Backlinks have long been important for SEO. This is partly because when sites link to each other, it’s a good signal to Google that it’s not just you that vouches for your content, and therefore it should be available in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Just to highlight this further, the importance of quality backlinks has also been highlighted by John Mueller in Feb 2021, where he confirmed that the overall number of backlinks doesn’t matter to Google – it’s more about the quality and relevance of the backlinks instead.
This means that if you’re spending hours and hours attempting to get as many links as possible, no matter the quality, it’s time to stop and re-evaluate.
If you’re new to the world of backlinks and want to know more about easy ways how you could pick up a few, you’re in the right place. We’re going to talk through how you can find backlink opportunities through unlinked brand mentions…
Let’s go back a bit – what is a backlink?
Essentially, they are what they say on the tin – they are a link from another website, back to yours. They can also be called inbound links, but the key takeaway here is that they are crucial for your overall SEO efforts. When you gain enough backlinks from high authority or relevant sites, this goes towards Google deeming the content worthy of appearing on the SERPs. This then has a really positive effect on your ranking, so it’s definitely worth considering the impact backlinks could have on your site’s visibility.
What is an unlinked brand name?
This is where your brand name appears in the body copy of a news article, blog post, report, or other general piece of copy online and there is no backlink to your website.
How do you get backlinks?
There are lots of different techniques you can use to try and gain backlinks for your site, here are just a few examples of what you could do:
Write informative, relevant and keyword-rich content which is link-worthy – because when you supply fab content, others who find it may think it’s good enough to be worth a link within their content too. This could be anything from a statistical study through to a quiz, a listicle or how to – it just needs to be interesting!
Guest blogging or contributing articles – find relevant blogs or publications and send an email pitch to contribute. You need to make sure whoever you reach out to is relevant to your business or you’re wasting time, and also send personalised emails which really show how you feel your piece would contribute to their readers.
Create interesting and insightful PR stories which online magazines and newspapers will want to publish. Check any coverage you receive does in fact have a backlink – they are not always guaranteed and you may need to contact the author and ask nicely for the link.
Find unlinked brand mentions and ask for a backlink, which we’re about to go into in more detail on precisely how you can do this using Ahrefs.
How to find unlinked brand mentions
When it comes to finding unlinked brand mentions, it’s worth noting that if you’re a smaller business or fairly new, you’ll want to start by focusing more on the other options listed above, only because it’s unlikely your brand will have many mentions on the internet. If you’re a relatively established brand, this is a good option to help with backlinks.
Login to Ahrefs and navigate to content explorer.
Add your brand name into the search bar and leave the drop down as ‘everywhere’.
The list of results will show both linked and unlinked mentions, so you’ll then need to make sure you’ve selected ‘highlight unlinked domains’ and add your website URL into the box.
Once you have your list of unlinked mentions, you may want to have a play around with the filters for certain time frames or languages, but one filter we recommend adding to the results is ‘domain rating’. Looking at sites with reasonable to high domain authority will show you any unlinked mentions from more impactful sites. The higher the score (0-100), the more likely a website is to rank. We recommend looking at sites between 25 and 100 but you can look at all domain authority for more options.
All you need to do now is go through the list and check out each link – double check your brand name is there without a link, then reach out to the author and ask nicely if they will pop a link to your site on the article. Make sure you’re clear on what link you would like them to include – homepage links are popular; however, you might have a more relevant page for readers to navigate to.
It’s worth noting that you may need to do some chasing in order to get the attention of the journalist/writer, as they’re very busy people and it’s well known they have more than a few emails coming in every day!
If you’re not an Ahrefs user, then there are a couple of other tools you can use to find unlinked brand mentions. You could do a manual search if you wanted, however we wouldn’t personally recommend it as it would take a really long time!
SEMrush: In the ‘brand monitoring’ section.
Buzzsumo: Through the search function.
Google alerts: By setting up a brand mention alert, you’ll get every new piece of content that mentions your brand. You won’t always get relevant alerts if your brand name isn’t unique or would fit into a general sentence.
Remember, once you’ve got your list of sites to contact for a backlink – look for the most relevant and the sites with the highest domain authority or domain rating as these backlinks will be worth more to your SEO. If you want to know more about backlinks and some facts around link building, have a read of Link Building Myths Busted: 5 Common Misconceptions About Backlinks.