The Future of Authority Sites

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I have been seeing some things fairly recently that show some real holes in the internet marketing industry as to it operating as a business. A fair amount of people get involved to make a fast dollar, no matter the cost, and some just enter because they heard there is fast money to be made.

There is.

You can hop into the internet marketing industry and make some money real fast and sometimes it is decent cash. There are a variety of ways to do that and generally, they are short-term processes that work for a little while and then fizz out because they were just exploiting a loophole, advertising something that is not really all that accurate, out and out scamming someone or several people or any other number of reasons.

Some of the processes are actually out and out harmful (i.e. malware on another’s computer) and can cause real heartache for the one that is getting hit by the “make money fast” guys. A total crap way to make a buck online.

Others are harmless for the most part and are just a churn and burn type process to make a few dollars while they can where you target a keyword, slap up some content, slam it with backlinks and rank it for a short time and make some fast cash. I’ve done that a number of times when I have seen an opportunity and thought to exploit it as it is not a hard process, can be automated 100% once set up and for a small investment of a hundred dollars or so you can put an easy few grand in your pocket for a few hours of work. What I do not care for about that kind of project as a long-term business model is that you have to replicate it over and over again to maintain a steady income stream.

That is fine if you want to do that with your life but I’m not into the hustle myself as a general rule… I’d rather build for the long term and not have to start a new project every few weeks to keep the cash flowing in and the lights turned on. Nothing wrong with that thinking, it is just not my way.

I titled this The Future of Authority Sites and it is sort of a misnomer. I don’t know that I actually build an authority site per se… my sites are certainly not along the lines of Wikipedia as they are nowhere near that large or comprehensive but rather are more along the lines of a Niche Authority Site. Fairly comprehensive and expansive but narrowed down to a certain topic or niche. Granted they can end up being thousands of pages but that is really not an authority site if you were to examine the phrase closely. In the eyes of many internet marketers, it is certainly an authority site, and in the eyes of Google it gets some attention but on a grand scale, I feel a little uncomfortable saying that is really what I am building when I put one of those together.

That nitpick semantic discussion as to what constitutes an authority site is now out of the way as far as this article goes.

Where do I see the Authority Site in the Internet Marketing industry in the next 10 years? Is content still going to be King? Will backlinks still be Queen? Are those kinds of sites I should hang my hat on to be sure that I am going to be making money online for the long term?

Without a doubt, the answer to those three questions is a resounding Yes.

Here is why I am strong in my feeling there:

The internet is largely an information base. It is driven by information and the quality of the information, the volume of information and the value the information is put on by others who interact with the information provider.

Quality and volume of information = Content = King. Interaction = Backlinks = Queen.

The “formula” is not 100% pure and will never be as it is encumbered by people and we are not pure. We will always try and game the system to a certain extent and I don’t know that they will ever be able to integrate a way to eliminate that completely into any search engine algorithm ever. There will be efforts ad infinitum as we have seen in the past and will see in the future as Google and the minor search engines like Bing and Yahoo want to offer a 100% objective searching experience (or so they say). In fact, Google’s home page has no advertising on it as a testament to their desire to keep any commercial goals out of the picture when you land there and thus keep the entryway into their search engine pure.

Content is King

Knowing that Google wants the search engine experience to be pure as to searching only, then one has to look at what common sense tells us is valuable to the majority of the world when it comes to search engine results. Typically that is information and it will always be informed. One searches for information on one level or another; it could be what is the best price for leather shoes with 1 inch heels, it could be for the weather patterns in the South Pacific, it could be for cars with the best fuel mileage or any number of other things that one has an interest in learning or knowing about.

Any way you look at it, if you are going to a search engine and typing is a word or phrase, you are looking for information, or, as the owner of a website would call it, content (By the way, content is not always just words but I’ll get into that another time). That puts content on the front burner and in the forefront of Google’s mind when it is considering what to rank in its search engine. To me, that is your King factor.

Yeah, you can say that one that has a site selling shoes is not a content site but rather an e-commerce site, and there is a modicum of truth in that statement, but is not sharing on that site the quality of the shoes, a description of those shoes and the pricing of the shoes all information about shoes or buying shoes? People tend to put sites into boxes and would call a site that sells shoes an e-commerce site but it falls under a larger umbrella and that is one of an informational site. It is the information about the product that is part of what drives the search engine to give you a place in its rankings. Again, your King factor exposed.

Those are just a few examples of the thought process and I know I could share a hundred more as the principle is the same, content/information is factor #1 in the ranking of a website.

Backlinks are Queen.

Backlinks are not always in the form of Anchor text. Many of us that have been in the business of ranking sites, whether they are our own sites or sites of clients have been building backlinks using the above format for years. It is the foundation of the backlinking process. Your site hyperlinked with the anchor text you want to rank for is the most common type of backlink out there and probably will be for most of our lifetimes. To change that would be a huge adjustment in the HTML language for starters and I just can’t see that happening.

The other aspect of the hyperlink with your anchor text that makes sense as to why it will never change is because it is simple and easy. We generally take the path of least resistance as humans and this fits in well. To make the process to share a site that we see as a valuable one pertaining to a subject we have an interest in a more cumbersome one would go against human nature.

That is merely the most common backlink… there are tons of others such as a naked backlink,, a hyperlinked naked link, and so on. Those links all tell Google one thing, “The owner of the site believes that the linked site has a value”. Sure there is a bookcase full of aspects that Google takes into account when it looks at that link as to how much value it gives the link, but the underlying message will always be there. Sometimes it may be a whisper as the site with the link on it has little value in Googles’ eyes and other times it will be a shout from the rooftops as the site linking it has all kinds of value in Googles’ eyes. Either way, Google hears the message and reacts on one level or another.

Links can be on blogs, other relative websites, Wikipedia type sites, newspaper sites, or any other kind of generic website we see out there. They can also be on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and the like. They all have one thing in common though, they are telling Google there is some value to the site about which they are speaking and that, my friends, is the Queen in action.

So, the future of authority sites is a bright one as it has been actually getting brighter and brighter over the past few years as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the other search engines continually try and clean up their ranking process via algorithm updates. I’m sure that we will always see the occasional churn and burn site grab the spotlight for a period of time but for long-term passive rankings that bring in long-term passive income, building an authority site is a course to take that will be as steady as one could ask for in the intent industry.

Content is King. Backlinks are Queen. Common Sense SEO.