What do Eric Cartman and Google’s web crawler bots have in common? They’re both absolutely obsessed with one thing. Authority.
However, while the young South Park resident is obsessed with his own authority, Google is obsessed with yours. Domain Authority, to be exact.
But what exactly is Domain Authority? How does it affect your SEO ranking? And what can you do to improve it? Well, let us explain…
What is Domain Authority?
Domain Authority (DA) is a SEO-related metric created by the geniuses over at Moz. Which ranks how highly Google’s web crawlers are likely to rank your website.
The higher your site’s DA, the higher the chances that it will rank in Google’s index. And more importantly, the more organic traffic your website will attract.
DA is measured on a scale of 1-100, with higher numbers meaning a greater amount of authority, and vice-versa.
Now, as is true in most walks of life, the ‘popular kids’ are the ones with the most authority. Sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Apple all have a high DA.
It’s also no surprise that Google’s own website, and those of companies owned by Google/Alphabet also rank incredibly highly. But this isn’t just because they’re Google sites. They also happen to have all the right elements for a high DA
How is Domain Authority Measured?
The most important element surrounding your DA is links! Links to your site, links from your site, the number of links on your site. All of these things will affect your DA.
Think of a link like a recommendation from one site to another. The more recommendations you have, the more trustworthy your site is. And the more trustworthy you are, the more authority you have.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should cram your site with links. Nor does it mean that you should spam every single site asking for links. This is because there are such things as bad links!
Bad links come from sites which Google deems untrustworthy. Those with low DA scores, ‘link-stuffed’ pages and other black hat tactics can bring down your DA. Good links, however, come from high-quality sites with high DA scores. Global publications, institutions and world-renowned companies are all great places to get links from.
Website performance is a criminally underrated tool for SEO, and likewise for your DA. You can have a great site, with lots of links and well-written content. But if your site’s technical SEO is lacking, your DA is going to suffer.
If you want to read more about how your website optimisation can affect SEO, check out our handy SEO for Beginners guide.
Now, this might be a little ageist, but it just so happens that Google deems older websites to be more trustworthy.
Unfortunately, you can’t just throw a mask on Knoxville style and trick people into thinking you’re old. It doesn’t work like that.
But, if it turns out you’re an OG of the old World Wide Web, you might just have an advantage over your competitors.
What is a Good Domain Authority Score, and How do I Check Mine?
You might see the lofty heights of 100 ranked DA scores and be disheartened. Surely it must be almost impossible to match them. Well, it is. But the truth is, you don’t need to. You just need to be better than your competitors.
The great thing is, Moz has kindly provided a *free and easy to use tool that lets you check your DA. Along with that of your competitors.
Just enter your domain into the Moz Domain SEO Analysis Tool, and it pulls up a quick Authority report, including:
• Your overall DA score
• The number of linking root domains
• The number of keywords your page is ranking for
• Your spam score
It also gives you a list of your most authoritative pages, your top linking domains and your recently discovered/lost links. Along with a bunch of other useful metrics to help you boost your DA.
How Do I Boost My Domain Authority Score?
Boosting your DA is a long-term strategy, meaning that you won’t see results overnight. Furthermore, as is generally the case with anything SEO related, boosting your DA is not exactly a ‘black and white’ strategy. Google is notoriously indecisive when it comes to what helps or hinders your ranking. Meaning that Moz has to regularly update the DA guidelines to adhere.
But there are a few things that you can do right now that should increase your DA score.
1. Get Rid of The Bad, Low Authority Links
Bad links are toxic for your site, so the best thing to do is cut them off! Start by conducting a Backlink Audit (sites like Ahrefs and Semrush have great free versions). Then, using Google’s Disavow Links tool, cut the toxic links off at the source.
2. Build Good, High Authority Links
There are numerous strategies to build links on your site. We highlight a couple of them over on our SEO for Beginners blog. But we’ll touch on the basics again for you.
The best way to ensure backlinks is simply to create something worth sharing. If somebody sees this content and finds it useful, they might highlight it on their blog or website, giving you a precious link.
Another method is through “broken link building”. To do this, start by researching articles on the topic you want a link for. Then look for ‘broken’ links on the page. If you don’t find any, move on and try again. But once you do, you can suggest your own resource as a replacement.
Link building is a tedious process, and while neither of these processes are 100% bound to work, it’s a great thing to practice!
3. Optimise Your Site
People often neglect the technical side of SEO. But how your website is built is extremely important to the SERP ranking of your site. Long load times, incorrect header tags and broken internal links can all bring your DA down.
Google’s Page Speed Insights is a great tool to help you improve your site’s technical SEO. You might need a little bit of developer knowledge for some of the trickier fixes (we know a great agency if you need one!), but there’s a surprising amount that can be fixed with a couple of easy tweaks.
While it might seem daunting at first, taking some time to properly assess and improve your Domain Authority can have huge effects on your SERP standing!
Now, it’s worth mentioning that, while Google doesn’t actually list DA as a factor in its ranking metrics, there is a substantial amount of overlap between what the two tools look at. Meaning that it’s definitely worth considering during your next SEO session!