, but it’s hard for website owners to detect them with so much content on their site.
If you can find broken links on a relevant site and offer your resource (either an existing page or by creating a new one) as a replacement link, your chances of getting a backlink are pretty high.
For example, let’s say a site has linked to a page about “best invoicing tips for freelancers”. But the page doesn’t exist anymore.
If you have an article on the same topic on your site, great. Just pitch it as a replacement link.
If not, create an article on this topic and pitch it to the site owner.
How do you find broken links?
There are a couple of ways to do it using Ahrefs.
Find Broken Links With Ahrefs Content Explorer
Open the Ahrefs Content Explorer and search for your topic.
In this example, I’ve searched for copywriting. Set the Live & Broken filter to “broken links” and the Referring Domains filter to 30 min.
This means Ahrefs will now show me the pages that no longer exist but have at least 30 unique backlinks.
Look at those results.
The first site is a page about “Copywriting Tools For SEOs” and it has 155 unique backlinks.
And it doesn’t exist anymore.
Click on the Referring Domain count next to it to see the list of sites linking to it.
Your job is simple, if you have an article on the same topic, reach out to all the sites linking to this page, tell them their link page doesn’t exist anymore, and offer your link as a replacement.
Don’t forget to include the exact URL of the page where the broken link is used on the site.
Find Broken Links With Site Explorer
If you have a list of competitor blogs and want to find broken links on them, head over to the Ahrefs Site Explorer and search for them one by one.
Let’s say we’re looking for broken links on Buffer.com.
Search for the site in Site Explorer and click on the “Best By Links” report in the left panel. Once you open the report, add the filter “404 not found” as shown in the screenshot below.
This shows you all the URLs on Buffer that do not exist anymore, but they still have dozens of links.
For example, the first URL has 279 unique backlinks.
If you can recreate the page that Buffer had, or if you already have a page on this topic, you can reach out to every one of these 279 sites, tell them about the broken page they’re linking to, and offer your page as a replacement.
There’s a lot of emailing and following up involved in broken link building, so you need to be patient.
Not everyone will respond.
However, the ones that do will make it worth all the effort.
Do you have an affiliate program for your SaaS? Have you considered launching one?
Apart from the obvious benefit of increased sales, an affiliate program also opens a consistent source of backlinks to your site.
When affiliate marketers sign up for your affiliate program, they publish reviews and articles about it on their sites.
In case you’re not ready for an affiliate program right now, you can find the content creators who regularly review the products in your niche and offer them something (like a free account of your product) in return for a detailed review.
You can find such bloggers and content creators by searching for “[your competitor] + review” or “[competitor 1] vs. [competitor 2]” on Google Search.
Leave the reviews sites like Capterra, G2, PCmag, etc.
Try reaching out to the sites run by an individual or small team.
You’ll get more responses that way.
Link building is hard when your product is completely new and you don’t have much content on your site.
However, as you start publishing link-worthy content and building relationships with the marketers in your niche, building backlinks to your site becomes easier.
Just make sure you stay away from any dodgy link-building practices that could get you into trouble with Google algorithms.
If you’re still unsure how to start building links to your site or want to discuss your broader SEO and content strategy, just shoot me an email — and I’ll get back to you.