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SEO is always changing and companies need to be ready to react, but many don’t realize is that it’s typically the writers who need to do most of the adapting. As a writer, it’s easy to see first-hand that a lot of Google’s brilliant ideas fall on the ability of the writer to adapt his/her strategy and react accordingly. SEO co-citation is no different.

For those who are unfamiliar, SEO co-citation is a new way to think about anchor text and linking. It deals with the words that surround the links within your content. In short, it’s one of Google’s new tactics to determine which sites are natural and which are not. It began to get too easy for spammers to place keyword rich links in a piece of content, but this new concept makes that more difficult.

Take the following example: if I wanted to link to my website,, then I wouldn’t want to do this if I were following good SEO co-citation practices:

If you’re looking for local SEO services, visit Higher

You want your sentence to sound natural. In real life it would look like this, therefore SEO co-citation practices say that you would want to write this:

If you’re looking for local SEO services, visit

As you can see, the link you are using is still surrounded by the words “local SEO.” This will still tip Google off that your page might be about local SEO and the link is related to that topic. It looks natural, and you avoid any potential penalties. Yes, you heard that correctly—Google is beginning to penalize sites for building too many links using keyword-rich anchor text.

SEO Co-citation and What Writers Need to Know

As you can see from the example above, this new strategy has everything to do with writing. Writers need to understand how to link correctly, and that is changing. The backlinks that you earn on other websites as well as the links you include in your own content aren’t going to be good indicators when it comes to the Google bots analysis anymore.

shutterstock_129327068Google is moving toward being able to look at the content as a whole and not just your links and anchor text. Writers need to keep this in mind and start really creating natural content that focuses on the words around a link (and even around a keyword) in order to be successful.

Are you a writer who looks to find new writing strategies for SEO? Are you familiar with co-citation and how it works? Let us know your experience with SEO co-citation or share your thoughts in the comments below.

Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for Highervisibility, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers national and local SEO services to a wide range of companies across the country. Visit their website to learn more.