Are brand mentions a Google ranking factor?

Published: January 10, 2019

At the ”State of Search” search conference in 2017, Google’s Gary Illyes made comments about Google using sentiment analysis, which is “the process of computationally identifying and categorizing opinions expressed in a piece of text, especially in order to determine whether the writer’s attitude towards a particular [business], [website], topic, product, etc., is positive, negative, or neutral.”

Gary’s comment was somehow misunderstood, but Mark Traphagen confirmed that he discussed this with Gary:

“I was in the same conversation as Kenichi, and also talked with Gary on my own, and I think Kenichi oversimplified Gary’s qualification. Gary said was reluctant to call it sentiment analysis, but confirmed that if there are a lot of mentions of a brand, positive or negative, they COULD (not necessarily will, but could) affect how much Google trusts that brand for SERP ranking. I think part of the problem might be that Gary didn’t fully understand what we meant by “sentiment,” because when I put it more simply and said, “so a brand getting a lot of negative mentions could be less trusted for ranking, and one getting a lot of positive mentions could be more trusted,” he said yes, that was correct. source

So, apparently, yes: brand mentions are a ranking signal.