A new development in Google search algorithm has stirred questions and confusion among experts and enthusiasts when at the start of this month a news broke out about press releases getting an upper hand in getting a brand in search results and rankings.
An article (http://www.shiftcomm.com/2014/05/google-validates-that-pr-is-seo-in-patent-filing) written by Christopher Penn of Shift Communications revealed a patent filed by Google that shows claimed media and implied link as part of the ranking factor in determining the value of a certain brand or name. Here’s how Christopher exactly described what’s being shown in the patent file.
“The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302). A link for a group of resources is an incoming link to a resource in the group, i.e., a link having a resource in the group as its target. Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both. An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource. An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.“
In simpler words, this means that any mentions of your brands in press releases and other type of medium has a direct or indirect impact on how Google would rank and value your brand. Christopher further explained this below.
“This section of the patent is talking about how Google determines what are high-quality, independent links to a website. The last two sentences about implied links are the most important. Implied links describe media placements of your products, services, and brands in media, even if the publication doesn’t provide a link to your company’s website.”
Christopher went further by emphasizing the importance of this new algorithm to Google and most importantly to SEO.
“Google is publicly acknowledging that every time your brand gets a mention in a story, that counts as an implied link that affects your SEO, that affects how many links there are to your website, which in turn affects how well your site shows up when someone is searching for your brand. In short, PR is SEO (or part of it).”
This announcement for sure put PR practice in the spotlight and would further people’s interest on how the search engine giant integrates this kind of metrics in ranking websites.
Reactions from the Skeptics
Though this news might have caused excitement from some SEO enthusiasts, there are still people in the industry who are still doubting if it’s the right interpretation of the patent. One commenter expressed his indifference on how Christopher Penn interpreted the data in the patent document.
“I think you’re seeing too much in the ‘implied link’ as described here. The way I read it, the ‘implied link’ is a URL that simply hasn’t been hyperlinked (which happens more often than we’d think). A brand mention is something else entirely, imho. Not saying that brand mentions don’t count – they sure do – but this patent in particular has little to say about that, in my view.”
Another one shared how he truly thinks about it.
“Starting with the caveat that none of us are Matt Cutts and that all of us are guessing and that we’re all doing Google Kremlinology here, the path between “PR is SEO” and how the Googlemachine works still feels a couple degrees removed at best to me. It’s interesting how that paragraph has been cherry picked on a bunch of sites, all jumping to the conclusion that “brand mention” == “implied link.” Is that really the case?”
Before I’ll give my own reaction and conclusion, I would wait for Google to officially announce their side of the story. For the mean time, you may do your research as well and find out if this latest development is for real.