Due to Brad Coy’s tweet, I just read the following article on ProBlogger I Fight Authority and Authority Always Wins. (And What IS Online Authority Anyway?). It’s an interesting read including many perspectives and I urge you all go spend a few minutes reading it. As to the question “what is online authority?” — here is what I would say:

Online authority is showing up at the top of Google’s search results for your targeted niche. Whether we like it or not, people will take the people who show up at the top of search results as the authority on a given subject. But that doesn’t mean they trust those people, it means they deem them knowledgeable and worth listening to. Authority is not the same as trust, but the two terms are certainly related. If you are trusted by your audience AND produce content relevant to your niche, then I have no doubt the backlinks necessary to show up at the top of search results will follow over time, and hence you’ll have online authority (some niches being more difficult to crack than others). The only way I will trust someone is if I’ve met them in person a few times, followed and learned from them for awhile online, or if someone I completely trust trusts them — but I won’t trust someone just because they show up on top of the search results.

What’s your definition of online authority?