Any website owner would like their work to be considered authoritative. Such sites are trusted by both users and search engines, rank higher in search results, and generally bring more profit to an online business model.
But to score high in credibility, you need to put in a lot of time and effort. It isn’t impossible, though and, with that in mind, we’ve created this article to help you build a successful authority site.
In this guide, we’ll share tips on how to create an authority site and improving your site’s authority score. Additionally, we’ll answer the most common questions related to the topic and recommend the best platforms to order a pre-made or custom site. Read on to find out how to rank high on search engines with a site that is credible and valuable.
What is an Authority Site?
An authority site model is a high-quality site established and respected by other authorities within the industry.
Users are more willing to return, share information found on such sites, or purchase something recommended by them. Such sites can become very profitable and may bring you stable passive income, but they aren’t easy to build. But if you wish to earn from an authority site model, your focus should be qualitative content rather than money.
Authority sites may be both information and commerce-centered. For instance, say your niche is technology. You can write blog-style articles about choosing the right software or create affiliate posts with specific product recommendations.
Your site may be considered authoritative regardless of the model you use. Search engines use specific metrics to analyze whether a site is authoritative.
How to Create an Authority Site?
Now that you know what an authority site model is, it’s time to move straight to the main point – creating the site. Authority sites don’t all have the same niche, structure, or monetization model. Thus, instead of listing instructional steps on building a site, we’ll focus on what makes a site authoritative.
The Age of Your Site
Sites don’t become authoritative from the first day. You need to be patient, as the age of your site affects its search engine trust rating. It isn’t the most critical metric, but it does make a difference. Search engines need time to analyze all the factors that affect the score.
An established site is more likely to have enough qualitative content, regular visitors, and links. Focus on long-term success, make great content, and stick to your strategy.
The Value of Your Content
The core objective of authority sites is qualitative content. Of course, Google doesn’t read through your articles evaluating your writing style. But it does analyze your organic traffic, how long people stay on your site, how often they click on your affiliate links and share your posts. And all of this depends on how valuable and trustworthy your content is.
The key is to make people stop on your page, return, and mention your site in other sources. Don’t create a site solely to join affiliate programs – people will notice this and are unlikely to trust such a site.
Keep a balance between informational and commercial posts if you choose affiliate programs as your source of income. If your site is solely informative, select a niche with which you’re familiar. Users will quickly determine whether you’re an expert or have no idea what you’re talking about. You can also hire professionals to help you create qualitative content.
The User-Friendliness of Your Site
This factor is essential both for search engines and your site visitors. Good user experience and user interface encourage people to stay on your site and helps to process information. User experience analysis allows you to easily track site visitor behavior. You can see where they click the most, which buttons are hard to find, and then edit your site to be more user-friendly.
As for the content, the main point is to make your articles easy to read. Choose words easily understood by the public and create short, easily digestible paragraphs. Medium-length articles are best for authority sites, as they can fit more information but not bore the reader.
Ideally, your word count should be about 2,000-4,500 words. Pay attention to your grammar. User-friendliness also includes mobile responsiveness. Don’t incorporate flashy adverts or overall style. Pages that aren’t optimized for different devices don’t rank high in Google.
SEO optimization affects your site’s organic search traffic, which is crucial for a high credibillity score. It includes your choice of keywords, how optimized your permalinks, descriptions, and media files are, and much more.
Relevant keywords in the domain name, title tag, page URL, and meta descriptions positively impact your site’s authoritativeness. The frequency of content updates may also affect page ranking in search engines, so you should post consistently and update old articles regularly to keep them high-ranked.
Domain history is something your site visitors may not know about, but search engines do. If you purchase a pre-made site that’s already established, check the domain history. You should be aware of previous penalties, how often ownership of the site has changed, and when the domain expires.
If it expires soon, your site may rank lower in authority score. This happens because valuable domains generally get paid for years in advance, while invaluable ones may only be used for several months. If a domain has been penalized even once, the penalty might be carried over to the new owner. A great tool to check a domain authority rank before buying it is Moz Explorer.
For search engines, the backend of your site is just as important, if not more, as the front end. Your site needs to be protected with HTTPS protocol. Ensure that you have a sitemap, proper Terms of Service and Privacy Agreement, breadcrumb navigation, and other technical points in order.
The speed of your site is also essential. Depending on the location of your server, your site may rank better or worse in certain countries. To sum it up, your site needs to be safe, fast, and follow online legislation. We highly suggest hiring a professional to take care of the technical part.
Your site needs to be mentioned by other authoritative sources and on social media. Authoritative sites are generally older and have a high trust score. The more backlinks that lead to your site, the better it will score in authoritativeness.
The links are counted per page rather than per domain. Thus, partnering with other authority sites with relevant content to regularly mention each other’s domains may be a good idea. However, too many incoming links from a single domain may be considered spammy.
Links from direct competitor pages are more valuable than from unrelated sources. Embedded backlinks also have a more powerful impact on ranking results than links posted without connection to the text.
The placement of a link is not as crucial, but it’s better if it appears at the beginning of an article. The age of a link and user reaction to it affects site authoritativeness, too. If people aren’t following it, search engines may determine that your site is losing popularity.
Although the number of incoming links is important, so is their quality. If your site gets mentioned by low-quality domains, your ranking may worsen. For this reason, you should monitor all backlinks leading to your site and check the trust rating of those domains. If a domain authority rank is low, you should mark such a link as “no follow” or ask site owners to remove it.
Conversely, the backlinks embedded on your site are also important. Mention other authority sources regularly, but don’t keep mentioning only one domain. Otherwise, Google may view your site as spammy.
Read this section to find out more about how authority sites work.
How to Do Keyword Research for Authority and Affiliate Sites?
Researching keywords for authority sites isn’t much different than doing the same thing for other site types. The first thing you need to consider is the user intent.
Consider how exactly people would search for information or products on your site. For example, users are unlikely to search for “Aglais Urticae phone case,” as this query is too specific. Even if you know for sure that the phone case on your page features this type of butterfly, most users will search for a “butterfly phone case” instead.
On the other hand, if you’re listing cheap hotels in Florida, use “cheap hotels Florida” instead of only “cheap hotels.” If your site has affiliate links, use commercial intent keywords to attract those users willing to buy something rather than those just looking for information. To find the right keywords, you should think like your site visitors.
Your keywords should also be relevant. People won’t stay on your site if they came searching for a specific thing and got misled. Another key is not to overuse the same keywords. Google’s algorithm may consider such keywords spammy and penalize your site.
Two more points to keep in mind when selecting keywords are competition and trendiness. Ideally, your keywords should be searched for often but not have too much competition. The same item should be described using different words, and keyword research tools can help you find the right ones.
One of the best free tools is Google Keyword Planner. To use it, you need a Google Ads account. Here, you can see average keyword searches per month, trend graphs, competition, and more. As for more advanced software, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer is the ultimate keyword research and SEO analysis tool.
How Do You Create Epic Content for Your Authority Site?
What truly makes content epic is its quality. Even if you view your authority site solely as a source of income, you should keep a balance between commercial and informational content. Don’t turn your site into an advert page consisting only of Amazon links.
Your core objective is to make people stop to read your content and return later, and ideally even share it with others. Thus, provide your readers useful, valuable information apart from merely suggesting products. Feature evergreen and relevant content to trendy topics for your site to stay relevant. Your writing style and text formatting are important, too. Your texts should be understandable for the public, without overly long paragraphs. Avoid articles that are too short or too long – the best article length is roughly 2,000 words.
Who Decides Which Sites Have Authority?
The answer to this question is straightforward – search engines. Some may think that the credibility of a website depends on how trustworthy its visitors believe the information on the site is. But this factor can’t be calculated and has nothing to do with site authority from the search engine perspective.
Search engines have specific algorithms to determine which site can be considered trusted. The main factors are the number of links on a website, their quality, and how old a site is.
Usually, the more established a site is, the more trustworthy it’s considered by search engines. The more links to other sources your site contains, the higher is the authority rank. The sources must be credible, though.
For this reason, affiliate sites rank so high in search results. However, it isn’t always that simple. Plenty of other factors can affect your credibility score, including your domain expiry date and history, whether the owner information is public, keywords used in the domain name, or whether you got penalties previously.
How Can I Improve My Own Site’s Authority?
Your site’s authority is mainly calculated based on the following metrics:
- The number and quality of incoming links mentioning your site, including social media mentions
- The number and quality of outgoing links
- The overall quality of your site and content
- Your SEO performance
Now, let’s look at how to improve your site’s authority rank in detail:
Improve Your Link Profile, Also Called Your Off-Page SEO
Your site should be mentioned by high authority sites that are relevant to your site. To gain good incoming links, you need to publish content worth sharing – that’s pretty much the only way. Remember that social media mentions also matter. It’s also vital for your site to not be mentioned in “bad” links.
In other words, it’s better if your site only has five high-quality incoming links than 10 good and five bad links. To identify such links, you can use Moz Explorer. Then, once bad links are identified, contact site owners and ask them to delete the link or add a “no follow” tag.
Gaining Good Outgoing Links is Easier
Try to only mention other authoritative sites – to check their credibility score, you can also use Moz Explorer. Try not to appear spammy, though.
In the case of Google algorithms, the quality of your site is merely related to the technical part than to the style of your writing or how much of an expert you are.
Ensure your site is responsive to mobile devices, improve your page speed, and ensure your domain is secure. It’s also crucial to keep your content up to date – post consistently.
SEO – Both On-Page and Technical
For the on-page SEO, optimize your titles, descriptions, permalinks, and media elements, add internal links and use keywords and headings correctly. Effective keywords should be relevant and trending and shouldn’t be spammy. Otherwise, your site may even be penalized.
To improve the technical SEO, you can register your site with Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster, optimize your XML map, and submit it to Google. Make sure your site holds an HTTPS protocol and pay attention to the breadcrumb menu.
Is a Niche Site More Likely to Get Penalized or Deindexed Than an Authority Site?
The short answer is “yes.” Google changes ranking algorithms quite often, and some of those updates can easily crash niche sites.
For example, after a series of “Penguin” updates back in 2013-2016, many niche sites were reportedly penalized, and their profits fell significantly. The issue here lies in the fact that niche sites aren’t considered authoritative by Google and may even be defined as spammy or low quality.
Google analyzes the quantity and quality of outgoing links on a site and other factors to calculate how trusted it is. For instance, niche sites may include links to other small, niche websites that are not yet established as authority sites. However, Google may consider such links of low quality and penalize the site.
The Google update was also aimed at detecting spammy use of keywords. Niche websites may frequently use specific keywords, and in some cases, sites were penalized for this.
Although Google algorithms have since received more updates, “Penguin” still affects it. Overall, creating a niche site is quite risky if your main goal is to run an online business.
Why Does Google Like Authority Sites?
The answer lies in Google ranking algorithms. Of course, Google doesn’t “like” sites due to a specific type of site or content published, but instead based on SEO factors.
Numerous marketing studies have shown that Google considers sites that include links to credible sources that have been in operation for a lengthy period have good domain history, and use relevant keywords as credible. That’s just a small percentage of all factors affecting the credibility score.
But the main point here is that the higher a site’s authority score, the higher it ranks in search results. In other words, a site’s authority score is directly related to its SEO.
Now that you know how authority websites work, you can start bringing your site ideas to life. In this section, you’ll find the best platforms to help you with it.
Buy a Website
If you’re unsure about the niche and content for your authority site, you can buy a pre-made one. This option is great if you want to start gaining profit from the very first day.
Such websites are usually well-designed, already have regular visitors, and everything is set up – no or very little work is needed from your end. Below, you’ll find the best website trading platforms.
Flippa is a popular website trading platform with thousands of active listings. Anyone can post a site they made on Flippa, so you can find options as cheap as $10, up to millions of dollars. Some listings are on auction – you have a chance to catch an excellent site for a low price if you’re lucky enough.
Every listing includes a detailed site description and revenue estimate, but you need to sign up to view it. Apart from site trading, Flippa offers a funding program for those starting out, an online business valuation tool, and personal consultations to help you find the best suitable option.
Human Proof Designs
At Human Proof Designs, you will find a selection of pre-made sites of different types, including authority sites with a large audience. To view sites from the catalog, you need to register, which is entirely free.
Apart from a detailed description, you can view in-depth analytics such as organic traffic, average clicks, average purchase rate (where applicable,) commission rate, ad revenue and estimated monthly revenue, and more. The website pricing ranges significantly depending on the traffic, type of site, and other factors.
Additionally, on the Human Proof Designs page, you will find descriptions, as well as the pros and cons of different website types. If you’re unsure of which pre-built affiliate site is the best fit for you, you can schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of the Human Proof Designs members.
FE International is one of the biggest platforms to buy and sell websites. As anyone can post a listing on the platform, you can find both relatively affordable sites and enterprise-level options with millions in yearly revenue. Generally, the sites offered by FE International are costlier than those you can find at Human Proof Designs, though. Each listing includes detailed information, but you can request more by filling out a form. The catalog is constantly updated, so if you didn’t find the perfect authority site from the first viewing, you could sign up for updates.
Build a Website
This option is better suited for you if you have a specific idea and don’t want to buy a ready-made site. Today, plenty of website-building platforms feature beginner-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces. But if you don’t have any experience in website building and want your site to look professional, you may trust its development to experts.
Human Proof Designs
Human Proof Designs doesn’t only trade pre-made sites – they can help you launch a custom site of any type. Before ordering, you can request a personal consultation to discuss your ideas, options, and pricing.
Human Proof Designs developers will build a site for you, create quality content, and set up SEO tools that are especially important for authority sites. Sites are created using WordPress, Astra theme, and Elementor, with additional premium plugins.
Thus, you can quickly learn how to manage your site on your own – no coding knowledge is needed. When ordering a site at Human Proof Designs, you also get comprehensive training on running your site and ongoing customer support.
The site-creating process is relatively straightforward. First, you need to team up with the Human Proof Designs research team to find the most suitable niche for your authority site. “Suitable” is a niche that both interests you and brings you profit, possibly even passive income.
Once the niche is agreed on, the HPD team will research trending and relevant keywords to help your site rank higher in search results. After picking the best keywords, HPD experts will create content for you (based on the results) that is qualitative and SEO optimized.
Finally, the HPD team will create a premium design for your site and integrate the necessary tools, such as affiliate link plugins. The entire site-building process takes about a month.
There’s no easy way to create an authority site. You need to be patient and have a reasonable understanding of search engine algorithms and technical factors.
Furthermore, the work doesn’t stop once the site is launched – you need to improve your credibility score continuously.
Thankfully, these days, finding an expert to help you with the backend work, UX and UI design, and qualitative content is easy. Professionals at Human Proof Designs can do most of the work for you, as well as teach you how to run your new site on your own.