11 Steps to Building an Indestructible Authority Site

April 24, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

As the Internet grows and matures, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for webmasters to “fake it and make it”. The days of spam, blackhat SEO, and thin affiliate sites are numbered as Google tweaks its search algorithm and Internet users become more savvy online. Sure, there will always be ways to game the system, but they will probably take just as much time and effort as it does to create a leading authority site that actually provides value to users.

So why not just invest your resources to go the less risky “ethical” route? This way you can build a site with potential long term value without constantly looking over your shoulder for penalties and copycats. In the end, authority sites will rule the web.

Now don’t get me wrong. Blackhat SEO’s, PPC affiliates, arbitragers, and spammers are not stupid. In fact, some of the stuff they come up with are simply genius. They are able to take advantage of a flawed system and make insane amounts of money in a short period of time. It’s not likely to last forever, but you can’t really blame them either.

I don’t know about you, but I gain personal satisfaction from building my sites and I would not enjoy a business model where:

  • no one benefits except for my pocket book
  • my sites are commodities that are at the mercy of rule enforcers
  • questionable ethics are involved

Yes, quick cash can be made and this is often a stepping stone many marketers use to fund their larger projects. However, the ultimate long term goal should always be to create authority sites.

In this article, I’ll outline some of the methods that I’ve used and seen others use to establish authority status. Which of these are you using?

Own a niche
First and foremost, find something that you’re good at. People can smell BS from a mile away so you really have to know your stuff and be an expert if you want to be perceived as an authority. Everyone has something that they are good at and enjoy. It’s just a matter of developing skills and marketing them effectively with a unique angle. For example, I have an engineering background and work as an SEO. I really do enjoy what I do and am continually looking to build myself as an Internet marketing authority through this blog.

First impressions are more important than you think
What you know is important, but most people won’t give you a chance if you present yourself poorly. Be sure that you have a relevant and targeted domain name and your site design is clean and professional. Like it or not, presentation counts.

Prove it
Signs of authority can go a long way. Were you featured in a major publication in your niche? Do you have certain credentials that make you special? Use what you have to prove to your audience that you’re worthy to be followed. For example, Shoemoney posted up his $100,000 Adsense check and look where that got him today.

Create an industry guide
There are tons of blogs covering a wide array of topics – almost to the point where there is too much disorganized information online. In most cases, people want a comprehensive guide to an industry without having to wade through countless pages of useless clutter. Solution? Create an easy to follow industry guide, even if it’s just links to other pages, and people will swarm to your site and link back to your guide.

Paul Bourque over at UberAffiliate created an affiliate marketing guide (probably the best I’ve seen) that continually brings him traffic and new subscribers.

Build tools or new useful features
Another way to differentiate yourself from the crowd is to create a useful tool that will benefit your users. This can be anything really – from WordPress plugins to financial calculators to Flash quizzes. Patrick Altoft of BlogStorm launched his SEO blog based off of a link analysis tool that gained huge popularity. In fact, he was able to attain 10,000 links in just 3 weeks.

Create a list of other resources
A list of useful resources is also a great way to gain authority and network with other players in your niche. Mark of 45n5 has a top 100 make money online blogs list that continually brings traffic to Winning the Web. I’m sure it’s working quite well for him in building authority.

Write posts that build off of your expertise
Aside from publishing the industry guide, frequently writing articles on the latest news and developments will cement your status as a leading authority. Aaron Wall, for example, constantly puts out quality content related to SEO on his blog. Not only does this help sales of his SEO training program but it further establishes him as guru who knows his stuff.

Use confident language & take a stance
If you don’t take a stance on a matter and talk with confidence, people are not likely to listen to you or take you seriously. Don’t be afraid to be controversial and to take a firm stance in what you believe in. People respect that, even if they disagree with your message. He’s offensive to most SEO’s but Jason Calacanis has done a tremendous job in stirring up controversy in the online space.

Be visible on other authoritative sites
Buy links, advertising, and blog reviews, leave comments, and guest post. Being highly visible on an already authoritative site related to your own will help push up your status as well.

Make friends with the top people in your industry
Who you know and who promotes you can definitely make the difference between seeing success and falling flat on your face. Develop your contact list and exchange emails/IMs, meet up with the people you connect with online at conferences, and take pictures. Being an authority by association helps you to catapult your own work. SEO John Andrews goes as far as to say that modern SEO is all about knowing Googler Matt Cutts.

Use Q&A sites, forums, social media to attract new visitors
There are many platforms outside of your own sites to demonstrate your expertise and attract new visitors. Answer questions on Q&A sites and forums and use social media to become engraved in your community. For instance, Maki of DoshDosh does an excellent job promoting his site via social media.

Authority is something that is built up over time by executing a carefully planned and thought out process. It really boils down to helping others with problems that they have and developing trust with users.

What are you doing to improve your authority online? Can you think of any other methods we can add to the list here?

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32 Responses to “11 Steps to Building an Indestructible Authority Site”

Eric on April 24th, 2008

I cannot agree with the first impressions point more. My site is a work in progress, right now, it’s ugly. I’ve had quite a few posts that were very authoritative, but very few people get past the look of the page. My bounce rate is absolutely awful with an average time on site of less than 10 seconds! I know it’s not my content because it’s not possible to read it in 10 seconds.

Gyutae Park on April 28th, 2008

Hey Eric, you’re right. Content is the most important but a good site design is crucial in attracting people to actually read it. 10 seconds is not good… Hope you can get that up.

knupnet on April 24th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Great post!!! Very true on all points. Making friends in the industry and owning/dominating a niche are very important what I do.

wisdom on April 24th, 2008

I just launched a new site over at http://www.beststrength.com/ and am going to try to apply many of these tips to help it grow. Thanks.

Gyutae Park on April 28th, 2008

The site looks good. Very clean and focused on the content. Good luck!

Flimjo on April 25th, 2008

Here’s another way: read the top 3 books in your niche.

Gyutae Park on April 28th, 2008

It’s definitely a good idea to read the best out there, but after a certain amount of time it’s better to execute and see what works.

Web Success Diva on April 28th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Great post, most miss many of these things.
And, really, you’ve got to have them all to compete these days!

Maria Reyes-McDavis

Gyutae Park on April 28th, 2008

It’s getting harder and harder to compete but the Internet is still young. The earlier you get in, the more time you will have to gain experience and build your authority.

SoftwareSweatshop on April 29th, 2008

Stephen Covey talks about principles vs. techniques. Techniques, tactics, and styles are important, but principles are timeless.

I’d just say you need to be sincere. Don’t blog to get attention, or popularity, or notoriety… you’ll kill yourself trying.

Be sincere, crank out material you’re really passionate about, and let the chips fall where they may.

Raza Imam

Gyutae Park on May 1st, 2008

Hey Raza,
That’s great advice. Usually the blogs that make the most money are the ones that started off without money in mind.

It’s hard to do, but in the end, the bloggers that are really passionate about their subject are the ones who will come out on top.

MarketingDeviant on April 30th, 2008

Those are great steps. You gave me so much insight from this one article. Thank you!

Gyutae Park on May 1st, 2008

Glad I could help. Anything in particular that popped out at you?

Furniture on May 3rd, 2008

wow, wonderful article.
I was just making some useless sites.

Gyutae Park on May 3rd, 2008

I think your time is much better spent by creating one quality site that you can be proud of.

SEO dude on May 3rd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

You are right about faking it and making it. Recently Google hired big blackhat guys for big money so that they could help Google crack down on other black hatters.

Gyutae Park on May 3rd, 2008

I haven’t heard the news on that. Can you post an article here that refers to that? I’d love to learn more about the news. Thanks.

Dane Tamburino on May 16th, 2008

This was a very informative post. I have recently launched a web venture and I believe that first impressions are paramount and content is king. As a small independent publisher, I know I am up against major players with deep pockets and large workforces. Having the help of resourceful people like you will keep me in the game. I can only hope that my personal finances will allow me enough time to use your good advice to my advantage. It truly amazes me how fast the web is growing. I will try and keep up. Thank you.

Gyutae Park on May 20th, 2008

Hey Dane,
Thanks for the comment. I definitely agree with you that first impressions are everything – they only come once. Good luck with your recent web venture and let me know if I can do anything to help.

Soccer tricks on April 14th, 2009

Thanks for this very informative article. I recently launched a website in a not very competitive niche. There are 3 websites dominating this niche. By socializing with them, my website is close to theirs now.

Andy on November 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Great information, great articles, just great man. Thanks for these tips, it’s certainly hard to become an authority site but its not impossible.

Gyutae Park on November 18th, 2009

Thanks Andy. It’s a long process, but with hard work and persistence you’ll gain the trust of your visitors and become an authority site over time.

Edward Simpson - AG Equity Release on January 21st, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

I Totally Agree with your point about owning a niche. It’s becoming much more difficult and expensive these days to try and keep a generic site ranking well across multiple terms. Its quite possibly more cost effective if your focus spans multple subjects a better idea to split topics out into multiple sites

OC on February 3rd, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

Is my site considered authority site? Someone tell me yes.. I don’t know how to check..


Paul Godines on December 5th, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

Hello Gyutae Park, great list however I would also add the need to complete some other equally credibility building steps. Such as writing a book, creating an audio CD or even starting a training program to invite people too. Keep up the great work!

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