Find Quality Link Opportunities with Google Alerts

Find Quality Link Opportunities with Google Alerts

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Finding quality backlinks is one of the most difficult SEO tasks. It can eat up tons of time without any guarantees you’ll get a link. However, link building is still one of the most impactful ranking factors. You can’t neglect it. That’s why we want to share one of the best free link building tools (in our opinion) – Google Alerts. 

Using Google Alerts for link building saves you time searching for quality and relevant links. Not to mention, you can find unlinked brand mentions this way. Here’s how we use it for building links. 

Why Google Alerts for Link Building?

Building links with Google Alerts is one of the best link building tools. It’s free, easy to set up, and sends potential opportunities straight to your inbox. These alerts also allow you to:

    • Access the Most Robust Data
    • Save Time & Resources
    • Increase Content & Link Diversity

Google Alerts allow you to monitor the internet for specific keywords, phrases, and topics. You then receive notifications of websites using your tracked terms through email or RSS feeds. Who wouldn’t want automatic alerts of potential link building opportunities?

Just plug in what topics you want to build links around and let Google Alerts handle the rest. It’s really that simple. 


Robust Data 

Google’s ability to crawl more web pages than any other software means they provide the most robust data possible. You can leverage their superior data to find more diverse link opportunities without the extra work. Utilizing this strategy also allows you to go after less common links that are potentially more effective. 


Save Time & Easily Find Backlinks

We could all use more automation in our lives.

Google’s capacity combined with their automated alert system, allows you to scour more of the internet faster. This slashes the time spent searching for link opportunities, giving you more time for other tasks. 


Increase Content & Link Diversity

Relevant backlinks carry more weight in SEO. However, as time goes on your relevant link building opportunities can quickly diminish. This is especially true in niches with less content diversity and online directories. 

Google Alerts supplies a constant feed of potential links from a variety of sources, niches, industries and markets. This allows you to diversify your links, anchor text, and what internal pages are linked. 

While Google Alerts for backlinks will take some time to set up, once the process is there you don’t have to do anything further. 

Let’s get into how to set up a Google Alert for link building. 


How to Use Google Alerts for Link Building

Cut down on tedious tasks, by investing some time in setting up Google Alerts. Here’s how:


Gather Keywords & Topics

Before you set up your alerts, strategize what search queries or phrases you need to target. Are there specific pages you want to build links to? Certain niches or subservices you need to target?

You don’t want to set up hundreds of Google Alerts. It will just create more work to sift through them. 

We recommend narrowing down your list of target keywords and topics. You can strategize alerts based on industry, audience, area, or what content you think is most linkable, just to name a few. Learn more about Keyword Analysis for Better Link Building to get the best results. 


Set Up Google Alerts & Customize

To set up Google Alerts, simply type a term or phrase you’d like to monitor into the search field. Only use one term, phrase, or topic per alert.

Before you click “Create Alert”, be sure to choose the “Show Options” drop down to customize your alert settings. You’ll have to enter a few basic settings like result type, frequency, and how many results to report, but there are more optional settings. Our Google Alerts recommendations are below.

google alerts dashboard

Google Alert Settings Recommendations

Our team has tinkered with the settings to determine the most efficient options. Use our experiences to cut the learning curve and create the most efficient link alert system. In addition to the setting, we recommend deleting alerts once you’ve finished with them not overload your results. 


How Often

We recommend setting report frequency to “once a day or once a week” depending on how many link opportunities you’re looking for. This reduces the number of emails you receive, condensing Google Alerts into daily or weekly emails. Receiving 30 emails each with one link alert will quickly clog your inbox.  

Sources Type

We recommend limiting your result types to “discussion, news, blogs, and web”. This can help filter the alerts and cut down on the clutter. 

If you want to let Google do it’s thing, then choose automatic. Book and video sources can be helpful depending on the client. For example, if your client is willing to be on camera, video sources could help you find promotional opportunities like podcasts or YouTube channels, which often include a link. 


How Many Results

Be sure to select “Only the Best Results”. This will only return results that explicitly use your terms. You don’t want to sift through spammy mentions and useless links. There’s only so many hours in the day. Don’t waste your time. 

If you’re wanting to build hundreds of links with this method or don’t mind sorting through hundreds of notifications, set to “All Results”. You’ll find more opportunities, but the relevance will be weaker. 


Deliver to Email or RSS Feed

While you can deliver to your email for faster notifications, “Deliver to RSS Feed” allows you to automate this task through Trello, Slack, or Zapier. If you’re looking to save even more time, explore RSS feed integrations with your current system.


Beware of the Quotes

Adding quotes around multi-word phrases is a great method to better qualify your data. By adding quotations, you will only see alerts that include the ENTIRE phrase instead of a single word. 

While this setup will return less results, your alerts will be more relevant and tailored.

If you don’t use quotes, it will alert you when both words are used on a web page but not together in a phrase. This can muddy the waters and return much less relevant alerts. 

Below are the results returned when not using quotes. As you can see they are much broader then the alert with quotes above.

google alert without quotes

Remember that Google Alerts returns all mentions, both linked and unlinked. So while you may get hundreds of alerts, only about half will be viable link opportunities. 


Google Alerts We Use

Below are some of the Google Alerts we recommend setting up first. These alerts we use in our own agency, including: 

    • Brand Mentions
    • Thought Leadership
    • Product or Service Names
    • Industry Topics & Terms


Brand Mentions

If a website mentions your brand online, you want to ensure they’re linking to you.

Unlinked brand mentions are often the easiest links to build because they already reference you. Google Alerts are a great way to monitor these low-hanging brand mentions without paying for expensive SEO tools. You’ll want alerts for:

  • Brand Name
  • Domain Name
  • URL (with www & without)
  • Brand Nicknames
  • Email

Use as many variations as you can think of. In the screenshot below, you can see some of our varied brand names. We want to cast as wide a net as possible. 

Industry Topics & Terms

Sometimes the easiest link opportunities come from more general topics. If web pages are discussing your niche or industry, you want to be there. 

We don’t recommend setting up more than 15 industry alerts in most cases. However, if you’re in a multi-faceted industry or offer a variety of services, you may benefit from more alerts.


Thought Leadership

You’ll also want to monitor mentions online of your brand’s executives and owners, as well as their industry specialties. 

This can be a great way to build links if your brand publishes thought leadership content or are active leaders in the industry. Brand features and profile content can also found this way depending on the industry you’re in.

In addition to building links, the brand will build trust with the audience through thought leadership.


Product or Service Names

If you have a product or service with a branded name, you’ll want to monitor mentions for it online. You can reach out to any unlinked product or service mentions for a potential link. You can also use this strategy for proprietary/branded methods, strategies, or ideas. Getting links from these pages can increase authority, brand awareness, and traffic to important pages on your site. 


How to Turn Alerts Into Links

Now that you have ideas of link opportunities to monitor, how do you convert them to actual links? Manual outreach. 


Find Site Admin Emails

We first check their contact page or footer for an email address. If they’re a high-quality site, chances are there’s an email published. 

But if you can’t easily find their email, there are tools that can help… provides the most free credits per month, but there are many other email finder tools available like  or Viola Norbert.

If you know both the contact person’s name and the domain, we recommend using Viola Norbert. It can return better results because of this extra piece of information.

We tested a couple domains to find a contact email and could NOT find some emails, but  Viola Norbert could find the emails for the domains…



Nearly all email finding tools have integrations with CRMs and RSS feeds. This means you can potentially automate this entire process. Even if you want to manually review alerts, you can still automate the process after you’ve identified alerts that are good link opportunities. Combine the Google Alert RSS feed and email search tools with Zapier & your CRM to save even more time! 


Link Building is About Relationship Building

We don’t always have time to build the relationships that lead to quality link building. This leads many to purchase links from link building services.

If you don’t want to pay for quality links, Google Alerts offers an avenue to cut down on the time you spend searching for quality and relevant links. While you won’t receive hundreds of link leads overnight, this is a steadfast strategy for building backlinks. You can build a consistent stream of possibilities with Google Alerts! 

By following our process and recommendations, you can create a more robust link building system. Now start setting up your alerts so you can build better links.

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