Why You Should Care About Co-Citations

Up until very recently (this year), getting good links associated with desired keywords pointed back to your site was a main goal in SEO. Then, Google’s Panda and Penguin came along and caused all sorts of trouble.

co-citation

Alternative to Over Reliance on Unnatural, Exact Match Anchor Text
Because shady links, over-optimization, low-quality exact match domains and bad link neighborhoods were becoming more of a problem to sites hit by these algorithmic updates, SEOs began to further diversify by turning to different methods including: social media sharing, strengthen brand by promoting company names, optimizing web design factors and more. This is where co-citations also come into the mix.

The Relationship Between Relevancy + Trust
Co-citations aren’t a new concept but this could become the most important SEO strategy for 2013.

Think about it in terms of a citation for a research paper that you might have done in college. If you’re a highly-regarded researcher who constantly publishes new work about the eating habits of bonobo monkeys, other studies will cite your work and you’ll gain recognition of being the prominent researcher in that specific field. Colleagues, peers, students and other authority sources will cite your legitimate and credible work in anything related to what bonobos eat.

This is the idea behind co-citations for SEO. And it also explains why some businesses rank for keywords that they don’t appear to be actively pursing on the actual page. For example, many people write about, link to and search for “backlink analysis” when it comes to SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer. The argument is that Google is becoming a smarter search engine and no longer needs to rely solely on links to determine the relevancy of your business and certain keywords.

Adjusting Your SEO Strategy?
Once co-citations are on your radar, it shouldn’t really change your current strategies but just change the way you think about them. Co-citations can be part of nearly all aspects of your online marketing plan: social media, local search, blogging and other content creation. Although thinking of utilizing this strategy can make it harder to physically track your progress (versus building x amount of links), it could take your mind off things when you tried to attain a certain amount of links during a set period.

The take away from all this co-citation talk in the SEO world is that you can’t analyze your competition from only looking at number of backlinks and where their coming from. This is wildly different depending on your industry and even location. As if the opaque nature of Google’s ranking factors could be more difficult, we can now add co-citations as a factor!

Read more here:
Not All Anchor Text is Equal and other Co-Citation Observations

Quick… Think Links!

link buildingGoogle algorithm updates are currently putting links in the hot spot, but there is good reason to always be thinking about them instead of just sometimes. In the world of SEO, link building is becoming more complex and can’t just be an automated after thought. That is, unless you want to get nailed by the reoccurring Panda and Penguin updates!

Theories about link building can be confusing and it’s hard to keep up with current and outdated strategies. Here’s a quick refresher on 4 common linking topics:

Diversity as a Goal: Automated link submissions are seen as spammy because you can easily create hundreds of the same links. Not only is this not helpful for user experience, but it also makes your link profile look suspicious. Manual link building is encouraged because you can achieve a diverse portfolio of links. But here’s where the “catch” comes in, as Google is cracking down and devaluing or even penalizing links that look unnatural in their eyes.

What’s Your Anchor Text?: Exact match anchor text is also being devalued because it’s not natural to gather a lot of those links. Relying on these types of links can quickly get you penalized for over optimization. Instead, it’s natural and more likely to have partial match keywords as well as a good percentage of anchor text such as: your company name, your site’s URL, and generic words like “home and “click here”. These linking practices are undesirable from an SEO standpoint, but it’s still good nowadays to have a few thrown into the mix.

Don’t Forget About Images: Whether you want to call it hesitation, paranoia or even fear over anchor text, you can integrate the use of linking images. This is a good time to think outside of the box and broaden your SEO assets so that you’re not just counting on text links. Check out this article on Pinterest optimization that is also extremely helpful for optimizing pictures in general.

Deep Links: Here we go again – always linking to your home page might sound like the best and most convenient strategy, but it’s really just a bad habit. As we all know, bad habits are hard to break. Depending on your anchor text, you’ll want that link to point to the specific page of content on your site The goal is to connect your inside pages together and show that the related pages are relevant. This can help improving indexing of new pages and increase click through rates.

Using effective online organic strategies to create links is so important because they are what is pointing back to your website. A diverse and reliable link profile will strengthen your web site’s reputation, while sporadic and shoddy links create a weak foundation. This is why negative SEO is such a scary thought because bad links can literally destroy your visibility in search engine results. Do you have any other thoughts on link building?