An authoritative website is reliable and trusted for its information on a given topic. However, so much information is published on the internet that it is often difficult to know what and who to believe. There are ways to identify an authoritative website to help you determine the best places to get information from. Likewise, there are red flags to watch for to help you steer clear of non-authoritative websites.
Here are four ways to identify an authoritative website.
1. The website offers a full view of the topic.
An authoritative website will provide readers with multiple viewpoints, positions, and arguments on their given topic. The site may present something and explain why it isn't good or why they disagree, but they still present the information so their readers can learn and understand. Websites that lack objectivity entirely are not reliable. For example, HotSpawn has become known as an authoritative website for esports. They provide news, analyses, how-to guides, highlight channels, game recaps, and compilations of the latest trends in gaming. Their information has proven accurate and reliable, so readers trust their content when they present new information. The goal is educational and informational, which they achieve.
2. The website is not focused solely on selling a product.
For example, policyscouter.com offers price and policy comparisons for companies that sell insurance. Comparison websites that are not selling their product amongst the comparisons are more reliable than websites trying to sell their product because they provide the reader with unbiased information. Just watching commercials, it's clear that every insurance company will tell you they offer the best insurance at the lowest price. To get a clear price and policy comparison, you need to utilize a third-party website that doesn't have a financial interest in which company you choose. You can learn which are the best policies for your specific needs.
3. The website backs up information with sources.
Readers should be provided a basis of where the information is coming from. For example, suppose an article cites a statistic or references a research study that supports their position. In that case, they should provide a link or some information that would allow the reader to research it further or verify the information provided. If the information in the article is provided based on personal experience, the author's education, experience, and expertise should be provided somewhere on the webpage or within the article. Presenting information as facts without any support for where the information came from is a red flag. An authoritative website will provide background for the information presented.
4. There are no personal attacks.
When a website provides information based on facts and research, there is no reason to take it personally when people disagree. When checking out a website, check the comments made on their articles and check their social media platforms. Look at how they respond to comments and people who disagree with their statements. A red flag will be when the content creator uses comments or social media to attack people who disagree.
Determining the authority of a website can seem complicated at first. Still, the more you become aware of what it means to be authoritative, discerning the difference will become easier. As new information needs arise, you'll be able to quickly and easily find an authoritative site that you can trust to provide you with accurate information. Google ranking can be deceptive and shouldn't be used as a measure of authority. Just because a company has a great marketing team that knows how to get them ranked high in the search engines does not mean they are an authority in their industry.