Links and citations are mentions of your business online that search engines find and use to rate and rank your website.
Links are clickable, they lead from one website or page to another. These website links can either be external or internal.
External links are links from another domain/website that, when clicked on, lead back to a page on your website. These types of links are important, because they show that your business is known and that the information or content on that page is relevant and important enough for another website to link to.
External website links are a way for your businesses website to show that it has a reputation, and that your content is good enough to send people to. The anchor text, the writing that is used show the link back to your website page, is also important. The type of words here directly impact how search engines rank your page.
For example if a anchor text says “Click here for news on boats” and the page that it leads too is all about cars, then that link, that anchor text isn’t relevant and can cause you to be ranked lower due to that.
Internal Links are links that lead from one page of your website to another. For example, a link that says “contact us” on your about page that leads to a contact form or a contact page is an example of an internal link. This links show search engines what are often the most important pages on your site. They can carry a lot of weight for internal ranking of pages.
Citations are mentions of your business on the internet. These can be suppliers to your business, online news articles or anything else that mentions the name of your business.
With both citations and links one of the most important things is the quality of the website page that the link or citation is listed on. If your link is mentioned on a page with high authority and good reputation then some of that authority flows to your page or business.
On the other hand if your page is mentioned on a site that is considered spammy, malicious or possibly fraudulent then that also takes away from your websites reputation and authority. It is a balancing act, to get enough links to your website that are of the right quality to help improve your sites search engine rankings, without accruing to many links on spammy sites.