With this in-depth overview of how to start link building for SaaS, we’ll go over what SaaS exactly is, how link building plays into that, why it’s important, some key case studies to prove the point, and of course, in-depth strategies we can all use to build better, faster-growing, and more effective companies in the SaaS field.
Why Is SaaS So Popular?
SaaS, or Service as a Software, is a booming business model that is attracting more new business developers every year. In fact, it has grown so quickly and effectively that it’s expected to see another 30% growth milestone within the next year.
SaaS brings several advantages to both consumers and business owners. This is a great portion of why the model has been adopted so widely.
The SaaS model allows customers to pay for software while they need it, and when they no longer want or need it, they can simply cancel their subscription and move on. There’s no need to pay a massive up-front cost for software that might only be necessary for a year or two when one can simply pay a low monthly fee for access as it’s needed.
Why Link Building Is Key For SaaS Business Growth?
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of what a SaaS business is, let’s get into one of the big problems with it; it can be fairly difficult to grow the business into something worthwhile.
This is a problem that all new companies face; especially on the internet where there is an infinite sea of competition to deal with. The truth is, just getting a new company in front of its target audience, with enough exposure to make it take off, is extremely difficult; this is true even if the service being offered is revolutionary or, on paper, guaranteed to change the way entire industries work.
That’s where link building comes in.
Link building is a marketing strategy that draws attention to a company’s site via less traditional means than conventional marketing such as targeted ads, commercials, and other such marketing devices. Rather than blatantly jamming the company name in front of people with sales-like language, link-building focuses on getting into the various content avenues customers are already using, providing them with what they’re already looking for, and intelligently nudging them in the direction we want them to go (our own websites and services).
Link building is a proven technique that has become a staple in the marketing world over the last decade as the internet has become a real powerhouse in the service and retail industries, and it is pretty much necessary for any new company to use if it wants to get the number of site clicks and conversions necessary to thrive in the long term.
In fact, some of the top SaaS companies started out with abysmal numbers, and within just a few years, they turned into the massive powerhouses they are today because they implemented link building into their marketing strategies.
Without link building, we probably wouldn’t have juggernauts such as HubSpot around, or they’d be so obscure that we wouldn’t know they existed in the first place.
Link Building Case Studies: An In-Depth Look At The Power Of Link Building
Of course, we can say that link building is key, pulling statistics from thin air, and generally pushing them on our audience, but we prefer to take a different route.
No one has to take our word for it because there are plenty of verifiably true case studies already out there.
To prove how necessary link building is to find success in the modern SaaS world, we’ve gathered some of the top case studies, including from companies our audience has probably heard of or used, and listed them out here with all of the details one could possibly need to understand how link building affected them.
Let’s take a look.
The Signaturely Success Story
Signaturely is something all of us in the business world have probably heard about by now. It’s a SaaS that makes e-signatures a breeze. Not only that, but the signatures processed through Signaturely are verifiable and legally binding. That is key for any business selling a service or product that requires a contract to protect both sides of the transaction.
So, it might be a bit of a shocker to find out it wasn’t always a success story. In fact, it had zero net traffic and was pretty much dying on arrival. That is until it got some help via SaaS link building.
Now, there are many different types of backlinks that can help SaaS, but in this case, the golden ticket was HARO.
We’ll talk more about HARO later on, but it’s essentially a tool that connects a business with high-profile journalists and sets up the connection to get content posted in some of the largest publications out there.
This method was the primary link building strategy for Signaturely, and within just a single year, Signaturely had gained backlinks on numerous high-profile sites. One of those sites happened to be Forbes; one of the largest and most trusted e-publications out there.
Those HARO backlinks not only started boosting Signaturely’s web traffic almost immediately after they were created, but they quickly snowballed the activity until the site began seeing more than 150,000 organic site visitors per month. That’s almost 2 million visitors who came to the site naturally, without ads or redirects pushing them there!
Without the implementation of HARO backlinks to build the service up relatively quickly, it’s highly likely that Signaturely would be serving us all, today.
B2B Case Study On SEO Foundation Strategy
Many of the clients utilizing SaaS products are other businesses. After all, the conventional internet surfer really doesn’t need too many tools to get the most out of their online experience. Naturally, this makes the B2B side of SaaS quite competitive and one case study the team here at Digital Gratified has drawn a lot of inspiration from revolves specifically around helping businesses stand out from the crowd via link building.
The strategy used front and center for this case study was SEO Foundation implementation.
Like all of us, business owners know, SEO is a key part of operating any sort of business on the internet. It is essentially how business owners can “communicate” with Google and other search engines to ensure they’re getting to the top of relevant search results and getting attention from hot leads.
However, when all of the competition is using the same high-volume keywords to build their SEO content, all of them end up mish-mashed together in search results. For a company just starting out, just picking the most relevant terms and implementing them the same way is asking to end up several pages behind even underperforming competition.
This is how SEO Foundation strategies have helped B2B companies separate themselves from the pack and push themselves to the forefront. Out of the dozens of B2B SaaS companies used in this case study, all of them saw a 55% increase in web activity over the course of three months.
This was achieved by implementing two methods to strengthen the foundation of their SEO.
As we said, when everyone is using the same keywords, no one gets ahead. So, differentiation is key. This doesn’t mean it’s necessary to make a drastic change to a high-value keyword, though.
A great example of this was found with a company specializing in website hosting and what type of content that field’s audience was looking for.
So, the number-one relevant search term businesses use when looking for a website host is “website hosting” for obvious reasons. To differentiate that keyword from what everyone else was using, it had to be determined what people were looking for on top of just website hosting.
As it turns out, clients were looking for website hosting that was protected from DDOS attacks; the main cause for 1/3 of the downtime sites experience. So, the keyword was changed to “secure website hosting”.
Just that one small change greatly differentiated the hosting company from its top competitors while more accurately describing what its customers were looking for.
Obviously, the actual method used will be different for every company depending on what customers are looking for and how it ties into the core keyword, but we believe it’s an accurate enough depiction of how the case study worked.
SEO Content Emphasis
Secondly, the content used to get those keywords out there and attract customers to the site is also key to building a strong foundation; as this same case study proved.
Content that has dead links and underperforming stats actually lowers a company’s ability to rank highly. This is coded into Google and other search engines to show it’s outdated and not likely to appease searchers.
So, the second phase, after differentiating keywords, was to work on not only identifying and removing dead links but also ensuring that the company’s best content was getting put in the limelight.
To do this, all links were assessed to ensure they were still leading to the sites they pointed to. Any that weren’t got removed. Then, all of the content on a site was assessed and ranked according to how many clicks and conversions it generated. The content pages that ranked low were removed from the site’s index to keep them from being skimmed by Google, and the top-performing pieces were highlighted and reworked with the new, higher-performing keywords.
After these changes were implemented across dozens of websites and given a 3-month assessment period to gauge the results, a 35% increase in traffic was established and maintained across all sites in the study, and a 55% increase was seen and maintained in the vast majority of them individually.
David Farkas Case Study & Experiment
Already in the business world, a curious man by the name of David Farkas decided to put the larger case studies on link building to the test and find out for himself if their findings were replicable. The process to do this took a considerable amount of time, his own small team, and the skills he’d already acquired managing other websites in the past. However, it’s fairly simple to follow.
First, Farkas created a health-niche website similar to sites we’re all likely to turn to for general information about establishing and maintaining peak health. This part of the experiment took roughly six months to accomplish, as he and his team spent the time not only creating a professional website but also outfitting it with 26 pieces of high-quality SEO content. These were long-form pieces that matched the general criteria Google shows as popular among searchers.
For the latter half of the first year of experimentation, Farkas did nothing. He didn’t add content, utilize link-building techniques, or anything else. The site simply stayed up with the original 26 pieces of “perfect” content.
After one year, the site had practically zero activity. If it were monetized and designed to bring in income, it would have been a complete bust. However, Farkas then decided to set his team to work with link-building strategies.
Namely, Farkas decided on guest posting, a strategy we’ll talk about later, and the HARO posting from earlier. This was chosen to get the site on high-ranking authority sites.
However, before that could be implemented, he chose to focus on the site to establish its authority in a specific field and give other sites a reason to link back to it. In the end, Farkas decided that positioning the site as an educational resource was an effective option. This required further assessment of each piece of content, reworking that content to be link-worthy, and putting the top-quality content front and center.
Once the site was quickly refocused, Farkas’s team started a link campaign by reaching out to guest posting sites and HARO-style providers. Within another half a year, in the earlier months of 2019, the health site saw a 2000% growth in site traffic.
While Farkas’s site was largely an experiment and not meant to be a financial endeavor, this proved that link building was an effective tool for bringing irrelevant sites to the forefront without considerable time investments.
The Bivvy Case Study: 770%+ Growth Via Link Building
Bivvy is a pet insurance company we suspect many of our readers will know fairly well. They’re one of the more popular, and affordable, pet insurance providers available, and their willingness to ensure any pet for just $15 a month is an attractive deal. However, they didn’t start off very well.
Bivvy was initially struggling with its ability to establish itself online, and it wasn’t meeting its sales goals as expected. After a stretch of underperformance, the owners of Bivvy decided to enlist the help of an SEO and link-building team.
That team took a three-pronged approach to build Bivvy’s link catalog.
1: Build Online Authority
Appearing as an authority on a subject is key to not only getting backlinks from other sites, but also to establishing trust with potential customers; pushing conversion by showing the potential customer they can rely on the business to perform properly.
This was the first phase of the team’s plan, and it’s a major part of what we do here at Digital Gratification. Establishing authority is most commonly done by creating high-quality, fact-based informational content that is worthy of being cited by others and linked to other websites.
2: Organic Traffic
Ads can add a massive boost to site traffic, but we all know that they’re not sustainable. They’re a drain on resources, and most companies don’t have the resources available to continuously pump out high-cost advertisements whether they’re effective or not.
Because of this, the team handling Bivvy’s link campaign put an extreme focus on organic traffic. This is traffic that naturally comes to the site without the need for advertisements, and it’s primarily what backlinks are designed to create.
3: Getting The Right Backlinks
Not every backlink is useful. If it comes from a low-authority site or a site that has gotten a strike from Google for not adhering to SEO rules, it can actually hurt a site’s ability to rank. The same goes for dead links that lead to sites that aren’t around anymore.
Because of this, the team specifically focused on getting backlinks from authority sites with good reputations. They didn’t all have to be on the level of Forbes, but they did have to have a clean record and plenty of consumer trust.
The team implemented this strategy by approaching high-profile, authority websites that could host guest articles written and SEO optimized by their team. These content pieces linked back to various pages on the Bivvy website to ensure the site had a well-rounded link catalog rather than just one or two high-traffic links.
The process wasn’t too difficult, as Bivvy had already invested considerable resources into creating a good site in the first place. There was no need to go through and assess every link on the site or ensure the site was in compliance with Google’s terms; streamlining the rest of the process.
Once all the changes were made and links were built, Bivvy saw more than 770% growth in website traffic within the first year; helping it become the go-to source for pet insurance that it is today.
Strategies To Start Link Building For SaaS
So far, we’ve gone over a lot of details about what SaaS is, why it needs backlinks and a lot of proof showing that various link-building techniques work.
Now, we want to go over ways you can start link building for SaaS and see the same results demonstrated in our case studies.
Let’s get started.
Guest posts are one of the most popular tools SaaS companies have used to ramp up site traffic. Since SaaS is commonly B2B, providing content to websites that cater to business owners, while simultaneously linking back to one’s own site as the solution to the proposed problem, can generate tons of organic traffic and establish consumer trust.
However, the type and quality of guest posts are very important to ensure this method works.
For starters, we recommend only approaching high-quality guest posting sites. If the sites have search engine strikes, delete content creating deadlinks often, or have bad reputations, they’re better off being ignored. They can easily lower a backlinked site’s authority ranking.
Then, it’s just a process of creating content that matches the site’s guidelines. Researching what relevant topics consumers are searching for and figuring out a way to backlink to the desired site is key to ensuring readers care about following that backlink. In some cases, a guest site might offer writing services to generate the content for an extra cost.
It is also key to ensure that the backlinks generated by this method lead to top-performing pages of the site instead of pages that no one is showing interest in.
HARO is “Help a Reporter Out”. It’s a free service that helps journalists find sources of information for pieces they’re writing, and it can also help get them gigs in general if a new startup or product needs to get a bit of press attention.
This is beneficial for SaaS companies. If a journalist on HARO is looking for information on a topic related to a business owner’s field of work, the business can reach out, provide that information, and get a backlink to their site. This is one of the easiest ways to end up in Forbes and other major publications since the journalists are already tied to such platforms and are likely writing for those platforms when they request the information.
For example, a SaaS business such as Signaturely might browse HARO and find that a journalist needs to know how e-signatures work behind the scenes and what makes them legally binding. The owner can reach out, provide their hands-on knowledge to the journalist, and request a backlink within the finished content. The journalist gets the inside scoop they need, and the company gets exposure on the platform the journalist publishes. It’s a win-win situation.
Backlinking To Blogs
This one can actually be implemented into various linking strategies, as it’s just the destination for the link that changes. However, it differs greatly from a general link to a homepage or service page.
Customers are constantly looking for information. They want to research their purchasing decisions, find solutions to their problems, and generally educate themselves on whatever it is they’re doing. This goes for both the B2B and B2C sectors.
By creating a varied blog that covers the topics a company’s audience is interested in, that company can leverage their blogs as backlinks in their guest posts, as additional references in HARO writings, etc. The key is to utilize SEO to maximum effect while ensuring the topic being blogged about is one that the majority of the target audience is searching for online.
For example, a tow truck company might write blog posts about how to call a tow truck during an emergency. They can then write and publish a guest post about proper car maintenance, but link back to the blog post on how to call a tow truck via mentioning that emergencies still happen.
This not only pulls organic traffic into the site but also establishes the site as an authoritative source that knows what it’s talking about; leading to higher conversion rates.
The same concept can be applied to any SaaS site with tremendous results.
Create Link-Worthy Content
Finally, one of the best ways to generate backlinks is to create content that is truly worthy of being linked to. Yes, average content with a lot of guest posts and other links that are part of a transaction is capable of producing results, but that doesn’t mean shooting for average is the best idea.
Whenever we start a project, we immediately look at our client’s content. Is it linkable? Would people researching for a paper or trying to prove a point link to that content? If I brought this to a guest post site or tried to establish a mutually beneficial agreement with a content creator, would they be willing to work with this?
If the answer to any of those questions is “no”, then my team and I know the first step is to re-create that content in a way that makes it worth linking to. Once that is done, the other methods can come into play and be a lot more effective.
Link Building For SaaS With Digital Gratified
If you’re unsure which steps to take to get your links built up and your site thriving, my team at Digital Gratified is here to help. We help SaaS companies just like yours identify the problems they’re having generating traffic and which solutions are available to resolve those problems. Then, we implement the changes and strategies necessary to get the site growing in no time.
We will take a fully custom, fully hands-on approach to building links for your SaaS company without all of the hassles of figuring it out on your own.