Earning links is tricky business. Not only does it typically take a lot of work from a perspective of content creation, relationship building, and outreach – it is also vital to ensure that the links come from strong, relevant sources and are as natural as possible.
So, you might be surprised to learn that there is a way to get a large number of highly relevant, extremely natural links to your site very easily – and that is through link reclamation.
During a link reclaim, you’ll find all of the unlinked brand mentions online and potentially have them turned into valuable links.
What is an unlinked brand mention?
Unlinked brand mentions refer to any time that a site mentions your business (or anything related to your brand) without directly linking to you.
These can be found in a really broad range of places – industry news sites, blogs, suppliers or even complementary businesses.
What makes unlinked brand mentions so valuable is that most of the work has already been done; a site is already talking about your business and using you as an example on their site, 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 them about getting a link on their site.
What types of unlinked brand mentions should you target?
There are a large number of different types of unlinked brand mentions that you can look out for as you carry out link reclamation.
It is not only direct mentions of your business’ name that can go unlinked, there are also opportunities for linking from names of any of your products or services, or indeed any members of staff – for example, in articles using quotes from any of your team.
It is a great idea to make a list of your brand’s named products or services, as well as members of staff who are likely to have been used as a source in a blog or article. This will come in useful as you search for unlinked brand mentions online.
But how do you carry out your search? There are actually a large number of ways that you can scour the internet for link reclaim opportunities without the need for an in-depth backlink anaylsis. Here we take a look at five strategies for link reclamations.
1. Finding unlinked brand mentions with Google Search
Unsurprisingly, your first port of call is Google. The advanced search functions of Google can be very useful when looking for mentions.
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, you can search for mentions of ‘Hive19’ across Google with this feature (and it is also helpful to remove the websites you are not interested in, such as your own and social media).
Our search for brand mentions looks like this: Intext:hive19 -hive19.co.uk
Our search for brand mentions that do not include social media mentions would be: Intext:hive19 -hive19.co.uk -twitter.com -facebook.com -youtube.com
If you notice any other site that is appearing a lot but isn’t relevant, you can just add it to the list of sites to remove from the search.
Smaller companies may then be able to look through the terms manually to establish some of the more promising targets. For larger companies or those with more significant brand recognition, you may find that there are hundreds or even thousands of results.
In this case you may need to use a scraper tool to gather up the results and then analyse them 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 the (FREE) Google Alerts service.
You can set up Google Alerts to send you an email detailing any new examples of any specific term. In this case you can set up a Google Alert for mentions of business names and related terms.
These mentions should be checked to establish whether any of them are ‘unlinked’.
Set up Google Alerts now, by following this simple guide:
- Create An Alert – enter a search query that you want to be alerted for (e.g. company name, product, CEO name, etc.)
- 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?
- How many – “all” or “only the best results”. “Only the best” allows Google to filter your top mentions.
- Specify which email address gets the alert
- Hit ‘Create Alert’ and you’re done!
You can delete an alert by clicking Unsubscribe at the bottom of any alert email.
🐝 Hive19 Tip: If you only want to receive alerts with your brand + keywords mentioned in a specific order try adding quotation marks around your search query (e.g. “Hive19” OR “Hive19 Authority Management”).
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 – undoubtedly, one of the best software 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 site.
The advantage of Content Explorer is that it can be filtered by factors such as Domain Authority, date range and organic traffic. This can do a large amount of the backlink analysis for you.
Of course, not all of 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 do not include your target domain – these are the opportunities you need to target.
Another way to find only those without links, you can use the data exported from Ahref in conjunction with another tool such as Screaming Frog or Scrapebox.
Using these tools you can search the code of the sites you have found to check for text featuring your business name or other brand terms that don’t contain a link to your site.
Another great way to find potential link reclaim opportunities is via social media – although this will still involve using an Ahrefs tool.
Many sites that mention your brand might link to one of your social media profiles rather than to your site.
This is due to a tendency of site owners who believe that they should link out to as few sites as possible, and meaning that they are more likely to link to your page on a site such as Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.
You can check for this possibility using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool. In our example, we search for the Hive19 Facebook page.
The results can then be pasted into Screaming Frog (or another similar tool) to check whether they link to Hive19 anywhere else. If not, these are strong opportunities to have the link changed from the social media profile to a homepage link.
5. Look for misspellings
It’s also a good idea to look for mistakes. It is very easy to misspell brand names – especially in URLs, which won’t be picked up by an automatic spellcheck.
A link to Hive19 with the URL including ‘hvie19’ might easily go unnoticed. Similarly, it can be easy to link to .com rather than .co.uk.
Rather than trying to guess at it manually, you can use a typo generator to create a list of misspelling possibilities.
You can then search for any sites that link out to any of these incorrect domains. Misspellings and URL mistakes are undoubtedly the easiest way to reclaim links, as the site already thought it was linking to you.
How to contact sites about link reclamation
Once you have prioritised your list of unlinked mentions with high traffic and high authority opportunities at the top of your list, you need to go about contacting those sites to request them to add a link back to your website.
This is arguably the hardest part of the process and it is important to approach it sensitively and not to come across as pushy in your outreach.
Personalisation is not new when it comes to successful outreach campaigns. Each email you send should be personalised about the specific mention on the site – avoid sending emails that outline 0 incentive for the site to include a link back to your website.
If you are sending emails like this one, please rethink your outreach strategy:
Generic emails will most definitely result in 0 reclaimed links and potentially, a negative reputation for your company.
Indeed you should explain the benefits of adding a link back to you and how it can offer value to their audience.
Link reclamation can be extremely time consuming, but it is definitely worth it. If you don’t think you have the time, or if you would simply rather let professionals do it for you, get in contact with Hive19.
As part of our Acitive Profile 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 Active Profile Monitoring work for clients, and we would be delighted to help you get the links you deserve.
What is your favourite strategy for identifying link reclamation opportunities? Let us know in the comments below.