Zivush - 6:06 am on Aug 17, 2012 (gmt 0)
Authority is a big word. I'll focus on 8 quality signals as I see it.
#1, Quality of the Content:
It has always been the king. However, it's subjective. You never know if it is quality enough in the eyes of search engine.
#2, Social sharing and comments:
Lately, I have seen some brands and so called authority sites do not put the social sharing buttons. I decided to remove these buttons and it doesn't seem to have any affect on the site.
I think, it depends on the topic of the site. Some may need to socialize and some may not - socializing could be pointless to info site and how-to sites.
#3, Many comments
I don't know how many read comments and stay longer because of these comments. It's a fraction, unless the topic is very controversial.
Comments are good if they add something to the page and wouldn't harm its SEO.
#4, Linking out:
When the link gives an added value to the readers. Of course, you wouldn't want to link to a spammy site.
#5, Link building:
A good site should win these types of links. I have never work on building external links.
#6, Site structure:
Make all what it needs to have a site easy to navigate. Put your best content in front of the reader, so s/he won't leave the site unhappy.
#7, in-page SEO:
Optimize the titles of the pages + it's headers. A good keyword research is still important. You want the search engines find and categorize your site easily.
#8, Bounce rate/time-on-site + exit rate/time-on-site:
These two factors are the most important. The site metrics can give you some good insights as to how people interact with the site.
Identify the weakest part of the site and work on improving it.