How to use Google Alerts for your link-building strategy

14 June 2020

Part of your digital marketing strategy, especially when it comes to establishing a well-rounded SEO campaign, comes down to creating a healthy link-building profile. Essentially, link-building refers to all of the websites that point back to yours, proving to Google that you’re an authority that should be listened to, and therefore, should rank higher in search results. Once you’ve developed a positive approach that works well for you, this kind of strategy can do wonders for your brand presence and reputation online.

So how exactly can you get more link-building opportunities easily?


Ditch the cold-pitch emails

We love Google for a lot of reasons, but another to add to the long list is its Alerts feature, which lets you set up notifications for certain keywords or phrases that are trending on search results.

When these articles or content pieces are published, you'll be notified, and this presents a great opportunity for you to use it as a way to outreach to these websites. For example, a lot of the time, many SEO technicians try to 'cold-pitch' to publications asking for a link back to their website in an article that relates to their business. This is usually very ineffective and can come across as intrusive, annoying or 'spammy' to those you're pitching to.

Outreach to get a link should always be done manually and as a person. Don’t copy and paste emails to publications that are generic or pushy. You’ll do your brand more harm than good. Instead, use Google Alerts by following the below steps to outreach to publications that are more likely to listen to your pitch.


Develop a relationship with site owners


It’s so very important to spend the time developing a connection with a site that you mayu potentially be able to rely on for a link later down the track. It’s likely that you’ll also be able to do the same for them, so your first step should always be to engage, connect and nurture your relationship with these outlets.

This requires a lot of time and effort, and ultimately, it's a long-term strategy. You'll need to do this by investing energy, but the benefits are ten-fold and endless. However, while you're working on this, there are ways you can get some quick-win link building opportunities by using the features that Google's built into its own suite. In the next section, we'll show you exactly how to do that.


Using Google Alerts for link-building opportunities

Firstly, you’ll need a Google account to set this all up, so start by creating your own Gmail account.

Once you’ve done that, head to Google Alerts, where you’ll be met with the search box.

Let's assume that you want to get a link for a topic that relates to content marketing. You type this phrase into the box and see the magic that unfolds.


Before clicking anything else, confirm the email you’d like the alerts to be sent to and click ‘Create Alert’ once you’re ready. There are a few settings available for you to fiddle around with so take your time to customise it to what you need and want.


A few key things to note

There are some ways to phrase your wording in these searches, all of which have a big impact on the results you get.

For instance, if you ask for alerts for content marketing, Google will send you notifications for these that may feature both 'content' and 'marketing'  separately. That means the articles may not necessarily be directly about the core phrase 'content marketing', and may be able the two phrases separately (e.g. content OR marketing). If you want to make this more accurate, change your input to "content marketing". Adding quotation marks ensures you get the exact phrase.

Additionally, you have the option to set up multiple alerts. This is recommended, as it gives you the best shot of getting the most out of this feature. Consider setting up notifications for things like:

    • Your business’s name
    • Your services or products
    • Your target keywords (like content marketing)
    • People attached to your brand (your staff, influencers, etc.)

All of these examples give you an opportunity to ask for a link back to your website while it still remains relevant, especially if these publications are directly talking about your brand or offering.


How to ask for a link

Once you’ve received a list of alerts that relate to your brand, it’s time to reach out to those that published these pieces in the first place. You might need to hunt around for their email on their site or check out their LinkedIn, if you haven’t done the research beforehand.

While we still recommend approaching this strategy with care and attention towards cultivating quality relationships, when you need quick-wins, here's an excellent way to type out your pitch.


Hello {name},

 I noticed that you mentioned our brand in your article (title of article) that you recently published. We are so excited and appreciative of this and are really glad you took the time to mention us.

 Along with just saying thanks, we are also wondering if it would be possible to include a link to our website within this mention. We would really appreciate it!

 Kind regards,

{your name}


If you’ve been working hard on garnering a connection with these publications or authors already, chances are they’ll know you and appreciate the lengths that you’ve gone to, to get to know them. This will give you an added edge when you ask for a link. If you haven’t done this leg-work, it might be a little harder, but it’s always worth the shot. There’s no harm done.


Above all, never beg. There is nothing more annoying than a digital marketer or business owner trying to ‘nag’ for a backlink. Be polite, appreciative and respectful of the other person’s time.


Remember that the more effort you put into establishing quality relationships with your network, the more you’ll be able to come across these opportunities with ease. So, happy link hunting!


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