All You Need To Know About Domain Authority

No doubt you know a bit about Domain Authority (DA), but if you’re serious about SEO success, knowing about it is not good enough.  You need to do things on your website which improve its domain authority score and boost online visibility.

As a starting point, let’s set the background to Domain Authority.  

It’s actually an SEO analysis tool that was created by an SEO tool provider, Moz to predict how likely a website is to rank on the search engine pages.  While a DA score doesn’t represent success in the search engine pages, it is a key predictor of success.  You can check out your domain authority rating on Moz.

Moz ‘invented’ the DA metric, but nowadays, it isn’t the only engine you can use for domain authority checks.  Other places like Ahrefs are as good, but it is important that you keep to the one engine so that you’re always measuring apples with apples.

It’s important to note that DA is not actually used by Google to rank domains and a higher DA score doesn’t guarantee a higher ranking.  However, the metric does evaluate several important factors which are crucial for SEO success including the number of root domains, site speed and good quality backlinks.

Domain scores range from 1-100 and the higher the number, the better.  Every website starts at number 1 and climbs the ladder as it increases the number of quality backlinks and gains popularity.  Remember, it isn’t a standalone score.   You should always compare it to those of your competitors and if it’s higher, you know you’re doing the right things.  If it’s lower, there’s work to be done.

There’s always work to be done on SEO. But for now, let’s delve deeper into DA and look at ways to improve your score.

Acquiring good quality backlinks

Quality backlinks are the backbone of a good DA score.  Your aim should be to get as many links as possible from external websites which display E-A-T qualities.  This is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness and is a key factor used by Google to evaluate the overall quality of a web page.  

But remember, backlinks are all about quality, not quantity.  It’s not worth pursuing dodgy backlinks just so that your pages have lots of incoming links.  This tactic is likely to be counter-productive and may result in Google seeing your website as ‘untrustworthy’.

You also need to keep track of the domains that are linked to your site.   An excess of backlinks with low DA will negatively affect your DA score, so you need to be vigilant and remove any suspect ones (eg backlinks from spam sites and those with very slow speeds).   

The reality is that the only way to accumulate quality backlinks is through hard work, perseverance, creating good quality content, having a strong social media presence and a sustained outreach to trustworthy, authoritative external sites.

Why is quality content so important?  

Any external site worth their salt won’t link to content unless it is top-notch.  After all, their reputation is at stake, so your aim should be to make your content better than what’s already out there.  If it’s genuine, informative, helpful, instructional, engaging, easy to read etc, other sites will want to share it with their followers.

It’s also essential to make your content unique.

Why not try a new angle on a topic?  Write an in-depth blog, ‘how-to’ video or ‘Complete Guide To …’ that’s never been done before.  Look at your particular niche and brainstorm link-worthy content ideas.  Look for trends and changes in your industry.  And remember, you can always update your old content.

Many people don’t realise that a rewrite can be just as effective as starting from scratch.  You can update with new images and graphics, sub-headings, keywords etc – just make sure that the content is relevant to today’s searchers. 

Promoting your content

And then you need to promote your content.  

That’s where having an active social media presence and outreach is so important.  If you’ve written a newsworthy blog, why not email it to your customers or share it on your socials?  You could also try and get your content seen online by emailing other root domains to see if they are interested in sharing your content.  Look for partnerships where the larger domain benefits from your (awesome!) content for free while you get a great backlink from a site with good E-A-T.

The greater the awareness of your content, the greater the likelihood that it will attract attention from other quality sites.

A proactive approach to link-building is a must.  

That means reaching out to authoritative sites and root domain platforms to ask if they will share your content and link to you.  Be prepared to approach larger sites too – there are many websites out there looking for good quality content and they will reward you with a backlink as a result. 

Also look for guest blogging opportunities where you may be able to include links to your website.  I always recommend my clients do a short biography for their blogs which includes a link to their website.

Competitor research

Learn from what your competitors are doing.

Analysing your competitors’ backlinks is a great way of gaining some valuable insights into what YOU could be doing!  But it’s not a case of simply doing as they do as this would undermine your site’s trustworthiness.  The trick is to leverage the information to produce unique and link-worthy content.

Here are some useful questions to ask when evaluating your competitors’ backlinks:

  • Do they have amazing images and infographics on their website?
  • Do they comment on trending topics?  
  • Are they active on any community/niche forums?  If so, what kind of questions are they answering?
  • Are they addressing the needs or interests of consumers in specific geographical locations?
  • Are they doing research of their own?
  • Are they producing compelling and helpful video content?
  • How active are they on social media?
  • Are there any gaps that they have missed and where you can capitalise?

You can then use these insights to publish your own unique content which should earn you backlinks.  And as discussed earlier, the more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your Domain Authority will be.

To wrap up…

It’s important to remember that DA doesn’t directly influence Google’s algorithm and a score isn’t a guarantee or measure of success in the search engine rankings, but merely predicts it.  Nevertheless, it is a valuable metric because it will help you develop a strong and successful SEO strategy, which in turn will increase your rankings and fuel growth.  

Karen Dauncey

Karen Dauncey has been working in SEO since 2003. She specialises in helping businesses get found online through Google using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Karen's wealth of SEO knowledge and practical digital marketing experience comes from running her own SEO and Google Ads agency, Blue Cherry Online Marketing since 2008. Karen has optimised over 1000 websites, managed millions of dollars' worth of spend on Google Ads and has a solid understanding of the constantly shifting industry of digital marketing and SEO. This gives her a unique advantage when it comes to being able to recommend the right online marketing strategies for your business.

She is the founder and creator of The SEO School an online SEO Course to help teach business owners how to do their own SEO. She regularly delivers educational programs for both Local, State and Federal Government and was an advisor for the ASBAS Digital Solutions Program. Karen’s passion and commitment to help small business owners get found online is the driving force behind her online school, making SEO advice accessible to all with free resources and online courses.

Karen has attended search engine conferences in London, Stockholm, Adelaide and Sydney, and was also invited to attend a pilot Business Coaching Course at Google’s Head Office. She has a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK.

She is also the co-owner of the Digital Experts Directory, an online directory for female serviced-based businesses to promote their business (with a great backlink for SEO).

To keep up to date with the latest in SEO, join her Facebook group The SEO School Community or follow her on Facebook
or LinkedIn.

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