Key Ways SEO Citations Can Improve Any Link Building Campaign

Citations 13 Oct 2017

Link building has been and will likely remain an important element in search engine marketing. However, the manner in which you can get links has changed in recent years. As it turns out, citations/directory listings are the principal tactics used by 76% of 388 local SEOs surveyed. Hence, using accurate citations would greatly benefit your link building campaign. Likewise, help improve your rankings.

Because of their respective ability to influence rankings, people tend to confuse one for the other. Hence, it’s best to differentiate links and citations before listing the different ways you can use SEO citations to enhance your link building efforts.

How are links and citations alike?

  • Both serve as online references
  • Both appear on third-party sites
  • Both can appear on the same page at once
  • Both can upset your rankings when done wrong

How are links and citations different?

  • Citations have a consistent format featuring your NAP; links can have varied formats
  • Citations aren’t clickable; links are to take a user to the target site
  • Citations are significant to rankings for local results; links affect local as well as organic search results

Links and citations are both critical to your local SEO strategy. Best of all, the two can work hand in hand to boost your local search rankings. Here are various ways for you to put the two to good use.

Link with your respective industry’s business association

It’s surprising how many businesses fail to take advantage of this. Then again, it could be because of the membership fees it entails. Hence, you need to consider if it’s worth your while to pay for it. In the case of a professional like a lawyer, it might be in your best interest to do so. Why? Well, membership in a reputable association can boost your trustworthiness, which is what Google wants.

However, before signing up be sure to check if the membership database the site has a login. Google can’t crawl your link if it’s so.

How to choose a business association

  • Consider its ranking on Google. You want to be part of an association with a high rank, and most of all it appears in the first or second pages
  • Consider their membership database if it provides a citation and followed link
  • Find out its link metrics

Consider making a donation by providing a service or giving money

It’s possible to request a link in exchange for a donation. If you plan on offering your services in exchange for it, then it’s best to employ a bit of tact and not ask for it outright. If you do, then you might get turned down right away.

Assuming you’re able to get a positive response to your donation, then that’s the time you can work your request into the conversation. Depending on what services you provide, you can consider sponsoring any of the following.

  • A homeless shelter
  • A local food bank
  • An academic event
  • An environmental cause or organization
  • An animal shelter

You can also sponsor local sporting events in your community. Doing so can also boost your brand’s visibility in your area. If you have no services to offer, then you can always give cash. Rest assured you won’t have to spend a lot on your sponsorship budget.

Make the most of your business relationships

No doubt, you’ve built relationships in the course of your business. Consider who among them would be willing to link to you. You’ll be surprised at how a quick rundown of your contacts would give you a good idea of who you can tap. The best part of this is that all you have to do is ask. So, remember to be polite and ask nicely. Here’s how you can do this.

  • Ask about placing a link on their resource page
  • Offer a testimonial for anyone who provided you with their services before
  • Take part in events sponsored by any of your partners

Check out Educational Institutions

If your business is involved in any way with an academy, then you’ll want to connect with colleges or universities within your locality. Remember, you can get high-quality links when linked to .edu websites as well as those with .ac domains because it builds confidence in your brand. Moreover, Google views them as authoritative. You can tap this opportunity in two ways.

  • Offer student discounts for products you sell or services you provide
  • Offer career opportunities for the graduate careers page of a university or colleges

You could also consider providing a scholarship. However, if you do, make sure you’re committed to doing so. Moreover, your heart is in the right place that is you’re not doing it just for the backlinks. When done well, you can expect to reap the benefits of a scholarship backlink yearly. Otherwise, your backlink might not even make it to a year.

Look for Brand Mentions

Chances are your brand has been mentioned on other websites. If so, then use the opportunity to ask for a link back. The premise here is that if they’re willing to talk about your business, then they might be willing to give you a backlink. It’s worth a try to ask for it. However, you should know these sites aren’t obligated to do. So, it’s best to be polite when asking for a backlink.

Utilize Digital PR

Create stories about what’s happening in your business and distribute it via a digital PR. You can talk about staff promotions, local events your business sponsored, as well as any local awards your business has earned.

A digital PR puts your business’s best foot forward and sends a positive message to people about what you do or offer. The backlinks you acquire from it also improves your trust rating in search engines. In turn, your ranking gets a boost as well.


There’s no denying the power of citations and links to influence search rankings. Understanding how to utilize both of them benefits your business by boosting its visibility.