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WHAT IS DOMAIN AUTHORITY?

What is domain authority?

The following article will define domain authority and why it's important. You'll discover how to increase your domain authority using an organic approach that is natural and likely to yield the best results. At the end we'll invite you to download our domain authority checklist and we recommend printing it out and keeping it close to your work space. Increasing your domain authority takes time so you're going to have to be patient.

WHAT IS DOMAIN AUTHORITY?

Domain authority or DA is used to rank a website. Search engine optimization (SEO) companies will use DA to determine how a website ranks amongst its competitors.

The lowest DA value a website can have is 0 and the highest DA value a website can have is 100. Most websites have a DA value between 5 and 15. A domain authority above 30 is rare.

What is domain authority?

WHO CARES ABOUT DOMAIN AUTHORITY AND WHY SHOULD I?

That's a loaded question. SEO companies care about DA because it is a valuable metric by which to sell their services. Without DA it would be difficult to rank a website and make inferences with respect to its popularity and potential growth.

A DA that is between 0 and 30 demarks a website that could use improvement. It's possible the website is new and the DA has not had enough time to increase or there could be legitimate issues that must be addressed.

In the end, SEO companies use DA as hard proof their services are desperately required. A website with a low DA likely does need some work. If you have a DA above 15 and your website is less than a couple of years old you're doing well. Continue doing what you are doing. On the other hand, if your website is older than 2 years old and you have a DA less than 15 you may need to make some changes.

You should care about DA!

DOES DOMAIN AUTHORITY AFFECT MY SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS?

If you are wondering if your domain authority affects your organic search rankings with Google the simple answer is, “Kind of.”

Technically speaking Google does NOT use Domain Authority. In the past Google had its own metric called, Pagerank. There's a lot of controversy over pagerank and whether or not it is still in use. In the past Google published your pagerank but several years ago removed it from public use.

High performing websites with great organic results in search engines tend to have a high domain authority. We can't conclude a high domain authority equates to a high rank on search engines mathematically speaking but there is a high correlation between SEO success and high domain authority,

Therefore, it is safe to conclude the higher the DA the better performing the website will be.

DA and SEO

WHO USES DOMAIN AUTHORITY?

Two companies that predict and rank websites according to domain authority are Moz and SEMrush. These are companies that analyze websites on the internet via “crawlers” and “robots.” They look for On-Page SEO metrics and Off-Page SEO metrics to classify a website and rank it amongst its competitors.

There are a number of variables affecting On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. The biggest impact on DA is Off-Page SEO in the form of backlinks.

WHAT ARE BACKLINKS?

Backlinks are hyperlinks pointing at your web pages and content from other websites. The more backlinks you have the more authority your website may have. There are rules to backlinks though.

You want to develop links pointing at your website from other websites that have high domain authority. Many links from low DA websites will have a smaller impact on your domain authority. Something is better than nothing but you want links from across a range of low and high DA sites.

In addition, you don't want to add many backlinks all at once. Moz and SEMrush will consider your backlink profile over time. If all of your backlinks appear suddenly it may hurt your DA score because you may be artificially inflating your score. Some experts claim this could lower your ranking with Google too.

Who uses domain authority?

THE UNFORTUNATE RESULTS OF DOMAIN AUTHORITY

We've already mentioned DA can be used as a “catch-all” by SEO companies to unduly coerce website owners into their services. Domain authority isn't an exact science because it is calculated using proprietary algorithms that are unpublished and hidden behind intellectual property claims.

This ambiguity has created an environment that breeds confusion and bad actors.

The original concept of backlinks and Domain authority was to promote websites with good content. That's the goal. Show useful content that people want to see and find helpful. In the frenzy to compete with others most businesses outsource their content creation and backlink structure to 3rd party companies.

This outsourcing has led to pay-to-play schemes, and less than reputable actors.

SEO can be costly! I know of several companies in the SEO space that charge up to $6000 USD per month for domain authority improvements via on-page SEO, off-page SEO and backlinks. Furthermore, there are many more companies in the SEO market who will make big claims and not deliver.

SEO and DA Improvement Is Expensive

WHAT SHOULD A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER DO ON A LIMITED BUDGET?

If you are a small business owner I would do the following to build your domain authority and internet marketing strategy:

  • Create great content for your website. Always strive to provide actionable items in your content and when possible give the reader some kind of resource or downloadable content
  • Make sure your content is well linked internally. This means your blog posts flow to similar posts with links that are within the text of the article. Do not create links to other content that has no relationship to the content where the link originates. This is a process that you will never complete since your goal is to always be adding content to your website
  • Hunt down spelling errors. If you thought English teachers were picky you haven't seen anything yet. Robots and computers can recognize a period out of place and there are rumors this can affect your sites domain authority. Run everything through a spell checker
  • If you link to other websites make sure they are authoritative sites. Refrain from too many links pointing at low quality sites. When you write an article and you want a statement to have more credibility, link to another site with a high domain authority
  • Reach out to influencers on social media. Create partnerships or pay them for their endorsements. This is time consuming but will pay off far better than a paid link. The goal is to get actual people hearing about your products and services and visiting your website. Don't get trapped into the number of backlinks pointing at your website or even a high DA score. In the end, it's actual people purchasing your products and services that will sustain business growth!
  • Don't ignore social media but be weary of paying for it. Many customers will do a quick assessment of a business's social media presence. Social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are very expensive to advertise with and don't provide great results. Use social media properly. Make sure you remain consistent and relevant on social media. Use it to communicate new features, discounts and good testimonials. Social media will increase your traffic which will have a net positive impact on your domain's authority
  • Over time go back to your older content and see if it can be refreshed. Don't remove content since it could be generating traffic for you but consider adding a new updated paragraph with helpful information. Go back and see where you can provide a link to downloadable content you created. It could be something as simple as a checklist with your companies name and logo in the margins
  • Have a look at what your competitors are doing. If your competitors are listing their services on a directory do the same. If they are working with an influencer contact the influencer. They may have done all the hard work and paved the road for you. The inspiration for this article came from one of my competitors

Increasing your domain authority isn't easy and it will take time and money.

HOW TO CHECK YOUR DOMAIN AUTHORITY?

There are free and paid ways to check your domain authority. I recommend using the free approach. Moz has a free tool you can use a number of times within a period of time. Here is the Moz domain authority tool.

Moz Tool

Within the Moz tool you will also see Page Authority (PA). Page authority is similar to domain authority except it relates to the strength of a single page on your website whereas domain authority is a reflection of all your pages.

If you are a business that operates within several industries, like Bizstim, PA is a better metric for understanding how your website is performing.

For example, since we provide software to tutoring institutions, driving schools, day cares and health clinics it's impossible to provide a single page to promote each industry. Instead, we have industry specific pages to attract business owners from different industries.

We want high page authority for each of our industry pages over a high domain authority. We'll take a high DA but we need those industry pages to perform well also.

Nonetheless, DA and PA are meaningless of you are not adding customers and growing your business. Don't get too bogged down by the numbers since they are essentially meaningless without revenue growth.

Too much emphasis is placed on the internet. You can also build your business with calling and networking in person. Don't forget about those “traditional” approaches.

DOWNLOAD THE DOMAIN AUTHORITY CHECKLIST

If you find this information helpful consider downloading our checklist. Save it to your files, display it on your homepage, desktop or print it out and hang it on the wall.

I know what you are thinking.

You're wondering why we do not list backlinks in the checklist, right?

The omission of backlinks was intentional. We did list making great content, use social media and reach out to influencers.

Great content is worthy of backlinks. Social media exposes your content to a variety of users and influencers will expose you to a larger audience they have built trust and credibility with.

A combination of these three components will lead to natural backlink growth. Search engines and other crawlers will identify your "organic" link structure and likely rank your content higher than your competitors.

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