SEO tips – how to increase your domain authority

Domain authority is an important SEO metric that can give you a clear idea of how your website ranks in the search results. One of the most popular metrics for determining the authority of your site, improving your domain authority can help your overall SEO strategy. Let’s find out more.

What is domain authority?

Domain authority (or DA) is a metric developed by Moz to determine the authority, trust and quality of a website. Based on a ranking scale of 1 to 100, domain authority is an important metric to indicate how high your site is likely to appear in search results.

Domain authority is not a direct ranking factor, meaning Google does not consider domain authority in its algorithms. That’s not to say you should ignore it though. Your domain authority can be a very good metric to analyse your SEO performance. As anyone can check a website’s domain authority, you can even check on how your competitors are doing too!

The higher your domain authority, the more authoritative your website is considered in the eyes of Google. Several factors influence your total score, including how many backlinks there are to your site, the quality and trustworthiness of these backlinks, and the internal and external links on your site.

You can check your domain authority using Moz’s free tool. The MozBar browser extension also includes domain authority and page authority scores on Google search results, and as you browse different websites. Here’s an example in action on Google’s search results:

Mozbar displayed in Google search results

Just to be clear, domain authority gives a score based on a domain’s potential ranking strength, while page authority gives a score for an individual page’s ranking strength.

Why is domain authority important to SEO?

Importance of domain authority in SEO

Domain authority is an important metric to monitor for your SEO strategy. It gives you a clear indication of how authoritative and trustworthy your site is. The better the credibility of your site, the better your site ranking.

Google seeks to provide users with the most useful and relevant results from credible sources. One way Google determines a site’s credibility is through links. Both the internal links on your site and the links to your site are used by Google to determine credibility.

If you have lots of high-quality backlinks to your site, this tells Google that you are a credible and trustworthy source. Each backlink you receive acts as a vote that indicates to search engines your content is informative, relevant, and most importantly, credible.

Links are extremely important for your ranking, with Google even stating links as one of their top 3 search factors. The top-ranking results on Google are estimated to have around 3.8x more backlinks than the other page 1 results.

A higher domain authority score has also been found to correlate with higher search engine rankings.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer a way to measure your website’s authority anymore. Back in the old days, Google offered the PageRank score in its toolbar. As you can’t measure PageRank anymore, measuring your domain authority is the next best thing for checking your site’s credibility and authority.

How to increase your domain authority?

Now we’ve covered the importance of domain authority in SEO, it’s time to see how you can improve your domain authority.

It should be noted that the higher your domain authority, the harder it becomes to increase. For example, a site can easily reach a domain authority of up to 30 providing SEO best practices are carried out. Trying to increase your authority up to 80 is much more difficult. A domain authority between 50 to 60 is considered good.

Here are 5 ways to increase your domain authority:

1.      Obtain high-quality backlinks

Graphic displaying backlinks

We’ve already covered the importance of backlinks, both for your search engine ranking and domain authority. It should come as no surprise that obtaining high-quality backlinks is one way to increase your domain authority.

Even though the user-facing PageRank metric is gone, the principle is still used within Google’s algorithms. A highly authoritative site that links to another will pass over authority, helping to boost its trustworthiness. This is often referred to as link juice. PageRank is split equally across all outbound links on a page.

Make sure the backlinks to your site come from lots of different domains for greater link juice benefit. Developing an effective link-building strategy can also help to obtain high-quality backlinks.

Find out more about developing an effective link-building strategy

2.      Remove low-quality and spam links

Removing spam links

While links are the icing on the cake for SEO, that only counts when they come from higher-quality sources. A website will undoubtedly pick up links from spam and low-quality sites, which can hit your domain authority and search engine rankings hard.

To begin, you should regularly monitor your website’s backlink profile. Ahrefs backlink checker can help you easily monitor this. The tool also provides you with domain ratings, URL ratings, the number of referring domains and how much traffic arrived at your site from the link.

Once you’ve identified any links from spam sites, try and make the effort to get them removed. In the event you can’t get a link removed, consider disavowing the link.

Also, make sure that any links you include on your site don’t direct to a low-quality or spam site too. Ideally, a website with a spam score of less than 30% is good.

You can check a website’s spam score using this free tool from Moz.

3.      Create content that people want to link to

Content creation

The best way you can obtain quality backlinks is by creating content that people want to link to. Not only should you be developing content to best address your targeted keywords, but also that adds value for your readers.

Providing meaningful and relevant content is also essential as part of inbound marketing to give value to your customers. Ensuring your content addresses customers’ pain points and problems by giving them solutions will stand you in good stead.

Using Sinek’s golden circle can help create content that stands out and resonates emotionally with your readers.

Using a variety of content, including infographics, videos, and images will help to make your content more appealing and engaging. When developing your content, remember to write for humans first and search engines second. That way, you can be in a good position for other sites to link back to your content, helping boost your domain authority.

Developing your buyer persona will also help you to create content that appeals to your customers.

4.      Address technical SEO issues

Addressing technical SEO issues

Technical SEO involves making optimisations to your site for more effective crawling and indexing by search engines. Addressing any technical SEO issues with your site makes it much easier for your site to meet the search engines’ expectations.

A site optimised for technical SEO issues will:

  • Have fast loading speeds
  • Incorporate an effective internal link structure
  • Use a robot.txt file to give search engine crawlers directions
  • Remove or replace dead links
  • Avoid duplicate content
  • Be secure using HTTPS using a TLS certificate
  • Implement structured data

It may also be worth pointing out that if you make big changes to your site, you should submit it to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools for reindexing. You should also do the same for a new website too.

5.      Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

Mobile-friendly website

We’re now in the age of mobile first. Google has switched its ranking algorithms to mobile-first and over half of web traffic now comes from mobile devices. If your site is not mobile-friendly, not only are you losing a major portion of your potential traffic, but your domain authority and search engine ranking will suffer too.

Making sure your website is mobile-friendly means it’s easy to navigate on mobile and tablet devices. A responsive web design will easily adapt according to the screen size, making elements such as buttons and text bigger.

A mobile-friendly site will give your users a much better experience and can increase your opportunities for gaining quality backlinks. You can easily check how mobile-friendly your website is using Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. The tool will tell you if your site is mobile-friendly and, if not, how you can optimise your site for mobile devices.

Here’s the mobile-friendly test tool in action:

Google mobile-friendly test example

Domain authority is an important metric to monitor throughout your SEO campaign and can help you to grow your SEO strategy for better rankings. Implementing the 5 tips above can help you to get an even stronger ranking potential.

However, don’t focus purely on trying to boost your domain authority and lose sight of the bigger picture. Remember that first and foremost you are trying to bring value to your customers, not impress a metric. Don’t completely ignore your domain authority though as it’s a strong predictability score for your ranking position.

Find out more about inbound marketing and how it can help your business grow