What is an Authority Site?
In a nutshell, authority sites are sites of value. They have large numbers of inbound links from similar well linked sites, have been online for a while and tend to be content heavy. Their 'authority' is accumulated by their inbound link structure and passes via link popularity and implied endorsement to the sites they link to. Links from authority sites can lead to a boost in ranking and online credibility and for now, is the strongest of the relevancy criteria when it comes to building links.
In other words - getting links from authority sites is highly desirable and a major factor in the influence a link building campaign has on your site. But knowing you need them is only part of the equation, another is to find them. Let's take a look at a number of techniques and search vehicles you can use to find authority links.
Technorati is one of my all-around favorites especially when it comes to looking for authority sites. Because of its reputation and traffic, it offers fresh and highly relevant results in its search functions. Using their advanced option, insert your keywords in the 'Blog Directory Search' box and set the sort option to 'authority'. What comes back is a listing of blogs, the number of inbound links to each and related tags. Comb through the list taking care to note the blogs/sites with large numbers of inbound links for linking possibilities.
The Google Directory.
Now don't sigh, this might be an oldie but it's still a goodie. Google lists sites in its directory by their PageRank scores. Since PageRank is still factored on the number and quality of a page/site's inbound links, it makes it an easy way to find authority sites. It's also a great way to take advantage of your long-tail terms by searching in related categories.
With all the attention and high rankings this site currently enjoys, it makes sense to hunt through it for authority links. Check out the External Links list at the bottom of most pages for the list of sites they recommend and cite. Getting a link to stick on the Wiki is hard so only the best and most relevant endure.
Once you've searched these resources and made note of the well-linked sites, run your keywords through the Langreiter tool and see their search results on Google and Yahoo. Sites ranking well and in close proximity in both engines can be deemed authority sites and strong candidates for linking.
Seek out sites that have been online for a while, rank well for your keyword terms and have lots of inbound links from relevant sites and enjoy the link popularity and traffic they'll pass!
Based in Williamsburg Virginia, Debra Mastaler is President of Alliance-Link, an interactive marketing company focused on providing custom link building campaigns and link training and is the author of the link building blog Link Spiel
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