SEO has changed so drastically over the past few years inciting cries of “SEO is Dead” across the interwebs. This was even truer for building links with the release of multiple Penguin algorithm updates. However, SEO and specifically promotions are not dead, they have just evolved to a higher level. Promotions is still relevant and is an important part of building your website’s authority. But as always you need to follow the best practices that Google has outlined. As long as your promotions efforts are in line with Google guidelines you will be safe from penalties.
A great way to gain quality inbound links to your site is leveraging your brand mentions. Many websites mention your brand or publish your site’s logo but never actually link back to you. This presents an easy opportunity for gaining inbound links by doing outreach. This outreach effort is much easier than other types as the site which has mentioned you is most likely familiar with your brand and company. Upon identifying your brand mentions, you should carefully select the sites to reach out to based on the site quality, authority, and the likelihood they would respond.
Identifying Brand Mentions
So how do you go about identifying where your site has been mentioned on other websites? Here are a few ways to do so:
- Google Alerts – http://www.google.com/alerts Setup a Google Alerts notification for your brand. Whenever your brand is mentioned you will be notified via email. Document the mentions and look for outreach opportunities.
- Reverse Image Lookup – Identify sites that have published your logo by doing a reverse image lookup in Google Images. Simply paste a URL to your logo or upload your logo and hit “Search by image”. Google will return all the webpages that have your logo published.
- Moz Fresh Web Explorer – https://freshwebexplorer.moz.com/ Utilize the Moz Fresh Web Explorer tool to identify where your brand has been mentioned. This tool shows you mentions within the past 4 weeks and also has an alert option. You can export the data in Excel format.
Outreach Best Practices
Once you have identified your brand mention opportunities you then need to reach out. In your outreach to the websites you need to be careful and follow best practices. You should approach these websites with the mindset of building a relationship and not just getting a link. Your outreach email should not be a template but rather customized to that specific site. Here are some guidelines you should follow:
- Do not recommend or ask for specific anchor text. This is against Google’s policy. Simply request that the site link back to you.
- Do not pay, incentivize, or barter for a link. This is against Google’s policy. You are simply asking and it is up to the site owner to link to your site or not.
- Be sure to provide a link to the page where your site has been mentioned.
- Do not mention “link building” or “SEO”. Your messaging should be focused around brand building and helping users find more information.
- Present a relationship opportunity. Is this site likely to mention you again?
- Ensure you have proper tracking in place for outreach emails. There are tools which can help with this but Excel can be utilized as well. Document responses, follow ups, and successes.