Did you always want to know what effect co-citations have? And do you know all about your neighborhood, the good as well as the bad one? Be aware that your environment can either help you or affect you negatively. Today it’s all about good co-citations.
Link building is a technique that has always been used to push sites up in the Google rankings. It became even more important after Google and other search engines introduced link based algorithms that led to the fact that link building became the most important method to improve search engine rankings for a site.
Since then Google has become more and more sophisticated and has improved to better evaluate link growth and link quality in order to fight against automated link spam. A lot of new quality signals have been put in place in the last years that show if a site really deserves ranking high in their results. Here co-citations play a crucial role and therefore this is a principle that every SEO should understand and practice.
In fact the concept of co-citation is not too well known in the SEO industry yet. At the moment social media, twitter and nofollow linking leads to so many new trends in the industry that some professionals tend to forget about the fundamental principles SEO. Besides all the new methods that can be employed these fundamentals of SEO shouldn’t be neglected!
The concept of co-citation is nothing new and not rocket-science. The term co-citation refers to other citations on a page, meaning links that go out to other sites that are on the same page with links to your site. What you need to make sure is that all of those sources are “good” sources i.e. references to external sites that increase the value of the page and support the topic. By doing this they establish themselves as a good neighborhood to your link signaling to Google that your site is good and relevant too.
To understand the concept of co-citation in SEO also the classical definition of co-citation in literature should be looked at. The picture below describes the simple definition of the term co-citation as found on wikipedia, but you may want to look here for a better definition of the term.
Bibliographic Co-Citation is a popular similarity measure used to establish a subject similarity between two items.
The co-citations on a site will make the search engine understand what sites your site is similar to. Looking at the pictures above you can see that the four sites A, B, C and D are related to each other just because the sites 1, 2 and 3 are linking to them. It is crucial for every SEO to understand why this is important.
The term “bad neighborhood” is frequently used in the SEO industry. It refers to the situation that occurs when you don’t pay attention to having good co-citations. If you are in a bad neighborhood apparently what you did is that you put a link to your site on a page linking out to the “bad guys” on the web, which doesn’t have to be malware or virus sites necessarily.
The “bad guys” that put you in a bad neighborhood are sites that suffer from one or all of the following problems:
You are still wondering what a bad neighborhood is? The picture below is a classic example of it.
It shows some links in a paid link ad box, which is already bad by itself. As you can see there is a sunglasses link among many other casino and pharmacy links. Even if the site owner or the PageRank toolbar of that page tells you that a link there is desirable: it is not!
Don’t buy a link there because some metric tells you to – it won’t do your site good!
You should pay attention to the neighborhood of every single link you have to your website. No matter if you employ link builders or have a company taking care of link building for you they have to be aware of this matter. They shouldn’t be distracted by old school SEO metrics like PageRank or Cache date that are no sufficient indicators for link quality as I already explained in a previous article, but pay attention to what really matters: the neighborhood in which you place your links!
Not paying attention to this issue can have severe effects: you may be deemed one of the “bad guys” by Google and thereby lose rankings as well as trust by Google.
Just like there are bad neighborhoods you can also find good neighborhoods on the web, i.e. sites where you can place your links together with good co-citations linking to valuable resources. Google will soon believe that you are a quality resource too if you are constantly mentioned together with other sites that are of high quality. Every link counts as a vote for your site, which is also true for the other sites that are linked with you.
After reading the article so far you might be wondering if you have employed the right link building practices with regard to co-citations up to now. How can you find out if you are in a good neighborhood?
To diagnose your neighborhood Google has a special command with which you can find sites similar to your website. You should be aware that this command has also been crippled just like many others e.g. the popular BackLink command. Therefore, you will only be presented with a random sample, however, this will already give you some quick and useful insights.
All you need to do is to type related:yourdomain.com into the Google search box and Google will return you with sites it finds to be similar, i.e. sites it finds co-cited with your site.
Another way to find out about your neighborhood is to simply click the “similar” link that shows up directly in the SERP results. I did the test for the website of my company and got nice list of popular guys in link building and SEO. Many of them are tutors, partners or even friends. Some of the results for similar websites to cemper.com are WeBuildPages.com, SEObook.com, Stuntdubl, David Naylor, ShoeMoney, the Google webmaster tools, the popular WebmasterWorld forum by Brett Tabke, and even Matt Cutts’ personal blog. Google understands that all of these guys are in the same business of SEO and link building and therefore displays them as being related.
After you have analyzed your co-citation you should make sure that your link builders know how a valuable co-citation looks like, why it is important and most importantly how to find a good citation that you should add to your site.
Everyone who understands the benefits that a link in a good neighborhood can bring to you and has influence on other sites being mentioned with your site will feel the need to try that those sites mentioned together with the own site are killer resources and high quality sites.
There is no simple right or wrong answer to the question which sites you should use as co-citations. If you are an expert in a certain field, you will know which sources are reputable and valuable.
If you have a website about a financial topic in the US you could add the FDC or a big financial newspaper.
For companies in the SEO industry I would suggest linking Rand Fishkin’s SEOMOZ.org with your site as this is a real quality resource on SEO and link building and has been around for years.
In case you are not an expert simply use your gut feeling to find valuable sites!
Your co-citations, which form your link neighborhood, can be a good tool for ranking higher than your competition. Pay attention to who the pages you have links on link to! Find out if other links on a site where you have a link are in some way related to your industry, your site or a topic you are dealing with! If this is not the case you should ask yourself why there is a link to your site on that page!
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