What is Domain Authority?

domain authority

Domain Authority is a metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages. It is calculated based on a variety of factors including the quantity and quality of links pointing to a domain. 

Domain Authority is scored on a logarithmic scale from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating a greater ability to rank high in search results. A Domain Authority above 30 is typically considered good, and above 60 is very strong. 

Domain Authority is an important SEO metric because search engines want to show their users the most authoritative and trustworthy pages for any given query. Websites with higher Domain Authority tend to rank higher than those with lower scores. 

Google and other search engines observe multiple signals that allow them to gauge a website’s authority, trustworthiness, and value. Domain Authority aggregates many of these ranking factors into a single metric, providing SEOs with an estimate of a website’s capability to rank. 

The specific factors that contribute to Domain Authority include 

The number and quality of external links from other websites, especially links from authoritative sites. More referral links from reputable sources improve Domain Authority. 

Organic search traffic history and click-through rates. Websites that already attract substantial search traffic tend to have higher authority. 

Indexation of all important pages on the site, not blocking search engine crawlers. Optimizing technical site elements for search engines like page speed, security, crawlability. 

Creating high-quality, useful content that users want to link to and share. Valuable content boosts authority. 

User engagement metrics like low bounce rates and session duration indicate appealing content. 

So in summary, Domain Authority is a metric that represents a website’s ability to rank well in organic search. Improving Domain Authority should be a key SEO goal, as it will enable higher rankings, traffic, and revenues. 

Why Increase Domain Authority?

The higher your domain authority, the more trust and credibility Google places on your website. This leads to several key benefits that make boosting your domain authority worthwhile: 

Increased organic traffic – Websites with higher domain authority tend to rank higher and earn more organic search traffic. This saves on the costs of buying ads and allows you to reach people already searching for topics relevant to your site. 

Lower cost per click– Domain authority is a factor used by Google Ads and other PPC platforms to calculate quality scores. The higher your score, the lower your advertising costs will be to achieve the same amount of traffic. 

Improved brand visibility – A higher domain authority website appears more reputable and established. This improves brand perception and the likelihood of appearing for relevant brand-specific searches. Your domain will carry more weight and seem more authoritative. 

Better user experience – Factors that boost domain authority like faster load speeds, secure connections, and optimal layouts also tend to improve site experience. Users trust high-authority sites more and are likely to stay longer. 

Increases conversions – By driving more relevant organic traffic to high-quality, useful content and improving user experience, a higher domain authority website tends to see increased on-site conversions for leads and sales. 

The more authority your domain has, the more Google trusts it and the bigger boost it receives in organic and paid search. Focusing on steadily improving domain authority over time leads to compounding benefits that make your marketing and content efforts more effective. 

On-Page Optimization 

On-page optimization refers to the practice of optimizing individual web pages to increase domain authority and improve search engine rankings. Some key on-page optimization techniques include: 

Optimize Title Tags: The title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO elements. Title tags should be descriptive and include the target keyword while being enticing and compelling to users. The ideal title tag length is between 50-60 characters. 

Meta Description Optimization: Meta descriptions summarize page content and appear in search results. Include a unique, 160-character meta description that incorporates target keywords naturally. 

Optimize Content: Content should be at least 1,500+ words, focus on the topic the page is optimizing for, and include target keywords naturally. Break content into readable sections and paragraphs.

Optimize Images: Include images and optimize them with descriptive alt text and file names containing keywords. Ensure fast page load times by compressing image file sizes. 

Internal Linking: Link to other internal pages using anchor text with targeted keywords to establish relevancy and improve crawlability. Avoid over-optimization. 

Leverage LSI Keywords: Incorporate latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords and synonyms related to your focus keywords to diversify content. 

Format for Scannability: Break up content using headings and lists. Include tables or infographics when helpful. Enable easy skimming for readers. 

Focusing on essential on-page optimization factors like these improves the user experience while simultaneously enhancing domain authority and search rankings. It establishes your site as a trusted authority on the topics you optimize pages for. 

Increase Referring Domains 

One of the most effective ways to increase domain authority is to earn links from high-quality, authoritative websites. The more quality sites that link to your domain, the more trust and authority search engines will place in your site. Here are some tips for getting links and references from other reputable sites: 

Reach out to relevant influencers and industry experts: Identify leaders in your field who have an established audience. Contact them to see if they would be interested in featuring your content, linking to your site in a blog post, or collaborating on a project. Offer to provide them with unique data, insights or assets that would be helpful for their audience. 

Pitch guest posts to industry publications: Craft pitches focused on providing value for their readers. Publications are more likely to publish and link back to posts that provide actionable tips, interesting data points, and insights versus a sales pitch. 

Develop relationships with complementary businesses: Find sites that serve the same audience but don’t directly compete with your products or services. Explore co-marketing opportunities where you can cross-link content, promote their brand, and build an ongoing relationship. 

Create and distribute quality assets: Develop resources like guides, templates, quizzes, and tools that sites in your industry will find useful. Reach out to webmasters and provide your high-value assets for them to share with their audience. 

Earn local citations and references: Claim and optimize local business listings on directories like Google My Business so your site profiles have a link back to your website. Also, cultivate references from real businesses on sites like Yelp.

Building natural links from high-authority sites signals to search engines that your site is trusted and established as a quality resource. Focus on providing value rather than spam outreach, and your domain authority will steadily improve over time. 

Improve Site Architecture 

A website’s architecture and internal link structure play a key role in improving domain authority. Make your site easy to navigate with logical and consistent menu layouts, site maps, and clearly labeled categories and tags. 

Focus on optimizing the internal linking structure between pages and posts on your site. Links should follow a natural hierarchy, with more important pages like the home, about, and contact pages having greater authority passed through incoming links. Cross-link related content, so users and search engines can easily navigate between pages and through different site sections. 

Avoid broken links and make sure all pages are accessible. Consolidate thin content or orphaned pages that have little authority passed to them. Ensure your site architecture facilitates natural clicking between pages, surfaces your most important content, and passes authority where you intend. A well-structured site enhances the user experience while also signaling authority to search engines. 

Content Marketing 

Content marketing is key for increasing domain authority and should be the foundation of your overall SEO and content strategy. The goal is to create high-quality, unique content that people want to link to naturally. 

When content provides value, insight, and useful information it can earn links organically without having to build unnatural link-building schemes. Focus on creating content better than the top results for your target keywords so that your content is link-worthy and can outrank the competition. 

Some best practices for content marketing that help increase domain authority: 

Research the topics and keywords your audience cares about and create highly useful, in-depth content around those subjects. Aim for long-form, pillar content over 2,000 words. 

Focus on informational, non-promotional content that provides value. Blog posts, guides, ebooks, and video tutorials are great formats. 

Promote your content through social media, email newsletters, influencer partnerships, and guest posting opportunities. 

Build internal links between related content to encourage visitors to read more of your content.

Update old content by adding new info, data, studies, etc. to make it more useful and relevant over time. Monitor your top-ranking content and double down by creating more content around those same topics. Avoid duplicate content by ensuring all of your content is unique. 

In summary, dedicate time and resources to content marketing by consistently publishing amazing, useful content. This will help increase domain authority in an organic, sustainable way. 

Improve User Experience 

A positive user experience is critical for increasing domain authority. Google wants to see fast, mobile-friendly websites that are easy for users to navigate. Here are some tips for improving user experience: 

Optimize Site Speed 

Use a content delivery network (CDN) to serve assets more quickly. 

Enable compression, caching, and minification to reduce page weight. 

Defer non-essential Javascript. 

Optimize images and media files. 

Regularly test site speed and aim for under 3 seconds of load time. 

Optimize for Mobile 

Design with a mobile-first approach using a responsive layout. 

Ensure pages are legible and tap targets are appropriately sized for mobile screens. Check that site elements don’t overlap or require horizontal scrolling on mobile. 

Use accelerated mobile pages (AMP) where appropriate. 

Update Web Design 

Use a modern, minimalist web design that focuses on usability. 

Make sure font sizes, colors, and spacing make content easy to read.

Include clear calls-to-action and provide intuitive navigation menus. 

Personalize the design for your brand while maintaining usability as the priority. Test the site on multiple devices to identify any usability issues. 

By making the user experience fast, seamless, and intuitive across devices, you will improve engagement metrics and authority signals for search engines. 

Social Media Presence 

Having an active and engaged social media presence is a great way to increase your domain authority. Focus on building a community of followers on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and more. Make sure to consistently post high-quality content that your audience will enjoy and want to share. 

Create social media profiles and keep them updated. Complete your profiles fully with descriptions, images, contact info, etc. 

Post regularly, not just links to your content but also fun images, thoughts, questions, polls, videos, etc. Engage your followers in two-way conversations. 

Share content from others in your niche, this can help grow your audience. Comment and interact with others too. 

Run social contests and giveaways to increase followers and engagement. 

Use relevant hashtags to tap into larger conversations. 

Include social sharing buttons on your site to encourage visitors to share your content. Promote your social profiles on your site and link to them from your emails and other marketing. Analyze your posts to see what content resonates best with your followers. Do more of that! Consider social media advertising to reach more potential followers. 

Be responsive and helpful when followers engage or ask questions. 

Build relationships with influencers in your industry that may share your content.

The key is not just to broadcast content but to engage your followers. Social media is about relationships. The more active and loyal followers you have, the more shares your content will get, which will increase domain authority. 

Optimize For Voice Search 

Voice search is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to find information online. By optimizing your website for voice search, you can increase your brand’s visibility and make it easier for people to discover your content through voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and others. 

Here are some tips for optimizing for voice search: 

Use natural language and conversational phrases – Imagine how people would ask for your content by voice and then use similar natural phrasing in your content and meta descriptions. For example, “how to bake cookies from scratch” instead of “cookie baking instructions.” 

Answer questions – Use your content to directly answer the questions people are asking rather than only focusing on keywords. Voice searchers are looking for specific answers. 

Optimize for long-tail keywords – Longer, conversational queries will perform better for voice search than short keywords. Prioritize optimizing for longer phrases. 

Add structured data – Use schema markup so voice assistants can better understand your content. Some key schema types include FAQ, HowTo, and Recipe. 

Build a featured snippets strategy – Optimizing to rank for Google’s featured snippets can help your brand answer common voice search questions directly in the search results. 

Leverage alternate voice search entry points – Get your brand on smart home devices, car dashboards, and voice apps to make your content discoverable across the voice assistant ecosystem. 

By focusing on optimizing your content for natural voice queries, you can increase your discoverability and gain visibility through the fast-growing voice search channel. 

Monitor and Maintain 

Once you’ve implemented strategies to increase your domain authority, it’s important to monitor your progress and continue optimizing over time. Here are some tips: 

Use a tool like Moz or Ahrefs to track your domain authority score monthly. Look for consistent, gradual growth over several months. Don’t obsess over small fluctuations.

Review your site’s Google Search Console data regularly for any major changes in impressions, clicks, and rankings. Try to determine if changes correlate with efforts to improve domain authority. 

Continue creating high-quality, optimized content regularly. The more content you have, the more chances for links and engagement. 

Promote new content through social media, outreach, guest posting, etc. Link-building should be an ongoing effort. 

Watch for algorithm updates and Google’s assessments of your site health. Make adjustments as needed. 

Refine on-page elements like title tags, headers, page speed, etc. Optimization is never fully finished. Prune low-quality, irrelevant pages that may be hurting your site. Keep your best content and cut the rest. Diversify link-building efforts across different anchor texts, types of sites, etc. Don’t over-optimize. 

Consider an age filter on your links, allowing only recent ones to pass value. This prevents reliance on old links. 

Keep providing value to users through helpful content and site improvements. Focus on merit, not just manipulative tricks. 

With consistent, ethical effort, your domain authority should steadily rise over months and years. Monitor closely, learn from data, and keep improving.