As Web 2.0 becomes
less of just a buzzword and more of a reality, the types of sites
webmasters need to publish will increasingly become more important.
In other words, mini-sites are slowly dying and cookie-cutter
article sites are on the way out as well. Web surfers will become
more value-focused and web companies will become larger.
Over the next few years expect larger conglomerates to be buying
up profitable websites in their chosen markets. Expect smaller sites
to either be bought or driven out of business. My intention is not
to scare you, but this outcome is inevitable.
Large businesses have always taken two approaches to their
desired markets. They either buy their competition or they push them
out of business. You want to be prepared when this trend begins on
Being a webmaster and online marketer, you should be preparing
for one of two scenarios. To position yourself for a buyout to a
larger company or to become the larger company that dominates your
Whichever route you choose is entirely up to you, but I would
suggest that it would be in your best interest to begin focusing on
authority sites. You can either start building them or turning your
current sites into them. Whatever your approach may be, I assure you
it will help you sleep better at night.
What Is the Definition of an Authority Site?
A fairly comprehensible authority site definition was put forward
by Jason Dowdell of Global Promoter. Jason defined it this way:
sites are sites that have been linked to and referenced on other web
sites covering the same subject matter and they also will have
hundreds if not thousands of pages covering that subject matter and
nearly every facet of it."
That definition is one manís opinion, albeit a good one, but let
us go directly to the source. Many search engine optimization and
search engine marketing experts believe Google has derived their
primary algorithm from a document titled, "Hilltop: A Search Engine
based on Expert Documents."
The PageRank formula as we know it today was derived from this
paper, and the authors, Bharat and Mihaila, define an authority site
in the text below:
"We believe a page is an authority on the query topic if and only
if some of the best experts on the query topic point to it. Of
course in practice some expert pages may be experts on a broader or
related topic. If so, only a subset of the hyperlinks on the expert
page may be relevant."
"In such cases the links being considered have to be carefully
chosen to ensure that their qualifying text matches the query. By
combining relevant out-links from many experts on the query topic we
can find the pages that are most highly regarded by the community of
pages related to the query topic. This is the basis of the high
relevance that our algorithm delivers."
What we have reprinted above is the foundation of the PageRank
system and the determination for deciding which sites will be
authorities. I highly recommend you read and re-read the full
document until you understand every aspect of it.
What Are the Components of an Authority Site?
Allow me to present you with a diagram at:
http://www.contentdesk.com/authoritymap that dissects your
typical authority site. As you can tell from the diagram, a
considerable number of components and systems must be in place for
the authority site to function profitably and reap the benefits of
the "Authority Site Formula."
The Authority Site Formula = Visitor Optimization (VO) + Content
Optimization (CO) * Creative Marketing (CM)
A simple question must be asked. What do 99.9% of authority sites
provide? In a sentence, an incredible amount of original content and
a superb visitor experience. The search engines want you to succeed
and they want you to make money, but you have to play by their
rules. In the future, focus your efforts on visitor optimization and
content optimization instead of search engine optimization.
What Is the Anatomy of an Authority Site?
About.com is the definition and was the original authority site.
Their site has a generic domain name and hundreds of subdomains on
Your authority site should take the same approach, but not on
such a general level. If you launch an authority site, it should be
geared towards a well-defined and large market. After you launch the
site and generate some traffic, you should create subdomains that
cover specific areas inside that larger market.
For example, Diabetic-Resources.Com is not an active site; but if
it were, then a typical authority site setup would be something
Using this approach, you are able to target your general market
while generating more targeted traffic pertaining to related
As a rule of thumb, the index pages on your domains and
subdomains should be more focused on content, but the article and
commentary pages should be more focused on advertising. Just do not
ever lose sight of the most important aspect of your site, which is
visitor experience otherwise known as visitor optimization.
What Does It Take to Create an Authority Site?
You want to create a site that generates thousands of visitors a
day mainly through the major search engines, and would ultimately be
the one-stop source for information in that particular market.
Your site must employ three traits to become an authority site.
Letís discuss all three necessary aspects:
Dynamic: You should have as many RSS feeds as you can
muster to incorporate throughout your site. Your visitors need to be
able to receive RSS feeds for any keyword, category or archive as
well as create their own. One feed is no longer enough to satisfy
Interactive: You should be engaging the minds of your
visitors at all times using surveys, commenting and feedback. Make
these features easy for your visitors and your site will grow
exponentially. Why? Because they feel like you actually care about
them. Interaction is a powerful tool and creates a sense of
community on your site.
Consistent: You should post to your blog often, and you
should always provide quality and original content. That doesn't
mean you need to produce 800-word articles three times a week. Your
goal should be to become a news master. You need to be an
on the news happening in your niche.
If you follow the steps and guidelines listed above, then you
will be on your way to being the owner of an authority site.