In a recent webmaster hangout, Google employee John Mueller responded to a question about whether unlinked brand mentions helped rankings.
Google Does Not Use Mentions
“I don’t think we use them at all for things like PageRank or understanding a site’s link graph. Also, the mere mention is sometimes difficult to understand,” replied Mueller.
Mentions Can Help Increase Awareness
That being said, mentions of a brand can be useful for increasing brand awareness, which in turn can increase brand search volume over time, says SearchEngines.
Mentions Are A Problem Signal
Later, on the 58th minute of the stream, another specialist returned to the issue of mentions again. He asked how Google felt about negative mentions of the brand on spam sites. You can reject a link, but how do you “reject” a mention?
Mueller noted that this is one of the reasons that makes it difficult to use mentions for ranking purposes. Google has a hard time figuring out if the mention is positive or negative – sarcastic but positive, or sarcastic but negative? In addition, there are many spam sites on the Internet that can distribute negatively charged content. Given all this, mentions are too problematic to use as a clear signal, concludes NIXSolutions.