The goal for every SEO campaign is to rank on the first page of SERP, especially the coveted Number One spot. When you reach this valuable position, your CTR will increase by at least 200%. One influencing factor or roadblock on the way to reaching the top spot is Domain Authority (DA).
What is Domain Authority?
Moz developed Domain Authority as a search engine ranking score to predict the performance of a website on SERP. The score ranges from one to 100, with a higher score indicating a better ability to rank.
Factors that affect domain authority include the number of links, linking root domains, MozTrust and MozRank, amongst other features.
A solid domain authority includes a website with high-quality backlinks. The score is calculated via a 100-point logarithmic scale, using the popularity of the site in question.
New sites start at one and move up in number as they grow, with an increased amount of backlink profiles. You can find your domain authority using the MozBar, Open Site Explorer or the SERP Analysis area of Keyword Explorer.
What are the determining factors for a high DA score?
It’s almost impossible to get a perfect score of 100, as that’s usually reserved for websites such as Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
With a score of 40-60, your website will experience growth. Factors that affect DA include:
This will help good publishers (who were previously cheated by such ‘black hat’ techniques) rank higher for quality content. You can’t fool the DA metric and it’s difficult to influence the calculation to change your DA score.
A good DA leads to higher website traffic and improved SERP ranking. It’s a long-term process that doesn’t occur after just a couple of changes.
As a foundation for DA, check all technical aspects of your SEO.
It might not sound interesting to map your URL structure or optimise robots.txt, but these are essential elements for SEO and DA improvement. DA and SEO go hand-in-hand according to Moz – and that includes SEO elements.
Keyword density: keep density between 0.5 to 1.5% and avoid keyword stuffing.
Heading Tags: highlight major points with Heading tags, such as H1 and H2.
Meta description: never leave your meta description blank.
Fill it out with your focus keyword.
Use keyword-rich titles for your blog posts.
Optimise your images to boost SEO status.
2. Perform a link audit
A healthy link profile is required for a great DA ranking. It’s about the backlinks your site has earned, as Google loves a good mix of link profiles.
A good link profile testifies that your site is trustworthy and authoritative. A healthy link profile follows Google’s guidelines for link building.
If your website uses black hat techniques, excessive link exchanges and other prohibited link schemes, you’ll lose points.
This guide advises things to look for and eliminate from your site. Before you get links, use SEMrush Backlink Audit to assess your current link profile.
3. Obtain good links from authority sites
You don’t need link schemes to improve your search engine ranking. Great content is attractive and other websites in your industry will link to it.
Develop relationships with authority sites, head over to Q & A sites like Quora, and find questions people are asking in your niche and answer them accordingly, providing links to your articles.
Other ways to build a link profile include:
Track your competitor’s links
Link to major sites within your niche
Visit industry forums
Help a reporter out on Haro
4. Create linkable content
Content has a direct impact on DA. You need to create regular infographics or articles that improve your content marketing.
Content drives business, especially when your articles are at least 1,000 words in length. Note that the quality of content has to be excellent, providing authority and value.
Top digital marketers, like Neil Patel, proclaim that creating large, daily content is at the centre of his digital strategy and responsible for the success he enjoys.
5. Conduct regular backlink checks
SEO isn’t all grandeur and excitement; there is often mundane and repetitive work to do, such as removing toxic and ‘spammy’ backlinks.
Many webmasters aren’t conducting regular cleanups until they’ve been penalised by Google’s algorithm or after readers on the site complain.
Instead of waiting for a penalty strike that costs you precious ranking points, clean up your link profile and perform bi-monthly checks to keep your website clean.
6. Internal linking
Wikipedia has a DA score of 100 and is the perfect example of internal linking.
It reduces the amount of bounce rate you get, because visitors to your site move from one post to the next. However, ensure you link to older posts that are relevant to the article you’re currently writing.
Internal linking helps Google bots crawl your site for content, spreading Page Authority and link juice as they do. It also allows for easy navigation for both visitors and search engines.
7. Publish more guest posts
A great way to increase domain authority is to publish guest posts on authority sites or other websites with which you have a relationship. It’s a safer, smarter technique than blog commenting.
According to Brendan Wilde (Marketing Manager at Free Parking), you have to be careful with guest posts, as some impatient bloggers now try underhanded techniques such as rich anchor, link stuffing, text stuffing and low-quality content.
Use these tips as a guide:
Aim for high authority sites.
Post relative content that people visiting the site will find useful.
Think outside the box to find amazing topic ideas.
Use relevant links and avoid link stuffing. When Google finds out, you’ll be penalised.
8. Increased social media presence
Though Google says it doesn’t use social media or your number of followers to rank websites, social reach is an undeniable factor for branding and domain authority.
You can use social media to develop working relationships, as well as entice key influencers to give you good backlinks and share content.
Recently, Google made some algorithm changes that give credence to how much websites can use their social media accounts to influence their followers.
Such websites with trusted domain names (and generic top level domains) attain a higher social authority score, which leads to higher DA score.
9. Speed up your website
Websites that take longer to load have a high bounce rate and low domain authority. Ideally, your website should load in under four seconds; any longer and visitors might leave.
If you follow these steps, you will increase your domain authority score. However, you have to be patient, as some older domains have higher authority.
Ensure your domain doesn’t fall into disrepair or build up toxic link profiles that reduces your DA score.
Domain Authority is a long process that demands excellent content to drive traffic, ranking and search results for a higher score.
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James Cummings is a leading digital marketing expert, brand analyst and business psychologist. He’s an experienced senior manager who has worked closely with global brands to deliver staffing solutions. He has interfaced at board level with FTSE 100 companies and successfully managed multiple web projects across different niches to their full cycle. Working with a team of top level digital media professionals from around the globe, James’ WordPress portfolio currently spans over 40 properties.