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Popularity vs. Authority – A Look at Search Engine Rankings

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When you have a website that you would like to rank on a major search engine, there are many factors that you must take into account. With the constant advancement of search engines and their methods, how are you supposed to rank your website higher than your competition? If you take a look at the current ranked sites, it can feel as if your task is an impossible one.


There are so many different factors that lead into rankings, but the two most talked about ones are popularity and authority. What exactly do they mean and how do they affect your website? Most importantly, which one is worth your time?

First off, let’s take a look at popularity. What exactly is popularity with a website? When you first hear popularity, you most likely imagine that it has something to do with how many visitors that your site acquires. While this is a large part of it, popularity encompasses so much more than that. When a search engine, such as SimilarOnWeb.com, looks at popularity, it considers the visit duration, bookmarks, relevant outbound and inbound links, as well as clicks. This is important information to have, as it lets you know what to strive for. For instance, if you gain a large amount of visitors, but they do not stay on your website long, you may have a lower ranking than someone who has a smaller group of visitors that use the site longer.

Authority, on the other hand, focuses on relevant content, rather than visitors. What exactly does this mean? Essentially, when a search engine looks for authority sites, these sites must have a massive amount of quality content that is related to the topic the user searched for. These sites may not be as popular and will not have as many viewers, but they will have relevant links, content, outbound links to fellow authority sites, and they will update regularly. Authority sites will also have to be around for quite some time to establish a good ranking.

Now that you understand the two most popular ways of ranking, which one should you focus on? This is certainly not an easy decision, but if you would like your website to become a leader in your specific niche, you need to try to become an authority site. While creating an authority site takes quite a while, it will last longer and you will have much more control over the process. You simply have to update your site regularly, produce useful content, and make sure that everything is held up to a high standard.

Knowing is half the battle. Now that you understand how to rank on both popularity and authority, you can make an informed decision yourself. It seems, however, the best option is to try to create an authority site. While this will take a very long time, the change will be lasting and it will greatly help your website grow in your niche.

One thought on “Popularity vs. Authority – A Look at Search Engine Rankings

  1. Sonali Chauhan, you are right that authority is more important than visitors or ranking because once you get authority definitely you will get good response from search engines. Once a webmaster fix the onsite issues definitely it will be easy to get good ranking position in SERP.

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