As your company gains recognition, more and more consumers will start discussing your products and services online. With talk of your business disseminating across the web, it will become increasingly vital—and challenging—to monitor your brand.
Countless publications, bloggers, and influencers churn out content each day. If you don’t take a systematic approach to tracking your brand mentions, you may miss out on critical consumer feedback and opportunities to gain valuable backlinks. Securing a backlink on the right website will not only earn you visitors and potential customers through that link, but it will also help your site achieve a higher search rank.
Why Track Down Unlinked Brand Mentions?
Every unlinked brand mention is a missed opportunity to build your website’s authority, generate leads, and connect with consumers. In general, websites and writers mention independent brands for one of two reasons:
- To criticize their products and services
- To review and recommend them
Criticize Their Products and Services
While discouraging, this scenario presents an opportunity for growth. You’ll want to connect with the writer or publisher and address their concerns, especially if they represent a high-profile brand or publication within your company’s niche. If you contact that individual and provide high-quality customer service, they may change or remove their disparaging comments. At the very least, you can gain insight into consumer criticisms and take note of any critiques that appear frequently.
Review and Recommend Them
When articles or blog posts cast your business in a positive light, you want to leverage these brand mentions by turning them into backlinks. Earning backlinks from domains and pages with high authority metrics will directly increase your site’s SEO performance. Though the Google algorithm has changed over the years, it still relies heavily on backlinks as a key ranking signal.
Why? Because backlinks serve as a public endorsement of a brand. No company or publisher would risk sending its readers to a website they didn’t trust or that didn’t add valuable information related to their content. If a domain with impressive quality metrics and significant traffic links out to an independent brand, it signifies to Google that the linked content has value and relevance.
Discovering unlinked brand mentions and converting them into backlinks will also save you the time and money it takes to produce blogs and guest posts. The content already exists—all you have to do is reach out to the publisher and ask for a link. In some cases, you may want to add a paragraph for the link or even provide an entire content refresh. When a page on the web gets a content refresh, it would be natural to add or remove links.
Anyone reading a post that mentions your brand likely falls into your target audience. Acquiring backlinks from existing content will not only improve your SEO, but it’ll generate traffic from people with high purchase intent. For example, anyone reading a blog post about the top ten blenders on the market is likely serious about buying a blender and ready to make a purchase.
What to Look For
First and foremost, you want to pursue explicit mentions of your brand. Any online content that directly calls out your company requires your attention. Locating references to your company will help you to both secure backlinks and monitor your brand’s image.
However, you’ll have to run more than one simple search to find online content that alludes to your business. Using Ahrefs, you should enter any proprietary terms associated with your products, services, and tools. For example, if an SEO specialist at Samsung were to search for their brand mentions, they would search for the terms “Galaxy” and “Galaxy Note” as well.
Be sure to not only search for mentions of your official brand but also any abbreviations or misspellings. For example, the digital marketing team at PureLinq would also run a search on the term “PureLink.” Lastly, you should hunt down any mentions of your CEO or any other high-profile employees or spokespeople.
How to Use Ahrefs to Search for Unlinked Brand Mentions
Ahrefs provides a number of tools and resources for digital marketing. The subscription-based service crawls 5 billion web pages every day and offers data-driven platforms for keyword research, backlink research, rank tracking, web monitoring, and competitive analysis.
To find unlinked brand mentions, follow these step-by-step instructions:
1. Content Explorer
From the Ahrefs homepage, click the Content Explorer in the navigation bar.
2. Enter Your Search Phrase
In the search bar, add the appropriate search phrase using Google commands and operators.
To locate exact mentions of your brand, your search phrase should follow this format: your brand name within quotation marks, a single space, a hyphen, then your domain. This string of instructions tells the tool to exclude results from your own website.
For example, to search PureLinq brand mentions, you would enter:
To narrow your search and exclude social media mentions, you can add their domains as well, each preceded by a space and hyphen. For example:
“PureLinq” -PureLinq.com -facebook.com -twitter.com -linkedin.com -youtube.com
Following this same phrase pattern, run searches on your products, tools, services, and CEO.
3. Evaluate Your Results Overview
Ahrefs will generate a list of content mentions and identify their pages, authors, websites, languages and the associated data. You can see the Domain Rank, Organic Traffic, and Traffic Value of each page with an unlinked mention of your brand.
4. Analyze Individual Pages
Now that you’ve located existing brand mentions, you’ll want to analyze the content individually. Especially if your search comes up with a multitude of mentions, it’s best to start with the websites and pages with the highest authority, traffic, and relevance to your brand.
For each page result, click on the link and then use the search command (Command+F on a Mac or Control+F on a PC) to locate all the references to your brand on that page. Read the surrounding content and make sure that none of the mentions, or any other anchor text, links to your domain. You can also check other elements of the page for links, such as images. If the page doesn’t link to your website, it’s time to reach out and request a backline. Only pursue content that is relevant to your business and highlights the positives of your products and services.
Other Tools and Methods
There are a few other tools out there that you can use to find unlinked brand mentions. The most popular are Moz and Google. We cover all three in the video below. But Ahrefs has the most powerful features of them all.
If it’s your first time reaching out and asking for backlinks, the process may seem a bit intimidating. However, it’s a common practice within digital marketing and it has reciprocal benefits. Once you’ve analyzed a brand mention and determined that it’s worth chasing, look for the article’s author or website’s content editor and their contact information.
Before contacting a writer about a backlink, decide where within the article to request the link be placed. You want the link to look natural and to make sense to readers. Look at each mention of your brand or product and determine which is the most organic reference.
Then, decide on the best-fit landing page for the link based on the context of the mention or your current marketing strategy. In some instances, it’s best to link to your website’s home page. Other times, you’ll want to take readers directly to a specific product page, informational page, or blog post.
When you send an email requesting a backlink, be direct. Thank the writer or publisher for mentioning your brand or product and simply ask if they’ll change the mention to a direct link to your chosen landing page. Especially if the landing page is highly informational, explain why the content is worth linking to and what added value it would provide readers.
Be sure to follow up with every person you contact. If they don’t respond, wait a few days and give them a gentle nudge. When a writer or site manager agrees to add the link, check back in a couple of days and either thank them for implementing the backlink or ask them when you can expect to see the change.
Brand monitoring takes time and organization. To optimize your efforts, you and your SEO team will have to run searches on references to your brand regularly. If you want to streamline the process and boost your ranking, consider the following tips:
- Get to know Google search commands and operators. Using these 42 advanced operators will help you narrow down your searches and retrieve only the exact results you want to view.
- Maintain dynamic, detailed records of your progress. Using spreadsheets or your preferred management system, keep close track of the searches you’ve run and analyzed, author outreach status, and secured links.
- Keep in mind your backlink profile and the ratio of anchor text types. Maintaining a natural profile requires a balance of backlinks with branded, exact match, partial match, generic, and naked URL anchor text.
- Don’t waste your time pursuing links on press releases, affiliate sites, or other posts that don’t include any outbound links.
Boost Your Rank with Backlinks
Finding unlinked brand mentions should be a high priority for your SEO and marketing teams. Locating these references to your company and reaching out for backlinks will help you connect with publishers within your niche, give you a better understanding of consumer opinions, give you ideas for content, and, most importantly, improve your search ranking.
Though time-consuming, securing backlinks from unlinked brand mentions is a straightforward process and (depending on your preference) requires no additional content production on your end. You’ve clearly given consumers something to talk about—now turn that buzz into rank-boosting backlinks.