During a Google SEO Office Hours chat, someone questioned Googler John Mueller about the dilemma of publications mentioning his site but not linking to his site by using the brand name or domain name. What he wanted to know was if such mentions of his domain and brand name may be interpreted as a signal.

John Mueller’s response was unequivocal and without ambiguity.

Mentions of the Brand

The questioner brought up the subject of domain name mentions and if Google treats them similarly to links.

He described a scenario in which sites post articles that reference a domain or a brand name but do not link to the actual websites.

“…such references might be in the form of a brand name or in the form of a person’s name.” Is Google still recognise those references, those names, and because they have been connected with the parent business or the current specific of the brand with whom they are working, does that… some sort of influence…

Simply because you’ve been discussed in other places but aren’t related.”

It’s either a link or it’s not.

Mueller responded to the query by essentially clarifying that a brand mention is not a link and would not be considered as such.

John Mueller of Google responded:

“I mean… First and foremost, if there is no connection to your pages, there is no link.

So, it’s not anything we’d see, like, oh, it’s only a half-link worth mentioning or whatever.

Because there is no link, there is no signal flowing as there would be with any conventional link.
So, I believe, that’s the first thing to bear in mind.

That doesn’t imply… kind of… these mentions are terrible or that you should avoid them or anything.
It’s just that we don’t consider these to be links.

That’s all there is to it.

And it’s something where folks may choose that mention, search for your site, and visit your site regardless.

However, it is not a connection to your website.

So, it’s extremely different from that perspective.

They are not in the same category, in my opinion.”

There is no signal from brand mentions.

John Mueller said unequivocally that if a website cites a brand or website domain, Google will not consider this to be a link.

His response was unequivocal: “It’s essentially, there is no connectivity, thus there is no signal travelling…”

That is, if no signal is transmitted, it has no ranking affect, comparable to a link.