First, let’s define authority: domain authority is the likelihood of a single domain to rank well. The higher the rank, the higher the authority of the site, and vice versa.
You can also talk about individual page authority. This is simply how well a page ranks on search engines. A page that ranks well has a lot of authority.
So, the key goal for you as an SEO, website owner or blogger is to increase that authority on both the domain and the page. Making that happen isn’t really that hard as long as you do four things very well:
Create authority with deep links
If you want to build an authoritative website in search engines, one which ranks high across multiple pages, then you need to create strong relationships among your pages.
In other words, you need to create authority for specific pages, optimizing each page for a specific set of keywords before that authority is lifted to the domain.
Here’s how to do that:
- Link a cluster of pages by topic – In other words, strategically link pages about “SEO” to other pages about “SEO.” Link pages about “social media tools” to other pages about “social media tools.” If you link a page on social media tools to a page on SEO, then that link will be less relevant.
- Send more links to one particular page – Inside that cluster, link to one page in particular (what I like to call the hero page) from the other topical pages. The percentage of links this page gets should be about four times higher than the rest of the pages get.
- Send domain-based external links to hero pages – When I say external, I mean pages outside of that topical cluster. This could be your Home or About page. Think about pages higher in site architecture.
- Avoid cannibalizing keywords – Produce as many variants on a keyword as there are pages pointing to the hero page. You will dilute the effectiveness of a keyword if you don’t. For example, say I have a hero page on marketing ideas for small businesses. And say I have 26 pages inside this topical cluster: the hero page and 25 other supporting pages. It would be a mistake to use the keyword phase “marketing ideas for small businesses” on all those pages pointing to the hero page. Instead, you should create keyword variations on that phrase.
- Drive external links to the hero page from relevant websites - Backlinks are still the backbone of search, but getting other sites to link to you is another story. You cannot control this process; you can only influence it by attracting high authority links.
- Locate links high on a page - When creating links on the pages supporting your hero page, the higher they are on the page, the more weight and credibility they will receive.
- Fix broken pages - Like broken links, these can send bad signals to search engines. Identify the broken links, fix them or 301 redirect to a better page.
Create authority with videos
We often think of authority as an expert. It’s someone people go to for answers on a particular topic. The deep linking process above is one signal that your site is an authority. The more links you have throughout and the more are coming to those pages, the stronger the signal sent to search engines that your site is an authority.
Influencing those backlinks is a whole strategy that you have to use if you want to become a high ranking authority site.
Videos improve time on page, attract links and add to the array of rich media you have on your site. Anyone can create good videos by following the tips below.
- Do Your Research – Start by researching which videos are already out there.
- You want to avoid making a repeat video and having to compete with it on authority. But if you find something people want to know about and there is no video, then you have your title.
- Discover what people are searching for on Google. Are they finding the content they want? Is there a high enough volume to justify the video? If so, then you have your content.
- If there is already a how-to on a topic you wanted to do, can you find ways to extend that topic? Imagine you can find videos on “how to build links.” Extend that topic, and you can come up with a variation like “How to Build 30 Authority Links to a Single Page in 30 Days.”
- Use an expert – If you’ve been in an industry for 20 years, then no doubt you are already an expert…and you will sound like an expert. But if you are new to an industry, consult as many experts as possible. The last thing you want to do is wing it. Even if you’ve been in an industry for five years, it never hurts to interview an expert or two. That will make your video look more credible.
- Write the script – Never improvise the video. Take the time of sitting down and putting your thoughts on paper in the form of a script. This will keep you clear, concise and compelling. Write the script in a step-by-step formula. Go as far as saying, “Here’s step one.” Explain the step. “Now, let’s move to step two.” And so on. More importantly, since you are using video, do more of showing than telling.
- Edit and test the video – Hiring a professional to record and edit the video is recommended. But if you can’t afford that, then make sure you use a tripod and correct lighting. Once you are finished editing the video, test it out on other people. See if they can actually perform the task while watching the video. A good video will allow people to finish the task while watching the video.
- Optimize and share it - Load this video on YouTube and your site and then share across social platforms. Email it to other bloggers and websites who might be interested in it, which will encourage them to embed it. Don’t forget to tag it with keywords and load the transcript onto the page or in the video (on YouTube). Make the share buttons for this video visible.
Create authority pages with authority content
The Panda Update really made a big impact on low quality content and the sites that host those pages. Google said the update could affect about 12% of search.
Sites like Mahalo.com were absolutely clobbered by the update and tumbled from the rankings. Before the update, Mahalo ranked for 33,875 keywords. After the update, they ranked for less than 10,000, falling out of the top 100 search results.
That’s a 70% drop.
Fortunately, Google came along and recommended a way to build authority pages. The idea is to ask the same questions that a Google engineer might ask.
Here are the ten most relevant:
- Is the post original? Everything you write must be original. It cannot be copied or stolen. Nor do you want to have redundant content on your site. That will kill your rankings too. Although content that is stolen from you is out of your control, there are ways to minimize the impact of redundant or duplicate content on your site.
- Is it practical advice? Relevant research? Addressing your readers’ needs by giving them tutorials and How-Tos to help them solve their problems is a great way to create authoritative content. If you can add new, original and relevant research, then you are truly creating something valuable.
- Did you correct any errors? Bad spelling and incorrect grammar can influence your page rank. In fact, Matt Cutts admitted he saw a relationship between pages with high page rank and good grammar and pages will low rank and bad grammar. This includes clean editing. Did you edit the article many times before you published it? Did you have someone else look it over?
- Will readers like the content? Or will machines? SEO copywriting is all about delivering content that people will find useful, compelling and unique. So, always write with people in mind, and not the search engine spiders, because the truth is that search engines take their cues from people and not the other way around.
- Are you providing information beyond the obvious? As you are developing the idea behind a blog post, search the web for similar topics. Use your working headline. Is there anything similar? Will you be teaching people something insightful? Will 80% of your readers think what you share is fresh? Different?
- Would you bookmark your post? People like saving their favorite articles. Will they save yours? They will if it is a long list of useful resources, a great story with great characters, revolutionary research, or a unique How-To tutorial.
- Is your article cluttered? Preview the post. What do you see the most of? Ads? Calls to action? Promotions? Or do you see lots of white space and your content? Your reader-targeted content should dominate 90% of the page.
- Would a magazine publish your article? Just because you have a blog doesn’t mean you are publishing great content. Compare your content to what you find on a magazine rack.
- Is your article short, thin and useless? Panda’s whole focus was to penalize those sites where page after page all you find is brief, keyword-stuffed articles explaining a topic. If you can’t create long, practical and potent posts on a daily schedule, maybe you should consider doing it less frequently.
Create authority by increasing social signals
Google continues to make changes to its algorithm based on social signals, the reach of your social circles and the sharing in those circles, all of which will impact your search rankings.
It seems that most SEOs agree that at both page and domain levels, social signals will affect your rankings. Here’s the SEOmoz chart:
In fact, one study went as far as to prove that the number of tweets that a page gets will influence its rankings:
In addition, many online publishers are throwing SEO out the window and developing content with one thing in mind: getting that page to go viral so it collects tweets, FB likes, Google+ votes, etc.
Here is a list of five articles that will help you learn how to increase social shares for your content, leading to authority and higher rankings!
- A Neil Patel SEO Recipe – Add a Dash of This Tweet Sauce to Boost Your Search Engine Rankings!
- 10 Ways to Get More Traffic, Attention and Higher Rankings Through Social Sharing
- 7 Ways to Increase Your Blog Visibility with Social Sharing
- 4 Tips for Motivating Your Social Media Network to Share
Obviously, building page authority will take less time than building domain authority will, but either way you need to be patient. The formula can really be summed up like this: a slow accumulation of high quality content (including video) that is shared more and more, which attracts more and more links plus a balanced distribution of internal links=authority.
How long will it take for you to reach the “authority” status? There is really no way of telling because it depends on factors like competitors ranking for the same terms. You just have to be faithful to the process and trust that, in time, you will reach your goals.
What other ways do you use to build authority of your site and pages?