If you have a well known brand, or you’re working with a big client, link reclamation is one the best tactics to build backlinks quickly.
This is because someone already mentioned the brand or website on the internet, just that they didn’t link to it. Or they linked to a page on your website that doesn’t exist anymore and returns a 404 error. So it’s a broken link.
In any case, all you need to do is research all those mentions, then find the contact information of people who mentioned, and then reach out to them.
That may sound like a lot of effort, but it’s still less and gets better returns as compared to other link building methods.
What If You Don’t Have Many Mentions?
If you are targeting less competitive keywords, even a few links can help you rank better. But if you really have mentions so few that carrying out these steps isn’t justified, then work on getting some Digital PR and content out first.
That’ll get you a few placements either with a backlink already, or create unlinked mentions for you to request a backlink.
Link reclamation as a link building technique has been around for some time. And with new tools and ways to go about it, you can now scale it fast. Let’s see how.
Step 1 – Looking For Mentions
The first step is to find mentions. No need for any fancy tools at this point. You can simply search in Google for the variety of mentions you’re looking for.
At this point, you’re getting all the pages regardless of whether the mention is with a backlink or without.
By default, Google returns only 10 results per page. But you can grab the maximum URLs faster by modifying your search settings.
So now that you’re getting up to 100 results per page, you can start copying the URLs into a spreadsheet. If you are looking specifically for broken link mentions, Ahrefs is a great option.
Copying and pasting each link one by one will take a lot of time. Linkclump is a chrome extension that can help you do this really fast. If you’re using Firefox, then get Snap Links or Multi Links.
You can right click and select many URLs at once, then copy and paste into your spreadsheet. By default, the extension will also copy page titles and cache data. You can make sure that only the URLs are copied by tweaking the extension options.
Step 2 – Filtering Your List
To make sure a mention qualifies for outreach, you need to check 3 things.
- The page mentioning your brand has a good reputation, in terms of DA, trust flow, or any other metric that’s important to you.
- The page mentioning your brand doesn’t already have a valid backlink to a page on your website.
- The mention happens at a location on the page where a backlink would make sense for both you and the page administrator.
There are a number of ways to check for the first two aspects, depending on which tools you want to use. For instance, you can filter your URL list with BuzzStream.
Once you upload your list of URLs into BuzzStream, it can show you both, the Domain Authority as well as if the page links to your website or not. So you can filter out the pages that already link to you.
Create a new project in BuzzStream, with the domain name you’re building backlinks for.
Next, it’s time to upload your URLs. Go to the Websites view, click on Add Websites and then Add From A List Of URLs.
Also, what we want is that BuzzStream gets the link data for us. So when you’re uploading your list of URLs, make sure the Websites & Links radio button is selected.
That’s it. BuzzStream will now start showing all the data that you can filter in the Link Monitoring tab. You can then sort this list by DA, link status and a number of other factors.
If you don’t want to use BuzzStream, you can crawl the URLs you have collected in list mode with ScreamingFrog. Make sure both Ahrefs and Moz APIs are connected in order to extract metrics like link equity and page authority.
Step 3 – Qualifying Backlink Location
Once you have shortlisted your URLs based on the fact that they don’t already link to you and have a good DA, it’s time for the 3rd check.
The 3rd check is whether a backlink will make sense depending on where on the page your brand has been mentioned. Now, what do I mean by that?
For example, it may be that the page mentions your brand name in the title. And it’s not natural for a part of title to act as a link to another page. So even if you contact that owner of that website, most likely they won’t agree to your request.
On the other hand, webpages which mention your brand name in the body of the content are more likely to place a backlink.
So now the question is how will you know which of your URLs belong to pages with natural linking locations.
This would actually require some manual work, like opening each URL and taking a look at where it mentions your brand. But you can automate this a bit my using a tool that lets you open multiple URLs at once.
An awesome tool you can use for this purpose is URL Opener. Copy and paste your list of URLs and you can get them opened in different browser tabs.
Now you can go through each one by one. Remove the URLs from you list where it seems like link placement would not be feasible, and keep the other ones.
Finally, you’ll end up with a list of URLs which mention you but don’t link to you, and where your link could be placed naturally.
Step 4 – Finding Email Addresses
So far we have prepared a list of URLs which are good candidates for outreach to people who have mentioned our brand but without the backlink.
In order to reach out to them, we need their contact information, preferably an email address, along with a few other details like first name.
Now, finding email addresses is a huge topic which justifies its own separate article, but to put to concisely, here are a few options you can consider.
Look at the author bio below the content, for a link to their website or social media account
- Use Email Permutator and Rapportive
- Contact page on the website where the content is
- Find the author on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Try Hunter or Skrapp chrome extension
Once you have an email address, you can run it through Mail Tester to see if it works or not. Some of the time, just one of these ideas will be enough to find an email address. At other times, you can use a combination of these.
Step 5 – Your Outreach Email
Now that you have the email address of people you want to email, it’s time to prepare the content of your email.
First, you want to address them by first name. So make sure you have that information. 2nd, you want to make the process really easy for them. So let the know the URL of the page, and help them locate where they mentioned your brand.
Here’s an example you can use for inspiration:
Hey [first name],
I recently came across one of your excellent articles and found that it mentions a company I work with.
You’ve mentioned [brand name] in the 3rd paragraph. So I wanted to ask if you could link that part to the domain [brand website].
I’d really appreciate this kind gesture.
Thanks & Regards
Once you start sending these emails and you haven’t heard back from someone for a week, following up can often gets better results.
What’s A Good Success Rate?
So for all the emails that you send, how many backlinks should you expect to yield? This is obviously a tricky thing to answer, and varies a lot based on the kind of mention, size of the brand and the industry it operates in.
In my work with clients of different shapes and sizes, I have seen success rates from 5% (one backlink from every 20 emails) to 25% (one backlink from every 4 emails). On average, I’d suggest 10% to be a reasonable conversion rate to expect.
That’s all folks. I hope I have answered most questions you may have about the link reclamation process and have showed you how to implement the steps at scale, to the extent possible. In case you have any other suggestions or questions, feel free to reach out to me.
Also note that it’s vital to keep monitoring your brand mentions so you can reach out the author as soon as he mentioned your brand. You can use Google Alerts or one of these tools to track your brand mentions.
Asking for a link near to the time of mention makes it more likely that the author will respond and agree to your request. It’s much better that sending email about an old article published months or weeks ago.