No. 1553
July 18th, 2012

Follow-up Study: The Best Citation Sources by Category

I’m excited to announce a follow-up to the last study (Best Citation Sources by City) this morning: the Best Citation Sources by Category for U.S. businesses.

As with the previous study, Darren and I used his Local Citation Finder tool and looked at some of the most common keywords within 70 local search categories across 53 large US cities, 20 medium-sized cities, and 20 smaller cities. We then scored the sites inversely based on ranking position combined with overall number of occurrences. The sites that appeared most often and with the highest rankings were deemed “best” within each category.

You’ll see some blue bars indicating the relative strength of each citation source within each industry.  Interesting to note the predominance of several national brands (State Farm Insurance, U.S. Bank, and Ameriprise, for example) as super-citations for agents or branches affiliated with those companies.

It’s also interesting (to me at least) to see the number of verticals for which Yelp appears to be such a primary citation source–on two fronts:

  1. One of Yelp’s continued brand battles is their insistence of the broad base of industries (beyond just the restaurant and retail verticals) for which they’re a destination site.  While this study largely correlates search rankings, it stands to reason that Yelp is getting a significant amount of engagement outside of those stereotypical categories–it was tops for auto repair, veterinarians, chiropractors, and more.
  2. After seeing the results of this study, I continue to find Eric Schmidt’s comment during last year’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing that Google is not “using Yelp’s content to drive business to Google Places” misleading.  It would represent one of the clearest cases of a Google “hand job” if Yelp’s content were somehow deemed so valuable by Google’s organic spiders and yet rendered irrelevant once it entered the +Local/Places part of the algorithm.  I suppose, though, that it depends what the definition of “business” is, and I’m definitely not a lawyer!

At any rate, big thanks to Darren for all his efforts on this study & I hope that it’s a resource that our community will reference for months, if not years!