My brand - 'Brand X' - has thousands of mentions on low quality websites. These are mentions only, sometimes mentioning 'Brand X' and other times mentioning the domain 'brandx.com'. No hyperlinks exist. I'm wondering are these 1000's of brand mentions on low quality websites hurting my search rank in the same way that low quality links would? I have experienced a drop in rank over the last few months and really can't find anything else that could possibly be the cause.

I use Google Alerts to notify me of new brand mentions. I've included a sample list of the websites below (by no means exhaustive). The first is the worst offender. All of these sites pull images from my website automatically and build pages around these images, stuffed with keywords and a mention of my brand.

  • www[dot]dutchglow[dot]org
  • www[dot]cloudcanva[dot]com
  • www[dot]c-ibs[dot]com
  • www[dot]fcapartments[dot]com
  • housetohome[dot]co

3 Answers 3


Do not be afraid.

Google does get new and trending spam terms from obvious abusive usage on sites like you mention. At one point, when new terms were added to the spam list, and assuming with more severe cases of abuse, innocent sites were marked as spam sites just for simple mentions of these new terms. This went on for years while Google tried to tune it's algorithm. Part of the reason why this happened was simply because spam detection is not easy, however, the methods used likely were a bit wrong headed too. It has been a while since the last example I heard of.

I wrote about spam detection in other answers. It is no surprise to anyone that semantic scoring is the primary answer along with associating sites within realms of relationship using a fairly extensive list of indicators. With this assumption, only the spam site should be punished. Google has in the past 6 years has taken a new and aggressive stance against spam and has done a good job. Along the way there were mistakes made of course, however, spam is generally easy to spot when you begin recognizing patterns in the signals. With so many indicators, unless your site fits within the specific patterns of association, your site should not even be a consideration. Assuming you play by the rules, there is no danger, however, Google may look at your site with a skeptics eye for a bit while it figures out if you are a good guy or a bad guy. Not to worry. As long as you do not fit within the spammers realm, all should be fine.


I don't think there's a whole lot of official information on the web about brand mentions in relation to spam. I also don't think there's a disavow tool for brand mentions, though perhaps there should be.

Because Google's language algorithm uses word association to determine what a word means, when it sees your brand on pages of a certain topic it's very likely that it will associate your brand to that topic. This is similar to how Google associates your site's niche to the links pointing to your site from other website's niches.

So yes, I personally think it's quite possible that the brand mentions of your website on those sites could negatively effect your SEO. I don't think it would have as big of an impact as spam backlinks, but the association is certainly a possibility.

There have been sites who have had competitors try to derank them by spamming them with bad backlinks. And it's worked. I haven't heard of anyone receiving spam brand mentions in a way that negatively effects their SEO until now. But I wouldn't be surprised if that's actually possibly hurting you. I wish I knew of a way that you could disavow the brand mentions from those sites, though I haven't heard of such a tool.

Either way, if those sites are low ranking, low trust then the spam on there shouldn't impact you too much if your site has high quality content or high trust. The best thing that you can do is keep pushing out top of the line content and getting good, solid backlinks from reputable websites.

Google also did also implement a fairly impactful algorithmic update in March. The update was largely about quality and improving the rankings of websites with good content. It's possible that your deranking was a result of the algorithm update. There's a lot of climbers and a lot of fallers when Google releases updates like these.


Mentions are playing a role for Google, yes. But not in such cases. What you describe is just a kind of informational noize and it is pretty well recognized and filtered out by Google.

To send to Google some clear signals about your site, raise against some of worst offenders DMCA notices under https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-notice.

Another good idea to signal Google you are the king of your hill is to establish some structured data around your content, containg some authorship and copyright holder informations.

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