However, for small- to medium-sized businesses, establishing credibility on the Web is often an uphill battle. There are dozens of legacy websites with strong domain authorities, and startups struggle to ramp up content quality and expertise on their blogs to compete with those mega-sites on an SEO level.
In a recent Google Webmaster video, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, explained the difference between popularity and authority on the Web. A viewer had asked:
“As Google continues to add social signals to the algorithm, how do you separate simple popularity from true authority?”
First, Cutts denounced the idea that social signals play any role in search, obviously. But his main point was that there is vast difference between what is popular and what is authoritative. He explained that traffic may seem like the true measurement of authority, but it is not.
For example, an explicit site may generate higher traffic volumes than a government website, but when it comes to passing true authority, more people are likely to link to the latter than the former. So, while more people will view content on the explicit site, it doesn’t necessarily make it authoritative.
Google engineers have been working to do a better job of surfacing sites that may see less traffic but show an inherent understanding of what is being searched. This would give smaller sites the ability to compete with larger properties over precious search real estate.
While the goal of owning and operating marketing blogs is to reach a large audience, publishers may soon be able to see the benefit of investing in subject matter expertise development over aggressive link-building strategies. This is because Google will soon be able to analyze site content and determine true authority, regardless of which page gets more traffic.
Views, unique views, and inbound links will always play a role in search, but the focus on quality, custom content continues to heighten among Google engineers, SEOs, and content marketing teams. Therefore, brand marketers looking to grow their content programs and site authority must have the framework in place to not only produce original content but also have the solutions to recruit authoritative writers at scale.
The Skyword Platform connects leading brands with a pool of creative freelance writers from across a number of industries. This allows marketers to build relationships with influential writers, include them in content marketing programs, and boost the authority of their websites. As search shifts to authority, so must businesses’ marketing efforts.
See the original video below: