• Scott Herring

SEO 101: Building Kicka$$ Authority for Your Blog

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series

Ah... The promise of Google search is to put the world at your fingertips. I confess that I was a very early Google user -- as an early website developer (web 1.0), we were tasked with making sure client websites were searchable on a wide variety of search engines: AltaVista, Excite, Yahoo, Lycos, AskJeeves... Yes, search before Google was hugely fragmented, and the results were suspect at best. More accurately, it was absolutely frustrating because of the spam. So Google's algorithm changed the game by using web crawling with a new emphasis on content and connection. That is, what was within your site, not including stuffed keywords, with what sites you were connected to, determined your ranking. Over the years, Google's algorithm has matured, but some of those original tenets still drive results. The secret formula is built on "authority", meaning your page or site's relevance in that search term's sphere. Before we dive into the nuts & bolts of search engine optimization techniques, we'll look at the overall approach to building authority for your blog. Using the model embodied within SEO experts Moz.com's tools, we'll start by discussing two interconnected kinds of authority: page authority and domain authority.

What Authority Means

When you search, the "best" result should come first. You want your question answered correctly by the best source of information. Contrasting that with the old days, we used to search and have to hit the back button a dozen times before finding the right answer. The flaw of older search engines was they didn't know who to trust - they simply relied on site owners to add HTML data into their pages to instruct them. And there were lots of, shall we say, less than truthful owners... So authority means you are more likely to find what you seek.

MozBar shows Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) for search results.
MozBar shows Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) for search results.

Page Authority

If you search for a specific topic, you'll get a specific page or blog post. For example, if you search for "building authority for a blog", Renegade Blogger's goal is for this post to answer your question better than other sites. We're including words and keywords that aspire to help you understand what authority is and why you should care. We want this page to be one you bookmark, revisit, share and link to from your own blog. That is, you trust this post, like what we said, and indicate to others that they can trust it too.

Domain Authority

If you search for a broader topic, you'll see a host of familiar names at the top of the results. "Term life insurance" will return insurance carriers like AIG, State Farm, Farmers and Metlife. "iPhone" will return results for Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, and mobile carriers. Each of these companies, by virtue of having large audiences, already have authority in their line of business, or domain. They get tons of traffic, which is an indicator that they're important in their domain. Facebook, for example, has high authority in social media. Google, unsurprisingly, has high authority in a number of categories (not to mention they can alter results to point to their content first, but that's a different story).

Building Authority

Since you're reading this post, chances are good you aren't working at Google or Facebook trying to build your authority. Most likely, you're a new, aspiring blogger looking to make your mark. The bad news first: both your page and domain authority are probably nil. The good news: you can build it. Note, if you're adding a blog to a company site that already has decent traffic, you're ahead of someone who's starting out from scratch.

Moz.com scores page authority and domain authority on scales of 0 to 100. If you're starting from zero, the key is to build up your traffic post by post. It's like building a house, brick by brick. To develop aggregate page authority, you also need to put one brick next to or on top of another. Here at Renegade Blogger, we write about building blogs to make money. That's our domain. Each post contributes to that overall domain authority. Creating more individual pages (posts) with authority adds more domain authority.

So now you should be familiar with the basics of building authority, which reflects your page or site's relevance in search. We'll talk about the ways to build page authority in Part 2 and domain authority in Part 3 of the series.

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