Penguin, penguin, penguin…let’s see, where to start?

And how does that even relate to building website authority? So first thing is first, Google’s Penguin algorithm update is another step (along with the Panda update) towards cracking down on “over optimized” websites using “spammy” SEO tactics. Specifically, the primary focus of the Penguin algorithm update is to filter and weed out bad inbound links to sites. We’ve all seen the ads for “1,000 PR3 links for $30″, and sure, these are without a doubt high targets for Penguin. However, what most don’t realize is that many quality backlinks may be at risk as well, just by the nature of how they are created.

For instance, say a quality, non spammy website has a blog roll link to your site in their sidebar. Let’s also imagine that this link contains the specific anchor text relative to your keyword. And let’s also agree that the site has been around for a long time and has say, 1,000 pages. Now if we add that up, that’s 1,000 exact match anchor text backlinks pointing to your site from one place. Get the idea?

Why Are We Building Website Authority?

So, if we’re talking backlinks, and the quality of their nature, how is building website authority related? Shouldn’t a “penguin recovery strategy” be focused on creating a more natural inbound link campaign? A great question, and the answer is…no.

If we take a look at some of the websites that are absolutely killing it in a post-penguin update world, who are bosses at building website authority, we’ll find one thing in common, excellent content…and loads of it. Think about it…instead of chasing after three keywords, targeting three pages on your website, and constantly struggling to build link after link after link (many of which might get caught up in the algorithm filter, get your site flagged, or not even be crawled by the search engines at all)…why not do the exact opposite? Why not build page after page after page of high quality content, targeting an mountain of great long tail keywords? (The answer is rhetorical by the way).

Building Website Authority Like A Boss

Create a Keyword Universe

A keyword universe is your end all be all, ultimate keyword guide to building website authority. It is an exhaustive list of every keyword you rank for, every keyword you’d like to rank for, and every keyword you didn’t even know about until you came up with this. The way I go about doing this is by creating categories, or “root keywords” for my sites. For example, a few roots for this site might be “SEO” or “Inbound Marketing” or “Conversion Optimization”. The broader the better, and try to come up with as many of these as possible. Then go into whatever keyword tool tickles your fancy and start generating some keyword lists. Don’t worry about analyzing them at this point, just grab anything relevant, and export the data to CSV.

Once you have your master list, throw that bad boy into a tool such as Market Samurai (not an affiliate, just really like their gear) and grab some data. I like to grab key metrics such as search volume (exact and phrase) and title competition. Export this list as a CSV and populate your final spreadsheet. You can now start analyzing and prioritizing your list.

PRO TIP: I like to take this one step further by creating formulas in Excel to prioritize my list for me. For example, if the search volume is over X amount and the title competition is under X amount, classify this keyword as AWESOME or something of that nature. Get creative with it, as you’ll be using this doc a ton in the future.

Build Out a Publishing Schedule

So now that you have your keyword universe baked out, it’s time to do something with it. Enter the publishing schedule. Ultimately, the publishing schedule will be your roadmap to building website authority. Each new page from now on that will be created on your website will be dictated by the publishing schedule.

The idea of the publishing schedule is to maintain it as a living breathing thing. You shouldn’t attempt to complete it all in one sitting, as it is in its nature to never be finished. I like to build my publishing schedules out a month at a time. How many pages are built in to the publishing schedule will differ by how much time you have to devote to building website authority each month. Obviously the more you publish, the faster it will happen. The idea is to be consistent and stick to the schedule.

PRO TIP: Once you have decided on X number of pages for the month, head over to your keyword universe and find X number of keywords (one per new page). On your publishing schedule, record your keyword, page title and meta description for the new page (for blog articles, which is where most content will live, this gives me a better idea of writing direction when it comes time to type).

Nominate Hero Pages and Donor Pages

So here comes the sexy part of building website authority. Let’s talk about link architecture. One thing Google and other search engines look for in a website is how links flow throughout the site. They do this to get a better understanding of what pages are important on the site, and obviously to weigh higher in their search rankings. It is important to think about this when creating new content. Every anchor text link you create within your content sends link authority to the specific page it is targeting. Therefore, it is important to send anchor text content links to important pages of your site from other pages. Thus, the creation of “hero pages” and “donor pages”.

PRO TIP: If you haven’t done so yet, nominate specific pages targeting your “Root Keywords” from the research stage, as your hero pages. Keep this in mind as you are writing new content and link to them from similar content, using various forms of your specific root keyword. This creates “themes” within your site. Google loves this, trust me.


So who would’ve thought creating great content was the algorithm update trump card? Oh, that’s right, Matt Cutts has only been barking about this for years now. What do you know, he was right. The secret to building website authority truly does lie in the content itself. So break out your keyword and get cracking. See you at the top of page one.

About Josh Patterson

Josh Patterson is a young entrepreneur and inbound marketing strategist out of Baltimore, MD. Josh is currently the Senior SEO Strategist at WebMechanix. Connect on Google Plus.