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How to Grow Your Google Authority

What is the real route to better Google rankings?

Many new Internet marketers obsess over Google pagerank believing it to be the route to rising in the search results, where in fact pagerank is just one of many factors involved in your search engine ranking and, most misleading, what you see in the Google Toolbar is very inaccurate anyway.

People look at Wikipedia and think they rank so highly and so often because of pagerank, or perhaps because they have a gajillion links, but there is another powerful element we can overlook if we are not careful.

Once relevance, links and keywords are taken into account, the true engines of search engine success are now believed to be “Trust” and “Authority”. But what do those phrases mean in this context, and how do you get more of the good stuff?

Read on!

Authority Leads to Google Authority

You know I am all about promoting authority in your blogging. Authority in general means that people trust you to supply expert insight. The good news is that authorities trusted by human beings are also trusted by Google.

“If a site is an authority in your industry, you can bet that it will be for Google as well. So if you’re a web designer, a link from Smashing Magazine or A List Apart helps, as a lot of other web design sites will be linking to those sites, thus causing those sites to be ‘hubs’ in the web design space.”
— Joost De Valk, Yoast

Authority in a search context takes into account all the elements of a site then determines a grading on the spectrum from completely authoritative through to no authority at all. The more authoritative and trusted your site, the better you will rank.

In fact, being an authority in Google’s eyes is a game-changer. The rules are quite different for authorities and authorities can get away with much more gray and risky behavior than other sites.

There are many factors that directly influence your Google authority including the domain (a .gov is going to be more trusted than a much easier to gain .info), quantity and quality of links, plus traffic elements.

Dear Google … Who Do You Trust?

Perhaps the most important element is this factor of who is linking to you. It is believed that Google has a whitelist of trusted websites. While it is unlikely you will get onto this hallowed category yourself, inbound links from the websites that are already on the white list will give you a certain boost in the search engine rankings.

“Trust is the reason some websites can rank highly for competitive search terms purely by publishing a page targeted to that search term. Sites like Wikipedia and the BBC don’t need to worry about building links to pages because Google has so much trust in the domain that they rank in the top few results, seemingly without having to work for it.”
— Patrick Altoft, BlogStorm

The problem is all of this is very unscientific, based on observation and guesswork, and the only people that really know what is going on work for Google, and unsurprisingly they are not talking.

I should also point out that, while we often use “Authority” and “Trust” almost interchangeably, Google almost certainly sees the two factors as separate. We have way more influence over our authority than we do our “TrustRank“, in fact as far as trust is concerned the best we can do is improve our “degrees of separation” from those we suspect are on the search engine’s white list.

That all said we can still take some educated guesses as to which elements of your site and content will drive up the authority factor and in turn help you gain those all-important search results. Plus the more authority we accrue, the more likely we are to get linked to by the trusted few.

Let’s take a look at some of those now, starting with the negatives, then leading to the positives:

Negative Trust Influences

What can you do to your own site, or could a competitor do to you, that will nuke your trust and therefore rankings?

“I always think that links have a positive or negative value. Let’s say the BBC gives you a +10,000 and a spammy blogspot link gives you a -100, you still have a positive 9,900 score. The problems occur when the BBC get hit with a link selling penalty, if your backlinks have fallen into negative equity things go south quickly.

Get caught selling links and your link value could shift from a positive value to a negative value, so I re-visit my clients links monthly and check out what’s happening to the sites that link to them”
— David Naylor, Bronco

  • Buy and Sell Links – First is if you are obvious in your link buying, don’t expect to last long in the search engines. Mr Cutts is very keen on tracking down and destroying sold links. There are even some sites that are so “dirty” in Google’s eyes that a purchase in the right place and right time can nuke you over night. Don’t believe me? Ask the right people at the right conferences to show you the evidence. That’s all I am saying :)
  • Bad Neighbors – If your links are not paid but still associate you with the seedier parts of the interwebs, don’t be surprised if you are seen as guilty by association.
  • Comment Spam – Leave the spam up, get it indexed, and watch your results rocket to the bottom. It’s the “broken windows” theory of SEO.
  • Unnatural Growth Patterns – Google will look carefully at your link growth for any signs of unnatural acquisition. This isn’t to say that if you get on the front page of Digg and garner 20k visitors and as a result, 100 fresh links that you will be penalized. What is likely though is they will take a closer look if your brand new domain arrives out of the gate with one page of content and 10,000 links overnight.
  • Lack of Link Diversity – Are your links coming from friends and your own sites or are they arriving naturally because your content is awesome?
  • Thin or Spammy Content – Duplicate, scraped or feed content, or spammy gibberish is likely to get marked down. As you would expect, Google is aiming to promote the highest quality. They will use human checks, algorithms and watch the behaviour of their customers to see if what they are delivering meets expectations.

So the first element to emphasize is make your site evolve as naturally as possible!

“You can manufacture authority with a very intelligent link building campaign but more often than not it’s the natural growth of the site and links with other sites in the same industry that gives Google reason to trust the site.”
— Patrick Altoft, BlogStorm

We have looked at negatives, but what could be positive trust signals?

Traffic

Let’s get the most controversial potential factor out of the way right now.

Traffic might be a quality signal. It seems a fairly obvious one as a human being, but what about to Googlebot?

“My #1 SEO lesson is simple: get the technical details right, and then start making sure you get as much traffic from other sources than Google as you can, and your Google search traffic will rise along with it.”
— Joost De Valk, Yoast

We know that Google track click-throughs from some search results pages, but could Google also be using Analytics, FeedBurner and toolbar data to get a sense of traffic also?

  • Quantity – Are many people visiting the site?
  • Growth – Is your traffic growing organically?
  • Consistency – Does your traffic go from zero to thousands then back again with no discernible reason?

Google of course knows what is going on with their own search engine, so if they place undeserved trust in a site for a certain search result they will get good feedback from user behavior. Another hint might be Brand Search – If lots of people are looking for your brand then that is likely a good sign. It makes sense that if people are searching for BMW then the official BMW site should appear.

“People who only think about search marketing often forget the branding aspects of blogging, it’s really important to get a decent design and logo, people will remember you and thus search for you more, and link to you more.”
— Joost De Valk, Yoast

Links

I feel on much safer ground suggesting links as a trust influencer.

  • Directories (like Yahoo! and Dmoz) - Some directories are trusted, others are not. Key is if they are editorially controlled or free-for-all. It’s the one type of paid link that Google likes.
  • Authorities – Here is that whitelist mentioned earlier, but we can only guess who is on it:
    • Old Media (Newspapers, TV, Radio)
    • New Media (Wikipedia, Google Knol, Social)
    • Social Voting & News
      • Digg
      • StumbleUpon
      • Reddit
      • Mixx
      • Propeller
      • Delicious
      • MetaFilter
    • Social Networking
      • Facebook
      • MySpace
      • Twitter
      • Answer Sites
      • Yahoo Answers
      • Mahalo
      • Answers.com
      • Yahoo Portal
      • MSN Portal
    • Authority Blogs
      • Problogger
      • Kottke
      • Library Blogs
      • Copyblogger
      • Search Engine Journal
      • BoingBoing
      • About.com Blogs
      • USAToday Blogs
    • Companies
      • Microsoft
      • Apple
      • Sun
      • Oracle
      • Adobe
      • IBM
  • TLD – Links from easy to acquire domain endings are not going to be as trusted as those where you have to jump through hoops. Domains TLDs like .Edu, .Gov and Ltd.uk
  • Other Link Factors
    • Theme – Is the subject of the domain on topic or irrelevant?
    • Strength – Is the linking site strong or untrusted?
    • Diversity – Is there a large variety and diversity of domains, or a few home grown reciprocals?
    • Age - Are the linking domains as old as the internet or brand new registrations?
    • Location – You want a variety of links but sidebar or footer links are unlikely to be as trusted as relevant in-content and in-context links.
    • Anchor Text - Google will want variety in anchor text, and for the anchor text to be on topic. Balance relevance against looking unnatural again.

“I’d rather have four moderately successful pieces than one single very successful one. It’s going to get you a more natural link profile from different sites over time to different parts of of your site as opposed to one tidal wave focused on one page. ”
— Michael Gray, Wolf-Howl

Domain

As you have seen above, the domain itself can send some signals that influence trust, and we are not just talking about spammy-keywords-separated-by-hyphens either! Google does look at domain registrations.

  • Age – Older domains earn trust by just being online longer, especially with a single owner and consistent content.
  • TLD – As above, the harder to get domains, especially if you have to prove your identity, will be given a higher trust.
  • Registration Period – Has your domain been registered for the long haul or could it be offline any moment?
  • Registration Details – Real registration details versus proxy or fake details?

Your Site

You want your site to be able to not only “pass” a hand review should Matt Cutts come visiting, but also give anyone who looks all the positive vibes possible.

  • Content – Is it meaty, original, high quality? Could your information be found anywhere?
  • Privacy and Contact Info – Do you have the kind of information a top-class ecommerce site would provide such as Privacy Policy and so on? Looked at the other way, do you look like you have something to hide?
  • Usability and Accessibility – Can the average visitor navigate your site with few issues? What about someone with a visual or physical accessibility need?

“The more competitive or dirty the market you play in, the more you need to up your authority game and reassure your visitors and search engines alike that you are legitimate and here to stay. I am sure the bar is much higher for our credit cards site, than say, Dog Guide.”
— Ryan Caldwell, College-Startup.

Look at your stats:

  • Load Time – Does your site take an age to render in a web browser? People like fast loading sites.
  • Time on Site – How long do people spend on your site? Do they look at one page then go away or do they browse around. The longer and more in depth the average visit, the better your experience is going to be and therefore the higher trust level. Think about it the other way, if your site was so bad it looked toxic, what would the average visit behavior look like?

The big question that Google wants to answer …

  • Does Your Site Add Value to Web?

Summary

If you look over the above list you will see the main things your site needs to convey is:

  1. Natural, organic growth based on sound promotion behavior
  2. Valuable and unique content tailored towards people rather than search
  3. A solid foundation and human-centered design

As a handy reference, check out and keep this Google Authority MindMap …

Click to View in Full or Download

Click to View or Download

Take a long look at your site and ask yourself if you are sending good or bad trust signals in all areas.

Anything I have missed or called wrong? Please add your thoughts in the comments …

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Comments

  1. I think that the key to this whole process is great content. If you write excellent content, you will get excellent links, so you will get lots of traffic, and Google will like your website. Unfortunately, writing good content is also the hardest part…

    Thanks,
    Nate

  2. I think that the key to this whole process is great content. If you write excellent content, you will get excellent links, so you will get lots of traffic, and Google will like your website. Unfortunately, writing good content is also the hardest part…

    Thanks,
    Nate

  3. Excellent write up! There’s a lot more here than the typical Google SEO 15 second elevator pitch. Many of the more important factors often get left out of quick SEO discussions or tips.

  4. Excellent write up! There’s a lot more here than the typical Google SEO 15 second elevator pitch. Many of the more important factors often get left out of quick SEO discussions or tips.

  5. Wow, what a fantastic, meaty post on Google Authority. It’s all the little things isn’t it? I’ve set up my niche sites for the future. I’ve tried not to worry about things like keyword density. Instead I’ve tried to write the most timeless content possible so that as Google continues to improve and searches become more natural, my content will rise to the top. In theory at least.

  6. Wow, what a fantastic, meaty post on Google Authority. It’s all the little things isn’t it? I’ve set up my niche sites for the future. I’ve tried not to worry about things like keyword density. Instead I’ve tried to write the most timeless content possible so that as Google continues to improve and searches become more natural, my content will rise to the top. In theory at least.

  7. Excellent detail Chris

    so what do you think about internal link? contextual internal links withing your own site, dose google really put any value in it or it just serves as added usability for your readers?

  8. Excellent detail Chris

    so what do you think about internal link? contextual internal links withing your own site, dose google really put any value in it or it just serves as added usability for your readers?

  9. @Nate – Great content is always the core, but you can have great content and still not get anywhere if you have vital elements missing, or worse seem to hang out with bad associations :) I have a client who paid a “SEO” for months who is now desperately trying to undo everything they did, despite brilliant content she just can’t get a break. Warning to the rest of us there!

    @Jack – That’s what Ryan and I were saying when the idea came up to write this. Ryan and I did the mindmap then I wrote it up because even if parts are wrong, need to start the discussion somewhere :)

    @Writer Dad – Yup stacking lots of little but important details seems to be the crucial route, unless you can get a great link from BBC or the Whitehouse ;)

    @Sunil – Internal links are very important, but you also need to get trusted authorities to link you up, that will make all your other efforts magnified

  10. @Nate – Great content is always the core, but you can have great content and still not get anywhere if you have vital elements missing, or worse seem to hang out with bad associations :) I have a client who paid a “SEO” for months who is now desperately trying to undo everything they did, despite brilliant content she just can’t get a break. Warning to the rest of us there!

    @Jack – That’s what Ryan and I were saying when the idea came up to write this. Ryan and I did the mindmap then I wrote it up because even if parts are wrong, need to start the discussion somewhere :)

    @Writer Dad – Yup stacking lots of little but important details seems to be the crucial route, unless you can get a great link from BBC or the Whitehouse ;)

    @Sunil – Internal links are very important, but you also need to get trusted authorities to link you up, that will make all your other efforts magnified

  11. A genuine cut-out-and-keep article to hand to anyone who asks the question “how can I get more traffic from Google?”. It doesn’t cover on page SEO but that’s kind of the point, right? The physical code you use to put together your web page is only a tiny part of the overall process. What you’ve covered here is fundamentally more important than knowing when to use .

  12. A genuine cut-out-and-keep article to hand to anyone who asks the question “how can I get more traffic from Google?”. It doesn’t cover on page SEO but that’s kind of the point, right? The physical code you use to put together your web page is only a tiny part of the overall process. What you’ve covered here is fundamentally more important than knowing when to use .

  13. I agree with Nate, Content is still the key. I never paid much attention to this and focused on number of links(although relevant) only. Your article taught a lot!

  14. I agree with Nate, Content is still the key. I never paid much attention to this and focused on number of links(although relevant) only. Your article taught a lot!

  15. @Mike – Thanks, hopefully the mindmap will work as a memory jogger too :) Print it out and stick it on your wall ;)

  16. @Mike – Thanks, hopefully the mindmap will work as a memory jogger too :) Print it out and stick it on your wall ;)

  17. What an awesome article. Very descriptive and insightful.

    Thanks for sharing such great content!

    Regards,

    Karl

  18. What an awesome article. Very descriptive and insightful.

    Thanks for sharing such great content!

    Regards,

    Karl

  19. Great Post Chris. One of my friend said that Google trusts old sites and blogs a lot. What do you think of it?

  20. Great Post Chris. One of my friend said that Google trusts old sites and blogs a lot. What do you think of it?

  21. Chris,

    Brilliant post. The domain WHOIS details on my domain are my hosting company, and they have moved office address 3 times in the last four years. I don’t want to put my home details on because I don’t want people appearing on my doorstep after I have ranted about them ;)

    Could keeping my WHOIS record specific to me with the same details improve my authority in Google?

    I have just renewed my domain but would extending for a further 2/3 years help?

    How would you find authority sites/blogs within your niche?
    If you could identify these authority sites in your niche would writing guest posts help with your Google authority?

    Sorry, all these questions.

  22. Chris,

    Brilliant post. The domain WHOIS details on my domain are my hosting company, and they have moved office address 3 times in the last four years. I don’t want to put my home details on because I don’t want people appearing on my doorstep after I have ranted about them ;)

    Could keeping my WHOIS record specific to me with the same details improve my authority in Google?

    I have just renewed my domain but would extending for a further 2/3 years help?

    How would you find authority sites/blogs within your niche?
    If you could identify these authority sites in your niche would writing guest posts help with your Google authority?

    Sorry, all these questions.

  23. Wow! That’s about the most well written complete post on SEO. I agree with all of your points. However, I believe Google does not negatively rank a website if it is being linked from another spammy site, as the webmaster can’t control inbound links to his site. I read about this on Google’s Webmaster Center Support site.

    Anyway, great article. I loved the mindmap. :)

  24. Wow! That’s about the most well written complete post on SEO. I agree with all of your points. However, I believe Google does not negatively rank a website if it is being linked from another spammy site, as the webmaster can’t control inbound links to his site. I read about this on Google’s Webmaster Center Support site.

    Anyway, great article. I loved the mindmap. :)

  25. Wow, it’s a great article. A bit overwhelming for a newbie like me. I think I’m doing most of the right stuff mentioned here, although I could definitely use more of the links to the big boy’s (and girl’s) sites……………..:)

  26. Wow, it’s a great article. A bit overwhelming for a newbie like me. I think I’m doing most of the right stuff mentioned here, although I could definitely use more of the links to the big boy’s (and girl’s) sites……………..:)

  27. One of the best SEO posts I’ve read in a while – thank you! Authority / Hub factors are as you say often overlooked in favour of raw link juice. The recent “brand update” (or Vince) seems to have been all about cranking up the authority factors in Google’s algo (altho yet to see it in effect in UK) so this is likely to become even more important in the near future.

  28. One of the best SEO posts I’ve read in a while – thank you! Authority / Hub factors are as you say often overlooked in favour of raw link juice. The recent “brand update” (or Vince) seems to have been all about cranking up the authority factors in Google’s algo (altho yet to see it in effect in UK) so this is likely to become even more important in the near future.

  29. Luuk Christiaens says:

    The mindmap is already printed and ‘nailed’ on my wall. Way to go ! Thanks !
    Luuk

  30. Luuk Christiaens says:

    The mindmap is already printed and ‘nailed’ on my wall. Way to go ! Thanks !
    Luuk

  31. Awesome post, Chris. I hope everyone reads it 3 or 4 times, to let it all sink in.

  32. Awesome post, Chris. I hope everyone reads it 3 or 4 times, to let it all sink in.

  33. Chris,

    Thank your for such an in-depth and well-written post!

    I’m constantly amazed at the detail you put into your content. It truly allows people like myself to really grow as a blogger and learn the inner workings of what makes a quality blog tick.

    I’ve clipped this article into Evernote for future reference and printed the Google Authority Mindmap out for a visual reminder of where I’m heading.

    Thanks again!

  34. Chris,

    Thank your for such an in-depth and well-written post!

    I’m constantly amazed at the detail you put into your content. It truly allows people like myself to really grow as a blogger and learn the inner workings of what makes a quality blog tick.

    I’ve clipped this article into Evernote for future reference and printed the Google Authority Mindmap out for a visual reminder of where I’m heading.

    Thanks again!

  35. Brilliant Post! cheers

  36. Brilliant Post! cheers

  37. Google wants to automate or handle algorithmically whatever it can, whenever it can. That helps scalability and profits. Being able to assign broad factors like trust and authority to an entire domain, rather than at the page level, would make things easier for Google I would expect.

    Joost hit the nail on the head with this one: “…start making sure you get as much traffic from other sources than Google as you can, and your Google search traffic will rise along with it.”

    The advice we give to clients on SEO is to move on from relying solely on SEO for web site marketing and focus on actually “marketing” the web site via any means relevant to the buying audience – just do so in a SEO friendly way.

    Offline public relations works similarly, getting press coverage in prominent media instills trust and builds authority. Social media, online PR, email, advertising and content marketing can all work together for this purpose.

  38. Google wants to automate or handle algorithmically whatever it can, whenever it can. That helps scalability and profits. Being able to assign broad factors like trust and authority to an entire domain, rather than at the page level, would make things easier for Google I would expect.

    Joost hit the nail on the head with this one: “…start making sure you get as much traffic from other sources than Google as you can, and your Google search traffic will rise along with it.”

    The advice we give to clients on SEO is to move on from relying solely on SEO for web site marketing and focus on actually “marketing” the web site via any means relevant to the buying audience – just do so in a SEO friendly way.

    Offline public relations works similarly, getting press coverage in prominent media instills trust and builds authority. Social media, online PR, email, advertising and content marketing can all work together for this purpose.

  39. Great post. Cheers for the insight.

    I’ll be trying to implement a few of these things to up traffic to my blog. The mindmap is something I have not seen before and I’ll be studying that closely!

    Cheers

    Graeme

  40. Great post. Cheers for the insight.

    I’ll be trying to implement a few of these things to up traffic to my blog. The mindmap is something I have not seen before and I’ll be studying that closely!

    Cheers

    Graeme

  41. Really nice concise post. Good job Chris!

  42. Really nice concise post. Good job Chris!

  43. Thanks, Chris. This is a really insightful post, and quite meaty too!

  44. Thanks, Chris. This is a really insightful post, and quite meaty too!

  45. Excellent post Chris. I especially like the visual outline using a MindMap.

  46. Excellent post Chris. I especially like the visual outline using a MindMap.

  47. Wow! That’s ‘authority’ content. Thanks for the SEO course. You could pay a lot of money and not get nearly as good advice.

  48. Wow! That’s ‘authority’ content. Thanks for the SEO course. You could pay a lot of money and not get nearly as good advice.

  49. Very diligent work, excellent SEO abbreviation, especially with your mindmap which is helpful for the time after the first reading. One context will still deliver food for discussion: is it really true that Google makes you responsible for links pointing to you? My opinion remains an unchanged NO, also when interpreting official and nearly official Google statements. There would be too much speculation involved for Google and it would open the gates for a systematic demolition of competitors by buying/sponsoring bad links for/against them. But thanks again for your excellent work.

    -Christoph Gold

  50. Very diligent work, excellent SEO abbreviation, especially with your mindmap which is helpful for the time after the first reading. One context will still deliver food for discussion: is it really true that Google makes you responsible for links pointing to you? My opinion remains an unchanged NO, also when interpreting official and nearly official Google statements. There would be too much speculation involved for Google and it would open the gates for a systematic demolition of competitors by buying/sponsoring bad links for/against them. But thanks again for your excellent work.

    -Christoph Gold

  51. @Karl – Thanks :)

    @Harish – Old sites, yes if they have not changed hands a lot, blogs, not so much blogs especially but blogs often have a lot of the elements google looks for.

    @Darren – Changing your domain WHOIS would probably only give you a marginal benefit, it is one of those things that can raise a red flag amongst many though, like a notch up in a spam score. Increasing your domain renewal is always a good idea, one of the things I need to remind myself :) You probably know the authorities in your niche, who do you look to? Guest posts can and do help, if only for the networking, but I have seen the benefits myself and they are a good way of running your own anchor text experiments to test if they really are an authority :)

    @Ganesh – I am sorry to say someone CAN damage your site by linking – look up Google Bowling for one method

    @LisaNewton – Links FROM the big boys and girls is what is important, although linking TO them can get their attention (as I have done here, heh).

    @jaamit – It does seem that UK lags .com but will be with us soon enough :)

    @Luuk – Cool, I need to do that myself while I clean up some of my domains :)

    @DazzlinDonna – I hope so too :)

    @Dr. Patrick – Cool, glad you liked it :)

    @AK – Thanks :)

    @Lee – Which is why most ad agencies need to start acting integrated rather than using the phrase in their marketing :)

    @Graeme – Cool, I hope it helps :)

    @Hugo @David – I did consider making it a series but I think it needs to be all taken together to really hit home

    @Chris – The mind map actually came first, that was Ryan and Me brainstorming what turned out to be the article :)

    @Hal – I try! :)

    @Christoph – Google might not hold you responsible but it does certainly punish you. I have seen the effects, not first hand I am glad to say, but I have been shown examples. Get linked from the wrong site or with a bad pattern and you see your site vanish.

  52. @Karl – Thanks :)

    @Harish – Old sites, yes if they have not changed hands a lot, blogs, not so much blogs especially but blogs often have a lot of the elements google looks for.

    @Darren – Changing your domain WHOIS would probably only give you a marginal benefit, it is one of those things that can raise a red flag amongst many though, like a notch up in a spam score. Increasing your domain renewal is always a good idea, one of the things I need to remind myself :) You probably know the authorities in your niche, who do you look to? Guest posts can and do help, if only for the networking, but I have seen the benefits myself and they are a good way of running your own anchor text experiments to test if they really are an authority :)

    @Ganesh – I am sorry to say someone CAN damage your site by linking – look up Google Bowling for one method

    @LisaNewton – Links FROM the big boys and girls is what is important, although linking TO them can get their attention (as I have done here, heh).

    @jaamit – It does seem that UK lags .com but will be with us soon enough :)

    @Luuk – Cool, I need to do that myself while I clean up some of my domains :)

    @DazzlinDonna – I hope so too :)

    @Dr. Patrick – Cool, glad you liked it :)

    @AK – Thanks :)

    @Lee – Which is why most ad agencies need to start acting integrated rather than using the phrase in their marketing :)

    @Graeme – Cool, I hope it helps :)

    @Hugo @David – I did consider making it a series but I think it needs to be all taken together to really hit home

    @Chris – The mind map actually came first, that was Ryan and Me brainstorming what turned out to be the article :)

    @Hal – I try! :)

    @Christoph – Google might not hold you responsible but it does certainly punish you. I have seen the effects, not first hand I am glad to say, but I have been shown examples. Get linked from the wrong site or with a bad pattern and you see your site vanish.

  53. You have covered all the bases with this one, I must say! Many site owners want to speed up the process or game the system. They know that many low authority links equals one high authority link, and they know they can automate hundreds of thousands of low authority links. They think it’s a simple math problem.

    However, the technical equivalence is anything but, and doesn’t hold up in reality. The reason Wikipedia consistently ranks so high is because people really do confer authority to it.

    Building real relationships with people, creating real authority for yourself, and creating content people want to link to and can’t live without is the sure way to real Google authority, as well as authority of all types.

    I’m not saying all automation is bad, but it had better be carefully balanced out with a lot of ground-level organic work.

  54. You have covered all the bases with this one, I must say! Many site owners want to speed up the process or game the system. They know that many low authority links equals one high authority link, and they know they can automate hundreds of thousands of low authority links. They think it’s a simple math problem.

    However, the technical equivalence is anything but, and doesn’t hold up in reality. The reason Wikipedia consistently ranks so high is because people really do confer authority to it.

    Building real relationships with people, creating real authority for yourself, and creating content people want to link to and can’t live without is the sure way to real Google authority, as well as authority of all types.

    I’m not saying all automation is bad, but it had better be carefully balanced out with a lot of ground-level organic work.

  55. @chrisg

    What can be done if anything, if you get linked to by one of these ‘wrong sites’?

  56. @chrisg

    What can be done if anything, if you get linked to by one of these ‘wrong sites’?

  57. @Michael – Thanks Michael, thought you would like it :) Unfortunately the “it’s hard work” line will not sway the folks looking for quick tricks, and therefore those folks will never get the strong, long term rankings they so desire :)

    @Brian – First job is to recognize when it has happened – I am not saying monitor your rankings daily, but look out for dips in traffic or for you showing dramatic reduction in results. Next you need to know who caused it. This means for most of us hard detective work, if you have thousands of links. Now if you knew before you DIDN’T have thousands of links then that means you have been “google bowled” which is where someone points tons of spammy links at you all at once in the hope of tripping a google penalty. If the cause is one or two bad links then contact the site owner (usually they are paid links). If all else fails, fall on Google spam team mercy!

  58. Of course growing your trusted, authority links can help mitigate against someone trying to destroy your trust too.

  59. @Michael – Thanks Michael, thought you would like it :) Unfortunately the “it’s hard work” line will not sway the folks looking for quick tricks, and therefore those folks will never get the strong, long term rankings they so desire :)

    @Brian – First job is to recognize when it has happened – I am not saying monitor your rankings daily, but look out for dips in traffic or for you showing dramatic reduction in results. Next you need to know who caused it. This means for most of us hard detective work, if you have thousands of links. Now if you knew before you DIDN’T have thousands of links then that means you have been “google bowled” which is where someone points tons of spammy links at you all at once in the hope of tripping a google penalty. If the cause is one or two bad links then contact the site owner (usually they are paid links). If all else fails, fall on Google spam team mercy!

  60. Of course growing your trusted, authority links can help mitigate against someone trying to destroy your trust too.

  61. Hey Chris,

    Solid post…
    Not much one can add to this as you have covered almost eveything one can on the subject of Google Authority!

    This post is already ranked 3rd in google.com/.uk for the phrase:)

    Definitly seeing feedburner subscribers, google reader shares influence rankings. I wouldn’t be suprised if Google Connect (number of members/quality of users) is a factor in the future on SEO/SERPS.

  62. Hey Chris,

    Solid post…
    Not much one can add to this as you have covered almost eveything one can on the subject of Google Authority!

    This post is already ranked 3rd in google.com/.uk for the phrase:)

    Definitly seeing feedburner subscribers, google reader shares influence rankings. I wouldn’t be suprised if Google Connect (number of members/quality of users) is a factor in the future on SEO/SERPS.

  63. Chris,

    The one thing I love about your blog is that each post is a “must read”. And this one is a killer pillar post!

    When I talk to my clients about increasing their subscribers, I advise them: “Create content that people won’t want to miss. Make them feel that they’ll miss something if they don’t subscribe.”

    I then say: “Check out chrisg.com for a perfect example.”

    John

  64. Chris,

    The one thing I love about your blog is that each post is a “must read”. And this one is a killer pillar post!

    When I talk to my clients about increasing their subscribers, I advise them: “Create content that people won’t want to miss. Make them feel that they’ll miss something if they don’t subscribe.”

    I then say: “Check out chrisg.com for a perfect example.”

    John

  65. Chris,

    One question: When relaunching a blog with a new domain (and redirecting the old blog), what effect should one expect in terms of rankings / authority?

    John

  66. Chris,

    One question: When relaunching a blog with a new domain (and redirecting the old blog), what effect should one expect in terms of rankings / authority?

    John

  67. Wow! There is a lot of information in this article! I will need to read it over a couple more times! Thanks for your hard work on this post!

  68. Wow! There is a lot of information in this article! I will need to read it over a couple more times! Thanks for your hard work on this post!

  69. Hello,

    Just wanted to tell you that your article is the kind of article that’s functional, not trying to convince anything, but only giving useful information for people to make advised choices.

    The information is well seperated in themes and is well detailed in order for the message to be correctly observed and understood.

    Great job!

    Eric

  70. Hello,

    Just wanted to tell you that your article is the kind of article that’s functional, not trying to convince anything, but only giving useful information for people to make advised choices.

    The information is well seperated in themes and is well detailed in order for the message to be correctly observed and understood.

    Great job!

    Eric

  71. that was informative Chris, Thank you. It revealed to me something I had thought about whatever we do in business. What is our intent. Are we trying to provide a resource that is of benifit to people or are we trying to use techniques to squeeze money out of people. It sounds like, from your article, that positive intent wins again.

  72. that was informative Chris, Thank you. It revealed to me something I had thought about whatever we do in business. What is our intent. Are we trying to provide a resource that is of benifit to people or are we trying to use techniques to squeeze money out of people. It sounds like, from your article, that positive intent wins again.

  73. Chris it´s weird to here you talking so firmly about definite Google punishments for bad incoming links. For me it has been a myth. Perhaps I have had great luck with my clients in the last 8 years.

    Could you send me a short email with an example of this practice?

    Are the cases you are talking about connected only to paid incoming links or even to all sorts of incoming links?

    Anyway – thanks again for your work.

    – Christoph Gold

  74. Chris it´s weird to here you talking so firmly about definite Google punishments for bad incoming links. For me it has been a myth. Perhaps I have had great luck with my clients in the last 8 years.

    Could you send me a short email with an example of this practice?

    Are the cases you are talking about connected only to paid incoming links or even to all sorts of incoming links?

    Anyway – thanks again for your work.

    – Christoph Gold

  75. Nice work man, glad I read it… all of it.

  76. Nice work man, glad I read it… all of it.

  77. Thanks for the wonderful explanation. This is a must read article for ecommerce store owners.

    Chris, i always bank on 4 key seo elements

    – Keywords
    – Unique Content
    – Site Structure
    – Links from quality website

    shld i have to add any other element?

  78. Thanks for the wonderful explanation. This is a must read article for ecommerce store owners.

    Chris, i always bank on 4 key seo elements

    – Keywords
    – Unique Content
    – Site Structure
    – Links from quality website

    shld i have to add any other element?

  79. Solid Resources!
    Covers almost all things a webmaster should be concerned about.

  80. Solid Resources!
    Covers almost all things a webmaster should be concerned about.

  81. Hi Chris,

    It is a fantastic post, you covered a lot and explained everything clearly. This post is a MUST read for people who want to know how SEO works, specially with Google.

    Great stuff, keep it up!

    Thanks,
    ^PV Reymond

  82. Hi Chris,

    It is a fantastic post, you covered a lot and explained everything clearly. This post is a MUST read for people who want to know how SEO works, specially with Google.

    Great stuff, keep it up!

    Thanks,
    ^PV Reymond

  83. The best post I have read in a long time and I have saved it for future reading again and again. Thanks also for the mind map.What your post conveys for me is the shear diversity of attaining authority and the many different ways that it get’s interpreted.

  84. The best post I have read in a long time and I have saved it for future reading again and again. Thanks also for the mind map.What your post conveys for me is the shear diversity of attaining authority and the many different ways that it get’s interpreted.

  85. Luuk Christiaens says:

    Hi Chris,

    once more thank you. After (re(re)re)reading: this is a perfect blueprint of all the steps to undertake behind the scene plus a handy mindmap to check afterwards!
    Question of a newbie : does Google gratify authority sites by displaying the links to the internal pages on the SERPs or is there something else in play?

    Regards,

    Luuk

  86. Luuk Christiaens says:

    Hi Chris,

    once more thank you. After (re(re)re)reading: this is a perfect blueprint of all the steps to undertake behind the scene plus a handy mindmap to check afterwards!
    Question of a newbie : does Google gratify authority sites by displaying the links to the internal pages on the SERPs or is there something else in play?

    Regards,

    Luuk

  87. Wow, best SEO post I’ve ever read! Consider yourself bookmarked and tweeted. I got a few ideas while reading your article that hopefully will improve one of my sites.

    Many thanks!

  88. Wow, best SEO post I’ve ever read! Consider yourself bookmarked and tweeted. I got a few ideas while reading your article that hopefully will improve one of my sites.

    Many thanks!

  89. I’m Torn, Your replies to our comments are almost better than the Post! Thanx for the white hat way to gain google authority :)

  90. I’m Torn, Your replies to our comments are almost better than the Post! Thanx for the white hat way to gain google authority :)

  91. Thanks for clearing up my doubt in my last comment. I did not know about it. But overall, I agree that everyone should strive to produce good content. Isn’t that the usefulness of the web? Good content = Google happy = everyone happy :D

  92. Thanks for clearing up my doubt in my last comment. I did not know about it. But overall, I agree that everyone should strive to produce good content. Isn’t that the usefulness of the web? Good content = Google happy = everyone happy :D

  93. “Unnatural Growth Pattern” that’s new to me. Thanks a lot for explaining it, Chris. I’m surprised by how and why people do it.

  94. “Unnatural Growth Pattern” that’s new to me. Thanks a lot for explaining it, Chris. I’m surprised by how and why people do it.

  95. That is a great list right there. Good job with it Chris :)

  96. That is a great list right there. Good job with it Chris :)

  97. Great job! You offer a lot of excellent content all in one post. Great job of listing out a lot of the different sources that once can try to get links from that boost authority.

  98. Great job! You offer a lot of excellent content all in one post. Great job of listing out a lot of the different sources that once can try to get links from that boost authority.

  99. Fantastic Article !!

    also i know you can use same strategies for yahoo and msn.

  100. Fantastic Article !!

    also i know you can use same strategies for yahoo and msn.

  101. I think the best way to get better authority is to creating great original content – like that blog post :)

  102. I think the best way to get better authority is to creating great original content – like that blog post :)

  103. wow chris, this brings it to the point. thank you for wrinting it all together. i find some nasty fouls i have made for long times…

  104. wow chris, this brings it to the point. thank you for wrinting it all together. i find some nasty fouls i have made for long times…

  105. Great article! We believe that if it’s good for the user, it’s good for organic rank. Valuable content, good accessible code, and strategic links are the way to go.

  106. Great article! We believe that if it’s good for the user, it’s good for organic rank. Valuable content, good accessible code, and strategic links are the way to go.

  107. I think the best way to get better authority is to creating great original content – like that blog post

  108. I think the best way to get better authority is to creating great original content – like that blog post

  109. Chris,

    I’m really impressed with how comprehensive this post is — thank you for the tons of great information here. Will definitely be revisiting this one.

    Slade

  110. Chris,

    I’m really impressed with how comprehensive this post is — thank you for the tons of great information here. Will definitely be revisiting this one.

    Slade

  111. Solid Chris!

    A clear message I see is: There are no shortcuts to building your brand equity the right way….

    In fact I’ll go as far as to say “you don’t want any shortcuts”…

    Can the system be gamed? Sure…but if you are in the business for the right reasons and your sales are a byproduct of your authority and altruism and not some short term tactics, then you don’t want and won’t need to game the system.

    Really nice piece Chris :)

  112. Solid Chris!

    A clear message I see is: There are no shortcuts to building your brand equity the right way….

    In fact I’ll go as far as to say “you don’t want any shortcuts”…

    Can the system be gamed? Sure…but if you are in the business for the right reasons and your sales are a byproduct of your authority and altruism and not some short term tactics, then you don’t want and won’t need to game the system.

    Really nice piece Chris :)

  113. Thanks for the whole post you made it makes better understanding
    for me

  114. Thanks for the whole post you made it makes better understanding
    for me

  115. I’m glad I’m finally getting back into reading blogs, after five months as a new dad. :)

    Just wanted to add my voice to “Great article, Chris!” I’ve always been a big advocate of organic growth- but your insights and explanations have made the whole picture much more clear to me. I’m clipping this one.

    You rock. You know that, already, but you do.

  116. I’m glad I’m finally getting back into reading blogs, after five months as a new dad. :)

    Just wanted to add my voice to “Great article, Chris!” I’ve always been a big advocate of organic growth- but your insights and explanations have made the whole picture much more clear to me. I’m clipping this one.

    You rock. You know that, already, but you do.

  117. Appreciate this helpful post – there are definitely some suggestions here that I can improve upon!

  118. Appreciate this helpful post – there are definitely some suggestions here that I can improve upon!

  119. This was a GREAT article. I really enjoyed reading it and you gave a WEALTH of information.

    I’ve been looking to build more traffic to my blog and site and I’ve been wanting to get higher rankings on Google but I wanted to do it in the quickest and most honest way possible. This post is the exact blueprint I’ve been searching for.

    Thanks a BUNCH and keep up the great content!

    Toni Roberts

  120. This was a GREAT article. I really enjoyed reading it and you gave a WEALTH of information.

    I’ve been looking to build more traffic to my blog and site and I’ve been wanting to get higher rankings on Google but I wanted to do it in the quickest and most honest way possible. This post is the exact blueprint I’ve been searching for.

    Thanks a BUNCH and keep up the great content!

    Toni Roberts

  121. Wow! What a great post. It’s funny because I was just talking about Google authority and links on my blog….then I come here and see yours. Makes mine look so tiny! But, I am learning from the best, so will soon be right up there with you! ;)

    I’m thinking I should update my post with a link to this one since you have laid out everything so thoroughly. Would that be cool?

    Thanks again, Chris. You’re such an asset to the blogosphere.

  122. Wow! What a great post. It’s funny because I was just talking about Google authority and links on my blog….then I come here and see yours. Makes mine look so tiny! But, I am learning from the best, so will soon be right up there with you! ;)

    I’m thinking I should update my post with a link to this one since you have laid out everything so thoroughly. Would that be cool?

    Thanks again, Chris. You’re such an asset to the blogosphere.

  123. Great advice Chris. The thought that springs to mind is that following these tips is about staying ahead of everyone else – if all bloggers took the advice it would level the playing field, and Google won’t let that happen. It’s a continually evolving field of play as the rules are changing whilst the game is still being played.
    Perhaps a disruptive technology, or serious contender to Google are the only ways to create a new gold rush?
    (A couple of mixed metaphors in there!)

  124. Great advice Chris. The thought that springs to mind is that following these tips is about staying ahead of everyone else – if all bloggers took the advice it would level the playing field, and Google won’t let that happen. It’s a continually evolving field of play as the rules are changing whilst the game is still being played.
    Perhaps a disruptive technology, or serious contender to Google are the only ways to create a new gold rush?
    (A couple of mixed metaphors in there!)

  125. This is definitely a print-out-and-read-over post, Chris! One point you’ve made here in particular is one I think is often overlooked — the role played by the age of the domain when it comes to Google Authority. That’s why I firmly believe that, for what little it costs these days, it makes sense to buy your domain name for a new project as soon as you can settle on one, even if you’re nowhere near ready to launch in full.

  126. This is definitely a print-out-and-read-over post, Chris! One point you’ve made here in particular is one I think is often overlooked — the role played by the age of the domain when it comes to Google Authority. That’s why I firmly believe that, for what little it costs these days, it makes sense to buy your domain name for a new project as soon as you can settle on one, even if you’re nowhere near ready to launch in full.

  127. Great post, Chris! In my opinion excellent content is the key to a good Google ranking. With good content you will receive links automatically.

  128. Great post, Chris! In my opinion excellent content is the key to a good Google ranking. With good content you will receive links automatically.

  129. I take a different approach to the comments. While I am not about to give spammers the links they so want there is no reason to take down most of the spam comments. It is really easy to de-link them with any number of plugins if you use a wordpress blog. (I can’t speak to other platforms but it still isn’t hard without plugins).

    My reasoning behind letting many of these stand with the links removed is google seems to reward posts with lots of comments. I have some sites which only carry pr 1 or 2 but have a fair number of posts with PR 3, 4, and 5+ they only thing different about those is the amount of comments. While I can’t prove it helps, lots of comments with the links gone certainly isn’t counter productive either.

  130. I take a different approach to the comments. While I am not about to give spammers the links they so want there is no reason to take down most of the spam comments. It is really easy to de-link them with any number of plugins if you use a wordpress blog. (I can’t speak to other platforms but it still isn’t hard without plugins).

    My reasoning behind letting many of these stand with the links removed is google seems to reward posts with lots of comments. I have some sites which only carry pr 1 or 2 but have a fair number of posts with PR 3, 4, and 5+ they only thing different about those is the amount of comments. While I can’t prove it helps, lots of comments with the links gone certainly isn’t counter productive either.

  131. Hi Chris, I agree that content is the most important but sometimes I am surprised by what articles get the most reads on my site. By far the most read article is my About Me page. Next is an article about What Is A Domain Name. This made no sense to me but even more surprising was an article about How To Take Pictures For Your Web Site that was very popular for years and still is.

  132. Hi Chris, I agree that content is the most important but sometimes I am surprised by what articles get the most reads on my site. By far the most read article is my About Me page. Next is an article about What Is A Domain Name. This made no sense to me but even more surprising was an article about How To Take Pictures For Your Web Site that was very popular for years and still is.

  133. Rather than worrying about what Google is up to, I guess the only concern for your blog is… “make it great!”

  134. Rather than worrying about what Google is up to, I guess the only concern for your blog is… “make it great!”

  135. In every business, its all about authority, credibility and trust which makes a business successful. Even in online business where their is no physical interaction, this 3 are very important. But talking about search engine results, this 3 are also needed. Ask yourself, why would google rank you high? You need to gain authority from people because this authority leads to good contienous traffic and backlinks for you.

  136. In every business, its all about authority, credibility and trust which makes a business successful. Even in online business where their is no physical interaction, this 3 are very important. But talking about search engine results, this 3 are also needed. Ask yourself, why would google rank you high? You need to gain authority from people because this authority leads to good contienous traffic and backlinks for you.

  137. Hi Chris, thanks for this WOW! post. I knew I subscribed to your blog for a reason and I am breaking this down into chunks. Some of it I already knew and there’s always more to learn. The mind-map is awesome and want a bigger than A4 size of it on the wall so am heading off to the printers for a poster size. Bookmarked and shared as the more webmasters/bloggers that read this, the better.

  138. Hi Chris, thanks for this WOW! post. I knew I subscribed to your blog for a reason and I am breaking this down into chunks. Some of it I already knew and there’s always more to learn. The mind-map is awesome and want a bigger than A4 size of it on the wall so am heading off to the printers for a poster size. Bookmarked and shared as the more webmasters/bloggers that read this, the better.

  139. I hear a lot about Frequency of update. Is it really that important to get Google Authority compared to other factors? When you post quality contents, is frequency that important?

  140. I hear a lot about Frequency of update. Is it really that important to get Google Authority compared to other factors? When you post quality contents, is frequency that important?

  141. Superb post. A lot of great food for thought Chris. Definitely agree content is the best place to start.
    Cheers,
    JP
    The Sports Brand Review

  142. Superb post. A lot of great food for thought Chris. Definitely agree content is the best place to start.
    Cheers,
    JP
    The Sports Brand Review

  143. I had a great time in reading and should say one of the best SEO article I’ve read in a while.You had given a good explanation and it was very insightful that helps all newbies like me.Gathered some inputs for future implement and bookmarked the article.I really appreciate for your effort made and thanks for sharing such a professional article.

  144. I had a great time in reading and should say one of the best SEO article I’ve read in a while.You had given a good explanation and it was very insightful that helps all newbies like me.Gathered some inputs for future implement and bookmarked the article.I really appreciate for your effort made and thanks for sharing such a professional article.