As we have discussed on this blog before, one of the key metrics that Google’s search engine optimisation algorithms take into account is ‘authority’.
Authority is important to search engines, and it will have an impact on how your website is ranked in a listing of Google search results.
In fact, authority is so important that it is considered one of the three pillars of effective SEO. Together, the three pillars are authority, relevance and trust.
But what exactly is ‘authority’ in the context of SEO, and, perhaps more importantly, how can you increase it?
Authority in SEO: what is it?
In the world of marketing, brand ‘power’ and brand ‘authority’ have long been identified as an important part of how successful a company might be.
As a marketing term, however, brand ‘authority’ has a slightly different, more generic meaning than it does in the context of SEO marketing. In the non-SEO world, brand authority typically relates to the perceived expertise of a company within a particular industry, sector, topic, or field. If the public accepts a company as a legitimate expert in that area, the brand will have more authority. In this way, brand authority also has a close relation to trust between the company and the customer.
To understand how and why ‘authority’ works in the context of SEO specifically, however, we first need to remind ourselves of why internet search engines were invented to begin with and why individuals use them.
Although search engines are by now a frequently used part of our daily lives, in the early days of the internet, no such technology existed. In this period of time, you would typically navigate to websites directly using a URL or by manually inputting an address into your browser.
As the technology driving the internet matured, however, search engines emerged as a way of allowing users to search for content or websites hosted on the internet, rather than having to know the destination they wanted to end up in advance.
In this way, search engines act as a way of indexing all of the content hosted on the internet and providing a way of displaying this to users based on a search they have initiated. To help search engines index this content, however, certain criteria needed to be established to ensure that search results that were being displayed to users were not just relevant, but also high quality. For this reason, search engines such as Google do not rely on relevance alone to decide what search results get displayed.
In addition to relevance, search engines will also consider the trustworthiness and authority of the source before including it in search results. These help to establish that the particular source listed in the results will provide value to the person searching for it.
How to increase your brand authority
Having established what authority is in the context of SEO and how it can help you build up a presence online, we can now think about the steps you need to take to fully establish it. With that said, consider the following:
- Create a content strategy: Building up your authority online will require you to do so in a focused manner. Doing so will help to keep you accountable and consistent, and will give you a sense of what sort of content you need to be producing. Creating a content strategy allows you to look into the future and to establish what steps you will need to take to meet your goals.
- Be prepared to share: Being an ‘authority’ in a particular subject matter area requires you to be willing to share that expertise. Sharing what knowledge you have acquired is an essential part of building up an ‘authoritative’ reputation. A willingness to share also allows you to build trust with your readership, which, in turn, increases your authority.
- Participate in the community: Closely related to the willingness to share your industry knowledge and expertise is a willingness to participate in your community. By participating in the community that surrounds your industry, sector or business, this will increase the likelihood that individuals will begin to perceive you as a trusted authority. Sharing content, engaging in discussions, and other forms of outreach are all ways of participating in your community.
- Harness the power of long-form content: Although much of the focus on content marketing today seems to be creating shorter, easily digestible pieces that can capture the attention of a user for a few moments, you should not overlook the power of long-form content. This is particularly important when you are looking to build authority, as it gives you more opportunity to convey your expertise. Long-form articles are also the perfect home for informational and long-tail keywords and can support other SEO practices such as link-building. If you want to create meaningful, impactful content that exhibits your industry expertise, long-form content is your best friend!
- Don’t shy away from specificity: Although the tendency among those getting started in online content marketing for the first time is to go for volume and breadth – i.e., having a lot of content that covers a lot of topics – this might not always be the best strategy. This is particularly true when you are trying to establish your industry expertise with a view to building up your authority. As such, it is often more impactful to establish a more narrow expertise rather than a broader one. Having a narrower expertise also means that it will be easier to incorporate link-building strategies into your content, which become less effective in generic or more general content.
Putting it all together
As you might have guessed from the above, building expertise is not something that can be done overnight. It not only requires a well-thought-out and well-put-together strategy but also requires time and effort. With that said, if you have any lingering questions about how you can leverage the part of written content to boost your brand authority, feel free to get in contact with a member of the Purecontent team today. By booking a one-on-one consultation, you can take the first steps towards designing and implementing a content marketing strategy that will boost your authority and help to establish you as an industry expert.