Essentially, an authority is a person or an institution which has the final say on a particular matter. The authority decides what is right or wrong and others follow their lead. But while this word may be used to refer to government or supervisory institutions, authority can also be a source of information.
Examples of Authority
For example, at one point the New York Times was the authority on the news. Their perceived objectivity and stringent verification procedures means that if a piece of news was printed on the New York Times, then it must be true. It was the same thing for CNN, and they even had videos as proof. For facts about infectious diseases, the CDC is the final authority. For space topics, it’s NASA. Scrabble players consult the Webster’s dictionary to determine whether a particular word exists or is spelled correctly.
For sports fans squabbling over trivia, they can consult ESPN or Sports Illustrated in order to determine who’s right. Who was drafted first before Michael Jordan? Once they see what these websites say on the matter (Akeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie) then there’s no need for further research to confirm the information. The fact that ESPN and Sports Illustrated are highly respected by sports fans means that when these websites say something, then it’s a fact, not hearsay.
Google itself is an authority on just about every topic under the sun—or beyond the sun for that matter. In fact, Google is so popular that the word Google itself is used as a verb to denote researching about a topic. Before Google, other search engines served up websites for your keywords that didn’t necessarily provide what you wanted. But when Google came into the picture, its ability and commitment to give you the websites you needed made it the de facto search engine for the vast majority of Internet users. Nowadays it may direct you to Wikipedia, which many people consider an authority website as well. In other words, an authority is someone or something that others trust.
Building an Authoritative Website
It’s not a coincidence that the word author is in the word authority. Some authorities are said to be so knowledgeable about a particular topic that they “wrote the book” on the topic. Sometimes this is even literally true, as in the case of math and science professors in MIT, Caltech, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
And that’s what you have to bring to your website. You have to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise about your particular subject, and then spread the word about it. Your website must contain factual and up-to-date information. And you have to go into other forums and blogs so you can discuss your niche intelligently and prove to others that you are a credible source.
Google won’t be able to understand what you are writing, but they can discern the signs of your authority. These signs include other websites mentioning your site or including links to your site. The increase in site visitors as well as the length of time they spend on your website will also help build your authority.. And when Google recognizes your authority on the subject, it won’t be long until you increase your ranking on the search results.