Brand mentions can be an invaluable source of link building potential, serving as a quick way to gather up more links without having to create much content.
However, like any part of your SEO efforts, you can only get the best possible results if you approach the problem in the right way.
Whether you are interested in finding unlinked brand mentions on major sites or just tracking down small blogs that are talking about your brand, it is important to understand how you can find unlinked brand mentions – and how you can turn unlinked mentions into links.
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In simple terms, unlinked brand mentions are any situations where your brand is mentioned without a link alongside it.
While linked mentions contribute heavily to your search engine rankings, unlinked brand mentions have only a minor impact at best.
Since such mentions completely lack links, they are not going to provide much of an SEO boost. However, this does not make unlinked brand mentions entirely worthless.
If you find new unlinked mentions, you often have the option of “claiming” unlinked brand mentions – usually by approaching the site owner and arranging to have a link added.
This allows you to turn mentions of your brand name into effective link building options.
Note that an unlinked brand mention does not necessarily need to be the brand name itself. This can also be an option with product names, service names, or even the CEO’s name.
Names of promotional events, company mascots, or even the brand motto might also make for a good link building opportunity.
Why Should You Find Unlinked Brand Mentions?
You always want more valuable backlinks pointing to your site if you can get them, and that is not always an easy thing to do.
For many businesses, link building is an incredibly difficult process that relies on taking opportunities as they come, which can sometimes make it difficult to pin down new sources of links.
If you can find unlinked brand mentions, you have essentially found another SEO opportunity.
While it should not be the only link building tactic in your arsenal, converting unlinked brand mentions into links can provide you with highly relevant links that can still give your SEO statistics a boost.
The SEO benefits alone can make this worth doing, especially with mentions from sites that have high SEO value and authority.
Being able to gain backlinks through mentions also takes less effort than having to convince a website owner to accept a guest post since the mentions are already there.
In other words, unlinked brand mentions provide a convenient way to gather up highly relevant mentions of your own site or brand and then request links back to your own website.
Since the links are directly related to your business, these links play a large part in pushing your overall rankings higher.
Finding unlinked brand mentions can be either an incredibly easy process or an incredibly difficult one, and this depends entirely on the tools and techniques that you use.
As long as web mentions are available on sites that have been crawled, you can eventually find them.
Here are some of the most common methods for finding these new link sources, as well as their particular quirks:
Google Search Checks
At the very least, you can search for terms or phrases related to your brand on Google while including quotation marks around the terms themselves.
This is the least efficient way of finding mentions of your brand online, but it also does not require any specialized tools.
Obviously, this becomes easier if your particular site has a unique or distinct name.
Since this will bring up any page that contains those words and phrases, more generic searches will not bring up many useful results, if any.
Ahrefs Content Explorer
The Content Explorer is the “mini search engine” offered by Ahrefs and sorts through a huge database of pages to find specific brand mentions.
When combined with the filtering options (such as to exclude websites below a certain domain rating or past a certain date), this becomes a great way to find fresh mentions that actually meet with your SEO standards and your brand’s needs.
On its own, this platform will only give you a list of pages to check – other page-checker and SEO tools might be better for actually identifying the new mentions themselves.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog (and other similar SEO spider tools) can allow you to exclude any pages that already link to your site, meaning that you are not being shown mentions that already contain links.
Remember, two links from the same site do not double up – even if the mentions do not link to you, another link on that same site might make it pointless to approach them for the mentions anyway.
Doing this can leave you with only the new mentions that do not link to your site already, giving you the full list of unlinked domains to target with whatever outreach efforts and methods you prefer.
There are a lot of similar tools to the ones mentioned here, and many of them can do similar jobs.
The important thing is being able to find mentions of your brand online while excluding link farms, low-quality sites, and existing linking domains from the search.
There is no correct way to do this, just as long as you actually get results.
Finding online mentions can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be, so choose tools that match the scale of your search and the urgency behind getting the additional links.
Outreach to Brand Mentions
Once you find brand mentions, you need to actually secure them.
This usually means getting in contact with the site owners to try and negotiate a link placement – something that can either be incredibly straightforward or quite tough based on a number of circumstances.
If you want to convert unlinked mentions into links, you need to actually get the website owner on board.
That means discussing the situation with them properly but also making sure that they end up wanting to place a link rather than being turned away from working with your brand.
Look At Context
You do not always want to capitalize on brand mentions.
Not all mentions are actually good ones – for example, there might be blog posts about bad experiences that a user had with one of your products or articles comparing your business negatively to another.
In these instances, you do not want to get a brand mention link.
Not only do these sometimes end up being less relevant overall, but the site owner is not usually going to want to work with you.
This is especially common if the article is about a bad experience that they personally had with your brand.
You always want to make sure that you are outreaching to the right people for the right reasons.
Some links simply will not be worth the effort, and specific mentions might just not be worth the time it takes to earn them, especially if they could reflect better on other websites and brands than your own.
Be Approachable and Fair
One of the biggest mistakes that a brand can make is trying to capture brand mentions with a formal tone – or going to the completely other end of the spectrum and being over-familiar.
While both sides of the arrangement usually know that the link placement is being done for marketing reasons, you still do not want to be brash and direct.
On the other hand, it helps to not overplay your interest in working with them or be obviously trying to appeal to their emotions and impulses.
In general, tailor your outreach for every situation.
Try to write emails that fit with the general tone of the article and the attitude that the website owner seems to have towards you.
Beyond that, do not be afraid to negotiate with them if you desperately need more links for your backlink profile.
Remember: they are the one who gets to decide if you actually get the link placement or not.
If they decide that they do not want to insert a link into their press releases, you can’t force them to change their mind, so make the best first impression you can and keep things straightforward.
Offer Extra Value
If you want to earn valuable backlinks via brand mentions, then you can always try to offer some value back. This could be something like pointing out errors or highlighting statistics that might be wrong – offering non-
smut but helpful corrections.
This allows you to bury the request for a link inside a relatively normal email and also means that you are not simply approaching them for your own selfish reasons.
Some business owners even save the link request for the second email after they reply to the first, making their outreach efforts even more natural.
Offering some kind of value to the website owner is a good way to get their attention and build a connection with them, but you also do not want to come across as smug or demanding.
Try to offer this additional value in a way that is genuinely helpful rather than feeling like some kind of begrudging help.
Make It Easier For Them
A lot of site owners do not actually want to do things that they do not need to, which is the exact reason that you should make it easier for them.
For example, many link-builders find unlinked brand mentions and then include links to that brand mention within the email – alongside their preferred linking URL.
This removes a lot of the back-and-forth discussion and lays out the inbound links you are hoping for, as well as the anchor text you are targeting.
This effectively means that the website owner can create the new link in only a few minutes at most, dramatically increasing the chances of them actually making the change since it takes them a lot less effort.
This can also be important for older mentions.
Many site managers and owners do not inherently remember all the pages they created and blog post articles they wrote, so giving them an exact breakdown of the anchor text and the mentions you want can streamline the entire process.
Choose Willing Linkers First
It is much easier to guarantee links to your site if you target existing brand advocates.
These are people who already like your products and/or services and would probably be very happy to share them around even further.
While they obviously are not true brand representatives and are not part of your business, anybody who is a fan of your brand will be far more likely to link and offer support.
Even if they are not necessarily providing fantastic-quality backlinks, there is no harm in getting more.
Often, you will find unlinked brand mentions from these sites that are either broken links or were simply never linked at all.
In either case, approaching them for linked mentions can usually be a fruitful option, and it does not often take that much to convince them.
If somebody is in your target audience and loves your brand already, it does not take much to sway them into turning mentions into full-on links.
Of course, you should always check the age of the blog post – somebody who loved your brand two years ago might not be as big of a fan now.
Avoid Spam Sites or Poor Choices
Many content explorer tools can use filters to eliminate sites with no real value, but that does not mean that all other websites remaining are good.
Between link farm sites and websites that are simply irrelevant to your brand as a whole, you want to choose your targets carefully.
Not all referring domains are going to be worthwhile, even if they have a high domain authority.
For example, brand mentions on a travel blog might be relevant to your business, but the overall blog could be so irrelevant that the unlinked mentions simply are not worth it.
Be sure to explore other websites before you jump into talking with them.
Just because their domain rating is high and they appear high in search engine results pages, this does not necessarily make them good referring domains for your own website’s SEO, even if they have the highest domain authority within their website niche.
Unlinked mentions still need to be relevant and of good quality.
Even if you find unlinked mentions that look good on paper, you want to consider whether search engines will see those unlinked mentions in the same way.
Unlinked mentions are only one of many ways to gain organic traffic and push your brand name higher in search results, but you should never completely ignore the unlinked mentions that you find.
While each unlinked mention is going to offer different SEO and organic traffic value, the right combination of unlinked mentions can lead to some fairly powerful links tied directly to your brand name.
It is important to remember that unlinked mentions are not a one-size-fits-all solution, though.
There are always going to be some elements that you will need to adapt to when dealing with unlinked mentions for the first time.
Do Unlinked Mentions Provide Organic Traffic
If a site gets enough traffic and user engagement, an unlinked mention can serve as a source of traffic and an SEO tool.
Even if an unlinked mention only provides a small amount of direct traffic, the SEO benefits will directly lead to more organic search traffic as well.
Why are brand mentions important?
Brand mentions serve as one of the most effective ways to boost your SEO, especially when used alongside other and “larger-scale” SEO techniques. Naturally, this also requires you to spend some time figuring out
how you can capture them in a way that benefits your site and business.
Unlinked mentions of your brand name or a product name are directly relevant to your business, making even the most basic unlinked mention worth pursuing in a lot of instances.
Of course, not every unlinked mention is actually worth the effort. Like any link, they need to be chosen carefully by an SEO specialist or site manager.
How can I improve my brand mentions?
Getting more sites to talk about you leads to more unlinked mention options, especially if you can nudge your brand name onto more high-quality sites.
Keep doing things that get attention from larger sites – promotions, deals, special events, unique products, or even just something that will go viral on social media.
Whether you have a lot of unlinked mentions to deal with or only a few that currently exist, it is important to use some common sense when working out how to approach them. Each business is different, so play to your strengths and try to secure as many good links as you can with the tools you have available.
Scott Calland is a highly regarded content specialist with an English Degree. He has a passion for creating compelling content as a UK journalist that engages, informs, and entertains readers. With over 10 years of experience in creating news publications as a reporter, Scott has developed a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of how to craft content that resonates with audiences. Working closely with data analysts Scott’s research on topics is unrivalled for latest news updates.
Scott is also an investor in Searcharoo.