Should you be worried about your domain authority?
Arguably the main goal of any company embarking on a content marketing journey is to become the preeminent authority in their niche. But is ‘domain authority’ – a much talked about SEO metric – a measurement of content awesomeness, or something different? And in either case, should you be worried about your domain authority?
We can answer that question with two important lessons: The meaning of domain authority (it’s probably not what you think) and whether it’s important. Once we’ve completed that, we’ve got some how-to tips for increasing your DA score, if that’s what you feel is necessary.
We’re also going to talk about kung fu … so strap in.
What does domain authority mean?
Domain authority is an SEO measurement system created by Moz to gauge how well a particular website is likely to rank in search. It takes into account ranking factors such as link profile (the makeup of links in, out and around your site) and spits out a score on a logarithmic scale, ranging from one to 100.
Sites with lots of links, such as Amazon, Google or Facebook, have very high DA. Sites with fewer links (i.e. most of the internet) are typically lower.
Is domain authority important?
Domain authority is effective when used to compare two domains. The goal is not to reach XYZ score, but to beat the other domain.
Domain authority is important because it can help you predict how well your website will rank against its competitors in search. When used as a comparative tool against websites similar to yours, it can measure the relative ‘strength’ of each site and tell you if you have more SEO work to do or not.
Our mention of ‘comparative tool’ is important here. While a higher DA is better, you don’t need to be 100 to rank well in your niche. Indeed, you’ll likely never be stronger than Facebook, which itself isn’t even at 100.
Consider this short analogy to understand how to use DA
You’re a budding kung fu fighter. Facebook and Wikipedia are Bruce Lee and Jet Li – are you going to be able to kick their butt? Probably not.
But hey, over there stands one of your company’s competitors (henceforth known as Bob). Bob is a similar level of build and skill to you, right? If you can’t defeat him today, you probably could after a short training montage.
Well, you’ve just learned how to use DA. Your goal is never to reach the highest score – the kung fu masters are always going to be stronger than you. Your goal is to engage in a sweet training montage until you’re better than your direct competitors – they’re the ones competing for your keywords, after all.
The wider the gap between you and Bob, the more chance you’ll rank on search terms that are relevant to your business.
How do I increase domain authority on my website?
1. Build your link profile
As DA looks primarily at your website’s link profile, this is where to start. In order to increase your strength in this area, you should:
- Increase the inbound links coming from other websites to yours: You want other domains to link back to your website – so long as those links are from high-quality, relevant domains. It shows Google that the right people trust you. Gain these links by guest posting on other sites, reaching out to bloggers to write about you, or asking anyone who mentions your brand to add a hyperlink to you.
- Get rid of bad links: Bad links come from poor-quality sources or websites that have nothing to do with you and have no real business linking to you. Reach out to their admin to remove the link, or if you can’t, try the Google disavow tool
2. Improve your SEO
SEO’s fundamentals are fundamental for a reason. If you haven’t done so recently, now is the time to audit your entire site and optimise your SEO. If you can answer these questions, you’re doing great:
- Is your URL readable and properly structured?
- Does your website use a breadcrumb menu structure?
- Do you have a keyword strategy, and are those keywords deployed naturally throughout the site?
- Are you using meta tags?
- Do your pages make appropriate use of heading tags (H1 and H2)?
- Are your images using alt tags?
- Do every one of your landing pages and articles use internal links?
- Have you registered your site with Search Console?
- Did you create a sitemap and submit it to Google?
3. Optimise your load speed and mobile friendliness
Further to your SEO basics, your website should also be optimised in two key ways:
- Load speeds: 53 per cent of people will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load (says Google). So, optimise those load speeds!
- Mobile friendliness: 76 per cent of people access websites either with both mobile and desktop, or only mobile (according to comScore). Your website must be mobile friendly or else you are potentially sacrificing huge amounts of traffic – not to mention the fact that Google favours mobile-friendly sites, and will likely index your mobile version before it indexes your desktop version.
4. Create awesome content
Finally, awesome content is a great way to build your SEO strength and link profile.
With content that is either 10x or 2x, you are creating more pages on your website for keywords (organic ranking potential) and internal links (good SEO). You’re also providing more fodder for other domains to potentially link back to yours, either by citing your article as a source (direct inbound link), or by perceiving you to be an authority and writing about you in another capacity (more direct links!).
Creating more content also makes opportunities to engage with people on social media. As social signals (shares, likes, etc.) are a positive ranking factor, this is another great tool in the tool belt – or, perhaps, another training dummy in the kung fu dojo.
So … should you be worried about domain authority?
You certainly shouldn’t worry about it (that’s bad for your health), but it’s important and it’s a good tool to use.
If, by finding domain authority scores through the likes of MozBar, you can determine the DA of your competitors (like Bob, the kung-fu noob) you’ll know exactly how strong and fast you’ll need to be to stand a chance. This will help you demolish Bob in your next kung fu fight, and more importantly, help your website rank higher than his.