I read an article last week that actually came out in April that was written by a guy named Jon von Tetzchner, the founder and CEO of Opera, a pretty good browser that, unfortunately, lags behind a number of other browsers. He’d written something titled My friends at Google: it is time to return to not being evil, and it was kind of a harrowing tale of how he felt betrayed by them and how they need to go back to living their former motto (which they’ve dropped) of “Don’t Be Evil”.
I think this cat looks evil
I hate going out on a limb and calling Google “evil” for more than one reason… the main one being that they’re kind of thin skinned for a large organization. Yet, I’m going to go there because I’m a glutton for punishment and I’m not really calling them that. Instead, I’m intimating that they often give the appearance of being evil and that maybe changing a few things might help others perceive them better. Continue reading →
Ever since I wrote a post two weeks ago talking about being smacked by Google Panda, I’ve been wondering this one particular question: “What Is An Authority Blog Post?” I think it’s an intriguing question to try to tackle, and I did something I rarely do; lots of research! Let’s see what some other people consider and have to say about the concept of authority posts.
Don Yeager is an authority
I decided to go on Duck Duck Go instead of Big G to do this research for two main reasons. One, because my buddy Holly is boycotting them because of a particular site I refuse to mention that they’re advertising with to her dismay. Two, because I didn’t want the G people telling me who they felt was going to tell me what authority posts are.
Truthfully, the Kahuna doesn’t ever tell us what authority is; that’s an issue that most people have against them. What they in essence tell us is that they’ll know it when they see it; isn’t that helpful?
The first post the Duck put up is titled What Is Authority by Chris Garrett. Written in 2007, Chris says “I see authority as a journey, a continuous process. There is no end point. In fact, if you stop working towards it, or feel like you have “done enough”, that is when you are most likely to lose it.” He also says authority covers 3 aspects: personality; expertise; visibility.
I actually like this article a lot, but since it was written before Panda it begs the question as to whether this article would be considered authoritative. I mean, considering it only comes in at 436 words, and these days people are saying we should be reaching at least 1,000 words, does it pass or fail today’s authority standards? I say… it’s complicated. lol
Once again it’s a wonderful post. However, he never quite gets around to telling us what an authority post is. Instead, he tells us different ways to establish authority, which is pretty cool, but it doesn’t specifically answer the question. The one time it’s kind of addressed is when he begins point #5, Write in a Conversational, But Authoritative Tone to Position Yourself Higher, where he states 3 specific short sentences:
The so-called “expert status” is a relative term.
Nobody is going to crown you as an expert.
You need to crown yourself.
Who can be mad at that? Check out the post because it’s a wonderful job, and it’ll give you a lot of tips. Still, it didn’t answer the question; oh well… onward we go.
Next we have an article titled What Is An Authority Blog? on a site that, well, isn’t really all that authoritative (it’s a site in Singapore that’s a street directory; isn’t that was G Maps is all about?), but it came up in the search.
Me being authoritative
The first thing we get is a definition of an authority site: “An authority blog or an authority site is one of the main places people go to for information on a particular niche or topic.” The follow up is this: “One of the main characteristics of an authority site is it has more content or pages than any other site in that niche.” Actually, I don’t think that’s true. I have nearly 500 articles on blogging on this site and 462 on my business site on leadership (I’ve linked to a post highlighting the 12th anniversary of that blog lol) and, as much as I think I’m somewhat authoritative on these subjects it seems the search engines don’t agree with me on this point. Then again, they’re not quite niched specifically enough are they? What about my finance blog where each of 975 posts is on financial topics? Nope, that’s not getting the job done either… heck!
Hey, what about a post on Copyblogger? They’re a pretty big name, right? I’ve got just the article, titled How to Become an Authority Blogger that might be pretty good… even though it was written in 2007 (amazing; two of the articles I found were from the same year, way before anyone started talking about authority and content and Panda penalties). The author doesn’t quite answer the question of independent articles; instead, he gives 3 tips on how to become an authority: check your thoughts regularly; speak with authority; study other authorities.
One again, those are great points and I’m glad to share a link to the article. However, these are more about each of us than the concept of authority blog posts isn’t it? How can this be so hard a question to answer? Maybe the question is too direct; what do you think?
Let’s try one more. This article is titled 5 Lessons Learned from My Failed Authority Blog Project; there’s trouble on the horizon. Written in 2013, Tom Ewer actually talks about authority blog posts and how, for whatever reason, Gesus decided his quality couldn’t top other “quality” that weren’t actually quality at all. He did everything right, but as he shows in what is a very well written and researched post, he just couldn’t break through on his niche even though he was actually talking about it specifically.
I actually agree with what he’s talking about, and I have my own proof. In a post I wrote titled 9 Ways Blogging Can Help You And Your Business, I mentioned that for my main business search term I’m actually listed in the top 5 by the 100 zeros people. What I didn’t mention is that out of the other sites in the top 10 only 2 of them actually do consulting at all. The other sites are all job sites, and when I checked them out they’re not even listing the actual position for the search terms. How are those sites showing authority if they don’t even fit the search term requirements? No idea…
We’re in kind of a quandary aren’t we? Well, I guess that, just like I was the first person to specifically answer the question as to what high quality content was many years ago, it’s going to be up to me to answer this question about authority blog posts. Let’s see how this one works.
1. You have to address something that no one else has and then hammer the point with more consistent content on the same topic.
My main search term for my business is “charge master consultant. When you go to the Duck, you’ll see that I’m listed in position #1 because I have a page that specifically talks about doing that sort of work. However, it’s what’s in the 3rd position where I seal the deal when I wrote a blog post titled What Is A Charge Master?.
Out of the top 20 listings there are only 2 articles on the subject. However, out of all the articles I’ve written on my business blog, 45 of them are on this specific topic, along with adding the “consultant” and “consulting” works in a few of them. This makes me an authority in that particular area; now all I need are more people searching for the information.
2. You have to have “facts”, even if they’re opinion “facts”.
You know that link above about the high quality content? The mallard has me listed at #7 on the topic, which is pretty cool. Do you know where the Seattle owners have me? I certainly don’t, as I’m not in the top 100 (I had to look Holly…), and it’s an article specifically written on the topic! Once again, Tom was onto something; maybe we should follow his very first recommendation: Forget Google! Well… I don’t want to go there to that degree, but it shows that the normal person doesn’t quite have a shot at figuring all these things out doesn’t it? By the way, now there are a lot of articles highlighting the same topic, but back in 2011 when I wrote it I was the only one.
This subject of opinion “facts” is an intriguing one. For instance, when I wrote about 9 ways to identify spam on blogs back in November, every one of those items was a fact… just more apocryphal than researched based. Well, it was my research, but I didn’t go out on the web looking for anyone to corroborate what I had to say on the subject. With nearly 1,750 blog posts here and lots more on my other blogs, couldn’t I be considered as an authority on identifying spam without having to research it? BTW, Quackers has this article listed in the #2 spot, whereas G… not in the top 150 (I’m liking Duck Duck more and more…)
3. Others will identify your posts as authoritative; it could come from anywhere.
This one isn’t all that comforting and yet it’s pretty true. I wrote a post back in September titled 30 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Blog. I promoted it the same way I usually do and it got a lot of attention and comments. Go Duck ranks it #1; you-know-who doesn’t list it at all unless you put it within quotation marks.
You know what? That article had all the earmarks of an authority post… at least what’s recommended by the “experts”. It had almost 5,800 words. It had a lot of images. It had the bolded subcategories. It had internal and external links. It offered a lot of advice. Give it a look if you have time; if that’s not authority then I’m a mongoose.
That’s all I’ve got on what’s considered an authority post. I’ve done my bit of research and I’ve offered my thoughts. Now it’s your turn; what do you consider an authority post to be? Also, do you think this one qualifies, and if not what do you think is missing?
I hear a lot of excuses from people when it comes to why they don’t blog all that often. Although I tend to believe that people have more to say than they think they do, I can understand how someone might think they’ll run out of things to say.
What I also hear is that people have no idea how to write for search engines, or the all-important SEO. I thought it was time to address the question of just how important SEO is to your blogging content.
Is SEO important? Yes, it’s absolutely important. How important it is in one’s blogging content is a different question entirely.
There are times when making sure that certain keywords are prominent in a blog post. One of the benefits of blogging is the fact that you’re actually building up prominence for your topics, or keywords that you want to be known for, by having a lot of content rather than having to keep drilling down on specific keywords or keyword phrases. So you shouldn’t have to go out of your way to create those keywords or keyword phrases if you know what you’re talking about.
For instance, even though I’m using the term SEO often in this particular post, if I decided to only use it once in any other post and linked that one time to something else on either my blog or my website, it would have as much power for my website as mentioning it in one post multiple times. The fact is that I have written on the topic multiple times on this blog throughout the years, so I should be covered, especially if someone’s wondering how it might relate to blogging.
In other words, the SEO properties of a blog don’t have to occur all in one post. One can spread out the process via multiple posts. That also means that your content can read naturally for both your visitors and the search engines, which is what everyone wants to see anyway.
Of course you will probably go somewhere else and read where someone has said how important it is to make sure that every single post you write is perfectly optimized. I’ve read lots of blog posts where they’ll tell you how many times you need to use certain phrases, that you need to add H1, H2, H-etc tags, and a whole lot of other tricks. Go find some of the big time blogs and check to see how often they’re employing these tricks within the articles; almost never!
I’m here to tell you that it’s much more important having consistent content than worrying about how you’re writing something. As long issue make it readable for your visitors, make it compelling, and have a style worth reading, your content and your search engine optimization processes will take care of themselves.
Back last April Google put through a couple of corrections in their search engine protocols that seemed to hurt a lot of websites in some fashion. Their intention was to clean up their algorithms so that their search results were not only more accurate, but to penalize those websites that they somehow deemed as having a lot of keywords or spam-like characteristics. They also took a look at links back to websites and started taking away some authority from websites based on the quality of who was linking in to them.
Whenever something like this happens, the crowd goes on a lemming rampage and starts decrying SEO tactics as something that won’t work anymore and some people even start saying that people who say they do SEO services are taking advantage of everyone else.
I’m here to tell you that’s not true across the board. In reality, some people are either always sneaky or always honest; the only middle ground is being somewhat incompetent, recommending things that search engines don’t even look at anymore as major SEO components.
Here’s some truths.
First, the basic principles of SEO will always be valid. I’m not mentioning them again because the tips are in the article I linked to.
Second, if you purchased links you knew whether they were good or not, so that’s on you. If you didn’t purchase links that’s a different story. I know that my main business website has more than 8,500 links from sources that I never submitted that site to, and a lot of them are questionable. However, I don’t have the time to reach out to that many sites, so if Google decides they’re lousy sites, there’s really not much I can do about it.
Third, if you’ve written your content well, and you’ve made sure that you haven’t overused your keywords and keyword phrases on all pages, then you should be fine. However, if you have, and you’ll know if you have, then you need to put some corrections through to fix that.
Fourth, and this is an interesting one. If your website or blog has a lot of links, you might have to perform some maintenance and check for broken links. Turns out that a lot of blogs got hit badly because of that one.
The rest of your marketing, if it’s solid stuff, will still do you well. I look at my main website and even though traffic has dropped to the blog after the updates, I’m still ranked highly for the keywords on the site that I’ve worked hard to get there. Other keyword phrases have fallen, but as long as the main ones still work, it shows that my marketing campaign for them was legitimate.
Unless your traffic drops in half, don’t panic. Just put some time into looking at your sites, maybe fix a few things, add a little bit of new content if you can, and you’ll be heading in the right direction in no times.
By the way, last Wednesday I interviewed a friend of mine, my oldest friend, Chuck Price of Measurable SEO on many topics, the biggest two being entrepreneurship and SEO; how timely. Here’s that video; you should check it out:
If you’re already blogging you might have heard some noise about more recent changes to Google algorithms that ended up in a reduction of traffic to many blogs. Because of that there’s been a major railing against Google and its algorithms because what they told the public about these changes doesn’t seem to make much sense.
I’m not going to get into all of that here. Instead, I’m going to answer the question as to whether or not you should let something like that get you worried, or make you hesitant to keep doing what you’ve been doing with your blog.
In one word, no. You should keep on writing and doing just what it is you’ve always done with your blog, unless you’ve been doing sneaky things. However, I’m going to own up to the fact that with this last update many of my blogs have taken a hit. I’m not really sure why because I haven’t engaged in any of the things Google said we shouldn’t be doing. Knowing something about SEO and the rest, you’d think that if I knew I hadn’t done any of that stuff and yet was still having issues (this is actually only the 2nd time that any of my sites have suffered traffic issues, though one of them did hurt my income a lot), that I’d be saying yes.
But I’m not, and I’m going to give you 3 reasons why.
One, because it’s hard to determine just what Google did, or what you might have done if you haven’t done any of the bad stuff. Even though they said what they did was an adjustment rather than a penalty, it affects us just the same. In their terms, a penalty means they manually did something to your blog or website because you were violating some terms, whereas an adjustment goes system wide. No matter; they can give you reasons for things they do but in the long run the explanations are meaningless.
Two, because when all is said and done what Google and other search engines value more than anything else is new content, and original content at that. Even if you took a hit with one of their changes you’re probably still ahead of a lot of other people, many of whom have hired companies to send letters to folks like me asking us to remove links that they paid someone to leave on our blogs in the first place. By adding new content on a regular basis they’ll continue stopping by and taking a look. Most of us probably aren’t doing a thing wrong or sneaky and thus we can believe that Google isn’t targeting us specifically, even if we take a hit.
Three, there’s no guarantee that your blog or website will be hit. I have 4 blogs, and three of them have been affected. Only two of my websites have been hit; no idea why since I follow the same formula across the board. Sure, it affects traffic to a degree, but what’s strange is that when I look at Google Analytics and compare what’s going on now to last year the traffic numbers are the same; go figure. That’s what I mean about analytics and such; it’s just too convoluted to deal with.
I’m still adding new content, and by building up the blogs for my consistent visitors, I don’t depend as much on search traffic for the blogs that suffered some. By doing more with social media and promotion I should be able to overcome the loss of potential traffic from search engines; this is what we all should be shooting for.
So just keep writing and pushing forward; those who like what you write will find you.