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.
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.
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:
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 sweet little mention there, waiting to be transformed:
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:
- PR Media News – Lastminute’s press releases
- Blog – Rentokil’s posts
- Press Room – Fairmont’s press page
- Any folder where bespoke creative content is uploaded
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:
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:
- Brand Mentions
- Google Alerts
- Talkwalker Alerts
- FWE ‘Fresh Web Explorer’
- Awario (free 14 day trial)
- Anewstip – a tool for finding brand mentions
- Social Mention – a real-time social media search on brand mentions. A monitoring tool that collects and displays user-generated content
- Keyhole – a hashtag tool that helps users uncover content, brand mentions and influencers related to particular hashtag (free trial then you need to pay an upgrade to view more)
- Open Site Explorer (OSE) – find pages that mention your site but don’t include a link
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.