Posted by Chris Handy ● April 15, 2013

Authority + Popularity: Two Key Components of SEO & Inbound Marketing

There are lots of fly-by-night Search Engine Optimization companies that email me daily making promises of #1 Rankings on Google.

The headline will often read :

Want to see your website in Top 3 positions in Google or other major search engine?

Obviously I would like that. But does it really work? What's the catch?

Google has long been publicized the tentpoles of their search algorithm.

Authority + Popularity

So what do those words mean to Google?

  • Authority refers to a page's (or domain's) relevance and quality of content related to a search query.
  • Popularity refers to a page's (or domain's) traffic, social shares, and past click through ration in search results.

For example: If I type the search query, "best organic dog food, the results will vary. Here is a screenshot.

authority and popularity seo

You can see the top results are by established pet bloggers, and WebMD. These all possess the qualities of popularity and authority.

Back to the overseas SEO companies. Their tactics are generally to build "linkfarms". Linkfarms are basically just websites that only exist to hold links to other websites in an effort to gain popularity. Google has recently been cracking down on these linkfarms, and the whole SEO industry has not done a great job of catching up.

Good websites who have hired these "black hat" (linkfarmy) SEO companies in the past are being penalized with lowered search rankings. It is a good idea to take steps to clean up and disavow any links coming from spammy websites.

So in light of all this cracking down, what is the best way to build these positive qualities for your website?

No games, tricks or other shortcuts.

Create remarkable content that adds value to your audience, and people will in turn love to share it. This naturally builds both authority (if you are truly adding value to your audience) and popularity.

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