Domain authority matters.
Higher domain authority will result in better rankings for all your pages.
In this post, I’ll cover how to increase your domain authority and discuss exactly what it is.
What We’ll Cover:
- What domain authority (DA) is
- How it’s calculated
- What’s a good domain authority?
- How to find your DA
- How to improve your DA:
- Domain authority FAQs
What is Domain Authority, Anyway?
Domain authority (DA) is a term created by Moz to predict how well a site will rank.
In Moz’s own words:
“Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”
So the higher your DA score, the higher your site is likely to rank. On the flip side, a low DA score will likely result in a low ranking in the SERPs, meaning less eyes on your site, less traffic, and fewer conversions.
With that in mind, you can begin to see that website authority is a pretty big factor when it comes to your overall SEO results.
How is Domain Authority Calculated?
Truth is, nailing down the specifics of DA scores is kind of like trying to figure out Google’s algorithm. Meaning that we’re only privy to the information Moz wants us to know.
Apparently, there are over 40 factors that go into the overall DA calculation. Unfortunately, we have access to very few of them.
But we’ll go with what we’ve got.
We know for sure that DA is calculated using these factors:
- Link profile
- MozRank (Moz’s version of Google’s PageRank)
- MozTrust (measures the “trustworthiness” of a linking domain)
As of 2019, Google has released a few more hints about their domain authority ranking factors. To rank on Google as an authoritative site, you should look at the following:
- External Link Anchor Text
- Strength of External Links
- On-Page SEO/Keywords
- Social Search
- Site Traffic
- Site Bounce-Rate
- And many more unknown factors
The bad news is this: with so many factors we aren’t aware of (and just so many factors in general), it can be hard to pin down the exact cause of a low DA. That means that it can be difficult to increase domain authority fast.
But the good news is that we can discern a few things from the information given.
Clearly, your link profile is a big deal. Not only does Moz mention links specifically, but both tools (MozRank and MozTrust) are related to linking and link authority.
What’s a Good Domain Authority?
If only learning how to improve domain authority were that straightforward.
“Good” domain authority will depend on a lot of factors – how big your website is, how many links point to it, how long it’s been active, etc.
Bigger, better-established websites will naturally have a higher website authority, while those smaller or brand new websites will swing towards the lower end of the spectrum.
That being the case, if you’re a pretty new website with a DA of only 10, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily doing anything wrong.
Like most things SEO-related, the average DA score varies by industry. Media and publishing claim the highest with 86, while wellness is at the bottom with 58.
Also of note is that DA works on a logarithmic scale. That means the higher your DA score gets, the harder it will be to improve it.
How Do I Find My Domain Authority?
Now you’re probably wondering, “How do I check my domain authority?”
Finding your specific DA is easy with the aid of the right tools.
The best place to start is Moz itself. You can find your DA using its Link Explorer, the SERP Analysis section of Keyword Explorer, or through MozBar.
For most, MozBar is the easiest. The free Chrome extension will return the domain authority of any site you enter, as well as of the Page Authority of the selected URL.
Users will also find information on external followed links, linking root domains, MozRank and MozTrust.
How to Improve Domain Authority
Though we don’t know all the factors that go into Moz’s algorithm, we do know that it seems to share a few factors in common with Google.
Improve On-Page SEO for Higher Domain Authority
Domain Authority differs from Page Authority in that DA measures the predictive ranking of an entire domain, while Page Authority focuses on individual pages.
That said, it makes sense that by working to improve and optimize individual pages for Page Authority, it would also have a positive effect on the overall strength of the website as a whole..
Specifically, that means considering things like:
- Page titles – are they relevant to your audience?
- H1 and H2 tags – Do they contain the target keyword of the page?
- Images and Videos – are the frequent, and are they optimized?
- Image alt tags and descriptions – do they contain the target keyword? Do they accurately explain the image?
- Links – do you link to other relevant content in your website?
It also means taking a good, long look at the quality of your content.
If you’re thinking about how to increase page authority, you need to reevaluate what you’re putting on the pages.
It’s one of the major ranking factors when it comes to Google, and one of the simplest ways to quickly boost your position, credibility, and domain authority.
Still unsure about how to increase page authority?
First, focus on long-form content. This means anything over 1,500 words (the more, the better) tends to have a big advantage when it comes to the SERPs.
Google loves longform, and studies have shown that it ranks significantly higher than its shorter content.
It also has the benefit of attracting more backlinks overall. Longer, more in-depth content appears much more authoritative, which in turn attracts more links from quality sources.
Conduct a Link Audit to Improve Domain Authority
No surprise here: a site’s overall link authority has an extremely strong correlation to higher rankings.
It’s mentioned in almost every factor we know for sure has an effect on DA, and it’s a well understood aspect of healthy SEO rankings.
But to understand how to improve domain authority, you have to know where you are. That’s where a link audit comes in.
The thing about backlinks is that a lot of people don’t realize how much strategy goes into obtaining them. Without a proper backlink strategy, it’s all too easy to fall into bad link habits.
You may have heard this referred to as link schemes, a big part of black-hat SEO tactics. As the name implies, these are bad habits that may very well result in link penalties and poor domain authority.
According to Google, link schemes can include any of the following:
- Buying or selling links
- Excessive link exchanges
- Using automated services to create links
- Large scale marketing or guest-posting with keyword-rich anchor text titles
If you want to know how to increase DA using backlinks, here’s what you can do.
An important thing to focus on to increase domain authority fast is link diversity.
Having twelve links from the same domain won’t mean as much to Google as having twelve links from twelve different domains.
So ideally, you want to collect links from as many different domains as possible. In Google’s eyes, this means your site is more authoritative and trustworthy. It will help your domain authority immensely.
Luckily, finding your own link profile is easy with the help of Google Search Console.
Once you’ve logged into your account, locate and click the “Search Traffic” section in the left-hand sidebar, and click “Links to Your Site.”
This will give you a brief rundown of:
- Your total number of backlinks
- Who links the most
- Most linked pages
While this is a great starting place, your next step is to analyze all of those links to get a diagnosis on the overall health of your link profile.
To do this, I like to use SEMRush’s Backlink Audit Tool.
If you already have an account, sign in and navigate to your dashboard. If you don’t have an account, you can easily sign up for a free trial.
Get started by creating a New Project, which is located in the “Projects” section of the left-hand menu.
Give your new project a title, and on the next screen find the Backlink Audit feature.
Next, define your campaign scope, click Start, and wait for SEMRush to work its magic.
This will take a few minutes, and when it’s done will return a report that lists the links it finds most hazardous to the health of your site’s domain authority.
Once you have this information on hand, it’s time to get work.
Evaluate each of the links deemed unhealthy and make a plan for removing them (this usually requires you to contact the site owner of the undesirable link). If that doesn’t work, you can disavow the link – but proceed with caution.
For more information on getting rid of bad links, check out my full guide.
Get More High-Quality Links to Improve Domain Authority
Whether your link audit reveals a few holes in your profile or not, your focus should always be on gaining as many high-quality links as possible.
And the easiest way to get more links? Create better content.
Even Google agrees:
“The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”
When you’re trying to figure out how to build domain authority by getting higher-quality links, you should consider several other key elements.
We already went over the importance of long-form content. Beyond that, to make a truly linkable piece of content you need to tackle a subject in its entirety.
Want to learn how to increase DA?
Do your research – and include your findings. Cover every angle and offer unique insight. Chances are, there’s someone in your niche writing about the same thing, so make sure your take is unique enough to stand out. This is your point-of-view, so make sure you present it correctly.
When in doubt, make sure your content does at least one of the following:
- Offers expert opinions
- Includes original research or data
- Collaborates with bigger names or experts in your industry
- Includes unique images, videos or infographics
Want some examples of how to build domain authority?
Content like complete guides, white papers, industry interviews, etc. are all great ways to capitalize on these kinds of content and improve domain authority.
Once you’ve created that killer, linkable content – promote the heck out of it.
Domain Authority FAQs
1. What is dwell-time?
Dwell-time is basically how much time a user spent on your site.
Essentially, it’s an on-page SEO metric that measures the visitor’s engagement, bounce rate, and click-through rate. The longer the dwell-time, the higher your domain authority will eventually be.
You can improve your website’s dwell-time by doing the following:
- Creating long-form blog posts
- Displaying related posts under every blog post
- Interlink regularly
- Have external links open in a new tab
- How can I get more backlinks
2. How can I get more backlinks?
There are three important backlink tactics that you should consider incorporating into your strategy for gaining a higher domain authority.
- Guest Blogging – Writing for other popular blogs.
- Infographics – Interesting visual content that grabs your audience’s attention.
- Giveaways – Contests, production promotions, and coupon codes specifically created for your target audience.
3. Can Google penalties hurt my domain authority?
Yes. When it comes to having a high domain authority, Google penalties are very important. There are two types of Google penalties.
- Algorithmic penalty – This happens automatically when Google makes changes to its algorithm.
- Manual review penalty – Trigger by an Algorithmic penalty, this one requires action.
You can check your site for any penalties that could be hurting your domain authority by using the following resources:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Moz Rank Tracker
- Search Metrics
Wrapping Up Domain Authority
Simply put: domain authority is complicated.
While we don’t know everything we’d like to know about it, we know one thing for sure: a healthy link profile is a sure way to improve your DA score.
Just remember, when it comes to domain authority, patience pays off. Older sites have an obvious advantage here. They’ve been around longer, have more content, and therefore more opportunity for links.
And that’s okay. Backlinks aren’t built in a day. It’s a long-term strategy that when done correctly, produces long-term results.
Now that you have more information on how to increase domain authority, you can get started on the right foot.