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Unless your site was penalised by Google, like the rest of us mere mortals you probably have no clue how google ranks your website. But one thing I do know about is the impact of great links.

Like winning the popularity contest at school, when you get those great links from a high authority site you get a little bit of a buzz and want the link juice to keep on flowing.

This is what I like to call SEO substance addiction, and it’s not just us marketers who get a taste, many brands are seeking a fix, feeling that if they have as much as possible it will put their site in favour with the gods of Google.

Let me put it this way, one of the premier indicators of a website’s ranking authority has been the presence of a large number of backlinks pointing towards your site.

Rationality obviously being that if you’re a good, useful site, people will naturally want to link back to your resourceful site, a little like an online recommendation.

Creative Content For PR Blog Feature

Not So Fast…

Cue a flurry of websites owned by old school SEO black hats that now offer guest posts and contributor positions.

But thanks to these greedy folks taking full advantage of those that worship the almighty link, Google has now deteriorated the power of the link, instead opting for more customer friendly ranking factors that are designed to help us find the information we need. After all that’s Google’s soul purpose right?

One factor that isn’t mentioned in this long list, is brand mentions.

The secret ingredient for the future of link building, this article by Penalty Pro’s gives you an idea of the big talk on incoming links and proof in the pudding that brand mentions matter.

With the Panda Update having such a strong user based focus, brand names are being picked up by Google even without a back-link to the brand’s website. Many have implied that this is now another ranking factor, as web pages or news publications may often mention brands name, but not necessarily provide a link.

An example of this would be Apple or Coca-Cola, we don’t need a back-link to know who they’re talking about!

Positive Association…

Taking the tacky title of outreach marketing to the classy new age of what we like to call digital PR, so what if a high authority site hasn’t linked back to your site?

If they’ve mentioned your brand name, you’ll be gaining benefits from positive association.

The better you perform as a brand, the more Google will reward you for having relevant content that’s helping it’s users.

It’s a popularity contest on a whole new level, rather than shouting about what you’re doing and always asking for that link, Google is looking at your brand thinking “Wow these guys really know their stuff”!

The argument that’s raged on between SEO’s and Content Marketers has been link vs brand mention. Can a brand mention serve as much power as a link?

Well clearly not, but it certainly shouldn’t be scoffed at and ignored.

The real goal of all marketing is to get your brand in front of real users who can find you and learn about what it is that you have to offer.

Whilst a link certainly gains you the most powerful ranking factor, a brand mention focuses on building an online reputation for your brand and one that is soon to be classed as a ranking factor because of it’s significant role in organic search traffic.

It takes more than a link to get you a great place on the Google ladder and the brand mentions are designed to make your website as attractive as possible, making you work for your bragging rights in Google rather than paying your way there.

So yes brand mentions do matter, and if there’s no link in the next article you contribute, or the comment you provide don’t discredit it. Embrace it, share it, and own it!

For more information on Digital PR, talk to our team at Trusted Media. 

Dean Lynn

Dean is the Founder of Trusted Media and has over fifteen years experience of commercial business marketing. If you ever meet Dean, you'll quickly realise how honest and straight to the point he is; something his clients love about his marketing approach. When Dean's not at Trusted Media providing marketing consultancy to clients, he can be found at home with his daughter, who loves creating (breaking) things. Dean never sits still, enjoys eating food (part-time #instafoodie), and finds his happy place in the kitchen baking or in the garden.

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