Technical

Find and reclaim unlinked mentions: link reclamation tool

by on 12th October 2015

A reward for producing great content is winning mentions of your work on authority sites. Ideally, those mentions are attributed back to the source via a link, but often many are not.

Here’s a tedious task: Find mentions of your site. Check if there’s a link back to you. If there’s no link, check if that site is suitable to approach from an SEO point of view.

We discovered a really nifty tool for this on Sean Malseed’s RankTank, called the Unlinked Mentions Finder (check out this site for a lot of excellent Google docs resources for SEOs). However, we’ve modified the tool heavily to incorporate Moz data and Google News results. So, not only do you get unlinked brand mentions, you get a lot of extra SEO data too.

We think we’ve made it a lot more powerful by automating a few more steps along the way.

link_reclamation_tool_dashboard

What it does

The Link Reclamation Tool will help you:

  • Easily find unlinked brand mentions in Google (Search / Google News)
  • Find unlinked content mentions in Google
  • Spot check search results and see which URLs link back to you
  • View search results page authority, domain authority and number of linking root domains
  • Find URLs that already link back to your client but are not recorded in recorded links database within the tool

You can display results for your search query – up to 10 at a time – from Google Web (organic) or News.

Results are gathered via Google and the SEO metrics via the Moz API. If you have a free account, the number of API calls you can make is quite limited compared to the amount you can make with a paid account.

New feature update:

Having loved using the tool, Sean Malseed has kindly come back to us and contributed some amazing new features. These include:

  • Settings tab has options for using both paid or non-paid Mozscape API
  • Added a switch to toggle API calls off and on.
  • Consolidated most processing onto a hidden Data tab that gets queried from the main tab
  • URL encoding function for queries
  • Added checks so the API doesn’t get called on blank cells
  • Adjustable DA and PA filters
  • Link tracking tab now feeds Main column H, to show if a non-linking site used to have a link
  • Date column – the idea is to copy/paste both date and linking URL to the Recorded Links tab. If you find a lost link, you can see when the site used to link for Wayback machine and stuff

Instead of going into detail about how it works, let’s open the tool and set things up.

How to access the tool

Head on over to the link reclamation tool here.

Setup

Open the tool, make a copy and save as your own:

make-a-copy

When you first open the tool, open the ‘Settings & API’ tab. Here, you’ll need to enter your Moz Access ID, Moz Secret Key and select your Moz account level i.e. free or paid. You can also select if you would like to apply the domain blacklist to your search results and if you would like the Moz API on or off.

link_reclamation_tool_settings

You can find your Moz API credentials here.

Please do not change the label text as this could prevent the API from working. Full credit to Chris Le and Tom Anthony for making this code available.

Once you have entered your Moz credentials and selected your settings, you’re ready to jump in and start using the tool!

How to use

link_reclamation_tool
  1. Enter your domain next to ‘Check links to’
  2. Enter your search query, for example:
    • Brand name
    • Brand name -site:branddomainname
    • Related keywords to client’s industry
    • Enter a few words of text used in a big placement to find copies
  3. Type the preferred ccTLD of Google next to ‘Google’, e.g. google.co.uk, google.com, google.de, google.dk, etc.
  4. Click next to ‘Result type’ and select if you would like results from Google Web (organic) or News.
  5. If you selected News, click next to ‘Time’ and choose the time frame you would like the results to return.
  6. Press the ‘Click to Run’ button each time to update the results. You may need to press this button a few times before it pulls in the results.

Note: If your search type is Web, the results will be the same no matter which time frame you choose.

Results

When the tool has finished loading you’ll see up to 10 URLs approximate position in Google and you’ll be informed if each URL links back to your client’s site. Each URL’s domain authority, page authority and the number of linking root domains are displayed too.

If you would like to see another batch of results, click the number next to ‘Results Page’, and select 2, 3, 4, etc:

results-number

To help find any opportunities a little easier, the ‘Approach’ column will highlight ‘Yes’ if the following three conditions are met:

  • A URL does not link back to your client’s site
  • The same URL has meets or exceeds the page and domain authority set by you within the site quality threshold
  • Also, the same URL is not already recorded in the recorded links sheet

This suggests it’s worth investigating this URL a little further and potentially approach.

Quick pro-tips:

If you’ve spotted the “Record Links” tab, you can add any links you’ve built historically in this tab. You can automatically add any new links that are not in the recorded links tab by clicking on the “Record New Links” button if the tool tells you to record a new link. This nifty tool will also tell you if a URL in your search results is already stored in your recorded links tab.

Why not make copies of this spreadsheet for every site you work on, rename this Google sheet as ‘Link Reclamation Tool – (site name)’

Please note

This tool is not perfect. For example, not all results that say “Yes” are suitable, e.g. client’s social media URLs will flag as yes. Do sense check each suggested link target as you would do normally.

notification

A “Sorry, Google was a bit slow returning data…” notification pops up if the search returned no results or if there was a problem returning your results. Should you run into any problems, click the “Click to Run” button until the results appear. You may have to press this button a few times before the results populate. Failing that, waiting a minute and clicking the button again should do the trick.

I hope you find our new tool useful! Once again, thanks to Sean, Chris and Tom for making everything available to use. If you have any questions or ideas to improve this tool, please do let me know.

Responses

  1. Hi

    Above given none of version has worked for me. Is there any issue?

    I have moz pro account and used moz api as explained above, but it didn’t work.

    Can please let me know if I miss something?

    Thanks
    Stephen

  2. Not working for me either. Just saying “hit a snag” every time.

    Nice in theory.

  3. Hey all, thanks for trying this out! Google can be finicky when you pull a lot of data in via spreadsheet. When it happens to me, usually hitting the green arrow button a few times gets the data to come through.

    Has that worked for you? If not, happy to take a look at your sheet. You can share it with sean@ranktank.org and I’ll see if something funny is going on in your copy.

  4. No luck for me either – so far, but the Google doc tools are always a bit flakey as Sean said.

  5. Thanks everyone for all your feedback, we’ve made some changes and hope you like the new and improved version. I’d love to know how you get on with it.

  6. I have not tried it yet but it looks pretty interesting cheers guys love your stuff

  7. Just awesome. Congrats for improving an already great tool and making it awesome!

  8. It works for me but how do I see more than 10 results? I know you wrote you can see 10 results at a time, but what do I do to view results 11-20, etc.? Thanks!!

  9. Hi Ellen, if you click the drop-down arrow next to ‘Page 1’, you can view the next batch of up to 10 results by selecting page 2, 3, 4, etc. and then click on the ‘Click to Run’ button. Hope that helps.

  10. Works for me, but the Record New Links button doesn’t. I must admit I just copy/pasted the links over to that sheet and added an additional column with the Approach values :-)

  11. Record New Links doesn’t work for me as well. And I’d to request a feature to have the Approach column as a toggle. For some sites I already know I’ve either approached them previously or they aren’t open to adding the backlinks at all.

    PS

  12. Agree with Debbie – it works fine (thanks guys!), except for the “Record New Links”.

  13. In the ‘Result Page’ drop down, it only goes until Page 9. Are there more pages to be displayed or is it limited to those 9 pages?

    Also, on my page 8 and page 9, after hitting “Click to Run” again, new results appeared. Is this normal for new results to replace older ones after a few minutes?

  14. I’ll second the reply by @Beth B .
    Is there a way to get past 9 pages of results?
    RankTank’s original tool gives about 90 results per page instead of 10 – with the option to view 9 pages. Roughly 810 results total.

  15. Thanks for the tool!
    Although this isn’t working for me at all, any ideas why?
    Thanks!

  16. Hi guys, can’t get this to work at all, just “Google was a bit slow returning data” regardless of what combination of options I try. I have clicked the Run button lots of times, waited a minute or two then tried again, always the same. The original RankTank Unlinked Mentions Finder isn’t working for me either.

    Is Google blocking this stuff now or am I alone on this one?

  17. Although this isn’t working for me :( I tried everything.

    Hope to hear news from you guys!

    Thanks.

  18. This looks like a great tool, but I also can’t get it to work. For me, it isn’t doing anything when I click on the “click to run” button. It just highlights it like an image. As the link on this page is to a read-only Google Sheets file, I had to download it to my computer, input my Moz API, and reupload it to my own Drive to even make changes. Would that have something to do with it?

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