With all the new changes that Google has made to its search engine the bottom line is this: The sites that have the best shot at ranking well are websites that have "authority" in their niche.
What this simply means is, search engines will give priority positioning to websites that have the newest, most specific, relevant, & consistent content about an issue or topic.
Google, and every other search engine for that matter, all have one goal: to deliver the most accurate and most relevant content to the person who is searching for that content. Plain and simple!
What I love most about the new changes that are taking place is, Google is actually trying to make the lives of content creators like you and I much simpler. All we have to do is be consistent at creating highly useful content for a specific audience and the chances are even better that our content will reach our ideal audience.
Note, there is one caveat: This is a "long tail" strategy, which means landing on the front page of searches will take time. It will not happen overnight, but it can happen faster than it used to because Google actually rewards sites that are committed to offering the freshest and most relevant content on a regular basis.
In this article you will discover:
- The key essentials every "authority site" needs for both search engines and real people.
- The 7 core elements that are none negociables if you want a website that converts.
- Why you don't need a $10,000 plus website design to be effective, and what to do instead.
First, the core essentials for a higher converting "authority" site.
1. Pick a clear niche. Make your niche as narrow and focused as you possibly can. From pet care for chiwawas to survival hacks for dooms day prepers be very clear about who it is you serve with your content
2. Select your keywords. Keywords are the “key” to being found online, so select yours carefully. Research the most common phrases your target audience uses to find solutions and select a niche specific keyword phrases that will point them to you. Make sure you use these keywords in your domain name (if possible) and throughout your site in relevant ways. Google Adword’s Keyword Planner can help you find these keywords. Your goal is to end up with 10-15 keyword phrases to start.
3. Domain. There’s still a bit of clout given in search engine results to domains that contain your primary keyword. Buy a domain name containing your keyword phrase. If this is not possible, make sure your category titles are key word rich.
4. Gather content. Now you need to gather all the content you have created related to this niche. This could be articles, blog posts, audio, or video. If you don’t yet have content in this niche, you need to create at least 10 pieces of useful content, each of which uses one of the keyword phrases you found in Step 2.
You can also create authority becoming a reliable curator of content around the web for your niche. Your value is saving people time and eliminating the hassle of finding the best content that helps them the most. That is your job. Your site becomes the go-to place where the best content providers and audience meet.
5. An Irresistible Freebie. Now you need to create your lead generating magnet that you can give away on your site in exchange for a visitor’s name and email address (more on this later).
6. Autoresponder follow up sequence. Create 5-7 follow up autoresponders that are sent out over the next 2 weeks to the people who requested your irresistible freebie. The goal here is to move people through the know you, like you, trust you process and compel them to buy from you.
7. Design and Navigation. Make your site is easy to navigate and looks professional with a clear call to action. Nothing is worse than visiting a site that looks as though it were designed 10 years ago or gives you a confusing array of things to do. Clean, simple design that easily directs people to the content they care about most is most important.
8. Relevant content. The content you gathered or created in step 4 can now be shared on your site. Be sure that the keyword for each piece of content appears in the content’s title, first paragraph, page description and title, and page headline.
9. Content marketing campaign. In order to begin to create inbound links to your sites from high traffic web sites, you need to begin to syndicate your content. Some will argue that using an article marketing service to send your content out to article banks and publishers is still a good strategy. I agree with Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com and RainMaker Digital. If you are going to syndicate your content, publish it first on your site then repost it on sites like LinkedIn, Medium, and Quora.
You can also leverage other social media platforms like Periscope, Itunes, Sound Cloud, Blab and Youtube to expand your reach and direct traffic back to you site.
Create press releases from articles and post those to press release sites. You can also guest post on sites that are already reaching the market you want to attract and have those sites provide you with back links.
10. New content. Useful and fresh content is king online, so plan to create one new piece of content each week that is of practical value to your core audience and post it to your site.
An authority web site will help you leverage your expertise in your marketplace and position you as a trustworthy voice in your space.
7 core elements that are none negotiable if you want a website that converts.
Now let me qualify something before we go on. What I am about to share with you next applies to both a traditional blog/ website and to what I am intentionally calling an "authority" landing page.
I will advise you, like I do with everyone I speak to or coach on the subject of websites, if you could only chose to launch one kind of website right out of the gate let it be an authority landing page.
"Because your two priorities from day one should be "leading with value" and "building a tribe".
What I mean by "leading with value" is truly offer a very useful, desirable, quick win resource (that irresistible freebie I was talking about earlier) that is easy to consume and solves a real problem that your ideal audience actually cares about. Give this resource away for FREE in exchange for your new tribe member's name and email.
And when you combine this with the "Authority Funnel Framework" you'll be able to not only enroll more people into your paid offers faster, you'll be able to easily apply automated retargeting strategies that tell Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn to send you more people that fit the same profile as those who have already opted in. Pretty cool, huh? (fist bump)
Ok, you are probably asking: What in the world is an authority landing page, and how does it differ from a regular landing page?
I'm glad you asked!
An authority landing page is a hybrid of three important page styles:
- The traditional about/ credibility trigger page,
- The traditional sales page and
- The traditional opt-in page or squeeze page.
I came up with this landing page because I personally wanted a squeeze page that strategically positioned me as a trusted authority while at the same time grow my email list by increasing a persons interest and desire for the immediate value that I could provide them.
I didn't want any distractions, and because I was just launching in a new niche I wanted it to be a page I could send podcasters and other media to as well to quickly establish credibility.
I cannot take full credit for this idea. I once heard Derek Halpern of Social Triggers share a similar idea when he was on CreateLive.com. I just added a few more authority triggers, and tested it until I got my conversion rate above 10%. What I describe below is the result.
Note: you can still use this very format for your "start here" page or "about" page on your blog. Check mine out for an example.
The primary objectives of the Authority Landing Page are:
- To establish immediate credibility as a trusted authority or thought leader in your niche.
- Be an efficient email list and tribe builder.
- Deliver immediate value that reinforces your expertise and usefulness to the market you serve.
The 7 core elements that should go into this type of page are:
1. Benefits Driven header:
A headline and sub header that states immediately what clear value people can get from you. It must speak directly to a pain or felt need they have.
2. Authority positioning video/ or photo:
This video should foster emotions that place you in the role of teacher/ leader in the heart and mind of the viewer.
Note: Your photo, for it to be really effective, must be demonstrative. Leave the pretty head shots to Real Estate agents, and actors. Grab shots of you in service to the ones that really matter. When you position your potential clients as the real heroes in the narrative, and you as the helpful guide, your story becomes much more relevant and believable.
A picture "is" worth a thousand words, so make sure it echo's the message that you are in fact the "obvious choice," by illustrating you in action.
3. A useful and compelling better than free offer.
You must have an irresistible freebie offer. A practical and relevant resource that delivers a small immediate win for the end user.
There are 3 Golden rules for an effective opt-in offer:
1. It must provide a single solution to ONE problem your viewer cares about. Avoid being broad. More is not better. A 200 page ebook does not impress people, it overwhelms them.
2. It must be quick and simple. A super relevant one page cheat sheet or list of resource converts better than an 8 video training program. Why? Ain't nobody got time for that. People want simple solutions and they want them fast.
3. It must be consistent and relate to your overall message. When you get someone's attention it's for a specific reason. The minute you change the topic of conversation you've just lost their attention and force them to decide again if they want to pay attention to this other thing you now have abruptly injected into the conversation. An irresistible freebie is one that invites a person to go a little deeper into the conversation that ultimately leads them to say YES to your product or service.
4. Your Origin Story
Every epic tale, including your story, has three elements...
1. A flawed main character (that's you and me lol)
2. Who embarks on a journey (our mission) that leads to a desired outcome.
3 Must overcome conflict or resistance to do so (what's a disadvantage, struggle or obstacle can your viewer relate to or resonate with that establishes an emotional connection with you).
These are the elements connect your personal reason why to the desired outcome your prospective client want to buy. (Watch the video on my page. Look at how I structured my story and connected to the core problem of my audience)
5. Social Proof
3rd party periodicals, or organizations, you've been featured in or have worked with.
I used both from my professional work and my past life as an athlete:/)
Social proof like this quickly lets people know that you maybe worth listening to. It works best when you can immediately show that you are the real deal by delivering content that is helpful. In the world of social media, attention is the new gold. Social proof may help you get that second look, but make sure what you want people to look at is worth remembering.
2 to 3 sentences that speak to the value you can deliver. Try to get as many of them as you can.
A quick word on getting testimonials. In my experience, and studying what works best in the market, there are three types of testimonials you want to have. The Results testimonial (a person sharing how you got them results), The Character Validation testimonial (a person sharing an experience working with you and how you are the real deal), & The Industry Influencer testimonial (a person who is already a celebrity or visible thought leader sharing their experience with you and what you do).
The fastest and easiest ways to get testimonials is to ask people directly for them. As a rule of thumb, most people are not very good at giving testimonials so if you actually write it for them and ask them to edit it 99% of the time they are perfectly fine with it.
Remember, if you've delivered value to a person and helped them in a meaningful way, they naturally want to help you in return. It's the law of reciprocity. Your job is to make helping you easier for them.
That's good advice for just about anything you ask for, by the way. Don't just ask for help, make it easy and even advantageous for people to help you (this is the secret to building great teams, and leveraging great talent).
I have my clients pull out their mobile phone on the spot and list 10 to 15 people they have helped (paying clients & people they've helped for free). Then, right there I make them send a text to 5 people that briefly describes the project they are currently working on, how excited they are about it, and how much it would mean if they would give them a short testimonial.
In 15 minutes they have collected 5 to 10 awesome "real" testimonials that matter.
Why can't you do this? Even if you are just starting out, list 10 people you've helped related to the skill or service you want to be seen as an authority in. Then text, or email them a SHORT message with the kind of testimonial you need. Then watch what happens.
Last word on this -people are busy! The bigger they are, the busier they are. Be brief, remind them how you helped them, write the testimonial for them and ask them if that sounds right to them (giving them the freedom to edit). Again, it's a lot easier to edit than it is to create from scratch.
7. Brief bio
An overview of your professional accomplishment and credentials that relate to the services you provide and further reinforces why the viewer would want to work with you.
This last point is very important. People don't care your credentials. They care about finding out how you can help them solve their problem. Credentials are nice credibility triggers but only affirm the "value" that your potential client already knows you can provide. People don't care about what you know until they know that you care about their problem, and that you are committed to helping them create a solution.
Got it? Ok...
Here's why you don't need a very expensive website to get the job done:
At the end of the day the most important thing is:
Can you be tremendously useful?
You must show people right out of the gate that you are a real, relevant, and an indispensable resource to them and to what they want to accomplish.
Focus on doing that. Keep your "usefulness" clear, front, and center.
Let the major problem you solve for your core audience inform and drive every piece of content you create and make sure there is a logical call to action that directs them to make the logical next step with you.
While design and form are important, they take a back seat to function. Your marketing funnel (the multi-step sequence you want your audience to take that moves them from prospect to client) is the functional reason why your website, or blog, or landing page exist.
Very Important: Make sure that you clearly know the people you want to serve, the problem of theirs you want to become celebrated for solving, and exactly how you will deliver their solution to them first.
These are the three things that will drive the functional aspect of your site. They are crucial to your success!
Once you are clear about these three things, commit to creating content and experiences that move people through your funnel and lead them to a product or service offer they cannot refuse.
Your site will become a trusted authority resource when all that you offer stems from knowing who you serve, the problem you solve, and the product or service you offer to deliver the solution they want.
Be fiercely committed to filtering everything you talk about and do through these things, and know precisely the outcomes you want to deliver to your audience and what you want them to do next, every step of the way.
Do this and your site will be rewarded authority status sooner than you may think.
Here are a few authority sites to check out as references:
QuickSprout by Neil Patel
SmartPassiveIncome.com by Pat Flynn
Michealhyatt.com by Micheal Hyatt
ThriveThemes by Shane Malaugh
FourHourWorkWeek.com by Tim Ferris
Ok, that should get you going out of the gate in the right direction. I purposely gave you a good cross section of examples above for two reasons:
1.) To drill home that function beats form every time and
2.) To get you to study what core elements they all share and decide how you will implement them into your site.
Ok... Get to work!