As a recovering academic (with a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, I was originally going to be a professor ~ go figure), co-citation is actually something I had heard of before. Co-citation in academic circles has to do with whether an article is widely referenced or not. If you are working for UC Berkeley and writing a paper on whether or not there is life on Mars, and your academic article gets cited not just in a few journals but in many, and if those journals are considered reputable (Yale being better than the University of Phoenix), and if the citations are relevant… you are being effectively co-cited. That’s good. That means your important.
As a teacher of SEO Courses, this thought pattern leads one right into link building. Get many links (a.k.a., votes), get votes from more reputable (higher PageRank) sites, and get votes from sites that are in your keyword community (a.k.a., relevant). That’s what traditional link-building is all about.
So What’s Co-citation and How does it Impact SEO?
So what’s co-citation in terms of SEO link building? I am a faithful fan of SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Friday, which is a video series on SEO by the super nerds at SEOMoz (that’s a term of endearment). The last episode was on ‘co-citation and search engine optimization,’ namely link building or backlink analysis. What gives?
Basically, Rand Fishkin is pointing out that sometimes you don’t get a link from another site. Sometimes they just talk about you, and your brand as well as related keywords. For instance, many sites talk about ‘cell phone ratings’ and ‘Consumer reports’ in the same breath but don’t actually link to ConsumerReport.org. But Google (getting smarter all the time) is able to figure out that 1) the phrases ‘cell phone rating’ and ‘consumer reports’ often appear close together, and 2) Consumer Reports as a ‘branded phrase’ is highly relevant to Consumerreports.org. Therefore on a search for ‘cell phone ratings,’ ConsumerReports.org has a high probability of showing up.
The Take-away about Co-Citation
All that said, what’s the take-away? It’s still just basic link building.
- Get Links – lots of them.
- Get Links – from powerful (high PageRank pages)
- Get Links – from pages in your keyword communities (pages, that thematically talk about the keywords that matter to you).
- Get Links – for local SEO, from pages / websites that are physically near you and/or talk about your local city plus your keywords.
- Get Co-Citations – if you can’t / don’t get a link, at least get a citation. Meaning get someone (else), preferably someone important (high PageRank, in your keyword community) to talk about your brand and your keywords (together).
So really here, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Co-citation just means Google is getting smart enough to realize not everyone links, but everyone talks. So co-citations are just another form of look.
Co-citations and Branded Search
One important final thought: branded search. For co-citation to work, you have to have a strong brand, a strong name / phrase that other people use to refer to your company. This can be a company (SEOmoz) or a product (Open Site Explorer). And then when someone Googles your company name / product name, you had better show up on Page 1 Position 1 of Google for that ‘branded search.’ Why? Because that’s essential to Google putting two and two together – that your branded name and the target keyword go together (step 1), and that your branded name ends in a website URL (step 2).
So what he didn’t mention in the video is that branded search is very important to success at co-citation. Most people do well by default, but it’s worth checking your company name / product name in a Google search. It also means name your company or product something unique, vs. something general. Apple, for example, wouldn’t be a good name to name a start up in 2012 even if it was twenty some years ago.
Recommended Links on Co-Citation
Powered by Facebook Comments