Link Building Strategies For SaaS Startups

11 Link Building Strategies For Startups That Actually Work

With the rise of artificial intelligence software that uses GPT-3 the competition to rank on search engines has increased. Thankfully unique and engaging content continues to rise to the top of most search engines such as Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and others.

Often link building strategies are associated with written content but throughout this article, you will learn to embrace all mediums such as text, audio, and video to help with your SEO efforts.

I’ve been featured in over 200 publications over the past 3 years such as HubSpot, Crunchbase, AdRoll, Outbrain, and many more.

This experience has taught me the intricate details of how content marketing programs often change based on startup funding rounds (closely related to internal staff).

If you want people to link to your content… well you need to have good content. (Mic drop)

Your content should be informative, helpful, or otherwise interesting to your target audience. If it isn’t, people won’t want to link to it.

Asking for a link to your product and service pages from authoritative publications won’t work anymore, and rightfully so. Google wants helpful content.

The good news is, if you create quality content (no matter the medium), people will be more likely to link to it naturally. Also, if done right you can do outreach where editors actually aren’t annoyed.

1. The Hub & Spoke Content Model 2.0

Consider using the hub and spoke content model, but modifying it based on your industry, budget, and staff.

Two impressive hubs and spoke models include Justin Welsh’s The Content OS model ( recommended for bootstrapped founders) which is focused on his newsletter and social media. I’ve found his strategy to align with how some Web 3.0 startups have scaled through community-led growth.

Another hub and spoke model that stands out includes Jake Ward content strategy (recommended for funded startups) which aligns in many ways with how I use Letterdrop content writing ai software.

We will dive into Jakes’s hub & spoke content model since it’s aligned with many web 2.0 startup resources.

  1. Let’s start off by grouping keywords into topics based on the SERP.
  2. Target those topics, not individual keywords.
  3. Talk to customers to identify their pain points.
  4. Prioritize topics based on revenue potential.
  5. Take time to learn the searcher’s true intent.
  6. Only use as many words as there needs to be. Write great content that helps solve problems.
  7. Complete 12 months of SEO work in 12 weeks by using content writing ai tools for your TOFU content.
  8. Start at the BOFU/MOFU and work your way up.
  9. Create linkable assets that attract backlinks.
  10. Strategically internally link with topic clusters

Ok! I don’t expect you to implement all of this at once before starting to proactively build backlinks.

As someone who offers digital pr and content writing services, I highly recommend you create your BOFU content internally and then use agencies or freelancers to help with your MOFU and TOFU content.

tofu, mofu, bofu infographic

From my experience, theirs often a learning curve to learning the nuances of startup products.

When it comes to BOFU content, it’s far quicker and cheaper if a founder uses Google Docs talk-to-text feature along with Grammarly.

An alternative method is recording yourself, using a transcription service, and then hiring a copywriter for your BOFU content. Please keep in consideration when getting estimates that a content writer and a copywriter are not the same.

Once, you create your BOFU content you will find that it serves as both your sales enablement content and also allows you to easily educate/onboard content writers.

Ok! I’ve just thrown a lot at you. Just remember, done is better than perfect.

2. Guest Podcasting is the New Guest Blogging

Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular, which means there are more opportunities to be a guest on a show. If you’re an early-stage startup founder, being a guest on a popular podcast is a great way to earn backlinks.

Not only will you get exposure to a new audience, but you’ll also be able to share your expert knowledge on the topic. This is a win-win for both you and the podcast host.

To get started, you should build a podcast pitch deck and podcast email outreach script.

Then you can begin reaching out to podcasts that are relevant to your industry and offer to be a guest. This is a great way to get your name and your brand out there.

If you can provide value and insights on a topic that is important to your industry, you will be able to build a following and attract new customers.

If you enjoy this strategy and want to access my podcast directory for SaaS startups (which is an ever-expanding Notion template) use this form and I will send you a link.

3. Getting “Featured In” Text Interviews

If you’re turned off by podcast guesting then consider getting featured in publications that do text interviews. They are similar, except that instead of being interviewed on a podcast, you’re interviewed via email (or sometimes in person).

The format is usually the same, with the interviewer asking questions and the interviewee responding. The big difference is that text interviews can be conducted anywhere, at any time – which makes them a great option for busy people who can’t commit to a specific time and place for an interview.

The interviewer will then publish the interview on their website, along with a link to your website. This is a great way to get exposure for your startup and build relationships with influencers in your industry.

Text interviews are a quick and easy way to generate quality content that can be used to promote your business. Honestly, the most time-consuming part of text interviews is finding them and doing outreach.

Some examples of publications that do text interviews for SaaS founders include TechCrunch, FastCompany, and AfroTech.

It should be noted that unless you’re a startup founder who’s already gained some traction you should also consider getting featured in roundup posts which are a form of text interviews that are a bit easier if you don’t have clout.

If you enjoy this strategy and want to access my text interview directory for SaaS startups (which is an ever-expanding Notion template) use this form and I will send you a link.

4. Contribute Content to Relevant Publications

Want to get your name and brand in front of a whole new audience?  Then start by producing helpful and informative content. Share your knowledge and expertise, and provide value to readers.

When you do this, you’ll not only attract new readers, but you’ll also build trust and credibility. As a result, you’ll be in a better position to convert readers into customers or clients. So if you’re looking to reach a larger audience, start by creating content that is worth reading.

When you contribute content to publications, you often can include 1 or 2 do-follow backlinks back to your website. This helps you build credibility and authority in your industry, and can also drive traffic back to your site.

I recommend SaaS startups have BOFU & MOFU (case studies and product use cases) content that can be used. When done right you can include product screenshots and link to product pages because you’re showing how your SaaS companies improve a process.

For example:

Letterdrop content writing ai software can speed up the process of creating a rough draft for your TOFU content efforts.


Ok! Make sure you only contribute to high-quality publications that are relevant to your SaaS startup. Submitting guest posts to irrelevant publications will not only be a waste of your time, but it could also damage your reputation.

If you’re up for doing guest blogging start off with developing your guest blogging strategy.

5. Mention Outreach Strategy

One way to get links which I’m a huge fan of is to send emails or social DM’s to anyone that you mention in your content and let them know that you’ve written (or talked) about them.

This is a great way to build relationships with influencers and brands, and it can also lead to some great partnership opportunities.

Most people are happy to share high-quality content that mentions them. With that said I recommend taking into consideration how popular the site is you’re mentioning.

For example, if you link to a large publication such as Forbes or TechCrunch chances are they likely won’t respond to your outreach efforts. To gain one of these columnist opportunities often they will only come through referrals and you will be required to submit content consistently.

Instead, focus on up-and-coming brands that are actively doing digital pr to grow their brands.

No matter who you mention in your content, be sure to reach out because not everyone is monitoring their brand mentions.

One advance tip: Start off by only giving unlinked mentions or no-follow backlinks. If you use this method and you’re reaching out to a tech-savvy marketer they are more than likely to respond with an ask for a do-follow link which opens the door to partnerships opportunity.

6. Editorial Partnerships

A common form of CoMarketing partnerships in the blogging world is called 3-way link exchanges which is a modified version of link exchanges.

However, I’ve found editorial partnerships (a concept I’ve created) to be far superior to 3-way link exchanges because it’s more aligned with creating an ongoing relationship verse a superficial one-time link exchange.

As well editorial partnerships help weed out companies that aren’t actively creating new content.

To sum it up both content creators have to be actively doing digital pr. This can consist of guest blogging, vlogging (webinar guest for b2b saas), or podcast guesting.

This allows both brands to mention each other organically within their content since you each have complimentary services.

All mentions don’t have to be do-follow backlinks. With the rise of dark social, we should accept we can’t directly track or quantify all marketing efforts (consider product placements within movies).

As you can see, If you’re not already consistently creating content, this strategy won’t work. You need to be creating content on a regular basis, and you need to have some credibility in order to make it work.

If you need help developing a digital pr strategy based on your startup industry and internal resources then feel free to schedule a 1:1 strategy session.

7. Unlinked Mentions

Mention and Ahrefs (you see those unlinked brand mentions) are two tools that can be used to track unlinked mentions.

An unlinked mention is when your brand is mentioned online, but there is no link back to your website.

This can be valuable because it can help you see where your SaaS startup is being talked about, and give you an opportunity to reach out and create a relationship with that publication. As well, It can also help you track your brand’s online reputation.

This strategy can also be used by strategically mentioning companies and intentionally leaving out backlinks to them. This allows them to proactively make an ask when you reach out.

8. Acquire Micro SaaS Companies

Ok so I showed you what it looks like to be on both ends of the mentioned outreach method, now let me show you a proactive strategy that big tech companies use.

If you are familiar with “The Art of War” you will quickly learn:

“The best lessons learned aren’t taught, they are often caught. Look and observe others carefully.” – Kevin Payne

Yes, here are two of the reasons companies are acquiring media brands in my opinion. The majority of media brands have communities that make it easy for SaaS startups to recruit and build partnership programs (AKA affiliate programs). Also, community-led growth is the best way to make product improvements… which by default most media companies have highly engaged communities.

For example, consider why Adobe purchased Figma.

  • Figma is a product with an engaged community that serves as a moat. Communities are a huge barrier keeping competitors away.
  • Adobe failed to innovate and was losing its market share.

Hopefully, Adobe understands this and leans on community-led growth.

Ok! that was one hell of a tangent, but this wouldn’t be unique and engaging content if I didn’t keep it casual.

Back to us small startup trying to make a dent. It’s simply easier to build backlinks (or acquire backlinks) to SaaS startups due to sheer sex appeal. Also, having a micro-saas startup will help out your value ladder and ability to build partnership programs.

If you’re earning six figures or more, I would suggest buying a micro-saas startup that compliments your current offering. I’m not a tax professional but I recommend checking out Alex Hormozi to learn more about acquiring businesses.

9. Affiliate Partnerships

So you’ve probably noticed I’ve been continuing to focus on partnersips.

That’s because as an early-stage startup common moats you can create to build a competitive advantage include:

  • Content
  • Community
  • Partnerships
  • Automation

Partnership programs are superior to account-based sales programs in many ways! When done right the leverage is as powerful as automation software or artificial intelligence tools.

PartnerStack is a great way to find tech startups to partner with. Unlike the majority of affiliate marketplaces, they focus on tech startups that have often secured multiple funding rounds.

There are a number of benefits to partnering with another SaaS company, especially one with a similar audience to yours. For one, you can share resources and costs, which can be a big help when you’re trying to expand your reach.

Additionally, partnering with another company can help you tap into new markets and reach new customers. And finally, it can simply be a great way to build relationships and goodwill with other businesses in your industry.

If you’re interested in partnering with another company, the best way to start is by reaching out and seeing if they’re open to the idea.

Here are 3 common types of affiliate partnership programs that I’ve seen startups commonly use.

As an added bonus, I’m seeing community managers being used to help grow partnership programs. This is more prominent within the Web3 space but should also be implemented by B2C & B2B SaaS (who target SMB).

10. Sponsored Content

Ok! up to now I’ve shared link-building strategies you can do through shear grinding.

At the end of the day, it comes down to time vs. money. So the remaining strategies is for startups seeking to gain more leverage.

Sponsored content can be a great way to get digital pr to gain brand awareness and backlinks.

Common forms of sponsored content include:

  • Sponsored blog posts
  • Sponsored social media posts
  • Sponsored podcast episodes
  • Sponsored email newsletters

If you’re interested in receiving access to my database for sponsored content please signup here.

With sponsored content, you have to take into consideration your ideal customer profile (ICP) and gain an understanding of what types of content they consume. Also, the majority of publications or influencers promoting your content should be willing to use your affiliate link if you have an established partnership program.

Yes, affiliate links also count toward your backlink profile and are often linked directly to your product and service pages.

11. Buying Do-Follow Backlinks

There’s no doubt that backlinks are an important ranking factor for SEO. But where do you get them? When it comes to buying backlinks, it’s important to make sure you’re buying from a reputable source.

There are a lot of link farms out there that will sell you links that won’t do anything for your SEO, and can even get you penalized by Google. So take the time to find a reputable source that will sell you high-quality links that will actually help your website rank higher in search results.

Before you buy backlinks, there are a few things you should consider.

  • Are they selling link placement within existing content or backlinks within relevant new content?
  • Can they provide proof that they’ve contributed content to the publications in the past?
  • Do they provide you with DA, DR, & site traffic metrics?
  • Do they seem to understand the editorial guidelines and can tell you if a backlink will get approved before submitting content?
  • Do they provide guaranteed results, this is a common difference between traditional pr and digital pr.
  • Do they offer both editorial outreach and content writing services?

By taking these factors into consideration, you can be sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck when you buy backlinks. Keep in mind most digital pr agencies will often specialize in certain industries and types of services.

Agencies are often segmented but this sums digital pr services up:

  • Blogger outreach
  • Guest post placements
  • Podcast booking service
  • Influencer marketing
  • Traditional link placement

If you need help finding the best digital pr agency based on your industry, budget, and current marketing strategy then let’s chat.

I will provide you with a non-biased opinion and even recommend agencies based on my personal experience.

Scaling Your Digital PR Efforts

Honestly, Link building is becoming outdated, focus on digital pr instead. Your SEO strategy shouldn’t be limited to only content writing.

Remember to mix in different forms of content (audio, video, and text) to get found in various search engines using the strategies shared above.

Based on your resources invest in consistently creating unique content and distributing your content across multiple platforms.

Once you’re consistently creating BOFU/MOFU content, then you will want to properly repurpose your content (consider The Content OS) to increase your organic reach across Google and social media platforms.

Then you can finally add digital pr into the mix. but let’s take it one step at a time. If you want someone to keep it real, let’s chat. I work based on guaranteed results, so rest assured I don’t want to waste your time or mine.

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