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.
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.
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?If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.