7 Ways to Build Authority With Google, According to an SEO Agency Leader

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An Expert Explains the Tactics That Drive SEO

Nearly 92% of worldwide Internet searches are performed on Google. On mobile devices, it climbs to more than 95%. That amounts to 99,000 searches every second.

It stands to reason, then, that if you want your business website to rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs), then you should do everything you can to build your website’s authority in the eyes of this tech giant.

The process begins when you develop a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, which includes guidance for your content marketing efforts. Creating a successful strategy requires an understanding of what Google looks for on individual web pages and websites as a whole to determine their authority and calculate their keyword rankings in the SERPs.

We sat down with a local SEO expert, Zach Kinser, to hear his recommendations for building authority and ranking highly in search results. Zach is the director of SEO and web development at iFocus Marketing, a digital marketing and SEO agency in Overland Park.

Foster a Positive User Experience

“When I talk about user experience, I don’t just mean design,” Zach explained. “I’m also talking about all the technical aspects of your website’s functionality.”

Your website should, of course, be well designed and easy to navigate. But it should also be fast to load and free of errors.

One aspect of user experience that sometimes falls by the wayside is that it should be easily accessible by all internet users. Your site visitors may include those with limited vision or other differences, and those who primarily speak languages other than English.

Google takes into account some of these characteristics when weighing your website’s authority against your competitors’ websites. But it’s not all about SEO strategy.

Your site visitors will evaluate your online presence in their own way. For example, if a person with low or limited vision visits your website and finds they cannot navigate it, they’ll leave and find a business that has considered their needs.

Zach recommends learning more about ADA compliance for websites to better understand the specific actions you can take to improve your site, or working with a Kansas City SEO agency, like iFocus Marketing, when you need a website redesign.

Write Helpful Content For Your Website As Part Of Your SEO Strategy

Now that your website is technically optimized, it’s time to turn your attention to developing content for it, including the words on your pillar pages and in your blog.

“Google prioritizes helpful content in the SERPs and recently has taken multiple actions to demonstrate this,” Zach explained.

  • In 2022, the tech giant adjusted their ranking systems to drop unhelpful content from the SERPs.
  • In March 2024, they continued this work by refining their ranking systems again. This new update better identifies whether a webpage offers a poor user experience or if it was created to manipulate search engines rather than satisfy a searcher’s intent.
  • Google recently added a second E in their E-E-A-T acronym. The new E stands for experience; the others are expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Helpful content should demonstrate all four of these characteristics. Keep reading to see how other optimizations put these in action.

So how does Google recognize helpful content? They’ve developed a machine learning model, called the Helpful Content System, that uses classifiers and signals to weed out unhelpful or low quality content.

The Helpful Content System assigns a label to every piece of website content, which generates a signal. The signal is weighted, so if the site has a lot of unhelpful content, it gets a stronger signal than one that is predominantly helpful, but still has a little unhelpful content on it.

Keep in mind that this system is just one of the tools Google uses to evaluate helpful content, and Google historically has spoken in generalized terms about their processes and algorithms.

Craft Original Content

In addition to helpful content, Google expects your website content to be original, too. Original content does not appear elsewhere online, nor is it solely generated using AI.

Google ombudsman John Mueller has long said the search tool’s algorithm recognizes AI content and penalizes it when it has been created solely to manipulate search results, according to its spam policy.

That spam policy is extensive, citing certain content creation-related tactics as policy violations and reasons your website could drop in the SERPs, including:

  • Keyword stuffing, or filling a piece of content with keywords in mass numbers.
  • Scaled content abuse, when many web pages are created to manipulate search rankings instead of helping users. This can include using generative AI to create numerous pieces of content or combining content from different pages without adding value to the new piece.
  • Scraped content, or duplicate content, in which site owners take content from other, more reputable sites. This can also constitute copyright infringement.

Here’s a caveat: AI content can rank well when it’s relevant and high-quality.

“The downside is that it takes a lot of writing expertise and content marketing knowledge to achieve strong rankings with AI content,” Zach advised. “Anything AI spits out will require significant editing and revision and should never be posted to your website without intensive work from a content writer and an SEO expert.”

Include Writer Biographies In Blog Posts

Google and your site visitors want to know that your company is an expert in your industry. Although authorship in its purest form – a byline – is not a ranking factor that Google talks about, you should include a brief writer biography to every post to ensure readers understand your level of expertise.

“Internet searchers who click on your website in the SERPs appreciate the humanizing element of biographies,” Zach explained.

Biographies build trust, and tying a real human to your content fosters that trust. Biographies should contain details that showcase the writer’s expertise and experiences in your industry. If the person who wrote your blog, like a content writer at an SEO agency, is not an expert in your field, you can attribute the piece to an expert in your business instead – likely the person who reads over the content and approves it.

When searchers find your blog in the SERPs, click on it, and spend time reading it, Google assumes your piece has satisfied search intent. This can improve your page’s ranking for the relevant keywords in your blog post.

Regularly Publish New Content

Publishing keyword-rich, helpful content is a major component of your SEO strategy. There’s no specific requirement for the amount of new content you should publish on your business’s website, but doing so on a regular schedule can help improve your authority. Google will see that your website is updated when it crawls the new pages and note that your site is active and therefore relevant.

“I recommend publishing a piece of content at least once per month, but more often is better, as long as what you’re publishing is helpful,” Zach said. “Don’t overdo your content calendar just for the sake of publishing. Have a real purpose for each piece you write.”

Your content should contain keywords that your clients are searching for, considering the trend for long-tail keywords and voice prompts through virtual assistant devices, like Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Catchy headlines – called H1s in the SEO world – entice clicks, too.

Link to Credible or Authoritative Websites When Appropriate

External links from your blog to a more authoritative website doesn’t directly improve your rankings in the SERPs, but it does build confidence that your blogs are accurate and informative.

When you can prove you’re right about a topic by hyperlinking non-keyword text to a widely accepted authority, your readers know they can rely on you for trustworthy information.

For example, if you’re marketing an HVAC service, you might add a hyperlink to the ENERGY STAR® website when discussing energy efficient furnaces in a blog post.

Zach recommends hyperlinking to these sources using the following guidelines:

  • Make sure the link opens in a new window, so your reader doesn’t have to leave your website to check your reference. The longer they stay on your page, the better!
  • Don’t place the hyperlink on keywords. Reserve links on keyword anchor text for internal links – those that refer back to your own website and underscore that particular keyword’s relevance to your business.
  • Never hyperlink to a competitor’s website.

Claim and Update Your Google Business Profile to Improve Local SEO

On-page search engine optimization efforts are meant to support a broad audience of searchers, so take steps to optimize local SEO, too. The best way to do this is through your Google Business Profile.

Google Business Profile (GBP) is a free tool that allows you to create the equivalent of an old-school phone book listing for your business, except it appears in Google search results when people are seeking products or services similar to yours.

Unlike the phone book, however, your GBP lists a bunch of other information about your business, including your website, your hours, and other attributes you can select from a predefined list. It also places your business on a map when searchers are looking for your products or services near them.

Claim your business profile and verify your address, then fill in as much of the profile as you can following GBP best practices.

Just like you add regular content to your website, your GBP requires regular maintenance. This includes updating holiday hours or other changes your customers need to know, as well as posting updates or promotions on your profile.

“If managing your Google Business Profile feels overwhelming on top of all the other things you do to keep your business running and growing, our local SEO agency can help you as we create and manage the rest of your SEO strategy,” Zach advised.

Partner With an SEO Agency For All the Heavy Lifting

Search engine optimization is a digital marketing strategy that takes a long time to show results and an even longer time to master. Because of Google’s frequent updates to its algorithm and ranking factors, business owners without expert support are tasked with investing significant time and effort into staying up to date.

As SEO expert Zach Kinser advised, it’s worth it to work with an SEO agency, so you can devote your time and energy into growing your business.

“I’ve devoted my career to SEO and can confirm that it takes years to master even a small piece of the ranking puzzle,” Zach explained. “Business owners are experts in the products or services they sell, so it’s unrealistic to also have to become an expert in every facet of SEO or other digital marketing tactics.”

To harness the power of a digital marketing agency partner with deep understanding of search engine optimization, request a discovery call from iFocus Marketing by sending us a message on our website.

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