The SaaS market is getting crowded — and outranking competitors has never been more challenging.
The thing is, most SaaS businesses are now heavily investing in link building.
So, getting a few semi-relevant backlinks every month or two no longer cuts it. Nor does using the same approach as everyone else.
You need link building strategies tailored to your industry. Here are 17 such strategies we’ve used ourselves to build links to multiple SaaS websites over the last 8 years.
Before we get into the tactics, let’s quickly go over the results you can expect from SaaS link building.
Moz’s case study found a clear correlation between backlinks and positions in the SERPs. On average, one backlink results in a 1 rank jump after 10 weeks:
The same case study also found that more links have a more immediate effect — meaning, the more backlinks you get, the faster you move up in the SERPs.
But quantity isn’t the only thing that matters. Quality matters, too.
Moz also found that higher-quality backlinks (links coming from sites with a DA of 26+) yield results faster than backlinks of lower quality.
So, in short: most backlinks will help you increase your rankings. It’s just that getting more backlinks of high quality can help you get to the top more quickly.
People prefer clicking on the first results in Google. That’s why #1 search results get 31.7% of all clicks.
And since backlinks lead to higher rankings, they also indirectly increase organic traffic.
Ahrefs’ case study confirms this:
As you can see, organic traffic depends on the number of referring domains (RDs). The more RDs your site has, the more organic traffic you can expect.
The last thing to note is that backlinks can also help you get more referral traffic.
That’s self-evident: the more sites are linking to your website, the more people can get to you by clicking on your links.
Here are 17 best link building strategies for SaaS brands.
As a SaaS company, you can let others access your product for free without losing a single cent. So, why not do so in exchange for a backlink?
All you have to do is offer free tool credits or a free subscription to influencers related to your niche. They can then review your product and link to your website.
But how do you find influencers that are a good fit?
We suggest using outreach tools like BuzzSumo. Just type in your keywords, and you’ll immediately see a list of influencers and bloggers associated with them:
From there, simply contact the influencers you like and see if they’re interested in working with you.
Keep in mind that some influencers will ask for monetary compensation, too. It’s up to you to decide if you want to pay them on top of giving them free credits.
The Guestographic Method is a lesser-known SaaS link building strategy. Most SaaS companies are still unaware of it, so using it can help you stand out from your competitors.
Additionally, this method works incredibly well. It actually combines two different (and effective) link building strategies:
If you don’t already know what infographics are, we got you.
Infographics are visual representations of information and data. Essentially, they make boring or difficult concepts more engaging and easy to understand.
Here’s an example of an infographic created by Asana, a SaaS company in the project management space:
Guestographics are basically infographics followed or preceded by a little bit of textual content.
So, when using the Guestographic Method, you’re not just pitching an image to other sites. You’re also pitching a mini guest post, which ups your chance of getting a yes.
That "mini guest post" is just a brief explanation of your infographic. It should help the readers understand it better and help the authors of the rest of the post save some time they'd spend explaining your infographic themselves.
Do you create high-quality visuals for your SaaS website? If so, the chances are that other websites may be secretly “borrowing” them.
Instead of asking those websites to remove your images, you can let them keep them if they link to you.
But how do you find out if other websites are using your images?
If you’re using Google, just upload your image by clicking the camera icon. Then hit Enter and wait for your results to load:
You’ll then see if there are any matches on the web.
If there are, simply reach out to the site owners and ask for a link to your website.
Another way to get quality links to your site is to conduct original research — preferably on something that hasn’t yet been well-documented — and then publish the findings on your own website.
Take Freshbooks as an example.
The SaaS company surveys Americans on self-employment every year. Their most recent report got 218 backlinks, only 9% of which are nofollow links:
This link building strategy works so well because you get to be the only source of specific information or findings.
Whoever references your data has no other choice but to link to you.
(And if they don’t link to you from the get-go, you can always reach out and ask for a link.)
Let’s start with a disclaimer: widget links are technically against Google’s guidelines. The search engine can penalize sites that contain widget links and the sites those links are pointing to.
But that rarely happens in practice. According to Google’s John Mueller, the search engine simply ignores widget links in most cases.
So, what does that mean for you?
It means there’s little to no chance you’ll get penalized for using widget links. But it also means that widget links don’t have a lot of link juice.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to give this strategy a go. It may not help you skyrocket your SEO, but it will, at the very least, help you build brand awareness.
But wait… what are widget links, exactly?
Widget links are links to your website from your product. Here’s an example of such a link:
The widget in the right-hand corner is linking to Calendly’s website — so it’s a widget link.
As you can see, this particular link was sent to me by another company (Snov.io). They have no control over the widget link. It’s automatically embedded whenever they use Calendly to schedule demos. That’s precisely why Google doesn’t like these links and why they don’t have a ton of impact on SEO.
But, again, it doesn’t hurt to give this strategy a go.
Scholarship link building is one of the easiest tactics for building high-quality links from .edu domains to your site.
All you have to do is create a scholarship and notify your chosen educational institutions. The chances are they'll want to link to you with no questions asked because you’re offering something valuable to their students.
This link building strategy requires less effort than most. But keep in mind you still need to do some work. You should define:
You should also make sure to actually go through with the scholarship. Otherwise, your reputation could take a hit, and your links will probably get removed.
Link building for SaaS is easier when you partner with other SaaS brands. You can help one another by exchanging links.
Start by exchanging links with your current integration partners. Your links will be relevant to their website, and their links will be relevant to yours.
Take Semrush and SurferSEO as an example. The two SaaS brands have recently become integration partners, and Semrush announced this new partnership on their website. They also included a link to SurferSEO:
This integration was so sensational that other websites reported on it, too:
So, there’s a lot you can gain by simply celebrating your integration partners and letting them celebrate you.
You can ask your partners to add contextual links to your website from their blog posts — as Semrush did for SurferSEO.
But you can also ask that they simply link to you in their integration directory listings. Those links also have some juice to share!
This link building strategy is about spying on your competitors and stealing their links. Basically, your goal is to find sites that are linking to two or more of your competitors. Such sites will likely want to link to you because they’ve already shown interest in your niche.
To find them, you can use Moz's free Link Intersect tool. Type in your site’s URL and the URLs to at least two of your competitors:
Moz will then show you the domains linking to all the competitors you’ve added but not to you:
It’s important you search for sites that are linking to more than just one of your competitors.
The thing is, a site that’s linking to only one of your competitors may not want to link to other sites in the same niche.
That’s why we suggest following the steps we outlined above. That way, you’ll find easy link building opportunities — i.e., sites that are truly interested in your industry rather than sites that have insider deals with your competitors.
Roundup posts are posts that list or analyze multiple items in the same category.
There are two types of roundup posts that can work especially well for SaaS companies:
Getting featured in either type of post can help you build high-quality, relevant backlinks.
On top of that, expert roundups can help you build authority, while product roundups can help you make sales.
The easiest way to get featured is to find existing roundup posts and ask the authors to include your software or opinion.
You can do this by googling the following query strings:
Feel free to come up with your own variations.
Here’s an example of the results we got using one of these strings:
Scan through several posts until you find one that would fit you or your software well. All that’s left to do from there is to send your pitch to the site owners, webmasters, or authors - depending on whose contact info you can find.
Answering FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) can help you build links and organically position you at the top of the SERPs.
Let me show you what I mean.
nTask answered a frequent question on project management — and landed a featured snippet as a result:
On top of that, nTask’s blog post got over 400 backlinks from 91 referring domains:
So, answering FAQs is obviously beneficial in terms of both link building and rankings.
But how do you find relevant questions to answer?
There are several methods you can use.
For starters, try googling a niche-related keyword. Then scroll down to the People Also Ask section:
You’ll see many FAQs related to your keyword. Answering any one of these can help you in your link building efforts.
A pro tip: Get even more FAQs by clicking on each individual question:
If you need even more questions, here are two free tools that will help you find them:
The principle is the same. Just type in your keywords, and you’ll see the FAQs related to them.
When you’ve gathered enough questions, try to answer them in the most straightforward way possible. That way, you may land yourself a featured snippet so more people can find you organically and link to your answer afterward.
This is my favorite link building strategy for SaaS businesses.
To be honest, it requires a bit more effort than most link building tactics we’ve covered. But it can bring you incredible results.
It comes down to creating educational resources for your audience. These resources can be connected with your software or broader topics. Let me show you what I mean.
I’ll take Ahrefs as an example.
Ahrefs is an “all-in-one SEO toolset” with a pretty steep learning curve. That’s why the company created a course that teaches people how to use it:
This course alone has more than 300 backlinks:
But Ahrefs took it one step further.
The company created a separate academy page that currently features multiple courses on more general topics, like SEO and blogging.
This page now has almost 4,000 backlinks:
So, creating educational resources — i.e., creating your own “academy” — can help you in your link building efforts while also teaching your audience how to use your products.
Besides, creating online courses has never been easier. Just dig up what your audience struggles with the most and shoot a few useful videos. That’s it.
Broken link building is a straightforward and cost-effective strategy for SaaS companies. It involves finding broken links and replacing them with your own (working) links.
Broken links are links that lead to 404 pages — pages that no longer exist or can’t be accessed for some reason:
Use SEO Minion to find broken links more easily. This Google Chrome extension will highlight all the broken links on a page you're analyzing, so you’ll know which links lead to 404 pages without having to open them one by one:
When you find broken links, reach out to site webmasters and let them know.
They’ll probably want to replace broken links with ones that work, so you can pitch them links to your site. Just make sure your links fit the original context.
Guest posting is an excellent link building strategy for two reasons:
So, guest posts can help you kill two birds with one stone. But how do you find guest posting opportunities?
Start by googling some of the following query strings:
Here’s how these strings work in action:
To find relevant results for your SaaS company, just replace the keyword “project management software” with one that’s relevant to your niche.
Writing in-depth guides (like this one!) can help you build links but also increase your traffic naturally.
Just make sure you optimize your guides for both people and search engines:
If you can check off both boxes, your guides will get organic traffic and referral traffic because other people will want to link to you.
So, this strategy is mainly about earning high-quality backlinks in a natural way. You let other people discover you and decide if they want to link to you themselves.
Of course, you can also promote your guides on social media or via outreach. That way, you'll up your chances of getting noticed and getting more links faster.
Need an example of an in-depth guide with backlinks? Consider Canva’s “ultimate guide” to flyer design, which attracted over 200 backlinks from 77 referring domains:
If you don’t know how to choose the right target keywords or how to write good content, we can help. Request free samples of our work here.
Hosting industry-related events is an excellent way to get links from high-authority news sites and other sites in your niche.
On top of that, events can also help you position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Take Moz as an example. The SaaS company has hosted MozCon, a marketing conference, every year for several years now:
This landing page for 2022 MozCon attracted almost 20,000 links — only 19% of which are nofollow links:
Events are almost bound to get heaps of backlinks, especially if they feature other people outside your company.
For example, this year’s MozCon featured Joanna Wiebe, an expert copywriter that runs a high-authority website called CopyHackers.
She was more than happy to link to MozCon’s landing page in her blog post because the event is also helping her promote her own business:
So, hosting events is another win-win link building strategy. The only downside is it can be expensive and, perhaps, not viable for SaaS companies that work remotely.
Another way to get high-quality backlinks is to participate in other people’s events and content. Here are a few ways to go about it:
This strategy works especially well if you and another business have the same target audience. For example, if you’re selling project management software, you could go on podcasts related to time management, risk management, leadership, etc.
Everything considered, making appearances is one of the easiest ways to acquire high-quality backlinks. Other people or companies will do all the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is show up.
Unlinked brand mentions are what they sound like: mentions of your brand that don’t link to your website. Your goal is to find them and turn them into links.
Before we show you how to do it, keep in mind you should mainly focus on brand mentions on other websites — not social media.
Social media is not a direct ranking factor. That means links from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms won’t help your SEO… at least not as much as links coming from websites.
Of course, you can still work on turning your social media mentions into links. Just focus on websites first.
Now, let’s see how to find your brand mentions.
Just enter your brand name (or other keywords you want to track), and you’ll be notified whenever someone mentions it on the web.
All that’s left to do from there is ask the authors to link to you if they haven’t already. They’ll probably want to do so because your link will be relevant to their content.
That’s why this link building strategy usually has a high success rate.
To start building links, first consider:
After that, you can either pay for links, build them via blogger outreach, or try to earn them by publishing high-quality content.
Link building services are worth it if you’re in a competitive niche or trying to rank for competitive keywords. In that case, you’ll need lots of high-quality backlinks to rank. Usually, you won’t be able to build them on your own (at least not as quickly as you should), so your best bet is to hire link building experts.
SaaS is getting increasingly competitive, and acquiring links on your own may no longer do the trick. If you can’t outrank your competitors despite your best efforts, it may be time to outsource your link building problems.
Our agency can help. We’ve worked with dozens of SaaS businesses over the last 8 years and helped them get links from prestigious sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and many others.
Interested to see if we could do the same for your business? Schedule your free consultation today. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Wondering if outsourcing your link building is the right move for you? This guide will tell you everything you need to know, including how to outsource, what mistakes to avoid, and more!
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Talk to our link building team to see how we can help.