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Find link opportunities using Google's search commands
October 18, 2019
STOCKHOLM


With Google's search commands, you can find pages on the web where your brand is mentioned - but not linked. Although the people behind these mentions often have some relationship with your company, they may have forgotten or not thought about linking to your site. Hopefully, you can turn several of these mentions into actual real links.

If you have a well-known brand, the chances are high that someone has mentioned your company on their site but forgot to link to you. It can be about, for example, customers who bought something from you and blogged about it or partners you work with. Since those who have written about you already have some relationship with your brand, the chances are good that you can turn several of these mentions into actual real links.

The first step in this process is to create a list of sites on the web that mention your brand - whether they link or not.

Reverse site search on Google

You can use Google's own search commands to find other sites that mention your brand. With a reverse site search, you ask Google to list content from any domain other than your own. To do a reverse site search, put a minus sign in front of the site: and then enter your own domain.

Here are some examples of search commands you can try googling. Replace your company with your brand, and see what you find.

-site:yourcompany.com yourcompany

This search will return all pages that are not on your site that contain your company name somewhere on the page. It is especially useful if you want to check in which different contexts your brand is being mentioned.

-site:yourcompany.com intitle:yourcompany inurl:blog

Will return all pages that are not your site that contain your company name in the title and blog in the URL. This search can be useful if you want to check how some bloggers talk about your brand and if they link to you. (It will not return all blogs that are indexed, only those that have blogs in the URL).

-site:yourcompany.com "bought" AND "your company"

All pages that are not yourcompany.com but contain the words "bought" and "your company" somewhere on the page. This is good e.g., if you want to look for customers who blogged that they bought something from you.

-site:yourcompany.com inurl:partners OR inurl:showcase yourcompany

All pages that are not on yourcompany.com, but which contain your company somewhere on the page and include partners or showcases in the URL. Especially useful if you want to look for partners who mentioned you on their site but forgot to link.

100 search results per page

Start by setting Google to show 100 search results per page instead of the usual 10 before doing your searches.

Download lists of what Google's SERP looks like, and then it will be faster if you can download 100 pages at a time instead of 10. You do this on Google under Settings -> Search settings -> Set Results per page to 100.

Extract the pages

To save all the URLs displayed in the SERP, use the free plugin SEO Quake. First, check all the parameters that SEO Quake shows under Parameters, which will speed up each page load.

Parameters in SEO Quake

When you have completed a search, click on the SERP report and download the URLs list that appears in the search result. Repeat the same procedure for different inquiries and put everything in a standard list, e.g., an Excel document.

Sort the pages that do not link

Going through the entire list manually to find which ones do not link would take far too long. To save time, you could use the Custom Extraction function in Screaming Frog and create a rule based on the list and filter out the URLs that don't link to your domain.

Go to Configuration -> Custom -> Extraction -> Rename Extractor 1 to Link -> Select XPath and enter the following:

// a [contains (@href, "yourcompany.com")] / @ href

Replace yourcompany.com to your domain. Then set Mode to List, upload your list. When the run is over, you will see which URLs link do and don't link to your domain. You can sort the pages that don't link to you by going to the line titled Link 1 in Screaming Frog. Pages that do not link to your domain will have blank fields. Go through the URLs and see which pages you want and think you can get real links from. Good luck!