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5 Straightforward Ways To Become An Authority Site

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

When you don’t know the answer to something, what do you do? You probably go to Google, right?


Chances are your audience does too. And in order to be one of the first results they see when they search their question, you must become an authority site.


When you think of authority site examples, you may think of companies like Forbes, HubSpot, or The New York Times, but smaller sites have just as much of a chance of becoming authoritative than those big sites do.


Google’s ultimate mission is to give searchers exactly what they are looking for. They don’t do this by sending traffic to websites with no credibility or proof of knowledge; they do this by sending traffic to sites that have proven they know what they’re talking about and offer unmatched content.


When you want to learn how to build an authority site, the number one thing you always need to remember is your audience.


King on a webpage that has high website authority


What Is an Authority Site?


Site Authority, otherwise known as Domain Authority (DA), is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs).


While Google has admitted that they do not consider DA when ranking pages, there is a correlation between sites that rank higher on SERPs and their site authority score.


Domain Authority is measured by calculating multiple factors, including your backlinks’ quality, sitemap, customer experience, and more, into a single DA score. If you want to build an authority site, you first have to know your DA score and what needs improvement.


One of our favorite site authority checkers is Ahrefs. You can head over to https://ahrefs.com/website-authority-checker and use their free checker to see precisely what your DA is without needing to sign up for anything. Once you figure out your score, you will better develop a strategy to increase your numbers.


Again, while Google technically does not consider your DA score when ranking, there is a connection between a high DA score and a high ranking position.


Authority sites are those seen as websites that consistently give their audience credible information sources, update their resources frequently, and have many high-quality backlinks. In this blog, we will go over 5 of the easiest ways to increase your site authority so you can start ranking and being seen as an authoritative figure in your community in no time.


Build High-Quality Backlinks and Remove Low-Quality Backlinks


The first step in increasing domain authority is to figure out your backlink profile.


The quality of backlinks has become all the more crucial since the introduction of Google Penguin in 2012. The primary purpose of Penguin is to identify and penalize websites that indulge in dubious backlink practices.


Before 2011 and 2012, backlink building methods were a little more “sus” than they are now. Black hat link-building techniques, or techniques used to drive traffic to a website by exploiting website loopholes, were becoming increasingly common, and ranking on Google became a game of who could cheat the best.


It was about quantity, not quality, back then.


Matt Cutts quote on an orange background about Panda and Penguin

To combat this, Google introduced Panda, a filter designed to lower the rank of low-quality sites and content farms, increasing the position of higher-quality sites.


While this was incredibly successful, many sites were still able to jump through hoops and create low-quality backlinks in excess, again increasing their rank without actually offering any real substance.


In 2012, Penguin was introduced as Google’s response to the continued increase of black hat link-building methods.


Because of this, getting rid of low-quality backlinks and increasing the number of high-quality backlinks is extremely important when building an authority site.


To check how many low-quality backlinks you have and what they are, head on over to https://analytics.moz.com/pro/link-explorer/home and sign up for a free account. Once you set everything up, you’ll be able to click “Spam Score” on the side of the page and see what percentage of backlinks you have are considered “spam” or “low-quality.”


If you’re unable to figure out which backlinks are considered high-quality or low-quality, here is a list of some of the most common types…



Create Unique and Valuable Content


Another necessary way to increase domain authority is to create unique and valued content for your audience.


Unique content is content that exists exclusively on your site and adds distinct value for your customers. This content helps distinguish your site from others by providing additional information that other sites don’t have.


While that can seem like a very broad and general term, creating unique content isn’t as difficult as it seems. It’s just about understanding your audience, the platforms they use the most, and the type of content they respond to best.


One of the first steps of creating unique and valuable content is to consider which step of the Buyer’s Journey your audience is in and what type of content to produce for each stage.



We have a few blogs that will help you create the correct type of content for your audience in what form you’re aiming for below…





Build an Authority Site by Organizing Your Current Site


Before you can update your content or send users to your site using high-quality backlinks, you have to make sure you have a website that is easy to navigate and understand.


Your first task is to create or update your sitemap, or a blueprint, of your website. Your sitemap is also the file you’re going to submit to Google once you are read (instructions here).


Sitemap example with colorful tabs for each section such as "Product," "Projects," and "About"

When creating your sitemap, there are three main points to remember and account for…


  1. Determine the purpose for each page — There might be multiple purposes, and that's okay! If you get into three or more, though, you should start thinking about multiple pages.

  2. Write it down— Be specific; write down all the information a user would need to reach the stated goal. This doesn't need to be pretty— just the bare bones are fine.

  3. What does your audience want to see?—Write down all of the visual components your audience would like to see on the page.


Also, keep in mind your target audience and the keywords they are actively using. Update your pages to reflect this (including what the buyer journey is per page) and get rid of or update all content that does not reflect this accurately.


If you’re stuck on even what pages to include, no problem! Here’s a list of the main types of pages a website should have (don’t worry if some of these don’t apply to you)...


List of most important pages to have on a website on a blue background

Design a Mobile-Friendly Website


In April 2015, the mobile-friendliness of a website became another ranking factor on Google, so ensuring your web design is “thumb-friendly” and loads quickly are significant.


When it comes to your content, choose fonts and colors that are easy to read and understand. A beautiful font on a desktop might look unclear on a smartphone.


You could also consider making your CTAs (call-to-actions) a button. Due to almost half of all traffic coming from mobile devices, using a button as a CTA instead of a clickable link can increase your clicks by 45%.


And, of course, make sure your design is thumb-friendly.


Phone examples of how to make your website thumb-friendly

When placing your buttons, text, or other clickable links such as your menu, keeping them in areas that your audience’s thumb can reach without straining is essential. According to Google, 61% percent of potential customers will leave a website they have trouble using on a mobile device, and 40% percent go to a competitor’s site instead.


Creating a mobile-friendly website is key to increasing domain authority.


Be Active on Social Media


Although officially Google has often stated that social signals are not part of the Google Ranking algorithm, there is a precise coloration between pages that rank high on Google and social signals.


With more than two billion searches being conducted on Facebook every day, ranking higher when customers search for certain content within a social media network can also provide a significant boost to your brand or business.


When it comes to increasing your site authority and rank with social media, make sure you…


  1. Optimize your bios to include keywords your audiences search for that quickly answer what you do and what value you provide.

  2. Create content that is designed to be saved, shared, and engaged with.

  3. Aren’t being too wordy. While the “ideal” length of copy varies from platform to platform, Neil Patel found less is more when it comes to your social media copy. In fact, his research shows the click-through rate on paragraph-long Facebook copy is 2-6 times lower than updates that are approximately 40 characters long.


Bar graph showing Facebook activity and how it relates to search engine ranking

Remember That Increasing Domain Authority Doesn't Happen Overnight


Building an authority site takes time, effort, and a little bit of research, but once those backlinks start to develop and your rank starts to climb - it’ll be worth it!


The best way to improve domain authority to your website is by staying consistent. Create unique and valuable content regularly, continue to post to social media, build your brand awareness, and stay on top of your backlinks to ensure you don’t have too many low-quality links.


If all of this sounds like it may be a little too time-consuming for you, we get it. That’s why Zoek has multiple SEO bundles to fit every budget and a wide variety of off-site, on-site, and additional add-ons you can take advantage of to make sure you have all your bases covered.




 

Kellyann Doyle is a Content Marketing Writer at Zoek, an SEO, Web Design, and Digital Marketing Agency that assists small and medium-sized businesses with their online footprint. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in 2013 from the University of Houston with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Marketing and has been working in the Digital Marketing world ever since. When not working, you can find Kellyann trying new recipes, enjoying a good nap, or watching Friends for the 500th time.

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