Look at every successful SEO strategy close enough and you will find a strong backlinking tactic somewhere in there. Every successful brand utilizes backlinks – and the right way to build relevant backlinks – as a way to boost their SEO performance. Backlinks are not only good for directing traffic to landing pages, but also good for building domain authority and boosting the site’s credibility as a whole.
However, backlinks aren’t the only way you can benefit from off-site efforts. Thanks to improved algorithms behind search engines, implied links are now just as effective as – if not more effective than – direct ones. Without directly linking to your site, mentions of your brand are bringing a long list of benefits to the table.
Immediate Impact on SEO
Similar to backlinks, who mentions your brand also matters. When your product or your brand is reviewed by mainstream news outlets, for instance, you can expect a substantial boost in relevance following that mention. The brand mention may not link directly to your site but interested visitors will still find your URL and visit your site regardless.
Even better, the same brand mention also influences your site’s SEO performance. Brand mention, which we also know as an implied link, is even cited in Google’s latest patent, signaling its importance to the way your site’s ranking is calculated.
The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302). […] Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both. […] 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.
Brand mention is classified as independent reputation information about your website. This information affects both readers (users) and search engines, doubling your return on getting your brand or product mentioned by relevant and credible external websites.
A Way to Build Credibility
Brand mention has a Public Relations side to it. The announcement of The Boring Company, Elon Musk’s infrastructure construction company, brought a lot of news coverage on the company itself and the man behind it. Within a short period of time, the company’s website (boringcompany.com) amassed a large number of brand mentions, all from credible sources.
While the brand mentions themselves are great for SEO, they are far more valuable when you view them from a PR perspective. Imagine if an e-commerce website garnered as many brand mentions as The Boring Company; customers visiting the site would already have the level of confidence to make purchases due to the increase in the site’s credibility. In fact, that extra credibility can be the X factor potential customers look for as they make their purchase decisions.
Leverage Your Social Media Presence
For years, SEO experts have been debating whether backlinks from social media sites matter to a site’s SEO performance in general. The fact that Google and Bing now measure implied links changes the discussion completely.
You don’t need to have backlinks posted on users’ social media profiles to leverage the SEO benefits of having a strong social media presence. In fact, you can invest more in relevant, positive, and contextual mentions of your brand.
The same approach can be implemented beyond social media sites too. We will get to that in a second.
Amplify Brand Personality
One more thing to understand about brand mentions is that they are very measurable. There are tools you can now use to track brand mention. The simplest way to get started is using Google Alerts to monitor your brand name; every time a new page with your brand name on it gets indexed, you receive an email notification.
The more you listen to the way your brand is mentioned, the more you will understand how users perceive it. The unique insights you get in return allows you to fine-tune the rest of your digital marketing campaign for a stronger brand personality.
For example, you can discover negative bias against your brand early by listening to what users have to say. When you do see that bias, you can use different approaches to solve the underlying issue (i.e. a user’s complaint or disappointment with your product) and turn the negative bias around.
Supercharge Your Brand Mention
Brand mention, in its most basic form, happens organically. The mention of The Boring Company due to Elon Musk’s stunts shows exactly how organic brand mentions work. That doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to supercharge the way your brand is mentioned.
An elaborate brand mentioning campaign is possible with the help of partner bloggers and news sites. Some SEO agencies now utilize the combination of link building and brand mention to create a more impactful off-site SEO campaign for their clients.
You can use viral content to aim for a sudden – yet massive – brand mention through viral memes and visuals. Companies like Wendy’s are becoming more casual with their social media posts for this purpose.
There are multiple ways to generate brand mentions too. Persuading customers to write an online review, providing social customer care, and running an effective influencer marketing campaign also increases the number of implied links you get in return.
Similar to other off-site SEO campaigns, you have to up your monitoring game to really take advantage of brand monitoring. Monitoring tools like Awario let you do detailed competitor research while monitoring your brand mentions, so you can learn from your competitors’ mistakes and stay ahead.
Context and relevance are still the elements that matter. Similar to backlinks, you have to make sure that your brand is mentioned in a positive light, on a site that has good authority, and as a part of relevant content.
Last but not least, don’t dismiss approaches such as guest blogging. Guest blogging and having genuine discussions on social media are not for hard-selling products and services, but they are effective when used to earn brand mentions and spread implied links.
In fact, almost all channels are yours to utilize. You can boost the mention of your brand on all platforms using campaigns designed to stimulate organic mentions.
Brand mention is clearly not a one-time digital marketing trend. With both major search engines adding implied links into their list of metrics, plus the impact of those links, it is clear that investing in brand mentions is worth considering. You are investing in your credibility while earning SEO boosts, increasing awareness, and benefiting from your social media reach.