SaaS Link Building: Expert Tips and Real Life Examples


saas link building tree


Building links has benefits outside of just helping you rank for keywords. Link building is integral to getting your business online exposure. The right link can attract new customers in a way that other forms of organic marketing simply cannot.

Link building can be especially beneficial in competitive industries like SaaS. Yet, many SaaS marketers don’t utilize it in their marketing mix.

If you are one of those marketers hesitant to wade into link building for SaaS business, we’re here to tell you that it’s an accessible and doable strategy.

Use these SaaS link-building tips, ideas, and real-life examples to learn how to put space between yourself and your competitors.

What is Link Building For SaaS?

Link building for SaaS is actively or passively acquiring links to your website. Building relevant links can help you rank better for key terms, increase traffic, and build brand awareness.

Later in this post, many examples show how major SaaS companies have leveraged links to bring significant links from news sites and build valuable organic traffic.

8 SaaS Link Building Strategies, Ideas, and Examples

SaaS link-building is different in that specific tactics work better for SaaS companies. Generally speaking, the SaaS industry can be more competitive because there are a lot of similar products vying for the same spots or niche industries.

That’s why many review sites like G2, Capterra, or Trust Radius exist. But, at the end of the day, the goal is simple: build links to get your product noticed.

There are more than eight ways to build a link, but below, you’ll find scalable, repeatable tactics that have proven successful for hundreds of SaaS companies. Not every tactic will fit each brand, and each requires a different amount of effort to see success, so we’ve highlighted this in the breakdown below.

Here are some real-life examples from SaaS brands.

1. Broken Link Building

Who is it best for? Most sites

Effort required to see results? Med-High

Broken link building is finding a broken link on another website and offering to replace it with a link to your website.

You can go about this in a few different ways:

DIRECT: Find a piece of content that is no longer live but still has a lot of backlinks and build a replacement.

INDIRECT: Find a relevant website in your industry with a broken page link. Then, email that website to point out the broken link and use that as a jumping-off point to pitch them your site or content.

Either way, you are providing the site with something of value in hopes that they will return the favor.

The direct approach is more common.

Here’s how to do it:

Open Ahrefs, go to Content Explorer, and enter a relevant post topic you could create. Then, choose “Only Broken” to display assets that are currently 404ing. Then, sort by Referring Domains.

broken link building via ahrefs for saas link building technique

Once you confirm it is dead, check the links to verify whether they are accurate and relevant.

Once confirmed, build something similar or better!

For example, in the screenshot below, we searched for “link building guide” and found one broken asset with 1.3K links.

(Upon digging further, we confirmed that all 1.3K links are spammy, so it’s important to check!)

Once you have your replacement piece of content, export the list of backlinks to the 404ing page.

With this in hand, you start finding email addresses for all the sites linked to the now-defunct page.

You can find emails with a variety of tools, including Buzzstream.

Once you have the email address, your outreach email will look something like this:

TIP: You may send a high volume of emails for broken link-building, which can make it feel less effective. Focus on building your workflow.

Use a tool like Buzzstream to track your progress, templatize your emails, send emails, and schedule follow-ups.

2. Unlinked Brand Mentions

Who is it best for? Sites with brand recognition

Effort required to see results? Low

Finding unlinked brand mentions is like stumbling across free money in the street. It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s effective.

However, finding unlinked brand mentions requires recognition in the market.

Simply put, you can’t claim a link if no one is talking about you.

(It can also be a problem if you have a website whose name is a ubiquitous word, like Stay, Move, or Fun.)

Here’s how to do it:

To find your unlinked brand mention, you can try a few methods:

  1. Search Google for your brand
  2. Set up Google, Talkwalker, or Ahrefs alerts for your brand
  3. Search for your brand on Ahrefs’ Content Explorer using your brand name -yourwebsite.com.

Let’s look at #3 below for Buzzstream using Ahrefs.

finding unlinked mention of buzzstream

For example, here is an unlinked mention of Buzzstream.

we found an unlinked brand mention of buzzstream to use for link building

Once you find an unlinked brand mention, you can email the website owner and ask them if they’d be open to adding a link to your website. Some may request money, and others may do it for free.

An email for this would look something like this:

TIP: Adjust the date to the most recent and the work further out from the present. We’ve found that the most effective way to collect unlinked brand mentions is by catching the site right after they publish.

3. Link Reclamation

Who is it best for? Sites that have been around for a while and have a backlink profile

Effort required to see results? High

Link reclamation is like an unlinked brand mention’s cousin. You are still reaching out to a site and asking them to link, but in this case, you are reaching out because they used to link to you but no longer do.

Websites lose backlinks all the time. Usually, it’s because of a technical change or content update. Sometimes it’s on purpose. Luckily, there are ways  to get them back.

Here’s how to do it:

Ahrefs has a great post which lays out the full link reclamation process, but in essence:

  1. Find a site that linked to you but no longer does
  2. Reach out to them and request that they add the link back.

You can find lost links using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Enter your domain and choose “Lost” links.

reclaiming lost links via ahrefs

Once you find the site, double-check that they no longer link to you.

Then email them with an email that looks something like this:

Tip: Similarly with unlinked mentions, catching users immediately after publish increases the likelihood that they will go back into the post and add a link.

4. Websites Where Your Competitors Appear (But You Don’t)

Who is it best for? Sites with lots of close competitors

Effort required to see results? Med-High

You could also call this tactic the “FOMO link-building strategy” because you are looking for list posts or resource pages that link to your competitors but not your site.

Finding websites takes some research, but there are some excellent tools to speed it up.

To find websites that link to your competitors but not you generally, you can try Ahrefs’ Link Intersect tool.

However, to get more specific, we recommend Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

Here’s how to do it:

First, you’ll add the title of a post. For Buzzstream, it’s “Link Building Tools.” Then set it to search for the phrase “In title”.

The kinds of pages you are looking for are:

  • Roundups/Lists
  • Reviews
  • Resources
  • Recommended Links
  • Recommended Tools/Software

Last, you’ll want to Highlight unlinked and add your website.

finding areas where your competitors are linked but you are not

Unsurprisingly, you can see that some of our competitors who talk about “Link building tools” don’t link to us.

Once you find a page that makes sense, email them asking if they’d like to include a list.

Tip: Make sure your offer isn’t too one-sided. Offer the target site something in return, like a free trial or credits for your SaaS tool.

  • Ready to streamline your outreach and link building campaigns? Start free trial
  • 5. Creating and Pitching Content

    Who is it best for? Sites with an active blog

    Effort required to see results? Med-High

    Getting links to your homepage or high valued service pages are the best ways to convert customers. But these links take time to come by. So, most of the time, you must focus on top and mid-funnel content to get links. Then, internally link your content to your money pages.

    Creating content is a great way to generate backlinks for SaaS sites. However, consider the adage: if a tree falls in the forest and no one can hear it, does it make a sound?

    The same adage can apply to creating content for SaaS link building. If you make the best content in the world, but no one sees it, will anyone link to it?

    The answer is usually no, meaning you need to do manual outreach.

    Creating pitchable content is a topic in and of itself, but at its core, it needs something tangible that provides value to others.

    Pitchable content in the SaaS world typically falls into one of these two (or sometimes multiple) buckets:

    • Infographics/Animation/Videos/Data Visualizations
    • Surveys/Reports
    • Tools/Templates
    • Interactives/Calculators
    • Complete Guide

    But before you create your content, you must ensure an audience exists. We recommend confirming that your idea has already gotten coverage by finding similar shared posts or assets.

    Here’s how to do it:

    Again, head to Ahrefs Content Explorer and enter your proposed topic idea. Then, sort by referring domains. Look for posts with lower page traffic numbers and high link numbers.

    For example, here is a search around “link building report”, which is something that is of interest in our industry. It looks like Aira created a “State of Link Building 2022 Report” which built over 200 linking root domains.

    link building report search

    Pages with many links AND traffic/value are most likely generating links passively rather than through manual outreach (which is the next tactic.)

    Once you’ve confirmed your idea, build your content. Then, use a tool like Buzzstream to pitch your content to your targets.

    A pitch email for content you’ve created would look something like this:

    Tip: When pitching your content, ensure your target site is relevant to your market.

    6. Creating Content That Builds Passive Links

    Who is it best for? Sites with a higher DA

    Effort required to see results? Med-High

    But wait, didn’t you just say if you create content without pitching it, no one will see it?

    There is a lot baked into this strategy, so buckle up.

    Some topics have inherent “linkability,”— meaning researchers, journalists, and bloggers often search for these topics when looking for citations. Therefore, topics that work for passive link building also have search volume attached to them.

    The most obvious (and wholly exploited) example is “statistics” posts. But this also works for definitional posts, trends, facts, types, and other similar keywords.

    Here’s how to do it:

    To find keywords that can build passive links, head to Ahrefs Content Explorer and enter your proposed topic idea. Then, sort by referring domains. Look for posts with high page traffic numbers and high link numbers.

    In the below screenshot, you’ll see some posts around “link building” bringing in organic traffic and links:

    passive linking posts

    You’ll need a higher DA to gain traction from this approach. And it can take 8-10 months to start seeing links come in passively. So, this should be a supportive part of your content plan, not the only thing you do.

    Tip: If you can tie a pitchable angle to your passive link-building post, you can also pitch it, giving it a better chance of ranking higher and quicker.

    7. Guest Blogging Opportunities

    Who is it best for? All SaaS sites

    Effort required to see results? Med-High

    Guest blogging involves writing guest posts for other high-quality websites in your industry. When you do this, you can include a link to your website in the author bio or the post itself.

    Here’s how to do it:

    To find sites that offer guest posting opportunities, use Google operators:

    • your niche + guest post
    • your niche + guest post guidelines
    • your niche + contribute article

    There are a few major red flags to look out for with guest posts. An entire industry of websites makes money solely by providing paid guest post opportunities.

    Be wary of low-quality sites that offer guest posting. Carefully evaluate each site for E-E-A-T signals. And remember, if anyone can write a guest post to the site you are looking for, the link probably isn’t all that valuable.

    You can also find opportunities from our analysis of 150+ guest post sites.

    Tip: You are better off reaching out to users you know and have connected with on LinkedIn and building relationships with bloggers before submitting a guest post to a site you’ve never visited.

    8. Expert Quote Requests

    Who is it best for? Sites with products/services that tie into industry news

    Effort required to see results? Med-High

    Several free and paid services connect journalists with experts who can provide them with quotes for their articles.

    These requests are great opportunities to gain backlinks from high DA sites.

    When you sign up, you can receive email alerts whenever a journalist is looking for an expert on a topic you know about.

    Here’s how to do it:

    Sign up for Helpareporter, Qwoted, and Featured. You’ll receive daily/weekly requests from journalists.

    When you find one that makes sense to pitch, be direct, but try to stand out. Journalists usually get many responses.

    Tip: Two tips, really — first, sometimes the links are nofollow, which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker as nofollow links can still get you brand exposure and clicks back to your site. Second, you must be incredibly quick to get your quote in there. Journalists are usually on tight deadlines.

    Great Examples of SaaS Link Building

    Here are some examples of SaaS link-building in action:

    1. Shopify’s Business Name Generator is a Passive Link Generator

    shopify's business name generator

    Shopify has created a suite of business tools, including this business name generator. Not only is it a beautifully designed, helpful resource, but the keyword it ranks for, “business name generator,” gets 71K monthly searches. The fact that it is now AI-powered makes it even more impressive.

    You can see that it has slowly gained backlinks over the years and now has over 2.8K.

    business name generator has gained many links over the years

    Takeaway: Find an idea with a lot of utility and marry it with search volume. Then, don’t skimp on the design and usability.

    2. HubSpot’s Content & Media Strategy Report is a Pitchable Asset

    hubspot's report

    HubSpot has dominated the industry by consistently generating industry reports like their Content & Media Strategy Report that they can pitch for links. They most likely don’t pitch them at this point because they’ve established a cadence for releasing reports, and news outlets know to expect it.

    Takeaway: Reports are great link magnets. If you can create several and develop a steady cadence, eventually, outlets will anticipate and link without you needing to pitch.

    3. BambooHR Guest Blogs on Other Sites

    bamboohr does guest posting

    BambooHR is an HR SaaS company, and CyberArk is an Identity Security service. So, seeing their audiences overlap, BambooHR likely reached out to see if CyberArk would be open to a guest post. (CyberArk directly integrates with BambooHR, making it a natural fit.)

    Takeaway: Guest posts provide the most significant value when your customers directly overlap. Also, look for link opportunities from websites whose technologies or data you may utilize.

    4. Talkwalker’s Free Tool Gets Links and Potential Full-Paying Customers

    talkwalker's free tool

    Talkwalker is a social listening and media monitoring SaaS software. By offering a free version of their primary tool, potential full-paying customers get a taste of what their software can do. Then, free users become qualified leads. Since their tool is so helpful, it also generates a lot of links and has built over 1.7k linking root domains over the years.

    Takeaway: Tools make for great link-building assets. If you can tie that tool directly to your SaaS business, you can generate potential leads.

    When is Link Building Not a Good Idea for SaaS Businesses?

    There are a few potential reasons that link building might not be a good idea for your SaaS business:

    You are a new site or an unestablished product

    Link building can’t hurt you, but it may not be the most efficient use of your resources early on.

    Your product offers a highly niche solution

    Again, link building can’t hurt you here, but finding relevant sites to get links from will be a lot harder. Broad-scale link building might not yield the returns you seek due to the limited audience.

    You rely heavily on direct sales or referrals

    Some SaaS businesses may rely more heavily on direct sales or referrals than online visibility, so investing in link building isn’t worth it.

    Frequently Asked Questions about SaaS Link Building

    How is SaaS link building different than other industries?

    SaaS products sometimes have more difficulty building links organically because their products can be so niche.

    SaaS link building is also different from other industries in that it needs to focus on building links to authoritative content that is relevant to the business needs of B2B buyers. It also needs to focus on building long-term relationships with journalists, bloggers, and other influencers who can help SaaS companies reach their target audience and generate leads.

    Does link building still work?

    Link building still works, but how it works has changed significantly over the years. In the past, simply getting a lot of links to your website, regardless of the quality or relevancy of those links, could help you rank higher.

    However, search engines have become much more sophisticated and now focus on the quality of links rather than just the quantity.

    What is link-building software?

    Link-building software is any tool that automates and streamlines the link acquisition process. The software can help save time, increase efficiency, and improve results in many ways: identify relevant websites for guest posting, research contact info, create email outreach campaigns, and track progress. Ahrefs, SEMRush, Hunter.io, Screaming Frog, and are all examples of link-building software.

    Vince Nero

    Vince Nero

    Vince is the Director of Content Marketing at Buzzstream. He thinks content marketers should solve for users, not just Google. He also loves finding creative content online. His previous work includes content marketing agency Siege Media for six years, Homebuyer.com, and The Grit Group. Outside of work, you can catch Vince running, playing with his 2 kids, enjoying some video games, or watching Phillies baseball.
    More Posts by
    Website: https://buzzstream.com

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