The importance of outbound links
As the term suggests, co-citation refers to the relationship between the similarity of referrals and the mention of key phrases across the internet. Therefore, linking and mentioning industry related terms and authorities is paramount.
Perhaps surprisingly, hoarding link juice is not as conducive to positive SEO as you might think. By providing high-quality outbound links, there’s a benefit for your readers and an indication to crawlers that you are associated with the content being linked to.
Don’t think that you’re helping the competition by linking to quality websites. After all, linking to poor websites can be harmful, and not just for you, but for all websites associated with you.
Unless you’re focusing on transactions, there’s no harm in building your reputation through helpful external links from your onsite blog. Although readers may leave your website and pursue a new trail of interest, the fact that you generated it may even result in you diverting some of that much-needed link power.
An example of an effective co-citation strategy
Julie’s small business is based on selling cupcakes. She writes regular blog posts exploring angles on the subject and talks about trends with referral links to industry authorities, including much larger companies.
She shares these posts through a network of bloggers that share her passion. Due to this outreach, an industry-influencer is able to find Julie’s insights. They use this to write a new article that links to Julie’s website and her competitors.
As time goes on, Google becomes increasingly convinced that, having been mentioned alongside so many reputable and relevant businesses in high-quality content, Julie’s website is an authority.
Eventually, Julie’s website begins to rank for terms that she isn’t targeting but her competitors are.