What is an Authoritative/Authority site?

I was recently asked this question.
Though often talked about, I thought it still might be a good idea to write about authoritative sites and what they mean in terms of online marketing/ SEO.

—»Simply put, an authoritative site (or an authority site) is a site that has an authority over a subject or upon various topics.

  • Who decides the authority factor?

»I would say, an authoritative site’s performance, in terms of unique content, user experience, among other things, is the deciding factor.An authoritative site does not happen in one day. It takes a lot of effort and time to get to that stage.

Say, you have a question or a query or you wish to know about something, what do you do?

Besides asking people or checking out books for information, usually we Google our query or keyword/ keyphrase, or use any other search engine, and click on the most likely site from among the list of sites that show up on the SERPs.

Perhaps, the web page you click on the first time does not answer your query, what do you do?

You go to the next best page and so on…till you get your answer. Not only does the answer have to satisfy you, it would definitely help, if you can get some more relevant information from that site.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stumble upon a website that offers just that! A website that is a mine of information and has extensive information on almost every relevant topic that you can think of!

The site would also reference other relevant sites, in case you wish to find out more about subjects related to it. That is what I call a complete site. Not only does it quench the visitor’s thirst for information but it also referes the visitor to other relevant sites. I would not want to lose such a site and would most definitely bookmark this site for future reference. The user experience combined with the extensive precious correct information is what makes a site authoritative.

Some of the most popular authoritative sites are –

Wikipedia, About,  and many edu domain sites. What is common between them? They have original unique content and about thousands and thousands of pages of unique content. They are referred by thousand of sites. They are any searchers delight and they fulfill almost every requirement. They are user friendly, they have interactive sections such as forums, blogs etc. Almost all of these websites have been in existence for years and they do not have any spamming background.

If terms of SEO or Internet marketing, it is really beneficial to get a link from these sites. A one way backlink from authority sites will definitely help your site get noticed by users and search engines, and increase traffic to your site. But these sites are extremely choosy. They maintain high standards and do not compromise on any factors.

If your website boasts of unique content that gets updated very often and has good traffic, you might get links from various sources and with time from authoritative site. Just keep up the hard work. Who knows, some day your site might warrant the same amount of respect as the ‘authoritative sites’ and become an authority too!