External Linking – “The Mention” Link Building Strategy

External linking is an important part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and in this “post-Google penguin era” it is not an easy task.  Below is an explanation of where I like to begin when looking to expand a client’s link portfolio.  I feel it is the best way to start gaining the ‘most valuable’ external links in what @RandFish explained in a Whiteboard Friday as, “the rebirth of the Link Earning Era.”

“The Mention” Link Building Strategy = The Low Hanging Fruit

In the agency world, this strategy can vary from client to client.  Ideally, you desire a client with a company or brand that receives a significant amount of PR.  In this situation, you can look for “The Mention” on the Internet.  I prefer to start by browsing primarily through news articles, then blogs, and finish by going through the entire web using Google.  I personally suggest creating news alerts within Google for the different variations of mentions for your brand or company, and pursuing links on the mentions without them at the beginning or end of each month. Finding these mentions can be pretty seamless task, but with different combinations of search match types & keywords, you can get pretty creative and strategic.  For example, a slight manipulation to a client’s branded keyword can lead to the discovery of a mention on a website like CNN.com. (Yes, this actually happened.) With a domain authority of 100, CNN.com and other similar websites are a clear link to obtain. Finding the mentions of your brand or company that don’t already have a link to your website is not the most difficult part of this process.  The toughest part of “The Mention” external linking strategy is finding the right person’s contact information and getting them to not only read and respond to your emails, but add a link on their website. For websites like CNN.com, finding authors contact information, which is not provided, can be a very formidable assignment.  However, finding a way to foster a relationship with a newly-found contact and persuading them to add a link to the mention of your company to your website can be even more daunting.  Some days, efforts may not be as successful at producing any new links, but other days may provide you with multiple high-quality links to your website. Finding the right person to contact and reaching out to them in the correct manner to get the desired response is not simple, but if it is done correctly, it will ultimately pay off.  I prefer to, and have had the most success by contacting the author of the article or the Webmaster of the website.  Also, in certain situations I have obtained new links by contacting the corrections department of a website. This success has stemmed from quite a bit of trial and error.  It may take a hundred emails before you find the writing style of an email that works.  As someone once said, “Sometimes you must fail 10,000 times, before succeeding once.”

The Mention Linking Building Strategy

“The Mention” Link Building Tips (Summary):

  • Look for quality mentions
  • High domain authority websites
  • Low number of links on landing page
  • Creditable source
  • Good anchor text
  • Contact the right person (Author or Webmaster)
  • Be personable & professional
  • Create a relationship – Become an acquaintance
    • *Can benefit from the relationship in the future*
  • Remove “Online Marketing” or “SEO” from your signature
  • Remember it’s a trial and error process
    • Learn from your mistakes
    • Stick with it!
  • Always use your manners – Please & Thank You

I’m sure there is plenty of things I forgot to mention… Please leave your questions, thoughts or comments below. Thanks!
By Nick Noble

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