For a while now, brand and authority have been key terms when discussing SEO. But if you start searching for what is an authority website, the information becomes very muddy or misleading. One of the most discussed description for authority websites is centered around the links (volume and quality) that the domain gets. From my experience and having a few clients that created online brands, this is a description that might lead SEOs on a wrong path and end with a penalty.
In my SEO strategy, there are 2 types of signs for a quality domain:
When looking in your web analytics, your top referring keyword should be the name of the website (the brand) and at least other 5 other strings from your top 20 should contain it.
For searches within your vertical, or for searches of competitors brands, your targeted brand appears as a related search
- Once you are a brand on a niche, is easier to rank for niche related keywords
- Brands can avoid penalties for darker shades of gray hat SEO
- Brands get priority for rich snippets implementations
Can you build an authority / brand domain without links? Yes you could, but the strategies vary from niche to niche