play watch

How to Find High Quality Backlink Opportunities (in Real-Time)

In this lesson, we are going to show you 5 effective real-time alerts that’ll help you get more backlinks.

Throughout this tutorial, we’ll be using Ahrefs’ Alerts tool to set up 5 passive real-time notifications that we think everyone should be using.


All of these alerts have one purpose and that’s to find new and relevant link prospects with as little effort as possible.

Now you might be wondering how monitoring keyword mentions in new articles can help you get backlinks. The thing with marketing, particularly, link building is that timing is a critical component in successful outreach.

The sooner you can reach out to someone from the time they publish their article, the higher your chances will be to get a link placement.

So with that in mind, let’s jump right in.

The first alert we’re going to create is the brand mentions alert.

Brand Mentions Alert

So go to the Alerts tool from the menu bar. Next, click on the “mentions” tab and then the “Add Alert” button.


This is a great way to find unlinked mentions of your company’s name. So anytime someone mentions your brand, but does not link to your site, you can reach out to them and ask them to link to you.

It’s also a highly effective way to start building relationships with influencers and journalists who are talking about your company. And on the other spectrum... you can monitor sites that are giving you bad press.

Here, you need to enter in a search query that you’d like to monitor.


Rather than creating a separate alert for different variations of your brand name, you can set up a single alert by using the OR search operator.

For our website, we might put “ahrefs” OR “” OR common misspellings like “a hrefs” OR “aherfs”.


And it’s important to note that when using search operators in your query, you must use uppercase letters on the ‘operator’ since they are case sensitive.

When setting the mode, you can choose to search everywhere, just in the title, or only within the body content.


For this alert, we recommend searching everywhere.

We’ll leave the language setting to all languages. And for blocked domains, we’ll actually block our own domain since we don’t need to get alerts from our own site.

For recipients, you can add people on your team like an outreach manager or maybe a client who wants to do their own outreach.

Finally, you can choose the interval to get alerts. There’s real-time or a daily or weekly summary.

We’ll choose real-time.

Finally, we’ll save it.


Now anytime someone mentions any of these keywords within their content, we’ll get an email where we can check if they added a link to our site with the brand mention. And if they didn’t, we can send a friendly email and ask for the link.

One other thing to mention is that you can track your branded product keywords in here too. For example, if Apple were to add in their company name in here, they’d get a lot of irrelevant results…

So instead, they could track branded keywords like iPhone, iPad, Macintosh, and a phrase match like “Apple TV”.


Recently, we’ve been thinking about adding in a super cool feature that will automatically detect if the web mention is linked or not.

While we’re waiting for some cool sites to mention us, let’s move on to the second alert, which is what we like to call the “The Intruder Technique.”

The Intruder Technique

The principle behind this alert is to find websites that are mentioning two of your direct competitors, but not you.

Here’s how it’s done.

If Mailchimp wanted to monitor sites that are talking about their competitors, but not mentioning their tool, they could achieve this by using boolean operators.

For example, their search query might look like this:


This search query would alert Mailchimp every time a website mentioned both Aweber and ActiveCampaign but not Mailchimp.

They would get a real time alert and could reach out to the site owner to “intrude” in on the party.

This is an awesome alert to find prospects that you can send samples to, give trials, find new affiliates, or to just bring your company to their attention.

And again, we’ll leave the settings as the same as we did before.


So far, we’ve covered a couple cool company/brand mentions. But you don’t need to limit yourself to your company’s name.

The next alert is the “related keywords alert”.

Related Keywords Alert

At Ahrefs, one of our main tools is Site Explorer, which is well-known as our backlink checker.

Then we have Keywords Explorer which is our keyword research tool and we also have Rank Tracker which checks your Google search rankings continually over time.

Since people aren’t always searching for our branded product names as much as these related terms, we can set up an alert to find content mentions that are highly relevant to our products.

So for our search query, we’ll type this first part in parentheses : ("backlink checker" OR "keyword research tool" OR "rank checker") -- close bracket, and then -ahrefs.


We’ll leave the rest of the settings as we did in the previous examples and click the “Add” button.

You could also use this for general keywords that are highly related to your niche. For example, at Ahrefs, we might search for something like title:“SEO Tools” (which we’ve set as a phrase match) -ahrefs.


These alerts will open up opportunities to introduce our tool to bloggers and influencers and potentially get links to our product pages, which are generally tougher links to get through other link building tactics.

Alright, onto the last one for our mentions alerts, which we call, “recruit the hype man.”

Recruit the Hype Man

The idea of this alert is to find people who are reviewing your competitor’s products and services and to recruit them to promote your products.

For this example, we could do a search like this:

(we’ll use Salesforce as an example)


This will mostly send us real-time alerts when content creators have done a full-blown review on a similar competitor.

We can then reach out, offer trials and have our products reviewed by experts and evangelists in our industry.

For each of these alerts that you create, you’ll get an email notification based on the set interval you choose.


The beauty of these keyword trigger alerts is that you can get as creative as you want and create hyper-targeted real-time alerts so you’ll never miss an opportunity to get your name out there.

Content Explorer Request

Now, since the mentions alerts will only start sending you new notifications from the time you add it, you can go to Content Explorer, which shares the same database as the Alerts tool, and use the exact same search queries to find existing mentions.


For example, if we wanted to check the intruder technique example, we could type in the search query, +aweber +activecampaign -mailchimp and run the search.


Next, we’ll click on the “one link per domain” feature since we don’t want to pitch the same site multiple times.

Then, we’ll click the “highlight unlinked domains” dropdown and in this case, we’ll type in since in our search query, we’re looking for pages that have mentioned a couple other email marketing tools, but not theirs.


If we scroll down a bit, you can see this one on starting a fitness blog which mentions the two competitors, but not mailchimp. And the highlighted domain in yellow tells us that this website has never linked to MailChimp before, which makes them a great prospect for outreach.


If we scroll back up to the top, you can also use the date filter and see only the mentions in the last 7, 30, 90, or whatever date range you want to check.


So if we filter for the last 30 days, then you’ll see this recent post called, “List of Best Email Marketing Platforms,” which also has never linked to Mailchimp.


When you’re setting up your mentions alerts, we highly recommend testing your search queries with Content Explorer first to make sure that you get relevant results sent to your inbox.

So everything we’ve covered so far are keyword mentions alerts. But there’s one last alert that will help you find new link opportunities.

And you might already be using this one because it seems so obvious, but let us cover it anyway, just in case you missed it.

The last alert you should use is one that helps you spy on your competitor’s fans.

Linkerati Alert

If we click on the backlinks tab, then we can create a new alert by clicking on this button.


Next, we need to enter in the domain or URL of a competitor we want to track.


Setting this as a domain search will likely leave you with an overwhelming amount of junk links.

So we recommend using either a URL to the homepage or to an individual article to get relevant results.

For example, if we had a blog on body building, then the kind of homepage URLs that we would be looking for are ones similar to, which talks mainly about powerlifting and bodybuilding.

A homepage link that we would avoid putting in here is something like While they do talk about similar topics, they cover a lot of other topics that would likely send us irrelevant backlink notifications.


But we could track this page called “The 10 Best Back Workout Moves” which may be relevant to an article that we are building links for on an ongoing basis.

Now, each time we get a notification, we can contact relevant link prospects quickly, introduce our products or content and start getting more backlinks to our site.

Over To You

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. We only covered 5 alerts here and as you saw, you can come up with thousands of different combinations using search operators. Don’t stop to experiment, find you favorite alert. Maybe it will be some great technique missed on our list.

In any case, we wish everyone grab a quick win.

Next lesson

How to Get Backlinks By “Stealing” From Low-Quality Pages

Marketing with Ahrefs

  • 5 tutorials
  • 4 hr 57 min

Exclusive free access to the course has been granted for 30 days only, go through it while it’s still available!