What Is Domain Authority?
The domain authority (DA) of a website is a score between 0 and 100 that tries to predict how well a website will rank on search engines. The higher your domain authority is, the greater your chances of achieving higher rankings in search engine result pages (SERPS) and getting more organic traffic.
The Domain Authority metric was initially developed by Moz, but other companies have created similar metrics that rank domains based on several factors and give them a rating from 0 to 100.
The idea of ranking domains based on their authority emerged from PageRank, introduced by Larry Page (one of Google’s Founders). It was used as a way to measure the importance of web pages and websites.
How to Increase Domain Authority
Follow these practical steps to improve your domain authority.
- Get Links From High-Authority Websites
- Improve Your On-Page SEO
- Fix Technical SEO Issues
- Optimize User Experience On Mobile
- Improve Your Site Speed
- Increase Your Social Signals
- Monitor Your Progress
1. Get Links From High-Authority Websites
The most effective way to increase your domain authority is to get backlinks from websites with a higher domain authority score. For example, getting a link from Washington Post (DA:97), will positively impact your DA score.
DA is calculated by taking into account the number and type of backlinks pointing to your website. Websites with a strong link profile will have a higher DA score than websites with a not-so-good link profile.
What is a strong link profile?
A website is said to have a strong link profile when:
- It has incoming links (backlinks) from high-authority websites
- Incoming links are from related websites
- It doesn’t have bad links (low-quality links)
- It has links from a number of unique domains
The process of improving your link profile is part of Off-Page SEO. Off-page SEO is mainly related to techniques you can use to acquire good links that will eventually improve your rankings and DA score.
Follow these link-building tips:
Publish link-worthy content – this is a content marketing process of publishing content on your website to attract links from other websites. This is known as natural link building, and the theory is that other webmasters will find your content useful and link to it from their websites.
For this to work, it is necessary to have content that includes case studies, statistics, and original research. This kind of content is more likely to be considered useful by other webmasters and work as a link magnet.
Guest posting – although guest posting is not as popular as it used to be, it is still a way to build more links to your website. For guest posting links to have some value, they should be coming from websites with a strong content base on their own and high-domain authority.
Competitor link building – getting links is as hard for you as it is for your competitors. A technique to make this process easier is to use a backlink analysis tool to find websites linking to your competitors and contact them to secure a link to your website.
Paid advertising – another way to get some links is to promote your posts using paid ads (i.e., Facebook Ads) to the people more likely to link to your content. For example, if you publish a case study on home automation, you can create campaigns to target bloggers and journalists in the same niche.
Clean your link profile – To maintain a strong link profile that can positively influence your domain authority score, you also need to remove bad links. This process involves using a tool like Moz Explorer or Semrush to discover the toxic links. You can then ask the website owners to remove the link or add the “nofollow tag” to devalue it.
A recommended way to start with link building is to review the “Links” report in Google Search Console to find out who links to your website and to which pages. You can then adjust your content marketing strategy to create the type of content that can get help you build more links.
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2. Improve Your On-Page SEO
The next step in improving your domain authority is to work on your on-page SEO. On-page SEO has to do with optimizing your page and content.
The most important on-page SEO factors are:
- Optimizing your page titles and meta descriptions
- Make proper use of Headings (H1 and H2) within your content
- Review your URL structure and create SEO-optimized permalinks.
- SEO Optimizing your images, videos, and other media elements
- Using keywords naturally in your content (no keyword stuffing)
- Formatting your content in such a way as to have more chances of ranking in Google’s featured snippets.
A powerful SEO technique that can influence your domain authority, related to on-page SEO, is your internal link structure. With internal linking, you can help users and crawlers discover your content easily.
Ensure that all pages of your site have at least one internal link pointing to them and that all pages are reachable from the homepage in less than 3 clicks.
3. Fix Technical SEO Issues
Technical SEO is related to low-level SEO tasks and usually, once you get your technical SEO correct from the beginning, you don’t have to deal with it again.
On the other hand, if the technical SEO aspect of your website is not correct, then this can have a huge impact on your domain authority and rankings.
The critical SEO settings you need to check include:
- Register your website with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools.
- Create and optimize your XML sitemap and submit it to Google.
- Check your robots.txt settings and use the URL inspection tool to ensure that Google and other search engine spiders can crawl your website without problems.
- Add structured data (schema) information to help search engines understand the context of your content.
- Make sure that you have a properly defined breadcrumb menu on all pages.
- Make proper use of hreflang (in case you have a multilingual website).
- Find and fix any broken links.
- Ensure that your website passes the core web vitals.
4. Optimize User Experience On Mobile
With the introduction of mobile-first indexing, Google considers the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking purposes. This means you need to give special attention to your mobile SEO and user experience on mobile.
In practice, this means:
- Having the same content on the desktop and mobile versions of your website. Adopting a responsive website design is the best way to achieve this.
- Removing any popups or other elements that provide a bad user experience on mobile devices.
- Formatting your content and navigation to fit on mobile screens.
Failure to adhere to mobile best practices will have a negative impact on your overall domain authority score and Google rankings.
5. Improve Your Site Speed
One of the known ‘signals’ of the Google ranking algorithm is page speed. Websites that load faster, have an additional advantage over slower websites.
Improving your page speed will not only improve your rankings and domain authority but it will make the user experience better and this translates to more sales, leads, and signups.
It’s not always easy to tackle the page speed issue. There are a lot of technical elements involved and if you are not a developer or someone with technical knowledge, it can be very difficult.
Nevertheless, if you cannot afford to hire a developer to increase the loading speed of your website, you can check the following:
- Remove unnecessary plugins
- Upgrade WordPress (and plugins) to their latest versions
- Contact your hosting provider and ask them to give you a report on your server’s performance. If necessary, upgrade to a more powerful server.
- Use a caching plugin (such as wp-rocket)
- Optimize the file size of images
- Use a streaming service (like YouTube) for videos
- Use a CDN (content delivery network) in case you have big CSS files and many images
6. Increase Your Social Signals
Although, officially, Google has often stated that social signals are not part of the Google Ranking algorithm, a clear correlation exists between pages that rank high on Google and social signals.
Pages that are popular on Google tend to have many likes, shares, and tweets.
For the purpose of increasing your domain authority what you need to do is:
- To work on your Facebook business page and try to increase your followers.
- Make sure you have an active social media presence on some of the social networks so that the content you share will get some traction (likes, tweets, etc).
- Ensure you have a social media button on your pages to make it easy for readers to share your content.
- Check that your content looks good when shared using the social sharing buttons.
7. Monitor Your Progress
As mentioned in the introduction of this post, increasing your domain authority is not something that can be done overnight.
It will take time for crawlers to read and evaluate your website after making any of the above changes, so you must monitor your DA score and rankings and be patient.
Working systematically to improve your Google rankings will also positively affect your domain authority score.
How Is The Domain Authority Calculated?
According to Moz, they calculate Domain Authority by taking into account several signals (40 in total), including:
- The number of incoming links pointing to your website.
- The quality and relevancy of incoming links
- The quality of your website’s content
- Social Signals (the popularity of your domain and contain in social media networks)
- Your website’s SEO performance, in general
Other tools (Ahrefs, Semrush) use a similar method of calculating DA.
Page Authority (PA) is similar to DA, but instead of considering domain-wide metrics, it uses signals specific to a particular page. The given score is a prediction that indicates the strength of a page and how well it can rank on search engines.
A website with many high-authority pages will also have a higher DA (domain authority) score.
What you should know about domain authority score is the following:
- Google’s ranking algorithm considers hundreds of factors (nobody knows exactly the number, but some predictions indicate that there are more than 200), while Domain Authority takes into account a few factors only.
- It’s not easy to change your DA score. It’s not something you can do on your website today and see the increase in domain authority immediately.
- DA is based on a logarithmic scale. This means that it’s easier to improve your DA score from 20 to 30, but it’s much harder to go from 70 to 80. As you go higher on the scale, it becomes more difficult.
- DA changes frequently, so it’s not a metric to evaluate your SEO performance over time but a website metric for domain comparison purposes.
- It’s normal for a domain to have a low domain authority but rank high in Google.
How To Find Out Your Domain Authority Score?
Don’t be too obsessed about your domain authority score. It’s just a number that shows how strong your domain is compared to others.
A low DA score does not mean that your website will not perform well on Google. A high DA score means that you are on the right path, but it does not guarantee that you will get better rankings or traffic. It is just a prediction.