Brand authority refers to a business’s reputation as a trustworthy leader within an specific industry. While this is partly earned through a community’s engagement with your brand, you can still boost your authority through a comprehensive content strategy and inbound link building.
SEO experts constantly herald the benefits of establishing domain and brand authority. It’s arguably one of the most important parts of optimizing your website to improve your search engine ranking and gain your consumers’ trust. The question is, what exactly does “authority” mean in this context?
In this post, we want to break down what SEO experts mean when they talk about “authority.” Additionally, we’ll take a step beyond defining the term and talk about how you can incorporate it into your own website and brand.
What Does “Authority” Mean?
Brand authority can be a difficult term to pin down. It’s been thrown around by so many bloggers and industry leaders as a buzz word that its meaning is now shrouded in confusion. However, there are a few key ideas that everyone can pretty much agree on.
The concept of brand “authority” refers to the factors that make you an expert in a certain industry. Whether you’re running e-commerce platforms that sell niche products or writing a medical blog, you need to have the reputation to back up your website.
When a person discusses the process of “building authority,” what they really mean is hanging your credentials on the web for all to see.
Why Is Brand Authority So Valuable?
Brand authority gives consumers a firm reason to trust you and your company. Without trust, you’ll certainly struggle to find a foothold in your industry. Although authority can take months—or even years—to build, it’s essential for a business to be taken seriously.
The difficult part about establishing authority is that it’s not actually something you can give yourself. Authority is determined by your followers and other big names in your respective industry.
As your website grows and you create new products and content, you can start to give people more reasons to trust your brand. The more people respect your ideas and knowledge, the more domain authority you will earn.
How to Build Strong Authority
While you can’t establish authority entirely on your own, there are ways you can quickly garner trust from followers and industry partners. Here are the first three steps you should take if you want to snag your place as an industry leader:
1. Create a Documented Content Strategy
The most efficient and powerful way to gain customer respect is to create content that’s informative and trustworthy.
Although most companies are creating content nowadays, Marketing Profs and the CMI found that roughly 63% of businesses don’t actually have a documented content strategy. This is a big no-no when it comes to building your authority.
Let’s break that number down with this graph below:
- About 37% of surveyed businesses have a documented content marketing strategy.
- In contrast, nearly 38% of businesses have a strategy, but it’s not documented.
- Finally, around 25% of businesses don’t currently have a strategy at all.
Source: MarketingProfs and Brightcove
Based on the image above, we see that it’s important to have a documented strategy in place if you want to establish your brand authority through content.
Keep in mind that you can’t just post whatever content you want when you want. It needs to be purposeful and overtly useful to your consumers. Without a content marketing strategy, it’s difficult to ensure that you’re sticking to the right plan.
2. Build High-Quality Inbound Links
Inbound links, also referred to as backlinks, occur when one website links to another. Google values websites with strong inbound links because they’re a sign of authority. In fact, inbound links can make up roughly 40% of Google’s ranking factors according to a past survey from Moz.
The key takeaway is that, if other people want to link to and from your website, then there’s valuable content there. Therefore, you want your site to have many inbound links.
3. Write Compelling Long-Form Content
To build high-quality inbound links, you’ll need to do a couple of things. The first is to create content that people want to link to. Educational posts that are well-researched and lengthy are usually your best bet.
Internet searchers are constantly on the hunt for well-developed information they can rely on. Work to provide that for them. By writing about topics that are relevant to your target consumer, your business can showcase its knowledge while also spreading its name in the industry.
As you can see by BuzzSumo’s graphic below, content that’s in-depth and over 3,000 words tends to be shared the most.
The chart shows that people are more likely to share articles across social platforms if the content is between 2,000–10,000 words. The sweet spot seems to be at around 3,000. So don’t waste your time on writing dozens of short blogs when you could be producing higher-level content.
4. Design Visual Content
Incorporating a variety of content into your plan is an essential part of becoming an authority. You need to produce content in various formats, depending on what your users want.
Designs like infographics are up to 40 times more likely to get shared according to HubSpot, which can increase your chances of developing backlinks.
Don’t forget about videos when churning out written content, either. Many millennials trust videos as a valuable form of content, which indicates that there are other types of media that your business can address to appeal to their generation.
5. Network With Other Trusted Domains
Another great way to build more backlinks is to network. People like to link to sites they trust, and they’ll trust your website more if they know who is behind it.
Offer to guest blog on other websites. Bring guest bloggers to your own website. Trade information, link to other sites, and message other big names in the industry to see how you can collaborate.
6. Use Social Media Appropriately
Finally, let’s talk about social media and how it affects your authority. When used appropriately, platforms like Facebook and Instagram can help you become a recognized expert quickly. But ineffective usage can drive your online reputation into the dirt.
In a past survey from Social Media Examiner, about 79 percent of marketers agreed that social media can be an effective way to develop loyal followers. Various platforms allow you to reach your target audience on an intimate level, which can help them learn about your company and come to trust your content.
However, there are millions of brands competing for the attention, so it will take time for any company to establish a following. Instead of focusing on becoming an authority, focus on standing out against your competitors online. The respect and trust will come with time as you build a community around your company.
Developing a Strong Brand Authority Takes Time
“Authority” as a broad term can be difficult to nail down. But the important thing to remember is that authority in the world of websites is basically equivalent to trust and expertise.
You should focus on building credibility through content in order to gain your consumers’ trust. Have a well-documented content strategy in place so that you can focus on developing strong, multi-media content. Finally, build inbound links to trusted domains and leverage social media platforms to establish your reputation.
The sooner you can fast-track your way into a position of respect within your industry, the more authority your website and company will hold.