For businesses and brands that have established a name for themselves online, you may have noticed other websites mention you, but are they linking to you? While not every time your brand is mentioned online is worth a link, there are publications that may find your brand online and talk about you without actually sending visitors back to your site.
Remember, a link has two purposes in an internet marketing strategy in 2015. Not only does Google see the value of a link from an authoritative site (See the History of Link Building), a link is a user’s direct connection to your website and brand. In some cases, you may find websites that mention you, where a link back to your website would be beneficial in both ways.
How Can you Find Websites that Mention You?
There are actually a number of tools that can identify when your brand is mentioned and what domain is doing the mentioning. It’s worth finding the tool that is right for your businesses, as they are not all created equal. Some will do a better job of tracking mentions for larger brands, while others can have more of a one-time focus that can be beneficial for smaller businesses.
If you don’t have a great deal of buzz around your brand online, a simple Google search can do the trick. Keep in mind, the name of your brand can have a very big impact on how easy or difficult this process may be. If your business or brand is called “And Inc.” or “Starbucks Construction”, this exercise will be nearly impossible. However, if your business has a unique brand name, and you aren’t depending on words that are very popular outside of actual mentions, you should be able to get some great information, regardless of the tool used.
Great Tools for Identifying Online Brand Mentions
- Advanced Google Search
Using advanced Google search, you can go directly to the search engines to do the heavy lifting for you. This can be a great (and free!) way to get a list of online mentions and domains. Since Google won’t tell you if the site listed provides a link, you will have to visit each individually to verify how your brand is mentioned and/or if there is a link directing users back to your site. Given the manual review necessary here, this tool is best for companies/brands with a limited amount of online chatter.
The image below shows an example of an advanced Google search and Vertical Measures also provides a great tutorial on how to use this effective tool.
Also offering a paid subscription, Mention.com allows you the ability to set up 1 alert for free. If your brand has a smaller number of regular mentions, this can also be a great and free tool that can be used to identify online mentions. For larger brands, a paid subscription might be a better option, but try a free trial first.
Another free tool is provided by Rank Tank. The tool provides the first 100 mentions for your brand and insight as to whether or not those sites link to you. This tool essentially duplicates an Advanced Google Search, but then takes it one step further in attempting to do the review of these sites for you. Just remember, you get what you pay for here. It’s not 100% accurate in what sites link back to you, but for the price, you really can’t complain.
- Need Daily Alerts?
For brands that need more insight into their mentions on a more regular basis, there are a number of tools that can help by providing daily alerts. Keep in mind, this is for brands that get mentioned a great deal on a daily basis, but it’s important to know that there are online tools to address this level of online chatter as well.
- Google Alerts (Free)
- AHrefs Alerts (Free Option with Premium)
- Fresh Web Explorer (Paid Only)
- BuzzSumo (Free Option with Premium)
While some of the above options offer free versions, depending on the number of mentions you want to track daily, it may make sense to make the leap to premium level services.
You’ve Identified Unlinked Mentions – What’s Next?
Depending on where the mention occurs, this process might be a little different, but the most common place to see new mentions will be in articles or blog posts. In these cases, find out who the author is and contact them directly. One of the easiest ways to find a content publisher is on social channels like Twitter, but once you find them, the process here is simple. Just ask!
In some cases, they may tell you they have editorial guidelines that would prevent them from placing the link, but you might be surprised at how willing these writers may be if you simply ask the question. After all, it’s kind of flattering having a company notice you mentioned them and reach out directly because they see value in what you’ve written.
So If You Don’t Get the Mention Linked, Have you Failed?
Not even close! Even if the link is NoFollowed, remember that links in 2015 have two main purposes. Even if the value of the link isn’t passed directly to your domain authority, that doesn’t mean you won’t see an influx in visitors that are coming from a highly relevant source.
If there is no link at all, remember that online mentions are very important for brand signals and social brand signals. Just the mere mention of your brand on an authoritative site will pay off, so don’t feel the need to pressure the writer for a link. Thank them for the mention and return the favor.
As I mentioned in the article about guest blogging on business partner websites, sharing a highly relevant article that talks about your business will always be in your best interest. Share the article on your social channels and make sure to give credit to the site and to the writer. Watch what happens. They might even surprise you and put a little more gusto into promoting the article themselves.
If you show that your goal is value, link building in 2015 doesn’t have to be a difficult and often tense conversation. Think of the brand first, and work from there. If you reward the sites that have already mentioned your brand, you’ll not only improve your online marketing strategy, you will improve your relationships with influencers in your industry moving forward!