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Non-local sites and citation impact question

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by myopic1, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. myopic1

    myopic1 Regular Member

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    I believe it's fairly common knowledge that citations are key to Local SEO ranking but I never see their impact on general SEO discussed.

    Does anyone one have any positive experiences with building citations to sites aimed at non geo-targeted search terms? My logic tells me that they would provide legitimacy in Google's eyes but does anyone have experience or data to back this up?
     
  2. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

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    Citations play no part of anything except the local algorithm, and maps placement, however citation sources that provide a backlink will help general SEO.

    You have to understand what a citation is and is for.
    A citation is when someone on the web mentions a small business by name address and phone number. Go to your facebook page, leave your NAP in your public description, and you have created a citation for that company. This citation will be considered an "unstructured" citation. "Structured" cita

    Back a long time ago, the web was for big national businesses. Local small businesses could not compete with the larger folks who could afford SEO, so they could not rank in Google.

    Back then, if you wanted to attract local customers, you went to a local business directory for that. In order for small business to use the web, you listed yourself in Angie's list, the yellow pages and so on.

    As these venues came on board, more of these local directories started popping up, and then specialized directories started popping up, dedicated to niches AND location.

    Goggle saw all this possible advertising going to these other companies, and decided to do something about it, because after all, they needed that money.

    The only way local businesses would go into the SEO wars was if somehow the playing field were leveled out so that Joe's Carpet Cleaning of Dallas could compete with Stanley Steamer of Dallas.

    Google had a real problem in this endeavor for two reasons. Small businesses start up and go broke by the hundreds each day (meaning the address and phone numbers might have 3 or four owners before you get it for your business), and if you allow a break for local businesses, how do you keep out the lead gen people from going into an area with fake companies and taking leads from the local businesses and selling them back to them, essentially lowering the profits for legitimate businesses in that area?

    By the time Google decided to do something, local search was firmly in the hands of local business directories.

    So Google decided that since local businesses already promote themselves with local directories (and many of thee directories verify the listings so there is a check there for fakes), using these local directories to identify real local businesses would allow them to use everyone else's work to their end.

    G decided that if a business acts a certain way, especially registering with local directories, then they would be accepted at face value and be considered for the local algorithm. The way they weeded out old listings was to simply look for more instances on the web with the same information. The more places that mention a business by name, address, and phone number, the more confidence google has that they are a legitimate business in the location claimed. This is why citation consistency is so important.

    You should also know that there are three ways to rank a local business in google.

    With the organic algorithm using normal SEO efforts.
    With the local algorithm with local ranking methods,
    and in Maps.

    To out rank a local business using the local algo with a site using the organic algo, you have to have a superior site in every way, but it can be done. My most successful client's site does not rank with the local algo since he runs three businesses from his home. You cannot do citations like that. It ranks purely organically.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  3. myopic1

    myopic1 Regular Member

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    Thanks for the comprehensive and in-depth reply Techxan. From what you've said, the only reason that I'll be creating citations to my non geo-targeted website is to diversify anchor text to dilute my PBN links (if I bother with them at all).
     
  4. cburton81

    cburton81 Elite Member

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    Thanks given to Techxan for such a thorough answer. Most of my businesses are online but I have experience in this since I do have 1 physical business working from a location.
     
  5. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

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    Citations do not have anchor text. Backlinks have anchor text. Citations are not backlinks and have nothing to do with them.
     
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  6. myopic1

    myopic1 Regular Member

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    Apologies for not being clear, I meant the only reason I'll be using citation sites is for the back-links that they offer rather than classing a citation as a backlink.
     
  7. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

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    It's just me, people often do not understand local, and I get all preachy about it.

    Doing what you are describing is useful to rank a local lead gen site using the organic algorithm when you do not have an address.
     
  8. BlueSteele

    BlueSteele Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Tech, I assume you have carefully tested this? Before making these absolute claims? Your assumptions about what Google thought and did are nothing more than assumptions and/or hearsay. Folks like you are the problem with SEO today.

    OP you were referring to business directories as means of diversifying and "humanizing" your link profile. Ya? Do they help in that regard? And do they improve organic rank? While I can't make any definitive claims to humanization or diversification helping improve rank, because unlike Tech I don't work at or own Google, I can say it would make a little bit of sense. And I think there are a lot of folks that would agree that anything you can do to keep your link profile looking as natural as possible, goes a long way to, at the very least, the longevity of your site in the SERPs - especially if you are being otherwise aggressive. In fact, come to think of it, some of the SEOs I respect most, who are known for their tireless testing were using local directories in this way long before I ever caught on to it.

    Many of the good local directories are no follow, that doesn't mean definitively that they don't help. I have never run a test to see if just building no follow local directories improve rank, but if someone offers you a free high DA/PA link from a top Alexa site, would you turn it down? No, because more than likely it is going to help one way or another. I would be interested in doing a test like this one day, but I suspect I already know the answer. There are many do follow local directories, and if you'd like to PM me I would be more than happy to send a long a list of my favs.

    For me, regardless if I have an address or not (if you, I will use local directories and other citation sources as part of my tier 1. They are free, easy to create and I can sleep well at night. I got a bit further to build links to them (more common practice than you'd think), which appears to give them a bit of a boost, as well as pushes them up in the SERPs. Time and time again, I have seen this formula improve organic rankings. I've done this well over 500 times, and tracked rankings for each one of those 500+ sites, and the large majority of them saw organic improvement. Far from an isolated test, but too many instances of success to turn the other way. I've done likely just as many time without pounding the citations with links, and seen organic movement there too. Mind you, don't expect PBN movement, but we have PBN and the like for that. In no way should local directories make up your total organic effort. They should be a supplement at best.

    There has been much talk of co-citations helping rank, though I haven't seen any proof. I think Slawski might of written on a Google patent to do with them, and how Google is using them in their algo.

    Finally, it should be noted that the local algo in most instances today is blended (much research online to back that up), which means it incorporates both pure local and organic algos (and this). It is not uncommon to see sites with little to no citations be very successful in the local results because they are appealing to the organic half of the blended algo. Often very thin sites, EMDs with very poor backlinks profiles. You hardly need to be superior in every way.
     
  9. myopic1

    myopic1 Regular Member

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    I was primarily wondering if citations impacted non-local terms. For example, would blue widget salesman 'A' see better rankings that blue widget salesman 'B' because even though both A and B are attempting to rank for a non-local term, 'A' has an address on his site and citations matching his address scattered about reputable business directories.

    By my logic, even though neither A nor B are attempting to rank locally, business citations (not links) would make A more trustworthy in Google's eyes...i.e 'A must be a real business selling real things, so I'll rank him higher'.

    Citation site links (not NAP) were a secondary aspect to what I was asking. While I don't expect increased rankings from them, I definitely see their worth in diversifying anchor text and making the overall profile of an artificially ranked website (via a PBN say) appear more natural.