We’re breaking down another SEO term for you today! You may have heard us talk about it before…
Introducing: Domain authority.
Think of domain authority as a grade for how well you’re optimizing for SEO. When you have a higher grade, you earn more credibility with search engines.
Don’t worry – we’re going to go over everything you need to know about domain authority in this post! Along with why it’s an important metric to track your SEO efforts.
What is Domain Authority?
Imagine you’re at a party, and you want to know who the most popular person there is. You’d probably look at who’s surrounded by the most people, who’s being talked about the most, or who others seem to trust for advice and recommendations. In the digital world of websites, “Domain Authority” (often abbreviated as DA) is a bit like that popularity score. In a digital sense of course and not at all like mean girls. (thank goodness!) 😉
Domain Authority is a score, on a scale of 0 to 100, developed by Moz, a popular SEO tool, that predicts how well a website will rank on a search engine results pages (also known as an SERP). The higher the score, the better the website’s potential to rank.
Now it’s important to remember that Google, Bing or any other search engine algorithm did not create this metric. It was create by an SEO company— a very reputable one of course. But the reason we say this is because we want you to use it as a guide, not an exact science.
How is Domain Authority Calculated?
Only Moz knows every factor that influences your Domain Authority, but these are known to be huge drivers:
- The number of other websites linking to your own (these are known as backlinks).
- The quality of those websites that are being linked.
- The diversity of those backlinks. For example, having 100 backlinks from one website might not be as beneficial as having 20 backlinks from 20 different websites.
- The quality of the content that lives on your website.
- The website’s age and how long it’s been around. (yes, your wisdom matters)
- Patterns of growth in backlinks. A sudden surge in backlinks might actually be a sign that you are cheating with a black hat SEO strategy— don’t do this.
Let’s go back to that popularity contest we mentioned earlier. It’s fun to have a high score, but it’s not the only game in town. Instead of fixating on having the highest number, check out how you’re doing compared to your competitors. And always remember, while it’s cool to be popular, it’s how you play the game—with great content, genuine connections, and making your visitors happy—that truly counts!
Why Does My Domain Authority Score Matter for SEO?
Like we mentioned before, this is a metric developed by Moz, not Google. However, every single SEO tool leverages this to gauge your overall growth and performance. And that sure says something about the quality of this metric, right!?
So, why should we care what our scores are? Your domain authority score directly correlates with a better chance of ranking on search engines. It’s your cumulative SEO efforts tied up into one number. So everything you’re doing for SEO (writing helpful content for your blog, backlink outreach, optimizing page speed, adjusting metadata, etc.) is improving your online credibility.
What If My Domain Authority Score is Zero?
First things first: don’t panic! A Domain Authority score of zero might make your heart skip a beat, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s a common concern among many new website owners. Or even websites that have been built by a designer without SEO experience.
Often, a zero DA score simply means your website hasn’t been indexed by search engines yet. Think of indexing as your website getting its very own file in the vast digital library of the internet. Without this file, search engines like Google might not know your site exists.
So, now what? How can we fix this?
Step 1: Head over to Google Search Console. If you haven’t set it up for your site yet, now’s the time. It’s like a direct hotline to Google, letting you peek behind the curtain and see how Google views your site.
Step 2: Submit your sitemap and check if your site’s been indexed. Simply copy paste each URL of your website (home, services, products, etc.) into the search bar up top. If not indexed, you can manually request Google to crawl and index these pages.
Step 3: Be patience. Indexing doesn’t happen overnight.
Remember, every website starts somewhere. A DA of zero isn’t a reflection of your site’s quality or potential. With consistent effort and the right tools, you’ll see that score rise in no time!
Tips to Grow Your Domain Authority Score
Now let’s get into the good stuff! Growing your domain authority should be at the top of your priority list when it comes to SEO, but remember it does take time. Here are a few strategies you can use to start building that foundation and gradually improve your domain authority!
Naturally Infuse Keywords Into Your Website
Spending time doing keyword research helps you find the perfect phrases for your content. When you nail that keyword placement, you’re like a magnet, pulling in just the right crowd to your website. And when visitors find exactly what they were searching for? They stick around, boosting your street cred with search engines like Google.
Here are some of our favorite places to perform keyword research!
- Ubersuggest: One of our favorite tools that offers a free plan. Their lifetime plans also make it incredibly affordable for any entrepreneur who wants to get better at blogging and who aren’t SEO experts like us.
- Keyword Surfer: Chrome extension for content and keyword research. It allows you to research the Google search engine result page (SERP).
- Answer the Public: This tool quickly cranks out every useful phrase and question people are asking about your keyword.
- Google Trends: A resource to see what’s trending in search around the world related to your industry and niche.
And a little pro-tip: While it’s tempting to sprinkle keywords everywhere, avoid cramming them in. Search engines aren’t fans of “keyword stuffing”, and neither are your readers. Please write for humans.
Drive Traffic to Your Website
Attracting visitors to your website is like throwing a party – you want as many guests as possible! Not only does this up your chances of making a sale, but a buzzing website also gives you brownie points with search engines like Google. When the digital crowd flocks to your site, it signals to Google that you’ve got some pretty cool stuff going on.
But if your digital party feels a bit empty, it could be because of:
- Slow Loading: Your pages taking ages to load? Aim for a load time of under three seconds. The quicker, the better!
- Not-so-great Content: If your content isn’t SEO-optimized, it’s like hiding your party behind a closed door. And don’t forget to make sure it’s indexed!
- You’re missing backlinks: Think of links as personal invitations to your party. High-quality links not only get you guests but also tell Google you’re the real deal.
In case you are stuck, here are some easy ways to drive traffic to your website!
- Share your content on social media.
- Be sure to link out to your website from weekly emails.
- Create helpful content your audience is searching for through your blog or podcast.
- Partner with a business bestie on a guest blog, podcast or email swap.
- Optimize your on-page SEO to get more search traffic.
- Engage on Facebook Groups and other online communities.
Secure More High Quality Backlinks
Backlinks prove to Google that you’re authoritative on certain topics. A strong backlink strategy will greatly increase your domain authority. Here are a few ways to increase your backlinks:
- Guest podcasts: Pitch a topic to relevant podcasts and make sure they will include a link to your website in their digital show notes!
- List posts: Ever come across posts like “the 10 best marketing podcasts for solopreneurs”? These are list posts! Email the owner of the site and pitch why you deserve to be there too.
- Directories: You usually have to pay for member directories, but they’re worth it! Search for directories both locally and nationally and test some out. The great thing is that they are more than just a link, they are communities!
Avoid a Bad Link Experience
Let’s keep with the party theme— it’s fun right!? Imagine inviting guests over and having them trip over clutter in your home. Not a great impression, right? In the digital world, broken or spammy links are that clutter. They give the vibe that you’re a bit… messy. And search engines, like meticulous house guests, might think less of you for it.
Broken links can confuse and frustrate your visitors, making them bounce faster than a rubber ball. And spammy or low-quality links? They’re like having dubious characters vouch for you, making you look bad.
Here are some strategies to avoid a bad link experience:
- Regular Audits: do quick 15 minute link audits for your website every few months. Tools like Broken Link Check or Google Analytics can be your detective, spotting those sneaky broken links.
- Fix, Don’t Just Remove: Stumbled upon a broken link that used to lead to quality content? Instead of just tossing it out, fix it!
- Monitor Your Backlinks: Keep an eye on who’s linking to you. If a questionable site links to you, consider using the “disavow” tool in Google Search Console. However, don’t panic, if Google isn’t telling you to remove the link (via Google Search Console) its likely not worth your time.
- Create a positive 404 page experience: Sometimes broken links can’t be avoided. But we do want to avoid exits from our website. So how can we create an experience that keeps our visitors around?
Remember, in the world of Domain Authority, it’s not just about making good friends (links) but also about avoiding the bad company (spammy or broken links).
Focus on the Mobile Experience
Let’s face it, our phones are almost an extension of ourselves these days. In fact, over 52% (and growing) of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. It’s not just about looking pretty on a smaller screen. If visitors have to squint to read text, pinch-zoom every two seconds, or play a guessing game to click on links, they’ll run faster than you can say “responsive design”. And as you know, quick exits (bounces) are a big no-no for SEO.
Plus, here’s a secret tip for you: Google is all about ‘mobile-first indexing’ now. This means it mainly looks at the mobile version of your website for its search rankings, not desktop.
Want to ensure your site is mobile friendly? Here are a couple of steps:
- Regular Checks: Periodically view your website on different mobile devices. Ensure everything is legible, clickable, and navigable. Ask your friends with the green texts too.
- Use Tools: Google Search Console or Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test can give your site a once-over and highlight any issues.
Remember, in today’s age, mobile-friendliness isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity if you want to rank on search.
Stick To One Domain
Your Domain Authority is tied to your primary domain. Sure, it might be tempting to set up new domains for every project, like a podcast or a digital course. But remember, each new domain starts with a blank slate in terms of authority. By branching out too much, you’re making the task of building a strong, authoritative presence more challenging. Instead, consider consolidating your online activities under one primary domain. If possible, make subdomains instead. Here’s some examples:
Primary Domain: https://duocollective.com/
You can see how “duocollective” is still the primary domain. If. we decided to purchase a new domain like “seocourse.com” that would hold a completely new domain authority and we would have to work twice as hard to increase it’s authority rather than just build on “duocollective.com”.
In short: While multiple URLs can have their moments, remember that building trust and authority for each one takes time. Keep it simple unless you have a team to support you.
A Final Note on Domain Authority
While boosting your domain authority is a great goal, it’s essential to remember it’s not the be-all-end-all. Think of it as your website’s reputation score. A high score indicates you’re trustworthy in the digital realm. But when it comes to ranking specific pages for specific keywords? That’s a whole different ballgame.
Just because you have high domain authority doesn’t mean you will rank for that topic or keyword. It simply scores how credible of a site you are. You still need to optimize each new page for SEO. If optimized well, those pages will help to contribute to your overall domain authority.
So, in the grand scheme of SEO, domain authority is your website’s street cred. But remember, to truly shine in the search results, every page needs its own sprinkle of SEO magic.