What is domain authority? Domain authority is like your website’s reputation as a thought leader, and it depends on three general factors: 1) size and the number of pages on your website 2) age and how old your website pages are, and 3) popularity and the number (and quality) of other websites linking to your website.
How powerful is your domain name? How well does it rank in the top search engines? The overall power of your domain name is referred to as “domain authority.”
From Google’s perspective, domain authority is like your website’s reputation as a thought leader, and it depends on three general factors: size, age and popularity.
These three factors indicate how well your domain is likely to rank when a search engine pulls it up among other results. Although SEO might seem complicated, checking your website’s domain authority is super easy. There are a number of different tools you can use to check this, including the MozBar (a free SEO toolbar), WebsiteSEOchecker.com or Open Site Explorer.
However, checking your website’s domain authority is only one step, improving your rank is entirely another. In this article, we will provide a brief background on what domain authority is and why it’s important. We will also share some tips on how to improve your domain authority score.
How Google uses domain authority in SERP rankings
It has long been understood that Google’s ranking algorithm is complex (by design). Over the years, there have been numerous myths about what is factored in domain authority ranking.
However, despite popular belief, many SEO experts claim that Google does not use domain authority as a ranking factor. In fact, according to Ahrefs, there is no evidence that Google even uses domain authority in its algorithms.
So, if domain authority isn’t a ranking factor, is it even important? What is the point of domain authority if Google doesn’t use it? Domain authority can help predict rankings, which is the primary reason why it has become such an important metric for SEO.
How to determine your domain authority score
Determining and improving your domain authority score is easy with the right tools. As we mentioned above, there are a number of tools available today to help you do just that. But first, let’s explain a little bit about the formula behind how domain authority is calculated and scored.
Domain authority is scored on a scale of 1 to 1v00 (1 being the worst, 100 being the best) using an algorithm. This algorithm was designed by an SEO tool, such as Moz. The 1-100 scale basically determines how easy or difficult it is to improve domain authority.
For example, if your domain authority is at a 20 or a 30, then this would be more difficult to improve than if it was at a 70 or 80.
All in all, domain authority between 40 and 50 is considered average, between 50 and 60 is considered “good” and 60+ is considered “excellent.”
So, how do you check and improve your website domain authority score? Continue reading for some tips below on some best practices.
How to increase your domain authority score:
1. Check your domain authority score.
Now that you’re likely curious about what your own website’s domain authority score looks like, start by visiting Link Explorer and type in a URL for your page or website into the search bar. Hit “Search” and view the results.
You will immediately see the following results:
- Your domain authority score out of a possible 100
- The number of linking domains discovered in the last 60 days
- The number of inbound links
- The top keywords that your site is ranking for
You can click on any of these categories and sections to learn more about how each category is ranked and what each one means for your website. For example, by checking your inbound links, you will be able to see how your website influences other internet users as well as your competitors.
If you aren’t impressed by your score, one easy way to boost your rankings is by simply incorporating backlinks to reputable sources and optimizing your internal links. In fact, this super-simple tactic has been known to boost a website’s domain authority from the teens to the forties.
If you are aiming for a higher score, then be prepared to put in some additional effort. Increasing your website’s domain authority score into the 50s and beyond will likely require creating new content and adding in some new keywords and more inbound links, which we will explore in the points below.
2. Produce quality content.
If you don’t have one, the first thing you will need to do is develop your content marketing plan. However, there is often some confusion around a content marketing plan and a content strategy. Here are the key differences between the two:
A content strategy uses metrics such as sessions, scroll depth, conversions, bounce rate and readability.
A content marketing plan uses metrics such as outbound links, inbound links, domain authority and market reach.
Because we are talking about domain authority as a key content marketing metric, we are specifically talking about developing a content schedule and how you plan on producing and sharing that content with the world.
For example, you can create content that is centered around the products and/or services that your company offers, educate your readers about how a particular product and/or service meets their needs, solve a problem, or any other important, relevant information you think might be valuable to your target audience.
John Rampton, a contributor for Forbes.com, suggests that you develop tutorials, how-to guides and “top 10” style posts full of handy information, presented in a conversational, easy-to-read format. Make sure that you include all the necessary buttons so your readers swiftly share your posts on social media.
If you aren’t a great writer or you don’t have the time to write content, you can always outsource any content writing to an experienced writer, or even ask an employee to do it.
3. Include powerful and popular keywords.
As we mentioned briefly above, one way to ensure that you are not only producing high-quality content, but also content that internet users are actually searching for is to use powerful and popular keywords. This doesn’t have to be as complex and involved as it may seem.
In fact, by using Moz — the same tool you just used to look up your website’s domain authority — you can also search for high-performing keywords within your industry or niche. In fact, we did our own quick keyword research before writing this article. We did this two ways: First, we did a quick Google search for the phrases: “how to increase domain authority” or “how to improve Google rankings,” and then reviewed the top results to help us think about what points we wanted to include.
Then, we typed those same keywords into the keyword explorer tool (one of Moz’s free SEO tools offered on-site) to see a complete SERP analysis for each key phrase as well as a list of other related keyword suggestions, organized by monthly search volume.
One important thing to pay attention to is “keyword stuffing.” This is a bad habit that involves throwing keywords into your content wherever you think they might make sense. Remember, stuffing is for Thanksgiving — not SEO.
If you use WordPress as your CMS or for a blog, you can install the free Yoast plugin to better understand how your blog and content look from an SEO perspective. If you don’t use WordPress, don’t fret — there are also other similar tools and plugins you can use that will produce the same results.
4. Add inbound links.
Another valuable way to improve your domain authority is by getting other internet users and influencers to link to your website and your content. This method might seem easy, however, it can take time and patience, some strategic networking and a little ingenuity.
According to Google, natural links leading back to your site are still an important element in any SEO strategy. You’ll need a powerful social media network and a strategy that draws people back to your website or your blog to view your content.
When they view it and share it, Google takes note and boosts your rankings a bit. Thanks to that boost, more people can find the same content through the search engine. Eventually, people with online influence and significant rankings will link back to your content — and you get a boost in domain authority!
Inbound links can come from your own website (linking from one page to another) or other web properties you control. However, getting high-quality links from outside websites is key — especially if you can find a way to get .edu links. Google sees inbound links coming from websites ending in .edu as especially trustworthy.
SEO expert, Casey Markee, was interviewed recently for a ClearVoice article and shared his thoughts on how inbound links can benefit domain authority: “Links are still the currency of the Internet. If the content isn’t generating much in the way of new incoming links to the site (which will help boost domain authority and give the site a lift in the rankings), why is that not happening?”
5. Remove broken links.
In addition to adding inbound links to reputable, credible sites, it’s also important to go through and remove any and all broken or bad links. By broken or “bad” links, we are referring to pages that no longer exist or websites that are questionable or less than reputable.
Remember, the goal is to build up your website as a reliable, credible source, and to position your business or brand as a thought leader; therefore, ensure that your linking strategy is a good one. It might be time-consuming to go through and check all the links on your website, but it will be a task well worth the effort.
6. Make your website more search engine friendly.
Make sure that your website is structured and formatted in a way that is search-engine friendly. By this, we mean making sure that your website is designed in such a way that is easy for Google to “crawl” and index your website properly.
If it is difficult for Google or another search engine to crawl and index your site, then this could hurt your overall SEO ranking. If you aren’t sure how your website was designed, simply ask an SEO or web design specialist to perform a quick audit of your site, including your website’s architecture, to ensure that you’re making the most of the domain you have.
Increasing your domain authority score
All in all, yes, your website’s domain authority score is still important for SEO. But, improving your website’s domain authority doesn’t have to be rocket science. Once you understand your current domain authority score, you can then take the steps you need to improve it.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide are great places to start investigating this element of domain authority.
If you’re interested in learning more about domain authority and how to improve your score, check out additional resources on Moz.com.