Digital PR does much more than generate links. From building brand reputation, trust, loyal customers and even supporting revenue growth and search rankings, digital PR can generate impressive results beyond links alone.
In this blog, we’re focusing on the importance of brand mentions. Although it’s disheartening when people talk about your brand online but don’t link to it, these mentions are still beneficial to your business. Conversations around your brand, even ones that don’t include links, can provide value in many ways.
In this blog, we discuss:
- What brand mentions are
- Why brand mentions are so valuable
- What the search engines think of brand mentions
- How brand mentions can impact your organic rankings
What is a brand mention?
A brand mention is when someone talks about your product, service or business online.
Brand mentions can sometimes include inbound links to your website that drive traffic and earn clicks. But sometimes, these aren’t linking. Whether linking or not, a mention on a relevant website helps to establish a brand as a recognisable thought leader or expert on a topic.
What are the benefits of brand mentions?
Build brand awareness and visibility
Even without a link, a brand mention is still beneficial to your business. Users reading the content including your mention will still see the name of your brand, increasing awareness of who you are and what you do.
A well-placed mention increases the recognition of your business and trust in it. As your brand becomes more and more recognisable, more and more people will feel confident in engaging with what you offer.
Reinforces brand reputation and trust
One of the most significant benefits of positive brand mentions is that they boost your online reputation. In the digital world, reputation management becomes all the easier as you can track your brand mentions online.
As an online business, you should take advantage of any opportunity to build healthy relationships with your customers as this helps you to stand out from the competition. If you uncover a positive mention such as on forums and social media channels, this is a chance to engage in a conversation with your audience, building a relationship and trust in the process. Over time, these positive interactions help to form a loyal customer base.
Supports your search engine rankings
Brand mentions have been acknowledged as a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm and can have an impact on your rankings in the SERPs. For those whose focus is on SEO, this is perhaps the most important benefit of brand mentions and something we’ll discuss in more depth later.
Builds authority as a thought leader
Depending on the context, brand mentions can help to evidence your authority as a thought leader for topics you specialise in.
As you build authority in your space, you become recognised as a trustworthy source and it becomes easier for potential customers to buy into what you sell – if they repeatedly see that you are being referenced as an expert or a reputable business by well-known sites, then this is a reassuring signal to consumers that you are a reliable, trusted brand.
Supports revenue growth
If you have built up a reputation as a high-quality business, it will likely result in increased custom as more and more people find out about your brand and what you do. Additionally, it increases the chance of them selecting your products and services over the competition.
Create future linking opportunities
Monitoring your brand mentions will enable you to create more link opportunities for your brand.
People who are already discussing your brand and what you offer are more likely to link to your website. If you come across a brand mention on another website, we recommend reaching out to the owner of the site and ask them if they would be happy to link to your website.
These are effective opportunities to engage with, as converting brand mentions to links can help drive even more traffic.
What impact do brand mentions have on your rankings?
Back in 2014, Google published Patent US 8682892B1 which featured an interesting section regarding ‘implied links’:
“The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302). A link for a group of resources is an incoming link to a resource in the group, i.e., a link having a resource in the group as its target. Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both. An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource. An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.”
Everyone was aware what Google meant by ‘link’, but readers were confused by the phrase ‘implied link’. Google’s definition of an implied link states that it’s a reference to a source that’s not a link which is extremely close to the definition of a brand mention.
The Search Quality Guidelines – a document used by Google’s quality evaluators who rate web pages in SERPs – also states something very similar. From these guidelines, under section 2.6, Reputation of the Website or Creator of the Main Content, we can gather that the reputation of a brand plays a role in rankings:
“…for Page Quality rating, you must also look for outside, independent reputation information about the website. When the website says one thing about itself, but reputable external sources disagree with what the website says, trust the external sources.”
Google connects data and concepts without the presence of links in the same way it does with local business citations, a movie, or data that refers to a brand. Unlinked mentions therefore can still associate with a website even when no link is present.
Similarly, Bing has openly confirmed that they track unlinked brand mentions and use them as a ranking signal.
Brand mentions and the future of link building
Links are undeniably important to digital PR, yet the buzz, recognition and brand mentions generated are just as important. As a business, you want people to be talking positively about your brand and what you do. There’s no wonder search engines see brand mentions as a reputation signal and a way of building trust with your audience.
There are many other metrics that can help you measure the impact of your digital PR output such as your domain authority (DA), traffic and even your sales and revenue. But it’s important to track and report on brand mentions to get a full picture of how valuable your digital PR efforts really are.
With a team of digital PR experts in our ranks, we understand the benefits this tactic can offer. Not only can it generate links and positive references for your business, but it’s also a platform to grow interest in your brand and develop your online footprint.