Website Authority – What is it and How to Create it?
With all of the talk about creating “authority websites” and “authority site building”, we decided to discuss what it means, how to accomplish it, and how search engines treat your content once you do acquire such authority.
What is Website Authority?
Website authority is a by-product of multiple factors (trust rank, relevance and endorsement from websites who have earned a position of authority from search engines). In layman’s terms, it is a popular site that people frequent, that gets linked to on the basis of it’s merit, or that others willingly refer to when the topic of that site comes into play.
One aspect of authority can be accomplished by carefully creating a time line and introducing fresh content consistently using a predetermined content development strategy. For example, adding 20 articles on link building and 30 articles on search engine optimization over 4 months would be a prime example of such a content development strategy.
In this way, it is possible (within 4-6 months) to create a website that virtually ranks for thousands of terms or a very specific group of competitive keywords as a direct result of it’s composition, content, site architecture and the methods you use to nurture the site as a whole.
An authority site does not even have to necessarily have Page Rank to be considered an authority in search engines, but rather it is about achieving harmony with various facets of on-page and off-page optimization that produce this effect. Essentially if your pages provide useful content (and people notice) then every word on every page can potentially can become a keyword and placate relevance for your entire domain when searches are conducted for the main keywords on those pages.
Factors that are known to determine site authority are;
Domain Age – Typically Authority is commensurate with domain age, however this is based on the industry, the tactics of the competition and which relationships are established between other sites and the website that wishes to embody an authoritative position.
The Scope and range of your Contents Expertise – Theming your content (such as through using a word press blog with keyword rich category names) and building a solid base of content to augment each folder is one method known for producing notable traction in search engines.
Content for contents sake is not the method, if you wish to have more than just thousands of loosely constructed pages aging links that reciprocate with other folder through internal links and you are intent on developing material that is link-worthy. Then writing in-depth articles or white papers on a subject is one way to extend your global keyword density to encompass a plethora of holistic terms to embrace an industry.
Imagine, if Site A has 30 pages and Site B has 300 pages, both are involved in relevant ethical linking practices, which do you think will gain authority faster. The one with more traffic and more links from other authority sites. So the one who nurtures their site using clearly defined guidelines (up-linking to sources higher in relevance while developing quality back links) will ultimately prosper in the end. What are some practices that are known to clearly develop search engine or website authority?
Using Social Media to Develop the First Tier of Links to your Pages
Let’s talk about links from high-ranking social media sites. Do you honestly think that the reason that so many people submit their content to Sphinn, Stumble Upon, Digg, Deli.cio.us, BlinkList and so many other social media sites and communities is because they are concerned simply with receiving a few votes. I can assure you, that is not the only motive.
In fact, the reason why SEO savvy types constantly utilize this method is that it provides an authority link to their pages right from the start. Each vote gives you a little bit more link juice and the more “strong links” your pages receive the higher your content can rank independently.
Such links can produce relevant traffic as well as authority. With an authority site, one mention of a keyword can create a top 10 ranking. Understanding this, you can test conversion rates by funneling visitors directly to your pages by just writing impeccable themed content about a topic or series of topics. Based on the traffic to those keywords, your pages will rise in the search engine result pages.
Search engine algorithms pay particular attention to popularity, based on how many clicks you receive if your pages are in the top 10 (so use a catchy title) as well as how many visitors reach your site each month using those phrases.
Social media is a great two-part strategy that can augment this entire process and cement your site as an authority like icing on the cake. If you have (a) great content (b) links from high sources (c) social media exposure and traffic. Your site is in line for leaps and bounds in traffic as a result.
Aside from that, there are crucial milestones that establish the foundation of the first of a series of links to your pages that over time to produce phenomenal results. So make sure to socially bookmark every post, if you are not already. Also, when using different networks vary your title tags to get the most from your pages (on page keyword density) as well as the most from click through traffic from a catchy hook or headline in the SERPs.
Leveraging Website Authority – “One Keyword at a Time”:
As a point of distinction, let’s taking a hypothetical (but not so hypothetical) look at the development of a particular niche.
Say for example that one wanted to start a new authority site using specific keywords, one could:
a) Perform keyword research and find a series of moderately competitive to competitive attainable keywords that their site could target with the least amount of immediate effort (from a content ranking strategy) and then augment such content with an array of back links to elevate it’s relevance in search engines. You may wish to read that again, essentially unraveled in it’s simplicity it is the secret to how to rank for essentially any combination of keywords on each page.
b) Use those Key words to write posts or articles about – Start with a focus, each title could incorporate a key phrase with proven traffic as validated by competitive analysis. Then, by creating a content rich piece, no less than 750 words, using the said keyword tactfully in the beginning, the middle and the end of the document in “exact match” form, tagging the content and adding links from pages with authority, this would be considered stage one.
After Stage One:
Naturally, the page will rise in search engines to some degree as a result of Google’s search engine algorithm paying increased attention to new pages and then the page will wane for a few months until it gains recognition or an internal link boost (as a result of aging) only to resurface when summoned by search queries. This is more of a long-tail strategy where anyone searching for the “exact match keyword” and a combination of another qualifying term (which could be anywhere on the page) could have such a page returned in a standard search.
If you are covering specific makes, model numbers of products or brands in your site, this would be a great 2 part strategy that would allow you to essentially dominate search engine result pages over time after you apply Stage Two of the authority site building process (link building) covered next. Or if you are constantly blogging or writing content about a specific niche, then this is a great strategy for long-term advanced SEO that takes aging into consideration as part of the holistic process of ranking.
Stage Two – Adding Links to the Mix:
Granted, that you have already done your research (using a keyword research tool) found your top 10 targeted terms you wish to get a piece of, developed a unique piece of content such as an informative article or post, named and tagged it well and allowed it to age until it has page rank (2-3 months before the internal or external links give it some juice). Then you go back, find where you rank using an allinanchor:[use keyword here command] in Google and see just how many links you need to build to move each of the respective keywords that comprise the query up the ladder into the spotlight of the top 10. If your allinanchor relevance is on page 7, then you have a way to go, whereby if you are in the top 30 then your nearly there and should be ranking for variations of the term already.
Let’s use this as an example. Months ago, I wrote a few articles on website authority, since there was no direct competition for those keywords and I had sprinkled them into multiple posts for global keyword density / relevance, our site already had the necessary topical ingredients to make a dent in the SERPs. Now I will go after a specific keyword that is related that I know for a fact has a marginal competition and produces a monthly search volume of 110-880 searches per month. What is that term “Authority Site Building”.
Using the principles of this tactic, and by simply sprinkling this keyword a few times in this document, pointing a few links from the older pages, socially bookmarking it and by “building a few links” (see the tactful use of the word building in order to anchor the effect, and I can assure you that when this page gets indexed, you will be able to find us hovering in the top 10 for the term “Authority Site Building“, even though we are not there as of yet.
In fact, if you perform a search in Google for Website Authority we have had a double position in the top 10 since it was indexed using just phase 1 of the strategy. The point is this tactic really works, particularly if you understand how to stagger the effects. Just like a great game of chess, the end game all depends on the opening move.
How to leverage website authority to generate traffic from niche specific keywords.
Now, it’s time to leverage that authority and extend it’s reach into a few other respective keywords. How do you accomplish this? Through the content on your pages and how you construct them. The topical relevance that you use in your pages ultimately sows the seeds of where you will rank when the dust settles and your pages have had a chance to mature in the search engines index.
Unless challenged, pages created this way remain there until someone uses a link building tactic, or scores enough votes/links from other sources using targeted anchor text that uses those keywords or gets a link from someone higher up in the food chain to dethrone your search engine position.
Although chronology is important and a site created in 1999 vs. a new website has a distinct advantage, don’t presume that the new site cannot skip a few grades and hasten authority as a result of using clearly defined objectives. So, we have covered stage one (using a select group of keywords to round out an entire category of keywords) and stage two (going back after those pages have matured a bit and started building links to your pages and links to your links) but what else can you do?.
Convert that authority into pre-qualified search engine traffic.
Now is the time that you can go back to perform some keyword research, although this is not entirely the case as many SEO‘s will simply have the instinct to capitalize on such impeccable timing and know when to reintroduce content that has potential for high search volume and conversion.
Say for example, I have seeded the phrase “website authority” which we have, and now it’s time for phase 2 and we are looking for ways to benefit from this.
I would (a) create a new page with my targeted terms (THIS PAGE) (b) go back to the original / matured page and add a fresh link to the new page (did that too) as a solid back link / internal link, perform stage one on the new page (socially bookmark it and add 10 diversified links “in progress as you read this”) and then watch it hang in the SERPs like a kite in a windstorm.
In this way by staggering your content and going back to things you wrote from a few months back, you can reinforce your foothold for specific keywords or competitive key phrases and use that as a base for your link building (both internal and external). By building links to your links it’s like authority insurance in the long run. Not to mention you can keep the support flowing to your pages (via link building) without going overboard by building links excessively to the URL in question.
For the greatest impact and authority, build links to those pages using varied anchor text from multiple class C IP addresses as well as build links from those pages internally to other like pages to increase the overall sites relevance for such terms globally.
So the next time you try to scrape the surface of a site and make blanket assumptions on how they rank the way they do, one component that is not always so easy to discern is website authority and just how pages one has in their repetior that can be identified as such. This is one instance where subtlety is an asset and content development, managing the link velocity and quality of links that lead to the pages in question and a simple tactic of revisiting topics after they have aged can translate into hordes of highly relevant traffic from multiple related keywords.
In closing, if you know HOW to look, then you can find keyword gold from non-SEO related words that can oftentimes provide more traffic on accident, than most of your competitive terms produce on purpose.