Is Citation Building
the Same as Link Building?

Citation or Link Building: Are they really the same?

Not sure how citation building differs from link building? Many mix them up, thinking they’re the same. In reality, they serve different purposes. Let’s see what the difference is.

citation building vs link building

In citation building, you share your business details (name, address, phone number) online. Meanwhile, link building is the process of connecting one webpage to another using anchor text, or a hyperlink.

I’m comparing citation building and link building to help businesses understand which strategy best suits their online marketing needs.

What’s Citation Building?

You use citation building to list your business on online directories. It’s important for your customers to find you in local searches.

What’s Link Building?

Link building is about getting other websites to link to yours. It’s essential for improving your site’s search engine ranking.
These are some similarities that confuse people about citations and backlinks. Let’s see what they’re:

1. Making Connections

Both citation building and link building are about creating connections. Citations connect a business to directories and listings, while links connect web pages and websites.

2. Sharing Info

Each method involves sharing information. Citations share key business information, and links share valuable online content or resources.

3. Making It Easier to Find You

Both strategies enhance the discoverability of a business or website. Whether through a citation in a directory or a link on another website, they make it easier for people to find the business or content.

4. Reputation Building

Both citations and links contribute to building a reputation. Consistent citations can establish a business as legitimate and well-established, while quality backlinks can build a website’s reputation as a valuable resource.
differences between citation and link building
Let’s break down the key differences between citations and backlinks to understand them better.

1. Expected Higher Marketing Budget

Citations are mostly free, unlike link building, which requires a bigger budget for tools.

2. Maintenance Costs

To maintain accurate citations of your business the monthly fee of tools is low but for backlinks, you need expensive tools like Ahrefs or Moz Pro.

3. Strategic Approach

Basic SEO is enough for citations. Link building requires advanced strategies like the Skyscraper technique, HARO, Guest blogging and Broken link building.

4. Aligning with Your Content

Consistent business information is essential for local visibility but doesn’t require much content creation. In contrast, acquiring new links relies heavily on creating content that’s both valuable and appealing to your audience.

5. When to Expect Results

For citations, you can expect to see changes quickly, often in just a few weeks. Link building, however, is a longer journey. The real benefits, like better search engine positions and more web traffic, develop over time.

6. When to Use Citations?

  • If you want recognition of your business within your area, build citations.
  • If building trust with nearby customers is your goal, make citations.
  • Whenever you’re opening a new storefront, build citations to tell locals about your new it.

7. When to Use Links?

  • Use links when reaching a wider audience is your goal. It connects you globally.
  • If higher positions on search engines are your target, link building is key. It boosts your rankings.
  • It’s time for link building when expanding your network. Collaborate for mutual growth.

Advantages of Citation Building

There are four advantages of citation building and these are:

1. Simple to Start

Getting started with citations is straightforward. No complex skills are needed.

2. Low-Cost Strategy

You can create citations without a big budget. It’s budget-friendly.

3. Builds Trust Locally

When your business information matches everywhere, it builds customer trust. Consistency matters.

4. Optimizes for Voice Queries

As people use voice search more, citations ensure your business pops up in those searches.
Let’s read the four advantages of link building:

1. Expands Your Online Reach

Link building helps you reach far and wide. It introduces you to new audiences.

2. Increases Web Visitors

Attract more visitors with links from well-known sites. More clicks, more growth.

3. Facilitates Partnerships

Building links often leads to valuable collaborations. It helps in growing your network effectively.

4. Long Lasting Rankings

Quality backlinks offer your website long-term rankings on Google. It’s a challenging strategy, making competitors work as hard as you did.

Expert Opinions about Citation Building

expert opinions about citation building
Know what’re the expert opinions of Moz, Semrush and Joy Hawkins and insights from Uberall on citation building:

Citation Cleanup Overemphasis | Moz

The notion that businesses need to correct their listings on hundreds of sites to improve rankings is a scare tactic. It should be done but it doesn’t mean everything.

Making few and quality citations only at trustable sites is the best approach.

NAP Consistency Boosts Your Rankings | Semrush

Businesses with mismatched NAP information might not climb as high in search rankings compared to those with a consistent set of citations.

Building Citations is an Outdated Tactic | Joy Hawkins

Joy Hawkins, the founder of “Sterling Sky Inc.” says that citation building is a lower priority, especially if a business hasn’t moved locations, highlighting that other strategies have a higher impact on local SEO performance.

building citations is an outdated tactic by joy hawkins

Insights on Citation Building | Uberall

But that’s not true if someone says that now citation building doesn’t help in local rankings. Read this research report of Uberall before making any decision for your local business:

Uberall conducted research on 115,000 GMB listings; 80,000 of these listings were European, and 35,000 were in the United States.

  • When they listed businesses on 10+ sites they found an 80% improvement in visibility and 67% improvement in customer actions like getting calls, messages, bookings, asking directions, and website clicks.
  • When businesses listed on 30+ directories, users’ actions were increased by 136%.
expert opinions about link building
Know what the expert opinions of Neil Patel and Moz on link building:

Create Quality Content for Getting Links | Neil Patel

Link spamming was working years ago but not today. Creating quality content for getting backlinks naturally is more important than building links yourself.

High Domain Authority or Relevancy | Moz

Relevancy matters more than domain authority or DA. You can’t only focus solely on domain authority score.

Key Takeaways

Citations are useful for ranking your business in the local area while backlinks help in ranking your website anywhere e.g. locally, nationally or internationally. Citations and backlinks are different totally.

Citations are created for listing your business information on relevant directories so Google likes when you build them yourself.

The purpose of backlinks is just that when you find something relevant to your content and you want to link that page so your user can understand the topic in-depth and easily.

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