June 13, 2024 |

Understanding Link Building for SaaS

The days of manually installing business software onto devices, or trying to access it via clunky VPNs, are thankfully a thing of the past for many people.

Cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) has replaced a lot of on-premise software – enabling users to access business applications from anywhere via a web browser or app. The SaaS model allows teams to work more efficiently, collaboratively and flexibly, especially when integrated with other software applications. It can also be more effective for businesses, thanks to its subscription model and option to add or remove features and functionalities as required. 

Demand for SaaS products is high and growing. Globally, revenues almost doubled between 2019 and 2023, and the market is expected to reach US$282.20bn in 2024 – up from just US$62.69 in 2016.

But competition is fierce too: the market is dominated by global players like Sage, Adobe and Salesforce. Reaching and maintaining a top position on search engine results pages (SERPs) requires ongoing SEO work – and a big part of this is link building. Google recognises and rewards sites with a strong backlink profile, helping your site to rank higher for relevant keywords so you benefit from better visibility and organic traffic.

In this article, we will cover:

Link Building for SaaS Vs B2B

Since SaaS providers are mainly targeting other businesses, you’d think a typical B2B link building strategy would apply – but there are some differences. 

A B2B company, such as a clothing manufacturer, might have a handful of target customers, like major wholesalers and retailers. It therefore makes sense to concentrate link building on niche industries, specific verticals, and targeted businesses identified through account-based marketing (ABM) strategies.

A SaaS company has a product that scales, so it needs a link building strategy to target a broad audience of businesses and possibly individual users (either consumers or staff within an organisation). Because of the different pricing options, you may want to attract users from SMEs, start-ups and enterprises, across multiple industries and territories.

SaaS Link Building Strategies

Digital PR and Outreach

Link building has been part of SEO since it first started being practised in the ‘90s. Over the years, there have been plenty of examples of poor and ineffective practices, like buying links or requesting reciprocal ones on low-grade blogs. 

The emergence of digital PR has changed the link building landscape. Bringing together SEO and PR, it is a powerful way to generate links from credible websites with a high domain authority (DA) by creating good-quality newsworthy content. Because journalists exercise editorial control when publishing content and links, Google recognises their value too – which helps you to rank higher over time. 

Good campaigns generate large volumes of quality links from a wide range of media outlets, whereas a brand PR campaign may be hyper-targeted to a handful of publications. 

If you work for a SaaS company, you might be wondering why you need to reach out to the national consumer or regional press when that’s not your audience. National media sites have the highest DAs but regional and trade media have pretty impressive ones too, as do some influencer and blogger sites. By securing coverage and a link, you benefit from the authority (the link equity) of these sites so when your prospective customers are researching the market, your site should be more visible. 

Digital PR campaigns could be fun, creative and tap into talked-about trends and topics in order to be newsworthy. But the usual PR brand principles are important: content must still reflect your company’s products and values, and enhance its reputation.

Content Marketing

Content marketing allows SaaS companies to become industry leaders and, with a mix of top, middle and bottom of the funnel content, you can convert organic web traffic into leads and customers. 

In the SaaS world, content tends to include reports/whitepapers, case studies, blogs and infographics, and possibly interactive tools like calculators. Educational, useful and engaging content – optimised for relevant keywords – will help to attract people to your website and give them confidence in your products and expertise. From here, you can direct them to relevant product pages and CTAs, like a free trial or demo. 

Your content should be ungated and on-page for it to have SEO value. Unlike lead-gen campaigns, where traffic comes from paid advertising and the content is typically a gated PDF, your page needs to be crawled by Google for it to rank in SERPs. Longer-form content also tends to rank higher; research from Semrush suggests the ideal length is between 1,500 and 2,500 words but caveats that shorter articles, such as case studies, are also valuable. 

Long-form articles, like this one, provide a useful resource for people to refer back to whenever they have a question. Use headings to break down your content and reflect search intent – the questions people are asking search engines can provide a structure for your article. 

As with any type of content, don’t just write more for the sake of it. Think about the user’s experience first and foremost, then the search engine will follow.

By turning your insights into linkable assets, you could earn backlinks from news sites as well as non-media sites with high DAs such as universities, public bodies and trade associations. Original research and industry know-how are invaluable to many organisations, and they may continue to link to your content even after your campaign has finished.

Partnerships

As well as publishing content on your own website, and sharing via social media and other channels, partnerships with complementary organisations can amplify your messages further. 

You might organise a roundtable or conference with industry leaders, or interview a customer or a representative from a trade body. From this, you can create a linkable asset such as a webinar, podcast or report – but remember the usual rules around on-page content apply. It needs to be crawlable, so publish your report on a landing page, include relevant keywords, and embed links to any audio or video within it. 

Your partners can use these insights to create their own content, and link to your site. Unlike the spammy link swapping of previous years, this is a natural and legitimate way to generate quality links. 

Linkable Assets

Linkable assets include quality on-page articles/blogs, reports, guides, interactive tools, case studies and infographics – anything that someone buying your software would find useful. 

SaaS companies can generate this type of content by commissioning independent research, speaking to third-party experts such as academics, or using data either from their own software or publicly-available and trusted sources like the ONS. Another option is to create an interactive tool such as a cost or ROI calculator, hosted on a landing page. 

All this requires an investment of time and money but it can pay off many times over. Journalists are always hungry for original research, interactive tools and visually-appealing assets – so they’re more likely to publish and link to them. Links from relevant blogs, trade organisations, universities and customer websites can supplement media outreach too.

Guest Blogging and Contributed Content

Original research and thought leadership can not only be repurposed across your own channels but can also form the basis of guest blogs and opinion pieces. As outlined above, this can include a combination of media sites, such as industry news publications, and non-media sites, like universities. 

In the past, SEO teams would seek out opportunities on blog sites but they were often poor-quality, and could even damage your brand by association, especially with the rollout of new Google updates, such as E-E-A-T and the Helpful Content Update. By producing quality relevant content, and building relationships with publishers, you stand a much better chance of securing a guest blog. 

Where possible, think about the connections you could leverage too. If members of your team are alumni at a university, or members of a trade organisation, you may be able to find opportunities with them.

Learn More About SaaS Link Building Strategies

In the competitive SaaS industry, links give your company the edge in search engine rankings and build credibility and trust among potential customers. Links help niche and challenger brands break into the market and win share from their bigger competitors, and enable bigger companies to cement their position as renowned global tech leaders. 

Good quality content forms the basis for linkable assets that journalists and other publishers want to link to because they offer genuine value to their readers. 
Get in touch to see how Tank could get your link building strategy started.