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How would you define an "authority" site?
What makes a site considered an authority

 8:00 am on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is it the number of content pages, inbound/outbound links to relevant sites, age of domain, etc?

What in your opinion makes an authority site?



 9:48 am on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

As defined here:


It's a prominent source of primary content.


 6:27 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

thanks victor for that mind boggling article :o)) I thought i was faitly intelligent until I read that article and felt like a simpleton.

So, an "authority" site that people talk about here on WW is a site that has a high PR (or at least has relevant sites that link to it).

So for example, lets take 2 sites in a vacuum:
Site A >> is a hub that links to sites C through Z
Site B >> is a content site that is linked to by sites C through Z
Sites C-Z >> are related sites (i.e. blue widgets)

In this scenario, Site A probably has the same 'weight' as SIte B.

In the real world, a site will have both an authority weight and a hub weight where it is linked to from other sites for its content and it links to other sites that have similar content.

The reason I'm trying to figure this out is because I have a 6 month site-building plan where I build a site every week on a different topic.

I needed to know
a) Should I just use one domain and place each site in a seperate folder genericdomain.com/site1 or use seperate domains
b) What makes an authority site because people told me that if you had an authority site, you could get your mini-sites indexed more quickly and avoid the sandbox

Any direction would be great :)

Undead Hunter

 7:03 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)


You separate domains, and you want loads of related *content* on each site, not links.

Any content driven site will easily outdo and out position a link site... at least in the long term and you don't want to bother doing it short term.

But if you're building sites for AdSense - basically, don't. Look instead at affiliate marketing, where you can get way more long-term bang for your buck.

Any site that aims for advertising needs to take into account the advertiser - if you're building sites from scratch to do this, then think about what will really drive them sales. If you can drive them sales, you can then make your own, and hence affiliate marketing will do better for you. AdSense is a good "add-on", at the bottom of the page or something. OR if you have an existing content site, and you're looking to monetize it or add revenue, AdSense is great.


 7:06 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I needed to know
a) Should I just use one domain and place each site in a seperate folder genericdomain.com/site1 or use seperate domains

If the topics are all interrelated (blue widgets, green widgets, organic widgets) then you're better off keeping them all on one domain and making a World of Widgets site. If they're unrelated--well, actually, in the last thread on this topic we didn't come up with an answer, did we? Basically, every new domain needs to get out of the sandbox and earn PR on its own. A subdomain gets grandfathered into Google. No one has come up with a conclusive answer to whether it's important that the pages be clustered together in a directory, or whether the link structure is more important.

b) What makes an authority site because people told me that if you had an authority site, you could get your mini-sites indexed more quickly and avoid the sandbox

For one thing, an authority site takes more than a week to build. :)

An authority site is a site with good, unique, trustworthy content--LOTS of content. It gets high numbers of linkbacks because of its quality. If you're genuinely interested in creating an authority site, slow down and focus on the content. If you just want to spoot sites out and get them ranked quickly, then you're barking up the wrong tree. Try regular SEO techniques first.


 7:14 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interesting as I have a similar situation like freshfish.

A subdomain gets grandfathered into Google

I'm not exactly sure what the meaning of grandfathered is in this context?


 7:28 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

thanks victor for that mind boggling article

That ain't the mind-boggling article, you can find *that* here:

The link above gives you some idea of Kleinberg proposes to determine computationally what's an authority site. It's actually pretty readable, and since I'm sure it's not going to get widely read, I'll boil down the answer to the OP's questions here:

What in your opinion makes an authority site?

In Kleinberg's opinion, it's inbound link structure.


 7:35 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

A subdomain gets grandfathered into Google

I'm not exactly sure what the meaning of grandfathered is in this context?

It appears that a subdomain doesn't get sandboxed when it first appears, and it may be spidered more quickly than a new site would be. Basically, Google treats it as a new section of an existing site, rather than a brand-new site.


 10:11 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Linear...not sure about the link as it appears the article comes out blank.

But if you're building sites for AdSense - basically, don't. Look instead at affiliate marketing

I have gotten both sides of this argument...some people say that building lost of mini-sites is a great way to dviersiy and others say stick to one site. Personally, I would be more comfortable building numerous sites as I sort of have ADHD.

Right now my aim though is not to make money or to figure out whether to use adsense or AM...I'm trying to figure out how to build sites and get them listed (this sandbox thing has me worried becasue some people are saying that it could take months for G to pick you up).

Anyway, I think it appears tha the "authority" issue is a very complex one and that is most probably a mix of content and link structure. As long as you have relevant content, link to sites that have similar content and get linked from other 'authority' sites, one should be doing ok. Is this too neive?

Undead Hunter

 10:40 pm on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, it is naive to think that.

Authority sites are built over years, not in a week. They are often built with little or no advertising even in mind. Maybe monetized after the fact.

Some people build authority sites just to promote their own affiliate sites. Non commercial sites are easier to get into indexes, and so on.

Why you don't want to consider AdSense - do some serious number crunching, and you'll see why.

Start from the lowest amount per click possible - $0.02 (although it might be $0.01, I don't know for sure).

If you can get an ad click-through rate that is:

1% = 1 in 100 people click = $0.02 per 100 visitors. Or $0.20 CPM.

2% = 2 in 100 = $0.04 per 100, $0.40 for 1,000 visitors, or a $0.40 CPM.

But if you run an affiliate program, and make one $5 profit per 1,000 visitors = $5 CPM.

Of course, you're not likely to run all ads that pay out at the lowest amount. But you have to consider it, look at those numbers in terms of your investment.

Take a good look at what ads are running in your field. Take the highest, the lowest, figure an average, then knock off another 60-70% to be safe. This is your potential CPM. Then compare that to affiliate programs.


 4:46 am on Mar 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Undeadhunter, I was not presuming to think that I would be able to build an authority site over a week. My plan for the next 6 months is to build a mini-site each week. My dilemma is not knowing how to get those small sites listed as I dont currently have an authority site. I did hear alot of talk about authority site this and authority site that, but was not sure what made a site an authority.

The article listed above basically talks about giving a site authority & hub weights...incoming and outgoing links. Are SEO pros able to 'fake' this authority structure? I cant see the SEO people spending 2 years building an authority site for a client.


 9:08 am on Mar 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Related thread:

Undead Hunter

 3:10 pm on Mar 4, 2005 (gmt 0)


Right, sorry, scanning too quickly.

What you are saying is that you're going to build a mini-site every week, but you want an Authority site to link to it.

Right. And why would they do so? Let's see, they've spent two years or more working on theirs. They obviously know the importance of links. They also know it took you a week to build a site, a mini-site that is either:

a) on topic enough to draw away THEIR traffic if they link to you and you get spidered (and if you can build your site that fast, and they don't have that content yet... you'll give them the idea to do the same thing)


b) your site is not targetted enough for them to want to send their audience there (how did they get to be an Authority? Also by linking to the right places, or hardly linking out at all, depending on who you talk to.)

You have to realize you're dealing with people's income here. Most of these people have gotten where they are by being secretive, protective.


 4:38 pm on Mar 4, 2005 (gmt 0)


I run a niche authority directory site and it's some 10 years old. For me to link to someone who has built a mini-site would not be a problem so long as what you have is relevant, well presented and not currently available on my site.

My question has to be where will you find this fresh information which is not already available or linked to?

If you can, fine, I wouldn't have a problem, but I would not want to link to a site that had simply re-arranged someone else's efforts.

Certainly it would assist your site in being listed having such a link however do you really feel that you can create so many mini-sites?

The obvious question would have to be which areas would you be targeting that have not already been covered extensively?

Don't get me wrong, I know of several areas which are sadly lacking however whether there is money to be made from them is another subject altogether.


 4:42 pm on Mar 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

I cant see the SEO people spending 2 years building an authority site for a client.

As a guess, my sites are included in this, most authority sites started as hobby or educational sites until they became serious reference sites.

Does anyone know of a specific authority site which was specially constructed?

I'm sure there may be?

Oliver Henniges

 7:22 am on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

victor, thxalot for that link in msg #2. Now I finally understand the difference between hubs and authorites. My major insight: Link to your competitors from highly informative handmade pages, donate your recommendations for free, then google will view your site as a "HUB" and give you the appropriate high ranking in the SERPs.

> But if you run an affiliate program, and make one $5 profit per 1,000 visitors = $5 CPM.

undead hunter, yes: freshfish's question indeed sounds naive, and these your figures show exactly what is making me more and more angry: You'd need almost a million visitors a month if you wanted to live from the revenue of such a pay-per-click directory. A million visitors the time of whom you are wasting, because on your site they don't really find what they were looking for. I have 700 visitors a day, I make $500 turnaround ($150 revenue), because my major attempt is to satisfy their needs; the percentage of those happily coming back, obviously having put my site to their favourites, is meanwhile more than a third.

I admit there is still some space for intermediate hubs apart from google, even scraper directories, because in some cases they provide additional links to sites google has not yet appropriately indexed. But these seem to be exceptions.

Visitors are not dull cows giving milk, they are intelligent human beings using a computer. If you only rely on "mass counts", if you don't "love" your potential visitors as single individuals, you'll have no chance in the long run.

The word "medium" has basically two denotations:
1) That which is in between
2) magazines, tv-companies, books, films and the like

In the german language 1) has a separate lexical entry ("Mitte"), whereas 2) is used in its original latin form. Only the latter has a plural, because there's supposed to be more than one e.g. newspaper. That, which is in between, in only one.

If I use a search engine, if I seek information on whatever, I want 1). I want this one medium to supply me with what I'm looking for as soon as possible. I want more than one search engine, because competition improves their results, but whilst using a specific SE, I want only this one medium directly pointing me to the most relevant site.


 12:46 am on Mar 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey guys,
I think people have misunderstood my quest to understand the concept of “authority” and people were quick to call me naďve because they assumed I wanted to build an authority site in a week.

a)I wanted to understand the concept of an authority site and what makes a site an ‘authority’ in a search engine’s eyes. I do not presume to be able to build an authority site in one week. However, if my plan is to build numerous smaller sites for different affiliates, then I would also like to know how to build an authority site (or possibly buy an under utilized one) to link to my mini-sites
b)My mini-sites aim was based from conversations with people in this forum who build smaller sites specifically to drive traffic to affiliate programs. I admit that personally I probably cannot stick to one topic for 2 years but could build smaller sites more often so that by 2007 I would have 24-30 smaller sites on different topics and different affiliate programs (for diversification).

So, with that said, I now have a good feel for what an authority site is. If I cannot build one, at least I would be able to build sites with the concept of relevant in/out links to better my chances.

Here is one more Q, does the SE look at the domain’s age (i.e. when it was registered)? I fully am aware that it takes years to build a great authority site that is a great resource for readers…but how does the SE know how old the domain is?

And finally, does updating a site with content help (re: blogs)

zgb999, thanks for that link! That helped a lot.


 2:18 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

You're welcome freshfish.

Updating a site with new content certainly helps.

Oliver Henniges

 4:47 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sry, if I possibly overreacted a bit, maybe this was because I had similar plans a few months ago but took my hands off.

I don't have the source at hand, but google somewhere explicitly demands not to do that. There are numerous coefficients which google might analyse to detect your sites are closely related: Domain age (don't try to fake the date, think of google's cache), overall link structure, "naturalness" of link- and page-growth, class-c-IP-adress and perhaps many other features you'd never think of.

there is an ongoing thread under [webmasterworld.com...]
(maybe in the paid section) where claus stated he has considerable evidence that a new patent of google on "local rank" is one of the key characteristics of this recent update. It is quite likely google very intensively analyses topically related sites and tries to sort out exactly what you are planning.

And it wouldn't help to diversify, because this is exactly the core of local-rank in such a manner that links from unrelated sites don't count as much as they did in the past.

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