Website authority can actually be “borrowed”. It’s a little known secret among SEO teams that using another website’s authority is a way to optimize on-page content. Basically, it’s a method of using a well-known site’s authority rank to boost another site’s organic search placement.
And like many other and SEO practices, it’s either overlooked, under utilized or abused. However, when used properly, website authority citations included within a piece of copy not only helps to optimize the content, but builds trust with readers.
So, it definitely has its place to better optimize copy on a site and in turn, to build a loyal audience.
Website Authority Explained
Basically, a website’s authority rank is derived from measurements computed search engine algorithms. There are many signals used to determine site authority, but chief among them are traffic, inbound links, visitor interaction, outbound links to similar sites and original, informative, and relevant content.
Let’s start by defining what an authority site is not. It’s not always the top result in Google. It’s not always even found on the first page, depending upon the day and the latest algorithmic changes. Certain niches tend to be spammier, too, with the top results being utter trash. —Search Engine Watch
However, as the nearby block quote states, this does not mean that authority sites always rank at the top of organic search results. Of course, there are instances where this is the case, Wikipedia is a prime example. But many search queries will return results chock-full of sites that have been optimized to the hilt–and those pages might not necessarily be the best resource.
Another way of putting it is relating the explanation to food. You already know where the best hamburger in town is served, but you have to pass at least three well-known fast food chains to get there. Just because the Golden Arches are on every block doesn’t mean that restaurant serves the best burgers.
How to Use Others’ Site Authority
If you read the above block quote, you’ve already seen this SEO trick in action. In a nutshell, it’s the practice of finding a recognized authority and citing that source. Including a fact published by the National Association of Realtors in a blog post about the pace of home sales or referencing data published by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics in an article about hiring trends are good examples. Here’s a couple more tips:
- Write your copy to inform. People listen to the news or read it in print or on the Internet to learn about what’s happening. Your content should aim to please. In other words, answer the question posed in a search query.
- Include authority sources smartly. Name dropping is a pejorative for a reason. Too many quotes or outside references undermine your credibility.
- Add insight to your work. The practice of including an authoritative link is to help bolster your point. But don’t forget to include your own unique take or spin.
Finally, don’t be overwhelmed when writing. Over time, finding and citing authoritative source sites becomes easier. But for those who don’t have the time, we’re always here to help!