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What is Domain Authority? Why It’s Important and How It Works

A graphic saying "What Is Domain Authority? Why It's Important and What Works."

Domain authority is a key element of an effective SEO strategy and overall digital marketing plan. If you already know what it is, you may be wondering, “How do I improve my domain authority?” 

Let’s dive into what website authority is and some tips for ticking up your score.

Key Takeaways

  • Domain authority refers to the perceived trustworthiness and authority of a website in the context of its industry or niche.
  • A strong domain authority is one of the major factors affecting search engine results.
  • You can check your DA score using various free online tools.
  • Domain authority scores range from 1 to 100, but scores should be compared to other websites in the industry, not used as an absolute metric.
  • You can improve website authority by adding more high-quality backlinks, removing toxic links, creating useful content, adding internal links, optimizing pages for SEO, and focusing on social signals to heighten your brand visibility.
  • Keep in mind that building domain authority requires a strategic approach that may take time.

What is Domain Authority?

What is website authority (better known as domain authority)? It refers to the credibility or authority of a website within the context of an industry or subject area. 

Moz created the Domain Authority metric to help businesses figure out where they may rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). Its tool analyzes a page’s possible ranking via several channels, “including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can compare websites or track the ‘ranking strength’ of a website over time.”

It also seems to be one of those mysterious Google ranking factors that affect how high a page ranks on search engine results pages (SERPS).

What builds website authority? Some brands are authoritative without even seeming to try. This is because the keywords that naturally exist on their websites will carry some weight.

For example, movie site IMDB has a high DA because relevant keywords are naturally integrated throughout the site. Secondary related keywords are also prevalent.

When you have a better idea about which terms communicate authority for your brand, you’re able to optimize your site better.

But it’s not just keywords—domain authority also depends on how many relevant backlinks—links to your website from other credible and reputable sites—your site has. The better your backlinks are, the better your chances are at increasing in DA.

Domain authority (DA) refers to how many relevant backlinks—links to your website from other credible and reputable sites—your site has. The relevance of those backlinks also contributes to your score.

Domain authority is determined on a logarithmic scale. This means solo metrics won’t always increase or decrease the score to the same degree. The more important a metric is, the greater effect it’s likely to have.

Knowing what a good domain authority is can help guide your backlinking and keyword strategies.

Why Should I Care About Domain Authority?

It’s important to understand the significance of website authority to your brand and in the context of your marketing efforts. 

What is website authority’s relationship to SERPs? A study by Ahrefs found a relationship between DA and SERP ranking. Specifically, it suggested that DA is effective at assessing how well a website will attract organic traffic from Google.

However, it’s unclear whether DA is a cause of more traffic or simply correlated with it.

One thing I can say for certain: high domain authority can translate to greater trustworthiness and credibility. People are more likely to trust and click on websites they perceive as reliable and authoritative. So high DA is a good goal to have.

High DA can also help attract high-quality backlinks, further building brand authority and supporting a strong SEO strategy.

Comparing your website authority with your competitors can help you see where yours stands in your industry as well as point to opportunities or gaps where you can improve your DA.

For example, domain authority can help drive and refine your content strategy. Targeting topics and keywords in your industry and niche can help you create relevant and high-quality content, drawing more visitors to your site.

Over time, all of these factors can enhance your brand profile and credibility, helping your website stand out.

If you want to grow your SEO rankings, consider ramping up your domain authority strategy. But note that it can take a while to develop authority, so don’t worry if you don’t see results right away.

What is a Good Domain Authority Score?

When you have a greater domain authority score, it’s more likely you’ll see increases in web traffic and SERP rankings.

But what is a good domain authority score? 

Scores range from one to 100, with higher being better.

When you debut a new website, its domain authority is one. Moz points out sites with many external links are usually higher when it comes to DA, while small business sites and those with fewer inbound links generally have a lower DA score.

Your score doesn’t have to be at the very top of that range for it to be good. In general, a score over 40 is acceptable, while one above 60 is quite good.  

But a more useful gauge for your site is to measure it against other comparable or similar sites in your industry or field. DAs must be considered within a relative context.

Keep in mind that your DA can fluctuate over time and, with so many moving parts, identifying why it changed can be challenging. But don’t let that discourage you.

Moz highlights several factors that can influence your score.

One could simply be that your link profile growth hasn’t been seen by their index yet.

Another occurs when higher-authority sites experience massive growth in link numbers, which may skew the scaling process. This kind of fluctuation may more significantly impact domain authorities on the lower end.

You may also have earned links from sites that don’t contribute to ranking on Google. If Moz crawls a different amount of link domains than it did the last time it went through your site, results may be affected.

How Can I Improve My Domain Authority Score?

Raising your DA score is a long-term process, but there are several ways to go about it.

First, conduct a link audit. This process involves making sure that links to your website are valid and don’t include black-hat SEO tactics. Try Ubersuggest to get insight into your domain score, the current number of backlinks, and referring domains.

Once you’ve done that, you may still be wondering, “How do I increase my domain authority?” Follow these steps:

  1. Work on building links. Backlinks, which are links from other websites to yours, affect SEO rankings—though backlinks aren’t all created equal. Try my free backlink tool, Backlinks, to get started. Among other things, it’ll show you which sites are linking to your competitors rather than to you.
  2. Remove toxic backlinks. Backlinks coming from spammy or questionable sites, links resulting from paid schemes, and links from over-optimized keyword anchor text can all drive your DA down.
  3. Focus on creating quality content. Make sure your content is relevant and useful to your target market and uses authoritative sources to build your credibility.
  4. Optimize on-page SEO. Make sure elements like meta titles and descriptions, the user experience, and technical SEO incorporate current best practices.
  5. Work on growing social signals. Increasing the number of likes, shares, and comments on your social media channels can grow traffic to your site and heighten your brand visibility. It can also lead to more backlink opportunities.

Doing all of these things consistently will help you improve your domain authority over time.

How Do You Check Your Domain Authority?

There are several tools out there for checking your website authority. How do you know which one is right for you?

SEO Review Tools has a basic domain authority checker. It looks at authority (based on backlink quantity and quality) and content.

Other metrics measured by this tool include website age, number of external links, and social media score. Your social media score relates to how active your social profiles are and how many shares your content receives.

SEO Review Tools also measures page authority.  This metric is like DA, except it looks at a specific page rather than entire sites. Like the formula for website authority, page authority is also calculated on a one to 100 logarithmic scale.  

If you want to check several sites at once, Linkgraph’s Free Bulk DA Checker may be the perfect option. This tool allows you to check DA and spam metrics for up to 10 URLs at a time.

If you want to check even more domains, PREPOSTSEO’s DA PA Checker lets you check hundreds at once. 

Moz has a comprehensive free domain SEO analysis tool. It showcases top pages by links, discovered and lost links, top linking domains, and keywords by estimated clicks. Of course, you can also find some of this information using Ubersuggest as well.

For example, when you search for the DA of neilpatel.com on Moz, it’s revealed it is 90, and the page authority score is 70. There are also over 84,000 keywords for which the site ranks. 

Neilpatel.com's doman authority score.

The tool then shows your top competitors as well as opportunities for increasing traffic with keywords. You can then take the competing domains and plug them into a bulk checker like the ones noted above.

How Do You Integrate Your Domain Authority into Your SEO Strategy?

Once you’ve determined your domain authority score and the factors influencing it, what should you do next?

Start with backlinks. You want to give other sites a reason to link to yours.

If you specialize in something unique or offer a new option for a product or service, that could be a great start. Work to provide better information on your niche than your competitors do with high-quality content. 

You could also collaborate with small businesses with whom you could forge mutually beneficial partnerships.

Reach out to companies with whom you already have relationships, too. See if there are ways you can support each other’s online presence. Swapping testimonials is just one of the many tactics you could employ to build more website authority.

You should also explore your existing content for opportunities to add links. For example, if you mention a coffee shop, link to their website. If they’re monitoring their web traffic, they’ll see you linked to them and may feel inclined to return the favor.

Of course, you want to make sure all the backlinks you receive are of high quality. It’s better to have a few quality backlinks than a ton of ineffective ones.    

Guest posting on other sites may also help get your name and site out there. Do some research on which sites welcome guest posts. You may also want to leverage your existing business relationships and guest post on each others’ sites.

When assessing which blogs to guest for, check if their links are “follow” or “nofollow.” This may impact how much value the link has. But remember: all links will help users get to your website, so also think of links as a branding and referral traffic tool as well.

You should also look at their DA and PA for target pages, how long their posts are, and who their audience is. If their goals aren’t similar to yours, guest posting may not be worth the time.

This aspect of growing your website authority overlaps with your content marketing strategy. Most companies now have blogs, articles, and reports on their websites—so, if you don’t have one already, consider creating or adding to a page that offers useful resources.

The more content you create regularly, the more likely you are to rank.

FAQs

What is domain authority?

Domain authority is a metric created by Moz to determine how reputable and authoritative a domain is. It takes a lot of factors into account, including backlinks, traffic, and more.

Can you explain how to increase my domain authority?

More backlinks and better traffic can help increase domain authority. It’s important to focus on being a great resource for users.

How do I check my domain authority?

Go to Moz’s domain authority checker tool to determine the number of your current domain authority.

What is a domain authority schedule for checking my website’s score?

Usually, once a month is a good cadence to check your domain authority.

Are backlinks important for increasing domain authority?

Yes, backlinks are an important part of any strategy to increase your website authority. Backlinks affect SEO rankings and can also indicate credibility when they are from authoritative and respected sources. Adding more quality backlinks can grow your domain authority, but getting the links and seeing the effect reflected in your DA score can take some time.

Can internal linking help improve domain authority?

Yes, internal linking can enhance website authority when executed strategically. It can increase page authority, which is an algorithm Google uses to assess a page’s importance. Internal links can also help visitors navigate through your site, enhancing the user experience—a Google ranking factor that can improve DQ. Finally, internal linking can help search engines understand how your website is organized and assists with crawling and indexing its pages. 

Conclusion

Domain authority may seem complicated at first. Many factors contribute to your ranking, and analyzing them all may seem daunting.

Nevertheless, once you get the hang of DA, it’s worth monitoring and optimizing for it.
Adding these tactics for increasing website authority to your SEO toolbox may allow you to have a more comprehensive understanding of your overall digital presence and website health.

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Neil Patel

source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/increase-domain-authority/