Introduction To Keyword Authority

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!

Comments 107

  1. Thanks Court! I’ve GREATLY missed your insight as well. Just so you know, my site is now making over $100 a month just from your teaching. This is just the start.

    Ok, so, question, what about social bookmarking sites? I imagine it takes a bit longer to reach that authority place because the social bookmark sites (most likely) don’t have the keyword authority you’re looking to earn.

    When I look at the first page in Google for my keyword, it’s all corporate sites. Those are going to be very difficult to crack. In Yahoo I’m #4 for my keyword, but I can’t seem to do it in Google.

  2. Good to see you posting again Court =P
    GL with your rankings and all.

    I agree that most people just don’t have the confidence to archive rankings. When I wanted to go after “SEO” as a keyword, some told me I was crazy. In two month or so, I am now floating around page 3 for SEO =P
    Now the real work begins, since I’m up against people like Quadzilla, Rand Fishkin, and Aaron Wall. (that and the wikipedia article has sick authority)

  3. I agree completely. My website currently has 42 keywords (or phrases) that are ranked 100 or less for Google (Geeksquad only has 39.) and I am working on more. Some of them are my name or company name but others are important terms like Computer Network Consulting. That is an important term to me and I have worked very hard to cultivate my authority on that term. Next I’m going for Computer Networking.

  4. Court,
    This was extremely informative. Most of my traffic (a resounding 60%) comes from social networking and I’ve been learning how to rank for keywords. This post was explained clearly and was to the point. Awesome content. I appreciate you!
    Dali Burgado

  5. Very helpful post. I have just began to start learning about SEO since I don’t own bloggin-ads anymore. An arcade site has a lot of competition and I believe that SEO is the key to success. I guess certain keywords do add up 🙂


  6. Very helpful indeed. thx for that

    just gave me an idea of how to structure my autoblog. had a look at the top ranked google sites. Motor authority is pretty sick. Autoweek is another top one.

    I really waiting for another court series like Keyword Snipping! Woo Hoo, I will following this, (You will make the series of Keyword authority, right?) 🙂

  8. I see your new views on content really shining through, here, Court – am loving the discussion – please keep it up!

  9. It is a good idea. For me I didn’t really think of keyword and stuff. I just keep posting some Stock education post everyday to let people who love my post coming in.

  10. Is really hard this days to rank high, probably always was , in my opinion there are “strong people” who can buy links or already own some sites in top 10 for some keywords, they use the “keyword authority” to promote other sites/services. This guys rule the world.

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  13. Thanks Court, I found this post motivating. Some times spending hours searching for the low hanging fruit is too much. It’s nice to know that broader terms can be taken over too. It just takes the time and effort. Having a large site with lots of keyword authority would be a nice accomplishment.

  14. Thanks for the great information. Link-building and content writing are not glamorous. They take a consistent effort. Most people give up before they really see results. Like just about anything else, sticking with it will pay off.

  15. You hit the nail dead on when you say most people give up. That’s what keeps me going hard…I know if I keep chugging along doing the proper things, I will surpass most people in my niche as they will eventually throw in the towel.

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  17. I’m doing a lot of keyword research at the moment and I’ve got to say this post has helped clarify things immensely. Building authority from the bottom up takes a lot of dedication to a single goal.

  18. I can appreciate how you say that “there arent enough sites out there that know about your content”

    Recently I’ve been getting the word out about my keyword rich content by using social blogging sites…the one Ive had the most succes with so far is anyone else using sites like this?

    Its similar to a digg format, in that you post partial blog posts on echodemic, and they are ranked by a community of users (they call the ranks “echos”). The posts with the most ranks end up on the front page.

    None of my posts have ended up on the front page, but I have had good traffic back.

    Do any of you use sites like this?

  19. I have decided to make my main focus keyword Pool Care, is it smart for me to put that keyword everywhere that I can? Anyway this is the best most insightful blog about internet marketing I have ever read. Thanks for your support!

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  22. DUDE!!! I can’t believe you aren’t pimping Wordze with this post!!! (You’re still earning affiliate income from my recurring subscription!!!)

    Wordze SHOWS you the top “authority” sites for important keywords.

  23. Great post as always Court. I’ll echo that you’re right about people quitting. It’s tough going sometimes, but it’s important to never give up. It’s also important not to bite off more than you can chew for your first experiment. Getting started and trying to be #1 for “credit card” is a sure way to end up broke and disgusted.

  24. Keyword authority is a great concept. It’s important that you layer in different versions of your keyword on your pages and it’s also important that you consider the overall messaging of your keywords throughout all the pages of your site.

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  26. i would like to say this was so motivating to me , i already have a good ranking for highly competitive keywords but never thought to go for keywords like cellphones after this post i will give it a shot and i will update you later with results.

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  28. I woukd really love to see my website ranked top on google. I know its not impossible, Thanks for the informative post BTW.

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  34. Great points. The authority of your website for a particular search topic significantly affects the ranking for keywords relating to this topic. This also applies to the authority value the search engine assigns to sites linking to yours — the higher authority (and closer to the exact keyword), the more beneficial the link.

  35. Great advice, and I look forward to reading the entire Keyword Crash Course ebook. Good point about keyword authority and organic search engine optimization taking a while; but — in contrast to PPC campaigns — the effects of SEO are long lasting. Thanks.

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  37. Keywords and unique content are so important! Thanks for sharing this post. look forward to reading the entire Keyword Crash Course ebook.
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