As your company grows and gains new customers, more writers across the web will start discussing your products and services. Even without outreach and marketing campaigns, bloggers and influencers may naturally include your brand name on websites in your niche.
Each time someone mentions your brand or products on their site, you have a golden opportunity to make a connection and possibly secure a backlink. This strategy, called brand mention link building, allows you to place links where your brand’s name already exists.
Unlinked brand mentions are a huge, untapped resource for savvy link builders. Rather than finding connections between your content and someone else’s, you can lean on the connections other people have already built. The other party has already determined your content is relevant to their own; all you have to do is request the link.
Brand mention link building tends to be very natural, efficient, and effective. This strategy quickly gets your links and content in front of an existing audience in your niche, boosting your traffic and search engine rankings.
This strategy is also a form of reputation management. By engaging in third-party conversations, you can respond to outside opinions about your products and services. Brand-mention link building lets you shape the narrative and establish your brand as engaged, thoughtful, and cutting-edge.
Read this guide to learn how to navigate each part of the brand mention process.
How To Find Unlinked Brand Mentions
Begin by gathering a list of your unlinked brand mentions on authoritative, relevant sites. Pursue any explicit mentions of your company; any content that directly calls out your brand deserves your attention.
As you work, keep track of your findings in a spreadsheet for easy reference. Be sure to list the domain, contact name, email address, and other relevant information.
Here are a few approaches for finding instances of your brand across the web:
Manual Google Searches
The simplest way to get started is to conduct a Google search. Use Google search operators to narrow and focus the results.
For example, you can put quotation marks around your brand name to find exact matches. Enter “PureLinq” or “Lush Cosmetics” into the search bar.
Next, filter out results from unwanted sites with the – symbol. For instance, if you don’t want results from Facebook or your own website to appear, you’d enter the following into the search bar: “PureLinq” -facebook.com -purelinq.com.
For more tips on using Google search operators to find unlinked brand mentions, check out PureLinq’s video tutorial.
Next, look through each result and add desirable websites to your spreadsheet for outreach. Alternatively, you can use the MozBar plugin to export search results into a spreadsheet for further investigation and validation.
Ahrefs Content Explorer
Google searches are a good place to start, but more advanced tools like Ahrefs can take your brand mention link building to the next level. With Ahref’s content explorer, you can use data-driven insights such as keyword analysis, rank tracking, and competitive analysis to find the most relevant backlink opportunities.
Begin your Ahrefs plunge by navigating to the content explorer tab and entering your search, using the same Google search operators to narrow results. Start with your brand name, then use Ahrefs to investigate specific products, slogans, and other brand-related phrases.
When you hit enter, Ahrefs will generate a list of pages that mention your brand, as well as each page’s author, website, and other associated data. You can also view the Domain Rank, Organic Traffic, and Traffic Value of each result. If you want more targeted results, you can set filters to remove low-ranking pages or pages in other languages.
At this stage, take a moment to get a high-level overview of the kinds of pages that most often mention your brand. How much traffic do they receive? What does their backlink profile look like?
Next, evaluate individual pages. Starting with high-ranking, high-traffic pages, visit each listing to see the context of your brand mention. To find your brand mentions quickly in a long piece of writing, search the page using the search command (control + F) or (command + F). Add desirable and relevant pages to your outreach spreadsheet.
Be sure to look carefully through the text and images to make sure there is no existing link to your content; you’ll discredit your brand if you request a backlink when one has already been placed!
What to Do with Your Unlinked Brand Mentions
Once you have a list of potential backlink opportunities, it’s time to start your outreach campaign. Begin by gathering the contact information for each mention. Ideally, you want to find a first name, job title, and email address, so you know who you’re addressing in your message.
You can locate this information a few different ways. Try exploring blogs and articles for a byline, or visit the site’s “contact us” page. You can also check social media like Facebook or LinkedIn for contact info. When in doubt, use Hunter.io to locate elusive email addresses.
Unlike other methods of link building, brand mention outreach can be a bit more direct. Your recipient may already be aware of your brand, so you don’t have to work as hard to introduce your company and establish a connection. Write a concise, friendly message along these lines:
Hi there! I noticed that you mentioned our company, PureLinq, in your recent post ‘Five SEO Tactics that Matter in 2020.’ Thanks for thinking of us!
Would you mind hyperlinking the name ‘PureLinq’ to our blog, located at (address)? I think your readers would find our link building guidance helpful and informative. Thank you for your consideration.
At the minimum, be sure to include the following elements in your outreach emails:
- Where you’d like the link to be placed
- What page you’d like them to link to (it doesn’t have to be your home page!)
- A quick explanation about why their audience would appreciate your content
- You gratitude for the mention and their time
Content managers are busy people, so this quick, direct outreach strategy tends to be effective. However, for more targeted pitches or really desirable pages, you can include more information about how your content can benefit their audience.
Take time to select the best landing page for the backlink. Product reviews or specific how-to guides link well to product and category pages, while general content may link well to your home page or blog.
If you have a long list of candidates, it may be helpful to prepare a few email templates to make the outreach process more efficient. You could have a template for each type of mention, with a customizable message for securing brand mentions from product reviews, how-to guides, and niche influencers.
For some companies, the brand-mention approach provides bountiful backlink opportunities. However, others may struggle to find mentions of their brand on useful sites.
If you fall into the latter category, it may be beneficial to use a brand mention service like PureLinq’s Mention Connection. This platform takes some of the time and guesswork out of the process by locating viable brand mention backlink opportunities for you. After crawling thousands of sites, these services will create a prioritized list of brand mentions to explore based on your budget and monthly goals. PureLinq will even draft content pitches to help your company build relationships and acquire more backlinks.
If you can find plenty of mentions, but still struggle to place links after your first outreach message, try establishing a timely follow-up calendar. Remind your recipient why your content would benefit their website and their audience, but don’t be overly pushy. Sometimes a simple reminder is all it takes to receive a response.
Here are a few more ways to improve your brand mention link building strategy:
- Track Your Progress
As you work, be sure to monitor your response rate. Use your spreadsheet to track send dates, responses, and other steps of the process. You should also keep track of whether or not the target actually placed the link after they send you a positive response. Don’t let your link fall through the cracks!
- Set Up Google Alerts
Brand mention link building should be an ongoing process. New content is published every day, and you don’t want to miss a fresh backlink opportunity that’s garnering a lot of attention. Set up Google Alerts to receive notifications every time your brand or product is newly mentioned on the web.
- Dip into Social Mentions
Finally, don’t hesitate to investigate social mentions. If someone mentions your brand on social, consider reaching out to build links and gain a few more positive search indicators. Try using services like Mention.com to stay updated about your brand’s presence on social media.
Discover Your Link Building Potential with Brand Mentions
When first attempting brand-mention link building, many marketers are astonished to discover just how many opportunities it can bring. Although discovering those unlinked mentions may require some digging, the effort provides a list of warm leads that already know about your business. This familiarity can make all the difference when conducting outreach.
Like any link building strategy, building brand-mention backlinks takes time. With diligent follow-ups and careful tracking, you’ll be able to hone your technique to best fit your business.