Before we’re talking about unlinked mentions and how you can benefit from tracking them as a backlink strategy, let’s have a brief introduction to Backlinks.

What is a Backlink?

A backlink is a link from one website or blog to a specific page or another website or blog. If your site is having a high amount of backlinks, Google will recognize it and promote you to a higher organic search engine rank.

Backlinks are very valuable for SEO since they work as a kind of “quality receipt” from one site to another. If your website is having many backlinks from other sites, it tells the search engines that you’re a trustworthy and quality source, worth linking to.

In the picture below you’ll find a couple of backlinks to different sources, colored in yellow.

Having a solid amount of backlinks linking to your site, product or service is a very reliable and good way of ranking on search engines.

There are many ways to get backlinks and for most of the time it’s common sense to link to a product, source or website if you’re mentioning it.

You can also create your own back links by writing guest posts or articles on a specific site that is nieched or that you know is targeting the same audience as you.

Either way, you don’t have to sit down and wait for people to link to your website, you can actually start gaining backlinks today.

Below is another example of a backlink could look: The website Ignite Visibility is backlinking to the guest blogging site Copyblogger.

Why are backlinks such a good thing?

Since the birth of Google, the search engine has made uncountable changes to its algorithm. Still, backlinks are one of the most important things to improve your ranking on Google.

Google themselves claims that backlinks actually are one of their three most important search engine ranking components.

So, what is an unlinked mention?

As you can see on the name, it’s a mention of your product, brand, name or service that hasn’t been linked to your website.

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, you will sooner or later stumble upon a website where you’ll find your business, product or service getting mentioned without having a link to the source – you.

As in this case below for example, the blog is mentioning The Australian Independent Magazine without linking to it. That is an unlinked mention.

Use unlinked mentions as a backlink strategy

Instead of getting irritated over the fact that the writer did not link to your website, see this as a great opportunity to actually get the link. I mean, the content provider is already aware of you since the site is mentioning you, and that just gives you a good reason to reach out and simply ask them to exchange it and replace it with a link.

How to track unlinked mentions

But how to turn this into a strategy that will actually gain you something in the long term, by finding unlinked mentions? To just stumble upon them doesn’t sound like an effective strategy.

Instead, there are a couple of ways to go and one of them is through Ahref’s Content Explorer. The tool is developed to scan almost one billion web pages for mentions of any word or phrase.
It is possible to find unlinked mentions, but it’s also a good way of finding niche sites.

This is a very effective way for finding sites related to specific topics or products. Save a couple of hours and start reaching out to the site owners.

If you don’t have access to tools like Ahref’s Content Explorer, there is the old-school way of tracking unlinked mentions manually on Google. This is not as effective, but still a good way to do it, especially if you’re a niche and smaller business.

Ahref’s got an example on how you can do it and get the most out of it here.

Prioritize linking from high-quality pages – not domains

When you’re out there hunting for unlinked mentions, make sure you’re prioritizing links from high-quality pages. Note that it’s not the quality of the original domain, but the page that counts.

One single backlink from a high-quality source can be more powerful than a thousand bad ones. And it says itself. A backlink from Forbes is better than a backlink from a random private moderated blog, and Google thinks exactly the same way.

Another example. If you’re running a tech business or in some way are related to the tech industry – a backlink from TechCrunch is one of the most valuable sites around the internet. The site is ranked as an authority site and is well trusted by Google.

These kinds of backlinks are of course harder to get, and you might not reach the biggest sites in the beginning. But when you do, it’s always worth the effort.

4 reasons why it’s valuable to track unlinked mentions

  1. By getting a backlink from a trusted source, such as a well-established website with a good reputation, you will also gain a better brand reputation and in that way grow the trust around your business.
  2. Finding unlinked mentions is much easier and more effective than hunting down new blogs or sites for backlinking. Obviously, the website hosts are already familiar with your brand, service or product and that improves the chances of them opening up your email.
  3. If you’re lucky, the unlinked mention is placed on a website of high popularity which in return will lead more traffic to your website, which will make your brand and business grow.
  4. When reaching out to publishers, site owners and bloggers – the ones that did the unlinked mention in the beginning, you’re also getting a valuable connection. Who knows? Maybe you’re ending up with a partnership or a collaboration in the future?


Gaining backlinks to your website is a very strong way of improving your rank on the Search engines. The more backlinks from trustworthy websites gives your site credibility on Google.

As always when it comes to marketing, it’s crucial to know your audience and product. When looking for guest post opportunities, as a way of gaining new backlinks, on blogs and news sites, do your research and make sure you’re reaching out to valuable sources and partner sites that are within your niche.

There is more than one way to track unlinked mentions to turn them into a backlink. The most effective is to use one of the tools available, as Ahrefs Content Explorer for example. Although, it’s possible to track them through an Advance Google Search, it’s a process that would fit a small company or solo entrepreneur the best.

And remember, when reaching out: Always think about the opportunity to build long-term relations and don’t be afraid to pitch a suggestion for a collaboration.