How important are social mentions to SEO

A backlink without a link? Linkless Mentions and SEO

What exactly are linkless backlinks?

Yes, admittedly: Linkless backlinks sounds like a contradiction. Perhaps this is also the reason why this potential ranking factor is also known as Linkless Mentions or Brand Mentions. The analogy to the classic backlinks applies above all to the comparable mode of action for search engine optimization.

A backlink points from one website to another and suggests to Google that there is a thematic connection exists - and the linked page is relevant for related search queries. In fact, however, the search algorithms of Google (and of course other search engines) have improved dramatically in recent years.

The link, the literal "connecting link" between two pages, is no longer absolutely necessary so that the search engine can recognize a connection at this point. Google is continually optimizing the content of pages better understand and classify to be able to. For this reason, mentions without an explicit link can also affect the ranking - both positive and negative.

Because the search engine's algorithms are not only fine enough to recognize the thematic relationship, but also to evaluate the context in which the mention appears. A positive experience report that praises a brand in the highest tones can help it to achieve a better position in the ranking. However, if it is torn from all sides, the effect may be reversed.

An underestimated ranking factor? Linkless mentions in practice

Officially, the linkless backlinks count not to the ranking factorsthat Google uses when rating a page. Even so, there are some indications that you shouldn't be completely overlooked in search engine optimization. One of these is from Gary Illes, who stated in a keynote address in 2017:

"Basically, if you publish high-quality content that is highly cited on the internet - and I'm not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding - then you are doing great."

Of course, it is common for Google to point out the need for webmasters high quality content to point out. However, that Illes explicitly emphasizes at this point that it is him not just about links SEO marketers should think about it. Another indication can be found in the Quality Rater Guidelines, which are used for the manual assessment of websites. The quality inspectors are also made aware here, Pay attention to positive mentions from other sites. Bing also allows the Linkless Mentions to flow into its assessment and, in the Webmaster Guidelines, also refers again to the importance of social media, in which mentions fall under the area of ​​"social signals":

"Social media plays a role in today's effort to rank well in search results. The most obvious part it plays is via influence. If you are influential socially, this leads to your followers sharing your information widely, which in turn results in Bing seeing these positive signals. These positive signals can have an impact on how you rank organically in the long run. "

It should be clear at this point that it is definitely worthwhile to keep an eye on mentions without a link and, if necessary, to use them for your own network success. But it is not quite as clear - how can this be achieved?

"Clear" link juice without a link - this is how you use Linkless Mentions for your website!

The progress of the search algorithms is unlikely to decrease in the near future. Google and Co. become always more precise and increasingly able to actually "understand" content. Therefore it is not wrong if you deal early with the less obvious SEO criteria that are not yet officially ranking factors. How you can take care of Linkless Mentions, for example, is summarized below:

  • Keep an eye on the reputation of your website!

When you are offering a product or service, it is a great benefit to be talked about. Of course also online! For example, encourage your customers to leave reviews. You can find help on this in this article. In general, you should also make it a habit to monitor your reputation on the Internet, as negative mentions can make it difficult for you to climb up the search engine rankings. Here it is worthwhile to rely on professional online reputation management in case the negative mentions get out of hand.

In order to get one or the other mention, influencer marketing can also be used strategically. Brand mentions on social platforms can also be included in the evaluation, as can mentions on all other websites. If you reward influencers (whether with free products or a corresponding fee), you can expect positive reviews as far as possible. If you are considering this route, you might be interested in our article on micro-influencers.

  • Guest articles and expert positions

Of course, you can also keep an eye out for websites that could provide a stage for guest articles or expert opinions. Both parties benefit from such a deal: The website on which the posting is to take place receives qualitative content, but you can look forward to a linkless mention (or a backlink).

  • Active social media accounts

Last but not least, the broad topic of social media should not go unmentioned. Of course, mentions in this area are also considered to be potentially beneficial for your search engine ranking. Interact with your followers and respond to your feedback. In this way, you not only strengthen customer loyalty and your brand, but can also influence your position in the hit lists.