Win Credibility From an Authority
Your content is expert, knowledgeable, the best. But a flock of fly-by-nights with clever SEO is filling up Google search results before you show up. Clicks are slower than snails on a turtle. What to do?
One way: Is there an authority on your subject who likes your content? or even some of it? Linking from them to you would be good, but would it help more if their link specifically meant that, out of every site they linked to, your content was by an expert?
Yes, for many of us.
Now this can be arranged.
Relationships of authority can now be set up between any two websites. An authority can list you as superior to others and search engines can discover this. The authority can declare a subject specialty they know well and include your pages in it.
A search engine can then figure out who’s really an authority. Not everyone will make the cut. If a wannabe who wastes everyone’s time calls themselves an “authority”, they’ll probably be ignored. But you won’t be worse off for it. You’ll just keep looking for believable authorities and ask to be linked to by those. One; or more than one.
You don’t have to contact anyone, although you can.
New HTML Meta Tags: Pro and Pro-Auth
How this is being done is that four new HTML meta tags have been introduced and you can use them now. It’ll take a while for them to be widespread, but starting is not that hard. You don’t have to contact the counterparty.
Each of these two will get a partial URL. If the partial URL is the same in both, that tells a search engine that you agree with each other about your expertise. A partial URL shows the website, page, part of a page, or directory within a website.
If you prefer to limit this to use within a small network or one terminal, you can do that, too. You can add the “private” keyword to the “pro” tag. Then the Internet will know to ignore the tag. But most of us will want the Internet to recognize your expertise.
Good Riddance to an Annoying Authority
If you want nothing to do with some so-called “authority” who taints you or taunts you with their claim of your being an expert, especially if you’re getting a lot of traffic you don’t want to pay for or your reputation is getting trashed, and you can’t convince the pretender to let you go or you don’t want to talk to them, you have two ways of disconnecting. One is that you remove the tag with that particular partial URL. But if you think you’ll be invited back in and that someone will have forgotten your decision to part ways, you can leave the tag in place and add the “false” keyword to its content. The same meaning (‘good riddance’) applies, just in a different form. And the “false” keyword will apply to everything within the scope of the partial URL, as additional protection.
New HTML Meta Tags: Pro-Auth-Field and Pro-Auth-Fragment
- These are the only other tags in this set:
- pro-auth-field (pro-auth-field spec)
- pro-auth-fragment (pro-auth-fragment spec)
One states the field of expertise. Search engines can evaluate that claim.
The other distinguishes the links that are authoritative from all other links on the page, the links that aren’t.
Expert in more than one relationship or field? Go for it. You can have as many “pro” tags as you can write, each with a different partial URL. The only limit is that you can’t be an expert in absolutely everything (only little children, morons, and liars would say they are). And you’ll want to be believable. You’ll have to select your fields.
How Many Tags?
Since your site is the one with expertise, usually you only need one tag, the meta “pro” tag.
The site with authority only needs three tags, usually. They’re the “pro-auth”, “pro-auth-field”, and “pro-auth-fragment” meta tags. Once the links and tags are set up, the authority can tell the experts. Meanwhile, the authority can just get started on its own.
Usage in Depth
Here are the main details of use:
The authority picks a page of their own that tells us why we should believe the authority and lists links to experts like you. It may be on a few pages.
The authority then adds to just those pages the following three elements (the content gives examples only):
<meta name="pro-auth" content="www.history.example.org/widgets" />
<meta name="pro-auth-field" content="widgets Florida 1920s" />
<meta name="pro-auth-fragment" content="#experts-in-wisconsin" />
You, the expert, only need to add one tag:
<meta name="pro" content="www.history.example.org/widgets" />
When a search engine updates its database of websites, it can discover the “pro” and “pro-auth” pages and see that they have the same partial URL (usually meaning without “https://” or “http://”), thus associating those two together. That will set those two pages apart as different from all other “pro” and “pro-auth” pages.
With the “pro-auth” pages, the search engine may look to see if it should treat the claimed authority as a real authority. Does the authority know what it’s talking about? Does the subject even matter? If the search engine decides yes for both, then the links from that authority deserve to be treated as expert links. The experts, like you, might then be given higher prominence in search results.
The Hard Part (Almost)
The first step after your content is up is for you to search for authorities in your field and ask them to make a list of experts, to include your website or your pages, and to tag them as above. Then copy the partial URL from their “pro-auth” tag into your “pro” tag. The rest is up to search engines.
Giving and Receiving: You Can Have Both Roles
You can be an authority for other experts at the same time that you’re an expert in the eyes of another authority. If the world’s best electrician lists you because you really know a lot about the subject but you’re too busy to handle all the information requests, you can turn around and make yourself into an authority for other experts who can carry the load. You would place a “pro” tag to receive the world’s best electrician’s judgment as an authority and, in turn, you would add “pro-auth”, “pro-auth-field”, and “pro-auth-fragment” tags to show that you are an authority designating other experts. Your “pro-auth-field” tag need not have the same content as that for the authority who designated you. You might fill it with a subspecialty, a larger specialty, or a different field altogether. For you as an authority, there’s an article on marking up your page for authority.
Add content and repeat. You’re an expert and you’re helping people.