Link Building 101: Using Google Alerts for Backlinks in 2021


Let’s put that aside from the start.

No, link building is not dead, and frankly, that may never be the case. Why?

While it may not be playing the prominent role it did when Google initially launched its search algorithm, earning hyperlinks or mentions from other relevant websites in your industry. remains a powerful way to show Google that your page should be considered authoritative.

It seems like everything has gotten a little more complicated over the past few years when it comes to finding those link building strategies that can increase online rankings and comply with Google’s guidelines.

Source: Giphy

You may want to consider reading our previous article on safe approach to link building.

TL; DR: Although often a tedious process, link building is not something you should ignore in 2021 because it is always one of the three most important ranking factors over there.

With huge amounts of content posted every day and people seeing their inboxes bombarded, one can feel helpless in the process of building backlinks for their online assets.

How to act as quickly as possible in this space? What free tools can you use to build backlinks?

Join us to learn about some of the beginner-level link building techniques that you could take advantage of right after reading our series of articles. Today, we’re excited to share one of our simplest strategies: Google Alerts.

Use Google Alerts to claim what’s yours and more

From the initial setup, tips and tricks, and follow-up – here’s what you need to know to maximize your link building efforts using Google Alerts.

This way, you should be able to retrieve relevant notifications from Google’s database, without triggering alerts when your own website posts new content (hence the -site: part). Adding quotes will only trigger exact match searches, which will help you avoid most of the noise reaching your inbox.

You can use any search operator i.e. special commands available for enhanced google search experience so hopefully you have fun setting alerts. If you don’t know the search operators, Ahrefs did a great job creating a comprehensive list.

  • Now that your alerts are in place, it’s time to wait for the magic of Google. Depending on your configuration, the relevant alerts will be sent to the email address you originally used. What you are looking for in an opportunity is when a mention comes from another website, but there is no backlink attached to your brand.
  • When this happens, you can use a tool like or manually check a website’s contact and / or advertising pages to find contact details. Now you are ready to send a pitch asking if they could add a backlink to your text mention as well. We suggest that you prepare the pitch beforehand and simply modify certain fields for personalization reasons.
  • What? An email template you could use right away?

Yes, of course, we have a turnkey template for you – however, we recommend that you create one that exactly matches your style and your brand’s voice:

Subject line: Thanks for the mention!

Email body:

“Hey [Name, Website],

I just noticed that you mentioned [Me, My Brand, My Product, etc.] on your website: [Link].

Thank you for approving our efforts, it is always a pleasure to meet people who find our [Content, Products, Resources, etc.] useful and valuable for their [readers, audience, etc.].

Could you send us back for attribution?

Let me know if you would like us to share any information.

Talk soon,

  • As a final step, make sure to add the opportunity to a link building status sheet with awareness dates so that you can send follow-up emails more easily and smarter (don’t expect to get an answer up front, these will usually require a sequence)

However, for honest disclosure you need to set realistic expectations for results based on where your business / brand is growing.

When mentions like this appear, you know you are halfway to earning a new link. Since the author is already familiar with your business and products, there’s a good chance they’ll respond to your email.

Conclusion for now

Important note: Google previously ad that they can retrieve unrelated mentions BUT they do not pass the PageRank. This means that striving to earn that link will definitely pay off in the long run. In addition, be aware that a link without tracking is also better than nothing at all thanks to the treatment by Google “as a way to better understand how to analyze and appropriately use links within our systems.

Please do not hesitate to leave us a comment if you have any questions. I hope you find our article motivating and jump straight into action.

Until our next article on Link Building 101 – Remember Link Building Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint!


About Nereida Nystrom

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