Getting ranked in search engines is largely a matter of keyword authority. If you’re not ranked, you probably don’t have enough keyword authority and it’s usually that simple. In other words, you either don’t have a solid piece of content about that keyword or there aren’t enough sites out there that know about your piece of content.

Please give the last sentence some serious thought. If you’re site is struggling, I’d bet the farm that you have one of those two problems.

Most sites don’t have the rankings they would like to have, but I guess that’s obvious. Based on the number of people reading this site and others like it, we can reasonably assume that people still aren’t getting to the traffic numbers they’re looking for.

Search engines can be literal gold mines for individuals that are able to take advantage. Google especially can provide you with a residual influx of traffic, amazingly composed primarily of a specific group of people that are looking for the information, product, or service you provide.

So what do you have to do to get Google to see you as an authority for the keyword you would like to get ranked for.

The Quickest Way To The Top

With this game, there are a lot of ways to play. The easiest way to win is to enlist the help of the ‘authorities’ – better said, the people that Google already trusts for the keyword you would like to come up for.

Let’s say that I wanted to become an authority for a keyword phrase like ‘how to teach a gerbil to swim’. Well, first things first, who are the ‘authorities’ for this keyword?

Doing a quick search in Google will tell you exactly who Goog believes the authorities are, and it all starts there. If you could get the top ten URLs that are ranked in Google to link to you, you would become an instant authority and would likely have earned a great ranking for that keyword. With an easy keyword like this, you would probably get ranked first, unless your site was brand new.

Yeah I hear you, “Well how do I get those sites to link to me, Court?” Well that’s the question isn’t it?! It’s not always going to be possible. I said this was the quickest way to the top – it’s definitely not easy to get everyone to link to your site.

That said, if I wanted to get sites like these to link to my gerbil-swimming site (ha, can you imagine if I really had a site about this?), I would probably create some kind of free download that I could offer. For some reason, I have always had better luck getting people to link to downloads (as opposed to posts or articles).

Alerting a bunch of gerbil sites about your download would likely draw some links.

Most people never get this far because they don’t want to create something of value in the first place. If you honestly created the best report ever written about ‘how to teach a gerbil to swim’, it’s very likely that you would eventually climb to number one for that keyword, based on the fact that gerbil lovers would link to you. Creating a garbage page would put you in a much more difficult position.

The reality is that some keywords are much more difficult than this one, but the same principles apply. If you want to rank first for cell phones, they keyword authority you need will be a lot harder to get. Why? Because the sites that are currently ranked are seriously strong sites.

I would say that a healthy majority of you will never try to create the amount of keyword authority it would take to get ranked for a term like cell phones. Why? You don’t believe that you could do it. I think that many of you could achieve something like that. The problem is that people tend to quit before they get there.

I think if you took a hard look at the sites that currently rank for anything, you’ll find that they don’t do the greatest job ever of explaining their information. Any of us could probably do a better job and if we did, we would create some keyword authority out of thin air. Why? People always link to the best site that covers a topic.

I bet a good 90% of you would be capable of getting on to the first page in Google for a term like ‘cell phones’, if you were willing to pay the price. Of course, it wouldn’t be mathematically possible for you all to do it at once. It doesn’t matter anyway because 99% of people would just quit anyway – that doesn’t have to be you. You can be different, if you want to be.

How To Get Started With Your Site’s Keyword Authority

Going after a huge term like cell phones usually isn’t the best way to build keyword authority. If I had a site about cell phones, I would break it down into tons of subtopics that I could provide solid information about.

A subtopic like ‘how to change a cell phone battery’  or ‘which is the best hosting company‘ would be easier to move up the rankings for, and would still help you to build authority for ‘cell phones’. Stringing together 50 or so keywords like that one on a single site will help you to start getting somewhere for ‘cell phones’, even though you haven’t tried specifically for cell phones. Why? Google and other search engines know that the terms are related.

The more specific, sub-topical terms you can rank for, the more keyword authority you will build for the more difficult keyword – the keyword most people would call a pipe dream.

Make a list of keywords that work well with your site, use those keywords to create awesome articles, notify other sites that cover the topic, and repeat.

So What Is Keyword Authority Exactly?

It’s a measure of how good your site is for a specific keyword. Google uses a lot of metrics to determine this, including use of keywords in your site (throughout your entire site), which sites you’re getting links from (and how authoritative they are for the keyword), and what words they use when they link to you (anchor text). Improve any of those metrics, and you will improve your keyword authority. Improve more than anyone else, and you will find yourself with a #1 ranking for your keyword.

There are, of course, lots of different methods that you can use to create keyword authority. We’re not going to cover them all today but I hope that this lesson will help you to understand a little more about what keyword authority is. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions!