It is always nice to get confirmation and even further insight on something from Google. Google has been doing this quite a bit recently. Just a few weeks ago they gave us more insight into how analytics works as a ranking factor than ever before. Now they have done it again, having revealed key points on how citations are used in the Google search algorithm discovery process.
This news broke on 9/09/13 during a Q and A session with John Mueller from Google. You can find a direct quote from John on the subject below.
John said, “We use those kinds of links to try to discover new content. So for instance if we see that someone has been writing about a new domain name and we can recognize that as a domain name in the text even without a normal HTML link there, then that is something where we will try to pick that domain name up, try to crawl it and index it and see if that is something worth including in our search results.”
“Sometimes it happens that we pick up a whole URL like that. Sometimes someone will try to shorter a URL with just a ‘…’ in between and we try to crawl that URL so we get it wrong. But our goal here isn’t necessarily to pass any pagerank, which we don’t do with those kinds of links. But rather discover new URLs that we haven’t seen before. And if we see someone write about a URL that we haven’t seen before we will pick that up and try to index that for search.”
You can watch John discuss this here.
This comment gives us greater insight into Google’s use of citations. While it does seem this type of citation only has a limited use, we can speculate that Google may find more value in using this ranking factor in the future.