SEO beyond Backlinks: The Importance of Brand Mention

Home / SEO beyond Backlinks: The Importance of Brand Mention

The SEO world’s steady tilt towards the practice of brand mention and online citations of brands is a clear diversion from ‘old SEO school’ philosophy that lays overwhelming importance on backlinks or link building campaigns.     

This significant shift has been happening since 2014, after Google began to refine its algorithm to look for creditable search ranking factors beyond the realm of traditional backlinks. This, however, does not mean that backlinks are no longer that important factor (more on that bit later).

So what is Brand Mention or Linkless mention

Brand mention simply means mentioning of brand names of products and services or company’s actual name. These brand mentions have to be contextual in nature, occurring within the context of blog posts, website articles or social media posts.

More importantly, brand mention is never hyperlinked and they never point towards the source website. Hence it is also referred as ‘linkless mention.’

A classic example of brand Mention would be contextual mention of brands like MoZ and Ahrefs. Since this blog post is about SEO, the mention of popular SEO & digital marketing brands like MOZ and Ahrefs would make it highly contextual. Please note that both brands that are mentioned above are linkless.   

Since this is immensely important, I would like to repeat it again that brand mentions have to be contextual for them to carry any real SEO value.

Why Google started attaching so much importance to brand mention

It is all too well known that Google clandestinely and secretly keeps updating its algorithm from time to time. The search engine giant carries out these clandestine operations to checkmate all those who follow manipulative black hat techniques.  

The prominence of brand mention probably started increasing following customary algorithm update that was supposedly carried out in 2014. This was the year when fixing the manipulative link building practices was high on Google’s mind.

Today we can safely assume that brand mention ranks pretty high in Google’s long list of 200 ranking factors.

Google lays lot of importance on brand mention because it signifies trust and authority, just like backlink does. For the wolrd’s most popular search engine, mentioning of brand in a blog and social media posts essentially means that the specific brand carries an authority in a particular niche.   

If the same brand finds repeated mention in other blogs and social media posts then this should conventionally lead to its higher visibility on Google search result.

When it comes to brand mention, Google highly leverages the power of semantics, language learning and artificial intelligence. It is obviously through periodic updates (as has been hinted above), these cutting edge technologies have become integral part of Google’s algorithm.           

Google highly relies on these cutting edge technologies to know every possible virtue about the brand mention. For instance, the contextual value of the brand and the language praising around the brand that eventually helps to determine worthiness of the brand.    

So how much link juice does brand mention offers      

The answer is pretty subjective. If the brand mention has taken place on a high authority website then it will most certainly pass lot of link juice. For instance, if in future a high authority website like aherfs.com or MOZ.com were to mention a newly launched website like Digitaltrending.co.in then it is likely to do wonders for the ranking of digitaltrending.           

Google will recognize digitaltrending as a genuine authority in the field of SEO and digital marketing, since it has been recommended by a trustworthy site like aherfs.com and MOZ.com.

This also implies that low or possibly no link juice will be passed if brand mention takes place on a low authority website.      

The issue of link juice becomes tricky when it comes to social media posts, since social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are by default nofollow websites.

Although nofollow websites don’t offer any link juice, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Linkedin are sort of exceptions. They are exceptions because Google gives lot of prominence to signals emanating from social media platforms.

This is often dubbed as social media signals or social media proofs. Therefore brand mentions in social media feeds and posts (either in the form of hashtags & otherwise) do carry weightage.

How to increase Brand Mention

There are no shortcuts in anything and brand mention is no exception. No one is ever going to mention your brand (at least not high authority sites) unless it is really worth it. Unless you’re brand resonates with trust and authority in its own niche, high authority website will not even scantly think of mentioning your brand.     

The only way out is to keep persistently trying to improve your product, service or blog’s brand quotient and make it worthy enough for others to write and mention about it.

Here are some valuable tips to increase the chances of brand mention

  • Be absolutely passionate about making your brand shine in the highly competitive market.
  • Keep updating your blog or website with fresh content to demonstrate your knowledge/expertise or your product/service’s uniqueness.
  • Leverage social media platforms to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge with your target audience by regularly sharing your blog posts.
  • Get involved & engaged in several social media forums (including Quora) to tell the world that you are capable of solving several queries and problems pertaining to you’re niche. Your expertise knowledge can help in spreading lot of positive word-of-mouth about your brand. 
  • Regularly write guest posts on medium-to-high domain authority websites. Apart from securing backlinks, this is an important branding exercise that must be duly leveraged.    

How to find brand mention of your product or blog     

There are several paid tools that help you to find the brand mention of your product or blog in the online world. Apart from helping to convert unlinked mention into backlinks, these tools also help in other areas like offering deep insight and analytics report about how your brand is performing in the online world.

  • Mention.com
  • Talkwalker.com (free tool)
  • Brandmentions.com 

Please note that several backlink analysis tools like Aherfs and Semrush also have integrated features that help in tracking brand mentions across the digital footprint.                           

Is Brand mention substitute to Backlinks

No..absolutely not. As important as brand mentions have become for Google ranking, backlinks continues to remain the main foundation of Google search ranking. Therefore never make the mistake of taking brand mention as a substitute to backlinks.

The best possible approach is to never forget the foundational importance of backlinks but also never take for granted the importance of brand mention either.           

Important points to remember

Before wrapping up this blog post, let us sum up all the important points that have been covered in this article.

  • Brand mentions have to be mandatorily contextual in nature
  • Prefer medium to high authority websites for brand mention; higher the authority, more link juice will be passed.
  • Although social media platforms are nofollow websites by default, brand mentions on these websites still carry a lot of weightage.
  • There are no shortcuts in achieving success in brand mention….you got be persistent to make your product or blog worthy of mention.
  • Brand mention can never act as a substitute for backlinks.

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