Some websites carry more authority than others. When it comes to medical issues, the Mayo Clinic’s website is much more authoritative than some random person’s blog. Major news outlets carry more weight than websites run by a single person.
When it comes to search results, Google tends to favor high-authority websites. In Google’s mind, these sites are the most trustworthy sources of information.
What makes a site authoritative? While Google doesn’t have a specific list of things, there seem to be a few commonly agreed-upon things.
The first key to authority is backlinks.
Sites with a lot of backlinks from a variety of sources are considered to have more authority than sites with a limited number of backlinks. We’ve already talked about backlinks quite a bit, so we won’t go into it any further here.
Another key to authority is topical expertise. Google knows that no one can be an expert in everything. They prefer sites that focus on being an authority in one particular area.
In their SEO Starter Kit, they say:
A site with a good reputation is trustworthy. Cultivate a reputation for expertise and trustworthiness in a specific area…Expertise and authoritativeness of a site increase its quality. Be sure that content on your site is created or edited by people with expertise in the topic. For example, providing expert or experienced sources can help users understand the articles’ expertise. Representing well-established consensus in pages on scientific topics is a good practice if such consensus exists.
If you want your pages to rank in the search results, focus on developing and demonstrating your expertise in a particular area. Avoid trying to cover too many different subjects. Focus on developing the best content in your niche.
For example, instead of focusing on the incredibly broad subject of technology, focus on one element of tech, like smartphones.
Building the authority of a website is all about momentum. The more extremely authoritative content you create, the more backlinks you’ll attract. More backlinks result in your site being more authoritative. Once you get things rolling, it becomes easier to establish your authority.