Part of Panda’s mandate is to ensure a balanced “link” profile…this will help
Online brand mentions are exactly as they sound. It refers to when other websites drop your brand name within their own articles as a reference of sorts or for some kind of attribution. When this brand mention is typed in as a form of your URL without a link back to your site to anchor the text this non-linking citation is known as an implied link. The URL identifier helps readers know exactly who the webmaster is referring to in the event that there are other businesses with the same relative name. It also protects from further citation confusion should your brand name include words commonly used together.
For example, let’s say that your business name is Big Island Ukuleles. Now it should be noted that there are many places to buy ukuleles on the Big Island (HI) so it makes sense that a webmaster making a non-linking reference to a copyright photo taken from your product line would avoid citing the image by placing a generic Big Island Ukuleles under it. They know you may not be satisfied by this, nor does it serve the reader. Instead, they would potentially label the non-linking attribution as either bigislandukuleles.com or www.bigislandukuleles.com. What’s silly is that most SEO’s and link builders get all upset when they see they didn’t score a link for themselves or their client in this scenario. They may not even report it to their respective invested parties. What they don’t understand is that these online brand mentions known as implied links are indeed great for your online business and even your SEO. Read further to find out why.
6 Benefits of Implied Links & Why You Should Embrace Them in Your Link Building Strategy
1. Google Has Implied It May Include Brand Mentions in Ranking
Three months ago Google filed what is casually known as the Panda patent. It caused quite the stir with SEO’s and SEM’s because it detailed within it the concept of implied links. Experts dissecting the document concluded that Google is likely on the verge of including evident online brand mentions (without links) as a ranking factor. In my opinion they absolutely will, sooner than later.
2. Implied Links Provide a Naturally Balanced “Backlink” Profile
A balanced backlink profile, to put in not-so-mild terms, helps keep your site from becoming a candidate for a Google webspam penalty. It is important that the citations to your website include a natural balance of Follow and NoFollow links along with branded URL mentions sans links. Webmasters around the world will reference your website in a manner that suits their practices and visitors. Google wants to see this natural variation and thus receiving implied links for your website is good for your longterm online business.
3. It Creates An Increase in Branded Search
The more implied links you receive the greater brand awareness is for your online business and the more likely you are to notice click-through increases for branded keyword terms in your Webmaster Tools. When visitors want to “learn more” they will copy/paste your non-linked URL into their search bar. Branded search is highly qualified search resulting in highly qualified (closer to purchase) traffic. Be ready to catch and convert them with Calls to Action on your website.
4. Increases Potential for Direct Traffic
The increase in online brand awareness that comes with implied links will also spike direct traffic to your website overtime. When businesses do not partake in off-site marketing (print, billboard, TV, etc…) yet see an increase in direct traffic within their Google Analytics online brand mentions are often the happy culprit.
5. It’s Easier to Monitor Than You Think
There are tools available to track these online mentions. Many take to Google Alerts but you only uncover a smidgen of the true accounting as you are only provided with the top results as Google perceives them. The aptly named Mention is probably the most popular subscription for tracking online branded mentions but if you are not interested in signing up you have a very simple yet effective tactic at your disposal. Simply enter your domain name with the .com/.ca/.org (etc…) extension without the “http://wwww.” (as in bigislandukuleles.com) into your Google search bar, set a custom date range for the last three months (so that you are not given 30 pages to sift through) and comb through the results. You’ll be delivered your own pages for the most part on Page One but eventually you will uncover webmasters that have provided these brand URL mentions – be sure to log them for reporting. Once you’ve done this large scale accounting you should perform this same search every week to better monitor the results.
6. Use them for Good PR – Public Relations
Some of these implied links may come from reputable websites. When this is the case be sure to start a dialogue with the webmaster to thank them for the mention (it could lead to more) and then proudly share the article with your audience on your social networks. When a well recognized website provides the mention you are even justified in placing an “As Seen in ….” in the footer of your website as a trust icon.
The next time you, your SEO consultant, and/or link builder finds your URL without that wonderful little blue highlighted hue just remember than plain text citations are quite valuable too.