Why quality brand mentions matter
Great news. Your company got mentioned in the New York Times. Too bad the Times didn’t link back to your product page to drive referral traffic. Don’t worry, mere brand mentions of your company name are providing you real value as an implied link.
SEO expert Neil Patel explains, “Just think of it this way: A brand mention tells people about your site without linking to it, but people still find out about your site and can visit it if they want. That’s what an implied link is.”
So the millions of people who read the Times article with your brand mention will likely be sharing it by email or through social media. People will find you. And all this sharing can still impact your search engine ranking, just not in the same way that a one-way link from a high domain authority site does. While earning link backs from HDA sites remains a crucial part of your campaign, don’t dismiss the power of implied links.
Implied Links Have Always Been Part of PR
Before the advent of the World Wide Web, implied links would take place on the page of a printed newspaper or through a talk show host’s microphone. Consumers paid attention. Maybe they even jotted your name down on a napkin. This was the power of a strong public relations campaign pre-Internet.
These days with the consumers’ attention spread so thin across a multitude of media channels, gaining brand mentions across a range of outlets types is crucial. When your awareness campaign is firing on all cylinders your brand mentions add up, especially when combined with highly targeted paid messaging.
Brand Mentions DO Have a Cumulative Effect
Today’s Google Panda algorithm does weigh implied links in the overall scheme of site authority measures. That is huge for measuring the total impact of your media relations efforts. They actually count implied links towards the measure of your site’s authority ranking. How cool is that?
Simon Penson wrote this on Moz.com’s blog:
“It first allows Google to look at what terms people have used previously through search to find and then click on a site, or group of sites. In doing so, it would then also allow them to ‘map’ semantically relevant queries (and thus mentions of a brand) to a site in order to further extend an understanding of the ‘popularity’ or ‘authority’ of that entity.”
Penson also makes it clear that implied links are under consideration by Google as a measure of authority, citing the fact that “a popular brand would have more people talking about it online than one that is simply good at manipulating the algorithm and has invested heavily in link building to that end.”
How Public Relations Can Help Drive More People to Find Your Website
At the end of the day, Google does not want you to perform search engine optimization and views the practice as a manipulation of its ranking system. Even though Google is in the business of making money, it does remain pure in its motivation to want to best serve the needs of the person doing the search. So from a public relations standpoint, if we can serve as a catalyst to spark discussion of your brand, then we are serving the needs of both the brand and Google, which makes both parties happy.
When a smart PR firm launches a campaign, they are strategically placing media on all levels so that your implied links are hitting the public from a variety of sources. One prospect may not watch “CBS This Morning,” but is an Instagram addict. So he sees your brand mention on his feed. He speaks with a friend who loves Charlie and Gayle on CBS’s morning program who mentions she saw your brand mention there. Both later see a Facebook post from National Public Radio mentioning the same coverage. Voila, a whirlwind of brand mentions is underway. All this buzz in simultaneous driving direct brand search-based traffic, and Google sees this activity as a designation that your site is an authority on its subject matter.
Because our public relations strategy is centered around high quality earned media, Google will value brand mentions on higher domain authority sites (which most credible media sites are). With great brand mentions, your brand will see a higher volume of searches for it. Brand mentions also help your conversion rates once visitors arrive at your site as they view where they got the information from as a trusted source.
“Over time, the implied links and earned media the PR team generates should improve the search ranking of specific pages on the brand’s website,” wrote Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire’s president of content marketing, on her company blog. Skerik continues:
“Tactics designed to create artificial references to a brand or organization won’t work, and brands employing them may risk incurring penalties from Google, disappearing from search results altogether. Instead, focus on creating authentic and relevant brand mentions, and be sure to measure the results over time.”
When hiring a PR firm, make sure they understand the value of implied links and brand mentions. A PR firm that can show you the big picture—accounting for how HDA link backs, implied links and social shares impact traffic to your site—is one that can integrate well across all marketing and communications channels.
“Our firm understands the total impact of strong brand mentions and we’ve experienced how rewarding it is to become a partner with our clients to reach its goals,” said Heidi Krupp, CEO and founder of Krupp Kommunications. “Nowadays, it’s essential to track every consumer touchpoint.”