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How to Build Your Website Authority in 90 days

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How to Build Your Website Authority in 90 days

Ian Cleary
How to Build Your Website Authority in 90 days

Struggling to get more organic traffic from Google?

One of the key factors that affects traffic is the authority of your website. The higher the authority the easier it will be to get traffic to your website. Even though Google ranks pages not websites, it is still easier to rank pages for relevant keywords with a high authority website.

How does SEMrush calculate authority?

In SEMrush you will see a number allocated to a domain called an ‘authority score’ previously known as the domain score. This measures the importance of a domain on a 100 point scale, the higher the number the stronger the authority. 

The Authority Score is a proprietary metric which utilizes machine learning to calculate. The model is taught to evaluate the domain based off of specific metrics which we consider most important in determining the authority of a domain. Included in those metrics are the domain's backlink profile, organic search traffic and positions, and other website traffic data.

This way of calculating authority of a link is similar to the way Google PageRank was calculated.

So, imagine you had 90 days to build authority where would you start? Here are some specific tactics to help to quickly build your domain authority.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is about publishing high-quality articles on websites, in your niche, that are popular amongst your target audience and have a high domain score.

When you are guest posting you ideally want to link back to a related article on your site to help increase the authority of that article (and ultimately your website).

Here is a simple, easy-to-follow process for guest posting:

  • Create a high-quality article on your website that you want to rank for.
  • Find high authority domains relevant to your niche and reach out via email to pitch a guest post about a related topic.
  • Create a great piece of content and link back to your original related article within the content. This adds value to the article.

Guest posting on the right websites helps build your brand, drives relevant traffic to your site, builds the page authority of the blog post you are linking to, and helps the overall authority of your website.

When you write a guest post, make sure it is super high quality. You want to keep the door open for future guest posts and, if you are going to write a guest post, you might as well impress this new audience. Remember, first impressions count.

Another approach is to find a website with a similar target audience where you agree to guest post on their website, and they agree to guest post on yours. This works well if you are targeting the same audience but don’t have competing products. And, if your content is high quality, and so is theirs.

This strategy means that for no extra work you are getting exposure to a new audience, getting a good link, and you are introducing a new voice to your own blog. And as a bonus, it is an easier sell when you are reaching out.

You will likely find some good candidates among the people you know if they are operating in the similar industry.

Make sure to find websites that have high domain authority and try to get backlinks from high-ranking articles.  

Reach Out to Friends to Get Links

Your friends/partners may be ranking for the keywords that you want to rank for. It would be beneficial if they added a link from their content back to your website.

You are looking for the keywords they rank for that are not core to their business but are core to yours.

Not to mention that this is way easier than reaching out to build links from people/websites you have no relationship with. But only do this if the link will add value to the article.

So, here is how you can find out if your friends/partners are ranking for the right keywords and can pass some link juice to your website.

Go to SEMrush and enter your friend’s/partner’s domain name, and see what they are ranking for.

SEMrush competitor sites

You will likely see some good candidates among the people you know if they are operating in a similar industry. Make sure to find websites with high authority and try to get backlinks from high ranking articles.

Get Invited As a Guest on Podcasts

Guest posting is hard work because it typically takes a few hours to write a high-quality article. Being a guest on a podcast takes less of your time and can produce the same or even better results!

How? Well, because the majority of podcasts create show notes (this is basically a blog post) and you can benefit from the mentions and backlinks from this content.

Here are the steps for landing a podcast appearance: 

  • Identify the most relevant podcasts with high authority.
  • Make sure that they are attracting the kind of audience you want to reach.
  • Check if they publish show notes and link to relevant content.
  • Spend some time listening to the podcast, so you get to know their style, flow, content topics, etc.
  • Reach out to the podcast host.
  • Agree on a topic that is related to the topics you want to rank for.
  • Make sure to mention a couple of your blog posts in the podcast, and you could get a couple of links back to your content.

Warning: Podcasters get really annoyed if you demonstrate in your outreach email that you don’t know the topics they talk about. It is your job to know the topics the podcast discusses before you reach out. 

Write High-Quality Content That is More Likely to Get Links

There are certain types of content that naturally attract more links than your typical blog posts. They may not be as easy to create, but the effort you put in will pay off tenfold. Our guide to creating high quality content is a good indicator of what you need to do, while the example below shows plenty of those tips put into action.

Have a look at the links to this piece of research content from Andy Crestodina:


167 referring domains to his content!

According to research by BuzzSumo, the following 5 types of content generate the most links:

  • Authoritative content that answers popular questions.
  • Strong opinion posts and political posts.
  • Content that provides original research and insights.
  • Content that leverages a trending topic but what also provides practical insights.
  • Authoritative news content on new products or developments.

This research offers good information, but quite often research doesn’t find really great tactics that are not used very often by companies. These are the gems you need to pay attention to.

Have you considered building a useful utility?

A great example is HubSpot's tool that lets you grade your website for free. It has generated over 11,200 backlinks for Hubspot so far.

It is a super useful utility and great for attracting potential customers and generating links.

Website Grader

Promote Your Content Regularly Across Social Media Channels

When you share content on social media obviously, more people will be exposed to it. When people discover your (great) content they are more likely to share it with their network and expose it to audiences you might not have reached on your own. And, you have more chances to get links!

But, you need to share new content multiple times to get more attention. Twitter recently made changes to their rules – they want to stop people from sharing the same tweets over and over again. This means that you now have to be more creative with the content you share. A social media posting schedule will help plan your content, while there are a number of tactics you can also choose. When you are creating your blog content consider this idea:

We have started creating multiple images within our blog content that we can use for multiple Tweets/Facebook updates. This strategy allows us to discuss our blog posts from different angles and get more attention on social.

Here is an example. Instead of creating a text list we convert it to an image:

OutreachPlus - Creating Research Content

These types of images are great for sharing on social media, but they are also often picked up by other bloggers to share on other blog posts.

For example, the above image was published on the Taboola blog (native advertising platform) with a link back to our site; this is a high authority domain with a domain score of 68.


Involve Influencers in Your Content

There are multiple benefits to involving influencers in your content:

  • They get to learn about you and what you do.
  • Your content is exposed to a new audience (their audience).
  • When you involve influencers in your content, you gain more influence by association.

Expert roundup posts are a great example of influencer content. You find a group of influencers in your niche, reach out to them to ask their opinion on a topic, and then group all the answers in one post.

But it is becoming harder to get responses from experts so here is an alternative approach.

Instead of asking for an expert's opinion, do research online to see if they shared their opinion on this topic already in another blog post, a podcast, a book, etc. Then reach out to them and ask if you can include this in your article.

With this approach, you are asking for minimum time investment from the influencer, and your outreach emails will convert better.

Here is an example of an expert post over at Shopify.

Expert Post

Find lists you should be on!

Are there any resource lists relevant to your product/service you should be on? If you offer a tool, it could be a directory or a list of tools. If it is a service, it could be a list of local businesses in your area.

So you need to hunt down these pages and reach out to them.

You can do this by:

  • Searching on SEMrush for relevant keywords.
  • Searching on Google to find relevant pages.

Here is an example of how you can search for relevant resource pages on Google:

Search term


Keyword inurl:resource 

Look for a web page name with the word ‘resource’ in it that references that keyword

Keyword + "useful resources"

A webpage that mentions useful resources and also your keyword

Keywords + intitle:resource

The keyword ‘resource’ may not be in the URL but could be in the meta title.


Note: Consider replacing ‘resource’ with similar words that are likely to be used as well, e.g. list, guide, sites, etc. You can also replace ‘keyword’ with the name of your competitor.

When you find a list you want to make sure the domain has a good domain score. Note: this is about focused outreach. You don’t want to reach out to all sites. You are looking for good quality sites and lists.

Remove Bad Links

If you have any ‘spammy’ links linking to your website, you need to make an effort to remove them.

Why is this so important? Because bad links can really hurt your website’s authority and consequently your Google ranking. The easiest way to identify bad links is to use the SEMrush backlink audit tool.

You can try and remove bad links by sending a link removal request to the website, or you can use the Google disavow tool to tell the search giant which links to ignore when assessing your website.

Get Reciprocal Links

Finding complimentary articles on relevant, high authority sites in your industry and exchanging links is an easy sell. Of course, Google doesn’t want your site to be all about reciprocal links – they are generally not a fan of ‘unnatural’ link exchanges.

However, if you keep this tactic to a handful of authoritative sites, then you could get a mutually beneficial link exchange going on that will provide value to users while building up your website’s authority.  

For example:

Imagine you were in the health and fitness niche and you wrote about the best exercises for cardio. You could find an article that ranks well for the best equipment for doing those exercises and exchange links.

Both articles benefit with a link that adds value to the article. Each link should offer relevant and helpful information to the reader; random un-related links can hurt both sites.

Optimizing Existing Content

Don’t forget about optimizing your existing on page content. When your current content begins ranking better on Google, more people will find it. If more people find your content, then you have a better chance that more people will link to it! 

Here is one tactic you can use to increase the ranking of your older content.

You probably know that Google uses semantic content analysis techniques to help understand what your content is about. This means it is not looking only for the exact matches of keywords in your content; it is trying to understand what your content is about.

So, review your older, well-performing content and make sure you are using related keywords and synonyms in addition to your main keywords for that content.

Either way, updating old content is a good tactic. Have you noticed any top SEO professionals updating old content?

Optimizing existing content

Having out of date content on your website is not good.

When customers find out of date content what sort of impression will that have on your business? I think that Google will eventually make changes to penalize older content more because at the moment Google currently serves up too much out of date content.

Note: When you are updating content you don’t want to change the URL. Using the same URL means that you are continuously adding backlinks.

Broken Link Building

Nobody likes having broken links on their website. They are a nightmare for SEO, and they certainly don’t make people who click on them happy.

So, you can find high authority websites that have broken links on their pages and reach out to let them know about it, offering to replace a broken link with a new link to a resource on your site.

Here are two tips for broken link building:

1. Find a site with broken links and reach out with a replacement.

Install the Check My Links browser extension, and it will analyze a web page and show you a list of valid/invalid links. Look for pages that are related to your product or service. Run ‘check my links’ on the page.

In the following example, ‘user testing’ is an invalid link and there are more.

Conversion Optimization

Reach out to the webmaster or the editor of the website with an email like this:

Hey John,

I was browsing through your site yesterday and read your awesome article on xxxx. I noticed a broken link going to this article:


I clicked on it because I have a very similar (but more up to date) article.

Here's the link just in case you may want to use it as an alternative!


All the best,

2. Find broken links to an authority site and find who is linking to that site.

This is an alternative method and it works pretty well.

When someone links to a page on a high authority site, it is likely that other people are linking to it as well. So, you want to find broken links to high authority sites and then make a list of everyone that is linking to that page.

You can then reach out to a batch of people with a replacement link offer.


Getting mentions and links on authority media sites is an extremely powerful way of building your website authority. Not to mention the exposure and visibility you will get!

This tactic also relies heavily on your outreach skills – finding the right editors, journalists, and bloggers who have covered similar stories before and then reaching out with a unique, interesting angle.

Building relationships with relevant media and getting them to write about your business or your product typically takes time.

But, with the right approach, 90 days will be more than enough to get a few quality mentions and links to your site!

For example:

If I was in the tourism business and I had a report on trends related to "hotels," I would find a good authority domain that likes to talk about trends.

The following website is targeted at hotels and has a whole trends section:


One of the biggest mistakes with PR outreach is not targeting the right person with the right message.


Stewart writes for VentureBeat!

Going back to my earlier point about creating great content, here is an idea - what about creating a data-filled, research report, so you have something really interesting and helpful to share?

How Do You Manage the Outreach

An excel spreadsheet and a Gmail client is one way to go about it, but it is time-consuming, and you can easily lose track of the emails sent, follow-ups needed, etc.

You need to use an email outreach tool that is designed specifically for this purpose. We use our own email outreach tool called OutreachPlus, but there are others to consider as well. Here are some of the features you will want in an outreach tool:

  • Ability to send highly personalized emails (standard and customer merge codes, personalization of individual emails).
  • Send automated follow-ups when there is no reply.
  • Manage responses efficiently as they come in.
  • Build a record of all outreach which will help with future outreach.

Here is an example of a dashboard to monitor and track performance across campaigns and projects:

OutreachPlus Email Outreach Software

Armed with the above capabilities, you will be able to run your outreach campaigns more efficiently and, with every email you send, get closer to the result you are working towards – and that is a steady increase in your website authority.

So there you have it, a post full of tips that I am confident can help you increase your website authority in just 90 days.

Are you up for the challenge? Let me know in the comments!

Don't miss Ian's SEMrush Webinar on Thursday, 07 June, 13:00 GMT.

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Hi Ian, Thanks for sharing this useful blog with us. I like the way you explain each and every thing in the blog was really appreciable. I have learned lots of new things and this will be useful for my site.
White Rabbit
I like your brief point on building a useful utility Ian, but you don't go into much detail. Is it often the case that people already have a useful utility that others could use or do you think this needs to be something built from scratch? For example an internal company tool/process that could be adjusted and made public facing as a resource for all to use.
Patrick Hoffmann
"Find high authority domains relevant to your niche and reach out via email to pitch a guest post about a related topic."

I'm very surprised that not a single marketer in the comments box has mentioned anything about the fact that the success rate is significantly greater when making a call by telephone. I myself have a case where the success rate is X10 better by phone call than sending out mails.

You're not the only one who sends outreach mails - don't you think that your mail is drowning in the crowd, just like sending a resume to a potential employer.

Make the call.
Ian Cleary
Patrick Hoffmann
Hey Patrick, if phone works for you then why not! My success rate for guest posts is very high but I put in a good bit of work in advance before reaching out.
Hi, Lan cleary, nice article thanks for sharing your valuable knowledge.
Ian Cleary
Thank you so much!
Hi Ian , thanks for your Clear information , this is very Useful good to see this kind of blogs to get the clear idea about the Website Authority
Ian Cleary
Hey Ramesh, thank you so much. I'm so glad it was useful to you!
Hi Ian, thanks so much for this post. Lots of great actionable tips!
Ian Cleary
Dan Merkel
Thank you Dan, glad you found it useful.
Great post indeed. The way you have explained each and every point was awesome. I have learned a lot of things from this post.
Ian Cleary
Thank you so much, delighted you like it!
Saravanan Subramani
Thanks, Ian Cleary I love to see these types of SEO Posts Related with Website Authority!

SEO has always shown some of the other patterns that webmasters explored and sometimes exploited for gaining ranking as well as authority. Link building through guest blogging was also a similar pattern that reached its crest and the went down the hill to say still at a place where guest blogging is minimized and only the very best of the content is being published by blogs from guests.

Google has always managed to control the exploitation of an option to gain ranking and so guest blogging is also done under controlled measures now, which is good in the sense that the link juice flows only to deserving sites.

Nice post, thanks for sharing. !!
Ian Cleary
Saravanan Subramani
Hey Saravanan, I think the key to guest posting is to put as much (if not more) effort than your own site. Write high quality detailed articles that get shared and linked to and Google will be happy!!! Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated.
A frustrating situation with google selecting a partial name but not what I requested. My search and web-site is Confident White Smile not Confident White although this site comes up every time I check these keywords in the exact order.
confidentwhitesmile. com not confidentwhite. com and it has been since 2008.
This new site has appeared and is what comes up over my trademarked name.
Any logical reason why?
Ian Cleary
Donna Schatz
HI Donna, one advantage they have is they include the term 'Confident white smile' in the meta title for their home page. It's not an exact match but they do have confident and smile. In your meta title you don't mention these keywords so that won't help. You'd also need to build more links to your home page as they have an advantage there as well.
Ian Cleary
I will look into that right away, thank you so much for you assistance Ian
Ian Cleary
Donna Schatz
Cool, just be careful in case you are driving traffic to your home page for other keywords that are in the current title. You don't want to take away either!
Anton Shulke
Actually, on June 7th we will have Ian Cleary doing a live webinar on the same 90-day challenge to build a website authority, you will be able to ask live questions
Ian Cleary
Anton Shulke
Thanks Anton, I'm so looking forward to this. We have a superb panel of people to discuss this topic.
Great example of a guest post :)
Ian Cleary
Ricky Harewood
Thank you so much Ricky, much appreciated.
Well written article and this is so true. Since ClickDo gained more authority it became so easier and much faster how to our content ranks on the search engines.
Ian Cleary
Thanks so much Fernando, it takes a bit of time for the engine to rev up!!
Ian Cleary
Great to hear. Today all day I've been using SEMRuch for client SEO work.
Ian Cleary
Thank You for the sharing, Ian Cleary. Awesome insights, resourceful tips, amazing solutions...
Ian Cleary
KD Kini
Thank you so much for the feedback, it is much appreciated!
Chetan Gosai
Great Article!!!
Really Awesome Tips
Ian Cleary
Chetan Gosai
Thank you Chetan, glad you enjoyed it!
A timely read offering up practical actions I can implement immediately. I am likely to survive the winter now. Thank you Ian Cleary.
Ian Cleary
John Terry
Very good John, glad it was helpful!
Thank you so much Ian.. Surely this is going to help me alot :)
Ian Cleary
Thank you!
Anand Joshi
Thanks for sharing useful knowledge.
Ian Cleary
Anand Joshi
You are very welcome Anand. I really appreciate the feedback and I hope it helps your business.
Anand Joshi
Ian Cleary
Yes, This is very useful for ranking my site.
Ian Cleary
Anand Joshi
Akhilesh Singh
Thank you Ian for sharing this helpful ideas with us, I have a website for that I have created many back-links but I think due to less authority backlink we unable to increase good authority for my own website. Hope your way of link creation will help us better.
Ian Cleary
Akhilesh Singh
yes I hope so, thank you Akhilesh!
Ajay Chandnani
Great guidance Ian.

Domain authority is the top most thing which helps to improve online visibility. I have tried guest post on high authoritative niche blogs and it worked for me. Will try out couple of things more which you mentioned above.

Keep sharing!
Ian Cleary
Ajay Chandnani
Awesome, thanks Ajay
Kelechi Ibe
I think creating a free valuable tool related to your industry is such a powerful backlink technique! Neil Patel talked about this not too long ago with his Uber Suggest acquisition.

Also, I like the tip about creating a win-win scenario for a guest post if the two parties have a non-competitive product. Such as great idea!

Thanks for sharing these tips, Ian!
Ian Cleary
Kelechi Ibe
Thanks so much Kelechi!
Simon Cox
Most of this is brand building - kind of makes sense that the two are the same!
Ian Cleary
Simon Cox
Hey Simon, yes you're right. It's getting your name out there and getting links while you're at it!!
Aravinth R
Thanks for the detailed article.

How about infographics outreach?
Ian Cleary
Aravinth R
Hey Aranvinch, I still think infographics are beneficial and it's relatively easy to find sites that will publish your infographics. So I would certainly consider this tactic also. Thanks for your feedback.

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