strategy

7 Ways to Become an “Authority” Site

NOTE: This is a guest post by Troy Broussard. If you signup for his webinar below, I do NOT receive any commission or compensation. Enjoy the article…

One the biggest problems with Internet Marketing is that there are things that sell well and then there are things that are helpful to your business – and they’re not always the same. In fact, many times, the best sellers are some of the worst products.

The reason is very simple, what “sells” is “easy” and so you get hammered with short sited tactic after tactic and are left chasing what you think is a solution only to later learn that it was yesterday’s news and perhaps even hurting your quest to improve your business.

So what’s the difference between a tactic and a strategy?

A strategy is a longterm vision for your business that is solid and is not based upon “here today gone tomorrow approaches” to business growth. Tactics, however, are short term in nature. They may be very effective NOW but they may stop working at any time or lose their effectiveness over time.

Let’s give an example to bring home the point.

When it comes to picking a domain name, many people will use a “tactical” approach selecting a domain name that has their keywords in it since Google has, in the past, allowed EMD’s (exact match domains) a preference in ranking. So, if your primary target keyword was, “low resistance workout” you might ideally try to buy LowResistanceWorkout.com – a logical choice.

The thinking is that this will make it easier for you to rank for your primary keyword and so it’s a wise choice. And, from a tactical standpoint, that is true. However, EMD’s have already begun to lose a lot of their traction and this will likely continue as Google continually refines their algorithm. So, is it really wise to build your business around a “tactic”? (Hint: the correct answer is “no”)

A better choice would be a to pick a name for your site that represents your brand. While in the short-term it might be a tad more difficult to rank for your keywords, the long term strategic benefits for your brand are much more important. Your brand is something you have control over and can continue to build up over time.

By the way, for those of you honor roll types out there, yes, you can do the best of both worlds. In other words, you can build up your main strategic authority site as a branded domain and then, in time, add additional “tactical” feeder websites that are EMD’s targeting your main keywords. That, however, is a bit advanced and is not recommended until you’re making good money with your main authority site and just trying to expand with more traffic. It will cost a bit more to support these multiple sites and build them out, so definitely do NOT go this route until you’re rock solid on your main site first (you’ve been warned).

The Death of Mini-Sites

Another big “tactical” solution in the Internet Marketing space is this notion of creating a 100 mini-sites each making you $20 a month or even just creating 20 niche websites each making you $500 a month. This “mini-site model” has been immensely popular for years, but does it work?

Well, the sub-title kind of gives it away, but “hell no” is the answer and we’re really tired of seeing people fall for this sales pitch, so we want to take this opportunity to officially proclaim the “death” of the mini-site model. As readers of Ryan, we know you like it straight to the point, so that’s what we want to give you!

This model has is still being sold because it paints such an alluring “dream” that people fall for it. The concept is simple. Create a bunch of sites, throw some automated content and special “secret sauce” tools on them and “boom” you’ve got a formula for success you can just stamp out copy after copy of. Yeah, ok.

But here’s the problem. Google HATES these sites, HATES duplicate and spun content and is actively doing everything they can to take down not only these sites and tools but also the SEO tactics that prop them up.

So, what to do instead?

Enter the Age of the Authority Site

Now again, I know you like it straight to the point, so here’s the deal, it’s time to accept the facts that Google is shoving down everyone’s throat. Today it’s all about AUTHORITY.

The top sites in Google in most every niche and sub-niche are AUTHORITY sites. Gone by the wayside are all of these mini-sites and those that are left are on life support.

Google has been gradually shifting it’s favor towards authority sites for the past couple of years, but this year they really have made a pronounced and determined shift and the trend is only going to continue. Becoming an authority in your niche, however, is not as hard as it seems.

What does it mean to be an authority site?

Well, that’s really a bit of a tough question because the fact is there is no “definition” of authority from Google’s standpoint, nor is there some numeric value for authority like there is with PageRank – and that is exactly why it’s going to become even more and more important.

You see when Google.com was first launched, they based their search ranking algorithm around their PageRank formula. If you’re not familiar with PageRank, well, don’t worry, it’s really not that important anymore. But suffice it to say it’s a number from 0 to 10 that denotes the popularity and authority of an individual page on the Internet. You may have heard about a site being a “PR5” site, for example.

If you want to see an example of PageRank goto http://prchecker.info and put in RyanLee.com and you’ll see (at the time of the writing of this post) it is a PR4 site.

So the problem is that because Google publicly disclosed PageRank values and a way to check them, smart SEO gurus figured out a way to manipulate site rankings by using PageRank to their advantage. Google has now done everything they can to reverse that trend and don’t expect them to ever come out with a numeric value to express a site’s AUTHORITY – they’ve seen where that road leads.

7 Killer Tips for Becoming An Authority

  1. Be an authority. Ok, ok, I know that seems like a BS answer, but it’s not. If you want to be an authority site, well you have to act like one. That means having some real content and providing some real value – you can’t do that with 20 posts on your site.
  2. Focus on large quality content. Sorry guys, SIZE MATTERS when it comes to content. LOL – I couldn’t resist! Quit the “minimalist marketing” approach (doing the bare minimum to try and achieve success) and instead do what 85% of your competition is unwilling to do. Create in-depth and quality articles for your site that are engaging and authoritative. Blogger Steven Pavlina is famous for it and we have built a 7 figure business around it as well, frequently writing 3000 word and bigger articles that are engaging and thought provoking. BTW, this article is around 2000 words to give you an idea. Why does matter? Well it shows Google you have something meaningful to say and it attracts tons of great rankings via long tail keyword phrases as well as other seo benefits such as keeping your readers on your site for a long time and giving you lots of content and cross-linking opportunities (all good things).
  3. Publish content frequently. If you want to be seen as an AUTHORITY well then you’ve got to have something to say! If you don’t publish content frequently then it just tells Google (and your readers) that you really don’t have much to contribute and that is the kiss of death. Your readers want to see relevance and expertise and they want to know that they can trust you. That trust is earned and built upon your content, so get in the habit of posting at least a couple times a week. While you don’t have to publish daily or anything, you need to be consistent and not let your site go stale.
  4. Find ways to creatively engage. This is not necessarily the easiest thing to do and you may want to spend some time finding your “angle” but get creative and really engage your readers. Ryan has talked about this before about how you need to entertain your readers – this is what keeps them coming back. Now I’m a former programmer (kind of like saying you’re a “recovering alcoholic” – once a programmer, always a programmer) and a former Nuclear Engineer. So obviously being “creative” is not one of my strong points, but I’ve found that the more I let my readers get to know me and have a little fun, the stronger those bonds become. Recently we introduced a caricature based “brain dump” feature on our site where Mike (my business partner) and I just post short little blurbs about cool stuff we find on the Net – sort of a way for people to get to know us a bit and the response has been very strong, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
  5. Be prolific. This means get your message out on as many channels as possible. This means intelligently repurposing your content and leveraging it. If you do this right, it’s not only easy but can get you 10x the exposure with very little additional time or effort. You can take content in one form (video for example) and then transfer it into various other formats and syndicate it out to numerous platforms for additional branding and lead generation.
  6. Diversify your traffic. Don’t just depend on Google traffic. Diversify your traffic from other sources such as forum traffic, blog commenting, JV partnerships, Facebook traffic, paid traffic sources and don’t forget offline traffic sources like industry events, speaking engagements, magazine articles and ads, and other sources.
  7. Go where your readers are. Now, I’m totally cheating on this one. This is straight out of Ryan’s book for success and he talks about this frequently, but I think it is absolutely critical, so I’m “borrowing” (after all, it’s his site, so not really stealing it – LOL). Find out where your ideal customer is and GO THERE. If that means going offline, then go offline. If it means participating in three big popular forums and establishing your leadership there, then GO THERE. The bottom line is find out where your readers are and get in front of them. Exposure leads to authority.

Wrapping it all up…

Okay, so we’ve talked about “tactics” and “strategy” and differentiated the two – you should be getting on the right path now. Building your authority online is not hard to do, in fact it is easier today than ever as there are more and more channels to market yourself today than there were 5 or 7 years ago.

Now the “pink elephant” in the room has you probably thinking that building an AUTHORITY presence online is “hard” and “will take time”. Well I’m here to tell you that yes, it will take some time, but anything worth achieving will – believing anything else is simply the same as buying fool’s gold. It is not, however, hard to become an authority. You do, however, need a solid blueprint to follow.

Recently Mike and I went back through our first 22 months online when we were able to launch a new business in 2010 and take it to a seven figure business in those first 22 months. We analyzed everything we did – the good, the bad and the ugly (oh yeah, trust me, there was some “ugly” as well). And what came out of that analysis and self-reflection was our flagship product, Building Authority Sites. We’d like to invite you to join us on a special webinar for Ryan Lee’s guests only so that we can present you with that AUTHORITY BLUEPRINT because no matter what your business monetization strategy or niche is, AUTHORITY is where it’s at.

Register for the Building Authority Sites Webinar Here

We will be giving away some cool stuff and even an opportunity for 3 lucky people to attend Ryan’s DCX (where Troy will be speaking) for FREE! So don’t miss this one…

Option #1 – 9/25/2012 @ 3pm EST

Option #2 – 9/25/2012 @ 8pm EST

You can also learn more about Troy at his site TopMarketingStrategies.com


39 thoughts on “7 Ways to Become an “Authority” Site

  1. hey Troy, great post crammed with solid info. Too rare that we really examine and get strategic… and yet, with solid strategy, that guides the tactics and provides framework for everything we do.
    You’re spot on with everything you said here! Thanks for sharing your thoughts today- and since you’re pinch hitting for Ryan, you get his sign off: ROCK ON!!
    -Kevin Chandler

    1. Hey Kevin,

      Here’s a favorite quote of mine that I really should have added to this article:

      “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat” -Sun Tzu

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it!

      -Troy

  2. Yes and Yes again, the age of the slap it up and get traffic is over, You are so right about unique text content and how to develop a good long term business model, that is the key to any successful business.

    1. Hi Tim,

      Thanks for the feedback. I think too many people have made the false association that traffic is only equated to Google – there is sooooo much more out there (especially on the paid traffic front). But even so, SEO traffic always converts better and designing your site with that in mind is always the best strategy. If you’re gonna be online, you might as well try to get the most out of Google you can for sure…

      -Troy

    1. I really don’t see this as an issue Simon. It’s all about defining your niche and carving out a segment of the market place for which you can be that authority. The big niches like health and fitness for example have thousands and thousands of sub-niches and the riches really are in these tight sub-niches. People are very fanatical at the sub-niche level and you can make a great income off of a very small number of “fans”.

      I think it really just comes down to properly “positioning” yourself and your site in the market place. Dan Kennedy is famous for talking about how to write a unique selling proposition that is truly unique to you and no one else.

      Thanks for your feedback!

      -Troy

    1. Awesome Bill – will be glad to have you. And I get the “American overseas” angle – trust me. I’ve spent the past few years in Brazil and actually launched and ran our business from there the past 3 and a half years. I’m currently in Florida but heading back down to Brazil for 10 days tomorrow… :-)

      I haven’t made it to Singapore yet though…

      -Troy

  3. Hey Troy, you called me out on this one. Time to make some big changes in my blog!
    The thing that I really enjoy is how actionable your stategies are! More people need to think with action in mind.

    Great post Troy!

    1. Thanks Baris – glad you liked it… Make sure and join us on one of the two webinars, we’ll have some cool stuff there as well and lots of great content over on my blog…

      Take care!

      -Troy

  4. Hi Ryan/Troy,

    Excellant post, This is what I teach my budding entrepreneurs, to create a long term strategy, develope systems and use tactics from a short term perspective because tactics can be outsmarted and crushed… and they usually are, its just a matter of time!

    See you on the webinar and keep up the good work!

    Best

    Mark B

    1. Thanks Mark – strategy is absolutely critical for sure but too many are focused on short term results and miss out on the big picture.

      Look forward to having you on the webinar. Spread the news – it will be fun and I have some stuff just for Ryan’s group that I’m not doing anywhere else… (can’t ruin the fun though so you have to show up to see…)

      :-)

      -Troy

  5. Hi Troy,

    I hope you’re right about the EMDs. I have a client in the carpet cleaning business and trying to break into that market using SEO is one tough nut to crack. Everyone and their mother has domains like “bestcarpetcleaning.com”, “greencarpetcleaning.com”, etc. Of course, their sites are total crap but for the time being, Google is giving them preference. I am taking your path and I am adding content little by little. (Sorry, I am a designer and know next to nothing about cleaning carpets so I have to research for pages, articles and posts). Sure hope Google appreciates our efforts soon!

    Keith

    1. Hi Keith,

      Well there’s really no doubt on the EMD’s. Here’s an article that talks about the decline of EMDS..

      But more importantly I would advise that you NOT build your entire business model around Google. In fact, I would recommend you build your business as if Google did not exist (almost). I say “almost” because designing your site for the maximum leverage it can get from Google is always smart, but from a business standpoint, I would consider any traffic or sales you get from organic SEO as “gravy” – don’t count on them.

      Oddly enough what you’ll find is that if you follow this approach and begin building traffic outside of Google you’ll actually get rewarded BY GOOGLE and start getting more organic traffic from them as well.

      Hope to see you on one of the two webinars…

      There will be live Q&A on the webinar as well so I can address any other questions you have.

      -Troy

      1. Troy, would you really recommend building an “authority site” for a local carpet cleaning business — or any locally based hands-on service business for that matter?

        It sounds to me like your blueprint is best for the expert/info product business model. Maybe clarify that for people?

        The more I’ve worked on local small business marketing the more I realized that Google is not interested in helping these type of businesses get to the top of search rankings. Yes, I know, there’s the whole Google Places thing, but when you’re in a crowded category — like carpet cleaning — you’re still competing to get your A bubble letter. It’s the Yellow Pages all over again. For many local businesses, the best way to be seen in Google search is to advertise, and I think that is the point.

        If you were Google, wouldn’t you want to make organic search a carrot on the stick that got more local businesses advertising with you instead of the Yellow Pages or local newspapers?

        How about a blueprint for a local small business site (with offsite sales) that actually generates new leads and revenue? Anybody?

        1. Hi Jen,

          Excellent question. My answer is “yes”, I would. Here’s why.

          The fact is that there are obviously different levels of “authority” and you don’t need to go to the same extreme as CNN.com – but even for local businesses they have some pretty steep competition and need to “stand out”. One of the key ingredients in Authority is “freshness” and so creating some weekly content and posting to the site make very good sense.

          A lot of small local businesses feel that they can’t do this – but it’s not true. We have a client that sells “nuts, blots and screws” and yet has an active blog. There is always ways to find related news, events, industry news or other stories to post and doing so once a week (at a minimum) is just smart business.

          The other reason Jen is that you’ll pick up more long tail traffic from this additional content that you would not get with just a small local presence “mini site” model. Please remember that “content” is very generic – could be audio, videos, etc… don’t just limit yourself to thinking textual content, though, textual is very important as it is most easily processed by the search engines.

          Another very critical approach for small businesses can be automated webinars that inform their potential clients of their services, etc… this is something that is not being utilized by the vast majority of small businesses and can be very powerful to “differentiate” them in a crowded marketplace.

          Lastly, yes, you point out something VERY CRITICAL that everyone needs to understand.

          GOOGLE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND AND THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.

          Sorry to say, but Google care about GOOGLE. That’s the bottom line. If you doubt it, take a look at search results on a tablet, android, iphone or ipad – some of them do not even have a single organic listing until you “scroll” – the page is crowded with Google.

          This is why we teach you in our training to build your authority as if Google didn’t exist (though catered to it at the same time). You want to get the most from Google you can, but you don’t want to DEPEND on it.

          Hope that helps!

          Make sure to join us on the webinar and there will be live Q&A afterwards that I can help you further.

          -Troy

  6. Your column today is as clear as it can get and solid as a block of ice, thank you.

    Here’s a quibble. I make it for a larger purpose, which is make everything you write, especially a call to action, as easy for your readers as possible.

    When you listed your choice of webinars as:

    Option #1 – 9/25/2012 @ 3pm EST

    Option #2 – 9/25/2012 @ 8pm EST

    Leaving out the day of the webinar has be going to my calendar to find that it’s on Tuesday. Of course, it only takes me a moment. However, had you put “Tuesday” in your dates, I instantly know to sign up for the 8pm slot because I have a client every Tuesday at 3pm.

    Then I had to take the extra time to write this silly thing. LOL – But it’s just an example of how we can look for things in our communications to make it easy for our readers.

    I look forward to your webinar!

  7. Great to read such an interesting post and something my partner and I were talking about just a few hours earlier.
    Becoming more focused as an authority is the key to successful marketing in 2012 onwards.

    1. Timing is everything… :-)

      Glad you liked it Wilson. Hope to see you on one of the two webinars (you or your partner) and we can go into any questions you might have.

      Take care!

      -Troy

  8. Hi Troy, great to see you here giving excellent advice just as you do for the ‘Flyers’.

    You mention taking 2-3 days on a monthly mega post, what’s your experience with content theft when we know there’s plenty of people out there who are too lazy to write 100 words let alone 3000 and would use your hard work without a thought?

    Moelwyn.

    1. Hi Moelwyn,

      Thanks for the kind words. Content theft is just part of the deal and there’s not a ton you can do about it. But Google’s AuthorRank has really helped with that. Essentially you link your Google + account to your blog content and “verify” that it’s yours. This establishes the ownership of the content. There’s a free plugin called Authorsure than can help with that and I know the programmer, Russell Jamieson, very well – he’s a good guy.

      Don’t let fear of content theft paralyze you. There will always be things like this out there, but you can’t let them control your progress…

      Hope to see you on one of the webinars…

      Take care!

      -Troy

  9. Troy, A lot of people talk about the difference between tactics and strategy but you made the distinction a lot clearer than anyone else. Look forward to your webinar.

    One more thing. What if you already have an EMD?

    1. Hi James,

      Yeah, really understanding the difference is the key. Many times people think they are working strategically and it is only a “tactic in camouflage”… :-)

      If you already have an EMD, well, it just depends where along the process you are. I’m a big fan of efficiency. If you personal brand is really what you should be doing and your EMD is “new” and not much traction yet, well, then I’d probably switch. But, if your EMD is established and you have real revenue coming in from that already, then you have to be prudent. In that case, I’d start a 2nd site with my long term branding and build it in parallel as best as your budget can afford.

      So there’s no clear answer, but hopefully that gives you some guidance and parameters to work within…

      See you Tuesday!

      -Troy

  10. I’ve been spending a lot of time and resources in video marketing. Getting ranked higher on Youtube with links back to my sites in the description seems to be helping with organic Google rankings anyway. Just wanted to hammer home your comments on looking at other ways to generate traffic that aren’t just the typical SEO efforts to get ranked on Google. People should remember that Youtube is the #2 search engine and I believe over time that video content may even rank higher as “authority” content in organic google results.

    Nice article by the way!

    Kris

    1. Hi Kris,

      Yes, well said. Keep in mind, if you then take that video and then wrap it with a blog post as well you get a bit of a double whammy. Your blog post will likely rank quicker and easier as well from the authority of the video and your youtube channel. So you can get traffic from the video directly as well as the blog post…

      :-)

  11. Troy – man, that’s a jam packed post. The “pink elephant” is great! As the internet continues to evolve, transparency is no longer an option, but a part of playing the game. With that said, people that are worried about creating expert products and becoming an “authority” due to the difficulty involved probably aren’t going to survive anyway. The truth is, the passionate people with great things to share and a willingness to share it will win.

    Great read.

    Steve

  12. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. It cleared all the confusion in my mind related to Authority sites. I already have a micro niche site that is generating a pretty decent income and planning to launch other one. But, after reading this article, I guess I will have to rework on my strategy.

    BTW, would you recommend me to make a blog on multiple categories ranging from health, to SEO to food to science to entertainment to business and each post to have some in depth content. Would it be wise decision to make such a site involving so many categories and niches?

    Please reply.

  13. Well, I think picking the right domain name is very important if you want to get serious about become an authority site. Also, you must have great content or a very active member base. It’s human nature to join the crowd so keep the eyeballs on your site and you will be in good shape.

  14. I find this to be very useful information. Great to see someone putting something like this up.
    Getting targeted for your keyword from a large range of different IPs also helps Google think a website has importance.

  15. I have read your article and I am going to implement some the tactics that you have put up here.
    I feel all the best domain names are taken these days.

  16. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m
    impressed! Extremely helpful info specially the ultimate part :) I handle such info much.
    I used to be seeking this particular info for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

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