SEO: Authority by Association

Street cred, Reputation, Rep. Authority: they’re all hard to get and difficult to keep. People work all their lives to build authority.

What makes you think you can build authority in a website in a few months?

Group Roundup style posts have been getting a lot of flack within the industry lately. I confess I have written one, as well as responded to several of them but agree it is getting ridiculous.

It all kind of came to a head the other night, Bill Slawski had finally had enough and lashed out on Twitter:

sick of interviews

The Group Roundup Bubble

In 2012 these were hot. There were a few revolutionary roundup posts, and there were a few more. It was really kind of new and brilliant at the same time.

Not only don’t you have to write content, but you get “authority through association” by interviewing experts, and hopefully they will help you promote it!

The problem is, these posts are just becoming cookie cutter blog posts. It is easy to ask a few questions. People are sick of reading them and sick of seeing the same faces all the time.

Same goes with regular interview posts. Interviews should be reserved for the following situations:

  • people who have not done a ton of interviews before
  • people who have recently launched a new product / service or idea
  • people recently in the press

I personally don’t even open them anymore, and I haven’t for a long time.

The age old tactic of “the comment”

Reporters and bloggers have been successful for a very long time at interviewing people and using that content within their article.  But you don’t see them doing “roundup” posts. They just ask people for a comment.

authority by association

You can borrow authority from people in many different ways. Getting a comment from an authority figure is just one way. Bill Slawski probably won’t be nearly as hostile if you ask him for a comment on a subject than he would if you asked him to be part of a roundup post.

It legitimizes your post by saying: This person spoke with me and is commenting on this topic. He or she feels it is worthy of their time.

So next time you get the urge to do a roundup post, think again.

Outbound links: More authority by association

Linking out to reliable sources shows your readers that what you are saying is backed by someone else.

Think about these scenarios:

  • Blogger A links to “Meme Garden” in his post to backup his data
  • Blogger B links to a “Research Firm” in his post citing specific information

Which blogger do you think is going to be trusted more from his readers?

Blogger A obviously will be treated as a joke (unless his article is about memes).

Blogger B will be respected and will hold more trust moving forward.

Choose your outbound links carefully and you will wind up being referred to as a “reliable source” in no time.

seo authority

By associating yourself with an important figure, you have the opportunity to borrow authority from them.

Street Cred with Design

A well designed website can lend authority when executed properly.

On the other hand, a poorly designed website can really make it seem like you do not know what you are doing.

A well designed site doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars with amazing images. If you are short on cash, just keep it simple. Keep your navigation labeled clearly, your layout symmetrical, and your text readable and you are on the right track.

Note: the icon used in the featued image for this post is available as a free download (no signup) from our SEO icons & images pack.

Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe is the founder and CEO of Elite Strategies Llc. Patrick takes a hands on approach to managing Elite Strategies and loves to get involved with technical projects relating to clients inbound marketing needs.
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe
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