Find Un-linked Brand Mentions

A woman's hands touch broken glass.

If your company has been successful at building a strong brand name within its industry then it is likely that many publishers have mentioned your brand in the past. These types of brand mentions can be helpful for SEO because it establishes authority and authenticity within the algorithms. These brand mentions can also provide a natural conduit for link building. In many cases brand mentions come in the form of a backlink back to the brand’s website. However in some instances a publisher may mention a brand name without linking to the brand’s website. This may be happening for your brand as well. These un-linked brand mentions can be an easy way to acquire links to your website. In this article we will show you how to discover un-linked brand mentions across the internet and how to perform outreach in order to get these mentions linked to your website.

1. Set Google to 100 Results Per Page

Because we will be collecting our prospect list through Google it will be easier if we can process as many results as possible on each page. Google allows up to 100 results per page if you modify your search settings.

Google Search preferences. Results per page.

To set your results 100 per page, visit your search preferences page here and click save at the bottom of the page.

2. Run Your Query

After you have configured your search preferences you will want to use Google to find websites that mention your brand name but are not your website. You can do this by utilizing a special query that includes your brand name but excludes your website. See the example query below that you can use with your own domain name and your own brand name.

-site:yourdomain.com "Your Brand Name"

3. Scrape Results

The next step is to extract the URLs found in the search results from the query above. These will be web pages that mention your brand name. There are thousands of different ways to extract the URLs from a search result page, however in my opinion the best method is to use your web browser to help facilitate this data collection. Below are two guides for extracting URLs from the search results using extensions or tools of the Chrome web browser.

4. Crawl with ScreamingFrog’s Custom “Does not contain” Search

After completing the last step we should now have a long list of urls where brand names have been mentioned on the page. Next we need to check if each one of these URLs has a link pointing to our website, and filter out the ones that contain links to our site so we can only focus on the pages that mention our brand name but do not link to us. To do this we’ll use an automated web crawler to scan through our list of URLs and filter out which ones contain links already pointing to our website.

There are many different types of web crawlers on the market but the most popular for SEO tends to be Screaming Frog. With Screaming Frog you can do many things and completely customize the crawling experience. For our task with this project we will need to set Screaming Frog’s mode into List Mode.

screaming frog list mode
Screaming Frog List Mode

Next we’ll need to set up a custom search extraction in order to filter out web pages that already have links back to our website. To do this you should visit the search extraction settings panel from the main Configuration menu.

Custom Search in Screaming Frog

In this next panel you will be able to add your custom REGEX to filter out links that point to your website within the crawl data.

<a [^>]*\bhref\s*=\s*"([^"]*yourdomain.com[^"]*)

Using the REGEX above with your own domain name instead, you can create the same search settings seen below:

Custom REGEX search settings for Screaming Frog.

Now we can finally crawl the list of URLs that we collected in the previous step! To do this upload your list with the drop-down button in the middle of the crawler screen. As soon as it is completed crawling the pages, navigate to the custom search section of the crawler report to find URLs that do not contain the regex that you included in the custom search settings above. Extract this list, and now you have a list of pages that include your brand name without links pointing to your website.

5. Outreach To Sites

Now that we finally have a list of websites that have mentioned our brand name but did not include a link to our website, we can begin the process of reaching out to each of them and requesting a link. I’ve included a template email you can use to quickly contact each person responsible for the links within your list of websites. You can edit this template anyway that you like but it’s important to keep the request simple and friendly. It’s also important to mention that linking to your site helps improve their website’s user experience. And finally letting them know that if they ever need anything you’ll be there for them as well. It’s likely most people will not actually request any help but it’s a good gesture to build goodwill and trust.

Hi,

My name is <YOUR NAME> from <YOUR  BRAND NAME>. We recently noticed that you mentioned us on your site at <URL OF BRAND MENTION> however did not link to our web site. 

To give your readers the best user experience and to help them learn more about us, can you please link to our web site where you have mentioned our company?

Thank you for your time, if there's anything I can ever help you with, let me know.

Sincerely,

<YOUR NAME>

Photo by Masha Raymers 

About Joe

Joe Hall is the creator of LinkBuildingIdeas.com, an SEO consultant, and Principal Analyst at his company Hall Analysis. He loves science fiction, making things, and reading.

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