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How Does Co-Citation Impact Content Writing For SEO?

Stop keyword stuffing! Start thinking about keywords more broadly. Mark from explores co-citation and its benefits.

Co-citation is a pretty big deal in the SEO world right now. You may have heard about it already, but do you know what it means? And more to the point, do you know how it affects you and your content marketing strategy?

So What Is Co-Citation?

In simple terms, co-citation is a way that Google uses word association to decide what certain content is actually about. It goes further than just knowing the difference between synonyms; Google can now map out links between different but related words.

For example:
The word “kitchen” is related to the word “table” and the phrase “work surface”.

To take it a step further, causal links between words can allow Google to map out different topics that are inter-related:

For example:
An article about the home might mention keywords like “development”, “home” and “windows”. All of these words could be ambiguous on their own, possibly referring to business, computers or construction. But by linking them together, Google can figure out what topics are being discussed.

What Does This Mean For You?

Co-citation works across websites and follows links as well, allowing search engines to piece together a comprehensive map of different topics which are relevant to a piece of content.

This means that you don’t have to try as hard to let Google know what your content is about. But it also means that you can’t fool Google into thinking your content is about something that it’s not.

What To Do About It

When you are developing your content, you should think laterally about what your content is actually about and what other related topics might be relevant.

If you write an article about one thing with a tenuous link to the topic that you are actually targeting, Google will be able to pick up on the true topic and might de-value any links or any parts of the article that are not relevant.

Instead, you should base the main topic of the article around the keywords that you are targeting, rather than squeezing only slightly relevant keywords into an off-topic post.

Avoiding Keyword Stuffing

The great thing about co-citation is that it allows you to target many long-tail phrases without having to actually fit those phrases into your content. This means that you can avoid using keyword phrases where they don’t really fit.

Link Building & Co-Citation

Another upshot of co-citation is that the content in an article can inform which relevancy phrases are passed through links. So if you are linking from an article to a page that you are optimizating, you don’t necessarily have to include keywords in the anchor text, but you do have to ensure that the article in question mentions keywords which are related to the keyword you want to target.

If you article is about building a garden pond, and you are linking to your web page which is optimized for “pond filters,” that will pass more value than if you are linking to a page optimized for “aquariums” because the latter is only tenuously related.

About The Author

This guest post was written by Mark from an internet marketing and conversion optimization agency.

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