Website authority is essentially how a website is predicted to perform in search engine rankings. It’s important because ‘Authority Sites’ rank more highly in search engine results pages (serps). Search engines take into account the number of quality inbound links, the age of the domain, the time visitors spend on the site, and hundreds of other factors. For more on these, check out SEOMoz has done a great job of testing, analyzing, and figuring out what authority factors exist – and best practices surrounding site authority.
One important part of building authority, is paying attention to and influencing social metrics by building your website’s authority with social media. Here are a few tips from Search Engine Watch to help you along the way.
Know Your Audience
Seemingly simple, the task of figuring out your target demographic often isn’t easy. Conduct social listening research, send out customer surveys (try Survey Monkey for a great free option) and conduct additional research. Use this information to help you understand how to craft your messaging through social media for maximum impact.
Also use the information to help you find “niche” social sites, forums and blogs. Niche social networks often create more meaningful interaction as reported. So look for sites that cater to your demographic and engage with them appropriately.
Share and Share-alike
Use the notion of share and share alike. This growing trend creates the belief that information should be free, readily available, and users should have the ability to share it/use it however they choose.
How does this apply to you? Don’t keep all that industry trade information to yourself. Start developing content and sharing ideas through social channels that address industry insider knowledge, answer industry questions, provides research data, and anything that showcases you and your brand as experts.
Participation is Key
Just because you might tweet out a few posts, have your content shared on Facebook, and get a few +1’s doesn’t mean you’re automatically seen as an expert or building up authority. Developing your brand’s own authority on a specific social networking platform is mandatory. This often involves being recognized by other authoritative users on the platform, having a lot of followers/friends/circle-ers/etc., high engagement levels, and regular interactions.
Eric Enge’s recent Search Engine Watch post, “Social Signals & SEO: Focus on Authority,” discusses the importance of having an authoritative person in your space share your content and also the importance of building your own authority at the social network level.
Grow Your Network
Make an effort to network with others in your industry in an attempt to build your site authority. Interact with them through social media by retweeting their status messages, adding them to Twitter lists, engaging on their Facebook Pages, adding them to your circles on Google+, bookmarking some of their blog posts, and commenting on a few posts too.
It’s tit for tat; as you do it, you’ll slowly see them do the same for your content and messages.
It may seem tempting to send out 40 tweets in a day and 10 Facebook status updates a week, but quality over quantity is always best – think carefully about how your brand will be perceived when you’re tweeting tweet, post, write, comment or even Like on Facebook. Everything you do communicates.
Offer Your Help
Monitor all the areas where your brand can offer up help to people asking questions or seeking information. Track long tail search terms that are frequently asked questions in your industry – use Google Alerts, Twitter Search, and inboxq.com.
Have FAQs sent to a team e-mail address and respond to them as applicable. You’ll find that many online users will ask questions or ask for help through social media. Be there to help answer their questions and you’ll find that your perceived expertise and authority will only grow over time.
Building your website’s authority requires a well-rounded approach and having a feel for what you should do within the social realm is important. The above tips can help you realize the path you should head down in your journey to becoming an authority online.
Don’t forget the other areas required to build authority. All efforts together create a working model for how you can succeed in the authority building game.