This Week In SEO 64
Citations, App Store Penalties, Penalties, & More!


Thoughts on the Efficacy of Local Citations

Every SEO knows that if you’re trying to rank locally, your citation game needs to be strong.

citation needed

In this post, Andrew Shotland of provides some really interesting thoughts on how effective local citations are in ranking well.

This suggested to us that citations are a foundational part of a local SEO program — if your citations are borked, it may be affecting your ability to compete in local packs. But citation work is not a competitive advantage in competitive markets. This makes sense, as pretty much every business out there should have a bunch of citations. So fix your citations fast and move on to higher-value work, like getting links.

Basically, if you’re in a competitive niche, trying to rank locally, you simply will not rank well without citations.


Because all of your competitors have their sh*t together where citations are concerned. It’s like, the #1 SEO thing a local business does.

However, if you’re in a not-too-competitive niche, and your competition is lagging on the local citations, then having strong citations will help.

Think of it like this: you need strong citations to even get a seat at the table in competitive niches. Once there, you’ll need to step up and execute some solid SEO.


Local Link Building — Not Just For Local Sites

Local Link Building Is Not Just For Local Businesses

Theory: local link building not only helps local sites, but non-local sites as well.


Recently, Fishkin did a whiteboard Friday talking about this topic, and some local SEO experts chimed in to back up what he said–with data!

The only tactic performed on this URL over the time period was local link building. You can see how big of an impact this has had for them, on some pretty high volume (and competitive terms), for a single URL.

building citations

^ Good stuff.


Apple: Cleaning Up App Store Search Results

Coming soon to an Apple search engine near you (specifically, the app store search): ranking penalties!

Used to be, you could stuff app titles and descriptions like your grandma stuffed a Thanksgiving turkey and rank

like a boss

But no longer!

The company will also fight spammy app names. For instance, if you search for “Instagram” on the App Store, one of the first results is an app that is called “[app name] Photo Collage, Picture Editor, Pic Grid, F…” and then it gets cut off.

With this SEO strategy, app developers can trick App Store searches. If you search for “pic collage,” chances are you’re going to find this app. Apple wants clean names to make App Store searches relevant again. From now on, app names have to be shorter than 50 characters.

This has some interesting possible implications, as other pieces of the Apple search landscape could soon be affected (with podcasts probably being the worst offender). This also hints at how a future Apple search engine could come out of the gates swinging at obvious SEO tricks.


The Quality Update; Not Penguin or Panda, but Still Important

There are more things to fear than just Pandas and Penguins.

So, while many still focus on Google Panda, we’ve seen five Google quality updates roll out since May of 2015. And they have been significant. That’s why I think SEOs should be keenly aware of Google’s quality updates, or Phantom for short. Sometimes I feel like Panda might be doing this as Google’s quality updates roll out.

This article focuses on the Phantom/Quality update, and why this algorithm update should be on your radar.

Short answer: because it can F your S up.

phantom quality algorithm

Click through to get a solid foundational understanding of Phantom/Quality updates from Glenn Gabe, one of my favorite SEO authorities.

SEO Simplified

I’ll admit to my bias and say that Moz products aren’t among my favorite SEO tools, and I don’t always agree with their content (user generated or otherwise).

That said, I liked the way this article simplified one of my core SEO beliefs with this image:

The real ranking factors

Unless you’ve got decent content and good backlinks, you don’t need to worry about site speed, image alt text, or an HTTPS boost.

Though this article is a bit heavy-handed on the content side of things, overall it’s a good thought piece on what helps a site rank:

Strong Backlinks. Good Content.

thats all folks

Rapid-fire SEO Insights

Enjoy these brief insights, for the busy SEO nerd:

The average Citation Flow score of sites appearing in the local pack is 21

Exact (or partial) match domains still rank super well, especially for local results.

If you’re writing long-form content, better rankings were correlated with the “shorter of the long articles.”

New/updated Schema structures for:

  • Health terms
  • Finance terms
  • Spatial and temporal data sets (location of information, such as “new york weather data” and date/time of a creative work, such as “2011 census data)
  • Hotels and accommodations


TWS65: Big Fluctuations, Linkless Mentions, Grey Hat SEO, & More
TWS63: Mobile and Local SEO

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Written by Smash

Ranking websites like it's our job (because hey, it is our job).

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