Considering the amount of mutations Google has gone through these past several years, you cannot ignore the power of authority. In fact, if you are managing your online properties in any way that ignores or avoids dealing with the concept of authority, you are basically deluding yourself. In other words, your time is running out. The Internet is going towards a brand-based system. The cornerstone of a brand-based internet is authority. You have to wrap your mind around this concept now more than ever.
To build your website, you need to be proactive. You also need to be creative regarding how to build your online authority. The good news is, a lot of the heavy lifting is done for you, a lot of the authority needed to rank well and sell well in your particular niche has already been done by your competition. You can definitely use their activities as starting point for your own authority building activities. Regardless of how you cut it, you have to build your company on real assets, this asset must separate you from your competition. This is precisely what they’re doing and you have no excuse to do otherwise.
You have to focus on branding. Unfortunately, many online publisher such as you look at branding as some sort of academic exercise. They think its some sort of subject covered in MBA schools. You have to focus on the fact that solid brands need authority. Authority is the glue that holds together a powerful online brand. As hinted above, the good news is that you don’t have to start from a scratch. You can learn from your competition. Read the full discussion below so you can be well on your way to establishing solid online authority.
Authority then, Authority now, Authority forever
Online authority is all about your website answering one key question: “Do you know your stuff?” That’s it. That’s all there is to it. People search online because they’re looking for information. In other words, they want information and data from people that know what they’re talking about. They want to get knowledge from people that know what they’re doing. This is the core of authority.
Just like respect, authority is earned. You don’t get authority just by showing up. It is not a door prize. It is something that is earned-page after page after page. You earn it by impressing one viewer after another. Moreover, just as you can gain authority with really authoritative and informative content. You can easily lose it by conducting yourself in such a way that erodes trust or publishing garbage.
Authority is the glue that holds together solid brands. Authority is also not individual. It is a cumulative base on the impressions of a large chunk of your target audience. Finally, authority is building up when you appeal to the needs of key influential people in your audience. Once these people find you trustworthy, your authority building pages will have more legs to stand on. In other words, your online authority is the accumulated value of your online presence. The good news is even if you’re just a new brand or a new business online, you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch. You only need to figure out who your competition is and you can get enough clues as to how they built their authority and what they use to build that authority. Their authority is the accumulated value of their content and the accumulated experience of their online presence.
Credibility is Crucial – Not Just for Links
There is a misconception among search engine optimization circles that content credibility can be measured solely by the amount of inbound links that a particular page gets. While this is crucial for SEO there is a lot more value to links that meets the eye. You have to remember when people link to you from other websites, they are essentially voting for you.
They are essentially lending you some of their credibility with their audience by saying that your website is a resource. If you have enough credibility and have enough authoritative pages linking to you, your pages might show up higher at Google for your target keywords. That’s how search engines work. They try to mirror page credibility.
With that said, you have to remember that your online brand and your authority and credibility go hand in hand as these are interwoven factors. By building up your authority, you build up your credibility, when you build up your credibility, you build up your brand. This is not an empty exercise. Not only do you get more people from social networks going to your website, but you can also get more traffic from search engines. This all fits in together. What holds all this complicated mix together? You guessed it, authority.
The Know-Like-Trust-Buy Process
If you want to sell anything online, your target audience must trust you. That’s the bottom line. People do not buy from websites they don’t trust. This is why it is important for your business and staff members to understand the know-like-trust-buy process. If you are trying to sell online and you don’t incorporate the DNA of this process into your sales activities, you are basically just wasting your time. Sure, you might be making a little bit of money now, but imagine the amount of money you’d be making if you get this process right. This process is really very simple, this process mirrors how flesh and blood human beings make buying decisions.
First, they have to know you. In other words, they have to be familiar with your value proposition. Familiarity doesn’t necessarily mean they trust you or they like you. You just need to get your content or get your value proposition in front of their eyeballs. Most importantly, this is not a one-time thing. They have to be familiar, in other words, your brand must appear in front of their eyeballs several times for them to feel that they know you.
Next, after they are familiar with your brand. They must like you. This where the content marketing comes in. Your content must really push your value proposition in clear and no uncertain terms that your content and your value proposition answers their needs. The tighter the fit between your target audience’s needs the solutions that you are pushing the more they will like you. Again, this doesn’t happen overnight. You need to repeat this over and over through high quality content that’s speaks to their needs and desires.
The third stage of the process is trust. After you have established a track record of showing a solution that your target audience logically concludes answers their needs. They would begin to trust you. After all, if you helped a person several times, they would begin to depend on you. They would look at you as an ally, they would look at you as a resource. This is precisely the impression you were trying to make. You want them to trust you.
Finally, once your target audience’s trusts. They can then buy from you. This is the payoff, this is the Holy Grail. This is the culmination of a long process. This is where all your hard work pays off. Unfortunately, you can not start here. You have to start at the beginning, you have to start at the KNOW stage proceed to LIKE then to TRUST then to BUY. At the end of the day, people will not buy from you if they don’t trust you. However, people won’t trust you if they don’t like you. Similarly, people wouldn’t like you if they don’t know you. See how all this fits together? You have to keep this process in mind when building your content, when promoting your website and interacting with your website visitors.
Authority is Crucial to the Know-Like-Trust-Buy Process
Where does authority fit in the complicated process of know-like-trust-buy? Very simple, authority is the glue or if you want to put it in another way the fuel that pushes you from the know stage, to the like stage, to the trust stage to the buying stage. The more authority you build up, the faster you go to this stages. The good news is, as you clear each stage your momentum builds. Also, if you have a lot of content build up on your side as well as social media activity that the faster it will be for you to zip through this stages.
Regardless, you have to use authority as your fuel to push you from the initial stages all the way to the final buying stage. Most importantly, authority is crucial to all parts of the process, you have to have authority for people to know you. Just because your brand is in front of a set of eyeballs doesn’t necessarily mean you have a captive market. That set of eyeballs can always close the window or click the back button.
You need authority to remain in front of those eyeballs. Similarly, your content has to have enough authority for people to develop a liking for your content. In other words, just because you’re in front of a set of eyeballs consistently doesn’t mean your brand is moving forward. You have to use authority to make sure they develop a liking for your content. In terms of trust, the relationship with authority is so plain and so simple, it almost doesn’t need an explanation. Still, for people to trust you, you have to have enough authority and credibility that they will take the information that you provide them and believe that information.
Belief is crucial to the trusting process, it is impossible to trust somebody you don’t believe. They don’t go hand in hand. Authority is crucial to believability. The more useful the content you share, the more problem you solve for your target audience, the more believable you are. The more believable you are ,the more they will trust you.
Finally, in the buying process, authority pretty much just gives a slight push to a target audience member to pull the trigger of his/her credit card. At this stage of the game, you have built up enough authority that it doesn’t take much brain power for your target audience to buy. However, one key element that requires authority is the call to action. If your authority is missing or if your authority is somehow weak. There would not be enough of a compulsion for a viewer to click the buy button or take action on your call to action text. You have to have authority to push that person to make the buying decision.
Building Authority Completely on your Own
As mentioned above, there are two ways to build online authority. You can build authority on your own or you can reverse engineer your competition. There are always two ways to do anything in life. You can do things the easy way or you can do things the hard way. Trying to build authority on your own is definitely the hard way. Why? You are pretty much taking shots in the dark. Sure, there a lot of tried and proven approaches out there, but they go through a long learning curve. They also go through a lot of rejection cycles. You can definitely work on building authority on your own, but you need a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of effort and energy.
Here are some basic ways to build authority on your own. You can use keyword research to find the keywords that your target audience is using to find websites just like yours. There are many online tools where you put in the keyword that is related to your niche and the tool will produce a list of keywords that people use to find websites related to that niche.
One of the most popular tools for this is google Adwords campaign planner. Now you simply put in your keyword and it will spit out keywords suggestion along with search volume and other crucial pieces of information that you would need to make an informed decision.
Another approach you can take to determine what kind of content you need to produce to build authority is by research trends. There are lots of trend tools available online. One of the most popular is google trends. You can play around with that tool to find a specific trends in your niche. You can also use twitter search engine and hashtag system to find which concepts are trending in your particular niche.
Finally, and one of the most powerful sources of authority building information is your interaction with your site visitors. The most credible and authoritative people that can give you the information you need to create authoritative content of course is your target audience. You get it straight to the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
The problem with all this is that there’s going to be a lot of hit and miss. You are basically going about the process trying to get lucky. You need a lot of test content. You need to go through a lot of testing to figure out which type of content will work and which type of content you can ignore. Also, you have to pay attention to your statistics. A lot of people simply neglect the statistics if they don’t see any immediate results. You can go through all this process, you can take a lot of shots in the dark and take your chances. However, there is an easier way. What way is that? Reverse engineer your competitions authority.
Using your Competition to Build Authority
The good news with online promotions is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to traffic and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content and page authority. A lot of the heavy lifting has already been done by your competition.
All you need to do is to have a clear, methodical system for reverse engineering your competition authority. First, you have to find your competition. Do a search for all related keywords that have something to do with your target audience, your niche, or your website. Once you have all this information, you will have a result of other websites that are competing for your keywords. List down all this other businesses, compile as comprehensive as a list you can get.
The next stage is to use online tools to find your competitions most authoritative content. By authoritative content, we mean content that gets the most links, gets the most social mentions, or receives other kinds of signals that indicate the popularity or usefulness. Once you have that information, you then have everything you would need to come up with your own version of that authority content. Then you have to build your own version. Your version for you to win in the online marketing game, you have to learn from your competition’s weaknesses while building on their strengths.
This is all a page from the great strategist Sun Tzu’s Art of War: “You have to hit your enemy when he’s weak, and run away when he’s strong.” Use this online research to figure out your competition’s strongest content and your competition’s weak content. You can then craft together a content marketing strategy that would build on their strengths and fix their weaknesses. This is how you get a competitive advantage.
You don’t get a competitive advantages by blindly copying your competition. This guy is tan all about that. You’re not building any real authority when you’re just a copycat. Instead, you build authority when you figure out the principles of the strengths of your competition while fixing their weaknesses. When you do this, you get a competitive advantage. When you just mirror your competition, you’re not going to get any advantages because you’re just going to play the game from several miles back, you’ll never gonna catch up. You have to play the game in such a way that you are fixing the issues that they’re not fixing.
Common Content Improvements you can Make
It’s one thing to say the phrase “learn from your competition’s weaknesses and build on their strengths.” But what is that really mean? There are many levels of answers to this question. However, the most practical level is that you have to address the things that you can clearly see. This means the following; better graphics, clear explanations, more media (diagrams,videos,question and answer, etc.). Expert input. The biggest example of expert inputs regarding a niche topic is to conduct interviews with acknowledge experts in your field.
Building a successful online business is not a joke. It is not a hobby, people who make millions of dollars every single year with a winning e-commerce website or winning content website arrive there because they made inform decisions. In other words, they had solid plans. Just like with anything else in life. If you fail to plan, you are really planning to fail. It really is that simple. One key element of the planning stage is to understand the concept of online authority. The good news is you don’t have to build this authority on your own. You can reverse engineer your competition so you can get a running start. Regardless, if you aren’t building authority, you just wasting your time online.
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