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Unlinked Mentions: Hidden Gems in Your SEO Treasure Chest

Jun 17, 2024

Written by Casey Bjorkdahl

Profile Picture Casey Bjorkdahl of

Casey Bjorkdahl is one of the pioneering thought leaders in the SEO community. In 2010, Casey co-founded Vazoola after working for a Digital Marketing Agency for five years in New York City. Vazoola is now one of the fastest growing and most widely recognized SEO marketing firms in the country.

Unlinked Mentions: Hidden Gems in Your SEO Treasure Chest

Picture yourself as a skilled artist carefully examining a canvas, discovering subtle colors previously unnoticed. In the world of SEO, unlinked mentions of your brand are like these hidden shades, offering untapped potential for enhancing your online presence.

Unlinked mentions, often overlooked, play a pivotal role in SEO strategy.

What are unlinked mentions? They occur when your brand name or website URL is mentioned online without a direct link to your own website. They also represent an opportunity to gain backlinks.

Here at Vazoola, we've seen how understanding and leveraging unlinked web mentions can yield significant benefits.

When another site mentioned your brand, they not only boost brand online awareness and forge valuable relationships, but also open avenues to earn high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites.

By capitalizing on unlinked mentions, businesses also can improve website traffic, which in turn boosts organic ranking on search engine results pages.

While unlinked mentions are great, and serve a definite purpose in an overall SEO strategy, flipping such mentions into linked mentions is even better. After all, who doesn't love to earn a high-quality backlink?


Key Takeaways:

  • Unlinked mentions are references to your brand name or website without a hyperlink, playing a significant role in SEO by enhancing brand online awareness and credibility.

  • Brand monitoring SEO tools like Mention and Brand24 are essential for tracking mentions and understanding your brand's digital footprint.

  • Personalized outreach is crucial for converting an unlinked mention into a backlink, requiring tailored communication that resonates with the content creators.

  • Offering additional value and expertise in your outreach helps incentivize a particular site owner to link to your content, enhancing the appeal of your proposition.

  • Actively seeking to convert unlinked mentions into links is a valuable strategy that can significantly enhance your SEO and digital marketing efforts.

Table of Contents

What Are Unlinked Mentions in SEO?

what is an unlinked mention

Unlinked mentions occur when a brand name or website is referenced online without a hyperlink. An unlinked mention, scattered across the digital landscape, can often be found in a blog post, social media updates, forums, and news articles.

Unlike traditional backlinks, unlinked mentions do not provide a direct link to your website.

However, they still hold SEO value. An unlinked mention represents a natural acknowledgment of a brand name or website within content, reflecting genuine interest or recognition from the author or community.

Why Are Unlinked Brand Mentions Important?

why are unlinked mentions importat

Unlinked brand mentions are crucial for several reasons; they offer a unique opportunity to enhance brand name visibility and authority in the digital space.

Our experience as link builders has uncovered a few key ways that unlinked brand mentions prove their importance:

  • Boosts Brand Awareness: An unlinked mention increases brand exposure. When your brand name is mentioned across various platforms, it reaches a wider audience, enhancing brand recognition.

  • Enhances Credibility and Trust: Mentions by reputable sources bolster your brand's credibility. When industry leaders or popular platforms mention your brand, it signals trustworthiness to your target audience.

  • Opportunities for Relationship Building: Engaging with sources that mention your brand can foster valuable relationships. That engagement can lead to collaborations, partnerships, or even link-building opportunities.

  • Improves SEO and Organic Search Visibility: Search engines recognize unlinked mentions as signals of brand relevance. These sorts of mentions contribute to your SEO efforts, improving your visibility in organic search results.

  • Insights into Brand Perception: Unlinked mentions provide insights into how your brand is perceived online. Monitoring such mentions can inform your marketing and content strategies.

  • Potential for Conversion into Backlinks: Unlinked mentions can be converted into backlinks. Reaching out to the mentioning sites and requesting a link can enhance your backlink profile.

  • Diversification of SEO Strategy: Leveraging unlinked mentions diversifies your SEO approach. It's a strategy that complements traditional link-building efforts, offering a broader reach in your SEO campaign.

What Types of Brand Mentions Are Valuable for Link Building?

which brand mentions are valuable

Not all mentions are created equally. At Vazoola, we've learned that identifying the right type of unlinked mention is key to effective link building.

Valuable mentions typically emerge from respected and relevant sources, offering positive references to your brand.

These mentions, when harnessed correctly, can be powerful tools to enhance your SEO strategy.

Mentions should align with your brand's image and goals, coming from sources that add credibility and value to your online presence. In essence, you want to find all the links that add value to your SEO profile.

So, what exactly makes a brand mention worthy of a link? Following are seven examples of positive unlinked brand mentions valuable for link building:

  • Mentions in Industry-Related Blog Post: When a respected blog directly related to your industry mentions your brand, it highlights your relevance and high authority in your field.

  • Features in News Articles: Being featured in news articles or press releases, especially from a well-known publication, can significantly boost your brand's visibility and credibility.

  • Discussions on Professional Forums: A positive unlinked brand mention in a niche forum shows that your brand is a topic of discussion among industry professionals.

  • Reviews and Testimonials: Positive reviews or testimonials, even without a link, reflect customer satisfaction and can attract potential customers.

  • Social Media Shoutouts: When a known personality mentions your brand on social media platforms, especially mentions from niche influencers or industry leaders, it can rapidly increase your brand's exposure.

  • Mentions in Case Studies or Reports: Inclusion in other pages with case studies or industry reports signifies your brand's importance and impact in your sector.

  • References in Online Guides or Resource Lists: When your brand is listed as a resource or referenced in an online guide, it underscores your expertise and value in your industry.

Unlinked Brand Mentions Vs. Unfollow Links

Unlinked Mentions link juice

Links play a large part in Google rankings, but what about unlinked mentions? If an authoritative website mentioned your brand, is it as good as a nofollow link?

Understanding the distinction between an unlinked brand mention and a nofollow link is crucial in crafting an effective SEO strategy.

While both play significant roles in the digital marketing landscape, as mentioned by Google Search advocate John Mueller in a Google SEO Office Hours hangout, they serve different purposes and offer unique benefits.

Unlinked brand mentions refer to instances when a brand is mentioned online without a hyperlink. These mentions are valuable for digital marketing as they support organic recognition and demonstrate discussion of your brand.

Search engines like Google, however, do not recognize unlinked mentions as links, nor does the search giant supply them with any link juice.

Still, unlinked mentions are beneficial for increasing brand awareness and credibility, as they often are brand representatives indicating genuine endorsements or discussions about your brand.

Nofollow links, on the other hand, are hyperlinks that include a "nofollow" tag, instructing search engines not to pass on link equity or link juice.

These links, while not directly influencing search results, are essential for a balanced and natural-looking link profile. They contribute to the diversity of your backlink portfolio and can drive organic traffic to your site.

Nofollow links, which don't directly impact a site's domain rating, often come from forums, comments, and certain social media platforms, where linking is frequent but not necessarily an endorsement of quality or high authority.

unlinked mentions vs no follow

Unclear on the distinction between nofollow links and unlinked mentions?

Our team at Vazoola has identified a few key differences between unlinked brand mentions and nofollow links:

  • SEO Impact: Unlinked mentions can indirectly boost digital marketing strategies by signaling brand relevance Nofollow links do not directly contribute to domain rating or SEO rankings but add to the natural diversity of a link profile.

  • Nature of Endorsement: Unlinked mentions often reflect organic recognition or discussion, while nofollow links may not necessarily indicate an endorsement of content quality.

  • Source of Traffic: Nofollow links can be a direct source of organic traffic if users choose to click on them, unlike unlinked mentions which do not provide a direct pathway to a website.

  • Link Equity: Unlinked mentions do not pass link equity since there is no hyperlink, whereas nofollow links explicitly tell search engines not to pass link equity while still offering subtle ranking cues.

Where to Find Unlinked Brand Mentions

where to find unlinked mentions

How do you highlight unlinked mentions? Uncovering unlinked brand mentions is a strategic process that involves a variety of tools and techniques.

Once we find mentions, we've learned they can enhance SEO efforts and strengthen an online presence. Specialized tools then not only track mentions but also provide valuable data that can shape marketing strategies.

Brand Monitoring Tools

track unlinked brand mentions

Brand monitoring tools are indispensable for tracking your brand's online mentions, keywords, and competitor activities. Not only can you recognize current mentions, but you can become alerted to new unlinked mentions, as well.

They offer insights into your brand's digital footprint, allowing you to gauge public perception and respond appropriately.


The following tools are crucial for staying informed about how and where your brand is discussed in the digital sphere. If your goal is to find brand mentions, consider employing the following:

  • MentionMention specializes in real-time monitoring across the web and social media. It not only tracks mentions but also analyzes them for sentiment and reach, offering a comprehensive view of your brand's impact.

  • Brand24Brand24 provides immediate access to online mentions, coupled with detailed analytics. It's particularly useful for understanding the context of mentions and assessing their potential influence.

  • Google TrendsGoogle Trends is a valuable tool for tracking the popularity of search queries related to your brand. It offers insights into trending topics, helping you align your content and SEO strategies with current interests.

  • HootsuiteHootsuite goes beyond social media management, offering effective monitoring of brand mentions across various platforms. Its integrated dashboard simplifies tracking and responding to these mentions.

  • TalkwalkerTalkwalker excels in analyzing online conversations about your brand. It identifies key influencers and sentiment trends, providing actionable insights for your marketing strategy.

Custom Audits

unlinked mentions audit

Conducting custom audits is a proactive way to discover unlinked mentions. These audits involve using specialized tools to scan the web and identify where your brand is mentioned, providing opportunities for outreach and link building.

Here at Vazoola, we suggest a few different tools and platforms to assist in conducting audits of your brand or domain, including:

  • Screaming FrogScreaming Frog is a comprehensive website crawler that identifies unlinked mentions on web pages. It's an essential tool for scanning your website and external sites for brand mentions, offering a detailed overview of your online presence.

  • Ahrefs Content Explorer: Ahrefs Content Explorer is a powerful tool for discovering content where your brand is mentioned. Ahrefs allows for extensive filtering and sorting, making it easier to pinpoint relevant mentions and potential link-building opportunities.

  • BuzzstreamBuzzstream streamlines the discovery and outreach process for unlinked mentions. It not only helps to find unlinked brand mentions but also assists in managing relationships with site owners for potential link conversion.

  • SEMRushSEMRush offers a suite of tools for comprehensive SEO analysis, including tracking brand mentions. Its detailed reports and analytics are invaluable for refining your SEO and link-building strategies.

  • Moz ProMoz Pro includes features for tracking brand mentions and link building. It's a versatile tool that aids in identifying unlinked mentions and evaluating the authority of the sites where these mentions occur.

Social Media Listening

Monitoring social media platforms is essential for spotting fresh mentions and potential outreach opportunities.

Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are rich with discussions and references to brands. Engaging with these new mentions can lead to valuable connections and link-building opportunities.

We suggest actively monitoring these platforms, as they can provide real-time insights into public perception and emerging trends related to your brand.

Pro Tips:

social media analytics tools

Use social media analytics tools to identify trending topics and popular content related to your brand. This can guide your strategy for targeting unlinked mentions that are most likely to resonate with your audience.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a simple yet effective tool for receiving notifications about new mentions of your brand or targeted keywords.

For instance, a local bakery might set up alerts for terms like “best pastries” or “local bakery” to discover unlinked mentions in food blogs, local guides, or customer reviews.

These alerts can serve as a prompt for outreach, allowing the bakery to engage with these platforms and potentially convert brand mentions into links.

Pro Tips:

Googles advanced search operators

Master Google's advanced search operators to find unlinked mentions more efficiently. For example, use intext: or related: operators to narrow down your search to the most relevant web pages.

Competitor Backlink Analysis

Analyzing your competitors' backlinks can reveal websites that might mention your brand without linking.

The strategy helps in identifying potential link-building opportunities and understanding the backlink strategies of your competitors.

uncover unlinked mentions

A few popular tools to assist in competitor backlink analysis include:

  • MajesticMajestic offers a detailed backlink analysis tool, providing insights into the quality and quantity of backlinks for any given domain. It's useful for understanding your competitors' link profiles and identifying potential opportunities for link-building efforts on your own site.

  • Link Explorer by MozMoz's Link Explorer provides a comprehensive analysis of backlink profiles. It helps in uncovering where your competitors earn valuable backlinks, offering insights into potential unlinked mention opportunities for your brand.

  • Ahrefs Backlink CheckerAhrefs Backlink Checker is renowned for its extensive database and detailed backlink analysis. It allows you to see the backlinks of any website, offering a clear view of your competitors' link-building strategies.

  • SEMRush Backlink AnalyticsSEMRush's Backlink Analytics tool offers an in-depth look at the backlink profiles of your competitors. It helps in identifying where they are mentioned and the quality of those mentions, providing strategic insights for your own SEO efforts.

  • SpyFuSpyFu excels in competitor analysis, including backlink tracking. It provides detailed reports on competitors' backlinks, helping you identify gaps in your own strategy and opportunities for improvement.


Industry Publications and Forums

Actively participating in industry discussions and forums is a valuable way to naturally generate unlinked brand mentions.

Engaging in these platforms allows you to establish your brand as a thought leader and contributor in your field. Examples of such platforms include industry-specific forums, online magazines, and professional groups.

Our link building experience has revealed by contributing valuable insights and information, you can increase the likelihood of your brand being mentioned, leading to potential link-building opportunities.

How to Convert Brand Mentions to Backlinks

convert unlinked mentions

To turn unlinked mentions and unlinked domains into backlinks is a nuanced art that involves strategic communication and relationship building.

It's about recognizing opportunities and approaching them in a way that benefits both your brand and the website mentioning you.

The process not only enhances your SEO efforts but also expands your network and online authority, creating a win-win situation for both parties involved.

We suggest following a series of strategic steps, so you can effectively convert these unlinked mentions into valuable backlinks, thereby boosting your online presence and credibility.

1. Conduct Personalized Outreach

Personalized outreach to referring domains is key in converting unlinked mentions to backlinks.

Crafting thoughtful, tailored messages to referring domains' website owners or authors can make a significant difference. When conducting effective outreach, remember the following:

  • Research the website and author to personalize your message. This shows that you have taken the time to understand their content and audience. You might try reaching out via a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile.

  • Mention specific details from their content to show genuine engagement. This approach demonstrates that your outreach is not generic but well-informed and relevant.

  • Clearly state the unlinked mention and politely suggest adding a link. Be direct yet courteous in your request, making it clear why adding a link would be beneficial.

  • Keep the message concise, friendly, and professional. A well-written, respectful message increases the likelihood of a positive response.

Pro Tips:

Collaborate with influencers

Collaborate with influencers in your industry to amplify your reach. Influencers can help in highlighting your brand in their content, leading to natural unlinked mentions that you can later convert into backlinks.

2. Offer Value and Expertise

When reaching out to convert unlinked mentions into backlinks, it's crucial to highlight how linking to your content adds value to their website and audience.

Such an approach involves demonstrating the relevance and quality of your content.

Unsure how to offer value? We suggest the following:

  • Explain how your content complements or enhances their article. Doing so shows that you are not just seeking a link, but also offering something that enriches their content.

  • Offer additional resources or insights that benefit their readers. By providing extra value, you make the proposition more attractive.

  • Position your content as a solution to a problem or gap in their current content. The approach shows that you understand their content strategy and are offering a meaningful contribution.

3. Provide Linking Options

Making it easy for content creators to link to your site increases the likelihood of converting mentions into backlinks. Doing so involves providing them with specific, easy-to-implement linking options.

When determining what linking options to provide, craft a winning offer using the following tips:

  • Suggest relevant anchor text that fits naturally into their content. This helps maintain the flow of their article while incorporating your link.

  • Provide a short, ready-made snippet or a summary that can be easily included. This reduces the effort required on their part to add your link.

  • Offer different page options for linking, giving them a choice to find the most relevant content. This flexibility allows them to choose what best fits their content needs.

Pro Tips:

link-worthy content assets

Develop a library of high-quality, link-worthy content assets like infographics, whitepapers, or comprehensive guides. After you find unlinked mentions, offering these resources during outreach can significantly increase your chances of securing a backlink.

4. Build Relationships

Engaging in genuine conversations with website owners and editors is crucial for fostering long-term connections.

These relationships can lead to ongoing link-building opportunities with creators who can become brand advocates. You even might be invited to contribute a guest post to their platform.

When you're ready to start building relationships, we suggest the following tips to help achieve SEO success:

  • Show genuine interest in their work and offer constructive feedback or praise. This establishes a positive foundation for your interaction.

  • Engage in meaningful dialogue beyond just the link request. This can include discussing industry trends, sharing insights, or offering assistance.

  • Be respectful and patient in your communications. Building relationships takes time, and a respectful approach can lead to more fruitful interactions.

5. Showcase Success Stories

Sharing examples of your past successes in converting mentions to backlinks can serve as social proof and build trust.

The approach demonstrates your expertise and the effectiveness of your strategies. We suggest infusing your pitch with success stories such as:

  • Share case studies or testimonials from previous successful link conversions. This provides concrete examples of your success.

  • Highlight the benefits that other websites have experienced by linking to your content. This can include increased traffic, enhanced credibility, or improved content quality.

  • Offer statistics or data that show the impact of your backlinks on their SEO or web presence. This factual evidence can be a powerful persuader.

6. Follow Up

Conducting follow-ups with contacts is an important part of the outreach process. It shows persistence and dedication to forming a connection.

When following up with contacts, be sure to take into account the following:

  • A follow-up message can serve as a reminder if your initial outreach was overlooked. It keeps your request on their radar.

  • It provides an opportunity to address any concerns or questions they might have. This can include clarifying your request or offering additional information.

  • Following up demonstrates your commitment to building a relationship, not just acquiring a link. This can lead to more positive interactions and potential collaborations in the future.

Pro Tips:

track your outreach efforts

Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to track your outreach efforts. This helps in organizing contacts, monitoring follow-ups, and analyzing the effectiveness of different outreach strategies over time.

Avoid These Common Potential Pitfalls When Turning Unlinked Mentions Into Backlinks

avoid mistakes

Turning unlinked mentions into backlinks is a delicate process that requires tact, patience, and strategic thinking.

While this approach can significantly enhance your SEO and brand visibility, we've found it's important to be aware of common pitfalls.

Avoiding the following mistakes ensures that your efforts in converting unlinked mentions into backlinks are both effective and respectful, maintaining your brand's reputation and fostering positive relationships:

  • Spammy Outbound Tactics: Beware of aggressive or automated outreach methods. These sorts of link building tactic can come across as impersonal and pushy, potentially harming your brand's reputation. Personalized, thoughtful communication is key to successful outreach.

  • Low-Quality Mentions and Links: Avoid an opportunity to get mentioned on sites without the highest domain authority like a link farm, and avoid the temptation to pursue every mention. Focus on converting mentions from reputable, relevant sources. Links from low-quality or spammy websites such as link farms can do more harm than good, negatively impacting your SEO efforts.

  • Unrealistic Expectations: Understand that converting unlinked mentions into backlinks is a gradual process that requires consistent effort. It's not just about sending out emails; it's about building relationships and providing value. Set realistic goals and be patient with the process.

  • Failing to Measure Success: It's crucial to measure the effectiveness of your outreach efforts and track the conversion of mentions to backlinks. The data will help you refine your strategy, understand what works, and focus your efforts more effectively. Use tools and metrics to monitor your progress and adjust your tactics as needed.

Is Claiming Unlinked Brand Mentions a Worthwhile Endeavor?

Claiming unlinked brand mentions is undoubtedly a worthwhile endeavor in the world of SEO and digital marketing. These mentions, when identified and converted into backlinks, can significantly enhance your online presence and authority.

In our vast experience with link building, we've learned the process of turning unlinked mentions into backlinks is not just about improving search engine rankings; it's also about expanding your brand's reach, building valuable relationships, and establishing credibility in your industry.

By engaging in personalized outreach, offering value and expertise, and building genuine relationships, you can effectively convert these mentions into powerful SEO assets.

It's important to approach this process with patience, understanding that it involves consistent effort and strategic communication.

See Similar Articles:  Link Building | Link Building Strategies

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