An effective SEO method for achieving a stronger link profile is to find an unlinked brand mention online, and converting it into a backlink. If the keyword does not contain a link, turn it into one that points to a specific website. This basic approach is one of the most efficient methods of obtaining more traffic and acquiring strong links.
What’s So Special About Unlinked Brand References?
Brand mentions without links can be found on blogs or websites where the author has referenced either the company or a product/service. This has the potential to be a successful strategy since the brand or product/service has already been added to the content, simplifying most of the work. To obtain the backlink, all one has to do is contact the author or webmaster and thank them.
Advantages of Converting Brand References into Links:
- Elevate position on search engines and increase authority.
- Develop new relationships.
- Manage online reputation.
- Get insight into the target audience.
Step #1: Locate Unlinked Brand References
A simple Google search for the exact match of your brand or product/service can locate many references about the business online. To customize the search, one should have some basic understanding of Google’s advanced search features. That said, a standard search of a particular keyword or the brand itself will bring up results from all sites who have mentioned it.
Narrow down results from a search query by using the following:
“Name of Brand” -site:yoursite.com -press -release -site:twitter.com -site:facebook.com.
When trying to locate recent references, choose to include results that are only several weeks/days/months old. This is a productive strategy one can use to convert somewhat recent mentions of the brand or product/service into links.
Another effective method to find mentions of the brand or keywords is through Google Alerts. The program does all the monitoring for the user and emails them results in real-time when such mentions pop up. It’s quite an undervalued utility that sometimes gets neglected, and should be more broadly used. Google Alerts can be utilized for finding brand mentions without backlinks and is one of the many SEO tools marketers can use for free.
Google Alerts provides several choices to configure, including the source picker, which allows the user to select what kind of sites to monitor (i.e. news sites, blogs, etc.). One can monitor all references, or just the important ones on websites that Google deems authoritative.
Some Things to be Mindful Of
It’s important to remember that not every mention warrants a backlink. If the website has an abundance of brand references, consider only having backlinks to relevant keywords at the beginning or end of an article.
Should the brand have a TON of online mentions that are unlinked, consider prioritizing the most authoritative ones first. Also, think about only obtaining backlinks from websites that have minimum Domain Authority of 30.
Only contact websites that are maintained regularly and are likely to accommodate the backlink request. Don’t bother with press release and curated content websites, as those pages aren’t likely to be edited.
Step #2: Developing The Proper Pitch
The last step in this strategy is to contact the individual who decides what gets linked to, and requesting the backlink of a keyword or brand name. Be prepared to be rejected, as not everyone is open to backlinks, particularly if the requester is a stranger. Don’t take it personally if the request is turned down, as some companies have their own SEO policies in place, and the request might interfere with their plans.
- Ensure the email is concise – to-the-point.
- Customize the email and always address the recipient by their name, if possible.
- Handle negative press with caution.
- Since they have already mentioned the brand, they probably won’t mind backlinking to the brand’s website, so don’t be afraid to ask directly.
- Suggest the most applicable page to link to – don’t link everything to the company’s home page.
- If a webmaster or author is hesitant to backlink to the site, don’t dwell on it – move onto the next potential person to ask.
- Expect approximately 50% of the backlink requests to be approved.
Take a look at this sample template email requesting a backlink:
This strategy shouldn’t be generic – do some research to personalize the emails that are sent out. Find out who the person being contacted is for a more positive response. Linking strategies like this will always be effective if they’re customized.