When a weblink is not a weblink

This could be a difficult one to test, but it would be interesting to know the answer to.

Lots of publications etc. link to my various websites, and in Google – if you type in the site name, then my site appears at the top.

So far – as expected.

However, what about when someone cites a website brandname, but does not then link to the website.

This actually happens quite a bit in news publications, where the author is (understandably) not that familiar with links and SEO.

For example – the following sentence contains one of my website names, but did not actually contain a hyperlink to my site.

Vodacom is now targeting opportunities in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola, according to a report from Cellular News.

I would presume that the search engines will create some sort of association between the words in the sentence and the website name – which in this case happens to also be two “normal” words.

It’s whether the website itself also benefits at all – either directly by the presumption of a weblink where none exists, or by thematic assocations so that the terms “cellular news” becomes associated with the network operator, “vodacom” and then hence, searches for “vodacom” and where www.cellular-news.com has relevent content – then gets a better search results placement

Not really sure how to test for that – without some serious site building. I guess it is the sort of question that only those inside the search engines would be able to answer.

The fact that my website name is hypenated is a problem as citations without the brandname are often written as two words, Cellular News which is not instantly recognisable as a unique brandname by the search engines.

Unfortunatly, a cybersquatter is sitting on the non-hypenated version of my domain name and wont reply to advances to buy it. I hope they don’t renew when it expires in 2008, and I will finally get my hands on it – then can encourage citations using the single phrase, CellularNews which is more likely to gain from any brand associations that the search engines may be able to detect.

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