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How to Turn Unlinked Brand Mentions Into Links

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How to Turn Unlinked Brand Mentions Into Links

Monitoring the web for mentions of your brand is essential.

Paying attention to brand mentions, and capitalizing on them, can be a highly effective strategy for building links and your reputation.

If you haven’t yet implemented this link building tactic as part of your strategy, you absolutely should.

Why? Because it can lead to:

  • A link. (Duh!)
  • Chances to engage with communities interested in your brand.
  • A better understanding of how people perceive your brand.

Yes, the web is full of noise – it can be incredibly difficult to find the important interactions involving your business.

But that’s no excuse to sit back passively!

You need to dive in and engage – especially when it comes to your brand.

And brand mentions can be plentiful.

Sure, there are a ton of easy win options, but when you fall in love with a link that you didn’t have to put your blood, sweat, and content into, it’s hard to not keep coming back to them.

You could always wait (and wait, and wait…) and hope they link to your site when they mention your brand – or you could get creative.

But how?

Brand Mention Monitoring = Effective Link Building

Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of brand mention link building.

The concept is simple:

Many brands sponsor events, announce employee accomplishments, or run press releases — and those occasions offer opportunities that use significantly less time to build links than if you were to start the relationship from scratch.

Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

This link building technique won’t just save you time — it will add value to the reader and publication that mentioned you.

Need proof it works? Just ask BuzzSumo, which secured 200 links in one month by monitoring mentions.

Just remember: Sites that mention you will be reluctant to link to you if your content isn’t high-quality. So make sure you’re creating link-worthy content!

Convert Unlinked Brand Mentions Into Links

Ready to turn linkless mentions of your brand into links?

This tactic will make your client very happy – and help diversify your backlink profile.

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Sign up for BuzzSumo Alerts (or Google Alerts).
  2. Set up backlink alerts to receive daily digest.
  3. Set up brand mentions to receive daily digest.
  4. Email websites mentioning you by starting with a thank you, offer help or advice, then ask if they wouldn’t mind linking to you as it would make it easy for readers.

Google Alerts can be truly useful when used appropriately. You can create multiple filters. Also, don’t forget to use advanced operators!

Here are some examples we might set up here for Search Engine Journal:

  • “Search Engine Journal”
  • “SEJ”
  • “sejournal”
  • “Loren Baker” “Founder”
  • “Anna Crowe” SEO
  • “Anna Crowe” link building
  • “Danny Goodwin” “Editor” OR “Executive Editor”

The next step after you’ve discovered those brand mentions is outreach.

Like any other systematic approach, you’ll have to devise an outreach strategy and benchmark your way through it.

Getting few responses (and links)? Here are two possible reasons why:

  • You aren’t reaching the right person: The site might have multiple editors or contributors. Are you reaching out to the most relevant person? Is the person you’re contacting still the editor, or did that person actually leave 2 years ago?
  • You aren’t addressing the way you should: The email copy should speak for itself and be concise. Make it clear you’re asking for (not demanding or expecting) a link to be added on a specific webpage – and why they should spend the time to add it. You need to sell your idea properly, building trust without looking spammy.

Can Mentions Help Your Google Rankings?

A few years ago, Google was granted a patent for using a ratio of links and mentions (or “implied links”).

The most interesting part for SEO professionals:

The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302). A link for a group of resources is an incoming link to a resource in the group, i.e., a link having a resource in the group as its target. Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both. An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource. An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.

So mentions may have some impact on how Google evaluates brand authority. And we all know that authority, relevance, and trust are crucial in SEO.

So links still matter a lot for rankings. That’s why it’s absolutely worth the effort to turn your brand mentions into links. Although links don’t always help.

Unlinked brand mentions and citations also matter to rankings. Sometimes even as much as links, according to Duane Forrester, formerly of Bing:

“Years ago, Bing figured out context and sentiment of tone, and how to associate mentions without a link. As the volume grows and trustworthiness of this mention is known, you’ll get a bump in rankings as a trial.”

Related reading: Can Negative Brand Mentions Hurt Your Google Rankings?

Summary

Timeframe: Every month

Results detected: 2-6 months

Average links sent per month: 10 (depending on site size)

Tools:

  • BuzzSumo or Google Alerts
  • Banana Tag (or Yesware)
  • Buzzstream (or Pitchbox)

Benefits:

  • If you’re creating valuable content, but you aren’t getting credit for it, you’re missing a valuable opportunity.
  • Monitoring brand mentions is a high converting link building tactic, so it’s easy for you to hit the ground running.

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Anna Crowe

Features Writer & Product Marketing Manager at Hello Anna Co.

Anna is the Features Writer & Product Marketing Manager for Search Engine Journal and an SEO-whisperer at Hello Anna & ... [Read full bio]

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