For Software as a Service (or SaaS) companies, a marketing strategy will look a little different to the more traditional approaches to product marketing. SaaS marketers are looking to attract customers through social and content marketing and persuade users to signup and remain with their product.
The key driver of leads is website traffic, and to obtain that traffic the website needs to rank well in organic search (amongst social and paid for strategies). In order to rank well, the website needs to have authority and be seen as an authority.
That’s where backlink building can help. Link building can help to build authority for your SaaS business and amplify an existing content strategy.
In this article, we will outline what link building is and how it can be implemented in a SaaS marketing strategy.
There are over 14,000 SaaS startups in the UK and according to The State of SaaS: Growth Trends & Statistics, the SaaS market is currently growing by 18% each year. It’s an incredibly competitive sector and therefore having a strong SaaS marketing strategy might make the difference between success and failure.
When selling a SaaS product, rather than a traditional tangible product, it can be harder to pitch to potential customers. And therefore a strong brand identity, online presence and highly engaging and converting website are essential.
What is link building?
In a nutshell, link building is obtaining backlinks to your website, from other, reputable websites. Authority, in the world of link building, means how trustworthy or popular a website is.
The aim is to get links on high quality, topically relevant websites, rather than trying to get multiple links on any website that have little to no topical relevance to your brand, service or offering.
Targeting publishers, magazines, platforms and niche websites that are closely aligned to your business and that have topical relevance means the impact of the link will be greater, providing better results for your website and rankings.
Gaining high authority links to your website can build your online reputation, which can encourage customer loyalty, and bring in new business. That’s the goal! But, it can take considerable time and effort. Link building is a strategy that you have to commit to in order to see the best results.
In our experience, dedicating time and budget to a long term strategy, and having link building as a core pillar of your SaaS marketing strategy means you can set yourself apart from your competitors and increase your authority and organic traffic sustainability.
Link building for SaaS
So, how do you start working on your SaaS link building strategy?
Before you start link building
Before you begin building powerful links and directing people to your SaaS website, it’s a good idea to start with an audit. This should include an SEO audit, and update any content with updated and relevant keywords.
Start a blog – If you haven’t already, start a company blog and start populating it. You can share industry news, thought-leadership pieces, company updates and case studies. Research what competitors have on their blog, and use your expertise in the area to create an even better, longer, and more in-depth blog that provides your online community with new information, fresh data, research and opinions on the subject.
Create content that your audience wants to read – Is there a frequently asked question by customers, leads or on social media? Turn it into an informative article. Have you launched a new product? Write about it. Expanded into a different territory? You guessed it, add it to the blog.
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Prospecting for SaaS link building
Now that your site is audited, optimised and ready for traffic, it’s time to start link building.
Before compiling a list of prospects and reaching out to ask for a backlink, identify who will be responsible for this content pillar, and how much time they can dedicate to researching, reaching out to publications and writing the articles.
This will help you manage your process internally and avoid overpromising, and underdelivering. It will also mean that you can manage realistic expectations, and set suitable KPIs to measure results.
Remember that link building can take longer than most people think to show results and make an impact in the SERP, so don’t expect to see spikes in traffic straight away!
First up, you need to identify target publications that you want a backlink from. Now, everyone has their own methodology of finding prospects and vetting them based on their own criteria and metrics, however, as a baseline look for relevance, does it make sense for your website to be featured on this page/blog?
While some prospects could be industry specific publications, try to think outside the box. Where does your target audience spend their time, when browsing online?
Alongside this, consider broader websites. Sometimes, it might not be instantly obvious how your service could fit seamlessly into a blog post on your target publication. Again, consider the authority of websites, and look at the kind of content that they share with their audience.
Before you reach out, be prepared with a subject and prior knowledge of articles they have already published. This will help you to pitch a title that is in keeping with their tone of voice. Try not to be too ‘salesy’, or shoehorn your link into an irrelevant article. The best links feel natural and not forced.
Your link building content
Once you start getting replies from your outreach efforts and pitching topics to editors and publishers for consideration, it’s time to start writing your content.
There are some really useful tools that can help you to craft your articles, and even advise on titles and competitor performance. Here are some of our favourite tools to make content easier.
First up, grammar matters. Spelling, too! It can be hard to proof your own work, and in a small but busy marketing team, it may not always be possible to find someone to cast an eye over your copy. But, making sure that your articles are perfect is important for your reputation as a contributor, and the authority you are trying to build for your brand.
There are several plugins that you can use, like Grammarly or Writer.com, that can correct your spelling and grammar, as well as point out places you could be more concise.
Writer.com also has a great plagiarism checker, so you can ensure your content is totally original, meaning it has a higher chance of performing well. You can also set parameters for your company, or the target publications, and the tone of voice.
Writer.com - Plagarism Checker
Not super confident with SEO best practices? There are lots of SEO tools that could help you out. They can help you to identify keywords to feature, and even analyse titles and competitor blogs, to see how yours may perform against these. We like SEMrush and Ahrefs, but there are many to choose from that will suit your needs.
Ultimately, backlinks should be the final part of your marketing strategy, to really boost your website in SERPs. By nailing your SaaS content strategy, and making the necessary SEO updates, you will have a plethora of quality content that is worthy of equally great backlinks.
Spending time auditing your site and creating content that your audience wants to read, or that is highly searched in your industry will increase your chance of landing authoritative backlinks when the time comes.
Similarly, focusing on top-level publications that your competitors could only dream of getting featured on and spending time crafting content that is unique to them and their style, will mean your pitch will more likely be approved. This can take time, as you will need to establish and build relationships with editors and site owners.
You may experience rejections, bounced emails or even some ghosting. We get it, it can be disheartening. But, asking for feedback and showing that you really want to build a relationship, and adapting your style for a quality backlink really is worth the time.
When you finally get to the writing stage, make sure that your articles are suitable for the target publication and their audience, and your link back to your website flows naturally. This will increase your chance of editors accepting the finished article and seeing the value of including your link.
So, that’s our guide to link building and outreach for SaaS businesses. It can seem like a lot of work and time. If you’re busy running your SaaS startup, or work within a small SaaS marketing team, it can seem pretty daunting to set up and maintain a successful link building strategy.
That’s where Hive19 can help! We’re leaders in link building services. We seek out unique opportunities for SaaS companies and create optimised, high quality, research-led articles that provide value to websites and audiences within your niche.
We work with you through the entire link building journey, from setting up or adding to company blogs, to backlink audits and reputation management, ensuring you land quality links on sites with high authority, organic traffic and topical relevance. Find out more in our Link Building hub.
Get in touch with us to see how we can work with you and your SaaS company on a strong link building strategy that drives traffic and gets results.