Last Updated on by Artem K.
However, it needs to be done because it helps to improve your SaaS SEO, and bring in more traffic and sales.
The same applies to E-commerce link building.
This is why I always start our backlinking acquisition campaigns with the easiest link building strategeies of all – “stealing” backlinks from our client’s competitors.
And in this 7-step guide, I am going to show you exactly HOW I do it.
Let’s dive to it.
Step 1: Have a Linkable Asset Ready
A lot of SEOs just try to analyze their direct competitor’s backlinks and “steal” those.
For example, if you are running a time-tracking SaaS, you will find yourself checking your competitor’s backlink profile (you can also find them by using ChatGPT for SEO prompts).
They might have 100 referring domains linking to them, but you will only steal a fraction of those.
Is that enough to outrank your competitor? Ceteris paribus, no way 😉
This is when linkable assets come into place.
These are pieces of content that would naturally attract links.
At LinksHero we always use them combined with blogger outreach in order to generate a beautiful white hat flow of backlinks all year around!
What’s a good linkable asset?
Any piece of content that is remarkable and outstanding in some way.
Here are some examples:
- In-depth guide with unique details or a spin
- Primary research data
- Secondary research data (with a fresh spin)
- Calculators, online tools etc
- Reactive PR campaign piece
- Data points
I covered these in more detail in my article about content that attracts backlinks naturally.
Whatever that is, you should become the source of information that people always turn to for guidance and reference.
Step 2: Look for Popular Content That Has Links
There are two ways of doing it but both require Ahrefs.
You’d either look through Google or find content with a lot of inbound backlinks directly on Ahrefs.
We use both, so let’s start with the latter.
Method 1. Finding Content With a Lot Of Inbound Backlinks on Ahrefs
Now it’s time to log into Ahrefs.
I log in there and go directly to Content Explorer.
It will show me great content that received a lot of traction.
I will be interested in the number of Referring Domains, but that’s taking it a bit too far too fast.
First of all, what do I plug into the Content Explorer?
Let’s suppose that I have interesting insights into how freelancers use my time-tracking SaaS during the day…so, some unique data points that I had published.
Now here is my thinking:
- I have a cool list of unique insights on freelancer productivity that stems from time-tracking;
- I know that I need to find articles that are on the same subject;
- I need to find the URLs that have the most relevant links pointing to them and this means that I need to be targeting pretty generic keywords;
With all this in mind, I type in “freelancer productivity”.
Here is what I see:
Immediately I got these (and other) results, which I can use to extract the backlinks they received in the past and ping them myself.
Ahrefs does the job and now I need to organize things a bit.
I only care for the relevant URLs that have 30+ referring domains, because anything that’s less isn’t worth the effort (once you look into their backlinks profiles, you’ll see that a fair number of incoming backlinks are nothing but spam so, in reality, you’d have 5-7 decent links to work with).
Method 2. Finding Content With a Lot of Inbound Links on Google
You’d need to install Ahrefs’ Chrome extension first.
Once you do that, go directly to Google search and use the first keyword that you deem relevant.
In my case, it’s the same one I used for when searching directly in Ahrefs – freelancer productivity, and this is what it shows:
This one result provides me with 190 referring domains (note – you need them to point to the Page, not the entire website) to work with.
However, it took me some scrolling before I found it – it’s #19 in the search results (all the prior results didn’t have many inbound links).
As I said at the start, both methods are great – use them together for maximum results!
Step 3: Use Relevant Competitors & Expand Your Search
A word on relevance…
My Google search example above doesn’t seem super relevant but…it’s still covering a topic that “freelancer productivity” touches upon.
As you go through more and more results, you’d see how the amount of available pages goes down…fairly quickly.
This is when you have to expand your search and deal with less relevant pages which is totally fine!
As long as your link originates on some sort of relevant, quality website (and I cover quality further below), you are good!
Step 4: Check Link Quality
When it comes to link building, we want to get both – quality and relevance.
However, one can somewhat substitute the other.
For example, if a link is coming from a high authority website then we can sacrifice some relevance and vice versa.
Having said that, let’s get to the quality aspect of it.
Here is what I look for:
- 1000+ Monthly Traffic
- Relevance (i.e. contains the keywords my clients want to rank for themselves)
- Visually looking like a real business.
I spoke in depth about all of these in my SEO for SaaS actionable lessons guide.
Once you have a list of the backlinks that qualify for the above quality and relevance characteristics, it’s time to move to the next step!
Step 4: Get Their Contact Details
We want their email since the contact form won’t cut that.
There are two ways of getting the emails – manual and automated.
We use both to complement each other.
Let’s start with the easy one first.
Method 1: Automated
Hunter.io is the most widely known tool for email search and it’s absolutely great because you can bulk search emails and get the majority of them all in seconds.
You can also verify emails quickly by using their built-in checker.
The tool is pretty straight-forward once you log in.
An alternative tool, and I use it, is Tomba.
If you can’t grab their special though, go with Hunter because it’s only a tiny bit more expensive but offers more functionality at the time of writing.
Also, see other link building tools that we use.
Method 2: Manual
Even though automated way is the best because it saves a ton of time on something extremely boring and repetitive, it’s not always perfect.
This is when the manual method comes in.
If you can’t find the “contact us” page from the homepage (in header menu or footer), your next best bet is to use the following search moderator in Google:
Domain.com is the website in question, whereas “site:” simply means that you are asking Google to only show “contact” results from the given website.
I recommnend organizing everything together in a spreadsheet then.
Step 5: Use Blogger Outreach to Get in Touch With Them (+ Template)
Now – the hard part – effective email outreach for SaaS.
Sending emails 1-by-1 is crazy inefficient.
This is when email merge systems come in handy:
All of these can make your outreach life a lot easier!
I use Mailshake, because it gives me the best value at this stage.
If you don’t use Mailshake try Gmass it’s the cheapest alternative..and it allows you to send 50 emails daily for free (that may well be more than enough for your campaign).
Alternatively, you make use Streak for Gmail or even Gmail’s canned responses. I am not going to go into the detail with that now because that’s really up to you.
All you need is to send emails and…follow up!
What to send? Here is a template that I used (I always tweak something, so it’s never the same – you can just steal it 😉 ):
My name is [name] and I am reaching out from [website].
I’ll go right to the point.
We just pulled together [your linkable asset] and I thought you might be interested to check it out since you are linking to the outdated article here [the URL of the article you found them linking to from Ahrefs (it should be in your Excel table)].
Our [linkable asset] is very [thourough/researched/some other way it’s remarkable].
We even reached out to [amplify the uniqueness of your linkable asset once again]…
In other words, it’s pretty much the best one out there.
Let me know if that’s of interest and I will send you the link directly.
[Company Info; including your phone number]
Looks simple, right?
On top of, that it is very honest and genuine.
Notice that I don’t use their name because I didn’t find that affect the conversion rates at all. It kind of makes sense – if the thing you offer is awesome, that name thing is not going to affect their decision to place your link on their website.
Also, note that I use the company’s info and the phone number in the signature. The theory is that it makes your email to appear more legit. Personally, I think, it depends on the niche. Sometimes you want it, sometimes you don’t.
Generally, I follow up every 2-3 days. I send a total of 3 emails as a result.
Following up is as important as sending the 1st message, so you might as well not send anything if you are not going to follow-up.
What to write in the follow ups?
Please feel free to steal these templates.
Follow up #1:
[Name] here again…
I am following up just to kindly remind you of my previous email. I also wanted to let you know that I am not some kind of Artificial Intelligence 🙂
Btw, this is where you mention the outdated resource – [URL of the page you found to be linking to your “competitor”].
I think our 2018-ready [linkable asset] can fit there quite well.
Hope to see your reply soon…and thank you for your time.
Follow up #2:
It’s [name] again…
You must be very busy. 🙂
Nevertheless, I wish to see your reply, even if it’s a no.
This is it…and this is when you should start seeing quite a few people replying.
I don’t know what’s magical about it, but that’s kind of it. 😉
Step 6: Follow Up!
I know, we just spoke about following up, but I really want to make my point.
You must (!) follow up if you want any response. Really! 😎
Step 7: Scale 😉
Trust me, it will take a good while to figure it all out.
When you learn something, you first learn the rules…and then you learn how to break them because you inevitably come up with your way of doing things.
Now that I am done with “psoas articles”, I can shift my attention to something that is also relevant, but a bit more subtle.
What could it be?
Yes, I can now use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer once again and find articles that have a good number of referring domains and talk about stretching.
I can then find everyone who links to them AND scrape all those websites, so to steal some of those backlinks.
As you can see, one linkable asset quickly creates a myriad of angles and opportunities for link building. This is how white hat link building works in the nutshell: great content + a ton of blogger outreach = quality links pouring in.
Sounds simple, but it takes a lot of labor, focus, and concentration… 😉
And this is it!
Tell me – do you steal your competition’s backlinks? Comment below!
P.S. Share this link building guide, but ONLY if you found it useful. Best to you 😉