How to Build an Authority Website for Long-term Growth

build website authority

Imagine how much your business would benefit from getting one of those elusive top spots on a search engine results page. Instead of struggling to get clicks, you could generate reliable and organic traffic.

The very foundation of SEO is to build real traffic through search engines. While utilizing keywords and creating relevant content is imperative, there’s one factor that you can’t generate overnight: Authority.

What is an Authority Website?

In the context of digital marketing, authority refers to a site’s overall reliability and trustworthiness.

Google’s ranking algorithm is notoriously obscure. That said, we do know that over 200 ranking factors come into play. One of them is how authoritative your site is concerning its given niche.

Officially, Google has no official authority metric. However, Google’s Search Quality Evaluator guidelines frequently mention a concept known as “E-A-T,” which stands for “Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness.”

Outside of Google, most digital marketers utilize the domain authority metric by Moz. It uses several data points to gauge a site’s reliability and quantifies it into a score. The correlation between a higher DA score and SERPs position is undeniable.

Why Authority Matters

Take a moment and perform a few Google searches on random topics. Notice anything about the top results? There’s a good chance that most of the higher-ranking links came from familiar sites by big companies.

Those companies spent years establishing their authority in the digital space. Now, they’re the go-to resources for information about the keyword topic.

Building authority helps you stand out among competitors. It’s one of the many factors used to rank your site.

Being in one of the top five SERP spots can lead to a high CTR. For every position you move up, you’re looking at a CTR increase of roughly 30.8 percent!

Establishing web authority provides results that benefit your business.

How to Build Authority Over Time

It’s important to remember that building an authority website is all about the long game. According to Ahrefs, the average age for a page that ranks in the top 10 Google results is two years old. Those in the number one stop are usually three years or older.

Building authority is not something that happens instantly. However, developing a digital marketing strategy now can help you experience long-term growth. It’s a slow process, but it can pay off later.

Here are some surefire ways to start building authority today.

Create Quality Content

This tip might seem like a given, but quality content should be at the heart of your strategy. You can’t expect web users to take you seriously without having great content to back things up!

Content marketing is a valuable tool in today’s digital age. Approximately 86 percent of business-to-consumer companies use it as part of their marketing approach. For business-to-business companies, that figure is even higher at 91 percent!

Those figures don’t lie! Creating great content is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from the competitors.

So, what constitutes “quality content?” To make a real impact, your content should:

  • Address the reader’s intent
  • Achieve a goal
  • Establish your expertise
  • Be easy to follow
  • Be shareable

Branch out and try multiple types of content!

According to Biteable, only 60 percent of businesses use videos as a marketing tool. Be one of them and step outside of the box!

Focus on Topic Clusters

If you had to guess, what’s one of the most authoritative sites on the web? All it takes is a few random searches to see that Wikipedia always pops up in the first few spots.

Wikipedia’s Moz Domain Authority ranking is 100 percent! It’s not just because it uses a high volume of keywords.

Most of Wikipedia’s success goes to its use of topic clusters.

Topic clusters are a group of interlinked web pages that focus on a central pillar of content. Ever notice how the site continually links you to relevant information on your query? It’s a master of topical authority that keeps your user intent in mind.

You can use a similar concept to build authority for yourself.

The goal is to become the ultimate resource for information on your given niche. Instead of prioritizing individual page traffic, focus on the quality of the topic cluster as a whole.

Some pages are going to get less traffic than others. But if they support the central cluster, you can have a massive network of information for your readers. All the while, each page links to the next for some impressive internal linking.

You don’t have to limit yourself to blog posts. Clusters can contain:

  • Infographics
  • Video content
  • Guest posts from authoritative sites
  • White papers
  • Glossary pages
  • How-to guides
  • Industry interviews
  • News stories

Prioritize Link Building

Within your content, provide plenty of authoritative external links.

Linking out to relevant websites is just the start of a massive link-building endeavor. External links play a big part in authority and ranking.

For one, it shows Google and your users that you’ve researched the topic. Going back to the example of Wikipedia, it’s like providing resources for your work. Your readers can quickly check to see if the information is correct.

Links are viewed favorably by search engines. Plus, they can generate backlinks later on.

Manage Your Backlinks Strategically

It’s not just external links you need! Backlinks are incoming links from other content creators who are using you as a resource. Already, you’re starting to build authority!

That said, not all backlinks are created equal. Avoiding bad backlinks is paramount. They don’t do your site any favors and can bring your authority rating down. Examples of bad backlinks include:

  • No-follow links
  • Hacked sites
  • Dedicated links pages
  • Fake pages and user profiles
  • Directory links
  • Unreliable blogger links
  • Content farms
  • Broader sitewide links

There are many excellent backlink audit tools out there to help you identify bad backlinks. Once you find them, you can remove them manually or use Google’s Link Disavow tool to eliminate their impact.

Take Advantage of Social Media

There’s no denying that social media is king in today’s digital marketing playbook. Animoto found that roughly 32 percent of consumers check a brand’s social media presence before visiting its website.

Meanwhile, a survey by Social Media Examiner revealed that about 90 percent of marketers say that a social media presence increases exposure for their business. About 75 percent said it increased traffic!

With active social media profiles, you can:

  • Quickly share content
  • Reach a broader audience
  • Interact with your consumers
  • Create a personal connection with readers
  • Drive traffic to your site
  • Generate backlinks
  • Improve SEO efforts
  • Develop a network of interlinked content

The benefits of using multiple social media platforms are far too numerous to list. Ultimately, having a presence on social media is a must-have for any business. Not only does it build long-term authority, but it can help deliver results quickly.

Go Beyond Your Site

Finally, don’t limit yourself to creating content just for your site. You aim to become a reliable expert in your field. Why not spread the knowledge elsewhere?

A great way to build authority is to lend your expertise to:

  • Guest blog posts
  • Podcasts
  • Industry roundtables
  • Community streaming events
  • Big-name content publishers
  • Traditional media outlets
  • eBooks

There are many ways to benefit from off-site endeavors. You can build links, gain exposure to an audience that was previously unreachable, and earn a real-world reputation as an authority figure. All of those perks translate well to your website.


The online landscape is ultra-competitive these days. Everyone is vying for visibility. Building an authority website is the best way to experience long-term growth.

From day one, develop your digital marketing strategy with authority in mind. Consider how every action will impact your standing with Google and your audience. With some careful planning and vigilance, it won’t be long until you can start reaping the rewards.

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