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

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.