People come online at many different points in their purchase decision process: when they realize they have a problem, when they’re exploring possible solutions, when they’re ready to decide on a solution, when they want something and want to dream about it, when they’re browsing, when they’re ready to buy, and all points around and in between.
Ideally, they’ll find your website at a number of points during this process. You know it takes people a number of contacts with an opportunity before they take that opportunity. That used to mean multiple sales calls, but now quite a few of those contacts can be virtual. in the early stages of the decision-making process, your authority pages can provide the information you want and need.
More than a few of our clients have explained how they decided to hire us by saying, “I kept seeing your name all over the place.”
How do you accomplish this effect? It requires strategy, and every company may need a somewhat different strategy, depending on their business, their products or services, their target market, their competition, and their resources.
Here are the approaches we took with a few of the sites we’ve built recently.
Rocky Grove, a solar power company, has a number of pages with clear but accurate technical explanations of solar power systems. While this information could allow DIY use and conceivably lose them a few small customers, the main effect is to underline their authority (compared especially with home electronics companies adding solar panel sales to their array of services) and to show that they’re the expert choice for the big jobs they prefer to do. Since the company owners are also committed to education and teach classes in solar power, sharing this information is in keeping with their principles and mission.
More of the King also went with an informative page. Since their target market is so specialized and narrowly focused, one article that gains authority and strength with the search engines over time can make them look like THE authorities in their field and drive sales.
Family Chiropractic Center went with a blog, the best choice for most sites — as long as you keep it up. We’re blogging for the center, so they don’t have to worry about that. Blogs demonstrate authority, provide a valuable service for your clients (especially important in healthcare, where sending patients to your blog can help with the growing problem of “medical googlers”), and allow you to rank for lots of keywords.
Puerto Rico Report also went with a blog. As a news organization, they collaborate with Haden Interactive to make sure they have lots of fresh content every week. We also uploaded hundreds of PDF documents for them, making their site the most complete resource on their subject on the web. Authority pages are the foundation of their website.
Vertz and Company is not prepared to keep up a blog or to hire a blogger, but they wanted to make sure that their expertise was featured. We used case studies to highlight very specific ways in which their company went the extra mile for their clients and solved problems through their special knowledge. Since this is a WordPress site, it’s easy for them to update the case studies in the future.
Latitude has plenty of resources, but their marketing strategy calls for regular posting of longer, more in-depth articles. While the process is the same as blogging, we took advantage of the dynamic structure of WordPress to set these articles up in a more formal way. As the articles are ready to archive, they can be presented as PDF documents for lead generation, giving them an additional use.
As these examples show, authority pages can be approached in a number of different ways. The key is to create a strategy suited to your business needs, and to have a website that makes the strategy work.
If you don’t have authority pages at your website, you are missing an important opportunity to connect with your visitors and to increase conversions. These pages also give you much more to work with in linkbuilding and social media efforts, improving your results in both these areas. Adding or updating them should be a priority on your web update list for the coming year.