Authority: The New Standard of Quality
Before you begin trying to boost your visibility by using backlinks, you need to stop and ask yourself why your website deserves to rank highly in a Google search. Does your site offer something of value that no one else is offering? If the answer to that is “no,” then no amount of backlinking will help your site grow. Today’s Google algorithms demand high-quality content, and this includes originality, quality writing and useful information.
Google determines whether a site has authority in several ways. In general, it strives to give the highest page rank to content generated by experts in the field. This strategy makes sense from a user perspective. After all, if you’re searching for the health benefits of juicing, wouldn’t you rather get your information from a site written by a nutritionist than an anonymous page? Google certainly thinks so, and that’s why expert sites rank the highest in search results.
Several factors go into building a page’s authority:
- The vocabulary used on a site. This goes beyond simple keyword phrases. Instead, it involves the use of certain niche vocabulary that is used naturally by an expert writing within a certain field. These niche words and phrases are what Google currently uses to identify content about a given topic. Because the topic of a site is determined by the presence of these phrases, you may find sites in your Google results that are relevant to your search without including any of the words you actually searched for. This is because the goal of modern search engines is to respond to a user’s intention, not his exact search string.
- Whether the page is written by someone with experience in the area. The use of Google Authorship to link web content to author accounts plays a heavy role in determining how authoritative a webpage is. Google Authorship links a writer’s Google Plus account to all of the content he’s written online. This helps Google see easily whether an author frequently writes on a given topic. It also adds some accountability to the writer as most people are unwilling to partake in black-hat practices under their own names. Abolishing anonymity through authorship encourages people to provide the best, most honest content that they can.
- Whether authoritative sites link back to that site as a reference. When a high-quality, well-respected site links to another website, it’s a clear vote that the other site is valuable as well. This is the key for developing quality backlinks in today’s SEO environment. The quality of the site that links to your page is just as important as the quality of your page itself.
The Internet used to be anonymous. Today, social media has largely removed anonymity from the Web. If you want your site to succeed, you will need to use your web presence to build a trusted, authoritative brand. That brand will be crucial for building backlinks, boosting your search engine results and encouraging reader trust in your site.