The word authority is derived from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning ‘invention’, ‘advice’, ‘opinion’, ‘influence’, or ‘command’. In English, the word authority can be used to mean power given by the state (in the form of government, judges, police officers, etc.) or by academic knowledge of an area (someone can be an authority on a subject).
When starting a new business, it is very important to establish yourself as an online authority while you are attempting to get your business off the ground and find new customers. Whether your business has a physical formal location such as a storefront, or you are working out of your house and your business is purely an online business, your online authority is always important. The authority that you hold online will allow you to find new customers without having to advertise and waste a lot of money that you do not already have, and it will establish your business as being a professional business, rather than being a scam. No one wants to buy from a business or service online that they think is a scam, and this will help your business tremendously. So many businesses I come across have a website that is nothing more than an online business card. What does that tell me about your business? Very little!
“We believed we could build a better search. We had a simple idea, that not all pages are created equal. Some are more important.”
– Sergey Brin, Co-Founder, Google
“It’s quite complicated and sounds circular, but we’ve worked out a way of calculating a website’s importance.”
– Larry Page, Co-Founder, Google
“To rank well, build a site so fantastic that it makes you an authority in your niches.”
– Matt Cutts, Head Of Google Web Spam Team
Let’s face it, when it comes to business, what others say about you matters more than what you say about yourself.
People love to buy stuff but they hate to feel sold. You need to concentrate on delivering value that builds authority. Educational, tutorial-style content works best online. It attracts links, it brings traffic, it builds trust, and it causes you to rank for relevant keyword-phrases in search engines. It works! After all, what is effective selling? Selling is simply educating people about the benefits of doing business with you.
Why do some shoppers choose to pay $3.48 for a 500g bag of Quaker oats when they can buy a kilo of supermarket own brand oats for $3.29, which works out at less than half the price?
Why do we feel better as soon as the Doctor, armed with nothing more than a lolly stick asks us to ‘say aah’ and peers into our mouth?
Why is an original artwork by Banksy less valuable when we don’t know it really is a Banksy?
A television reporter dresses up in a security guard’s uniform and sets up in front of a Las Vegas bank. He sticks a sign on the ATM embellished with a big gold badge and the following message:
“OUT OF ORDER – GIVE DEPOSITS TO GUARD ON DUTY.”
Bank customers start showing up. Each time, the fake guard smiles and asks if the customer wants to make a deposit or withdrawal. This whole scenario is ridiculous, right? No bank would conduct business like this.
And Yet, customer after customer handed over cash, checks, Social Security numbers, credit cards, account numbers, PIN codes…You name it. Out of 10 people, only one hesitated, but even he complied seconds later. When the reporter revealed the deception and asked the flabbergasted victims why they handed him money and private information, they all gave pretty much the same answer.
“Because of the uniform. Because of the sign.”
In other words, they complied because he was perceived as authoritative and therefore, trustworthy.
Neuroscience reveals the somewhat frightening answer. Brain scans show that the decision-making parts of our brains often shut down when we encounter authoritative advice or direction.