Be the Authority Site in Google's Eyes

The Shocking Power of Authority

Let’s say you see a newspaper ad saying the psychology department at Yale is running a little “experiment on memory.” Paid volunteers are needed for the hour-long study, so you figure why not?

Upon arrival at the lab, you meet two men — a research scientist in a lab coat, and another volunteer just like yourself. The researcher proceeds to explain the study to you both.

He tells you the study is about the effects of punishment on memory. The task of the other volunteer will be to learn a series of word pairings (he’s called the “Learner”).

Your job as the “Teacher” will be to test the Learner’s memory of the word pairs, and administer electric shocks for each wrong answer. And for every new wrong answer, the voltage goes up.

You’re not sure about this whole thing, but it must be okay, right? The testing begins, and when the other volunteer misses a question, you pull a lever that delivers a mild shock.

Over time, though, the shock levels increase, and the Learner is grunting audibly. At 120 volts, he tells you the shocks are really starting to hurt. At 150 volts, he tries to quit.

The researcher tells you to keep going, and that the shocks will cause “no permanent tissue damage” to the Learner. You continue questioning and delivering punishment for incorrect answers.

At 165 volts, the Learner screams.

At 300 volts, the Learner refuses to respond any longer, as the shocks are impairing his mental capacities. The researcher tells you to treat non-responses as incorrect answers.

The Learner is screeching, kicking, and pleading for mercy with every subsequent shock, all the way up to 450 volts when the researcher finally stops you.

Scary story.

This couldn’t possibly have really happened, right?

Well, actually, it did, in 1963 at Yale, during a series of experiments by Stanley Milgram.

But here’s the real scoop about the Milgram experiment:

• there were no actual electric shocks

• the Learner was an actor

• the study had nothing to do with memory.

What Milgram wanted to know was how far the Teachers would go when told to continue to deliver those shocks, since they thought they really were.

About two-thirds (65%) of the subjects administered every shock up to 450 volts, no matter how much the Learner begged for mercy.

However, without the researcher’s encouragement to continue, the study found that the test subjects would have stopped giving punishment quite early on.

The results shocked the Yale faculty (no pun intended), and have become a part of modern psychological lore. Every aspect of the experiment had been carefully vetted to pull test subjects from a standard cross section of ages, occupations, and education levels.

In other words, these were not sadistic savages — these were people just like you and me.

A 2002 analysis of the original study confirms the findings.

What could possibly lead to this behavior?

Milgram concluded it’s our deep-seated sense of duty to authority. We’re trained from childhood to respect and trust authority figures (such as scientists in lab coats), and the obedience that comes with it stays with us throughout our lives.

Even when we feel something may not be quite right.

Cashing in with Authority
What Milgram wanted to know was how far the Teachers would go when told to continue to deliver those shocks, since they thought they really were.

All Your Deposits Belong to Me
A television reporter dresses up in a security guard’s uniform and sets up in front of a Las Vegas bank. He sticks a sign on the ATM embellished with a big gold badge and the following message:

Bank customers start showing up. Each time, the fake guard smiles and asks if the customer wants to make a deposit or withdrawal.

This whole scenario is ridiculous, right? No bank would conduct business this way.

And yet, customer after customer handed over cash, checks, Social Security numbers, credit cards, account numbers, PIN codes… you name it. Out of 10 people, only one hesitated, but even he complied seconds later.

When the reporter revealed the deception and asked the flabbergasted
victims why they handed him money and private information,
they all gave pretty much the same answer:

“Because of the uniform. Because of the sign.”

In other words, they complied because he was perceived as authoritative
and therefore, trustworthy.

Does authority have anything to do with people trusting you when money is involved?

You bet.

Here’s another crazy example of our obedience to
authority that copywriter Dean Rieck loves to tell.

Google Loves Authority Too
We believed we could build a better search. We had a simple idea, that not all pages are created equal. Some are more important.
~ Sergey Brin, Co-Founder, Google

It’s quite complicated and sounds circular, but we’ve worked out a way of calculating a website’s importance.
~ Larry Page, Co-Founder, Google

To rank well, build a site so fantastic that it makes you an authority in your niche.
~ Matt Cutts, Head of Google Web Spam Team


Neuroscience reveals the somewhat frightening answer. Brain scans show that the decision-making parts of our brains often shut down when we encounter authoritative advice or direction.

That’s part of what makes authority so powerful. And why authority
carries great responsibility.

When you’re looking to influence people and build a powerful business online, authority is the way to go. People respect other people who have authority, expertise, and impressive credentials just like they respect people in lab coats and police uniforms.
And they respect authority even more when you demonstrate it rather than simply claim it. More on that in a minute.

Simply put, authority makes you more important in the eyes of others… someone who should be listened to and treated better. And it’s not just people who operate this way.

So… people respond to and follow important people more than others. And Google ranks important pages and sites higher than others.

We may be on to something with this authority thing.

If you’ve been around the online marketing scene for a while, you may be familiar with the paradox of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the art and science of ranking high in the search engines (mostly Google) for the words people are using to find what you have to offer.

It boils down to this:
If people think you’re important, so will Google.

This perplexes many webmasters and online marketers, since they wonder how people will consider them important when people use search engines to find things online in the first place. How are you important if you’re invisible in the search engines to start with?

And how does Google know people think you’re important anyway?

For one, they know because people link to you, and Google follows those links to index and rank web pages.

And thanks to services such as the Google Toolbar, Analytics, Feedburner, Google Reader, Gmail and others that keep you logged-in to your Google account, the Big G has an enormous amount of usage data that shows what people actually spend time doing online.

So, there’s that. But how do you kick it off?

All Your Deposits Belong to Me

In order to get the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior online, you need to become an authority that others cite (link to) in their online content. Which means, of course, you need a content-rich website that demonstrates your authority in the first place.

Your content actually demonstrates your expertise, compared with a website or bio page that claims expertise. This is a crucial distinction, because it truly levels the playing field and allows anyone to come along and build authority that outpaces even recognized
and credentialed experts in a particular niche or field.

How is this possible? Well, it’s due to the one essential truth about how both people and Google perceive authority:

What other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.

Authority is all about perception.

Perceived authority can outrank actual authority, because both the general population and the most powerful search engine on the planet look to what others “vote” to be the most relevant expertise for any given topic, rather then some other method that might give a different result.

To get people to link to you and generally pay attention in the first place, you have to start thinking about authority in a different sense. Luckily, any dictionary will get you on the right path with the other definition of authority.
au·thor·i·ty noun: [1] A citation (e.g. from a book) used in defense or support; [2] the source from which the citation is drawn; [3] an individual cited or appealed to as an expert.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say Professor X is the world’s foremost authority on green widgets. This guy really knows his stuff when it comes to green widgets, and he’s got the PhD in green widgetology to prove it. He’s also published several scholarly papers on the topic of green widgets, but unfortunately those demonstrations are deemed too valuable to publish freely online.

Bad move, Professor X.

Then there’s Ned Newbie. Ned is passionate about green widgets, even though he didn’t quite make it to graduate school. Ned is teaching himself everything there is to know about green widgets by doing his own research and reading everything he can get his hands on.

The scholarly journals won’t touch Ned with a 10-foot pole, but that’s okay… Ned decides to blog about green widgets and share what he’s learned so far with anyone who’s interested. It doesn’t matter that Ned doesn’t know as much about green widgets as Professor X (yet), because Ned figures his own understanding of the topic will increase by having to transform his research into content that can be viewed across the planet.

Ned’s absolutely right. And here’s the good part… whenever someone
needs to cite (link to) a web page when mentioning green widgets,
they link to Ned.

Two years later, Brad Pitt confesses a fascination for green widgets during a Barbara Walters’ interview. Suddenly, everyone is hot to find out more about green widgets. Search traffic surges, reporters are digging for sources… it’s downright green widget mania.
Who will people find? Who will the media contact?
To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself.
~ Albert Einstein

The last thing I want you to think is that following rules is the way to succeed. In fact, breaking a few of the “rules” people try to dictate to you might be the smartest thing you ever do.

The title of this report has a double meaning. The first way to look at it is authority rules… as in it kicks ass and can’t be beat when it comes to publishing and marketing online.

And that’s the truth.

But when it comes to building authority sites or blogs (same difference,
really, given Google’s preference for constantly-updated content), some things are fairly critical. The following ten elements of online authority are important enough to be considered rules that should be followed, not broken.

That’s right… it’ll be Ned. Sorry, Professor X.

The key to becoming an authority in any area is to learn all you can, and share all you can. Then you make money by selling something related to your authority, and even by re-packaging the content you’ve already created.

As you might have guessed, there are ways to go about this that provide better results than other approaches (especially in the competitive niches that don’t need Brad Pitt to drive traffic). Let’s get into the elements that result in authoritative websites that work.

Let’s take a look at each:

The winning difference has been a critical concept way before the web came along. And it’s been called a lot of different things over time in various contexts: a unique selling proposition; your position in people’s minds; your purple cow… and on and on.

Essentially, it’s what makes your story stick.

There are a lot of ways to differentiate yourself, but no matter how you do it, it’s absolutely essential to building an authority website. In many ways, it’s how unique your content is that sets you apart, and that’s why the winning difference is rule number one… and why all of the following rules support it one way or another.

by Brian Clark

What you want is for Google to consider YOUR companies website to be THE AUTHORITY in your industry.


Pull that off and it's Game Over, you win and your competitors whimper, whine and snivel.

What I'm going to say next will confuse some of you

... a conventional (static) website is NOT what I recommend if you are hoping to corner the search results for your industry.

You want to know the quickest, most effective method of getting Google to go Ga-Ga over your companies message?

A Blog.

Get a blog, either make your company website into a blog or failing that if there's the weight of precedence making that move too much of a pain, Add a blog TO your website.

That's why this site is not a website, it's a blog.

That's why my main website where I pitch my local search engine wizardry is not a website... it too is a blog

And that's why you found this information... because it's published not on a conventional website... it's published on a blog.

So you now know you need a blog, chances are you're feeling a little underprepared to dive into blogging. That's where a consultant comes in.

A Maryland Search Engine Marketing Consultant with a proven track record, a professional blogger with over 100 blogs and a blogger profile dating back to the very infancy of blogging.

Google this phrase: local google advertising

Look where Google is, now look where I am, then call me at 240 315-1515 to get YOUR company website to PERFORM in Google

... and all your deposits belong to me (just had to do that.. he he)

1 comment:

Christopher Hegg said...

This is a great article I totally understand now what he means about being the Authority Site in Google's Eyes