This method only works if you have some sort of online presence already. I don’t mean you merely have a website, but that your name, or the name of your business, is out there on other websites. This doesn’t mean you have to be famous, or even merely Internet famous, but there’s got to be something about you out there. This might be more likely than you would think. If anyone has ever mentioned you or your business anywhere online, that counts. I’ll show you why.

Today I received an email from EntrepreneurHK.org. It’s a website about entrepreneurship in Hong Kong. I’m an entrepreneur in Hong Kong. But I had never seen this website, so I went to take a look. Lo and behold, on the homepage they link to an article I wrote in Forbes about opening of an Asia office of MWI here. Well, except they don’t actually link to my Forbes article, they link to this page where they have republished the entire article. I’m not sure what the Forbes policy is on copying and pasting entire articles, but I suspect Forbes doesn’t exactly like it when people do that, especially when the only link that is given to the article is at the bottom, and isn’t even linked. It’s just the text of the URL where one can find the Forbes article.

But this is also a good opportunity for me to get an easy link from a good website. After all, this is an opportunity to drive some traffic to my company’s website and as I’m trying to rank higher for terms related to Hong Kong, this is also a chance for an easy link. So I quickly composed the following email:

Hi, thank you for republishing the article I wrote for Forbes at http://entrepreneurhk.org/how-i-opened-a-branch-office-of-my-business-in-hong-kong/. Would you be willing to make a few minor formatting to that page?

1. Remove duplicate photo and title

Inline image 1

2. Add an intro paragraph at the top:

The following article was published in Forbes by Hong Kong based entrepreneur Joshua Steimle, CEO of MWI, an online marketing firm with offices in Hong Kong and the United States.

3. Include only an excerpt from the article, cutting it off after the visa section, perhaps, and including a link that says “Read the full article at Forbes >>” and linking to the article there.
Thanks!

That took me all of a few minutes to write. Will they honor my request? I think they will (note: they already updated the page before I finished typing this post). This way they still get to benefit from having the article on their website, Forbes gets the traffic it should to its website, I get a link to MWI’s Hong Kong page, and everybody’s happy.

Now, how can I continue pursuing these types of opportunities, and more importantly, how do you find these opportunities? Because as you can see, I stumbled onto this one, but you don’t want to just wait around for someone to tell you that they’ve mentioned you on their website, you want to be proactive about it. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Do a Google search. My company is named MWI, and so are 100 other companies, so that’s not enough for me, but after doing a search for “mwi steimle” I went through the top 100 search results and looked at anything interesting. I found no fewer than 8 new linking opportunities. Imagine how many more I might find if I dug past the first 100 results. Some of these included websites associated with universities and business magazines, as well as high traffic business blogs. I’ve now emailed each of those opportunities, and I’m fairly confident I’ll get all of them to make the updates I’ve requested.
  2. Set up Google Alerts for mentions of your name or your company name on Google. You can also “go beyond Google Alerts” and use Mention, which I’m just starting to try out and looks promising. Whenever Google indexes new content, you’ll get an email informing you of this (or in the case of Mention you’ll get much more than just Google indexed content), and you can check it out to make sure you’re getting proper credit and a link.

I’m just scratching the surface when it comes to getting these types of links. If you’d like to learn more about this topic further, I recommend watching the video by Ross Hudgens over at Moz on “Link Reclamation.”

What are the best links you’ve ever got using this method?