Domain Authority has become big business in a digital landscape that’s governed by Google. You could have the best, most functional website in the world, but it means nothing if search engine crawlers think otherwise. So how do you increase your authority online?
The internet is a big place. With over one billion websites active today, you face a lot of competition to rank on Google’s first page of results, even if people are running queries that match the keywords you’ve used on your pages.
To outrank your competitors, you’ll need to build your Domain Authority (DA). But how is DA determined? And how much authority do you need to enhance your reputation online? Let’s take a deeper look at some unconventional ways to give your pages the boost they need.
How Domain Authority is Calculated
Domain Authority, which is a metric developed by SEO specialists Moz, factors in many considerations within its calculations. These factors include linking root domains, the total links your site possesses, the quality of backlinks you’ve gained, and organic traffic.
Your DA can be used when comparing websites or tracking your site’s ‘ranking strength’ over a period of time. Although Domain Authority is a Moz metric and not explicitly used by Google, DA seeks to make predictions about how Google is interpreting the value of a domain in its search results.
“If domain A is more likely to appear in a Google SERP than domain B is, then we would expect domain A’s DA to be higher than domain B’s DA,” explains Moz’s SEO Learning Center.
Categorising your Domain Authority is done through machine learning calculations, and this means that the score of your website could vary as data points emerge or disappear.
This means that if websites like www.facebook.com were to suddenly gain 100,000,000 new links, the authority of all other sites would drop as a result of this.
“Because more established and authoritative domains like Facebook will have increasingly larger link profiles, they take up more of the high-DA slots, leaving less room at the higher end of the scale for other domains with less robust link profiles,” notes Moz’s SEO Learning Center. “Therefore, it’s significantly easier to grow your score from 20 to 30 than it is to grow it from 70 to 80.”
Analysing your DA and that of other websites has been made easy through MozBar, which can operate as a browser plugin that details the authority of every website you visit, along with its Page Authority and Spam Score.
In addition to this, there are many DA checkers out there, and Moz even offers its own Free Domain Checker page to help you understand what your authority looks like at any given moment.
But how can you improve your Domain Authority? Here are five lesser-used and actionable insights into boosting your DA to help you climb Google’s SERPs:
1) Snip Your Shoddy Backlinks
It might sound a little crazy to cut out your backlinks when Domain Authority is all about building more links to your pages, it’s essential that you get rid of low-quality referrals from websites.
Quality links come from reputable websites which have their own high DAs. While it’s easy to expect that a link from the Washington Post is better than one from a spammy website that’s only existed for six months, the lower quality links can actually do more harm than good for your reputation.
The easiest and safest way to eliminate your low-quality links is to use a tool like Semrush. This helps you to discover harmful links and disavow them from your website.
(Image Source: Semrush)
In addition to this, you can manually disavow your links through Google, but be warned, if this feature is used incorrectly, you could damage your website’s visibility within Google’s SERPs.
2) Add Links to Your Online Mentions
If you’re a website seeking to grow its reputation online, there can be nothing more frustrating than seeing other websites mention your business without adding a backlink to your site.
However, all is not lost. Adding links to your online mentions is a great link-building strategy where you can set up an alert for your brand name and get in touch with those in charge of the publication or its editors to ask for a link to be added.
In many cases, adding links to online mentions can be a mutually beneficial practice–particularly when your website is mentioned in a positive light. This means that in many cases, you can gain a quick and easy reputable link.
(Image Source: Google)
Although it may seem like an arduous process, it’s possible to set up Google Alerts to generate a newsfeed that alerts you to mentions of your brand in real-time. Above, we can see Alerts in action for mentions of Walmart. You can set Google Alerts to generate a notification or email alert when your website receives a mention.
Although this link-building approach is at its best for established websites, it certainly isn’t a time-consuming exercise to set up an alert to listen out for any prospective mentions online.
3) Spring Clean Your Internal Links
Throughout the process of optimising your external links, it’s essential to spare a thought for your internal links.
Why focus on internal links? Firstly, you’re in full control of your website’s own links and can easily keep on top of your strategy. When a visitor can find what they’re looking for in just a couple of clicks, it improves your usability and makes it far easier for search engine crawlers to categorise and understand your pages–boosting your chances of better SERP exposure.
In addition to this, your internal links can help readers visit your website naturally, and this can help to generate greater levels of organic traffic to your older posts. This wider range of reading alternatives helps you to experience more evergreen content that keeps more visitors coming for longer.
Be sure to spend some time every couple of months looking for ways to improve the quality of links within your website. Each new post you create should include multiple links back to your existing content.
4) Guest Post, Guest Post, Guest Post
Guest posting is the single most effective way of boosting your Domain Authority. This refers to the practice of generating content that will be published to external, high-reputation websites.
Although the notion of creating valuable content that isn’t destined for your pages seems a little counterintuitive, it has the potential to gain you a strong backlink from a website that experiences far greater traffic volumes that will be exposed to your brand.
How can you create guest posts for host websites? Tools like Ahrefs can be an excellent way of discovering backlink opportunities that are relevant to your industry.
(Image Source: Ahrefs)
Let’s imagine that you’re an activewear firm that’s identified Gymshark as a market leader in your particular niche. Using Ahrefs, we can explore the backlinks gained by Gymshark from referring domains. This means that the websites listed have already published content referring to another industry-specific brand and are thus more likely to do it again if presented with suitable content.
(Image Source: Ahrefs)
Although for most website owners, it can be difficult to rank for DA 90+ websites, we can use Ahrefs’ Domain Authority equivalent, Domain Reputation (DR), to target slightly smaller reputation domains that still experience plenty of traffic to publish your content.
To do this, discover the email address of either the website’s editors or another relevant staff member, introduce yourself, and pitch your content idea to them.
The great thing about guest blogging is that it doesn’t just supply you with quality backlinks when done right, it also helps to build your reputation as an authoritative industry resource, helping more users discover your expertise and build trust in your business.
5)Social Media Can be a Strong Authority-Boosting Tool
Social media has evolved to become an excellent platform for websites to grow their reputation in an organic manner. Whether you offer fertility treatment options or solar panels for businesses, generating links to your pages from social media accounts can help to build your authority and generate more credibility for your web page, build stronger relationships with your audience, and earn more backlinks from other users via social media referrals.
(Image Source: SEJ)
With this in mind, it’s worth creating content that taps into social media talking points and polemics. Here, you can create content that you can link to on social media in a way that generates more engagement through relevant hashtags, discoverable topics, and well-researched keywording, which could help to leverage significant backlink volumes.
In the social media landscape, engagement means everything. The more shares and likes a post has on social media, the more popular it will be.
Never Rest on Your Laurels When Building Your Authority
Although it would be great to build your Domain Authority in a way that continues to build your reputation long into the future, nurturing your reputation online typically involves nurturing at regular intervals.
This means that you should always be on the lookout for low-quality links to disavow, unlinked mentions online, and internal linking opportunities.
By setting aside some time each month for backlink audits and a spring clean of your internal linking structure, it’s possible to keep your website’s DA growing in a sustainable way.
Remember to nurture your DA further through high-quality on-site and guest post content and you’ll have an authority growth plan that’s sure to get you noticed by your target audience online.