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You Need to Establish Authority in Your Field, and You Need to Do It Now!

by Fraser Cain on January 24, 2013

A $10000 pound bottle of scotch? I guess Harrods is an authority.

A $19995 pound bottle of scotch? I guess Harrods is an authority.

I’ve done personal consulting for many Keyword Strategy clients (and many before they were Keyword Strategy clients), trying to help people establish a real online presence.

My standard recommendation goes like this:

  • Choose a niche or field that you have expertise in.
  • Uncover the big problems in that niche. Where does it hurt?
  • Commit to solving that problem for people, and create a product or service.
  • Create content, that helps people interested in topics that relate to your product or service.
  • Establish yourself as an authority in your field, on your own website and in social networks.

It’s that final item on the list which seems to give people concern. “I’d love to have a popular, successful website and eventually retire to a beach in Thailand, but I don’t want to waste time on social networks. I’d prefer to remain anonymous.

Maybe you could have lurked in the shadows behind your website 5 years ago, creating a thousands of pages of spun content and just as many fake personas, but those days are over. I’d argue they never existed in the grand scheme of things, other than a temporary anomaly; a temporary shortcoming in Google’s search engine algorithm.

Revenue depends on traffic. The best traffic, search traffic, depends on great content matched with authority. You have to be recognized in your industry as someone who knows that they’re talking about. I’ll let you know when I reach that point myself. ;-)

And the best way to build that authority, that credibility, is through the social networks. There are huge audiences out there on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and my favorite: Google+. And for the most part, people are providing very little value to the huge crowds of people looking for useful information. Build your authority in those social networks by providing value. Invest your time to make the social network even more useful to the members, even through you’re taking a risk.

It’s about to become critical

Many SEOs feel that Google’s Authorrank algorithm is about to come online, calculating the search engine rankings of certain pages based on the credibility of the author. Do you have a Facebook presence? Lots of engaged Twitter followers? Viewers on YouTube? Circlers on Google+?

Have you been consistently contributing high quality information relevant to those people for months and years? Google and the other search engines will be able to figure out who’s an authority in a field and who isn’t, and they’ll rely on those signals because they’re more trustworthy than the old metric: links.

It’s all about balance

If you create content on your website, without engaging on the social networks, you’re going to have a tough time getting traction. And it won’t matter how many links you have.

And if you have a great presence on the social networks without any kind of web presence, you won’t have any way to be rewarded for your efforts.

You need to do both: create amazing content and build up an enthusiastic audience on the social networks who take you seriously. You need to maintain a yin/yang balance, working harder on whichever part of your media strategy is falling behind, content creation or social engagement.

Find that balance, though, and your competition won’t know what hit them.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

alexg January 24, 2013 at 3:46 am

Fraser,

For those of us doing this part time and working full time, how can we approach the social side of things to get the most of our limited time?

-Alexg

fraser January 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm

The best investment of your time is to focus your efforts on either improving the network itself, or helping people find each other.

I discussed those two priorities here:
http://www.keywordstrategy.org/

So, find a social network where the people are already located. Figure out a way to make their lives better, though content or coordination. Spend 30 minutes to create something really great for the network. Get in, get out.

Don’t stick around and socialize.