Authority links are links that are placed within your website content that come from trusted websites that are highly ranked. The superior rank is usually due to a large number of inbound links.
The site is viewed as an authority to users because it contains good information on a particular topic (or topics, such as Wikipedia) and enjoys a large number of followers; it is the place people go when they are seeking valuable advice or facts about something. But further than the people popularity aspect, specific algorithms provide an ‘official’ stamp of approval.
In the world of SEO, a link from an authority site is greatly valued. Just as a link to a spammy site can cost your own web page in terms of search engine ranking, a link from a trusted site raises your page’s rank.
Because the major search engines place so much importance on inbound and outbound links, it is always a good idea to try and include authority links in your content. Seed sites, are those that enjoy inbound links from the authority site, are also good contenders for increasing SEO.
Finding Authority Links
You can probably think of several trusted sites right off the top of your head: Wikipedia, an online newspaper, About.com. It might be harder, however, to find an authority site directly related to your niche market.
Start with a basic Google or Yahoo search of the target keywords you are optimising for. The results are automatically shown in descending order of page rank.
Many social bookmarking sites provide this same feature; try going to advanced search options and specifying that you want the results listed by authority. Because the list also includes the number of inbound links, you can further narrow down the list of those sites you want to link to.
Wikipedia is another great resource for finding trusted seed sites. Look up a topic related to your e-commerce business and scroll down to the bottom of the Wikipedia page. The list of resources contains only those sites which are most relevant, trusted, and high ranking.
If you really want to do a quite thorough and technical search, you can also include the word “linkdomain:” (with the colon but without quotation marks) in the search along with a trusted site you’ve already discovered. This will point you to the seed sites linked from the authority site. You can further narrow down these results by adding “linkfromdomain:” and putting in Yahoo.com or Google.com.
Tips For Using Authority Links
One thing you must be careful of when using an authority link is that you don’t inadvertently send your visitors to a competing site. Consider a site like Amazon; sure it has great page ranking but would you want an outbound link to a site that sells the same products you do?
If you’ve got some extra money in your internet marketing budget, you could consider becoming a category sponsor with the Yahoo Directory. This gives your site indirect link juice via an advert without paying the detrimental price of being put in the sandbox or viewed as a spammer by Google.
Adding trackbacks is a good way to capitalise on the high rank of a blog. This can take a bit more time to do as you must first find a blog using the WordPress platform and own one yourself; only if both blogs allow the trackback feature can you use this type of linking.
Remember to stay away from link farms and links that reference spammy sites. Instead, take the time to look for authority links. The SEO advantage can’t be beat.