Google loves a bit of authoritativeness. Prove to it that you’re an authority on your chosen niche and you’ll be beating traffic away with a stick.
But how can you prove to Google that you have authority when…you don’t?
Or don’t feel like you do, which is probably more likely the case, unless you did a really shit job of picking a niche.
My niche is house plants but I’m not a botanist (nor do I have any plans to become one). I still have plants that are dying. And not even hard to keep alive plants. My spider plant looks sad af.
Here’s the thing though: you do have more authority than other people. Don’t confuse authoritativeness with expertise.
There are botanists with websites that will rank higher than mine for keywords like ‘how to create a hybrid from two philodendrons’ but I rank waaaaay higher for posts like ‘how to increase humidity without a humidifier’.
The botanist has a humidifier. He hasn’t even considered that rachet no-humidifier life.
1 — You don’t need to position yourself as an expert
Of course an expert can keep plants alive.
But my users don’t want to know that an expert can — they want to know that they can.
I need to show them three things:
- I used to be them: house plant killer
- I’m now good at keeping plants alive
- The steps I took to get from step one to step two.
- …and that’s it
2 — Show them how you got the information
If you got your information from googling the query, tell your users.
They don’t care. They googled it too. That’s how they found you. They don’t expect that all your knowledge came to you in a dream.
All they care about is that you chewed up all that fancy-pants botany stuff and spat it out into easily-digestible pieces for them.
You’re not an expert, but you’re slightly more knowledgable than they are. Literally all some users want.
3 — Use stats
Google LOVES stats. And the great thing about them is that you can create your own.
I don’t mean make shit up, but I mean pick a topic, grab as many reputable stats as you can find about it, and compile them into a table, or similar easy-to-read format.
You even could create a poll on Instagram or Twitter and show off your new data.
4 — Ask the experts
Act as a go-between for your readers and the actual experts. Email the botanist with a list of questions and publish the answers.
For the sake of a few emails, you can provide massive amounts of value to your user, and it makes your site more authoritative.
I also have a vegan blog, but I’m not a dietician. I link to NHS guidelines and don’t sell meal plans. If I did, I’d pay a dietician to help me. Providing crap information that you say is true doesn’t help with authority.
5 — Link to authoritative websites
This is especially pertinent in YMYL niches, where you don’t want to be blamed for accidentally bankrupting someone.
Obviously house plants are lacking a bit in the ability to bankrupt someone (unless you buy a lot), but there are issues that require more of an expert’s view than I can provide.
Examples are things like toxicity — I can offer advice like ‘wash your hands after touching dieffenbachia’, but I link to relevant medical sites because they actually know what they’re on about when it comes to treating sap in your eye and stuff.
Linking to more authoritative sites shows Google that whilst you have some expertise, you’re going to stay in your own lane when it comes to people’s lives and finances.
6 — Have a nice website
This could mean a million things. Every website is different, so I’ll just a list a few points:
- No popups. I used to say not too many, but now I’ve decided I hate popups full stop. I don’t care if you think they work. I hate them.
- No obtrusive ads. Not no ads — some is fine. Just don’t have ads that interfere with user experience
- Quick load time. Or at least no obnoxiously slow.
- A decent amount of content. The more articles you have, the more authority you’ll be perceived to have.
- Make sure your information is as accurate as possible. If an issue is multi-faceted, you should really discuss more than one view, or risk seeming biased.
- A clean design. If your website looks like a seven-year-old got let loose on Powerpoint, maybe have a little rethink.
- A contact page. This can be your about me page, or even social media links. It looks more professional if you can be contacted.
Remember that your users are humans. They don’t just want information — they want that knowledge to be laid out in a way that’s easy for them to digest.
If you can entertain them as well, that’s what’ll bring them back for more.
There will always be bloggers that know more than you. Sorry. But if you’re honest with your users and you understand what your users want, then you can be an authority in your niche without necessarily being top dog in your industry.
I’ll never be Summer Rayne Oakes (cry cry cry), but she doesn’t tell her readers that a free way to increase humidity (by 10%, would you believe?) is by air drying clothes by plants.
She’s a legend, I’m more like a friend that can tell you where to get a Fiddle leaf fig for £8 and keep it alive.
Everyone has something different to offer.
By the way, how much of a ballache is ‘authoritativeness’ to spell? I’ve never used Grammarly more.