For a long time now SEO has been a tricky game filled with intense speculation and abstract tactics meant to keep up with Google’s ever evolving algorithm. While Google manages to keep the specifics of their updates a secret, some information gets out- like for instance the on-going debate on the way Google measures brand authority amid complex elements in SEO and stiff competition in the industry.
Most industry experts can make educated assumptions over the nature of some changes based on information passed through recent patents and public updates. These major Google updates play a huge role in driving the industry forward by determining current SEO tricks and trends- but just as important is the overall public perception of these updates.
Sometime last year Google filed a patent that was linked to its Panda algorithm- especially after an in-depth article at Moz covered the topic- and marketers everywhere have been trying to figure out what this means for businesses. In a general sense, current SEO trends seem to indicate an increasing partiality towards good-quality content strategies and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.
But that being said, link building is still a major element in optimization because Google’s ranking algorithms operate around inbound links. What’s changing is the way Google views and defines a link; and these changes may affect the visibility of just about every website online. So we ask, is there value in using brand mentions as a way of influencing SEO rankings? Let’s take a closer look at the topic.
A brand mention is as easy to add to your existing content as a link. In fact easier. It is entirely possibly to use AAA link building tools like Ultimate Demon to drop these mentions for you. The added bonus of course, is that there is no chance of a link penalty when doing this. Ok the benefit is not as great as pure link building, but the risk is big fat zero.
Authority and Old-School Link Building
In order for your site to rank highly in your particular niche, it needs to have a decent level of “authority”, a clearly abstract and subjective filter to determine how credible, resourceful, and influential a website is compared to others in the same industry. Some SEO firms call it ��brand authority’ or ��domain authority’ and many of them can calculate a number (on an arbitrary scale) to determine how much relative authority a given site has.
It makes sense that search engines would use authority as a way to measure a website’s value to a consumer, but as you can imagine, this is not a sure-fire way to classify websites. Of course if Google used plain math to try to measure and define websites, the results would be random and unpredictable at best.
Implied Links /Brand Mentions
Traditionally “Links” have been used to mean specific addresses or URLs that lead back to a page on your website and they can be posted in full, such as https://www.google.com/ or as embedded hyperlinks like Google. Whichever way you used it, a link worked the same way and the more links your website had, the higher it ranked on relevant search queries.
This led to a lot of marketers spamming links to different pages (with reckless abandon) and saturating the web with useless, self-serving fluff meant to undermine Google’s Panda algorithm. But now as outlined in the recent patent, there is a major change in the way Google differentiates between conventional (express) links and other implied links which are basically brand mentions without actual links.
Such references may be in the body of an article such as a blog post citing a brand’s unique skill in a subject matter, in a comment referencing another brand’s handling of a specific topic- or in a similar form provided that the site is mentioned.
Imagine creating a good article, spinning it using a AAA spinning application, then using Ultimate Demon to propagate this throughout the internet, choosing only high trust sites. If the content is good, and no links are used, then you are beginning to build brand and none linked citation in a careful and risk free manner.
These implied links- or brand mentions as they are otherwise known- change the way in which marketers view brand authority and may challenge businesses to clean up entire link-building systems.
Enter Brand Mentions
Brand mentions are quickly becoming a powerful element in a modern SEO strategy –but it has to be noted that traditional links haven’t become obsolete, and it appears the best strategy is one that combines multiple tactics to attain higher rankings.
But even though we know the importance of using implied links, there really isn’t an accurate way to calculate a specific ratio of links to mentions that can be demonstrated to be a perfect score of your site’s authority. For now just consider the following when weighing between express links and implied links:
· If your website has a high link-to-mention ratio, that might send out the wrong message to Google in terms of brand positioning . This is where content is important. You need to surround your brand mentions, just link links with good, informative content. The only way to get granular control of this, while using automation to speed up your throughput ten fold or more, is to use a profile/content broadcasting tool like Ultimate Demon
· One of the most effective ways to generate a decent balance in the ratio is with viral content, such as infographics and other visual content. Such content generates natural mentions, and natural is always favourable to Google.
· Use guest blogs more efficiently. Assuming your guest blog is syndicated, it is the best way to build mentions while generating useful content on a variety of topics.
It would be much easier to purchase mentions as companies purchase external links but an effective long-term strategy is one that produces quality content that facilitates more mentions and natural links on its own.
Ultimate Demon, and a couple of the other AAA link building tools, can allow you to do this with ease thanks mostly to the content control they allow which is far greater than dedicated spamming tools like GSA Search Engine Ranker which is better suited to tiered linking.
How Gameable Are Mentions?
Quite a number of people agree that it seems easier to manipulate a system based on mentions than links because;
a) Brand mentions can be bought (not recommended)
b) You can increase brand mentions through guest-posting (no concern about over-optimizing anchor text)
c) “Linkbait” infographics are an excellent way to score extra brand mentions
d) It is possible to drop brand mentions on high authority/trust sites using tools like Ultimate Demon
There’s really no difference here. The major question is if Google finds it challenging to distinguish between natural and unnatural links, how then will they distinguish between natural and unnatural brand mentions? We can assume that Google believes that popular brands will have more people talking about them than say, an obscure brand that is good at manipulating the system.
More Work Is Needed
If the goal of this patent is to patch the holes in the link graph, then at some point in the future Google will have to revise the entire system of analyzing website authority. The current system operates a lot like the Quality Score system on Ad ranking which is basically centered on user engagement. But for the time being, this is still an interesting development in the ever evolving world of SEO. One can’t help but wonder what took Google so long.