In every niche, there are several major brands in the know. Think iPhone, Chanel or Nike—everyone knows what kind of goods they are selling and what reputation comes with along the brand. In other words, these brands have certain “authority” that helps them consistently improve their sales and grow their reach even further.
In the online realm, authority is a major business-growing factor as well. When people look for information, they want to get the most authoritative answer, which would come from the most authoritative source. And that’s what Google strives to provide.
How Search Engines Evaluate Online Authority
Google’s algorithm function in mysterious ways as the company does not fully disclose what impacts their judgements. In fact, the search engine is said to rely on some 100 different factors when evaluating the authority and relevance of different web pages and determining their rankings.
However, all of these ranking factors can be boiled down into two categories:
- Content (relevance).
- Links (external citation authority).
These are the two main facets you should optimize to extend your reach online.
How to Improve Your Brand’s Authority and Grow Your Blog Biz
Google has a 164-page document called the Search Quality Rating Guidelines. It’s a checklist human evaluators use to evaluate online content and give feedback to Google so that they can improve their algorithms further.
We already did the reading part for you, and summarizing the essential optimization tips below, geared at improving your brand’s visibility.
Focus on E-A-T
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust – the three main qualities Google expects to see in websites that are ranking at the top of the search results.
There are several ways to grow your E-A-T muscle and show Google that you are a popular, trustworthy publisher:
- Update your About page, arguably the most important page on your blog. It should clearly display the reasons why you are known as an authority in your niche. Place some accolades on display – press mentions, collaborations with well-known brands etc.
- Grow your author E-A-T. Be sure to have a prominent bio section, highlighting you as an author. If you have multiple authors on the website, create separate bios for every one of them. Additionally, work on getting published/mentioned outside of your blog to gain that extra credibility boost, plus some SEO benefits.
Optimize Your Internal Link Structure
As we mentioned before, Google may have a hard time determining what’s your website is all about when you don’t have proper navigation and organizational structure in place. To improve your website’s relevance, create a clear taxonomy that will categorize different entries into sub-groups and build pillar posts for those categories.
Finally, do interlink your blog posts in the same category to increase pages per session number, and provide Google with another cue about your posts relevance to one another.
Improve Your Bounce Rate
High bounce rate signifies to Google that your website isn’t really interesting or relevant to visitors. So the search engine decides not to rank it as high.
Use Google Analytics Benchmarking tool to compare yourself against other publishers in your industry and pinpoint the areas for improvements that would help you attract more returning readers to your blog.
Work on Acquiring Better Links
Links are the second major factor that impacts your website’s authority. If you have already learned a thing or two about SEO, you know that there are many different link building strategies out there. Quick warning though: some of them may be unethical and can harm your blog more than help. Think buying link (as bad as buying followers); posting spammy comments/entries on forums or other websites en masse and so on. These are huge no-nos!
So what are the good ways of acquiring links then?
Publish expert and engaging content. A lot of people don’t mind sharing and linking out to great content they have found online – a useful how-to; a yummy recipe and so on. Start creating more in-depth and research-backed content types that may attract some media attention to your blog and earn you organic links.
Build trust and nurture relationships with others. When people don’t trust you, or they don’t know you at all, they will be reluctant to link out to your website and engage with your brand. Hence, focus on supporting others at first, and most will surely reciprocate:
- Help others on social media and promote their content
- Engage with other influencers and publishers in your niche, not just brands
- Always respond to comments published on social media and on your posts
- Join online communities and/or attend local events and offer your advice.
Strive to get your name out there more often. The improved visibility will ultimately lead to more traffic, more interesting collaboration opportunities and sponsorship deals!