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How To Leverage Link Building To Grow Your Brand Online

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Credibility matters in marketing. It’s always better to have someone vouch for your abilities than doing do it yourself, and backlinks are the most effective way to display that vote of confidence to search engine algorithms. It acts as evidence that your site offers value and authority on the topic. But with search engine algorithms getting stricter and more convoluted, it’s getting harder to build links. 

Luckily, there are still several strategies you can use that are ethical and effective, helping you build a stronger backlink profile for your site.  

Find unlinked mentions

If your site has been live for a while, there’s a good chance other businesses have already talked about your brand. So, what if I told you that you could transform those mentions into valuable links for your business?

What are unlinked mentions?

Unlinked mentions are any mention of your brand online that doesn’t have a link attached to it. Claiming unlinked mentions is a low-effort but highly effective backlink-building strategy. 

How unlinked mentions work

There are several reasons why a mention may not have a link attached. It may be that the page owner never added one in, they removed the link, or they updated the content and added more recent links. Or it may be that the site has been taken over by a different owner, and they have removed older links. But in such cases, you can contact them and ask them to replace the links, or provide them with an updated link if you have also refreshed your content in the meantime. 

Tools needed

I recommend creating a Google Alert for your brand name and search your brand in Google News, using quotation marks if it’s longer than a single word. You can also use software such as Mention or Brandwatch. When you’ve found them, you can search for the contact information on the site to get in touch with the owner and politely ask them to turn that unlinked mention into a backlink. 

Top tips for unlinked mentions

When requesting these backlinks, make sure you add in an exact match for the anchor text that points to your homepage. Then if someone searches for your brand with this anchor text, you’ll improve your chances of your site showing up in the search results. I’d also advise prioritising sites with the highest domain authority, as these will have the biggest impact on your site’s rankings.


Press mentions and high-quality backlinks are hard to gain, but HARO makes the process passive and easier for smaller businesses to see great results. 

What is HARO?

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a service that provides users with a database of sources for upcoming stories to secure media coverage. Where this differs from traditional outreach is that the journalists come to you, often from large media outlets such as Time, Wall Street Journal and Mashable. 

How HARO works 

You can sign up as a source, after which you’ll receive three emails daily, Monday to Friday. These emails will be broken down into categories, and each request will have a title and an outlet. From here, you can search through to find relevant topics you can contribute to. Remember that the larger the outlet, the more responses they’ll receive, so you must ensure your response to an enquiry is carefully considered and well-thought-out. 

Tools needed

In addition to HARO, Ahref’s Site Explorer will help you evaluate domain authority for the enquiries you’re thinking of responding to. 

Top tips for HARO

It’s worth considering upgrading to a paid HARO account because you’ll gain access to additional features that will help your pitches stand out. 

Digital PR

Digital PR should absolutely form part of your link-building strategy. It gives you a competitive advantage, broadens your reach and helps you earn relevant links. 

What is digital PR?

Digital PR services improve your online presence in a similar way to traditional PR – you reach out to journalists and other media professionals, such as bloggers and influencers, to manage your online reputation in a positive way. Digital PR boosts your credibility and helps with networking, and can help bring targeted traffic to your site. 

How digital PR works

You can earn links through PR and influencer-generated content, such as social media posts, YouTube videos, blog posts and product reviews. It builds trust and authority, but it also doubles your links since you’ll get a link from the PR professional or influencer, as well as potentially from readers if they love the content. 

Tools needed

I love that BuzzSumo is great for ideation and pitch creation, but there are a host of other great tools for leveraging digital PR. Prezly can be used for creating multi-media press releases, and Gorkana is brilliant for prospecting. 

Top tips for digital PR

Ensure that links are not ‘non follow’ links, as Google will essentially ignore them, and you’ll get barely any value from them compared to a ‘follow’ link. 

Guest posts

Guest posting is the oldest trick in the book when it comes to link building, but with good reason – it works, and it’s one of the most effective ways to earn links. 

What are guest posts?

Guest posting, or guest blogging, is the process of writing content for another business site. Typically, you’d write for businesses in similar industries to your own to attract relevant traffic back to your site and increase your authority and credibility. It helps you build relationships with peers in your industry, while also raising awareness of your own brand. 

How guest posting works

Guest posts are mutually beneficial – you get a link, and they get high-quality content for their site. All that’s needed is for you to produce a great piece of content, including a link to your site as naturally as possible within it, and get it published on a high-ranking website in your industry. Link building can be a key element in powering your marketing strategy.

Tools needed

Ahrefs is one of my favourite tools for coming up with topics and related sites in any industry or niche – I particularly like their Content Explorer tool for this. But Google is also a great place to start – simply search for keywords from your industry followed by ‘guest post’ or ‘guest post opportunities’ to find sites that accept pitches. 

Top tip for guest posts

Get to know the style of content on your target blog before you pitch to them. A tailored pitch is always going to do better than a general, copy-and-paste email, but it also benefits you because you can be confident their audience will align with your own brand.

Final thoughts

Link building is essential to any long-term SEO strategy, and there are various ways to build a backlink profile that builds your credibility and search rankings. If you need advice on getting started, or you want to see bigger results and a greater return on investment, why not get in touch? I’ve worked with numerous clients over the years to help them build successful link-building strategies and would be happy to help you achieve the same.

Gareth Bull
Gareth Bull
In 2013 I quit my job after ranking my own site and creating a passive income. 10 years down the line I have built an agency that has serviced & grown over 200 online businesses. Co-founded an email platform that has sent 20+ billion emails and much more!
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