Online authority is a powerful concept in the world of online marketing, both as a general idea and as a specific application in the field of search engine optimization (SEO). As a general concept, it should be pretty straightforward, the more “authority” you have on a given subject, the more trustworthy and respected you'll seem in a given community. This can make it easier to secure conversions, earn more traffic, and even start better client relationships.
In the SEO sense, authority refers to the relative “trustworthiness” of a page or domain, and plays a major role in how your pages rank in search engines. Generally, the more authoritative sites you have linking back to you, the higher your authority will be and the higher you’ll rank.
But how can you build up authority, in either sense of the word, if you don’t have any to start with? Here's the method we use at OutrankLabs.com when working with freshly minted businesses looking to building that authority:
Start With a Foundation
Your first step is to build a foundation. This will serve as a platform to sell yourself as an authority, almost as a resume for your authority building efforts (not to mention a sales point for any incoming traffic you receive).
Your brand should be the first thing you develop, as it’s going to serve as the core identity for your business or organization. You’ll need to answer a lot of questions here, but some of the most important are these: who are you as a brand? Who are your competitors? How are you different from your competitors? What niche are you targeting? What is important to this niche? What kind of expertise will you need to project to appeal to this niche? The more specific your niche is, the better.
Next, you’ll need a website to show off that brand. Every page of your site should showcase your brand personality, and make sure you have plenty of content that demonstrates why you should be considered an authority. Your About, Team, and Product/Services pages are key areas of development here; these tend to be the first places people look when evaluating a brand.
Next, you’ll need to build a kick-ass blog, and an ongoing content marketing strategy to go with it. Aim to load your blog with at least 15 high-quality posts, on different topics that show off the range of your expertise. You’ll be using these in many different areas of your authority-building campaign, and you’ll be posting to your blog regularly after this, but it’s important to start with a decent foundation so people won’t think you’ve only just started.
Next, you’ll need to claim your major social media profiles and start pushing out the articles you’ve published to your blog. Follow people who belong to your industry, and ask for as many followers as you can get by hitting up friends, family members, and coworkers. You’ll need an initial following to make a good impression.
Develop Your Personal Brand(s)
Though traditionally used as a way to build your career, personal brands serve a powerful specialty role in the development of a corporate or organizational brand. Because people are inherently distrustful of corporate brands in many cases, you’ll likely find it easier to build an audience with a personal brand—not to mention, you’ll have more opportunities to post guest content, which is also incredibly important. Develop your personal brands by creating author profiles for them on your site and fleshing out your social media profiles offsite.
Get Featured on Local and Niche Sites
You'll want to shop around guest posts to external sites. This is the best way to gain authority for your personal and corporate brands alike because you’ll get more visibility, a better reputation, more referral traffic, and even a backlink to help you build your SEO authority. However, you can’t go for high-authority sites right away. Instead, seek out local publishers or niche industry blogs, these will have lower levels of competition, and will be easier to write relevant content for their audience.
Influencers can help you improve your image. These are influential and prominent individuals who already exist in your industry, and you can generally find them on social media. There are many ways to work with them including collaborating with them on a piece of content, getting a quote from them endorsing you, or even ask them to share your piece. Any interaction you get from them will likely boost your image.
Scale Your Efforts
The last step is a continuous cycle of reaching out to more influencers and getting guest posts featured on more external sites. However, you won’t stick to the same circles you started with; instead, you’ll gradually scale your efforts upward. You’ll work with medium-level publishers, and gradually work to national-level blogs with tens of thousands of visitors every month, along with influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers. It’s a slow build, but if you’re consistent in your efforts, you’ll eventually get there—even if you’ve started with nothing.
Read more about building your personal brand at Tech.Co