Being an authority figure in the online space should really be the goal of any website. When you are an authority figure you have the power to socially influence through your actions and words which means you hold a great deal of power & trust in front of your audience. The Bing Webmaster Blog recently put out a great piece on being an online authority which I think everyone should read. Please keep in mind that being an authority figure does not come from slapping together a mediocre plan. It takes though and dedication to put together a fierce action plan.
Everyone wants to be an authority. Everyone wants to be acknowledged for their, well, knowledge. Everyone wants the increased ranking and traffic that comes when an engine sees you as an authoritative resource. But so few actually plan a path to success, thinking instead that blasting everything they find across Twitter and auto-following everyone will boost their numbers and get them recognized as an authority.
Being an authority online comes with huge benefits.
Increased rankings for individual website pages
Heavy online influence
Immense traffic spikes
Basically there is no down fall to being an authority figure in any industry but if you truly want to get there you have to lay out a path in the right direction to make it happen.
Here are some great ways to get on the right path to be an authority figure in your space:
If you are just getting started in your space you are not going to influence anyone overnight. Authority requires seasoning and experience in a space along with being able to present that experience in the right manner in front of your target audience.
Get Active in your Community
You absolutely have to get active socially in front of your community. If you want to be viewed as a leader you will have to engage with your audience on social communities like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You also want to make your website a destination spot that promotes back and forth interaction. (important)
Be a Resource
You want your audience to come to you for advice and help. Once they start turning towards you for help that means they are starting to look at you in a whole new different light.
If you want others to share your material you are going to have to share their material as well. Encourage proactive content sharing so your audience can learn from not only you but from the people around you too. This will allow you to become a central hub which is really the focus of your efforts.
From Bing: (again)
Its generally held that when an engine assigns deep links to the content of your website, you’re an authority. And while this is more or less true, the engine seeing you as an authority happens well in advance of those links appearing.
As you produce useful content, we try to match that useful content against queries. If the actions searchers take indicate they are pleased with your content as a solid resource, then we try you again the next time. This testing happens a lot. Hundreds of thousands to millions of times, depending on query volumes and content matches.
We watch the patterns of interaction and soon enough, those resources that searchers seem to be particularly pleased with start to float to the top. We’re not just talking click-through-rates here, either. We’re talking the entire signal-set that influences ranking at work here.
Do you have unique, useful content? Check.
Do you produce new content frequently? Check.
Do you have a solid history? Check.
Do you have trustworthy links pointing at your content? Check.
Do you have an active social presence? Check.
Do people retweet and like your social content? Check.