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How to Acquire Authority Backlinks Using Mention

How to Acquire Authority Backlinks Using Mention

Home Blog Media Monitoring How to Acquire Authority Backlinks Using Mention

How are brand mentions related to link building?

People mention their favorite brands on social media and the web, showing they know about brands and ways to use their offerings to solve their challenges.

People often forget (or don’t care) about adding a hyperlink to the brand’s website. That’s one of the biggest link-building opportunities many marketers overlook.


If a page mentions your brand without a link to your site, it means one of the following:

  • The page is contextually relevant,
  • The author is familiar with your brand and its offerings,
  • They use your product to address their challenges.

All these things make it easy to convert an unlinked mention into a powerful backlink.

If you want to learn how to set up a process for claiming unlinked mentions and acquire relevant backlinks from authority websites on the scale, you are in the right place.

What is an unlinked mention?

Unlinked mentions are references to your brand or products on a website that does not link to yours.

Hunter unlinked mention

While they may still meet the purpose of brand awareness, they represent a huge opportunity cost in terms of backlink potential and rankings in search engines.

You can convert these unlinked mentions into link-building goldmines by contacting the website owners or editors.

On their part, since they already mentioned your company, you don’t have to prove your credibility to them to earn backlinks.

They’re also less likely to ignore your email or refuse to grant the favor.

How to turn unlinked mentions into authority backlinks

Collect web mentions

To round up all the pages that have mentioned your brand or products online, log in to be directed to the dashboard on Mention. Then:

Step 1: Click on Feed and then ‘Add a new alert’.

Mention feed button

Step 2: Select the type of alert you wish to create and your business from the drop-down list. Mention type of alert

If it’s not listed, type it in the search bar and go to the next screen.

Step 3: Add main and optional keywords and websites you wish to exclude from the results (such as your blog or partner websites).

Mention optional keywords

Step 4: When selecting sources, uncheck all boxes except blogs, news, and other pages.

Mention sources

Step 5: Select the applicable regions and languages.

Mention languages

Step 6: Click on ‘Create’.

Mention feed

But you can select a custom time period by clicking on the ‘Filters’ button here

Mention filters

To optimize your efforts, target newer pages first as their publishers are more likely to respond.

You can also head over to ‘Settings’ and enable email notifications to be updated about new mentions.

Mention email notifications
Mention email

If you have offerings with diverse names, or if you are an agency and manage multiple businesses, you can set up separate alerts for each of these.

Filter the results

Step 1: Export the mentions from the previous step in an Excel or CSV file.

Mention feed

Step 2: You’ll receive an email containing the file shortly after. The URLs you’ll see there contain a mix of linked and unlinked mentions.

list of unlinked mentions

Use a URL tab opener and Ctrl+F to check if that page already links to your business website.

Step 3: Delete the linked mentions from your file and check the domain authority of the unlinked ones using Ahrefs’ Website Authority Checker.

DR checker Ahrefs

If you’re dealing with a high volume of entries or don’t have an Ahrefs subscription, Small SEO Tools’ Domain Rating Checker can check domain ratings of up to 10 URLs at once.

Step 4: Going after every brand mention will take time and effort. Achieve maximum impact by shortlisting high-authority domains and contacting them to get backlinks.

DR results

You can add the domain rating data to your exported spreadsheet and segment your results into sections based on their authority (50-60, 61-70, 70-80, and so on). Segmentation helps you with the outreach copy later.

Identify decision-makers

Next to each page address in your sheet of mentions, start filling in the contact information of the decision makers you will contact.

Adding a backlink classifies as a content edit, so you’ll want to look for people in that company with the decision-making power to edit the content.

These titles may differ from company to company, but here are a few ideas:

  1. Head of Content or content manager
  2. Content Editor
  3. Content writers (employees only)
  4. Head of Marketing or Content Marketing Officer
  5. Head of Growth or Growth Manager
  6. Outreach manager
  7. Founder or co-founder (for smaller companies)

Hunter’s Domain Search lets you find relevant decision makers and their email addresses for a particular domain and filter them according to their department.

Hunter Domain Search

Step 1: Type in the domain of your prospect and skim through the results.

Remember to select only someone likely to have decision-making power for link placements.

Step 2: If you can’t find the right person to contact, spamming a developer or finance manager won’t do you any favors, so head to the company’s LinkedIn page for the next step.

Go through their list of employees and select the most suitable designation for outreach.

Mention LinkedIn

Step 3: Their email could be listed in the Contact Info section on their profile, but in most cases, you’ll need to find it elsewhere. Hunter’s Email Finder lets you quickly find a valid email address based on the prospect’s full name and company URL.

Hunter Email Finder

Find valid email addresses

Link insertion is a numbers game and the number of placements you get correlates with the number of people you reach out to.

Finding each representative’s contact information on a prospect sheet with hundreds or thousands of entries can take months.

You can use a free Google Chrome extension that makes finding and validating contact information accessible.

Email Chrome extension

Step 1: Install it, and before using it, ensure your sheet has every contact person’s first name, last name, and organization in columnar format.

Sheet formatting cleaning

Step 2: Click on ‘Find email addresses’ and it will automatically fill in all the addresses listed on its database.

Step 3: If you already have a pre-existing email address for a contact, make sure to run it through an email checker to minimize the chances of your cold email not getting delivered.

Email Checker

Step 4: Highlight the organizations for which an address isn’t available or valid.

Step 5: Look for the next best person to contact from that organization, such as the SEO Head or Content Marketing Officer or, failing all else, the founder.

Step 6: Fill in their first and last name in the sheet, and run the Email Finder once more to have a complete list of prospects to pitch to.

Craft an irresistible cold email sequence

Now that you have your list of prospects ready, the only thing standing between you and the backlink profile is your outreach message.

If you want to convert backlink opportunities at scale, you’ll have to create a set of highly personalized, persuasive email templates that can make recipients see the value in your offer.

Interestingly, these campaigns don’t require much personalization since recipients already know about and promote your brand – just without a backlink. This outreach campaign aims to turn unlinked mentions into authority backlinks.

The average open rate is 54.6%, while the average response rate is 11.8% – significantly higher than the industry averages.

1. Subject line

Use first name, organization, or event-based merge tags to personalize the subject line. Keep the wording specific, like ‘{first_name}, thanks for mentioning [our_brand]?’ instead of generic: ‘Asking for a small favor’.

Declaring your intention upfront lets the recipient know:

  1. Yours is not another promotional email, and
  2. You’re not going to waste their time.

2. Opening line

Start by referencing the article on their website that mentions your business and express your delight at knowing they liked/used it enough to recommend it to their readers.

email opening line

Superficial compliments like ‘Love your work!’ impress no one. Find a feature about their business that’s not immediately apparent, a design element on their website, or their founder’s posts on LinkedIn to find your way into their good books.

3. Email “meat”

Let them know how important it would be to your business to get a link back from their website and that you would be more than happy to reciprocate.

Lay down your offer clearly: a backlink, a blog mention, or a product giveaway. Highlight how it will benefit them. This encourages them to either agree to it instantly or respond with their counter-offer.

Email offer

4. The CTA

The Call to Action for an email like this would usually be an affirmative reply. But if your offer is complicated or will likely involve further negotiations, you can ask them to schedule a call and include a link to your calendar.

Here is the email outreach copy example you can use:

Full email outreach message


Finding and going after quality backlink opportunities is one thing. Getting them is another.

Let’s see it on our example:

In 2023, we identified 529 link-building prospects using Mention. We got responses from 65 prospects. And that number would have been much lower if we hadn’t followed up.

Let’s take two of our largest campaigns as an example.

Largest outreach campaign

We sent 419 emails and got 52 responses. 28 responses came from the initial email, while 24 (46%) came from follow-ups.

2nd largest outreach campaign

Follow-ups accounted for 56% of all responses in our second campaign.

When it comes to follow-ups, don’t complicate or hyper-personalize. Here are two examples you can use:

Email Follow-up 1
Email Follow-up 2

You can go beyond and send a third follow-up, but we don’t recommend any further emails. What works is connecting with prospects on LinkedIn and moving the discussion there.

Boost your open and reply rates by:

  • Stating a clear CTA. Link to the blog page in question and highlight the anchor text they can use. Make it as easy as you can for prospects to accept your offer.
  • Spacing your emails two to three days apart. It’s enough time for them to consider your offer without letting it slip out of their minds.
  • Using email automation software to create scheduled email sequences.
Email automation software
  • You can set behavioral triggers using the various customization fields and personalize email copy at scale.
  • If the recipient maintains an active presence on LinkedIn or Twitter, reach out to them there, too. A cross-channel approach shows your sincerity and is more likely to be noticed by prospects.

Negotiate the link placement

Once you’ve established contact with the prospect, negotiating a placement is relatively straightforward.

Most bloggers and website owners will expect some quid pro quo to grant you the backlink.

We usually offer free credits for their Hunter account, but depending on your industry and budget, you can offer any of these:

  • A mention of them in your upcoming blog post or guest post
  • If you have a sizable social media following, a shoutout, or feature involving their brand in your post, story, or podcast.
  • A backlink to their website
  • A guest post on your or a partner’s website
  • A free trial, demo, membership credits, affiliate partnership or a discount to your product

Remain open to other compensating methods or combining any of the above methods, especially for high-authority backlinks.

Even if the conversation doesn’t culminate in a backlink this time, you want to keep the door open for future collaborations and linking opportunities.

Wrapping Up

Unlinked mentions are one of the easiest ways to build your website’s reputation and boost its ranking on SERPs.

If executed manually, the process can take time, but the results are well worth the effort.

You can streamline it further by using Mention to find unlinked mentions and set up alerts for new ones.

It will take a few trials and errors to get the hang of it, but with the help of these two tools, you can set up an almost entirely automated system that serves as a regenerating source of fresh backlink opportunities.

Antonio Gabrić

Antonio Gabric is an outreach manager at Hunter. For the last three years, he’s been helping SaaS companies grow their organic traffic and revenue through link building. At Hunter, Antonio is leading a link-building and outreach team to build backlinks that move the needle and connect with industry leaders. To get in touch and follow his experiments, say hi on LinkedIn.

Outreach manager @Hunter