Value of Citations? Citations had little to no impact?

HoosierBuff

Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
268
I don't have any data to back up anything, so, I'm more with "feeling" on this one. (I have seen a few pretty interesting research, I can't remember them all but, I think Dan Liebson had a very cool presentation about it that influenced my thinking).

My feeling is, I can't imagine that Google cares what merchantcircle.com has in their database about your business. You can convince me that the top 10-15 sites are probably important both for users (and voice search, and navigation), and maybe for SEO, but, after that, it's a waste of time.

Part of the issue is, if so many people are doing it, how could it be a valuable signal to google?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,930
Greg Sterling is actually in the process of writing a piece on this where he's going to get a bunch of people to chime in. Here is what I sent him.

I often find that people are are surprised to hear that my agency doesn't focus much on citation building or "maintaining" as a strategy. We've found that time is better spent on other high-impact tactics. We only bother with citation work if the client has recently moved locations. Even then, we notice that it doesn't make a huge difference. We had a client move last summer and after we updated the website and Google My Business listing we actually saw an increase in rankings due to their new location being closer to the center of the zip code (that's where we were scanning ranking from). Additionally, their leads continued to rise month-over-month even though we hadn't updated a single citation. We don't ignore it completely, it's just labelled here as a low-impact tactic so it's not what we tackle first.
 
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
14
My view is kind of like Hoosier said, it is a "feeling".
Everything I do comes from "if it is there, we should". I always update citations. I always build the ones I like, that add value, especially if it allows for certain things like a map or clickable phone number.
In my opinion, there is no reason not to. I look at my methods as holistic in that, SEO and digital marketing should include everything.
Again, only my opinion and feelings :)
 

Srinath

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2019
Messages
15
It's the same as backlinks, a good local/hyper-local citation is worth a 100 generic national ones. I run the existing citations through my own Top100 list which my team prepares at the start of any project and then focus on getting the balance over the duration of the project ( 3 or 4-month Local SEO campaign). This saves money and provides better value to my clients.
 

Mindquest

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Messages
39
Greg Sterling is actually in the process of writing a piece on this where he's going to get a bunch of people to chime in. Here is what I sent him.

I often find that people are are surprised to hear that my agency doesn't focus much on citation building or "maintaining" as a strategy. We've found that time is better spent on other high-impact tactics. We only bother with citation work if the client has recently moved locations. Even then, we notice that it doesn't make a huge difference. We had a client move last summer and after we updated the website and Google My Business listing we actually saw an increase in rankings due to their new location being closer to the center of the zip code (that's where we were scanning ranking from). Additionally, their leads continued to rise month-over-month even though we hadn't updated a single citation. We don't ignore it completely, it's just labelled here as a low-impact tactic so it's not what we tackle first.
Here is the article Joy mentioned: Do local citations matter anymore? Five local SEOs sound off - Search Engine Land
 

BipperMedia

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2019
Messages
58
I can't imagine how anyone would plan to move the needle of productivity, at least at a measurable and substantial increase, without citation distribution... at least applicable to locations that are in hyper competitive markets or large metro areas (or both).

Citation distribution, when done properly, also includes the URL that you use as the landing page URL in your GMB... so it's sort of like a combination of local and organic SEO, but both of which contribute directly to fueling your rankings and productivity in search (both local and organic).

I think there's two main reasons people are turned off by, or find no value in, citation distribution:

1) they use API platforms like Yext, Synup, or Moz Local. The truth with these "automated content production and automated distribution platforms" is that you end up with citations never make it, or make it properly, to the partner end point.. this is a problem that we've seen at a pretty large scale with Moz Local and their so called "aggregator" distribution service.

2) 20% or less of the citations that are actually distributed never get indexed by Google... a combination of the automated function but also a combination of people never taking the additional steps necessary to increase indexation.

There's other factors, of course, that influence local rankings and productivity... but I do not believe any of these "other" factors are sufficient without a properly executed citation distribution strategy.

And let me just lay out a few components that I see as a proper citation distribution strategy:
  • manual citations -- so you don't lose them ever (again, if you cancel with API platforms, your citations typically disappear along with your cancellation)
  • manual aggregator distribution
  • high DA sites / global directories
  • high DA sites that are niche to your business / industry
  • locally / contextually / geographically targeted citations that are relevant to your proximity
  • manual strategy for increasing your indexation rate of citations
I may be missing a couple (I'm typing through this fast...) but this is definitely a good start.
 

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