How to build an authority website

One thing that most high ranking websites have in common? They’re all authorities in their niche.

An authority website is a site widely recognized in its niche as one of the top sources of information that is trustworthy, accurate, and useful. They’re a go-to source of information and opinion for their industry.

Building an authority website in your niche can help you get noticed in your industry and be seen as a thought-leader. Which also means it’s a lot easier to achieve your business goals, whether it’s selling consulting, getting speaking engagements, or selling your products.

Why Google Likes Authority Sites

The New York Times, Wikipedia, The Guardian—theses are all authority sites. But there can also be smaller sites run by people like you that are considered authorities, like my friend Kate’s website on Pinterest Marketing or SERoundtable.

Google ranks authority websites higher in search results and even says so in their quality guidelines. It’s a traffic loop, to be honest. The more authority you build, the more traffic you get, which builds more authority and more traffic.

Why? Because Google’s mission for search is to send people websites that will help them. And Google believes that the websites most apt to help their searchers are trustworthy, authority websites written by experts.

How Google analyzes websites for Authority

E-A-T is Google’s acronym that stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. It’s one of the most important factors to pay attention to today to rank in Google search results.

While authority is only one of the three parts they’re looking for in a good website, all three combine together to create what most people think of when we talk about authority websites: a website written by experts that is the go-to source that is trustworthy.

Google uses E-A-T to determine whether a website is credible—and how high a website should rank in search results.

What this means for website owners is you need to show & tell how your site is written by experts, is an authority in your niche, and is highly trustworthy.

Wait, I’m not an expert! Can I rank in search?

Before you throw your hands up in the air and say “Well, should have gone to get that expensive degree so I could rank in Google”, that’s not quite how E-A-T works. Thank goodness!

Google doesn’t require you to have certifications & degrees to be an expert. I originally sent this article out to my newsletter and one reader, Becky, shared some insight into what this means in Google’s eyes.

“Flashbacks to my days as a rater in 2013-2014! That’s about the time they introduced the concept of the ‘everyday expert’. For instance – WebMD is an expert when it comes to cancer – it’s a reputable site. But Sally, who had cancer and writes about how she overcame it, can also rank because, while she’s not an authority on all cancer, she is considered an authority (an everyday expert) because she writes about her experiences. She’s an expert on ‘her’ cancer experience.”

Big thanks to Becky for really succinctly explaining the concept behind E-A-T!

What does this mean for you? If you can demonstrate you know what you’re talking about, you can rank just as well as big name competitors in search results!

That’s a whopper of an SEO revelation so let me repeat:

You can compete with the big guys by showing you’re an expert, even if that expertise comes from your personal experience. A company of one can compete with a marketing team of hundreds.

How to Show Your E-A-T on Your Website

How do we take advantage of all this opportunity? By creating great content that shows off what you know—and qualifies why you’re the right person to share that information.

  • Expertise is “knowledge in a particular field” so that’s things like degrees, certifications, years of on the job experience, or even the story of how you got where you are today.
  • Authoritativeness is a bit more difficult to pin down. Instead of qualifications, it has to do with power, specifically “the power to influence others, often to the point of settling disputes.” Your site is authoritative if someone uses your content to prove their point—and, in doing so, ends a dispute.
  • Trustworthiness is pretty obvious. Can we trust you? Why should we take your word for it? Remember, this isn’t just signals from your own site either! It’s how the larger internet perspective about you reflects on your website.

It’s not just for online expert style businesses either—ecommerce folks, you need to show off your E-A-T too!

Au Lit Fine is a great example, and not just because of their flashy multimedia content. they have so much information about how to select bed linens and stories about the world of home goods they’re definitely showing off their E-A-T!

Steps for Building Your Authority Website

E-A-T is a page-level signal, meaning that Google assess each page on your website for these three parts, rather than just your entire website. However, there are both on-site signals and off-site signals that help create authority online!

Here’s some action steps you can take to start building your authority online:

On-Page Authority Building Steps

The first step is to take care of your website itself and build up a site that shows off your expertise, creates trust, and has a lot of authority content on it. You can control your website the most and make off-page authority building easier by taking care of these actions below!

  1. Write an about page
  2. Add author bios to articles for all your contributors
  3. Incorporate your expertise, personality, and unique life experience into every article
  4. Write definitive content that is the ultimate best source of information
  5. Use references in your articles and link to other good sources of information
  6. Use testimonials, case studies, featured ons, comments, or show off verifiable results

Off-Page Authority Building Steps

Off-page authority building is harder to do but pays off better to help you build your authority even better than doing things to improve your on-page SEO. Moz’s research shows that it probably carries more than 50% of the weight when it comes to ranking high—which probably correlates strongly to helping you build your authority online.

  1. Work on getting links from other authorities in your niche
  2. Get interviews, features, and coverage of your brand with traditional PR
  3. Use influencer marketing to gain traction and popularity
  4. Complete social media profiles to show off your E-A-T and share content that demonstrates it

Be more of yourself

The big takeaway to remember is that being yourself online will help you a long ways to becoming an authority online. Since so much of your authority comes from your personal qualifications and experiences, making sure you showcase your unique perspective and what you know is essential to success!

After all, people come to your website because of the unique things you have to offer, as Marie Forleo says!