Seven ways to Influence your Domain Authority

Want to know how well your website might rank or whether Google views it as a site it can trust? Domain Authority is currently one of the best predictors of whether your website will rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs).

What is Domain Authority?

To quote from moz.com:

Domain Authority is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given domain is likely to rank in Google’s search results. It is based off data from the Mozscape web index and includes link counts, MozRank and MozTrust scores, and dozens of other factors. It uses a machine learning model to predictively find an algorithm that best correlates with rankings across thousands of search results that we predict against.”

Essentially, Moz – one of the world’s leading authorities in search engine optimisation – uses a broad array of data to give each web domain an authority scored out of 100. According to SEO Siren, a Domain Authority of 35 and upwards indicates that a website has a good level of authority with Google.

It is exceptionally hard to score a Domain Authority of 100/100 – both Google and Facebook have this score; Moz currently has a Domain Authority of 93. But for smaller domains, it’s far more likely to score in the 20s or 30s.

In striving to understand Domain Authority, it’s perhaps best to look at it as a measure of trust or online business authority. Essentially, Google needs to decide whether a site is trustworthy and relevant to specific search queries in order to decide where to place it in search results. Domain Authority looks at key indicators as a vote of confidence about the quality of each website.

Domain Authority - a measure of trust

What is Page Authority?

Page Authority is, as the name would suggest, a way of measuring the authority of a single page on your website. For example, you may have a particularly popular blog post that has been shared on social media and been linked to from other high reputation sites. This page may have more Page Authority than other, less popular pages on your website. You can have a low Domain Authority but sections of your website with high Page Authority, and vice versa.

Why does Domain Authority matter?

As mentioned in previous articles, Google uses over 200 ranking signals to determine where a website appears in SERPs. By calculating Domain Authority, Moz endeavours to draw on some of these signals to build a picture of how Google views your website and how well it will rank.

It is perhaps most useful when used as a comparative measure. You might decide, for example, to monitor your Domain Authority compared to that of your competitors. You might also look at which pages have the highest Page Authority and therefore are likely to have more important link profiles than other pages on your site.

Are there specific topics for which you have a higher reputation than your competitors? You can then think about how you can continue to raise your profile in this area.

One particularly helpful tool is the Moz Toolbar, available as an extension for Firefox or Chrome browsers.

Moz Toolbar

This toolbar lets you see key SEO metrics as your browse the web. You can see a site’s Domain Authority, Page Authority, link profile and social shares. Run a search in Google with the Moz Toolbar activated and you have an at-a-glance comparison between all the search results. The chances are that the Domain and Page Authorities are high for all the results on page one.

Influencing your website’s Domain Authority

We’ll start by saying that it isn’t easy to directly influence your website’s Domain Authority. As it’s made up of an aggregate of metrics from different sources, there are a lot of variables to influence. Experts do agree though that it’s easier to move your Domain Authority from 20 to 30, for example, than from 70 to 80, purely because of how the algorithms work.

Here are seven quick tips that can boost your Domain Authority in the medium- to long-term:

1. Feature high-quality content

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – high-quality content is essential. It makes good sense for your business, for your customers and for your SEO efforts to provide well written, informative and unique content that your customers will want to read. If your content adds value to your customers’ lives in some way, they’ll stay on your site to read it, dropping your bounce rate and boosting the average time spent on your website. Great content is also far more likely to get shared on social media too.

2. Build your social media presence

Talking of social media shares, being active on social media – particularly Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – is likely to have a positive effect on your Domain Authority. If people are sharing your articles and talking about them, Google will view that as a vote of confidence. You can help build your social media presence by making your articles easy to share. Add in Like, Tweet and +1 buttons at the top of an article, use a social sharing plugin like Flare on your WordPress blog or a plugin like Inline Tweet Sharer to make it easy for people to quote you on Twitter.

Google looks favourably on websites that pay attention to their internal, as well as external, links. If you write a blog article and have featured a related topic in the past or have other content on your site that could add a further layer of knowledge or insight, then it’s good practice to link the two articles. Internal links are much like the threads of a spider’s web, pulling all of your pages together and turning them into an easy-to-navigate, cohesive whole.

4. Regularly update your website

Google loves fresh content and it would appear that sites that are regularly updated with blog articles, new information or products are likely to improve their Domain Authority because they’re seen as well maintained, active and constantly striving to provide visitors with up-to-date information.

If you’ve paid for backlinks or link exchanges, then spammy backlinks could be harming your Domain Authority. One way to check your backlink profile is to use Google Webmaster Tools – click on Search traffic>Links to your site. This will show you what sites are linking to yours, what pages they’re linking to and how many backlinks there are. If you have the Moz Toolbar installed, when you visit each linking site, you will be able to see its Domain Authority. Do any of these backlinks come from a website with a less than stellar record or low Domain Authority?

We found a helpful article from Brim Agency packed full of advice about removing toxic links from your backlink profile

In our recent article about implied links, brand mentions and citations, we explored the fact that Google is likely to weight numerous citations from the same source equally to fewer citations from several sources. The same goes for backlinks. It is better to build on your link diversity – i.e. having backlinks coming from a number of reputable websites – than rely on many links coming from a single domain.

7. Take the long view

As with all good SEO practice, improving your Domain Authority won’t happen overnight. The key message is to keep exploring what your customers need and how you can deliver this. If you keep the customer centre stage and take a consistent approach, instead of expecting overnight changes to your Domain Authority, you can’t really go far wrong.

Is Domain Authority something you look at? What is your site’s Domain Authority? Do you have any pages with particularly high Page Authority? What do you think it might be that sets them apart? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.

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