What is Co-occurrence and How Does It Affect My Site?

Long gone are the days when keywords and backlinks ruled the roost in rankings for web pages. Post Panda, we are seeing more of a revolutionary method of ranking web pages–co-occurrence. This is something any freelance content writer should understand in order to improve their web content. Also referred to as co-citation, co-occurrence is the natural evolution of SEO. After all, Google clearly would put up with only so many keyword-stuffed articles and purchased backlinks before putting the smack down. Curious to know what co-occurrence is and how it plays a role in promoting your website?

Co-occurrence: An Example

The way co-occurrence operates is based on branding. Say you are researching the Web for “cell phone ratings.” At the top of the ranks you find a Consumer Reports web page and click on it. Nothing on the page states “cell phone ratings,” which is the keyword. You won’t find the keyword in the title. In fact, while you might find “ratings” and “phone” in the content, you won’t even find “cell.” Clearly keywords aren’t making the mark with this site. So what is?

Co-occurrence through branding.

The way that Consumer Reports ranks so highly for a seemingly unrelated keyword is by being referenced in articles on other websites. Sites that want respectable resources for their own content will refer and backlink to Consumer Reports’s article on phone ratings. This form of brand association serves to boost the rankings of Consumer Reports without the use of keywords, backlinks, or anchor text. In fact, all that Consumer Reports had to do was present solid and credible information in the form of web content.

What Does This Mean for You?

SEO is a changing, that is for certain. According to CEO of SEOmoz, Inc. Rand Fishkin, co-occurrence is one of the major players of inbound marketing for 2013. For your website to run with the lead dogs in the pack, you need to understand how to apply this concept effectively. Here are some ways to add sparkle via co-occurrence to your site:

  • Be active in social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and the like are all valuable members of website marketing. Create a social media profile that recognizes you on all possible social media sites so to increase user visibility of your site. Use these sites to guest post, find professional interviewees, make business connections, and reach across networks. Building your brand is essential for co-occurrence, and the cheapest and fastest way to grow is via social media.
  • Post visionary and delightful content on your website. Include expert interviews, professional podcasts, and Q&A sessions with leaders in your business field. Provide other sites with cutting edge content that they will want to reference, thereby building your brand.

While co-occurrence is on the horizon of new ways that Google ranks websites, you can’t toss other SEO practices out to pasture. Keywords, backlinks, anchor text, and meta description tags remain part of the analytical equation. However, by incorporating co-occurrence into the mix, you provide your site with more ammunition to earn a spot on that first-rank search page.

Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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