Anyone can publish a website and write blogs. However, Google's success relies on delivering relevant, accurate content to the end-user. They want to filter out misleading and poorly written sites and prioritize quality information. For this reason, they continually develop their process of filtering for trustworthy and authoritative websites. Positioning your website as an online authority paves the foundation for online visibility and search engine ranking.
Organic search results can yield a steady stream of traffic. Shoppers trust the top organic results more than the paid ads above them. Seventy to 80 percent of users skip the ads on the search engine results page (SERP). The top three first page organic results get CTRs of around twenty-eight percent, fifteen percent, and eleven percent, respectively.
At an average of four percent CTR, paid ads work (Your average CTR should be closer to 11-12%) because you can guarantee placement while organic results take time and consistent effort . However, it becomes difficult to compete with eleven to twenty-eight percent of the e-commerce traffic that goes to the first three results.
There are many ways to bring customers to your website or into your brick-and-mortar business, but with increasing numbers of buyers researching and shopping online, building online trust and authority represents a cornerstone of any effective SEO strategy.
In the digital world, you build credibility and establish your expertise for two audiences: search engines and people. Old practices like keyword stuffing try to fool search engines into promoting your page, but they don't work anymore. Establishing your online authority means providing valuable content and satisfying both audiences.
You may have been in business for decades and have a loyal offline following. Your customers know and trust your expertise. That is great! However, search engines don't know how the locals in your area trust you nor reveal your decades-worth of business experience. You have to show and tell them in formats they understand.
Consider six ways to demonstrate your experience, authority, and trustworthiness to search engines:
Publish authoritative, well-researched content in plain language regularly. Content demonstrates your expertise and helps you rank with search engines. Google prioritizes content that benefits people's lives. To build authority with your content, make sure of the following:
- Unique content
- Benefits the Reader (value first, sales offer second)
- Formatted for SEO (short paragraphs, H1, H2, H3)
- Updated frequently — consistent new high-quality posts
- Links provided to other authoritative websites
Case studies, an in-depth answer to a FAQ, how-to articles, and product comparisons all make outstanding blog topics. Most blogs should be evergreen content that will be as useful to your customers in a couple of years as it may be today. However, don't let old, unproductive content languish. Repurpose old content into fresh blogs. Keeping earlier blogs optimized and updated refreshes them for search engines and readers.
2. Author Bios
Who are the experts on your website? Provide author bios with links to evidence of your expert's knowledge and experience online and offline. Even if professionals ghostwrite your content, use author bios to promote the experts in your company.
In the author bios section on your website, include links to the expert's LinkedIn profiles, other professional websites, industry affiliations and memberships, awards, any published books, videos of speeches, or articles published on external websites — anything that demonstrates their expertise.
For SEO purposes, consider three types of links:
- Internal links
- External links
Internal links lead to another page of your website. It allows you to show the search engines your core content pages and the links to your most important pages and most often used blogs. Internal links also increase the time a user spends on the site by leading them to other pages that might interest them.
External links lead to a different website. They have little influence on SEO ranking but can lead to valuable backlinks. When you link to an external website, choose carefully. Higher authority established sites already have organic traffic and will reflect better on your content.
Backlinks take a person from an external website back to yours. In terms of SEO, they represent the most valuable links — especially when they come from trustworthy, popular, and high-authority websites.
4. Contribute as a Guest Blogger
Guest blogging represents a fantastic way to get your name and message out. It expands your reach and puts you in front of a new audience. Each guest blog also contains backlinks to build your SEO.
SEO focuses on providing value, and guest blogging bears no exception. Have your marketing team seek out leading industry websites or associations. Make sure they get to know the website's style and the content they offer. Then, have them introduce your company and offer a topic the audience will value.
5. Stay in Front of Your Audience on Social Media
Worldwide, internet users spend an average of 144 minutes a day on social media, and that number has steadily climbed since 2012. A strong and organic social media following creates an online community 'feel' that brings new clients and raises awareness.
Like content, social media requires consistent posting. Engaging the audience means having one or more team members dedicated to responding to comments and queries as they are submitted.
Social media has a world of influencers that can expose your posts to new audiences.
6. Make Reviews Easy for Happy Customers
Positive reviews and testimonials influence buyers more than your sales message. A study from Northwestern University showed a product with five reviews to have a 270 percent greater closing rate than products with zero reviews.
You can ask for reviews, send customers links, and even incentivize positive reviews. Many happy customers enjoy being part of your success and sharing their experiences.
Create opportunities for your customers to give you feedback on your website, social media, and listing sites.
All of the SEO tips listed above also develop your customer relationships and build authority with readers as well as with search engines. However, consider three additional ways to establish your experience, authority, and trustworthiness with people.
7. Share Your Community Involvement and Activism
With ads coming out of every device and every direction in the real world, people long for companies that stand for something. Seventy-one percent of shoppers prefer buying from brands that reflect their values.
Videos, social media posts, and email campaigns all create opportunities to share how your company supports the community or causes — even if just a charity softball team. You build authority as a community leader and increase customer loyalty simultaneously.
8. Be a Subject-Matter Expert
While customers appreciate an occasional look behind-the-scenes, most of your digital posts and content should be relevant to your business. Take the opportunity to provide value to new and existing customers, expand awareness, and show off your expertise.
Any well-written topic related to your business and that your customers will appreciate will add to your online authority. Putting data in a context that makes it easy to understand represents an effective way to demonstrate your expertise. Readers appreciate the insight and may understand it well enough to explain it to their friends.
9. Podcast, Livestream, Video
A podcast, live-streaming, and video can be done separately or as part of content repurposing. Not every customer likes to read. Some prefer to hear new information, and others prefer videos. A variety of formats helps you engage as an expert with a bigger audience.
Several social media platforms promote live-streaming options including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Live-streaming puts you in front of a live audience and allows for a direct interaction — rarely available in marketing.
One or several livestreams can be edited into a video and a podcast.
As you build your online authority with valuable content regularly shared on multiple channels, you'll want to know the results.
Your website's search visibility reveals the number of clicks your website gets from all its organic ranking positions for all keywords. You can track your organic search visibility using a tool like Ahrefs.
You can use this score to track your search engine visibility progress. You can also compare your site's visibility by location and with different competitors.
If you don't share what you know, your competitors will. Quality content establishes your authority with both search engines and customers. It puts you in front of shoppers from the start of their research process until the moment they are ready to buy.
Establishing your authority online brings multiple benefits. It can increase your rank for individual website pages, expand brand awareness, build social proof, and increase sales.
At J&L Marketing, we manage your online and offline paid marketing needs. Consider how we increased sales 30% and for a client and helped them shatter their previous sales record.
Continue to be experts in your industry. We bring our digital marketing experience to propel your business.