What is your domain authority score and how can you improve it?
The world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) seems to get a little more complicated with every passing year. As search giants like Google introduce smarter ranking algorithms, digital marketers are frantically trying to keep up with the latest best practices. For example, the lack of an SSL certificate on your website could see your website slide down Google’s rankings.
However, your goal will never change. When someone is searching for something that you offer, you want your pages to be listed as high as possible on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). SEO experts are always on the lookout for the latest metrics to discover what is determining their pages’ rankings and how to improve their SERP placement.
DEFINING DOMAIN AUTHORITY
One relatively new metric is called Domain Authority (DA). This ranking score was developed by Moz, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that offers tools for digital marketing. Domain Authority is a ranking score that aims to predict how well a website will rank in search engine results. DA is scored on a scale from 1 to 100, and the higher, the better. This score is not used or even considered by search engines like Google. Instead, it attempts to predict how Google and others will rank the site.
Figuring Domain Authority involves over 40 factors but is primarily based on the number and quality of inbound links. This means to calculate the score, Moz looks at the total number of linking root domains and the number of total links. In other words, how many unique websites link to your website? And, what is the total number of links to your site from all their pages? Finally, it uses the quality of those pages to determine a value for each link.
The general idea is that search engines determine how valuable a web page is based on how many other websites link to it and the quality and relevance of those sites. The more high-quality sites linking to yours, the higher your Domain Authority and the higher your chances are for ranking high in the SERP.
WHAT IS A GOOD DOMAIN AUTHORITY?
Since 100 is the best DA score a website can receive, it may be tempting to make 100 your goal. However, that is not necessarily the best target. DA is meant to b comparative. You don’t need a top score. You simply need a rating higher than other sites you are competing with for a spot on the results page.
Don’t get disheartened by comparing your online presence with Google, Amazon, and the BBC. But it is useful to identify your competitors and compare your progress alongside them. The bottom line is if your Domain Authority is higher than your competitors, then your site will probably appear higher on search engine results pages.
MEASURING DOMAIN AUTHORITY
Fortunately, it is remarkably easy to measure the domain authority for your site and those of your competitors. Just use MozBar, a free extension for the Chrome web browser available from Moz. The extension makes viewing DA scores from websites as simple as running a Google search. The ability to measure Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority PA), ratings are also a useful tool to obtain a better understanding of which SEO tactics are working and what’s not.
HOW TO IMPROVE DOMAIN AUTHORITY
If your goal is to rank as high as possible on SERPs, you will want to do everything you can to improve your Domain Authority. Keep in mind though that DA is not entirely within your control. While you are working on your page’s DA, your competitors are likely doing the same. Also, because DA is based on the value of sites linking to yours, you are at the mercy of the ranking of these external pages.
While you are not in total control, there are some best practices to make the most out of your DA score.
1. GET MORE LINKS
Since Moz bases Domain Authority on high-quality links to your site, it should make sense to get more links. And here is the good news about inbound links: even if you ignore DA, links to your site from high traffic sites with good reputations will, in itself, get you more traffic.
Getting more sites to link to your website is the subject of a plethora of other blog posts and articles. However, the very best way to increase the number is by having excellent content. The better your content, the more likely someone else will link to it.
2. GET FEWER LOW-QUALITY LINKS
There are several ways to end up with low-quality links. The most common story is that, somewhere along the way, someone may have purchased paid links or gotten involved in some other link scheme that violates Google’s quality guidelines. Getting rid of these links involves identifying them and then manually asking webmasters to remove them. You can also use Google’s Disavow Tool to ask the search engine to ignore them.
3. PLAY THE LONG GAME
There are a lot of “experts” with advice on how to game Domain Authority. It is best to ignore them. Improving your DA is about the long process of creating content and building relationships with other trusted websites. As search engines get smarter, shortcuts become less useful and can hurt you in the long run.
The role of your website should be to showcase your value to the world and ensure you are easily found on search engines when people are searching for your solutions. Building a network of links online is a small way of showing Google that you are genuine and trustworthy. As a reward, Google will send more traffic your way.
Building hundreds of links and writing a lot of engaging content that delivers value to your audience will help you slowly improve your DA. But you mustn’t go looking for shortcuts and play the long game. Understand the rules of the game and build your traffic organically; the rest will take care of itself.