Domain authority is a metric that has been taking on continuously greater importance over the years, and it is becoming increasingly used in strategies to grow SEO ranking.
Essentially, domain authority could be used to determine the search engine ranking of your website. The higher your domain authority is, the more likely you are to rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs) and garner more organic traffic.
Defining Domain Authority
SEO tool Moz, creator and developer of domain authority, defines the term as, “a search engine ranking store that predicts how likely a website is to rank on SERPs.”
It measures the strength of your website’s backlink profile in comparison to other competitors in your niche or other websites on their index and uses that to analyze how authoritative your website is.
In other words, it calculates how much relevant backlinks your site has, which are links to your website from other reputable, authoritative websites.
It’s worth mentioning that a higher domain authority is not directly proportionate to a higher ranking for your website on Google.
Google’s search algorithm does not factor in domain authority when ranking websites per se.
Instead, when ranking websites, it uses some of the same factors that go into increasing your domain authority. Which is why you might find that the same factors might have both increased your domain authority score and your Google ranking.
This means that what you should actually be focusing on is not to increase your domain authority (although it will also be a result), but on doing more of what adds to your score in the first place.
In this case, it’s using more high-quality backlinks from other authoritative websites, as we’ve mentioned above.
The Scale – How It’s Calculated
Domain authority runs on a logarithmic scale of 0-100.
This means that if your website is brand new, your domain authority score is likely to be 1.
In general, an average domain authority lies within the 40-50 range, and a score of 60+ means your domain authority is excellent.
Moz takes into consideration 40 different factors when calculating a website’s domain authority – the most important ones being:
- The number of incoming links pointing to your website or the number of domains linking to yours
- The number of sites those domains link to
- The domain authority or rating of the domains that link to your site
- The quality and relevancy of those backlinks
- The quality of your website
- Social signals
- Your website’s SEO performance
Let’s talk about some of them in more detail…
The Number of Domains That Link to Yours
The higher the number of websites linking to you, the higher your domain authority – only as long as they’re ‘followed’. Nofollow links neither impact your domain rating nor your search rankings.
It’s also worth mentioning that this factor only considers the number of domains that link to you, not each backlink.
This means that your domain authority increases once a site links to you for the first time. If they link to you 20 more times, it will still have the same effect on your rating as a single link.
One domain or ‘source’ of backlinks is also called a linking root domain. If you have 30 backlinks referring to your website from 3 different domains, you’ve got 3 linking root domains.
In a nutshell, the more different websites link to you, the more your ranking can improve when compared to earning several backlinks from the same domain.
The Number of Sites Referring Domains Link To
The more unique websites a domain links to, the less of an effect them linking you will have on your domain authority.
That means that if your backlink is from a domain that rarely links to other websites, this will result in more of a boost to your domain authority score than if it were from a website that links to many domains - even if they both had high domain authority.
The Domain Authority of the Linking Domains
The domain rating of the domains that link to your website plays a big role when it comes to your own domain rating.
This means that if it’s a bunch of low-quality sites linking to yours, it won’t do much for your domain authority.
What this also means is that if a site’s domain authority increases any time after it linked to you, your domain authority can in turn increase!
If anything, this shows that not only sites with high domain ratings at the time of link building are worth your time, but also ones that show potential of a higher domain authority down the line.
The Quality of Your Website’s Content
Quality content is important to achieve high search engine ranking for your website, so naturally, it could also affect your domain authority positively.
This is another one of the factors that both Google and Moz use to calculate their respective search engine rankings and domain authority, and it’s also a bit similar to the content quality factor.
Social signals are basically the popularity of your domain and content according to social media platforms. In other words, it’s how many times your content has been shared, liked, and commented on.
It is used as a standard in which that the more popularity your website or its content gain on social media, the higher its quality is assumed to be.
How Can I Check My Domain Authority?
You can simply check the domain authority for your site (or even your competitors if you want to compare) by using Moz’s free Link Explorer tool.
Moz is the creator of the domain authority metric, but there are also several valuable link authority tools you can use, such as Ahref’s Domain Rating tool or SEO Review Tools.
However, the metrics that factor into your score on each of these websites might slightly vary from one tool to another.
What’s a Good Domain Authority Score?
A ‘good’ domain authority score is only a good one when its compared to other competitors’ in your niche.
For example, if you have competitors with domain authority scores between 50 and 60, a good score for you to aim for would be between 65 and 70.
That being said, it wouldn’t make sense for you to compare your score to Google’s, for example, and assume a ‘bad’ domain authority for yourself if you’re not up to its score.
There are no good or bad domain authority scores per se – it just depends on your competitors because domain authority is a comparative metric.
Ways You Can Increase Your Domain Authority
The number one tip to boost your domain authority is to build more ‘followed’ links to your website.
But we know link building isn’t always easy – getting your domain authority to increase is a long-term process which requires gradual steps.
Build High-Quality Backlinks
If there’s anything that was reiterated throughout this article, it’s that the more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your domain authority score will be.
Achieving that in itself requires a few steps. To be able to get a high number of high-quality backlinks, you have to create great content that people would want to link to.
Most of the time, people prefer sharing content that is non-commercial and genuinely helpful. Content with valuable utility and credible citability are likely to rank better.
So, the more time you take into getting your content to be worthwhile, the better results you’re likely to get.
It’s also worthwhile to research the relevance and timeliness of your content before creating it.
Some topics are more link-worthy than others, and you can find this out by looking at the referring domains to the top-ranking pages of the topic you want to write about and seeing if it has a history of getting links.
When doing that, make sure to pay mind to the context and publication time. Some topics, hits, or websites might have a high number of referring domains but they might have been garnered a while ago when that topic was trending, meaning it would not be worth your while anymore.
Implement an Effective Link Building Strategy
A good link building strategy starts with creating good content and continues with promoting that content well.
The more you promote your content, the more eyeballs it will get, and consequently you’ll get more opportunities to backlinks.
Promoting your content within a link building strategy can be through email lists or social media platforms, but the lucrative part of it would be to approach authoritative sites and asking them to link you.
A good place to start is to reach out to people you might have featured in your content, people or websites who cover similar topics as you, or people who link to articles that also discuss similar topics to yours.
As you implement your link building strategy, make sure to focus on securing high-quality backlinks from reputable, authoritative domains instead of low-quality ones which could harm your score instead.
Guest blogging, especially when done for the more reputable domains, has an incredible snowball effect and can do wonders for your domain authority score.
When you guest blog for websites, you get to easily build backlinks by linking to your own domain.
That way, if you write content the reader likes, they’ll be more encouraged to visit your website which you’ve linked for similar content, and eventually they might link to you!
If you have important pages that you would like to rank higher, using internal links can improve SEO and in turn improve your website’s authority.
Optimizing Your Website for Mobile
Although it might seem obvious, but having a mobile-friendly website eventually factors into your domain authority.
If your website is not optimized for mobile, this might both harm your mobile search engine ranking and cost you lots of users.
After all, you can’t neglect the staggering number of online users who use their phones to browse the web.
Domain authority is an important metric that can guide your website or business towards success – but always remember that you should not be focusing on getting a higher score as much as you should be on implementing what could cause that score to increase.
Doing this will mean that you’re going good by your website in general, building it well, and walking in the right track instead of just focusing on a number.
This includes building high-quality links from authoritative websites to the important pages that you want to rank.
That and all of the steps we’ve mentioned above will get you to achieve solid rankings on search engines.