September Google Maps Strategy Newsletter

What is co-occurrence?

Co-occurrence is the presence, frequency, and proximity of similar keywords across various websites. Co-occurrence logically includes keywords that are topically relevant, but not exactly the same.


What is co-citation?

Co-citation is when one website or brand is mentioned (not linked) by two different sources.

In co-citation, there is a strong content-driven connection between two sites due to their mutual mention of a single website and not because of any actual links between the sites.


How are co-citation and co-occurrence connected?

Most discussions of co-citation and co-occurrence bundle the two together.


Co-occurrence refers to the actual presence of content (similar terms) on different sites.


Co-citation refers to the way that the sites are connected to each other. Think of it as a mention, a citation. For example, a high-quality peer-reviewed journal may have dozens of citations due to its authoritative status. Those citations are mentions of that journal article.

In order to achieve co-citation, we have to have co-occurrence. I pair the two concepts together, because of the way that they serve each other. It is impossible to have a “co-citation strategy” that is separate from a “co-occurrence strategy.”



How do we know co-occurrence and co-citation matter to Google and is applicable to SEO strategy?

We know this matters to SEO because of Google’s patent published here


How do we implement this as part of our SEO strategy in particular for Google maps/Local SEO?

Co-occurrence and Co-citation are not new aspects of Google’s algorithm as these have been around for years, but on 09/10/2019 Google announced that they will no longer obey the rel=”nofollow” attribute on links as a directive and will only consider it as a suggestion of whether to count that link in their algorithm or not.  This is a very big change as most of the links from authority sites on the web have a blanket use of the rel=”nofollow” attribute on all external links.  We can infer from this recent change that the existing limited amount of Dofollow anchor text links are not a sufficient enough signal to accurately rank websites in their algorithm where now they are leaning heavily on not only indirect citations (as pictured above), but even the formerly discounted body of rel=”nofollow” links on the web.

The most common co-citation or indirect citation in terms of Local SEO strategy is a brand mention or embedding a custom Google map (pointing to a business)
like this example.  You can distribute such a custom Google map all over the web similar to distributing a press release and of course the strength of that distribution network is what separates one agency from another.


You can learn a lot more about your website’s link equity and brand mentions by running a free report with WEBCEO, the leading SEO software in the industry.