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Co-citation and Co-occurrence - New Processes and Algorithms From Google

Posted Jun 21, 2013
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Co-citation and Co-occurrence

Co-citation and Co-occurrence

As Google experiments with and changes the algorithms that they use for a variety of things in and around SEO, it is important to understand and recognize the increasing importance of things like co-citation and co-occurrence, two growing factors in search engine optimization and in building links and more.

Link building has been significantly revolutionized, lately, and with it comes a pretty significant amount of development in SEO. Likewise, anchor text may be diminishing in significance as it is now being replace by co-citation and co-occurrence in the string of importance surrounding SEO and search engine marketing.

Co-citation, briefly, is building links without, well, building links. It means using anchor text for certain words and websites, but not actually involving outside links and not actually linking text through your blog and other sites. It is simply using a third-party web page in mention and in correlation with yours after which Google identifies a relation between those two websites and uses it as an important search engine-ranking factor.

Co-occurrence is similar to co-citation, but is somewhat different at its heart. Co-occurrence does not associate two sites in the same manner as co-citation, but instead refers to particular phrases and keywords that appear in close proximity to one another. In turn, then, Google’s algorithms look at these closely linked words and citations and understand that they are important and significant, rising a site’s profile in search engine rankings because of it.

Google hasn’t officially acknowledged co-citation and co-occurrence:

It is important to note that co-citation and co-occurrence haven’t even been officially acknowledged or announced by Google; it has rather been the work of some SEO sleuths to determine how sites are ranked and how algorithms may be changing as a way to develop and understand how Google may be changing. The importance of anchor text is certainly downsizing, though, as Google has introduced a host of other factors that determine where and how websites rank for a variety of needs and different issues.

The bottom line, though, remains: it is important now more than ever to create quality content that is relevant to your site and your needs as a way to develop a good search engine ranking profile and more. That means avoiding trashy and irrelevant anchor text, and focusing not even on co-citation or co-occurrence, but rather on quality shareable content that people can use, and in which people can find value.

While co-citation and co-occurrence are going to take a more prominent stage in search engine optimization in the future, it is now more important than ever to understand when and how these things will develop, and how you can use them to your advantage in your industry and niche. In the meantime, though, focus on working to create good quality content that people can use, develop, and enjoy for themselves as they move forward with your site. That, in turn, will make your site easily searchable more than nearly anything else you can imagine to use to “game” the system Google has created. 

My next article will be regarding the potential negative effects of co-citation and co-occurrence.  Could competitors intentionally do harm using these tactics?  What are your thoughts?