Link Building

Link reclamation: How to find unlinked brand mentions and gain links

Link reclamation: How to find unlinked brand mentions and gain links

Earning links to your brand’s website can be tricky business. Not only does it typically take a lot of work from:

  • On-site optimisation
  • Strategy planning
  • Content and asset creation
  • Initial outreach and ongoing relationship building

It’s also important to ensure that the links you acquire, come from authoritative, relevant sources and are included naturally to provide the most value to your domain and audiences online.

So, you might be surprised to learn that there’s a way to get a large number of highly relevant, extremely natural links to your website – and that’s through link reclamation.

During a link reclaim, you’ll find all of the unlinked brand mentions online and have an opportunity to turn them into valuable backlinks.

What is an unlinked brand mention?

Unlinked brand mentions refer to any time that a website mentions your business (or anything related to your brand) without directly linking to you.

These mentions can be found in a broad range of places online including:

  • Industry news publications
  • Niche blog sites
  • Suppliers
  • Complementary and non-competing businesses

Why are unlinked brand mentions so valuable?

Unlinked brand mentions are worth their weight in gold because most of the work has already been done for you.

A website is already talking about your business, product or a key figure within the business, making it likely that they are amenable to you.

It also means that your business has a perfectly natural reason to reach out to them and ask about getting a link on their website.

What types of unlinked brand mentions should you target?

There are many different types of unlinked brand mentions that you can look out for as you carry out link reclamation.

It’s not only direct mentions of your business name that can go unlinked, there are also opportunities for linking from your product names, or any members of staff – for example, quotes from your leadership team that have been used in articles.

We’d recommend making a list of your brand’s products or services, as well as the full names of your team who are most likely to have been used as a source in a blog or article. This will be useful as you search for unlinked brand mentions online.

But how do you carry out your link reclamation search?

You can search the internet for link reclaim opportunities without the need for an in-depth backlink analysis.

5 strategies for link reclamations

Here we take a look at 5 strategies for link reclamations you can start today.

1. Finding unlinked brand mentions with Google Search

Unsurprisingly, your first port of call is Google.

The advanced search functions in Google is your new best friend when looking for mentions of your brand online.

Perhaps the most important search feature that you need to know when looking for brand mentions is the intext: function.

Taking ‘Hive19’ as our example, we can search for mentions of our brand name across Google with this feature.

Our search for brand mentions looks like this:

Intext Search Excluding Domain

It’s also helpful to remove the websites you’re not interested in reviewing, such as your own and social media channels.

Our search for brand mentions that doesn’t include mentions on social media would be:


Intext Search excluding Socials

If you notice any other websites that are consistently appearing in the search engine results pages (SERPs) but aren’t relevant, you can just add it to the list of sites to remove from the search query.

For smaller brands, including startups, you might be able to look through the results manually to establish some of the more promising targets.

For more established brands or those with more significant brand recognition, you may find that there are hundreds or even thousands of results populating the SERPs.

We’d recommend using a scraper tool to gather the results and then analysing them in a spreadsheet for relevant opportunities.

2. Finding unlinked brand mentions with Google Alerts

Another way to use Google to find unlinked brand mentions is to make use of Google Alerts.

You can create Google Alerts to send you an email detailing any new mentions of your brand online.

In this case, you can set up a Google Alert for mentions of your business name and any related terms that we mentioned earlier (i.e. product or services specific to your business and anyone in your leadership team).

Google Alerts example screenshot

Google Alerts

These mentions should be checked to establish whether any of them are unlinked.

Create Google Alerts by following this simple 9-step guide:

  • Create an alert – enter a search query that you want to be alerted for (e.g. your brand name, products, the founder or CEO’s name)
  • Click show options – set your preferences
  • How often – “As-it-happens”, “At most once a day”, “At most once a week”
  • Sources – this filters which websites you will see in your results (it doesn’t cover social media platforms)
  • Language – select your language
  • Region – which country do you want to focus on? Are you a local business? Or, international?
  • How many – ‘all’ or ‘only the best results’. ‘Only the best’ allows Google to filter your top mentions for you
  • Input your email address – this will be the email account that receives the alert
  • Hit ‘Create Alert’ and you’re done!

You can delete an alert by clicking ‘Unsubscribe’ at the bottom of any alert email.

If you only want to receive alerts with your {brand} + {keyword} mentioned in a specific order, try adding quotation marks around your search query.

For example, if we wanted to be alerted as soon as Hive19 had been mentioned online in connection with ‘link building’ we would use the following search query:

“Hive19” + "link building”

3. Finding unlinked brand mentions using Ahrefs Content Explorer

At Hive19, we use a range of strategies and software to make link reclamation more efficient, scalable, and less time-consuming.

One of the best software that we’ve found for link reclamation is Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

Functioning in the same way as the advanced Google search above, Content Explorer allows you to search the internet for mentions of your business that aren’t on your website.

The advantage of Content Explorer is that it can be filtered by Domain Authority, date the page was published and organic traffic.

These filters will help streamline your process by doing the majority of the manual analysis for you.

Screenshot showing Ahrefs’ Content Explorer filter function

Of course, not all the sites found will contain unlinked mentions – many of the sites may already be linking to you.

This is where the ‘Highlight unlinked domains’ feature can be used to quickly identify which results don’t include your target domain. These are the opportunities you should target for link reclamation.

Screenshot showing Ahrefs’ ‘Highlight unlinked domains’ function

Another way to find only those without links is by using the data exported from Ahref in conjunction with other tools such as Screaming Frog or Scrapebox.

Using these scraping tools you can search the code of the websites you’ve found to check for any mentions of your business name or other brand terms that don’t contain a link to your website.

Would you rather outsource it to an experienced team?

4. Updating social media links to domain links

Another great way to find potential link reclaim opportunities is via social media. This process is helpful if you have access to Ahref’s Content Explorer but can be completed with a manual Google search using similar search operators.

External publishers that mention your brand, might be linking to one of your social media profiles rather than to your website. This is due to a tendency of webmasters who believe they should link out to as few websites as possible.

There could be lots of opportunities to turn these social media backlinks currently linking to your Instagram, TikTok or Facebook pages and instead, asking them to update the link to your domain.

In the below example, we’ve used Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool to search for links to Hive19’s Facebook page.

Site Explorer Search Box

The results can then be uploaded into Screaming Frog to check whether they link to Hive19 anywhere else.

If not, these are strong opportunities to get in touch with the website and ask that the link be updated to our website instead.

Usually, if you’re looking for brand mentions the most natural link would be to your homepage.

5. Look for misspellings of your brand name

It’s a good idea to look for mistakes. It’s easy for external websites to misspell when referencing your brand – especially in URLs, which won’t be picked up by an automatic spellcheck.

A link to Hive19 with the URL referencing ‘Hiv19’ (without the ‘e’) might easily go unnoticed. Similarly, it can be easy to link to .com rather than

Rather than trying to guess at it manually, you can use a typo generator to create a list of misspelling possibilities for you to run a search on.

Typo generator 'Hive19' example

Typo Generator

You can then search for any sites that link to any of these incorrect domains. Misspellings and URL mistakes are undoubtedly the easiest way to reclaim links, as the website already thinks it’s linking to you.

How to contact sites about link reclamation

Once you have compiled your list of opportunities and prioritised based on the higher traffic and more authoritative opportunities, you need to start contacting those websites to ask them to add a link back to your website.

This is arguably the hardest part of the process and it’s important to approach it sensitively and avoid coming across as too pushy or demanding in your outreach approach.

Personalisation is nothing new when it comes to successful email outreach campaigns.

Each email you send should be personalised with a specific mention of the website, address the person you’re contacting by name and avoid sending emails that outline little incentive for the website to include a link back to your domain.

If you’re sending emails like this one, please rethink your outreach strategy or speak to our team of outreach specialists to discuss a better approach for higher success rates:

Email example screenshot

Generic emails will most definitely result in 0 reclaimed links for your brand and potentially, a negative reputation for your company.

You should explain the benefits of adding a link to your website and how it offers value to their audience.

Final thoughts

Link reclamation can be extremely time consuming, but it’s definitely worth it.

If you don’t think you have the time or if you’d simply rather let an experienced team do the heavy lifting for you, get in contact with our friendly team today.

As part of our Reputation Management offering at Hive19, we manage your online presence as a whole to deliver the maximum impact and authority from third-party activity.

We consider the timing, anchor text, referring domain distribution, competitor activity, previous placements and more in every campaign.

We regularly carry out link reclamation as part of our Reputation Management work for clients, and we would be delighted to explain how we work.

Read more in our blog to learn how creative link building can have a positive impact on your website.



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Aaron Thomas

Managing Director

Aaron is the founder of Hive19, specialising in content marketing and the complexities of website authority

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Email Aaron

Aaron is Managing Director

and is the founder of Hive19, specialising in content marketing and the complexities of website authority