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Authority Website definition

Authority website for online shopping. (© Andrey Popov -

Authority website for online shopping. (© Andrey Popov -

The authority website is a term that is used quite commonly today, and most people that are familiar with marketing or advertising – or especially with Internet marketing – are familiar with it. What most people are not familiar with is exactly what the definition of an authority website is or how you can build one in order to become a powerhouse on the web within your specific niche.


What is an Authority Website?

The first thing that we need to do is come up with an easy definition of an authority website. Every marketing guru out there has a different definition, and it can get sort of confusing because some of them have very stringent requirements that they think an authority website must meet. However, to give a simple explanation, an authority website is one that Google and the other search engines consider authoritative on a particular topic.

While there may be a website that is most authoritative on a particular topic, there is almost always lots of different authority websites for each niche that is out there. The more authority that you have, generally, the higher you are going to rank in the search engines for keywords that are related to that particular topic if you do your keyword research. Generally, affiliate sites have a hard time become authority sites.

The History of Authority Sites

The history behind authority sites is a somewhat rocky one. First of all, understand the age is a factor when it comes to an authority website. If you have had a high quality domain registered and active for twenty years, with plenty of content and all of the other factors that make up a great site, you are going to have a lot more authority than a website that was only registered and put online six months ago. However, that is a general rule, because there are plenty of recent sites that outrank older sites because they have worked hard to become an authority site.

openPR tip: You can often find expired domains that make the process easier.

Authority sites mostly started as niche websites when Internet marketing was just starting to take off. Some of the authority sites out there started off with a single facet of their current business, and then expanded into all of the related areas that they could think of. As a result of good search engine optimization and longevity, they ended up becoming authority sites because they stuck with it and kept up with the latest techniques, changing with every update that Google made to their algorithm to ensure that they were getting most of the search traffic for the keywords they were targeting.

How to Create an Authority Website

If you are building an authority site on a very general topic – particularly one that makes a lot of money – then you may already be too late to the game. There are so many websites out there that competing becomes harder and harder every year. Most of the big money topics, defined by what are called buying keywords, already have multiple authority sites that are ranking for those keywords. Some of them have had a team ensuring that authority site stays at the top of the search engine results for a decade or more. However, there are plenty of small niches that you could become an authority on, and if you want to go after a big keyword, all it takes is time and a great deal of hard work, and understanding the machine learning behind search engine algorithms.

Advantages of an Authority Website

There are definitely some advantages that come with being able to build sites with authority. One of those advantages is that since authority websites are usually spread out to cover every facet of a particular topic, you’re going to get lots of organic longtail search even without factoring in the high rankings that you get for being an authority site. You have to have a great deal of content in order to become an authority site in the first place. This content will have to target keywords that are related to your topic, and you will naturally have lots of longtail keywords related to that topic as well.

Another advantage than authority website gives you is natural link building. Being ranked at the top for a particular topic is a process that is self-perpetuating. You stay at the top because people see you at the top and link to your site from theirs; often sourcing your content is coming from an authoritative source.

Sometimes, authority sites can be

  • government sites
  • or educational sites,
  • but more often they are major brands
  • or websites that know how to work hard to be on top for that particular topic.

Finally, you get the benefit of lots of traffic because you’re ranked so high for many different terms that are related to your topic. When Google sees your site is an authority site, it means that you are going to end up in the first couple of search engine results pages. Depending upon the topic that you choose, you may even be able to grab that coveted number one spot. If there is a lot of traffic for those keywords, you’re going to have the potential to make a great deal of money

How Authority Websites are graded

Now, let’s look at some of the ways in which authority sites are graded. These are actually pretty much the same ways that any website is graded, but with authority websites these are more important than ever.

  • Content: content is King is a popular refrain throughout the Internet. It is true that Google wants your site to have great content. If you want to become an authority, then you not only need to have the best content within your topic, you need to have it presented in the best way possible, optimize for the right keywords and accessible to viewers.
  • Web Design: web design is another important part of the process of creating an authority site. If you have an attractive website the viewers want to stay on, you’re going to have a much lower bounce rate than somebody with an ugly site. In addition, you want your site to be functional and allow people to easily see your content against the background, and not have pictures pushing text out of the way or ugly advertisements filling up the site.
  • Load Time: low time is going to be another important factor. For one thing, it affects your bounce rate. If you have people coming onto your site and is not loading completely within a second or two, they are going to go elsewhere. In addition, if Google checks your site manually or automatically and finds loading times to be below the standard, they are not going to give you the authority status that you want.
  • Links: perhaps the most important part of a long-term authority website is the links that you are getting. You definitely want to have a lot of links coming to your site, but the quality of those links is just as important as the quantity. In addition, you want to have a lot of links coming from different types of websites when you create an authority site, using various keywords both related to your topic and not. Basically, you want your link profile to grow organically, because that is what Google is looking for in an authority site.
  • Freshness: you also need to be concerned about the freshness of your site. You want your content not only to be evergreen (that is, applicable no matter what year someone reads the content in), but you also want to be constantly updated. This doesn’t just mean adding new content, although that is an important part of the digital marketer’s job. It also means updating your older content once in a while to make improvements to your site.
  • Clear Navigation: another factor that Google looks at is whether or not your navigation is clear. If users cannot navigate around your site successfully, it is going to result in a bad experience. This is going to be visible when Google sees your site map. If an engineer checks your site manually, it is even going to be more apparent.

Types of Authority Sites

Now let’s take a look at some of the different types of authority sites that are out there. There are a number of them, but we will be concentrating on just five. These are the five main authority sites that you will encounter. Social media is a type of authority site, but is not included here.

  • Major Brands: the first is the authority site that comes from major brand. For example, if you were to type in bicarb parts online, the first couple of sites that come up are going to be the main authority sites for that buying keyword. Specifically is the number one website in Google. If you were to type in a buying keyword that was sold on Amazon, it is very likely that Amazon would be one of the first three results. In both cases, that’s because Google considers them authority sites for those keywords.
  • Bloggers: bloggers can also have authority sites for a particular niche. These are usually professional bloggers that have been doing it for a long time and are making a lot of money from their site. Perez Hilton is an example of such a blogger.
  • Industry: there are also industry authority sites. For example, if you were to type in the keyword cooking in Google, you would see several sites pop up that are part of the cooking industry. These are usually going to be the leaders in the industry. For example, the cooking channel is one of the most respected authorities when it comes to recipes and the like.
  • News: when it comes to news, you can bet that the major media is going to lead on just about any news related keyword. If you were to type in something like latest news, you would notice that Fox News, CNN and Reuters all shows up in the first three search results. These are the most respected authority sites by Google and others who use them.
  • Local: finally, there are local sites out there that are going to dominate the search results for keywords that are followed by a specific location. For example, car parts in Atlanta, Georgiais going to get a very different result page then simply typing in car parts. When there is no local business optimization, Google may default to the standard authority sites but this is almost unheard of these days.

How to Determine a Website’s Authority

You may be wondering if there is some way to determine how much authority a particular website has. In fact, there are several ways that you can go about getting this information. The previous way was to use a tool that tells you what the page rank of a site was. Google used page rank to determine how authoritative the site was. However, Google no longer permits that information to be released to the public. Instead you have to rely upon tools that tell you how many back links essay has, and where the site is ranked in the search engine results for a particular keyword. If the site is on the first page for any major or medium keyword, you can bet it is an authority site.

Authority Sites vs. Niche Sites

The difference between the authority site and the niche site is that the niche site is usually targeted towards a very specific aspect or facet of the topic. There may be just a few hundred or thousand people that are looking for that particular product for that particular use. An authority website is considered an authority because Google regards it as better than the majority of the sites out there that are on the same topic. The niche site is able to rank for certain keywords because it is one of the only sites out there that is offering that particular product, or because it is doing a better job on that single product or purpose then the authority site is.

Expert Tips: Improving Your Site’s Authority

  • Always be thinking quality. Create a quality site to the best of your ability, even if it takes you a long time to achieve.
  • Think about your audience. Build your site geared towards a specific audience.
  • Test your site from a first time visitor’s perspective. Use your navigation links, menu bars and look at your content and site layout objectively.
  • Build the site that visitors will want to trust and are able to get exactly what they came for.
  • Focus on two different sources of traffic: organic traffic that comes from the search engines naturally and referrals that come from word-of-mouth.
openPR tip: The authority site is a website that has been able to achieve a certain amount of credibility from the search engines like Google. They may be focused on a very specific topic, or they could be much more general. For example, an authority site could be built around plastic pet bowls, while a giant authority site might be built around pets in general. Of course, these sites already exist and are impossible to compete with in many cases. There are different types of authority sites including major brands, new sites, local sites, and blogs. The expert tips listed above will allow you to create an authority site that is going to do well.

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