The Key to Business Link Building
Organizations that have substantial brand equity, or are working to build it, will have a goldmine of untapped linking opportunities scattered across a blog, influencer, and news sites.
While good PR teams are great at getting their company and brand or product story published, they don’t always have the direction, or it’s out of their reach to align that work with SEO efforts. and link building.
The reality is that most organizations haven’t captured link building as a PR metric, but they should!
That said, as a general rule, generating branded anchor text for unlinked brand mentions can generate a significant number of links with minimal effort.
Some people have reported successful placement rates of 15-20% safe link awareness.
Data-driven link building is definitely a good option for securing a significant number of links.
However, the time required to build this content increases the resources needed to generate a link.
4 types of unrelated mentions to find
There are four types of brand mentions to look for.
The route you choose will depend on your business structure and how you brand the company, products and its employees.
1. Company brand
Depending on your business structure, the company name or company brand may provide the most unrelated brand mentions.
Brands can certainly have a lot of mentions.
For example, B&H Photo Video and Audio has plenty of references online, as the Moz report shows.
An example of a corporate brand:
2. Product brand
If your business sells a product with a well-known brand, finding product brand mentions is an effective approach to generating links.
An example of a product brand is Allbirds’ Allbird Wool Runners. This popular sneaker brand has 137,000 unlinked unique mentions.
Although most of them are not good prospects for links, it will certainly create opportunities.
This can be a direct-to-consumer CPG or a digital product like a branded training course.
3. Electronic Trademarks
This is a product that an e-commerce retailer sells from another company or a CPG-branded product.
You see that Farfetch sells Gucci sneakers, but this product is made by Gucci and Farfetch is a reseller of this product.
4. Executive or corporate influencers
Executive influencers have become an effective growth strategy, and some influencers have launched successful products or services.
It’s hard to talk about executive influencers without mentioning Gary Vaynerchuk.
If I was doing SEO for VaynerMedia, I’d have a full-time job claiming unrelated brand mentions for the term “gary vaynerchuk”.
If you want to determine if this process is right for your brand, here are two ways to identify if there is a high volume of mentions.
Google search operators
The manual method involves using Google search operators to find all mentions of a company’s brand outside of its website and major social media channels.
Use the “intext” operator to define the “company brand”, in conjunction with the minus operator (e.g., “-intext:searchenginejournal.com” and -insite:facebook.com) to return only sites without links to the domain, you can start finding all off-page results.
As listings appear in Google, you may find it very difficult to sort through and make sense of the results without going page by page.
If you prefer more data about potential sites and their content, there are several tools you can use.
Since I’ve written about using Ahrefs many times before, I wanted to explore some other great alternatives:
Moz’s new web browser
I like the simplicity of the tool, and if you’re using Moz data, but you still need to know your the operators.
The main benefits are the tool’s “mention authority” score and the ability to build a campaign around it.
Be sure to use quote operators around the text for exact matches.
So if you search for a product brand such as “shure sm7b”, you will get results containing only that phrase.
Now that you have a prioritized list of targeted opportunities, it’s time to figure out how to contact authors for backlinks.
Find the right contact
This is where the PR team can start making your job even easier, starting with their list of reporters.
If the team has been around for a while, they should have relationships with journalists, bloggers, and influencers in their space.
These relationships can make your life easier in terms of initial awareness and quick wins for setting up backlinks.
Involve the internal team:
- Helps manage the client and their expectations.
- Creates buy-in to the process.
- Develops a sense of joint ownership of results.
While the reporter relations spreadsheet is a useful starting point, once a program begins to scale, you will need to automate it.
If you’re dealing with a medium-sized business or an enterprise account, they’ll likely already have tools in place, such as Cision, Muck Rack, or Meltwater.
These traditional PR tools have press release distribution, journalist management, media intelligence, and PR reporting as their core DNA, and they can be helpful in certain aspects of the backlink outreach effort.
However, they are not specifically designed for this purpose.
BuzzStream is a useful tool for prospecting and building relationships with journalist lists, running PR campaigns, and most importantly, running effective link building campaigns, all from a single platform.
Create a natural and impactful link
The last part of this equation is how to secure a link in the article and submit the site.
I’m grouping them together because the pitch will require an understanding of how much content, if any, you’ll need to provide to the editor.
How to approach the request and the content
Update brand mention
This is a quick and easy method of securing a link, but generally has a lower response rate.
With this, you will only get the link update for the exact mention of the brand name.
A paragraph that updates content around a brand mention adds value to the post’s audience by adding a deeper understanding of the topic.
Fortunately, this method will not tax your resources.
Complete content refresh
Most, if not most, of your unlinked brand mentions will usually be in articles that are more than six months old.
In this case, I recommend a full content refresh. This means updating site material and then rewriting with fresh resources and more in-depth content.
How to Conduct Awareness
When you think about it, the easiest thing is to gather link opportunities and list the appropriate contacts.
The question now is how do you get them to act on your behalf and on behalf of your client?
Here are some key considerations when developing the outreach program.
To scale, you need to automate/semi-automate
By undertaking a massive link building program with tens of thousands of link opportunities, you will need to automate and try to minimize the complexity of outreach.
Awareness models scale effectively and are highly measurable in support of campaigns.
Keep in mind that you are also building a relationship with bloggers and should take the time to personalize your one-on-one communication appropriately.
Most email software, like MailChimp or BuzzStream, offers some form of dynamic insertion into your email.
Writers are busy.
As a professional, you must follow.
Instead of manual tracking, use automated drops and reminders to help you stay in the know.
I experimented with automating AI email responses with RoboResponse.
Analyze and optimize on a daily basis
Perform periodic reviews to review your progress as campaigns run and make adjustments as needed to optimize your results.
I like to deploy small batch emails and A/B split test headlines and copies.
The final step in a link building campaign is reviewing internal metrics.
You need to review how team members contribute to the end results and report back to the client on success and set a baseline plan for the next effort.
For a personalized outreach campaign, monitoring backlinks can allow you to find and monitor links and growth against historical link profiles.
A final note
A strong brand will create many opportunities to build connections.
Through creative analysis of your company’s brands or internal influencers, there may very well be a large volume of fruit at hand capable of having a powerful impact on search engine rankings.
Although getting backlinks is a relatively simple concept, it’s not easy in reality.
Having the right tools to simplify the process and keep things organized is key to moving the project and your overall deals forward successfully.
As a final benefit, in addition to scale, automation will provide the simplification of reporting and visualizations needed to determine and articulate program success.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by the author