Remember when you first began focusing on search engine optimization — and your page rank was everything? Your entire purpose in life was getting your sites onto the first page of Google results, the higher up the page the better.
But ask yourself this: Was it really worth it? Be honest: Once you got the page ranking you were looking for, was there really a measurable difference in the results, i.e. site traffic and more importantly, conversions?
If you’re honest with yourself, you know that page rankings didn’t do much for your conversion rates. And you aren’t alone. In fact, these days, few SEO professionals even pay much attention to page rankings. The fact is that rankings don’t really matter anymore. If you aren’t getting quality inbound traffic, you aren’t getting conversions and you aren’t making money.
So how do you get that traffic? The answer is authority, and yes, you do have it.
Authority Increases Interest
When you want to learn more about a subject, where do you turn? Probably to someone who knows his stuff, who can explain the basics of a concept while also explaining what it means to YOU. In other words, you want an authority.
Here’s the thing: When it comes to your business, you’re an expert. Whether you’re selling watches or wireless phones, you know your stuff, and if you share that expertise and build your online profile, you’ll get more inbound traffic. Enthusiasts will flock to you to learn what you have to say about the latest trends and products. They’ll be eager for your ideas on how to do things better, or how to handle problems they are facing. It won’t happen overnight, but providing consistent, quality content will build your authority.
It’s All About Your Angle
“Okay,” you’re probably thinking. “I’ve got this. I know everything about (fill in your subject.) So I just need to start a blog, write up some posts and I’m golden.”
Not exactly. Building authority requires finding a fresh angle, a new perspective on the topic. Don’t regurgitate what everyone else is saying. Give people a reason to pay attention to you. Follow the authorities and influencers in your industry, and see what they are saying. Stay on top of your industry news. It won’t take long to identify trends and hot topics, and the gaps in the knowledge. Your angle is in those gaps. Be bold, be fresh and show a new way of approaching problems and trends, and people will pay attention.
Sharing Your Views
Once you have your perspective, share it by:
- Commenting on others’ work. Substantive, thought-provoking comments on blog posts and articles show your knowledge and help build relationships with other authorities.
- Engaging in social media conversations and joining online discussion groups.
- Creating your own content. Write blog posts and articles, or if appropriate, publish a white paper or e-book. Offer your work as a free download to those who sign up via an optimized landing page on your site or follow you on social media.
Quality, authoritative content gets attention from the opinion-makers in your industry and attracts followers. Follow the example of Boston-based marketing software company Hubspot: Every few weeks, subscribers to the company’s email marketing list receive a valuable offer of either a free ebook or invitation to a free webinar on online marketing. Subscribers may or may not take advantage of the deal, but they recognize Hubspot as an authority in the online marketing world.
- Getting publicity. Build relationships with the media in your industry, and provide them with quality information and insight. They will turn to you as an expert to fill their pages, giving your authority a boost.
Don’t Forget Engagement
Engagement is one of the biggest buzzwords in Internet marketing these days, and with good reason. You can create the greatest content in the world, but if you don’t have credibility and relationships with your followers, you aren’t going to see the results you want.
Authority begins and ends with credibility, which feeds on engagement. If you’re going to offer something to your community, what you deliver must meet — even exceed — their expectations. You have to respond to your community’s needs and wants, or they will not return to your site or tell others about it.
Engage with your community to determine their needs and wants. Take the time to thank people for commenting on your work, answer their questions and respond to their constructive criticisms. Showing that you care about their feedback and welcome others’ opinions encourages future engagement — and tells you what people want.
Authority = Traffic = Conversions
Much like page rankings without traffic are meaningless, traffic without conversions is worthless. It doesn’t matter if millions of people see your site if none of them are responding to your call to action. Pay attention to your traffic “signals” to ensure that your content is on-point and doing its job. Do you have a clear call to action? Is your content of the highest quality? Is it on message? Does it provide what it claims to provide?
If you build authority through quality content, you will see an increase in traffic — and conversions. And over time, as you build your reputation, your page ranking will increase as well. So instead of focusing on page rank first, focus on building your authority to get more traffic, and you’ll be able to pay the bills AND have a healthy, thriving site.
Boost your traffic with compelling content
Your content could be the next literary masterpiece of our time, but if it’s a bulky block of text that’s cumbersome to read, no one will. Digital Current’s content team can help you polish your content, maximizing its readability, utility and inherent value, attracting the right audience and generating the right leads.