Citations helped raise my Google+ Listing


Adamk

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Hi All,
Can someone point me in the right direction? I am looking for a case study that proves citations/links actually move the rankings on Google. I am not trying to start a debate over the value, just looking for some empirical data.

Thanks.
 

Phil Rozek

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@Adamk

Good question. But I don't know of any case-studies other than those of my clients.

Why don't I do a citations case-study on my clients? Well, sometimes I'm under NDA. The bigger reason is we do lots work beyond citations, so we're not looking at citations-related factors in isolation, so a case-study wouldn't say much. Also, it's usually not the case that you can see much or any gain in rankings from just citations. They're an important part of your efforts, but still just a part.

I've seen work on citations help enough businesses that I'm comfortable putting time, money, and reputation behind them. I vote with my feet, as they say.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Thanks Phil!

Adam I moved this thread to the Citations section of the forum in the hopes that it can get some more eyeballs on it.
 

Louis Nava

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I've worked on a business who was on mid 3rd page and did citations only and noticed they bumped up to the top of the 2nd page. Nothing had been done on that business for 7 months prior. I wasn't expecting to see anything happen though, pretty interesting though.

I know there a ton of other factors that could have played a part in that, personally I think it all depends on if they have their act together in other areas when you start.
 

valesence

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do your own case study. It should be fairly simple. Pick a few local markets and use one of the citation tracker tools available. Pick the top 5 business's and do citation tracker reports including correct nap search and incorrect nap. You will see a definitive placement advantage with business's that have consistent citations that are higher value.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Citations theoretically shouldn't help you move from page 5 to page 4 or page 3 to page 2. Unless you are watching the now defunct Google+ Local search engine.

Citations are supposed to help with Google+ Local rankings and if you notice, there are no G+L rankings anywhere past the 1st page.

So, citations will only help you move to the G+L pack, not move up in the web results.

You will be able to track the progress if you have something like Places Scout though. It still taps into the defunct G+L search engine.
 

Adamk

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Hi,
That's a good idea, we have done a few. I am starting to think that citation building for LOCAL SEARCH is more an opportunity to have ongoing billings for an agency as opposed to real value.
I am sure to get a bunch of heat on this. But I cant show any Google Rank value for LOCAL SEARCH, by updating secondary and tertiary sources.
It seems like the days when companies would build links on the top 200 search engines. Can anyone agree that investing in 100 local directories has any value?
I am sure Manta, BOTW, citymaps, ABlocal, Mapquest have value. Not for helping your LOCAL SEO rank on Google.
 
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JoshuaMackens

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@OP, I did a case study about a year or two ago on the effects of citations. See the bottom of this post for the update: Testing the Ranking Effects of Citations on Local Business Websites | Marketer's Center Blog

This is a common misconception, a lot of people forget that citations 95% of the time accompany a backlink as well which would help your organic rankings.
It is my opinion that these links matter amount for little to nothing.

Go through Google's webmaster tools. The amount of links coming from local search directories are few and far between. Less than 10 for my clients which are on Acxiom, Localeze, & InfoGroup as well as having many manual citations built out for them.

The links from local search directories are the definition of low quality links. Easy to get, low value, and in most cases, duplicate content and ad ridden. It is not a far stretch to imagine Google ignores them.
 

Phil Rozek

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@OP, I did a case study about a year or two ago on the effects of citations. See the bottom of this post for the update: Testing the Ranking Effects of Citations on Local Business Websites | Marketer's Center Blog

This is a common misconception, a lot of people forget that citations 95% of the time accompany a backlink as well which would help your organic rankings.
@Andrew Scherer

Actually, that's the misconception. Most of the links are nofollowed. Joshua is right. The link component of citations doesn't help much, or at all. (Although it can hurt you: if you've got different URLs in your listings, that can create duplicates.)
 
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Go through Google's webmaster tools.
Oh Joshua....

@Andrew Scherer
Actually, that's the misconception. Most of the links are nofollowed. Joshua is right. The link component of citations doesn't help much, or at all. (Although it can hurt you: if you've got different URLs in your listings, that can create duplicates.)
Ah, the great nofollow debate. Probably best left for another thread. I won't comment on the many case studies over the years which have shown nofollow links rank sites, nor will I point out that a high concentration of dofollow links actually does harm to your site. I stopped paying attention to dofollow/nofollow years ago, a link is a link. Things are much simpler now.

It is actually the redirects which remove any value. They are there but few and far between. I've found roughly around 40% are dofollow, though, the ones that do give links.

They're certainly not the best, or very good links at all really. They're not contextual, on a brand new page, and they go straight to the root with anchor text you can't control. But they are links.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Oh Joshua....



Ah, the great nofollow debate. Probably best left for another thread. I won't comment on the many case studies over the years which have shown nofollow links rank sites, nor will I point out that a high concentration of dofollow links actually does harm to your site. I stopped paying attention to dofollow/nofollow years ago, a link is a link. Things are much simpler now.

It is actually the redirects which remove any value. They are there but few and far between. I've found roughly around 40% are dofollow, though, the ones that do give links.

They're certainly not the best, or very good links at all really. They're not contextual, on a brand new page, and they go straight to the root with anchor text you can't control. But they are links.
The question was whether these links are valuable and can move you up in the web rankings. It's safe to say that not only are they not valuable for all the reasons I listed previously, but they are also links that all of your competitors already have.

Don't build citations for links. I think that's something everyone can agree on.
 

Broland

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Business "citations" as most people know them help tremendously with both local and organic rankings. I have a whole business built around it and have increased local rankings on hundreds of Google listings with nothing but our business listing service.

As Andrew said, most of the good ones include a link and right now these are actually some of the best/safest links you can get. From my vast experience I can tell you that nofollow links do help and many local directories do have dofollow links. Furthermore - as for the GWT showing links comment - Go create a listing on Pinbud.com - you will often see over 1,000 links in GWT weeks later. These 1,000 plus links actually come from category pages within the site and are actually what I call "mentions" and are not even an a href. (While on the subject, I'll let you know that Google does follow mentions).

So these "citations" help organic rankings and organic rankings are a big part of the local algo. Also, when Google looks to determine the authority site for a business entity they look at the link accompanying a citation. If that link has anchor text that matches the business name that helps determine that the site is the authority site for that business - so that's another lesser known way that these can help quite a bit.

As with anything in online marketing - try for yourself.
 

Phil Rozek

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@Andrew
@Broland

NAP citations do not help your organic rankings.

Are you referring to some other sort of citation, or are you saying that the links you often get from your citation sources are valuable enough to help your organic rankings?
 

JoshuaMackens

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Phil,

He's saying that the link for the citation, in his experience, helps. He's also referring to a "mention" which is a brand mention. There's a lot of talk about how Google is tracking mentions of a website or brand and counting that as sort of a pseudo link.

At least I believe that's what he's saying.

At any rate, it's impossible to improve empirically that these links from citations help organically. All we can do is go off of our own experiences and logic. Understanding the way Google values links, there's no way you could convince me Google values these links at all. They violate just about every quality guideline there is.

However, Google has done stranger things.

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter because you're not building citations for links anyway. If you are, you're wasting time better spent on acquiring actual links.

P.S. I am on board with nofollow links actually counting.
 

Broland

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@Andrew
@Broland

NAP citations do not help your organic rankings.

Are you referring to some other sort of citation, or are you saying that the links you often get from your citation sources are valuable enough to help your organic rankings?
Yes the links that accompany listings on popular sites such as yelp, manta, merchantcircle, etc. They help on a few different factors - you can find this in Google patents. Otherwise if it was just simply the number of "citations" then spammed blog comments with NAP or something similar would be all that is needed.

@ the rest... Well we can't all know how this works or it wouldn't be so easy for the rest of us to dominate rankings ;)
 

21Development

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Hi All,
Can someone point me in the right direction? I am looking for a case study that proves citations/links actually move the rankings on Google. I am not trying to start a debate over the value, just looking for some empirical data.

Thanks.
The situation for each case study would be very different for each example given. But to weigh in, if your NAP is bad across your citations (or your clients' citations), I would expect to see positive movement in the rankings as the NAP/Citations are corrected. Nobody here is certain of a citations exact value, but we definitely see that it's part of the overall ranking strategy. I personally have no examples of sites that rank well with bad NAP or no citations. I do however have many examples of sites that rank well with good NAP/Citations setup.
 

JoshuaMackens

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The situation for each case study would be very different for each example given. But to weigh in, if your NAP is bad across your citations (or your clients' citations), I would expect to see positive movement in the rankings as the NAP/Citations are corrected. Nobody here is certain of a citations exact value, but we definitely see that it's part of the overall ranking strategy. I personally have no examples of sites that rank well with bad NAP or no citations. I do however have many examples of sites that rank well with good NAP/Citations setup.
Just to clarify, websites can rank very well without correct NAP/Citations. They just rank well in the web results, not the local results.

You would also be able to correlate a ranking increase to the links given in citation building if you measured ranking increase in the web results and ignored the local results.

21Development is right though, you should set up citations anyway with good NAP structure.
 

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