Table of Contents
What Is Indexation?
When a link is indexed, that means that it has been included in Google’s massive database of info. Indexed links are stored and served for relevant search queries, so if your links aren’t being indexed, they most likely aren’t being shown for viable searches and therefore are much less authoritative for your brand.
There are two types of indexation: Inverted or Forward Indexing and Secondary Indexing. The Inverted Index is the index which searchers see and from which search results are served. By comparison, Secondary Index is an index that users do not see and which Google uses to store data that they have gathered.
There are ways that you can check whether or not a url has been indexed. The first way to check is using a bulk indexation tester like Strategy.ms. Another easy way to test if a url has been indexed is to run a ‘site:domain.com’ search. The site: search modifier will either pull a search result for the exact url you are searching (denoting indexation) or will show a message about adding a url to the search console (in which case the url is not in Google’s index).
What Causes Properties To Index (Or Not)?
There are a lot of reasons that a link might (or might not) index. In some cases, the webmasters of the website that you get a directory listing or backlink from might have internal pages set to no-index automatically.
Citations are meant to help you build your brand’s prominence. However, Google determines prominence for local brands using data that they have stored about your brand in the live index. So if your citations and other properties are not being indexed, Google will only have a partial reference to what your brand is about and the authority that you have built.
More often, the property will not index because Google simply does not see it as a valuable addition to their database; there are several reasons this could be the case. There are very passive and very proactive ways that you can choose to go about improving the rate at which your backlinks are being indexed. Ultimately, getting backlinks from indexable platforms and providing that resource metadata to Google is the best way to improve the chances of indexation.
To learn more about why your citations aren’t working, check out here.
What Web 20 Does To Improve Indexation
Even though there’s a chance your citations and signals might not index, you should still use local SEO best practices for citation building in order to improve the likelihood of indexing your links (and getting value from these brand mentions).
When it comes to citation building, a lot of SEOs see this as a ‘set it and forget it’ method of link building. That is precisely where a lot of local marketing campaigns fall short. Luckily, there are several things you can do even after your citations have been created to help improve the rate at which they index, and thereby their value to your brand.
Campaign Citations Audits
Running an audit of your existing citations is the best way to start any citation building efforts. This should help you to determine what citations are out there and which are incorrect or not indexed at all. GMB campaigns from Web 20 Ranker include a citations audit in the first few weeks. From this audit, we pull non-indexed listings and submit these to several Google URL Indexing tools, which helps to improve the pickup and indexation of existing properties, many of which may have just become de-indexed over time with lack of use.
Hand Built & Complete Directory Listings
All citations from Web 20 Ranker are hand-built by an experienced signal creator. Hand built citations can easily be better optimized than machine generated listings, and they have a habit of indexing a bit better, too. Our team will make sure to include a correct and consistent NAP, logos and images where available, tags and descriptors, and contact info for every property created. Including relevant keywords and business info can be more precise with hand-built citations as well.
Our citations services have a strong focus on consistent, accurate data submissions. We will always do our best to avoid creating duplicate, inaccurate, or unclear citations that could muddle the waters for your brand and cause dilution and even ranking issues! All of our citations include a consistent NAP and info, which is fully reviewed before each package is completed.
More Valuable Properties
While our citations packages can’t include high end custom directories (see our Custom Signals Building!), we try to include a wide range of business citations that would benefit any business in any niche. Creating additional (accurate) citations can help to bolster your brand and get you seen by more potential customers in more online spaces than ever before.
We include business photos, all tagged with relevant keywords, We create content with links to other pages and properties so that listings look more natural and legitimate, We tag the listing with a wide range of relevant keywords to bring in targeted traffic, We triple check the accuracy of the phone number, address, business hours, and other info so that you can be sure each listing is submitted correctly, We add the address into Maps features, Inclusion of images and video for a distinctive listing, and Additional info including business hours and payment methods.
Sure, submitting your created citations to an indexer is a good way to improve indexation rates. But we don’t stop there. All created citations from Web 20 Ranker go through a double round of indexation submission, which often sees an additional 10% or more of properties picking up in index! Double indexation over a period of several weeks is a great idea, especially considering not all of your listings might go live at the same time. You should also re-index citations when you update or correct them; a tactic used in all Web 20 campaigns.
Use It Or Lose It
Perhaps the most important thing that you can do for the value of your citations is to USE THEM. That’s right, even just logging in and updating your previously generated citations can improve indexing. Think of them in the same way that you think of a press release. Google generally wants to show users the most accurate and up to date info for a query. If you aren’t using your citations, you aren’t refreshing them. In this case, even if the link is crawled by a bot, Google might not find the content ‘fresh’ enough to be worth indexing. Or, they could drop your links out of index due to age and a lack of authority.
Adding unique descriptions to your citations is another way to improve the rate of indexation. In one test of the use of unique content in citation creation, we saw citations indexing at around 80%, compared to citations that did not receive unique descriptions indexing at a painful 20% rate or lower.
While the use of unique descriptions is a good way to make your citations stand out and improve the index rate, there are other ways to make your listings more unique. Adding additional images and media to a listing can also increase the uniqueness in your citations and improve the rate that Google indexes these properties.
Think about it like this: every item that Google indexes and adds to their database has a cost. By default, Google is more likely to NOT want to index items that they find are not unique and/or able to provide value to a user when/if being served as a search query. If your citations use duplicate descriptions, images, and media and you aren’t making an effort to increase the uniqueness of your listings, Google is more than likely to not reward the lack of effort.
Add More Links
Tiered link building is an all too often overlooked resource that can be used to boost the value of top tier backlinks that you are already getting, including citations. Using tier 2 budget links and interlinking tactics within the citations, we create a ‘hub’ of your top accounts, which is then boosted using tiered linking and brand or brand + partial keyword anchor text. In conjunction with submitting your live citations to multiple Google Submit URL tools and indexer, and creating more unique listings, tiered link building is another step in the citation creation process that you won’t want to leave out if you want to really ramp up the rate of indexation for your properties.
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Above all else, use the citations that you create for your brand. Not only can these become powerful hubs for content and linking other authoritative brand properties, they can be used for additional tiered link building and engagement with your brand! Imagine if you create a Yelp or BBB listing but never had the property verified or responded to any reviews? Chances are, even if indexed, this property wouldn’t add much authority to your brand.
You can also use your citations to benefit changes to your own digital marketing strategy. Going after a new set of keywords? Want to highlight a particular service or change to your business? By updating your citations, you ensure that you have the most up to date NAP and info about your business on the web. Plus, you’ll add more relevancy to your brand for new keywords or terms.
Link building is another way in which you can ‘use’ your citations. By building links to your properties, you add more authority to the property itself while also passing that valuable link juice and authority to your main money site pages in the process. When you build links to your properties, Google will crawl your pages again when crawling links for the source domain, and may choose to index your links on a second pass.
How To Make Your Citations Great Again!
Want more tips on creating accurate, indexable, valuable citations for any brand? Check out our guide on Making Your Citations Great Again.
Making your citations as unique as possible is one of the best ways that you can improve the rate at which you citations and other links index. Although unique content is a great help for indexation, it can be expensive and time consuming to have unique descriptions written for hundreds of created listings. When creating citations manually, aim for unique descriptions, images, and media across as many listings as possible. Unique page titles are also an element to consider for uniqueness, although in many cases the page title is set by a third party (the directory) and cannot be changed.
Linking your citations together helps Google to better crawl (and index) your brand’s properties. There are several ways that you can interlink your citations, all of which can benefit your indexation rate and your brand as a whole. Link to your top citations from other listings. Choose an authoritative property and use it as a hub to link out to your best citations. Create a ‘Find Us Online’ or ‘Find Us Locally’ section on your website to link out to these authoritative citations properties.
3. Use Your Citations
Your citations will more likely than not remain out of index if you aren’t using them. Even your indexed citations could fall off with a lack of freshness or uniqueness to them. Using your citations is not just an easy way to improve the percentage and length of indexation for your listings, it is a great way to promote and optimize your brand further down the line. You should periodically login to your citations and update the keywords, NAP info (when needed), description, and even links to other listings in order to refresh these properties.
4. Tiered Links
Once you’ve created hubs for your brand – authoritative properties that link out to several other citations and brand listings – you want to build on those hubs. Tiered link building works both with boosting citations hubs, and with boosting individual citations. Tiered link building may cause Google to recrawl the pages and the linked urls, giving you another chance at having your links picked up and indexed.