How to Turn Brand Mentions Into Links

If you or one of your clients has a brand presence online — even a small one — there are people mentioning that brand without actually linking. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit back and wish that people linked to you when they mention you online. Using the strategies and techniques in this video, you’ll learn how to find brand mentions at scale, and how to convince people to turn their plain text mentions into links.

Video Transcript

Hey, what’s up, everybody? It’s Brian Dean from QuickSprout and in this video, I’m going to show you how to turn unlinked brand mentions into powerful back links.

Now, what do I mean by unlinked brand mentions? Well, let me show you an example. Last week, a site called mentioned Neil Patel and Quick Sprout in an article. And as you can see here, they said “as Neil Patel of QuickSprout preaches blah-blah-blah-blah-blah”. As you’ll notice, they didn’t actually link to Neil Patel’s website, his Twitter profile or to QuickSprout. And what you want to do here is when you find an unlinked brand mention like that, contact the person who wrote the article and ask them nicely to change the unlinked mention into a linked mention.

But how can you find these sites that are mentioning your site without linking? You can’t use a program like Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer, but there are a few tricks that you can easily use to find these unlinked brand mentions. The first and most straightforward is Google Search. And this is a search string that works really, really well. You just put your brand name in quotes like this, and put ‘-site:’. And what that does is eliminate any results on this domain. Now obviously, Neil mentions QuickSprout all the time on QuickSprout and you don’t want to be contacting your own site. It doesn’t make sense.

So you can put -site dash [sic] Quick Sprout and whatever other sites you want to filter out and as you can see, we’ve already found someone who mentioned Neil on a site called and it also brings up a bunch of social profiles like Facebook and Pinterest and Etsy.

And to make this a little bit cleaner, so you don’t get all those social profiles, what you want to do is go to Search Tools, and under anytime put the past week.

And what that does is it usually limits your results to blogs and news and forum results which are actually places where you could go to find those unlinked brand mentions and turn them into linked brand mentions. Now obviously here they’re going to, some of these will link to QuickSprout and Neil Patel’s site, that’s just the nature of the beast.

You do have to go one by one through them, see if they actually link, and see if it’s worth reaching out.

That’s why it’s great to have this SERP overlay from Moz because you can see the domain authority of each individual page, of each individual site and see if it’s worth reaching out to them. For example, you know, Victorian with a domain authority of 21, probably not worth reaching out to to try to get that brand mention.

Another way to find unlinked brand mentions using Google Search is to change the term in quotes here to a name. So in this case, Neil Patel. And you can see that over the past week some social profiles, also a site like, this is a site that may be doesn’t link and you could reach out to that site owner.  This is obviously a very proactive way to find mentions.

A little bit of an easier and you know, reactive way is to use Google Alerts. And Google Alerts is great because it literally emails you once a day of where they’ve found your keyword mentioned. And in this case you want to put in your brand name, and you want to put in many variations. So you’d sign up for different alerts using variations of your brand names because online people use different variations. For example, you know QuickSprout is often written like this online, but it’s also written like this, it’s also mentioned like this. And the great part about Google Alerts is it shows you a little preview on the side here to see if it’s worth, you know, signing up for this particular Google Alert. If it shows zero or one, you may want to sign up for ones that actually bring up a number of results. And then you just put in your email here. Put Create Alert. And you’ll be emailed every time Google finds a mention of your brand.

Just to make sure you get as many as possible, under ‘how many’, be sure to put ‘all results’. Because if you put only the best results, it only limits it to sites that in Google’s eyes are somewhat reputable and authoritative.

The next place to look for brand mentions is and as I mentioned before, you can’t find unlinked brand mentions using Ahrefs because it only finds back links, but they have a cool tool called the Mentions Tracker.

So head over to, click on the Mentions Tracker button. And then put in whatever search term you want to use. So let’s use QuickSprout. And then click the search button. And it will show you all the places that they found mentions for including some, you know, a cool little graph like this of how often you’ve been mentioned over time. And here, Trend Hunter. Someone mentioned Quick Sprout and you can go over there and see if that’s a linked mention or a non-linked mention and then reach out to that person.

And if you’re really serious about this and if you get a lot of brand mentions, like if you’re a start up or a small business, you do obviously want to be proactive about how people are writing and talking about your site online, not just for linking purposes. You can use a service called And when you sign up for, you can put in the name of your campaign and then all the expressions, which are basically keywords, that you want them to look for. So in this case we’re just going to put one, QuickSprout. When we click Save, what it does is it goes through all the places it found QuickSprout mentioned online including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, news sites, everything, and for our purposes, you know on Twitter, these are links in a way, but they’re not places where you could turn just the brand mention into a link. So what you want to do is click on the Sources Tab here and choose Web. And they even have a little link icon to indicate that these are mentions that are on a website. What you do is you go to all of these and see if they’re actually linking to you and if not, reach out to that person.

Another great place to go are, you know, blogs. They consider blogs different than web for some reason, and these are other places that you could go to find unlinked brand mentions and turn them into links.

So as you can see, this is a great way to, you know, find link opportunities very easily because these people are already mentioning you online, so it’s not a stretch when you ask them to just turn that mention into a link. And for a big brand, this is actually one of the most powerful link building opportunities out there.

So, thanks for watching. And I’ll see you in the next video.