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Your Guide to Branding and Trust in 2023



Your Guide to Branding and Trust in 2023

Authoritative websites aren’t just built; they’re cultivated with precision and insight.

In a digital landscape overflowing with content, standing out as a beacon of trust and expertise is your ticket to success.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the central factors in creating a website that attracts visitors and earns their confidence.

Let’s dive into some tactics to transform your site from just another URL to an authority in your niche!

What is an Authoritative Website?

Authority is king!

In short, an authoritative website is a credible and reliable source of information. This credibility is often due to various factors – I’ll discuss them below.

Authoritative Figure.

The website is created by individuals or organizations who are experts in their field. Their expertise is proven by their:

  • Qualifications
  • Experience
  • Knowledge of the subject matter.

Accuracy and Reliability
The information provided is:

  • Accurate
  • Well-researched
  • Trustworthy.

Authoritative sites will always cite their information sources. And they will base their content on verified facts or accepted research.

The site provides information in an unbiased manner.

Up-to-date Information
Authoritative websites update their content regularly to remain current and relevant.

Professionalism in Presentation
The website has a professional design and clear structure.

Recognition by Peers
Experts recommend authoritative sites.

Domain Authority
The website ranks high on the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).

Examples of authoritative websites include:

  • Academic journals
  • Government websites
  • Respected news organizations
  • Professional institutions
  • Associations in specific fields.

Why do Authoritative Websites Matter?

Having an authoritative website boosts brand recognition and influence. It helps to establish strong connections with the audience.

Authoritative websites:

  • Rank higher in search engine results
  • Have a high brand awareness, and
  • Attract a larger audience. 

And, of course, the significant traffic on your website generates more business leads.

Who Determines the Authority of Websites?

A combination of factors and entities determine the authority of websites. This includes search engines and users.

Understanding who and what determines website authority can help you improve your search rankings.

Visitors to Your Site

Your audience plays an important role in establishing your website’s authority. Their engagement patterns influence search engine perceptions.

Visitors to your site.Visitors to your site.

A low bounce rate indicates that visitors are engaging with your content and staying for a long time.

Long engagement signals to search engines that your website is an authoritative source.

This extended engagement means that people find the content valuable and worthy of their attention.

Furthermore, social shares extend your content’s reach. It demonstrates trust as your audience shares your content on their feeds. This indicates the value and endorsement of your information.

So, visitor behavior is key to determining your website’s authority.

Search Engines

Search engines like Google determine a website’s authority based on their algorithms.

Those algorithms assess each page’s demonstrated experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). Read Moz’s article about Google E-E-A-T to learn more.

search enginessearch engines

They use specific metrics, not arbitrary decisions, to check and rank content.

One of the indicators is the number of high-quality backlinks you have. Quality backlinks are those coming from websites already considered authoritative.

Backlinks serve as endorsements, signaling the content’s value.

On-site Factors Influencing Authoritative Websites

This section explores the internal elements central to establishing and maintaining website authority.

I’ll examine how aspects of a website’s domain contribute to its perceived credibility and trustworthiness. These are factors like:

  • Content quality
  • Site structure
  • User experience
  • SEO. 

Domain Authority

Don’t get confused by terms like DA, DR, and PS. “Domain Authority” is a metric used by MOZ to measure the credibility of a page.

MOZ is an SEO tool which can help establish authority.MOZ is an SEO tool which can help establish authority.

In parallel to this metric, Ahrefs uses “Domain Rating” (DR).

Ahrefs an SEO tool , owner of the Domain Raiting matric.Ahrefs an SEO tool , owner of the Domain Raiting matric.

And “Authority Score” (AS) is used by SEMrush.

SEMrush thye creator of Authority Score.SEMrush thye creator of Authority Score.

The third-party search engine optimization tools mentioned above generate these metrics. Google does not use these as a signal to determine a website’s authority.

Depending on the SEO tool you use, you should aspire to a high value of the respective metric.

Why? Because this will show you how well your strategy of achieving high authority is working.

Domain Name and Extension

Your domain name significantly influences the perceived trustworthiness and professionalism of your website.

The domain name should be short, easy to read, and state the website’s topic or niche. For example:

  • for technology
  • for healthcare
  • – Search Engine Journal
  • for Toyota cars.

Domain extensions like .org and .gov are associated with government and non-profit organizations. They are often considered more authoritative.

A domain extension like .com is still generally acceptable for an authority website. But not extensions like .biz, .info, or .online, which seem less professional.

Website Content

Before I start talking about content, let’s take a step or two back.

  • You must remember that Google is not ranking websites; Google is ranking pages.
  • So, an authoritative site is an assembly of authoritative pages.
  • An authoritative website has to focus on a specific topic. The website needs to match the interests and needs of its target audience. This means that it should provide relevant, useful information.
  • Gaining authority is easier when you stick to a specific topic rather than covering a broad spectrum of topics.  

Actually, what I’m talking about here is referred to as TOPICAL AUTHORITY. To achieve topical authority, it is wise to build a TOPICAL MAP. As I hinted above, your topical map is a collection of authoritative pages.

You can find many videos covering the subject of Topical Authority and Topical Maps. I suggest starting with one of the best ones by Matt Diggity.

Topical authority videoTopical authority video

By the way, Matt Diggity’s The Affiliate Lab is a great course if you are interested in affiliate marketing. It teaches you how to build, rank, and monetize affiliate marketing websites.

High-Quality Focused Content

Regularly publishing high-quality content significantly enhances a website’s authority.

Quality content boosts search engine rankings by attracting more organic traffic. Search engines favor sites offering valuable, current information. (Read about how content freshness affects Google ranking.)

Authoritative content establishes a website as trusted. This is especially true for sites providing expert advice.

A website can solidify its reputation and become a recognized authority in its field by consistently delivering accurate and valuable information.

The Credibility of the Author

Expert author.Expert author.

The author of the content plays a crucial role in establishing the authority of a website. Look at the aspects they bring with them to the website:

  • Expertise and Credentials. Expert authors are considered authoritative sources with relevant knowledge and qualifications. 
  • Quality of Content. High-quality, well-researched, and accurate content builds the website’s reputation.
  • Consistency and Reliability. This fosters trust. 
  • Engagement in Community. Active participation in the field adds value and authenticity to the website.
  • Personal Branding. An author’s brand can attract followers and add credibility to the website.
  • Influence on SEO. Search engines consider the author’s reputation as a factor in determining the quality and relevance of content.
  • Audience Connection and Loyalty. Authors who connect with their audience create loyal followers and repeat visitors.

As you can see, the author of the content influences everything from audience trust to search engine rankings and credibility.

Outgoing links are important for backing up claims on your site. Always use an authoritative source to link to.

Outbound links.Outbound links.

Your site should link to reliable and high-quality external websites to be seen as trustworthy.

If a blog links to unreliable or irrelevant sources, it won’t be trusted and can be considered spammy. A broken link can be even worse.

The links you choose to include on your website directly affect its credibility, so it’s important to pick them carefully.

The User Experience

An authority site that is easy to use and well-designed encourages user interaction.

Site Structure

Easy navigation leads to higher engagement and builds trust with users.

Breadcrumbs aid visitors in navigating a website. At the same time, Google uses them to display the page’s position within the site structure.

Website Speed

An authoritative website must be fast. You can’t let your potential visitor wait long for a page to load. They may just leave your site, which will negatively affect your bounce rate.

You don’t want a high bounce rate reflected in Google Analytics.

Get some tips from our article about slow WordPress sites.

User Trust and Engagement

Credible sources are crucial for establishing trust and thought leadership.

In the age of digital marketing, not everything online is accurate.

You must use reliable and factual references to gain your audience’s trust and be seen as a reliable content resource.

The credibility of a source depends on:

  • Origin
  • Intended audience
  • Relevance to your topic.

Ensuring your sources are knowledgeable and authoritative on the subject is necessary.

This careful selection of sources significantly enhances the trustworthiness of your content. It also strengthens audience engagement. Additionally, it increases the credibility of your brand.

Off-Site Factors Influencing Authoritative Websites

Let’s explore the external elements that are central to establishing a website’s authority.

These factors range from inbound links to social media presence. They have a significant impact on a website’s credibility and reputation.

Use of Social Media

Using social media.Using social media.

Social media contributes to the recognition of an authoritative website in several ways:

Increased Visibility and Traffic
Sharing content on social media platforms increases a website’s visibility. This, in turn, drives more traffic to the website and potentially boosts its authority.

Enhanced Engagement
Social media allows you to engage directly with your audience through:

Content Distribution and Reach
Social media platforms effectively distribute content to a broader audience. This expanded reach can attract new visitors to your website.

Building Brand Recognition
Consistent presence and content sharing on social media help build brand recognition.

Feedback and Improvement
Social media provides immediate feedback on content through user interactions.

SEO Benefits
Social signals can influence a website’s search engine rankings. Social media is not a search engine ranking factor. But it can increase a website’s visibility and backlink profile. This, in turn, affects search engine optimization.
Viral Potential

Viral content on social media can rapidly elevate a website’s authority. It showcases the ability to produce highly engaging, valuable content.

Social media amplifies a website’s:

  • Reach
  • Engagement, and
  • Brand recognition.

These are key components in establishing and maintaining its status as an authoritative source.

Backlinks are inbound links from external websites. They are crucial for a website’s search engine ranking and authority.

Many authoritative backlinks confirm a website’s popularity and content quality.

The quality of backlinks is more important than the quantity. To impact positively on search engine rankings, authority links should be:

  • From other reputable and high authority sites
  • From relevant content. 

If you have too many low-quality links from spammy websites it will negatively affect the credibility of your website.

So, acquiring high-quality, authoritative backlinks is key. They help to maintain a solid online presence and reputation.

But remember, backlinks (as we learned from Matt Diggity’s video earlier) are not the only way to establish authority.

Discover more tactics you can use in our article about off-page SEO techniques.

More Actions to Ensure Website Authority

The authority of a website is dynamic. Your competitors are continuously making efforts to take your spot at the top. Use Google Search Console daily to check your website performance.

Google search console. Google search console.

Practice Good SEO

What do I mean by “good SEO”? Simply put, implementing SEO best practices.

This includes a broad range of activities, like:

  • Making sure your content is useful and matches search intent. 
  • Offering a great user experience.
  • Targeting one primary keyword per page.
  • Optimizing your metadata.
  • Building internal links (find out more about the benefits of internal linking).
  • Earning valuable backlinks, and more.
SEMrush best SEO tool.SEMrush best SEO tool.

SEMrush has all the features you need to practice effective SEO. It offers in-depth keyword research, competitor analysis, and site audits.

With SEMrush you can:

  • Identify and target the most valuable keywords
  • Understand competitors’ strategies
  • Uncover technical SEO issues.

Its extensive database and user-friendly interface provide actionable insights for content optimization and link-building strategy.

Also, SEMrush’s regular updates and accurate data tracking align with the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes. It is an invaluable resource for staying ahead in the competitive digital marketing space.

Keep Tabs on Your Site’s Credibility

Here are some top tips to keep tabs on your site’s credibility.

Keep Tabs on Your Site Credibility.Keep Tabs on Your Site Credibility.

Regularly Check Source Quality
Continuously test the quality of the sources cited by your website. Reliable websites often reference authoritative, reputable, and peer-reviewed sources.

Track Content Updates
Ensure you regularly update your website’s content and keep information current. Outdated information can diminish credibility.

Assess Author Expertise
Investigate the credentials and expertise of the authors contributing to your website. Credible sites feature content written by experts in their respective fields.
Review User Engagement and Feedback
Observe the level and nature of user engagement. High engagement levels with thoughtful, positive feedback can be indicators of credibility.

Analyze Your Backlink Profile
Regularly check your website’s backlink profile using SEO tools like SEMrush.

Authoritative Websites: In Conclusion

Establishing authority is the cornerstone of building trust online.

But remember that credibility is not an overnight achievement – it’s a continuous journey. The pillars that support your site’s authority are:

  • Consistent, well-researched content
  • Transparent communication
  • A user-centered approach.

But remember that credibility is not an overnight achievement – it’s a continuous journey. The pillars that support your site’s authority are:

  • Consistent, well-researched content
  • Transparent communication
  • A user-centered approach. 

Put in place robust fact-checking, cite only reputable sources, and nurture your community. Provide engaging, informative content. Strive for authenticity, embrace feedback, and adapt to industry shifts. In doing so, you pave the way for your online presence to flourish as a trusted resource in your niche.

Are you a complete beginner? Do you need guidance to create a new website? If so, I suggest you sign up for the Authority Hacker TASS (The Authority Site System) course. Read our TASS review to learn more about it.

Wishing you great success in building your authority website!

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The 7-Step ChatGPT Formula for Peak Productivity and Profit



The 7-Step ChatGPT Formula for Peak Productivity and Profit

Tackle AI’s toughest questions with Ben Angel, mapping the business terrain for 20 years. Master the AI landscape and reach peak productivity and profits with insights from his latest work, “The Wolf is at The Door — How to Survive and Thrive in an AI-Driven World.” Click here to download your ‘Free AI Success Kit‘ and get your free chapter from his latest book today.

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How I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue By Being More Transparent



How I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue By Being More Transparent

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It’s a common nightmare — you’re walking through a busy hallway or giving a presentation only to look down and find yourself completely naked.

We’re inherently fearful of revealing too much about ourselves, and as an entrepreneur, this likely extends to your business as well.

But based on growing my own business from nothing to over $100 million in annual revenue, I can tell you less is not more when it comes to business transparency — more is more. Being open builds trust, and trust fosters customers and relationships in droves. The only exception is not giving away your trade secrets to competitors.

Here are three effective ways to build trust with clients and prospects by being more transparent (without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed).

Related: How Transparency In Business Leads to Customer Growth and Loyalty

1. Increase sales by 18% or more by increasing your Google reviews

Nearly everyone reads reviews before purchasing. One study found a whopping 93% of people read reviews before making a purchase, and on average, reviews produce an 18% uplift in sales. In today’s online landscape, people put almost as much weight on a Google review as they do on a personal recommendation.

The best way to increase your reviews is to simply ask! According to research, 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked.

About four years ago, we had 486 reviews after servicing more than 90,000 clients. We started using Podium to send out texts or emails — based on customer preference — asking to leave a review on Google, the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.

By May 2024, we’d accumulated 2,312 five-star reviews, an increase of 375%. Keep in mind that our account managers have been very diligent about sending review requests to clients and only ask the clients most likely to give positive responses.

Another good way to increase reviews is to automate postcards at the close of an order thanking someone for their business and encouraging them to leave a review. A physical mailer is likely more effective than an email — one study that surveyed 1,200 consumers found that 76% trusted direct mail the most as opposed to online methods.

You might be wondering, “What about the negative reviews?” You’re always going to have a handful of bad reviews, but people look at the ratio of good vs. bad. If you have far more five-star reviews than one-star reviews, they’ll disregard the negative ones and assume it’s not the norm.

2. Improve lead generation by 105% by sharing your clients’ success stories

Sharing real marketing results has always been a priority for my business, PostcardMania. We currently have 944 marketing case studies and 139 video case studies that document real people sharing campaign specifics that led to more leads, revenue and new customers for their businesses.

We share these case studies far and wide with prospects via email and postcards in the mail to increase trust. But more recently, we began incorporating these stories into video social media ads. During a recent earnings call by Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said 50% of all people’s time on Facebook and Instagram is spent watching videos, so naturally, we went that direction to gain more eyes on our services.

We put our 139 video case studies — real business owners talking about their successful campaigns — to work for us on Facebook and Instagram.

As a result, our social media leads doubled. In 2022, our average number of social media leads per week was 174, and then in 2023, the average lead count increased to 356 a week! That’s a 105% increase.

Of course, our use of social media in this case is part of a larger multi-channel marketing strategy that ties direct mail and digital ads together, so I suggest a similar approach if you want to see the same results (we’ve actually packaged our successful approach into a single affordable marketing bundle called Everywhere Small Business due to high demand from our clients to replicate this method). Campaigns that uniquely combine print and digital advertising using hyper-targeted mailing lists and lookalike audiences have been proven to work time and time again, so I highly recommend them.

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, your customers’ success stories can be compiled and incorporated into your marketing plan to grow your customer base.

Related: How Problem-Solving Case Studies Help You Market Your Business

3. Convert prospects faster by dropping the velvet rope and inviting them in

Being transparent online will help build a positive image of your brand and bring in more customers — but you can also take this one step further and let prospects visit your business and interact with your products or services in person. One report revealed that 79% of customers want brands to go above and beyond what they are required to reveal and give more information, with two-thirds of them saying they would switch brands for more in-depth data.

At PostcardMania, we welcome clients to visit us and take a tour of our in-house printing facility. We also have a marketing conference twice a year where clients can meet their marketing consultants face-to-face and learn more about our business behind the scenes. These clients often end up being some of our best and longest-lasting relationships! You can do the same by hosting an event and opening your doors to the public. It doesn’t have to be a conference — you can start small with something as simple as a night of snacks and entertainment.

Related: 3 Ways to Personalize Your Marketing for Higher Engagement

Free samples are also a great way to show customers exactly what they are getting before they make a commitment. This doesn’t always apply to every business, but you can try to find a way to allow prospects to interact with your product or service on a deeper, more physical level.

Incorporate any of these tactics, and you’ll show prospects the most authentic side of you and your business. Believe me when I say trading in your fears about being super transparent for bold authenticity will reap real rewards in long-term growth and customer loyalty.

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The 10 Best and Worst States to Start a Small Business



The 10 Best and Worst States to Start a Small Business

There are many important things to consider when launching your own business or side hustle, and location is at the top of the list. Local and state laws can mean different taxes, zoning regulations and licensing requirements, so it pays to be strategic about your choice of state, city and even neighborhood, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Related: 5 Things Not to Do When You’re Running a Small Business

After all, some 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years of being open, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also found that 45% of businesses fail within the first five years. That number jumps to 65% after 10 years.

Capital on Tap, a company that offers a credit card and spending management platform for small business owners, analyzed BLS data to determine the percentage of startups that are still active after three years — and broke down the U.S. states with the highest and lowest chance of survival in three- and five-year time frames.

“There are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S., making up an enormous percentage of the economy, and as this number continues to grow, so will innovation and commercial drive,” says Damian Brychcy, chief executive officer at Capital on Tap. “This research should serve as a positive sign to entrepreneurs in the top ten states who are thinking about starting a business.”

Image Credit: John Coletti | Getty Images. Boston, Massachusetts.

Qualities of business-friendly states

Before diving into the data, it’s important to consider what factors make a state attractive for new business owners. And it’s about more than just starting a business. The following factors can help keep small companies afloat and lead to ongoing success:


Perhaps the most important factor of all, a business-friendly tax environment can keep costs down and put more money in your pockets. There are payroll, employment, income and corporate taxes to worry about, all of which can affect decisions around hiring and expansion. Some states also offer tax incentives for small businesses, which can remove expensive hurdles. Reviewing a self-employed tax schedule in your area can help.


If you want to run a healthy, growing business, you’ll almost certainly be hiring employees. The best states for small businesses will have a plethora of available talent and a workforce with high levels of college education. Starting a business near a college or university can also attract interest from recent graduates. This is especially prominent in the technology industry.


State policies regarding small businesses involve more than just taxes and deductions. Government programs can offer business owners grants and loans and incentivize investment from larger funders. Compliance is another factor. States can lower the costs of business by removing regulatory red tape, such as required government approvals or clearances.

Growth potential

You want to start your business somewhere it can thrive in both the short- and long-term. A number of factors can support this — for example, funding, investment in infrastructure and livability. A close proximity to sources of financing can help your company grow, as long as the area can support your workers and their families. States and cities with a low cost of living, good schools and solid infrastructure will not only attract talent but keep it.

U.S. states/territories with the highest rate of small business survival, per Capital on Tap 


1year average (%)

3year average (%)

5year average (%)









South Dakota












North Dakota
















North Carolina





With elite universities, a thriving tech hub, a strong economy and a highly educated workforce, Massachusetts tops the list. Nearly 82% of small businesses survive their first year. Boston is also a growing hub for STEM jobs and is home to many investors and potential employees. The state also boasts a strong Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) that provides tax and property incentives for job creators.


Not only does Wisconsin have a relatively low cost of living, but the state has one of the nation’s best public university systems (read: highly educated workforce) and a business-friendly government that offers tax credits, low-interest loans and grants to small companies. Wisconsin also runs a public-private capital initiative through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which recently announced a $100 million investment in the state’s startups.

South Dakota

Taxes are the big selling point for starting a business in South Dakota. With no corporate income, personal income, property or business inventory taxes, the state makes running a small company affordable for owners. The state is highly affordable and has very few regulations, both of which lower overall business costs.


Almost 81% of small businesses survive their first year in Minnesota, a feat that can be credited to the state’s supportive business environment, educated workforce and relative affordability for a high quality of life. Minnesota also has nine small business development centers throughout the state, which offer consulting, mentoring, networking opportunities and access to capital.


With a high quality of life and low cost of living, Iowa is an attractive place to start and expand a small company. One of the biggest factors is extremely low energy and utility costs, which is especially important for manufacturing. Iowa cities also offer property tax incentives for small businesses and some of the nation’s lowest workers’ compensation costs.

U.S. states/territories with the lowest rate of small business survival, per Capital on Tap 


1year average (%)

3year average (%)

5year average (%)





District of Columbia




New Mexico












New Hampshire
















Rhode Island





Less than 43% of new businesses in Washington are still running after five years, thanks to expensive real estate, complex regulations and the nation’s highest statewide minimum wage ($16.28/hour). The state’s business and occupation tax is also calculated based on gross receipts, not overall profits, so businesses with slim margins will especially struggle.

District of Columbia

Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive metro areas in the country, both in terms of real estate and overall cost of living. That means high salaries and high rents for offices or storefronts. The city’s business income tax and regulatory requirements are also relatively high, both of which can cut into profit margins.

New Mexico

High unemployment rates and limited access to capital make New Mexico a challenging state to open a small business. Skilled workers are lacking compared to surrounding states, and complex regulations can be a burden for business owners. More than 23% of small businesses fail within their first year.


Although Florida claims to be a thriving hub for entrepreneurs and small businesses, the data tells a different story: More than 55% of small businesses fail within five years. One of the biggest factors is the increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes, which has led to rising insurance costs. This affects both the available workforce and a company’s bottom line as premiums skyrocket.


Almost 23% of new businesses fail within their first year in Nevada, and that’s despite no corporate or individual income taxes. Part of the challenge is local governments: regulations vary widely depending on your city of choice, with different requirements for specific licenses and fees. A heavy reliance on tourism can also backfire when travel to the state falls off, such as during the pandemic.

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