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How To Make Google Think You Have An Authority Site
Saturday, August 18, 2007

Google is definitely favouring authority sites over smaller niche sites. You only have to do a couple searches to see that the same sites are dominating the SERPs. These sites are authority sites, or sites that Google deems to be industry leaders. For example, if you search for anything sports-related, you’re bound to see ESPN a lot. If you search for celebrity gossip and news, you’ll keep seeing Perez Hilton and TMZ. If you search about blogging, you’ll see Darren Rowse’s picture often.

So, how can you get Google to think you have an authority site? How can you make Google think you have the next Internet Movie Database or Next Day Pets? Even you have a little site with a couple backlinks and a trickle of visitors, you can follow these tips to make your site look like an authority site to Google.

On-Page SEO

Have you heard of latent semantic indexing, or LSI? If you haven’t, listen closely because LSI is the biggest SEO secret since meta tag spamming. Why is LSI such a huge development? LSI is important because it changes how you should write your content. Because of LSI, conventional SEO writing and keyword density are on their way to graveyard. Yes, those SEO ghostwriters that you’re paying $5 for 500 words may hurt your site more than help it.

What is LSI and does it really exist? Here is a quote from Aaron Wall, one of the well-known experts in the search industry:

Latent semantic indexing allows a search engine to determine what a page is about outside of specifically matching search query text.

By placing additional weight on related words in content, or words in similar positions in other related documents, LSI has a net effect of lowering the value of pages which only match the specific term and do not back it up with related terms.

What does this development mean for your website? Basically, if your content is filled with expert verbiage and related terms including relevant synonyms, Google will think you have quality content. You’ll rank for more long-tail phrases. Also, as an added benefit, your content will be more readable and less boring.

You can use the Adwords tool to see what Google considers related terms for your target keyword phrases. To use this tool, type in the search terms you want to rank for, write down all the synonyms and related terms, and insert them in your content. Writing with LSI in mind will help your gain trust with Google.

And as search engines continue to improve their algorithms, LSI will make an even bigger impact in the SEO landscape.

Off-Page SEO

LSI also affects link building, specifically anchor text. Just like you need to add related terms to your content, you also need to add related terms to your anchor text. John Scott, in his excellent link building article, writes:

One of the easiest filters for a search engine to put in place is one which detects and devalues links with identical anchor texts.

Therefore, vary your anchor text. If you’re targeted term is online dating, use other phrases like

online dating profile
online dating site
guide to online dating
best online dating
meet people online

Even throw in a couple anchor text without the targeted term. For example, link with

personal ads
online personals

By varying your anchor text, your backlinks will look more natural to Google. And we all know Google loves natural links and hates artificial links.

If you think about it, most authority sites’ anchor text are not keyword targeted. Instead, the majority of their backlinks come naturally from people who link with whatever anchor text they choose.

While we’re talking about backlinks, it’s a good idea to vary the type of websites you get backlinks from. Get links from blogs, forums, static sites, wikis, web directories, bookmarking sites, social voting sites, article directories, press release sites, low PageRank sites, high PageRank sites, etc Also, get sidewide links and single page links. Again this looks more natural to Google, which further makes you look like an authority.

The Key To All This Is…

… remarkable content. Content that will snag bookmarks. Content that will attract links. Content that will invite discussion at the water cooler.

Many of us need to take some of our pay per click and paid links budget and use it to hire an excellent ghostwriter or two. The ghostwriter can write something remarkable - 5 part blogging series, short report, white paper, or manifesto. Then, write about it on your site and make it go viral by submitting it to social networking sites, emailing relevant bloggers, and issuing press releases. Well written and well marketed linkbait goes a long way to getting a bunch of natural links. Also, you will begin to have the kind of branding and exposure authority sites have.

With the advent of LSI, the growing popularity of social voting/bookmarking, and the growing number of new websites, remarkable content has become more important. LSI rewards good content with higher rankings. Social sites cause great content to go viral quickly. And remarkable content helps you stand out from the huge crowd of websites in your niche. As the internet marketing saying goes, “Content is king.” Well, it’s also becoming queen, jack, and ace.

By focusing on producing excellent content, not only will your site look like an authority site, it will become one.

So, if you’re the expert in your niche, outsource your SEO/marketing and spend more time producing quality content. If you’re not the expert, hire an expert or two to write for your site and market their content like crazy.

Community - The Authority Site’s Biggest Asset

While you’re producing great content, start planning to make a great community. You’ll need great content first, because that will attract internet users to participate in your site. Blog comments, trackbacks, forums, ratings, polls, wikis, and reviews make your site more sticky, active, and attractive. Anything user generated will make your site look good to Google. Your site will be updated more often which will results in better spidering, indexing, and rankings. And your branding will go through the roof as more people join your community.

Once you build a thriving community, you will truly have an authority site. Your site will be hard to compete against. And if you ever want to sell, your site will be worth a lot of money.

So, there you have it. A quick and dirty guide to authority site nirvana. Will it take some work? Definitely. But remember you’re not building a small town. You’re building Rome. And you know what they say about Rome, “It wasn’t built in a day.”

Be patient. Work hard. Work smart. And you’ll reap the rewards


posted by Sakthi Ganesh @ 7:39 AM  
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