You built a strong and unique brand for yourself. So why not leverage it for powerful backlinks?
While the conventional ways of fetching valuable backlinks can still do wonders for your business, using brand mentions can increase your SEO standing and brand value.
What are brand mentions?
A brand mention quite literally refers to any recognition or citation of your brand over the internet.
It is also known as an ‘implied link.’
Brand mentions work well with both, building links through a comprehensive digital marketing strategy and anchors such as social media to improve brand image. They essentially help increase organic rankings and brand visibility simultaneously.
Here’s an example:
If you’re in the business of selling furniture in New York and your unique selling point (USP) is the type of leather you use (Italian, of course), that USP becomes part of your brand. You’re probably wondering how this has anything to do with links; stick with me.
Let’s say you get featured in ‘best quality leather furniture NYC’ list on Reddit, a popular social platform; that mention right there is a brand mention.
Brand mentions could be anything from your brand’s name, the name of the CEO, products, tools, or a blog you may have published. Anything that can be linked back to your website falls under this category.
There are two types of brand mentions:
- Linked brand mentions
These mentions are regular live hyperlinks. These are mostly do-follow links and appear blue on the source’s webpage, just as the usual hyperlinks you are used to seeing:
- Unlinked brand mentions
Unlinked brand mentions refer to links that mention your business but do not contain a live link within them:
These appear as standard text on the webpage. Although unlinked brand mentions also provide some value, they must be actively pursued so as to get a link and credit for the text that you are mentioned for, especially if they are in top-ranking publications.
For the purpose of this guide, we will focus only on unlinked brand mentions.
Why are brand mentions important?
Brand mentions have the same benefits as the ones provided by high-quality backlinks. However, let’s take a quick look at their importance and how they can add value to your business’s online presence.
Improved SERP results
When you are able to get links through brand mentions, Google considers it as social proof. Social proof refers to the credibility and trustworthiness of a business as viewed by others.
Brand mentions act as social proof since they are not self-promoting in nature. Instead, they are present on external sources such as subject matter blogs, news, customer reviews, or product lists. Google considers this proof as popularity in an organic manner. The bottom line is that your search rankings will increase based on this proof provided by brand mentions.
Higher domain authority (DA)
Anyone who knows about SEO knows that domain authority is a great proxy for evaluating website rankings when compared with one another:
A good backlink profile helps immensely in increasing domain rating, and leveraging mentions is a way to build a stronger correlation with DA, rankings, and online reputation.
While DA/DR isn’t a direct ranking factor, it’s a great leading indicator of your ability to rank for competitive terms on organic search.
As we will see later in this guide, getting backlinks from unlinked mentions requires you to reach out to the sources from whom you’ve received mentions.
In the process, you will end up networking with various points of contact from different domains.
This can potentially act as a method of establishing relationships and forming long-term associations through mutual collaboration.
Relevant user insights
When your brand is mentioned on an external page, you can get an understanding of what led your business to be mentioned there.
For example, if your brand gets a mention on a review site such as Yelp, you can instantly get to the comments and see what buzz you are creating within users.
There are plenty of free link building tools to help you track mentions as you acquire them.
A lot of the tools used to monitor brand mentions also allow for sentiment analysis of the audience, too.
This means that you have access to your target audience’s perceptions and feelings and how they interact with your brand on various channels.
What to keep in mind when looking for brand mentions?
All businesses want to have a brand that stands out, but they often overlook that brand value can help build a more robust link profile, gain more traffic, and rank higher in SERP results through mentions.
But before we get into the specifics of how to trace brand mentions, there are two crucial pieces of information to consider when it comes to building backlinks through mentions:
1. Source of mention
Getting a brand mention is great, but knowing exactly where the mention is coming from is excellent.
When you can identify the source of the mention, you can get insights into how to leverage that particular source into building a link from the mention provided.
Use a tool like Ahrefs to dig into which sites are mentioning your brand. With the content explorer tool, you can monitor brand mentions happening each day:
It is always better to check the source’s authority before doing a deep dive into acquiring a link on that particular mention.
2. Reason for mention
Leveraging brand mentions for backlinks works in the same way as other like building methods.
It is only beneficial if the links attained are valuable and relevant to your business.
By understanding why your brand or product has gotten a mention, you can quickly gauge whether that mention is worth pursuing a link.
For instance, consider the furniture business example again.
If the company receives a brand mention on ‘top API Management software’ on an IT website, it will not add value to its link profile. It can prove to be potentially disadvantageous to your brand if pursued.
How to get backlinks from brand mentions?
Yes, we’re finally talking about this.
Brand mentions are great to use for building links to your business. But how do you get these valuable backlinks from these unlinked mentions?
As in every link-building strategy, you must be clear in what you want to measure and how you want to evaluate those metrics and outcomes.
3 ways to measure your efforts in getting links from mentions are:
1. Linking domains
This is important because it helps understand the shift in the number of unique domains linking to you before and after you pursue an unlinked mention:
Ideally, you should be seeing an increase in the number of linking domains as and when you continue your outreach.
2. Keyword rankings
Like we saw above, getting mentions on specific keywords can help grow their ranking in SERP results:
Make sure that you are tracking keyword movements as you increase your link-building efforts.
3. Webpage data
You surely want your acquired links to enable higher traffic and conversions for the mentioned web pages.
To record these data points, it is essential to look out for the number of visits or click-through rates of the web page given an external mention to gauge the achieved results.
- Find brand mentions
We’ve covered this in detail in the previous section.
A regular Google search of your brand with the appropriate search strings such as “company” – site: company can certainly help to find relevant unlinked mentions.
You can also put into place distinct queries if you want to find results for mentions obtained from specific keywords, blog posts or testimonials.
Let’s go back to our furniture business example.
For brand mentions with particular keywords, this is what a query would look like:
“Xfurniture” +furniture -site:Xfurniture.com or “Xfurniture” + leather -site:Xfurniture.com depending on the keyword you are trying to rank for.
When searching for blog post mentions:
“Xfurniture” -site:Xfurniture.com – site:Ycompany.com blog
This string will get search results for any mentions your business may have gotten in the blog of Ycompany.
For testimonial mentions, you could use a query like this:
“Xfurniture” -site:Xfurniture.com -site:yelp.com testimonial
The above query will give search results for your brand mentions on Yelp in the form of reviews or testimonials.
But if you are looking to get more detailed and informative brand mentions, here are four tools that can help with the process.
1. Google alerts
These are tried and tested ways of identifying and being notified about old, existing, and new brand mentions.
Once you’ve set up alerts for your brand name, variations of it, or whatever you think could be mentioned by others; you can tweak the different functionalities. These include:
- Frequency of alerts (daily, weekly, as-it-happens)
- Sources (automatic, news, blogs, web, video, books, discussions)
- Region (any region or localized preferences)
- How many alerts (all results, only the best)
Google alerts are usually sent to an email address of your choice so you can easily recognize and track unlinked mentions from external sources.
SEMrush is a popular tool used by digital marketers. Its brand monitoring score is useful for evaluating content channels and identifying new opportunities for content distribution.
This software also works well to refine unlinked mentions based on source types. SEMrush reports provide insights into competitor backlinks and customer activities.
3. Ahrefs alerts
Ahrefs is another favorite for SEO specialists. Alerts in Ahrefs work similarly to Google’s. They help in tacking brand mentions of keywords. The functionalities in Ahrefs are somewhat different:
- Search query (keyword/s)
- Mode (position of the keyword – URL, title, content)
- Blocked domains (websites you don’t want to receive alerts from)
- Interval (frequency of alerts)
This tool is designed specifically for monitoring and keeping track of brand mentions. It can fetch insights and reports from across websites, blogs, and social platforms.
Mention.com also helps to gauge the sentiments of your audience around any content that you publish. Additionally, it is useful for managing your brand as it can monitor competitors and marketing campaigns.
Once you’ve successfully obtained a list of sites that have given you mentions, it is time to filter some of these out.
Remember we spoke about the importance of where your mention is coming from? Here’s where it really comes into play.
Ensuring that the mention is a positive one is vital otherwise, there is no point in putting efforts to get it linked. If you come across a website that has mentioned your brand in a negative light, filter it out instantly.
Just as getting links from unauthoritative sites has little to no value, receiving mentions from websites with low authority will have little positive impact. You should consider sites with a DR of 50 or above so that you are confident that the link you gain will add value to your existing link profile.
Buzzstream is a great tool to check the DR for several URLs at once. An added benefit is that it will also tell you if the domain is currently linked to you in any capacity.
Another thing to keep in mind is the date of mention on the source. We’ve all been there, you try to get a link to an article from a few years ago, and you are ghosted or simply left with no response. It is better to reach out to sources that have been active recently and act on mentions published within a time frame of one year. This way, you improve your chances of the links being relevant to your current brand and product.
Pitch your case
You’ve done all the groundwork, and now you’re ready to hit send on all the authors and publishers that have been kind enough to give you a mention, but not a link.
How do you find these authors and publishers?
This step is not very different from the regular link-building outreach that you are familiar with already. You can find the information for these persons through the web page with the mention, their social media profiles, or through tools such as Hunter.
Once you have sufficient details of the person you want to contact for the backlink, pitch your case.
Again, this is similar to link outreaches, with the significant difference being that they are under no obligation to provide links for the brand mentions.
So take it slow.
You can start by thanking them for the mention and letting them know how much you appreciate their effort in recognizing you for your work.
Lead with that and gradually ask them if they could provide a backlink for the mention.
Two situations that can arise at this point:
- They simply forgot to link to you and are more than happy to provide you with a link to the mention.
- The website did not give a link on purpose due to their website’s guidelines. In this case, you’re unlikely to obtain a link from them.
If a prospect agrees to provide you with a backlink to your brand mention, make sure that the link is placed on your site or blog page in an organic manner and doesn’t look overly promotional in nature.
Phew! We’ve reached the end of this guide to understanding how to leverage brand mentions for backlinks.
Brand mentions are a great way to get those extra links you may have missed out on and use them to build a more powerful backlink base. They are also beneficial to increase your business awareness in the market and help expand your brand management.
Obtaining high-quality links from mentions also helps you climb up the SERP leader and gain authority as well as an online presence in your industry.