3 reasons citations are awesome and how to get them for your biz

In its simplest sense, a citation (as applied to SEO) is a mention of your brand online. Let's say, if someone wrote on their blog that last night they ate at [insert the name of a restaurant], this would be a citation.

The 'problem' SEOs have had with citations all along, is that they are not links. So, there's been a great deal of speculation in the industry as to whether Google counts citations and, if it does, to what extent.

Professionals who specialize in local SEO have noticed that citations help local business listings rank higher on Google. However, the same strong effect has not been observed by SEOs at large.

At the same time, we are now in the post-Hummingbird, semantic search Era when Google is expected to have a better grasp of who is who and what is what on the Web. Would this involve recognizing a valuable citation when it sees it? Perhaps.

Why citations are awesome (anyway)

Google rankings apart, there are many benefits to citations that can't be overlooked.

How to reach more of your fans using your Facebook page

Have you noticed that your Facebook page's reach has been getting worse and worse lately? If so, you're not alone. Marketers running Facebook pages for small businesses and big brands have all noticed the decline. In this post, we're going to look at how organic reach for pages has changed over the last couple of years, and how you can give yours a boost.

The Declining Trend of Organic Reach for Pages

In April 2012, Facebook ended speculation about the lowered reach of Facebook page's updates to their fans. They flat out admitted that pages organically reached an average of 16% of their fans, and that if pages wanted to reach more, they would need to sponsor their updates. Since then, the organic reach of Facebook pages has only continued to go downhill.  AdAge even obtained a sales deck from Facebook in December 2013 that said pages' reach would continue to decrease to make sure users (people, not businesses) have a meaningful experience on their site.

Putting aside generalized statistics, here is a quick look at the insights of a page with 4,400 fans.

Expert roundups - the more effective alternative

Note from the editor: We deliberately publish this article right after an expert roundup of our own that went live on Friday. What web marketing strategy will get a "stick-a-fork-in-it" verdict next? 31 experts weigh in was widely discussed in the community - check out the inbound.org talk and the comments on this blog. The thing is, mediocre content was one of top replies, and expert roundups were mentioned by some people as a soon-to-be-abused practice as well.  We hope that Tom's idea will bring a fresh perspective to the discussion. Enjoy!  

On the face of it, the strategy behind expert roundups is simple yet compelling. You first collect quotes and opinions from a bunch of people with topic expertise and Internet influence. Then you simply stitch together a blog post featuring their views and publish it in the hope that they'll share the content with their followers and fans.

But these days, the web is inundated with expert roundup after expert round up. Some of them feature "experts" of dubious relevance or experience. Others take readers on a quick jolt through a list of opinions without stopping to consider what that person really has to say.

The result? I'm sad to say that expert roundups just aren't what they used to be. But there's a better way – if you step back from the predominant fad and approach expert roundups with a different mindset, you could unearth the success you've really been looking for. In this post, I'll tell you what to do and why you should consider it.

What web marketing strategy will get a “stick-a-fork-in-it” verdict next? 31 experts weigh in

In his popular announcement on the decay and fall of guest blogging, Matt Cutts used a metaphor many SEOs remembered: "So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it's just gotten too spammy."

Indeed, when a tactic becomes scaled beyond reason, it eventually gets devalued by Google. In the light of this, could there be anything you should stop doing now before it gets harmful to your website?

We approached 31 experts with the following question:

What web marketing technique we'll stick a fork into next?     

Their replies are presented below, but before you browse for details, here's a summary of most popular points:

Matt Cutts explains what a paid link is: could you be “paying” for links?

Head of Google's Web Spam team Matt Cutts just made a video, in which he explains how Google defines "paid links".

Although SEOs are hardly confused on the subject, Cutts also touches upon grey-area cases (the video is nearly 8 minutes long) when it may be unclear, whether the link has been technically paid for, or encouraged to a reasonable degree.

The criteria for defining paid link voiced in the video are the ones used by Google themselves.

Matt Cutts starts by saying that “the vast majority of the time, things are incredibly clear", meaning that most paid links cannot be mistaken for anything else, which happens "99.9% of the time", according to Head of Google’s Web Spam team.

Hence, one can say that paid links fall into 2 main categories: obviously paid links and non-obviously paid links.