Does Google treat unlinked mentions as links?
During a Google SEO Office hours hangout, someone asked Googler John Mueller about the status of articles talking about his site but that the brand name or domain name mentions weren’t related to his site. What he wanted to know was if these mentions of his domain and brand name might be transmitting some sort of signal.
John Mueller’s answer was clear and unambiguous.
The person asking the question brought up the subject of domain name mentions and whether Google uses them the same way as links.
He explained his scenario of sites that publish articles that mention a domain or brand name but do not link to the actual websites.
“…these mentions can be in the form of a brand name or in the form of a person’s name as well.
… Is Google still able to recognize these mentions, these names and since they have been associated with the parent company or the current individual of the brand they are working with, does … some kind of influence …
Just because you’ve been mentioned on other places but not related.
It’s either a link or it’s not.
Mueller answered the question by essentially stating that a brand mention is not a link, so it will not be treated as a link.
Google’s John Mueller replied:
“I mean… First of all, if there’s no link to your pages, it’s not really a link there.
So it’s not something we would see, kind of like, oh, that’s half a link worth mentioning or something.
It’s basically, there’s no link, so there’s no signal going through like there would be with any normal link out there.
So that’s, I think, the first thing to keep in mind.
That’s not to say that…somehow…these mentions are bad or that you should avoid them or anything like that.
That’s really fair, we don’t treat them as links.
And that’s about it.
And that’s something where maybe users will choose that mention and they’ll search for your site and they’ll still go to your site.
But it’s not a link to your site.
So from that point of view, it’s very different.
I wouldn’t put them in the same category.
No signal passes brand mentions
John Mueller was very clear that if a site mentions a brand or website domain, Google will not treat it as a link.
His answer was clear and unambiguous:
“It’s basically, there’s no link, so there’s no signal passing…”
This means that if there is no passing signal, it has zero ranking influence similar to a link.
Do unlinked mentions count as links?
Watch at 46:27 Minute Mark