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SEO Backlinks, Citations and Local Directories. Do They Matter?

Minor Variations In Text May Be Torpedoing Your Efforts to Get Listed Higher in the search results.

backlinks & citationsAs you research how to improve your return on investment from your website, you continually see references to “Backlinks” , Local Directories and “Incoming Links” in relation to SEO. So, what is that all about?  One explanation is that they’re necessary to get traffic to your site from other sites.  Well, if that were the  only result, the value of the directories linking to you would be minimal.

However, backlinks, especially from sites with a lot of traffic exert a huge influence on your website indexing. The top search engines earn their income by attracting a huge volume of users who trust their results.  To get searchers to use them companies like Google and Bing need to provide accurate, up to date information. So they verify their information about a business by scouring the Internet for mentions or “citations” (and backlinks) about the business.  If the citations from  different directories are inconsistent or have conflicting information, then that is a strong signal that their data may be wrong.

On the other hand, if many citations and are consistent and identical, that indicates the information is valid, accurate and up to date. A basic technique to get good position on the search engines is to “claim” your business listing on as many directories as possible.  There are hundreds of them so determining which of them are the most important and focusing on those is basic to the strategy.  Several sources of citations are “no-brainers”: Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo Small Business and Yelp for Business.  These should be your first backlinks on your new or updated site.

It is necessary to keep track of the logins you use for registration and the exact way you have entered your information. Search engines are voracious but are very stupid.  They think that “My Widgets, Inc” and “My Widgets Company” are two different businesses.  If they see that phone numbers are not formatted the same, rather than understanding that that means the businesses are in fact the same, they may decide that the data is flawed and add a negative value to that site.

You must also consider the follow-up.  Let’s say that two months after you or your staff have spent many hours registering on the important directories to build up your citations, you change your product line or add services, or change your main phone number or address.  Now you must revisit each of these previously optimized citation sources and correct them.  More hours just to maintain your position. If you don’t have a dedicated Internet Marketing Team in your organization you will need help with this.  There are dozens of ways you can do so.  They all have a cost and some are way better than others.  The amount of money charged is not necessarily a measure of their effectiveness. At Silk Shorts, Inc. we advise our clients of the varied methods they have available to acquire backlinks and citations:

  • Do nothing (no immediate cost, but the most expensive in the long run)
  • Choose an automated or semi-automated online service. (Several are possibilities)
  • Do it yourself. (Economical if you have staff with the understanding and time to do it)
  • Hire in individual specialist for just that work on a piece by piece basis

In whatever way you do it, editing your online citations and acquiring good backlinks is a basic technique needed to bring you traffic to your site at reasonable cost.

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(a Google Review–MORE)

I have worked with Silk Shorts and Vern and Jana since the 90’s, so I’ve had a long-term relationship with the company. I own Thompson+Brown Real Estate and Silk Shorts has worked with us designing and hosting our website and search engine optimization. They have been great to work with, always prompt to respond and or reach out if they see something that we might implement to enhance our web presence. I highly recommend them.

George Brown

Owner, Thompson-Brown Real Estate