Google Rewards Authority Sites
It’s been rumoured for months. But Google is now finally going to reward authority sites. On the face of it this is good news for small businesses who are experts in their field. Well good news, if you have invested in high quality original content. The down side, however, may be the extent to which this new boost for authority sites rewards big brands.
There are likely to be many different facets of this tweak to Google’s algorithm. One thing Google will be looking at is trying to determine which sites originate content. An example may help. If the BBC publishes a story, it can be quickly reworked by blogs. In Google’s brave new world, the BBC would have more authority because they broke the original story.
Some commenters are suggesting Google’s new focus on rewarding authority sites is akin to a by-product of Panda but I believe there is more to it than that. After all, Panda has already made content king again. An Authority site will occupy a particular position in its own online ecosystem. It will effectively be a hub of social and other linking activity. This is because by their very nature Authority sites are cited and linked to by other quality sites and in most markets rewarded by a decent level of social networking activity.
How do you know if your site is an authority site in the sense Google means? Well only Google knows that, but if you look at the shift in seo over the last eighteen months there are certainly some clues. Being a real business certainly isn’t enough since plenty of ecommerce sites have struggled to maintain rankings over the last 6-12 months.
What you need is a great site people and companies want to return to again and again, that is widely cited and/or recommended on social networking sites.
Small businesses can’t aim to ape sites like the BBC but they can be leaders in their field. I think the concept of ‘thought leader’ or ‘experience leader’ works well here. If your business is the best it can be online, if its opinion is sought and quoted, then you are probably there or thereabouts. But only time will tell how this plays out. However I do believe there will be opportunities for small businesses.