Google has made it clear that their internet search algorithm is focusing on trust and user experience. For all websites, especially those with a smaller following, it’s important to focus on creating content that Google sees as trustworthy. One of the ways Google can measure that is by looking at the domain authority (DA) of your website. A high DA score shows that people trust your site and its content, while a low score can make it more difficult to gain visibility online.
In my experiece I’ve helped lots of bloggers with their domain authority woes.
As part of this, during my research, I found that most articles about domain authority were just plains wrong and misguided.
Why? Well, truth be told, it’s because within the SEO community, where typically this advice would come from, the DA metric is a bit of joke.
It’s a yardstick and a useful one on occasion, but it’s certainly not a metric to be taken seriously.
However, I’ve since learnt the importance of DA to bloggers of which the wider SEO community won’t understand (more on that later). That’s why I intend to change all that in this article, we’ll go over what domain authority is, how you can improve yours, and why it matters in the long run.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain authority (DA) is not a score that Google uses to determine how likely it is that a specific website will rank well in search engine results. Therefore, it’s important to note that domain authority is not a direct ranking factor.
That means that it won’t necessarily boost your site in search engine results, but it’s still an important metric to keep in mind.
On the face of it however, each website is given a 1-100 domain authority score, with 100 being the highest. The lower your score, in theory means the less trust Google will have in your website and therefore your website rankings may be effected by this.
DA is Not a Google Metric
Domain Authority is sometimes misunderstood as a metric which was created or indeed used by Google. It’s certainly not the case.
The SEO software company Moz, created the metric to provide a measurement value of websites and domains, which is useful when carrying out certain tasks to improve SEO.
Why is Domain Authority Important to Bloggers?
For bloggers especially, Domain Authority is a commonly used metric for brand collaborations.
Brands are constantly looking to improve their own organic traffic. Part of this is being improving their backlink profile.
As a rule of thumb measurement, Domain Authority allows brands or PR companies to easily identify those blogs that are going to provide the highest value backlink back to their website.
Jobs can be one or lost based on this metric. Frustratingly, this metric is slightly shrouded in mystery in how it is defined and worked out.
The DA Economy
I believe the best way to think about DA is to consider it as a economy. Backlinks from higher DA websites to your blog are of a higher value than those from lower DA websites.
Equally, DA is not a constant on your website as it is on websites linking to you.
If a website linking to you, drops it’s own DA then as a consequence your own DA will be effected, or vice versa.
How to Measure Domain Authority
There are a few different ways you can measure your domain authority.
The most accurate and effective way is going to be to use Moz’s own DA tool.
Alternatively there are free domain authority checker tools. These are a great way to get an approximation of what your DA is, but they aren’t 100% accurate.
You can also use a SEO tool which can provide an approximation of your domain authority checker tool like SEMrush to get a better approximation of your DA. Tools like this can always provide you with tips and advice to improve you general SEO visibility.
One important measure is knowing your domain authority over the course of the last 12 months or so. There is a free tool here, which will pull this information.
8 Ways to Increase Your Domain Authority
There are a few ways you can increase your domain authority, some are more effective than other and also some can be seen as more risky than others.
Typically, you will want to stick with tactics which are less risk adverse, however there is no harm in mixing up these tactics to see what results work best for you.
The End Game
Ultimately, to improve your domain authority score you will want to focus on your backlink profile on your website.
Firstly, you’ll need to obtain some information about your backlink profile. To do this you may need to assistance of an SEO tool. My recommendation for a feature-full and budget friendly SEO tool is, SERanking.
You want to identify the range of backlinks that you have going to your website and figure out what is missing.
For example, do you only have backlinks from low DA domains. If so you need to focus on obtaining links form higher level domains to show authority and trust.
Do you have a good mix of DA backlinks however only a handful of them, in which case we need to simply expand out the number of links coming to the site.
In any case, our focus needs to stay on improving the health of our backlink profile and in most cases this means doing activity which will drive high quality links to your site.
So, how do we do this?
1) Create amazing content
The best way to start increasing your domain authority is to create amazing content.
It should be helpful, interesting, and trustworthy. Google wants to see that people find your content valuable and trustworthy, so it’s important to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
This may sound a bit cliche, but sometime people can get bogged down in what this means.
Remember, creating amazing content doesn’t mean create the best content that you can possibly create.
In terms of trying to obtain a good backlink profile, this may mean to create content which is being searched for by your audience within your niche.
For example; let’s say you have a blog about fishing. Creating a post about the Top 10 Places to Fish in the UK, will be something that a lot of like minded people will be searching for.
Also, this might be something which other fishing bloggers might want to link to when they are discussing their favourite places to fish. So it’s highly linkable content.
2) Guest Post On Other Blogs
Guest posts is actually quite an easy way to get good links to your blog.
However, in the past the act of using guest posts to gain links has been frowned upon by Google themselves.
That being said, the practice is still really effective. Reach out to other bloggers or publications that you respect and tell them how you can add value via a guest post.
If you send out enough of these pitches, you are bound to get some positive responses.
Word of warning however, keep an eye out on the domain authority of these websites you are guest posting on.
Writing a guest post is time intensive, therefore if you waste a guest post on a low DA site then you can’t use it again.
3) Build an audience
Whether you’re using your own website or a social media channel, it’s important to have an audience that trusts and respects you.
In particular creating a audience within your peers can be helpful for your DA. As your peers might referring to you when discussing the same topic you are.
Today you may be writing as an authority on a topic, and tomorrow someone else might be they will want to link to your content in their own.
Therefore building an audience of peers and non-peees too can help increase your domain authority.
4) Reach Out to Publications / Digital PR
When the opportunities arise to make some noise through PR, you should take it.
Typically these types of publications are high authority websites. Backlinks from these can be extremely valuable.
You can seriously improve your chances of getting picked up by journalist by doing a few things;
Write the article for them. Just write a few line about who you are, what you’ve done / doing etc.
Make the headline really catchy. This is for both the benefit of catching the journalists attention and there audiences.
5) Guest on a Podcast
I like this one as its fun, and it can also expand and improve your network at the same time.
Take a look at some of the podcasts that are in the same space as you. Typically they will make their email address publicly avaliable.
Write a templates email, with a few personalised flourishes, explaining how much you love their podcast and how you feel you could bring value on their podcast.
Podcasters love guests on their podcast, however like journalists they get pitched to all the time, try and sell yourself as much as possible.
The backlink in this case will come from the podcasts show notes.
Start out on a few newer, smaller podcasts and then make steps to pitch the larger podcasts citing that you’ve been on other podcasts if they wish to take a listen.
The better backlinks will come from the larger podcasts typically.
The Follow / No Follow Condundrum
Backlinks can come in two different forms; Follow and NoFollow. These attributes can be tagged onto links from other websites, however if attribute it present then the default is Follow.
In theory, a NoFollow link is a link that the webmaster has explicitly asked for no authority to be passed onto.
This sounds bad. However I believe that the lines are starting to blur around Follow / NoFollow.
As Google is becoming smarter to what links are and the context in which they are presented.
Therefore, if you find yourself doing lots of work and ending up with a NoFollow link I wouldn’t despair too much.
Reclamation of Lost Links
I’ve not included this in the main list as it’s not a “link building” method per se.
However over the natural life cycle of the world wide web, things can deattach and become lost.
This is certainly the case with backlinks. There are two things you need to look out for and using a nice bit of SEO kit, you can keep a close eye on it.
1) Links lost by other websites changing their URLs
Websites change and when they do sometimes links can get lost in the shuffle.
You have little control over this type, however if you do spot that you’ve lost a link due to any range of reasons on another website then there is no harm in reaching out and letting them know.
In particular if it’s some kind of error that occurred on their site. Let the webmaster know and be sure not to make it “all about the backlink”. This might run some webmasters up the wrong way.
2) Links lost by your blog changing URLs
This is something which is a nice quick win if you’ve recently dropped your DA score.
If you’ve blog / website has been through a huge amount of changes recently, in particular you might have changed themes. Then this can have quite a large effect on your URLs.
This will mean that backlinks that were once pointing to a piece of content on your site now point to a 404 (Page Not Found). Which is far from ideally.
Fortunately most SEO tools will have a functio n which helps you identify links which are redirecting to your 404 page.
What you need to do is apply redirects from these old URLs on your blog to the new URLs. Thus fixing the break.
Some Things Are Out Of Your Control
As you may of realised by now, Domain Authority, is highly weighted on your backlinks profile.
As a consequence of that it means that quite an amount of DA is out of your control.
As the level of DA from the websites you have backlinks from define your DA.
If your highest DA backlink drops in DA themselves, then as a consequence, most likely it will impact your own DA.
So it’s important to remember on this point and to always keep working and looking for opportunities to improve that backlink profile.
I understand that Domain Authority can be a frustrating and fickle metric, however I also know simply how important it is for some bloggers livihoods to have a good score.
Therefore, I hope all the advice above helps and as I think of more techniques then I’ll add them in the future.
As a concluding piece of advice, I feel its important to develop this skill of passive linking building.
The ability to be able to sniff out a backlink opportunity as they present themselves and have all the tools in your armoury to be able to chase these opportunities down.
If you have any questions, please write them in the comments and I’ll try my best to help!