A is for authority

A is for authority

What is authority in content?

Authority is having confidence in your subject. But it is also about other people’s recognition. Being an expert in something only gets you so far. You can’t actually be an authority if only you, two of your friends and a dog know about it.

So how do you build authority into your content?

Your content should be useful. It should solve problems and help people realise their ambitions. It may even identify problems and ambitions ahead of the reader.

Authoritative content often covers a narrow subject in depth. It should use numbers and facts rather than hyperbole. It doesn’t show off. It wears its authority lightly.

To claim this title – the A in Google’s all important E-A-T acronym – you need to become synonymous with your subject.

Authority, however, isn't conveyed by being official, formal or posh. It doesn't come from using big words and long sentences. It possibly emanates from strength of character and is certainly better conveyed by a person than by an organisation.

Part of everything you can E-A-T

Authority is also one of the most important factors in SEO. You or your website will be judged by how often you appear elsewhere on the internet.

By far the best marks of authority are links to your domain from influential and relevant sites. The sheer frequency at which you are mentioned by name is also a factor, but Google attaches less importance to quantity than quality.

Good press and citations also have a bearing. You need consistency and a solid volume of organic affirmation, but can’t be seen to appear out of nowhere. Don't expect instant success. Like Rome, authority isn’t built in a day.

Trustworthiness – the T in EAT – is intrinsically linked to authority. Even with an impressive number of citations, links and mentions, individuals and websites will be marked down if known to be misleading. Influence, determined by volume, is certainly important, but trust, stemming from the quality of backlinks or mentions, is just as significant a determining factor.

Put simply, having branded, respected or authoritative sources pointing to you is of much greater value than garnering a large number of Twitter shares. The jewel of internet authority, a Wikipedia entry, is the best example of this.


Get our newsletter for insights into modern comms