Every year, more and more people get into the game of building authority websites.
The sad part is that most of them don’t make it.
Where there are many reasons behind them not being able to succeed online and it is not alright to generalize, I would still say that one of the biggest reasons is the rapidly changing industry itself.
Many things that you have learnt in 2017 don’t work anymore. On the other hand, there’s a lot of new stuff happening every day. Keeping all those in mind, I decided to do a quick guide on building an authority website in 2018.
Let’s do this.
I will try to stay away from jargons or stuff that I assume you already know. This is not an article for a complete beginner. I will basically be telling you what has changed in 2018 and how you should go about building an authority site in today’s time.
Content Is More Important Now
In case you didn’t notice, content is now more important than anything else you do on your web property. All those old school talks of content being less important than SEO is gone. You should have more than enough content on your websites, no matter the type of the site is. Yes, even if you have a service based website, you should have a blog section on it.
Don’t get me wrong. SEO is still a major player and I will talk about that too. But content is what matters the most in 2018 and it seems like this trend is only going to increase in near future.
Web 2.0s? NO
I have tested it myself and many of my friends did too. It doesn’t really matter if you build 100 web 2.0 properties and try to link back to your main site to gain tractions. All those old blogspot and WordPress properties are of no use anymore. Yes, it is true that if you are already getting benefit from some of them then the benefits might last for a couple of years but I don’t think you should start a new bank of Web 2.0 properties.
A quick look with any decent keyword search will tell you that Google doesn’t care about Web 2.0s anymore. They don’t rank them on their search result even if there’s not enough good options to rank.
Private blog networks AKA PBNs are still a grey area in the world of SEO. I can tell you from my personal experiences that they do work and they work well if done right. Yes, you should not expect to get good rankings from a poorly built PBN network but if you can manage your network well and if you can build a topical relevance of that specific network, the chance is super high that you will end up with great results.
PBNs especially work well in the low competitive industries. That’s the reason why you will see local SEO experts shouting about the importance and the value of PBNs. It works very well for them. For us, the authority site builders, PBNs still remain risky though there’s no denying the fact that they work.
Websites like Empire Flippers now have a dedicated column on their marketplace that tells buyers if a website uses PBN or not. This is one way of acknowledging the power of ’em, I believe.
On the other hand, you will find opposing views too. Our friends at Authority Hacker will tell you not to use PBNs. Their logic behind it is that PBNs are costly and properly managed white hat outreach can be way less costlier than that.
They have a point.
It is up to you at the end of the day to decide, but for our 2018 Authority Website article, let’s just come to a conclusion that PBNs do work. It is now up to you how you are going to use this information.
Voice Is Coming
In 2016, Google said that video will take over written form of content by 2020. That didn’t happen and nobody still believes that it is going to happen. However, when it comes to voice, we all pretty much agree that voice is the future. I wrote a big piece on how to optimize your website for voice which you can check here.
I am not going to repeat myself as you can checkout that article but all metrics and resources suggest that voice will take over written form of search in next 10 years. People will no longer use their hands to search stuff on Google. They will be using their voice.
What does that mean for us?
That simply means that keywords are only going to be longer as it is easier to say a lot of words than to type ’em. Long tail keywords will keep on ruling.
There’s another alarming fact to think about too. As voice is growing, less and less people are getting into the lower first page results. Yes, it is still a long shot but there will be a time when voice assistant will pick only one of the results from search engine and everyone will believe that.
There are also predictions that Google might shorten their search result page from 10 to 5 results/page. Though I think it is a hoax.
Google Being An Authority
Google has always been a search engine and an index for websites. However, they are now turning into authorities. If you do a quick search to know the current time in Australia, you will not see results, instead, you will see the answer directly from Google. That’s a big shift from a consumer perspective. People trust Google more than the results that they display on a search query and it seems like they are now taking care of more things than an internet marketer would be comfortable about.
Initially, it was all about time and weather. Now Google can also tell you the age of Tom Cruise. Here you go:
Now, I know that this example looks funny but think about it. This keyword had 74,000 searches a month and the websites on first page used to get that traffic. Google with a small change is now taking everything.
That’s an alarming thought to think about. What do you think?
SSL Is a Must
I am sure you know by now but in case if you don’t, now you do. SSL certificate is a must for new websites, not because you need to encrypt data but because if you don’t have one, you will not get ranked on Google. Yes, old sites are still ranked without having SSL certificates installed but if you are a new site, you cannot even think of that. SSLs are pretty cheap too so I don’t see the reason of you not getting one.
Quick recommendation: Install SSL from Namecheap and then install the plugin: Really Simple SSL on WordPress. This should solve all your issues.
In case if you didn’t know, Google has already deployed their own ad blocker which is in-built in Chrome. As Google dominates the web browser industry, I am sure everyone will have to follow this too.
Off topic: Does it feel like I am being super rude to Google? It is not like that. I love ’em.
Anyway, Google announced that they will take care of weird looking ads from within Chrome using their ad blocker. They clearly mentioned what they think are bad user experience including autoplay videos, flashy ads and etc. Check that out and make sure that you are not violating one of those rules.
Though they currently don’t have a penalty based on these variables, I am sure they will have one once everyone gets time to get used to this.
If you haven’t heard about it, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will go live on May 25th. I am not a lawyer and I will not get into the details. However, if you process data from UK & Europe, you should make sure that you comply with the rules of GDPR.
Not complying these rules will give you a penalty of up to 20 million USD or 4% of your company, whichever is bigger. Some of the new rules include making sure you have opt out options on your email newsletter, keeping data within the region of Europe and so on.
Check it out. It is pretty interesting.
Backlinks are still the backbone of Google rankings and they are not going away anytime soon. Page level backlinks still dominate the decision of the ranking of your website. There were speculations around backlinks not being as relevant as they are in 2017 but it seems like Google has no interest to get rid of this variable at this moment.
That’s a good news for us, right?
What do you think are important for building an authority site in 2018?