The not so hidden value of brand citations

The long established channel of SEO has been a core part of any brands online marketing strategy for a long time now, but Google has changed the way it it looks at a site as well as the information it shows to the end user — so why are brands still doing SEO like they did 5,6,7 years ago?

Google no longer looks purely at keywords and links but uses Rankbrain to try and provide the end user with the most relevant answer to their question or search query. So where brands and agencies have, and still are producing and placing content on external sites, covering subjects that are carefully related (in some way) to the brand, that include a direct link back to the site — is this really the way it should be done?

There is a logical reason why this is still happening, it’s measurable, to a degree. When you are investing in a marketing channel you want to see some tangible results for what that deployed spend is returning you. But what if you could focus real brand building?

Co-occurrence and Co-citation as a strategy

What is co-occurrence?

Co-occurrence is the presence, frequency, and proximity of similar keywords across various websites. Co-occurrence logically includes keywords that are topically relevant, but not exactly the same.

What is co-citation?

Co-citation is when one website or brand is mentioned (not linked) by two different sources.

In co-citation, there is a strong content-driven connection between two sites due to their mutual mention of a single website and not because of any actual links between the sites.

In order for sites to be connected in a co-citation relationship, they must…

1. Share a common mention of the same site. There does not have to be a link.

2. Discuss a similar topic. There does not have to be shared keywords.

Co-citation, then, serves as a signal to Google’s algorithm that the mentioned site is important. Usually, in co-citation, an authoritative site or sites function is a communalistic role to the less authoritative site(s).

The differences between co-citation and co-occurrence

· Co-occurrence refers to the actual presence of content (similar terms) on different sites. Think of it as ontology, an occurrence.

· Co-citation refers to the way that the sites are connected to each other. Think of it as a mention, a citation. For example, a high-quality peer-reviewed journal may have dozens of citations due to its authoritative status. Those citations are mentions of that journal article.

So, you are bought into using (or at least testing) the co-citation strategy as part of your SEO and brand building activity, but there is still a question you need answering — how do I report the value? There is a way!

Meet Gerrard the content citation tracking tool developed by the team at Flaunt Digital. Gerrard allows you to track a user who interacts with a piece of content on an external site that then visits your site.

So essentially what Gerrard allows you to do is work with publishers and external sites but not be pressured by link metrics, just focus on good quality content. If you produce content that resonates with the audience and they visit your site, Gerrard will report that user as a goal. This allows you to report the genuine return from an external piece of content, this provides SEO’ers to confidently include brand building and citations as part of their long term strategy.