Digital PR & Outreach

Link reclamation: how to find mentions you can turn into links

by on 2nd October 2017

Here’s a tip: if you’ve never used link reclamation for building links, start doing so right now. It’s one of the easiest and most effective methods we link builders have for getting great links, and getting them quickly.

For those of us who are new to link rec or looking for a definition, let me just 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 to convert it into a link.

Mentions can come in all shapes and sizes, usually starting with mentions of the brand. That’s a solid start, but our process for link reclamation is a bit more expansive, so I’ll cover some of the mentions we look for, how we go about finding them and tools you can use moving forward to never miss another opportunity!

Know your company

It is likely that your company’s founder or CEO may have given a quote somewhere along the line, conducted an interview, or been listed as a speaker at an event. If they have, there will likely be a mention of their name that you can follow up on, potentially already alongside a mention of the brand. This is a prime opportunity to contact the writer and get that mention or comment linked back to the domain or author profile. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: find and list the names of the company’s prominent spokespeople

  • Search your company’s Wikipedia page
  • Search the ‘Board of Directors’
  • Search the ‘About Us’ page and look for a section on board and senior management
  • Search the ‘Management Team’ page

Here you want to include all Founders, C-Levels, Directors, Chairs, and all those likely to speak to reporters about their company or issue press releases. This might require a little look on the social profile or blog to see if someone routinely appears.

Step 2: search for them

Once you have a list of names you can search for all mentions of them, using the following example formula:

‘lastminute.com’ and ‘Alessandra Di Lorenzo’ and -site:www.lastminute.com
(Searching the ‘brand’ + ‘person’ and eliminating all brand site URL’s)

Using the ‘Tools’ toggle in Google search results, filter your search to the ‘past year’ or ‘past month’ to compile the most recent mentions. This often results in higher response and conversion rates because the writer is more likely to still be there, or happy to amend a recent article.

Link reclamation example

Gather all mentions like this into an Excel sheet to keep them nice and tidy.

Step 3: check if there is an existing link

With your list in hand of all staff mentions, you can quickly whittle the list down to only those that don’t currently have a link back to your domain. This is a process worth doing for any ‘mention’ lists you create, so you can make the best use of your time. Here’s how I’ve done it:

  • Using Screaming Frog, first set the Mode to ‘List’
  • Then, under the Configurations tab, select ‘Custom’, and then ‘Search’
  • Here, you’ll be able to search for any line of code you enter in all the URLs HTML
  • Simply enter the full URL of the domain you’re checking i.e. https://www.example.com
  • Now hit Upload, and paste the list of URLs you have
  • When the crawl has finished, you can select the ‘Custom’ tab and export all URLs in the list that have at least one occurrence of that line (which 98% of the time signifies a link – it’s rare someone would include http/https simply as text)
  • A quick VLOOKUP on your list, and you can filter out any URLs that already include a link or return a 404 and aren’t worth your minutes.

Dazza Bonus: You can also put this list through URL Profiler if you have it, and pull out Trust Flow. Order by the highest TF and you’ve got a ready-made priority list for when time is of the essence.

Twitter Mentions

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

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

Another Dazza Bonus: 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: find the Twitter tool and your event information

Where can you find the advanced search tool?

Where to find upcoming events or developments to search?

  • Look at your corporate events calendar, like this one from Fairmont Events
  • Look into mentions of new developments, like this example from Fairmont
  • Discuss company or industry events with a the PR team or agency and see if they have any insights.

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:
  • Link reclamation example

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

    Link reclamation example

    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 sweet little mention there, waiting to be transformed:

    Link reclamation example

    PR Mentions and Blog

    It’s good practice to keep up to date with your company’s news as you may find mentions off press releases or blog posts that other teams may be working on. These can often feature the content itself, with no mention of the brand at all – something you’d want to follow up on.

    Step 1: find your assets

    Many of the resources 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:

    Link reclamation example

    Like the process outlined in ‘Know your company’ above, list all the results that appear and use the Screaming Frog link finding process to assess if a link is pointing to your domain or not.

    Step 3: any broken links in here?

    Good resources that have amassed a few links over time may have some broken links in their profile. This is always definitely worth checking (and a great link building practise in general).

    Using the URLs of the resources you’ve found, you’ll want to search for any links in their profiles that are either now directing to a 404 page, or going through a few redirects and losing compounding value.

    What tools can I use to find broken links? Note: you want to use a tool here that has a database of links from across the web, rather than a tool that simply crawls the URLs you feed it.

    • Ahrefs – Search ‘Site Explorer’ by inserting the specific page URL and set to ‘Exact URL’ then click search. On the left-hand side, go to Backlinks, then click ‘Broken’.
    • Majestic – Use their ‘Site Explorer’ to enter the URL of the resource you’re searching for, from the drop-down next to the URL field, select ‘URL’ and then search. Using the ‘Backlinks’ tab, you’ll be able to scroll through all backlinks their platform has found and immediately see any that are broken, deleted, lacking anchor text, etc.

    Brand Mention Alerts & 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 bunch of them over the years, but here’s some we’ve found top the pile:

    I really hope those techniques and tactics offer value to your current link reclamation activity, or give you the motivation you need to start trialling the tactic yourself. It really can be a great way of utilising the company’s existing hard-work of getting a mention in the press, and making that mention work a little harder for the company’s search performance.

    Any questions at all, please do hit me up in the comments.

Responses

  1. I appreciate link building initiatives like this. However I think it really take much time and effort.

  2. Hi Darren,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put these strategies together. This is such an excellent resource for beefing up your brand. I feel like this is useful info no matter where you’re at, preparing for exponential growth.

    I am Director of Strategic Content, myself, for a brand new Project Management Web App: We Build Monsters. We are very excited about what we have to offer and are eager to get the word out. I always appreciate any sort of shared creative advice on strategy for outreach, PR, and growth efforts. I can verify that this is good info so thank you again!

    – WBM Director of Strategic Content

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