Link reclamation: Low effort link building for search success

Link reclamation is one of the easiest and most effective methods we link builders have for getting great links and getting them quickly. 

For those who are new to link rec, or looking for a definition, let me sum it up briefly before we dive in:

Link reclamation is the process of finding a mention of your brand online and asking the publisher/site to convert it into a link.

Using mentions to generate links is an ideal low-effort opportunity for when you are:

  • Short on time
  • Waiting for a big campaign to go live but want to gain links in the meantime
  • Trying to capitalise on efforts you’ve already made elsewhere 
  • Aren’t ready to give journalist contact to Digital PR 

So, how can we find mentions?

Mentions can come in all shapes and sizes. A solid place to start is looking for mentions of the brand name, but our process for link reclamation is more expansive. I’ll cover off some of the mentions we look for, how we go about finding them and the tools you can use to never miss another opportunity!

Know your people – founder and key spokespeople mentions

It is likely that your company’s founder or CEO may have been quoted somewhere along the line, conducted an interview, or been listed as a speaker at an event. If they have, there will be a mention of their name you can follow up on. These will often appear alongside a mention of the brand as well. 

Founder or C-suite mentions are a prime opportunity to contact the publisher and get that reference linked back to the domain or author profile. 

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Collate a list of your company’s prominent spokespeople

You can find this information by searching through the following pages:

n step 1, you want to include all Founders, C-Levels, Directors, Chairs, and those likely to speak publically about the company, release announcements or issue press releases.

Step 2: Search for them

Once you have a list of names, you can search for all mentions of them.

This is where we would use Google advanced search operators to search these mentions.

Let’s look at an example where we searched for Icelandair CEO mentions, eliminating any brand mentions on Icelandair’s own site. For this task, our search entry was: 

“Bogi Nils Bogason” and icelandair and -site:Icelandair.com

The search results using that operator delivered 56,000 mentions – way too many to work with – so we needed to reduce the number of results to produce a useable list to target. At this point, we changed the search to include a time frame for mentions within the last year. 

Using the ‘Tools’ toggle in Google search results, you can filter your search to different time frames to compile a workable list of recent mentions. Reducing the timeframe often results in higher response and conversion rates because the writer is more likely to still be able/happy to amend a recent article.

Now that we have a shorter and more targeted list, we can use operators again to see what else is out there!

Our shorter list revealed keywords we can drill into further to search for more mentions such as:

Using these keywords, we were able to ask and answer the following questions: 

(“Bogi Nils Bogason” and “CEO Interview” and -site:icelandair.com)

(“Bogi Nils Bogason” and “Icelandair CEO” and -site:icelandair.com)

(“Bogi Nils Bogason” and “Icelandair Group” and “Strong bookings” and -site:icelandair.com)

You may or may not get the results you want back, and if an operator is not delivering the best result, all you have to do is play with the keywords in the operator, changing them to see what they deliver back.

Step 3: Export your search results into a list and check if there are any existing links

You can export your search results list through chrome extension tools like Link Klipper, which extracts all links on a webpage and exports them to an excel file. 

It is likely your file from Link Klipper will need a big tidy-up manually. You will have the URLs from the SERP and anchor text alongside things like Google sites, spam, and duplicates which you won’t want.

Once you have a list of all staff/CEO mentions that you’re happy with, create two new columns for your chosen link quality metrics – such as Domain Authority (DA) by Moz, or Trust Flow (TF) by Majestic (our favourite!). 

To obtain the metrics on your list of URL’s use tools like Majestic’s Bulk Backlink Checker (for TF) or URL Profiler (includes most link quality metrics). After you have obtained the metrics and added them to your list, you will want to order by the highest TF (or whatever link quality metric you’ve gone with). Now you have a ready-made priority list for when time is of the essence.

Understand your company  –  operational mentions

To find mentions related to your company’s operations like brand partnerships, locations, and shop locations, you first need to think about the relevant link target section of your site. 

The type of target pages you are looking for are these:

Once you have become familiar with the target pages, you will need to brainstorm the type of mentions related to the page.

For example, for ecommerce brand partnerships, the partner may have a stockist or “Where to buy page” that mentions your company. In this instance, you could use the below advanced search operators to find these types of pages:

For example: 

where to buy

For locations your brand operates in, the mentions you are looking for will be more specific. 

For example, if your brand works in the sports industry and runs leisure centres in different locations, you will want to search the particular centre name in that specific location and exclude your brand from the results. You need to be really specific as there may be other centres with the same name in a different location, so you want to make sure it is your company the mention is about!

i.e. “name of leisure centre” and location and -site:[your brand domain]

For locations your company has a physical shop in, the mentions you are looking for will be more directory-type mentions. For example, you will want to find location directories that mention your brand and make sure a website link is included. 

i.e. inurl:directory and location and [name of your brand] and -site:[your brand domain]

Understand your relationships – sponsorship, donations, partnerships and merger mentions 

Sometimes a brand will partner up with other businesses, merge with another company, sponsor an event or collaborate with charities, celebrities, or influencers. 

These kinds of relations can generate news and announcements which can lead to many mentions.

To search mentions related to these, use advanced search operators such as:

If you want to find results related to a collaboration with a specific charity, you can add in “charity name” in place of charity e.g. intext:bravissimo and coppafeel and -site:bravissimo.com. This particular search will show mentions related to the brand Bravissimo teaming up with breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel.

There are lots of other reasons that your brand will have naturally secured mentions on external sites that could be converted to links. For example, if your company regularly publishes research papers or reports these may have picked-up a good few mentions. Another reason is because of announcements around major milestones or anniversaries.

If any of these sound familiar, reach out to us and we can talk to you about what link opportunities may be waiting out there for you. 

Make the most of promotion opportunities – social media and podcast mentions 

Out of all the social media channels, Twitter is a great place to find promotional mentions.

Hashtags are good when looking for specific events and conference mentions that your company is running or involved in, i.e. Brighton SEO, hashtag: #brightonseo. 

Bloggers and reporters may also tweet a post about the event that includes a link to their article, which is where you can then search for your brand mention and request a link back.

You can also use hashtags to find influencers for future outreach endeavours. If you don’t find an article mention, note the influencers details and contact them when you have something that could be worth their while.

Step 1: Open the Twitter advanced search tool and find your event information

Where can you find the advanced search tool?

Where to find upcoming events or developments to search?

Step 2: use Twitter’s advanced search to look up the event or brand name

In the ‘words’ field, if you know the hashtag for the event, simply enter it there, or you can do generic searches on your brand name in the ‘exact phrase’ field:

Scrolling through the results, you’ll quickly find tweets that include a link to an article about the event:

Then, after clicking on the link (using the Ctrl button to open in a new tab, or you’ll have to start again when navigating back) with a little Ctrl+F action, you’ll quickly see that no links point to the event host, and a little mention there, waiting to be transformed:

Use your recent headlines – PR mentions and blog 

It’s good practice to keep up to date with your company’s news as you may find mentions of positive company results, press releases or blog posts that reporters may be working on. 

Step 1: find your assets

Many of the resources you’ll need to find unlinked mentions of this kind will be found on your company’s own site, like these examples:

Step 2: search for them

Use these resources to search Google and find any articles discussing keywords from your latest press releases or news items. For example, The Very Group media section has the latest news and insights from the brand, giving many headlines to search news articles on.

example media

Like the process outlined in ‘Know your company’ above, list all the results that appear and use an operator like the below to search for unlinked mentions that can be converted to links: 

“The Very Group” and sales and revenue and “continued profit”

Brand mention alerts and tools

In addition to finding a bunch of historic mentions using the methods above, moving forward, you’ll probably want to keep track of any new mentions that come through of the company, spokespeople, or content.

At Builtvisible, we’ve used a fair few of them over the years, but here’s some we use regularly:

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We hope the techniques and tactics covered offer value to your current link reclamation activity or give you the motivation you need to start trialling some yourself. It really can be a great way to make your company’s existing efforts work even harder for search success. 

If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.

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