If like me you are immersed in the world of SEO then the term “website authority” or “domain authority” is a term frequently bandied about. Some years ago we would judge the authoritativeness (if there’s such a word) of a website by the Google Page Rank – a value from 0 – 10 which is Google’s numeric rating of how important it considers a website. This was one of the many ranking factors that Google uses to determine rank position in the search listings.
Google stopped making the Page Rank value visible to the public back in 2016, but hadn’t regularly updated it for a long while before then so I was of little use to website owners or SEO professionals. But it’s likely still calculated and likely still a ranking factor because it is a measure of the quality of inbound links to a website and we all know they are still ranking factors.
But never fear, a similar mechanism to that which Google used to determine page rank lives on in the likes of Moz’s Domain Authority (DA), Majestic’s Citation Flow/Trust Flow (CF/TF) and SEO Power Suite’s InLink Rank. These all use some combination of quality and quantity of backlinks to calculate a number between 0 and 100 on a logarithmic scale which is a broad measure of a website’s authority.
So now you have an idea of what domain authority is, why do you need to monitor and improve it?
The Importance of Domain Authority
Domain Authority is an indication of the authority, power and trustworthiness of a site in the eyes of the search engines. Therefore, and good DA will help your site to rank higher for your chosen search terms, assuming everything else is well-optimised. It is, in simple terms, a quality measure of the link profile of your site.
Increasing Domain Authority
Because Domain Authority is a measure of how good your link profile is, then it’s fairly obvious that a better link profile will help to improve your DA. Note though, that DA (or CF/TF and Inlink Rank) is calculated on a logarithmic scale so it can be fairly easy to grow your DA from 1 to 25 but much harder to get to 50 and above.
Here are 3 ways you can give your domain authority a boost:
On-site SEO techniques are one of the few areas where the website owner has some control over their overall ranking positions and internal links are a factor in determining domain authority. Whilst good on-site SEO will never be enough to rank well it is still an important factor that should never be ignored. Moreover a site should be reviewed periodically to check it is still well-optimised (I like to do it 6 monthly for my own website and my client sites).
Good internal linking will provide a better user experience for your visitors and keep them on your site for longer. The post-click experience gained importance with the introduction of Google’s machine learning RankBrain algorithm in 2015 so it’s no longer enough just to achieve high rankings and not improve the experience once a user has clicked. Indeed since the advent of RankBrain a website will not hold on to it’s high rankings for long if the post-click user experience is poor.
Building good internal links can be automated to some extent (for those with WordPress sites there are various plugin choices) but be careful to configure any automation sensibly to avoid excessive or confusing internal linking. And make sure that the linking is natural and does not over-use the same anchor text but mixes synonyms and related words and phrases to your target search terms.
Regular Unique Content
Everyone knows you need good content and lots of it to rank well – if you are new to content generation set a schedule for blog posts to get started and post regularly (weekly if you can – more is even better). Once you are in the habit of adding text content you can move on to images, video and audio.
Regular unique content keeps your site fresh and new every time Google comes along to index it but also gives other people a reason to link naturally to your site. Try and aim for “evergreen” content that is not date or event specific so that visitors will find it useful in years to come.
Create a mixture of short (say 500 words) general posts to keep the site fresh and also longer (3,000+ words) “power pages” that are more likely to accumulte incoming links naturally.
Seek out high-quality links
So you’ve created you link-worthy content but it’s unlikely anyone will link to it unless you get out there and promote it. So you need an outreach plan too as part of a link-building strategy – research likely prospects and contact them all to see if they will link to your content. It might be tempting to send out a MailChimp or MailerLite mass mailing to everyone on your outreach list but personal emails generally have a much higher success rate.
Domain Authority is a great measure of how you compare with your competitors – you may never reach the giddy heights of DA 90+ but, providing your competitors are all DA 30 – 40 and so are you, then you can perfectly well compete with them in your sector.