How to Identify and Send Outreach for Unlinked Brand Mentions


A recent study from the Pew Research Center reported that 93% of adults opt to receive news online, whether it be from a desktop or mobile device. And because of this (long-time) trend, industries from all over the world have gradually shifted to the digital space.

If you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet you’ve been trying to build links and opportunities are running dry. Or frankly, understand the importance of link building, but have no idea how to start.

Well, my friends… you’re in luck.

Buckle up. We’re going in.

How to Find Brand Mentions

A brand monitoring plan will allow you to create more link building opportunities and observe what is being published about your organization. (Yes, even the good and bad!)

Ultimately, the more link outreach opportunities you find across the Internet, the more likely that your link development campaign will be successful.

With diligence, link prospecting tools, and sometimes outside-the-box thinking, you too can find unlinked mentions of your brand online. Over the past three years at Vertical Measures, I’ve worked with small mom and pop businesses, medical practices, academic institutions, and large corporations.

I can tell you, one thing all these organizations had in common, they all had at least a handful mentions of their brand online. In some cases, these article mentions were already linking out to the client’s websites, but most of the time, publications will highlight news about a brand but fail to link to the mentioned organization’s website.

What should you do if this happens to your brand?

Find Unlinked Brand Mentions with Google Search

The following are a few things you can do to find unlinked brand mentions with Google Search and then craft effective outreach to earn a backlink to your website.

Using advanced search commands to find unlinked brand mentions is a highly dependable link building tactic. To be successful, it’s important to have some background knowledge on advanced search operators.

Begin the process by searching with the company’s name (for example, “Vertical Measures”) and then clicking on the news tab to find recent news about the brand.

However, with this approach, Google may show you articles that are located on your website as you’ll see in the example image below, underlined in red. It’s not until the sixth result that I see something that is not located on our website.

To eliminate your website from these results, you can add another advanced operator to your search. Use the exclude search operator “-site:” in front of a domain that you would like to leave out of the search results.

When searching for brand mentions, exclude the domain of a client’s websites in the search box. Pictured below is an example of how to exclude a domain from your search results:

Get creative with advanced search commands to find unlinked mentions of branded products, services, events, partnerships, and even people in your organization.

For example, if you wanted to research news on Vertical Measures’ involvements, contributions, and partnerships in the digital marketing industry, use a search phrase such as “Vertical Measures” contributes which may show results of articles on how Vertical Measures contributes to the digital marketing industry.

Try these other keywords to find positive news about your products, people, or organization:

  • “Partnered”
  • “Partnership”
  • “Contributed”
  • “Launched”
  • “Released”
  • “Announced”
  • “Industry”
  • “Donated”

The more #link outreach opportunities you find across the Internet, the more likely that your #linkdevelopment campaign will be successful.

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Finding Unlinked Mentions for Positive Brand Awareness

Speaking of positive news, it’s important to find unlinked mentions that highlight your brand in a positive light and avoid those that don’t.

With link development, we don’t favor bad PR because it provides a negative presentation of a company. In this case, not all press is good press.

A good rule of thumb when researching the quality of unlinked mentions of your brand is to ask yourself, “Would I be happy to share this news our website?” If your answer is “No,” then do not reach out for the mention.

PRO TIP: After conducting an initial unlinked brand mention search in the “news” section of Google, you may notice an option to “Create an Alert” for your search. We strongly recommend creating several different searches to help discover more unlinked mentions. Delivered directly to your inbox, these notifications are a great way to stay on top of highly-relevant brand mentions while helping you promote your brand name online.

Brand Positive Search Commands

Practice make perfect, so feel free to try a few of these “brand positive” advanced search commands out for yourself:

  • “company name” contributed
  • “company name” partnered with
  • “company name” leadership
  • “company name” announced

Other Ways to Find Unlinked Mentions

Besides Google Search, there are other ways to find relevant mentions of your brand online.


If you have access to AHREFs, try their Content Explorer tool which allows you to search their very own search engine for mentions of your brand. We searched “Vertical Measures” and got the following results:

For our search, the tool generated 4,098 unique results! You can also filter results for more relevant opportunities by sorting by:

  • Domain rating (we recommend sorting by 30 and higher for quality results)
  • Languages
  • Shares
  • Organic traffic
  • Referring domains
  • Number of words in an article

Talk about a powerful tool! Adding filters to your search will lower the number of results found, but it will increase the quality of brand mentions found.

This tool can help you monitor brand or competitor’s mentions from social media posts, website blogs, articles, or other pieces of content. We love the ability to export your mentions into a CSV format which helps to quickly analyze data.

Although we typically do not conduct outreach for social media mentions, this could be a great tool to further investigate how people are speaking about your brand. It’s a great reputation management tool for organizations to help measure their brand awareness and visibility.

Tips and Tricks for Obtaining High-Quality Branded Backlinks

Press Releases

As you discover mentions of your organization, you may find press releases in the results. Press releases are often distributed from organizations such as MarketWire or PRWeb and then submitted to other sites.

If you notice that the source of an article is from an organization like PRWeb, do not waste your time reaching out for a link because this content cannot be edited. However, if you notice a press release on a company’s website that your organization already has a relationship with, it may result in a link.

For example, if you’re Nike and partnered with Apple for a product release, and then Apple shares the news of the partnership on their website and does not link out to the Nike website, this would be a situation where it would be okay to reach out to since the press release was published by Apple and not a press release organization such as PRWeb.

Outreach with Quality in Mind

Sometimes a website that mentions your brand is not authoritative. When looking at the authority of a site, look for two things: spam and the domain authority.

An easy way to check spam is by performing a Google Search site search for keywords which are related to spam. Our team researches this by searching for “porn” “pills” “payday” and “casino” – if any results come up for these keywords, please use caution.

Adding filters to your #search will lower the number of results found, but it will increase the quality of #brand mentions found.

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If your brand is mentioned on a medical related site and results come up for “pills”, review the context of the search results as many medical websites will have published content around a similar keyword.

For researching the domain authority, Moz’s link explorer tool is an excellent option. It helps see if any site has a low domain authority of 20 or below. You would want to not waste time by reaching out to a low authority website because it would not add much value to your backlink profile.

Outreach Pitches

After you’ve gathered a list of sites to contact that mention your brand, but do not link to your website, ask yourself “Why should they link to my website just because they mentioned my brand?”

Think about this question and write a pitch that will help the organization see the value of linking to your website. We suggest using an angle for their community to learn more about the brand’s history that they positively mentioned.

While you write your outreach, remember that the sole purpose isn’t for you to get a link, it’s also to help educate readers about your organization and allow them to have a better experience while reading content that highlights your business.

Take the time to craft unique, customized and effective outreach to greatly aid in your success of obtaining brand mentioned links.

Unlinked Brand Mention Outreach Example

Not sure how to start your outreach? No worries here… Below is an example of a pitch for an unlinked mention that highlights a brand’s partnership.

Good Afternoon,

I hope your day is going well.  My name is [NAME AND POSITION] and I’m reaching out to you on behalf of [YOUR ORGANIZAION]. [BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR ORGANIZATION].

I came across the article titled “ARTICLE NAME” on the [DOMAIN NAME THAT MENTIONS YOUR BRAND BUT DOES NOT LINK TO IT] website, located here: PROVIDE ARTICLE URL.

I thought the article was a great read about the [PROVIDE SUBJECT-MATTER DETAIL AND WHY IT’S VALUABLE TO READERS], I also noticed that the partnership between [YOUR ORGANIZATION] and [COMPANY B] was mentioned in the article.

I was wondering if you are able to include a reference to the [YOUR BRAND’S WEBSITE] site in the article? Adding this reference will allow your readers to learn more about the partnership with [COMPANY B] to …. [ further explain the outcome or goal of the partnership].

Below is the URL to [YOUR BRAND’S WEBSITE]:

I believe this web reference would fit well in the section of the article that reads “Created in partnership with your organization’s name…”

Would you be open to this update to the article?

Once again, thanks for mentioning [YOUR BRAND] on your site, we really appreciate it!

Please do not hesitate to contact me, should you have any questions or need additional information. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Thanks in advance,


Unlinked Mention Outreach: 3 Important Do’s and Don’ts

1. Avoid the word “link”: You might always reference a hyperlink as a link in daily conversation, but for some, the word “link” appears to be associated with e-mail spam. Uses phrases such as provide a “reference to our website” We’ve found this verbiage be much more successful than the word “link.”

2. Check the website again after a few days: We’ve found that especially for unlinked brand mentions that all e-mails will not be responded to, but sometimes action will be taking without the editor or webmaster replying to your initial e-mail.

3. Extend the opportunity to partner with the site: Valuable sites with high authority may be looking for additional writers or experts. Even if they say no to your initial outreach, see if there are future opportunities to partner with that website in the future as they already know about your organization!

PRO TIP: Don’t forget to thank them in your pitch! Thank webmasters for highlighting your organization, and don’t be afraid to promote the article on your brand’s social media channels!

Remember, it’s natural for an organization to find news of their brand and share it with their followers. Learn more of the link building basics!

Learn How to Execute an Effective Link Building Strategy

Link building success is dependent on creating a great plan and then following through. Find out what it takes to execute a great link building strategy.

Read More!

The post How to Identify and Send Outreach for Unlinked Brand Mentions appeared first on Vertical Measures.

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