It is common knowledge to those of us in the world of SEO that links matter. They are a major factor in the way that Google decides how to rank a site, with both external and internal link acquisition and optimisation common, and more importantly essential practices in the industry. But as ever, the world of digital marketing never allows you to rest, and the latest news surrounding search engines is that links may no longer mean as much as they once did.
Links have long been used to determine a site’s authority, however with certain manipulative tactics being used, Google appears to be reacting. Previously it was the Penguin Update that penalised a huge amount of sites, seeing them drop down the rankings, taking months, if not years to recover.
Now links are being viewed as no longer the all defining factor in rankings like they once were. The internet is an entire ecosystem of methods and systems that is constantly evolving, and this is where the idea of unlinked brand mentions (UBM) having a larger effect on SERPs than previously thought has come about.
What is linkless link building?
Linkless link building is simply a mention of your brand or site, without a link back to your site. Links on their own do not just warrant trust, you need high quality content which is interwoven with classic link building techniques to really have an effect on your positioning in the rankings.
As another point of trust and authority being gained by unlinked brand mentions, if your content is being cited across the internet, you are building a strong portfolio for yourself. This is not just restricted to your on-page content either. If people are citing you on social media and in forums etc as well through linkless mentions, then search engines will begin to recognise the mention of your brand as a trustworthy source, which in turn could benefit your positioning in the rankings.
What about backlinking?
Backlinks are still important and should still be incorporated as part of your SEO strategy. Google calls standard backlinks “express links”, that are based on being direct ways in which people can access your site. What linkless link building focuses itself on is the idea of “implied links”. Implied links have traditionally been what many citations site links are referred to. You do not always have links on directory sites, but having your site listed on somewhere with a high authority is still something we aim for in SEO.
Google’s Panda update patent information refers to these implied links, calling them a ‘reference to a target resource’. These implied links, or brand mentions used in unlinked link building can be used in a more wider scope than just citations in directories, by being included in ways we have outlined above. But for the time being they should not be seen as a replacement of traditional backlinking practices, just as another factor that can play a part in the complicated game of SEO.
Is linkless link building right for me?
Linkless link building is not something that should be considered for every site. One of the negatives surrounding this is that you need to acquire brand mentions, and if you have a brand or business that does not necessarily have a huge amount of options available in this respect, then it could be difficult.
Social media channels, content, and digital PR are three key techniques that would offer the best chances for unlinking brand mentions to have a meaningful impact on your rankings in search engines. It is all about creating an image brand of what you are wanting to purvey across the web. Creating a buzz so that more and more places are mentioning your brand name and keywords will assist in Google’s algorithms noticing that that configuration is trustworthy, and in turn this word would be rewarded through rankings improvements.
How would I track unlinked brand mentions?
There are a whole host of ways in which you can track unlinked brand mentions. You can use free tools such as Google Alerts and Talkwalker which will send you an email every time they pick up a brand mention. However there are advanced tools in which you can use to monitor unlinked brand mentions.
The Moz Fresh Web Explorer keeps tally of all the latest and best quality mentions of a brand name, whereas the tool Awario crawls the internet for mentions, and has a large focus on social media brand mentions as well so you can track your progress.
Do you need some assistance in your SEO strategy? Or do you seek some assistance with your Digital PR, Social Media or PPC campaigns? If so then contact us here at Ricemedia today as see how we can help grow your digital presence with our digital marketing expertise.