May 2019's SEO Superstar
Odyssey New Media
I 100% believe that citations and brand mentions can influence the rankings of a website. Is it as good as a followed link? Probably not. But, it all comes back to relevance and trust. If you are mentioned on (cited) a highly relevant site then that helps the search engine to build a picture of your business.
I try to always look at this from a common sense perspective. Would a citation or brand mention be useful for a human? Yes - if it is in the right place. It helps build awareness, credibility and trust. Search engines are just trying to model what is useful for search engine users (humans) so these signals are most likely factored in. A quick dive into the PageRank Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank) talks about how the original PageRank algorithm was informed by Citation Analysis studies by Eugene Eli Garfield. Citation Analysis looks at the frequency, patterns and graphs of citations in documents and uses the links from one document to another to help assign value to documents (pages). A stated goal here was to identify the best (most important) documents in a set and Google is working with a huge set of answers for most questions so citation analysis, links and many other factors must all be looked at here. This is a bit of a grey area. Citations and brand mentions are not links. But citations are a huge factor in Local SEO - why would they not be used, in other ways, in more traditional SEO? We could likely debate the specifics until the cows come home (and still not know the answer) but certainly I believe that citations and brand mentions add value.
Asking Google representatives about SEO advices often looks like asking cops about best place to hide a joint. Now let's think about brand mentions - these are definitely useful when tracked properly (vide Brand24, BrandMentions and other platforms). Once you know where your brand was mentioned you can re-approach these websites and ask to make these mentions a link. One of the most efficient link building tactic. That's how I see that.
Brand Mentions or Citations can definitely influence the rankings for the Branded keywords of an organization, The more brand mentions on reputed platforms will influence the rankings of the website because it indicates that the people are talking about the brand which increases the Authoritativeness of the brand and eventually improves its recognition and influences the rankings of a website.
Yes, it can influence ranking of a website but it also depends upon the website from which we are getting backlink or brand mention. If a high authority websites mention our brand in a post then it will definitely influence ranking.
Odyssey New Media
Calderon Marketing Systems