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Local Link Building Strategies: Structured vs. Unstructured Links

October 11, 2015 // By: Erik Krass

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Citations play a big role in the SEO world and ultimately increase a business’ digital presence. Here at Stream Companies, the digital PR coordinators take part in the development of client citations.

So what exactly is a citation you ask? A citation is the mention of your business on a website. For the most part, these mentions include the name of your business, the phone number, the address, the hours of operation, a description and, most importantly, a link to your business website.

There are two types of citations: structured and unstructured.

A structured citation is a mention of your business on websites/business directories such as Google+, Yelp, Foursquare, Bing, and Yellow Pages. An unstructured citation is a mention of your business on blogs, newspaper websites, and other business’ websites.

With structured citations, it’s important to claim, fill out, and optimize them.

  • Claim: Verify ownership of the citation, which allows us to edit the listing
  • Fill out: Make sure that all of the necessary information is present
  • Optimize: Make sure that the information present is correct and matches all of the information present on other structured citations

Managing Structured Citations

When working with structured citations, it’s crucial that all of the information matches up across all citations. Every week, Stream’s digital PR coordinators use an SEO tool called Moz Local. With this tool, we can monitor citations across several websites and correct information, remove duplicate listings to avoid confusion, add photos of the business to the listing, and include business categories. This process is known as citation cleanup and optimization.

Creating citations and optimizing them plays a big role in your business’ Google search ranking. The more that your business' info matches up across other citations, the higher your business will appear on Google's search results.

Obtaining Unstructured Citations

The digital PR coordinators also spend a lot of time obtaining unstructured citations, also known as links. Each month we create two to three pieces of local content for your business. These pieces focus on events, businesses, or locations within the client’s desired geotargeted area.

For example, we can do a piece of local content on the best bakeries near your business. The digital PR coordinator would then reach out to local baking bloggers to see if they would be interested in mentioning the best bakeries article and creating a link on their blog to the piece of local content on your business’ website.

What makes these unstructured citations (through the use of local content) useful is that they can target an overlooked audience or one that doesn’t know about your business. The person who visits the baking blog may find the link to the best bakeries content, click on it, and be directed to the business’ website. Had that link never been there, they may have never known that the business existed.

All of our efforts regarding structured and unstructured citations result in increasing a business’ digital presence. Through this increased presence, we hope to direct consumers to the business’ website, which will increase traffic and thus increase the conversion rate.

Interested in hearing more about what Stream has to offer regarding SEO? Make sure to download the How Stream Companies Does SEO free eBook

Erik Krass is a Digital PR Coordinator at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia-area advertising agency.

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Topics: Digital Marketing, link building, seo