How to Increase Domain Authority
Domain authority can be likened to the influence of an expert within their own discipline and in the larger scholarly community.
Just as this well-respected professor can wield a great deal of influence over their peers, so too can a domain with high authority impact the behavior and opinions of those who frequent it.
The thing is, just like it’s difficult to become an expert in your field, as is increasing your site’s domain authority.
Although, be sure to understand, it’s by no means impossible.
In fact, with the right mindset and the help of the tactics outlined in this post, in no time at all, you’ll be sending your domain authority metrics to the moon.
To help you out, here we’ll breakdown:
- What domain authority is.
- Why domain authority is important.
- What a good domain authority score is.
- And, finally, we’ll answer in detail the question of: “How to increase my domain authority?”
What is Domain Authority?
Domain authority (DA), developed by Moz, and domain rating (DR), Ahref’s equivalent, are link building metrics that rate the authoritative strength of a website. The higher the DR or DA score, the more authoritative the site is considered to be.
Domain authority is determined largely by two main ranking factors. These are the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of backlinks that a website possesses and how many referring domains have outbound links pointing to the website.
Why Should I Care About Domain Authority?
It’s important to point out that Google itself doesn’t use domain authority as a determinant of how to rank websites on the SERPs. Google has its own set of metrics that it uses to determine the placement of the search engine results page (SERPs).
The Google team refers to these metrics collectively as PageRank.
So if Google doesn’t pay attention to domain authority, why should you?
Well, although domain authority is simply an indicator that assesses the perceived performance of a website in relation to competing domains, it is a tried and tested method of determining how the SERPs are likely to be arranged.
Additionally, SEO tools like Moz, Semrush, and Ahrefs pay very close attention to Google’s algorithm. Therefore, domain authority is a very well-respected means of understanding how your site will perform overall.
And since Google keeps its cards close to its chest, not disclosing the likelihood that your website will perform well, domain authority is likely the closest thing we’re ever going to get to understanding how the positioning of the SERPs is likely to look.
What is a Good Domain Authority Score?
Domain authority is a score, between 0 and 100, that reflects how authoritative a website is. A high domain authority means that the website is likely to be ranked high on the SERPs, while a low domain authority means a website is going to have a harder time of ranking, particularly for highly competitive topic niches.
For a touch of thought play, when you think of a website with a high domain authority, who would you expect to rank very well on the SERPs?
We think of a domain like Forbes.
While it may not be everybody’s cup of tea, it’s still a very well respected publication that consistently ranks well on Google Search for a wide range of topics.
Which, in this context, makes it a great example site.
So what DA or DR would you expect a site like this to have?
As you can see here, with some 160 million backlinks and 1.6 million referring domains, Ahrefs has awarded Forbes with a DR of 94. For comparison, YouTube has a DR of 99 and Facebook has a DR of 100.
You can see then that Forbes is doing pretty well for itself.
How Do You Check Your Domain Authority?
There are a few ways you can check Domain authority using Moz. The easiest and the most affordable is to use Moz’s Free Domain SEO Analysis Tool.
Pretty simple, just plug in your domain address, like we’ve done below, and hit the “Analyze domain” button.
We’ve used Forbes.com again here so you can get an idea of how SEO tools will vary in their analysis of the same site. This time, both Ahrefs and Moz ranked Forbes similarly. Moz’s domain authority score of 95, compared to Ahrefs’s DR of 94, and Moz’s referring domains of 1.5 million, compared to Ahrefs’s 1.6 million.
For a more in-depth look at your site’s metrics, you can use Moz’s free version of their Link Explorer.
Here you can see a more in-depth, visual breakdown of both the linking domains that have added inbound links to your site and how your domain authority has changed over time.
And, of course, for a full breakdown of your domain authority and other key metrics, you can always sign up for Moz’s 30-day free trial to test out if this SEO tool is something you’d like to use in the future.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention our Free Domain Authority Checker Tool. Here you can check up to 10 URLs within 24 hours, all at once.
Our tool analyzes potential link sources, competitor pages, or your own webpages for twelve different metrics including domain authority.
3 Actionable Ways To Increase Your DA Score
Before jumping straight into the deep end. There are a few fundamentals you need to have mastered before working towards increasing your site’s DA score.
- Nail the SEO basics. Without honing the basics like on-page SEO, page speed, and some of the more technical aspects of building a solid website, there’s little to no reason why you should even start to worry about your site’s DA. So before you start, be sure your site runs adequately, isn’t slow to load, and contains high-quality content that’s SEO optimized and valuable to your audience.
- Optimize Your Website Structure and User Experience. Is your website easy to navigate and intuitive to use? If not, focus on formatting it in a way that’s both easily navigable and easy to use. If you’re unsure of where to start, focusing on the basic principles of conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a great place to begin your journey.
- Improve Your Internal Links. No site is going to rank well without a solid internal linking structure. Internal linking helps search engines index your pages more accurately and helps visitors find information on your site more easily. Both are super important to your web page’s page authority and link building potential.
Now you’ve got those fundamentals nipped in the bud, it’s time to dive into these 3 exceedingly effective methods of achieving a higher DA.
1. Build (good) links
Perhaps the most important factor in taking your site from a low DA to a higher score is by building a strong backlink profile full of high-quality backlinks from trusted websites.
Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your website, often referred to as referring domains or root domains. The links that come from root domains act as a vote of confidence, signaling to Google that your site is both a relevant and a credible resource of information.
One that’s most definitely worth paying attention to.
By building your link profile out with quality links, not only will you boost your site’s DA by passing on link equity, but you will increase your SERP rankings and subsequently boost organic traffic.
So how do you go about building links?
To build links, there are several methods you can use. The most common include:
Take Part in Online Communities and Forums
When a person takes part in an online community or forum, they are often given the opportunity to include a link to their website or blog in their signature. This is a valuable opportunity for backlinking, as it exposes the website or blog to a new audience and increases the likelihood that someone will click on the link.
In addition, many online communities and forums allow users to post links in the body of their messages.
If the audience is right and the information contained on the linked to page adds value to the community, your content is sure to pick up a few shares.
Further adding to your backlink profile.
Collaborate With Fellow Website Owners, Bloggers, and Content Creators
When working with other website owners, bloggers, and content creators, you can generate backlinks by exchanging links, promoting each other’s content, and taking part in cross-promotional campaigns.
By working with others through guest posting, blogging, and other collaborative means, you can build a web of links that will help improve the visibility and ranking of your website.
Leverage Social Media
There are a few ways that leveraging social media can generate backlinks. One way is by including links to your site in your social media profiles and bios.
You can also post links to your site in social media comment sections and use social media to promote your blog or website and attract links from other bloggers and website owners.
2. Remove spammy links (aka clean up your backlink profile)
Spammy backlinks originate from websites which are not considered to be authoritative or reputable by Google. These bad links can be obtained through unintentional or intentional black hat SEO techniques, such as purchasing low-quality backlinks (rather than buying high-quality links), participating in backlink exchanges, or receiving a guest post that is low-quality.
Spammy links can also originate through negative SEO strategies.
Black hat techniques that are added by nefarious actors to damage the credibility and rankability of your website. Negative SEO tactics include ploys such as spamming the competitor’s website with links, creating fake pages or websites that are designed to hurt the ranking of the competitor, or even hacking into the competitor’s website and modifying the content or code to lower its ranking.
Not what you want when striving for a high DA.
To counter these intentionally or unintentionally damaging backlinks from destroying your site’s potential, know there is a tactic you can employ to remove spammy links.
Google’s disavow tool being the most effective.
The disavow tool allows site owners, SEOs, and content marketers to submit a list of links that they want Google to ignore when assessing the site’s link profile. It’s a fairly easy process, and can be completed with the help of a SEO tool like Moz, Semrush, or Ahrefs.
To do so:
- fire up your SEO tool,
- filter your backlinks so the lowest DR or DA sites are at the top,
- inspect each domain manually and check for spammy characteristics,
- note down the exact domain names that you determine to be harmful,
- head over to Google Search Console and disavow the perpetrating websites.
If you need a hand doing this, check out our toxic backlinks post. There, we detail a step-by-step guide to removing toxic backlinks from your link profile for good.
By doing so, your site will only be left with high-quality links that are sure to help it scale the SERPs in no time.
3. Create high-quality content (that people want to read)
There is no single recipe for creating great content that generates backlinks, but one of the most effective ways is to make your content visually appealing, highly engaging, and easy to digest.
Really?! People enjoy quality content? Who would have thunk it (/s)?
Sure, it sounds obvious, but seriously, the amount of content marketing campaigns that don’t create content that engages their target audiences is kinda horrifying.
So what works?
Something like an infographic, super engaging video, or informative written piece of content always will always do well.
Additionally, it’s important to include links to authoritative sources within the content or approaching industry experts to give you their take on the topic you are covering.
And, of course, following SEO best practices like those outlined in Google’s Webmaster guidelines will ensure your content has the best chance of ranking and will attract the attention of fellow website owners in your field.
Not only will high-quality content encourage your peers to use your content as a resource when creating their own content, but it will also increase your topical authority.
A concept that outlines the value a resource adds to a topic niche. Content that is topically authoritative is seen to be more reliable or credible on a certain topic than other sources.
If you can present your content in such a way, you will increase your website’s DA in no time at all.
The process of increasing your domain’s authority isn’t always about the number of links your website can manage to acquire from its peer websites. Nope, oftentimes, a good link building strategy prioritizes quality over quantity.
Sure, quality backlinks are more difficult to obtain, but they are weighted more heavily by Google in its search algorithm, meaning SEO tools like Moz will identify them as having a greater impact on your website’s domain authority.
If you’re serious about boosting your site’s DA and overall Google ranking, why not check out Loganix’s link building services?
We use strict quality criteria to ensure the backlinks that point back to your site are authoritative, high-quality, and sure to benefit your website as much as possible.