Authority Sites and Necessary Content

What is an authority site?  Why would anyone want to have one?  How much content do I need to have to make my site an authority site?  These and other questions are answered in the following article by veteran SEO author Wayne Hurlbert.

Your website is in constant need of more fresh content; that’s a given. The search engines tend to reward websites that update often, and have large numbers of web pages. Adding fresh content to your site can also help develop your site into the much sought after “authority site” status.

A major problem faced by many webmasters, as they search for ways to add that new content to their sites, is where to find it. While most website owners are aware of the need to upload additional web pages to their sites, writing that content is often a difficult task.

To become an authority site requires strong content in your site’s area of expertise. Gaining that cherished authority site status also requires many additional theme related incoming links. Usually, natural links and strong content go hand in hand. The dilemma is creating that content in the first place.

Here’s some help for those seeking authority site status, but are at a loss for words.

What is an authority site?

Building an authority site is a goal that website owners should try to achieve. An authority site is a large site that is recognized by the search engines as being the most important for its keywords. Authority sites are built on large numbers of content pages and large numbers of incoming links. While that would appear to be obvious, there are several steps that are required to achieve authority site status.

All authority sites, which can almost always be found in the top ten search results for their most important keywords, contain large numbers of pages of content. With the larger sites, like amazon.com, for example, the total of indexed pages may run into the thousands. For highly competitive keywords, your site will need to add literally hundreds of new content pages, to gain that coveted authority site status. For less competitive keyword searches, obviously not as many pages will be required.

Authority sites are built on content and links. These two features are equally important and are closely entwined with one another. To get those important incoming links, to as many internal pages as possible, there needs to be powerful content to attract them. By adding content, you will draw links like a magnet.

Be certain to have a good internal linking structure, complete with site map and strong anchor text, as your site will need every page working hard. In fact, as your site grows ever larger, you might want to consider multiple site maps, with one for each major category of content on your site. Multiple site maps are a sign to the search engines that your site is indeed a large one.

Don’t concern yourself with any Google PageRank leakage to the internal pages. This is a far less important concern than gaining PageRank on those added pages. The goal is to become an authority site, not to have the highest PageRank on your home page. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Authority sites are not afraid to link exchange with competitors. While that would appear on the surface to be counterintuitive, it is part of becoming an authority. The search engines will recognize the importance of your site, if it has incoming links from other top ten search result sites. Those linking sites may indeed be your competitors. While you might not want to advertise your competition’s business on your home page, a good resources or directory (avoid labeling any pages as links.xxx) page will suffice for the exchange.

Authority site linking procedures are beyond the scope of this article, however. What is of concern here is the addition of those all important extra content pages. Links will be turned naturally toward your various content pages, if you have strong content. Both links and content are needed to build an authority site.

Your site needs freshly updated content to provide food for the hungry Internet search engine spiders. As these constantly traveling computer robots find your site, they are hunting for new material to chew upon. That means new content.

The question then arises for the webmaster, about where to find ideas for additional content pages, to feed those ravenous search engine spiders.

If you are having problems finding suitable ideas, to add fresh content to your site, you are certainly not alone. The problem of content creation has baffled many a website owner.

A good way to start searching for fresh content ideas is to examine your own site very carefully. Look over every page and its most important keyword subject matter. You may see where some sub-pages can be created by expanding upon the information you already have printed.

For example, if you have a travel site, you can provide articles on individual destination cities and countries. Each of those topics can be further subdivided into more pages of tourist attractions and accommodation in each location. As your pages of information multiply, so do your number of important keyword phrases. There are simply more ways that searchers can find and enter your specific website.

Your competitors’ websites are also bountiful sources of additional content ideas. They may have entire sections of their websites devoted to topics, in your area of business, that you have not even considered. Because of that oversight, your competitors are gaining valuable new search engine traffic, in keywords that your site does not include.

As you add new pages of content from expanding upon subject matter from your own site, and from competitors’ sites, your number of pages will increase. It is generally thought, by many search engine optimization professionals, that sites with a larger number of pages will generally rank higher in the search engine results.

While that is not a hard and fast rule, and many exceptions may be found, it is still a good idea to have more pages on your website. If nothing else, each new page provides additional new keyword phrase entry points. That means more visitor traffic for you and your business.

If you have written any articles, for other publications or website where you have maintained the reprint rights, be certain to archive them as additional content. Make certain that the archived pages are properly title tagged and have good anchor text links from your site map and back to the home page. Since the articles are already written, they can provide extra search engine content, at no extra work and no charge to you.

Your company press releases and press kits also provide very pertinent and powerful content. Press releases are directly related to your business, and provide strong keyword rich content. Be sure to archive them, not only for the media, but for the search engine robots to index. Be sure to include the archived press releases in your site map, and provide them with strong anchor text as well.

If you add photographs to your site, they provide strong visitor oriented content. People like to look at pictures. Photos can often be enough to tip the balance, toward having a link pointed toward your site, especially if you are in a visually important industry like travel, clothing, or automobiles. As always, be sure to mark all of photos with good search engine readable alt tags, to ensure their indexing. The search engines also include special photo indexes. You want to be included in them, as they will definitely help your site status.

Start a weblog (blog) on your site. While not previously written, the constantly updated business blog will provide regular and fresh content as often as every day. There are many powerful blogging tools available that allow you to post easily to your blog, and have the posts appear right on your own website.

Don’t use a blog simply to advertise your current products. The blog should be used to attract regular traffic by providing, for example, industry news, product reviews, or new product and technology development. Natural incoming links will soon follow

The blogging software will automatically archive your previous posts, where there the search engines can actively index them. The regular addition of new blog posts will also bring a steady flow of return visitors to your site.

An obvious source of additional content is to employ a professional copywriter. At first glance, the concept may seem like an extra business expense that might be avoided. A more careful examination would reveal a different picture.

A professional copywriter can provide strongly worded copy for your site. The resulting articles will be well written and have your keywords, and their alternatives, within the additional pages. A well written article can include a strongly keyword loaded page, without being difficult to read. Since the Yahoo search engine is believed to prefer slightly heavier keyword saturation, good writing is essential to take advantage of that search engine bias.

Additional copy, available free of charge to webmasters, is available at many article exchanges on the Internet. By simply including a link back to the author’s website, and a short biography of the writer, ready made content can added to your site. The main drawback of this policy is the potential of it duplicating your competitors’ content. On the other hand, that may also provide advantages. The same keyword search that turns up that article, will list your website as well.

Towards your authority site

To create the important status of authority site for your most important keywords, you will need to increase both the size of your site, and the number of incoming links. The two are closely related, as one enhances the other.

To add fresh content pages to your website, you will need to use every possible avenue available to you. Content can be self written by you or your staff. It can also be provided by hiring the services of a professional copywriter.

Don’t overlook such obvious page increasing techniques as adding visitor friendly photographs, and utilizing cutting edge features like a weblog.

Be sure your site has strong internal and external linking plans in place. Site maps are important too. As your site increases in size, multiple site maps will add to your website authority status. Finally, remember to grow your content to create an authority site.

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