Subject Authorities

Subject Authorities Within Web Search

SEO is evolving and maturing in many ways. No longer just a matter of the strategic use of keywords and link-building, SEO is becoming more intelligent – from determining the user intent and meaning behind search terms, to detecting and weeding out spam activities and poor quality and unoriginal content. One of Google’s recent SEO developments is that of providing a ranking boost to subject authorities within web search. This means content that has real authority and expertise behind it is being ranked higher than content that has been produced by someone who isn’t considered to be an expert in that particular subject.

How is this being done?

Google is achieving this through algorithms rather than human intervention. Subject authority is already being used in Google News, which has its own set of ranking signals – including user-click rates, the freshness, authority and local relevancy of publications and being first to produce an original and informative news item. Google is now working on transferring similar features to web search itself, which can help you promote your content if you have expertise in your subject matter, whatever field you happen to be in.

So, how do you get to be considered a subject authority?

Providing well written content that is relevant to your audience, linking to content from other trusted sources that you know will interest your audience, and attracting links from trusted sources to your own content is at the heart of making this development work for you. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Produce high-quality content. You should regularly inject top-quality original and fresh content into your site. No matter what other SEO tactics you use, without quality content that is relevant to your audience, you are not going to get very far in web search. Google’s new developments emphasise this point even more than before. You can achieve this through producing weekly or monthly blog posts, articles or news items that provide something informative, useful, and original for your targeted audience.
  • Google Authorship is important. Authorship can help you establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field, and it is easy and quick to set up a Google+ profile and link to your content. Actions such as implementing rich snippets, posting a professional photo image, and linking to other quality content on Google+ can also help you to earn higher rankings.
  • Link building is still very relevant. However, it is the quality of the links that matters rather than the quantity. This means when a widely trusted source links to your site, it is more likely to send a signal to Google that your content has authority and value. Google’s Head of Search Spam Matt Cutts emphasised this point late last year, using the example that you must be an authority if the New York Times has linked to your content. The same is also true in reverse when it comes to linking to content from the New York Times.
  • Promote your content. Using social media to promote your blog posts or news articles is important in building an audience and a public profile.

The SEO landscape is going to continue changing in 2014. By always aiming for high-quality, authoritative content in your internet marketing, you are on the right track in sending the right type of signals to Google and the other search engines out there that your content is worthy of good rankings.

By Bill Vasiliadis having written 63 posts for SEO for Small Business Pty Ltd. Bill Vasiliadis is an Australian SEO Consultant with over 20 years of online experience. He has helped businesses of all sizes increase the return on investment from their online marketing spend.

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