In the cybersecurity marketing world, we hear a lot of terms thrown around when we talk about content marketing. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)…Domain Authority…Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)…these are just a few terms that are often used. However, one term that you might not hear quite so much is Page Authority.
What Is Page Authority?
“Page Authority” (PA) is a scoring system developed by the SEO company Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). Page Authority scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
Succinctly, this method of scoring a page allows marketing teams to measure the success of individual pages. If you create a page and you’re getting no visitors, you should review your score to determine how well it’s rated by search engines. Cybersecurity marketing teams should be using this tactic when updating old content, but they also need to keep it in mind for when they are building new content, too.
Page Authority vs. Domain Authority?
Whereas Page Authority is looking at a specific page and how well it ranks on SERP, Domain Authority examines the overall health of your site. There are a bunch of different factors that determine the site’s score. They include quality of content, numbers of backlinks, website performance, and much more.
To help improve your Domain Authority, you must build a long-term strategy. For many organizations, it can be relatively easy to move from a score of 7 to 20, but the higher score, the harder it is to continue to build upon that.
Why Is Your Page Authority Important?
There are a lot of different ways to drive traffic to your website. They include email, social media, pay-per-click, and referral traffic, and they are all really important aspects of your overall marketing strategy. Even so, the biggest driver for most businesses is organic search traffic.
68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
Organic search results are the unpaid results that appear on a SERP after you type a query. Here is an example after I typed in the term, “File Integrity Monitoring.”
The factors that determine where a page might rank include applicable items such as relevance, number of quality backlinks, quality of content, (Does it answer the readers’ questions?) and Domain Authority, among others.
Organic traffic is amazing for a few reasons. Once you succeed in getting something to rank, it generally serves as a long-term source of relevant traffic to your website. People are proactively searching for these terms to solve their problems, and you are the answer. You’ll attract high volumes of relevant traffic to your business!
And not only that…but it’s also “free!” The time, effort, and resources you invest at the start will pay dividends for months and years after. If you’re struggling to drive page views to a particular page, the quickest way of getting more traffic is by investing in paid advertising. Whether it’s Google PPC campaigns or social media advertising, they all have their place, but they can be super expensive and resource heavy. That’s why creating content for SEO purposes is a vital strategy for cybersecurity marketing teams.
Organic vs. Paid Search
As mentioned above, paid advertising really does have its place, but when you see statistics such as, “Organic search drives 53% of website traffic, while paid search drives only 27%,” it really makes you see the value in having a good SEO content marketing strategy in place.
And this next stat is particularly important for any marketing professionals who work in cybersecurity:
“Roughly 25.8% of internet users use ad blockers.”
Cybersecurity professionals generally know the risks behind adverts on the internet and have a superior understanding about how cybercriminals can use ads to carry out fraudulent activities. With that in mind, you could guess that the above statistic would be much higher for anyone who works in the cybersecurity industry.
So, we know that organic search traffic is fundamental in driving traffic, relevant leads, and quality opportunities. Now we need to talk about what the fundamentals should be to create Authority Pages that are important to your prospects and customers.
Authority Page vs. a Solution Page vs. Blog Post
How is an Authority Page different from any other type of page on your site?
A solution page is all about the organization. It should feature the company’s solutions and how they help their customers. In the process, they are offering insights into why the reader should be asking for a product or service demonstration and/or filling in a “Contact Us” form. This is the area for promotional material. Does Google want to promote this kind of content? Nope.
We could quibble over whether an Authority Page is like a blog post, which it is, but they aren’t exactly the same. A blog post will pull in external references for validation. It might offer thoughts and opinions on a particular subject, and it often goes into depth on a particular area. For example, “What is Phishing” could be a blog post, but your blog should be really looking at things like, “Tips to avoid phishing attacks” or “How to prevent a phishing scam.”
The purpose of an Authority Page is to educate the reader on a particular topic. It’s going to be an overview of all aspects of a particular topic without getting deep into the weeds. (That’s what your blog is for.) It needs to be educational and interesting, not promotional.
Why Create an Authority Page?
Authority Pages need to be created around the core of your business. If you’re a vendor working in the API security space, an obvious place to start is with “Your Guide to API Security.” From there, you then need to research some of the keywords and phrases that people are using to learn more about API security.
If you’re writing something up on the topic and want to educate readers, you must think about this from the perspective of who might be reading it. That could be anyone from students learning about the topic all the way to executives who hear about the threat but don’t know exactly what it is. You need to add value to their experience so that they stay on the page, interact with it, and then look to respond to a Call-To-Action (CTA).
9 Best Practices When Building an Authority Page
Now that we’ve covered what an Authority Page is, why it is important, and why you would want to create one, let’s look at some of the best practices to consider when building an Authority Page.
- Don’t get too hung up on word count. If you’re covering a broad topic such as ransomware, the content might be long. There is a lot to say on it. However, if you’re creating a page to target something niche like log management, it will be shorter. It’s about covering the topic in its entirety, not writing words for the sake of it.
- This isn’t a keyword stuffing exercise. Using tools to find keywords and forcing them into a page won’t bring you the success you’re craving. Yes, knowing the key terms people are searching for is important, but we’re not in 2008 anymore. (A time when keyword stuffing was effective.)
- Make it unique and engaging. You want readers to be educated but to also engage with the page. Include relevant media such as videos, graphics, podcasts, and even further reading. Everyone consumes content differently, and if you’re creating a resource on a particular topic, make sure you cater to that. This will also help lower the “bounce rate” and time on page, two very important factors when looking to improve your page authority.
- Don’t sell. The purpose of this page is to offer true value to the readers, not tell them your product will solve their problems. Readers will detect this style of insincerity a mile-off and bounce. It’s okay to add a subtle call-to-action at the end, but try to limit it to that.
- Consider organic external linking. Once your page is live, there is still a ton of work to do to make it stand out, and one of those strategies is to get relevant pages linking to it. Will other sites and publications link to this page if you’re trying to sell directly to them or making it all about you? Adding true value to your readers will mean it will become a useful resource for the industry, helping you to gain more relevant backlinks without doing all the extra work.
- Don’t link out to loads of external resources. If you need to quote something, link out, but keep those external references to a minimum. A definition from a reputable source such as Gartner or Forrester can help drive trust early on, but after that, keep it to a minimum.
- Formatting. No one wants to read big chunks of text and poorly formatted words. Additionally, Google will look at the content, so if you’re covering a range of elements of one large topic, tell Google what’s important. If it’s “Best Practices to Defend Against a Ransomware Attack,” that could be a H2 heading. Or if it’s something that’s not as significant, consider making it a H3 or H4. Understanding the difference is important for ease of consumption, but it also carries technical SEO benefits.
- Make the content memorable. When we talk about sub-headings, think hard about what to write here. If it’s “EDR Best Practices,” that’s pretty dull and not too memorable, but if it’s “The 7 Best Practices for Choosing an EDR solution,” it makes it more memorable and relevant.
- Consider using Anchor Links and a menu at the top. This makes it easier for readers to navigate based on their level of experience. They can go straight to Best Practices. This technique will help with reducing bounce rates.
Hosting an Authority Page
Now that you’ve created your Authority Page, where should it live? It’s not a solution page, nor a blog, so where does it go?
One option would be to create something like a “Learning Center” or “Resource Page.” You could have a landing page that stores all your Authority Pages and that could reside in your header, footer, or even both.
This is important when it comes to constructing your URL, too. It needs to be short and concise, and it needs to live high up within your site.
For example, a blog could be:
Whereas for an Authority Page, you want it more as cornerstone content that lives higher up in your domain.
If you have blogs hosted on the same website with the same or similar content, consider using a canonical link with the Authority Page as the master, then have the Authority Page link out to the blog in the content. Identifying a canonical link will also reduce the chance that URL variations caused by automatically added tags, query parameters, etc. will dilute the page authority.
For example, an Authority Page could be “What is an Authority Page,” and within that page, you could discuss ways to increase page authority ranking and then link within that content to a more detailed blog post entitled, “How to Increase Page Authority Ranking.” Using the canonical link on the Authority Page will ensure that it is the preferred web page to return.
The page’s meta description is also important. It needs to get someone who searched for a topic to click on your link. If the search keyword matches part of the text in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to use it and highlight it in the search results.
Here’s a good example. Searching “what is page authority” returns Moz as the first result, and their meta description is “Page Authority (PA) is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engine result pages (SERP). Page Authority scores …”
4 Steps to Building Page Authority for your Authority Page
Now that you have constructed your Authority Page, how do you improve its page authority? Here are a few things to consider:
- Promote the page via other channels to drive initial traffic. Slice and dice up interesting sections to share on social outlets, include it in your customer newsletters, and make it front and center of your home page.
- Update it on a regular basis. Quite often, these pages won’t need a ton of updating, but it’s still important to maintain the quality of the page. If you’ve released a new report or created a new video, make sure you leverage your new content to improve the quality of this page on an annual basis.
- Build this into your on-page SEO strategy. If you’re writing new blog content, make sure your writers are referencing this page when talking about the topic. Link out from your solution pages so readers can learn more. If you have pages that already generate a lot of traffic, update them and link back to this. You want to tacitly alert Google that this page is important.
- Build an off-page SEO strategy. This is the best way to drive the authority around your Authority Pages. It’s not a case of going down the Black Hat SEO route and getting as many links to your page as possible. There is much more consideration needed. You need to get links from high-authority domains with good quality content and relevant backlinks. Creating the best strategy to drive valuable backlinks will be essential to making this a success.
Bora is building Authority Pages for a host of successful cybersecurity companies right now. We’re helping to plan, write, and then increase their authority on an ongoing basis.
Interested in learning more?
Get in touch with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joepettit/.
Or go direct to our contact us page: https://www.welcometobora.com/contact-us/.