What Search Engines Are Looking For, Part 2 - Authoritativeness
Posted on 25th February 2021
Is your website presenting you as an authority in your field?
If you want your website to appear at the top of Google's search results, authority is the key. Google prides itself on offering the best answers to its users’ search requests, so it’s essential that it presents trustworthy and authoritative sites to appear at the top of any search results.
When we are discussing search engines, authority is very clearly established by the quality and quantity of links content has from other websites. However, authority can also come from users and the level of trust your site generates for them, which is more related to the trustworthiness of your content. But should you put more effort into one than the other?
Basically, Google is the decider on this one. While it’s most certainly valuable to have a site that users trust, their perception is totally unrelated to Google’s rating of your authority. If your website does not show the authoritativeness Google requires, it will be unable to reach users and rank well. So while user trust is important to your website, it doesn’t directly impact your rankings.
Gaining authority for your website, your business and your brand will not happen overnight; it will take at least a few months to achieve and for you to see the results you want. But there are a few things you can do that will help your website to climb the search engine rankings.
1. Build links with authoritative sites
Links are by far the most important factor in establishing authority. There are a few ways you can build them from quality sites and although it doesn’t happen instantly and it takes some work, authoritative link building is crucial to the authority of your site.
2. Write and publish good quality content
Quality content is a sign to visitors and other influencers in your field that you have an authoritative website and that you can be trusted. There is more to good quality content than just the accuracy of the information. The content should be unique to your site - Google loves new and unique content and values it in terms of online search.
Google’s job is to provide the best answers possible for its users, but it doesn't want to present users with the same tired information they have already heard. You should also use as much detail as possible if you want your content to be considered quality. Longform content can help you achieve increased traffic, page views, and rankings, so it’s worth your time to go into as much detail as possible on topics you’re an authority on.
When writing for your blog or news section, it's good to write about current issues to show that you are up to date with movements in your industry. But bear in mind that a high percentage of the content you create should be what is known as "evergreen." Evergreen articles are based on topics that will stay relevant for months and years to come, and this evergreen content will attract visitors to your site for years – instead of over the span of a month or two.
3. Start an outreach programme
Don't be afraid to reach out to other website owners who you think would benefit from all this great quality content you just published, as it makes for great link building opportunities. Contact the author of the page (preferably by email) and let them know that you just published an article, blog, or infographic that they might be interested in. Attach the link and wait for a reply!
When you’re reaching out, you also should be sure to personalise your pitch. Make the recipient feel like you have known them for a while, and know what their company is all about. The important thing about manual outreach is that you don’t come across as annoying. Put your information out there, but don’t be overly pushy with your content.
4. Provide a great user experience
Even with good quality, expert content, if your site is disjointed and difficult to navigate it is not possible for Google to deem it authoritative. That’s because it doesn’t provide a great user experience. To improve the user journey through your website you need to provide an easy-to-follow navigation bar and a sitemap to ensure a great user experience. This will be well received by the search engine.
A couple of bugbears that can detract from user experience and that should be kept in mind are page loading speeds and broken links that lead to a 404 error page. Internet users live in a world where their requests are responded to instantaneously, and if you waste more than a few seconds to load your web page, your bounce rate (the rate of people who visit your site and leave it very quickly) will be extremely high.
5. Don’t go too heavy on links
Go for quality and not quantity. A moderate number of links help lead users to other resources that might help them, but too many can make your copy hard to read. You should also avoid linking to a third-party site if you have another page internally on your own website that you could link to.
You will no doubt be thinking, “How long does this whole process take?” After assessing the criteria we’ve outlined, you can get a sense of how long it will take to carry out the steps that you are able to. But building relationships with high-profile leaders can take time, especially the kinds of valuable relationships you need to earn links from their sites. It also takes time to prove that you provide trustworthy and accurate information that is worth linking to. High authority sites don’t hand out links without careful thought and consideration, and you should be prepared to invest a serious amount of time reaching out to editors and bloggers before any of them are willing to link to your site.
So, play the long game, define a strategy to identify how much of this process you can carry out inhouse, what you need to outsource and who you need to get on side to take your website straight to page one of Google. Let's face it, anyone Googling a topic they are interested in doesn't even consider looking at page two.
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