It’s worth pondering: Do you work best alone or in concert with others? It may “take a village” to raise authority for even worthy content.
Authors and publishers – writers and bloggers – often have a symbiotic relationship that allows them to build authority and increase traffic for both. Building authority also means building trust, both with search engines and, just as important, with readers.
But both authors and publishers have to work at it. Fortunately, today more than ever there are good ways to do that.
It’s a team effort
How can blogs and authors work together to build authority? It’s really pretty simple.
First, each needs to establish its authority.
#1. Create a Google+ page
- Authors can begin by linking from their content to their Google+ Profile.
- Establish a Google+ personal page if you haven’t already.
- Place the rel=”author” tag on your byline (see instructions).
- Verify your connection using the structured data testing tool.
- Publishers can begin by verifying site ownership with their Google+ Page.
- Establish a Google+ Page for your business or organization if you haven’t already. Place the rel=”publisher” tag on your website and verify.
#2. Keep your work on-topic
Now publishers should build on that authority by creating content about a specific topic. They can write that content themselves or have other authors write it. The more authority the authors they use have, the more authority the blog will build. For search purposes, it helps to build nuance by varying keywords and keyword synonyms used to refer the topic. Publish both in depth (number of words) and in breadth (number of articles).
Authors should build on their authority, contributing articles in depth on their topic or topics of expertise and contributing to blogs or websites that have authority on that topic or those topics. They should work out with the blog or website to use the rel=”author” tag on bylines.
Now take it to your fans
#3. Build Social Signals
Next, both publishers and authors need to work on building social signals, coordinated and separately. That also helps build authority. Google+ seems to have the most impact on authority-based topics.
Increase trust on Google+
Number of +1s
- Blogs should promote content on their Google+ Pages, with authors sharing and giving a +1 to alert others to read their articles.
- Authors should promote content on their Google+ individual pages, with blogs sharing and giving a +1.
- In my experience, Facebook is more friends but Google+ is more professionals and people of authority, so their sharing information adds weight.
- Professionals and people of authority consult websites and authors for specialized content, again adding weight to +1s.
Number of Circles
- Authors should increase the number of Google circles they follow.
- In addition to personal topic circles (friends, family, coworkers), they should join circles related to their content topics.
- Publishers should join circles related to their topic specialty. There may be more than one.
- In addition, Publishers should start circles for their readers or for discussion groups, also called “Communities.”
- Authors may want to start circles for other authors or Communities, too.
Engagement on Google+
- Don’t think of Google+ as just a place to promote your articles. It’s also a place to explore content ideas and engage your readers. One science author asked for ideas about a speech he was giving at a conference. Readers offered him great ideas to talk about.
- Many authors post shorter article-length updates on Google+ and the +1s they receive add to the writer’s authority.
- Blogs can post headlines, graphic treatments or photos, surveys, and more for reader reaction. They can even host “Hangouts” to invite fans to live video chats.
- Google has the easiest time reading its own signals, but don’t discount reader feedback from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Pinterest, and others.
- Facebook “likes” and “shares” carry more weight than comments. Hashtags on Facebook facilitate searches and can be associated with a specific URL.
- Twitter RTs and trending topics carry weight, too, so if you can associate a trending “hashtag” with your name or blog (in a good way), that’s a good thing.
- Answering a lot of questions on a topic in Quora can add authority value, too. You can broadcast your answer to Twitter and Facebook, and if they are liked or shared, have value.
- “Pins” and “Repins” on Pinterest have value. Add a “Pin it” icon to your blog or Web page, and promote it on social media.
- Promote blog articles on LinkedIn updates and Group pages. They often result in more traffic.
#4. Connect with other authors
Greater authority results when you connect with other authors, which social media channels like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter can help you do. There you can meet up, help promote their work, interact regularly, and even connect with influencers who help build you as an influencer. With the right influencers, your content can even go viral.
An element of trust building plays in here, also. It includes endorsements, positive reviews, and linking to the works of others or from others.
#5. Try to increase interaction and engagement on your blog
- Blog and website articles with a lot of engagement in the comments section show a sense of community and engagement with the site and author. Certainly a lot of traffic indicates popularity, which can mean authority. It isn’t a sure thing. Engagement with link sharing is telling, but no or little engagement is also telling.
- Publishers should monitor and manage comment spam, which detracts from authority. Trace comment links multiple levels to ensure their efficacy.
#6. Guest Blog for authority sites in your niche
Even though it’s no longer a method for posting back links, guest blogging is still valuable for reaching other audiences and building authority. Especially if you write for an authority site.
#7. Try to build links with valuable content
Another area for building authority is links. Outbound links can be powerful for extending topic nuance, but inbound links can be powerful for showing how others favor your content.
- Inbound links are harder to arrange, but the more authority behind them the better.
- Back and forth links are usually more powerful, but in terms of authority, links from news, research, educational, informational, and other authority sites are best.
- Check all the links to your site (see Google Webmaster Tools Site Dashboard for lists). Disavow any spam or undesirable links.
#8. Review and Increase your Domain Authority
The more signals you provide on your site that your site is about what you say it is, the more authority you will derive for it. Among the factors you can control is the domain name. With more and more extensions available, it’s much easier to get something specific that once was already bought up.
- Use a simple, topic-specific domain.
- Use topic-specific URLs, not arbitrarily generated URLs
- Use topic-specific file names, graphics names, image names, and navigation titles.
- Your domain authority and the way search engines use DA to rank your site are effected by your domain age (the older the better) and inbound links (the more solid the better).
#9. Try to work on traditional search engine trust signals such as PageRank and MozRank
Page Rank has been desirable for many reasons. Among them is that the more times you earn a top ranking, the more authority it gives you for that topic. Among the things Google looks at to assign ranking are popularity (you met reader needs), links (readers think your content is good), and Web stats (of those who visited, how many stayed and for how long?)
- Work on content that attracts lots of visitors.
- Look for ways that keep visitors on your page and your site.
- Engage on social media for sharing links and encouraging others to do the same.
- Note that page rank is becoming less determinant – Google prefers that you to ignore it, but resistance has been heavy. Mozrank may be more meaningful.
#10. Build up your Author Rank
Author Rank is a developing signal – no one can seem to agree whether is up or down or just sitting around. Google itself says it’s certainly using it in assigning rank to authors of in-depth content, for populating content in Knowledge Graphs and Rich Snippets.
- Keep your content deep and rich in detail. Google is now giving special credit to those authors who write in-depth articles, ranging from 1,200-2,500 words. They’ve initially started this effort for high authority sites. But the more you write on a particular topic, the better chances you have of establishing your authority.
- Write about your special topic(s) across multiple blogs or sites to develop breadth.
- Use schema.org markup to make data easy for access across platforms and formats.
- Use schema.org “article” markup and follow Google webmaster guidelines to help search engines understand your content.
- Use the rel=”author” to link to your Google+ profile as suggested earlier.
- Even if Author Rank develops more fully later, doing these things now will make you readier for it when it is used.
Publishers working with a variety of authors who write on topic and a consistent group of authors who attract readers and work with those authors to promote their content online will build mutual authority for lots of future growth.
What are your thoughts? Have you already used these techniques and seen results? Do you have other tips to share? We’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks.