Does it make sense to invest in backlink building?
Many brands waste thousands of $$$ in backlink building without any need. Read when you shouldn't (or should) build backlinks, how to do it, or what to do instead.
A common misconception I see among early or mid-stage SaaS companies is that they should invest many resources into backlink building.
And I don’t blame them - with a bunch of different SEO/Content gurus out there telling them this - it’s easy to believe them.
But in reality - this isn’t the case.
Why shouldn’t you focus on backlink building?
Many brands at early or mid-stage focus on highly competitive, Top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) keywords.
They invest tens of thousands of dollars trying to rank for the keywords with the most extensive search volume in their industry.
For sure, ranking there would be great.
But let me ask you a question:
Who has more chances of winning there? You or your category leaders with almost unlimited resources?
The answer is clear.
And even if you, manage to rank for TOFU keywords, what are you going to do with that entire traffic?
Sure it’s nice when you log in to your Google Analytics account and see a tremendous amount of traffic.
But what is that traffic worth to you?
Usually, that traffic is not ready to buy from you.
And in your current stage, you need more customers in your pipeline.
Getting TOFU traffic, converting them into newsletter subscribers, and nurturing them for 6-12-months is not the best game to play.
Backlink building is expensive
Read this twice:
High-quality backlink building is expensive. High-quality backlinks building is costly.
Whoever offers you cheap rates know that the links won’t be that good.
I paid the minimum amount for the high-quality link is around $150-200.
The average one is around $500.
Forget about cold email outreach, skyscraper technique, link exchanges, and other “fancy ways” of building backlinks.
That’s not going to work.
And even if it does - you can’t control the placements or the quality of the links.
So if your backlink budget is $1000/mo - how helpful it is to get 2-3 new backlinks a month?
Not so much right.
It would be better for you to invest that money into writing more articles.
What to do instead of backlink building?
Focus on more high-intent keywords with less competition.
Focus on keywords searched by people who are ready to buy solutions like yours right now.
But, heads up:
- Search volume will be 10x smaller than for the most popular TOFU keywords in your niche (but keep in mind that what Ahrefs and other SEO tools show you is not valid. In reality, the search volume is always more enormous)
- In 99% of cases, keyword difficulty (aka competition) is nonexistent. That means that if you write a high-quality article, you’ll rank there without any backlinks and in a short period.
- Traffic won’t be big, but you’ll start getting high-quality SQLs each month (This is what you need, right? More customers into your pipeline). Our conversion rate benchmarks on these articles are around 5-15%.
Here’s an example.
We wrote this article for our client on March 4th, 2022:
On March 5th, Ahrefs told us this article is ranked 4th on SERPs:
That’s one day after publishing!
In 2-3 weeks, this article will be 1st on Google, and our client will start getting 100+ visitors a month to this article.
He’ll start getting 5-10+ demos each month from this one article if our conversions are well.
When should you focus on backlink building?
I’m not saying backlink building isn’t essential and helpful. It is.
But not for you right now.
The best time to focus on backlink building is when you already have between $1-3m in ARR and a decent investment budget.
Backlink building is necessary to win your category leaders on highly-competitive, big search volume TOFU keywords.
How to build backlinks?
You can experiment with different things.
However, keep in mind that email outreach probably won’t perform as expected.
I’m not trying to be a pessimist right now, but that’s a reality.
Many people in the SEO space will expect something in return - and they’re right. Why on earth should they give you the backlink?
It needs to be a win-win situation.
But once you enter this wheel of constantly asking for services and giving them back, believe me, you would gladly want to get out of it.
From my experience, the best way to build backlinks is through guest blog posts.
- You can control what links you build and the placements inside the articles.
- You can control the Domain Authority of the site that links to you
- You will also share your expertise and value with your target audience in other places - giving you a bigger reach.
You’re killing two birds with one stone.
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