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What is an Authority Site?

Updated on August 9, 2013

What is an Authority Site?

Authority sites rank better in the search engines, attract more traffic, and generate more leads and sales for the site owner. An authority site is the best cure for the falling traffic many site owners have experienced in the last while with Google hitting content poor sites hard with algorithm changes such as Panda and Penguin.

This page looks at "what is an authority site?", gives you 8 characteristics of an authority type site, and tells you how you can build an authority site to ensure plenty of traffic and satisfied visitors.

An authority site is almost certainly going to ensure more traffic, leads, sales, and top search engine rankings. And Google has given us some great tips as to how to create an authority site with some great seo tips.

Characteristics of an Authority Site

Characteristics of an authority site include the following:

1. An About Us Page
One of the biggest barriers to generating leads and sales on the internet is the question of "trust".

Does the viewer trust your site enough to take out their credit card and purchase?

Does the reader trust your site enough and consider you as enough of an authority that they can easily see themselves doing business with you?

Does your visitor even feel confident enough to contact you to make an inquiry?

One of the first places they will look to decide is your "About" page. This is just human nature and entirely understandable.

If you have no About page, then your site simply cannot be considered an authority site. And I have seen many, many sites on the internet with no About page in it's navigation bar or side bar or footer..

These types of sites are sites that visitors quickly click away from. And who could blame them? What has the webmaster or business owner to hide?

Quality Content-Unique, Updated, Informative

If you are like me, you like to see information that is useful and informative and grammatically correct.


My antennae are immediately twitching when the grammar is poor because I assume that if the business owner or webmaster is this careless and sloppy about their grammar I am wondering about their approach to their business in general.

A favorite saying of mine is "a man who can misplace an apostrophe is capable of anything". This is clearly an exaggeration but I hope you understand what I mean.

Rambling, incoherent content that is simply published in order to optimize the page or post for a particular keyword, with silly repetition of the keyword because they think is the right thing to do and will lead to good search engine rankings, is just..annoying.

And it is quite probable that Google recognizes this as well and may well have a filter in place when it is crawling pages to ascertain pages with poor spelling, grammar, and structure generally with an overemphasis on keywords and writing to game the search engine results pages.

Short, uninformative articles simple won't cut it nowadays on your website either. Because one of the prime metrics that Google seems to use is the amount of time that the visitor spends on your page.

Let's face it: if you are looking to solve a problem or for more information you are more likely to find it on a page of 1,000-2,000 words rather than in a 400 word article, all other things being equal.

SEO-Overoptimizing Your Site From an Seo Perspective

Search engine optimization is vital but a common problem with non authority type sites-affiliate sites, Adsense sites, and content poor sites-is the attempt to overcome a lack of trust or authority by over optimizing the few pages/posts on the site for a specific keyword or phrase.

This leads to the piece of poorly written, short content being stuffed with the one keyword the site owner is trying to rank well for in the search engines.

Google and the other search engines can see through this ruse pretty easily.

Because they look for the presence or absence of related words and phrases on the page as well as latent semantic index (LSI) words.

LSI words are words having a similar meaning to the main keyword and include synonyms, for example.

If these types of words and phrases don't appear on the page or on the site, then Google will see that the site does not deserve the trust and authority status synonymous with authority sites.

Too Much Advertising?

Google has indicated in 2012 that a lot of advertising "above the fold" may lead to a site being down ranked.

So, if banners or Adsense blocks or Amazon links above the fold are the first things that your visitor sees when they land on your page, you need to address this.

The prime focus of your website should be to ensure a pleasant and informative experience for your visitors and returning traffic to a site they know they can trust.

Thin, Superficial Content

A site which has only 5-10 articles on it is going to have a hard time being considered to be an authority in any market.

True authority sites will have lots of content-primarily text but also other forms such as video, audio etc. There are not too many topics that can be dealt with in any depth with only a handful of quickly written articles.

Outbound Links to Other Authority Sites

Google likes to see sites linking out to other authority sites. It indicates that your site is genuinely helpful for visitors by making them aware of other sites that may help them in their search for information or a solution to their problem.

So links out to true authority sites like Wikipedia, .gov sites, and university/educational sites will get you plenty of brownie points with Google.

Poor Site Layout and Formatting

An authority site will not just have informative, quality content but it will be presented well too, in a way that makes it easy for the reader to assimilate and encourage them to hang around and spend more time on your site.

Good, strategic internal linking is a great way to get people around your site and allows ease of use of your site for the visitor.

Poor sites tend to have few internal links, apart from links out to affiliate offers.

No Feedback or Reader Comments?

Feedback and comments from visitors to your site is a good indication of interaction with your content.

And this interaction does not go unnoticed by Google, especially in this age of sharing content and social medial sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and so forth.

However you cannot achieve this interaction with poor content, badly written articles, or poorly researched opinions with no basis in fact.

Examples of Authority Sites: Hubpages and Squidoo

If you publish articles or content on Squidoo.com or Hubpages.com you will know that the demands of these sites in terms of the quality of content they are prepared to allow be published have grown significantly in the last while. In fact, only in March, 2013 Squidoo.com has notified it's users of a change policy in relation to what is allowed to be published.

This is not a coincidence or really surprising.

Both Hubpages and Seth Godin's Squidoo recognize that Google has upped it's game with what it considers good, quality content.

And sites like Hubpages and Squidoo rely on ranking well in the search engines and attracting hordes of organic traffic.

So, if you are going to publish content online, and if you expect it to rank well and generate traffic to your website or web pages, then you need to do the same and take a leaf from their books.

Authority Content Characteristics

The days of writing articles off the top of your head and expecting your website to rank well in the search engines are well and truly over.

So, what is authority content?

Firstly, remember this: authority content does not always have to be text based. But because the search engines can more easily figure out what your pages are about from crawling text you should have a good majority of your content text based. (Search engines cannot yet figure out videos or audio or images apart from the surrounding text, alt tags, and description)

Text Based Authority Content

Authority content
1. Is trustable, that is, sourced from reputable sources or original research or data

2. Contains genuinely insightful analysis

3. Is well written and grammatically correct (this is a given or any text nowadays)

4. Treats the subject matter in depth, not in a cursory, ephemeral way

5. Is not repetitive-that is, there are different aspects of the subject matter dealt with on your website, not a pile of articles on pretty much the same topic saying pretty much the same thing

6. Is original and unique. Note: unique on its own is not enough-a blind monkey will give you unique content if you let him loose on your keyboard long enough!

Sources of Authority Content

You need to be careful, when researching and writing your content, of the sources you are using to elicit facts and data.

As you are well aware, anyone can publish pretty much anything on the internet. So, make sure you are going to trusted sites like professional bodies websites, Wikipedia to check out the references at the bottom of the Wikipedia articles, university websites, government websites and departments, and so on.

There is literally a treasure trove of great research and information out there on the internet for you to mine to create your authority content.

You just need to take a little time to find it first and remember: trust but verify.

Following these simple tips should ensure that before long you have authority content and an authority website which will thrive and flourish in the search engines over the long haul and deliver lots of organic, search traffic to your site.

Authority Site Poll

Which is the best authority site? Squidoo or Hubpages?

See results

© 2013 Ernest Hemingway III

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