As the world of search engine optimization evolves, brand mentions are becoming more important for a business’s online marketing success.
In the traditional world of SEO, links to your website from other authoritative websites are what improves your site’s authority, trust, and ranking level. In the evolving world of search, links and the authority that they convey are becoming less significant.
In their place, a brand’s online reputation grows through “implied links.” What are implied links? According to Google’s March 2014 patent application, an “implied link” is a “reference” or “citation to the target resource.”
In other words, it’s not a link. It’s a mention, a citation. To put it simply, it’s the name of your brand or business appearing online.
As digital marketing morphs into a mobile-friendly, user-friendly, environment, you need to improve your brand mentions, not just your links. How do you do it?
Here are six ways to gain more brand mentions.
1. Grow your social media presence.
Brand mentions take place on social media. Social platforms comprise a vast landscape of digital interactions. The more people are commenting, referencing, discussing, and bandying about your brand name, the greater your likelihood of growing brand mentions.
Since Google and Twitter are cozying up in a partnership, there can be little doubt as to the amalgam of brand mentions and social activity.
Social presence and activity are no less important in the coming months of online search and marketing. Keep up the activity, encourage the mentions, and you’ll be rewarded.
2. Build your personal brand.
Businesses are built on the backs of people — hard working entrepreneurs, loyal employees, and passionate fans. From this group of people, a company’s founders stand out as the most significant in impacting and growing the brand’s reputation.
As you increase in authority as an individual, entrepreneur, or marketer use your personal brand as as tool to leverage the growth of your business brand. Mentioning the business name in other contexts — your personal blog, guests blogs, offline mentions, etc., — will go a long way in improving the reach of the brand.
A business brand and personal brand can complement each other in a mutualistic way. Your personal brand benefits from the business brand. The business brand benefits from your personal brand. Grow one, and you grow the other.
3. Speak at events.
I’ve wondered whether or not it’s worth it to speak at conferences. While the ROI on the conference circuit isn’t quite as big as the payoff of blogging, I still recommend it.
Why? Because brand mentions, that’s why. Conferences are a potential source of brand mentions. As attendees tweet, blog, and cover the conference on their digital platforms, your brand mentions skyrocket.
As mentioned above, personal branding is a key feature of gaining brand mentions. Speaking at events is one of the ways of improving both your personal brand and your business brand.
4. Guest blog.
One overt way to build your personal brand is through guest blogging. Guest blogging is often seen as an underhanded way of building links. In reality, guest blogging remains a potent force for smart content marketers.
The real payoff of guest blogging isn’t the link. In many cases, a link might even be removed by the editor, or nofollowed. The true value of guest blogging is what underlies all great marketing — meeting needs, helping others, and providing top-notch information.
Guest blogging, whether or not there’s a link involved, also helps to grow brand mentions. The more places your brand gets mentioned, the better it will stand out in the evolving digital landscape.
5. Interact on forums.
Forums seem like an old-school method of marketing, but they’re still as hot as ever. Take Reddit, for example, one of the most popular forum-style platforms around. LinkedIn groups, another forum hybrid, has massive marketing potential.
Whatever you call them, these online discussion platforms are one of the best ways to improve brand mentions. For one, they give you the opportunity for straightforward mentions, but they provide another angle — Forums allow participants to discuss the brand.
Brand discussion pushes brand mentions to their logical extreme. Discussion is an online signal that a brand is more than just a static entity; it’s an organic presence that warrants interest from a wide audience.
As Contently puts it, “Brands have, in fact, had a hand in creating a new ad format that puts the customer’s voice on display.”
6. Keep pushing out content.
What has fueled the growth in brand mentions? One cause is the corruption of links as an SEO technique. “Linkbuilding” in its black hat application is a spam signal, potentially causing more harm than good. Another cause is the simple importance of content.
In the wake of the linkbuilding craze, content marketing emerged from the marketing landscape as one of the most valuable marketing techniques. Google’s algorithmic shifts — Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird — all tilted marketing firmly in the direction of content. The vast majority of B2C and B2B marketers rely on content marketing as a source of conversions.
The same practice that birthed brand mentions is the practice that will improve it. By growing your content, your brand reputation, mentions, discussion, authority, and trust will all continue to grow.
Brand mentions are not just the future of digital marketing. They are the present reality.
One of the reasons why more brands struggle to compete in an ever-changing marketing environment is because they don’t adapt as trends begin to emerge. Brand mentions is one of those emerging trends. It’s not a mainstream technique…yet.
If you are interested in growing the present and future power of your brand, it’s time to start growing your brand mentions.
What technique have you discovered for improving brand mentions?