Today, we’re going to talk about something that all blog owners should know about: Domain Authority (DA).
You may have heard of this term before, or it could be completely alien to you. For context, it’s all to do with SEO and Google’s algorithm. The theory is that improving your domain authority could help you rank better in search engines. But, what exactly does it mean?
Don’t worry, all will be revealed in this guide! We’ll walk you through precisely what domain authority is and why you should pay attention to it.
Domain Authority Explained
So, what is domain authority?
Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score from 1 to 100. Its purpose is to show how likely a website is to rank in search engine results pages. Put simply, the higher your DA score, the more likely it is that you will rank well in the SERPs most relevant to your blog.
Most people think that Domain Authority comes directly from Google. On the contrary, it was actually developed by the marketing firm Moz. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ll know how secretive Google is with its ranking factors and SEO. It gives you little snippets of info now and then with algorithm updates, but nobody truly knows how it determines page rankings and which sites go where.
Domain Authority is widely regarded as the most reliable predictive metric you can use to see how well your blog will rank. But, it’s crucial to note that it is only a prediction. There are numerous reports that Google doesn’t use DA as a proper ranking factor. It’s merely a tool or metric that gives you a good idea of how SEO-friendly your blog is.
What Determines A Good Domain Authority Score?
As mentioned, your DA score can range from 1 to 100. What determines where your website lies on this scale?
Interestingly, DA is all to do with comparing websites. Your score is relative to your search rivals. This means you could have a fantastic DA one day, but the next day your score drops despite nothing changing on your site.
So, going back to the initial question, what determines your score? Moz states that scores are calculated by a machine-learning algorithm that takes upwards of 40 different ranking factors into account. Primarily, the main focus is on link profiles.
What are link profiles?
Every website or blog will have its own link profile. This is a reflection of all the backlinks pointing to your site from external sources. You can have a healthy link profile or an unhealthy one depending on the backlinks in question.
For example, an unhealthy link profile is one that barely has any backlinks. Or, you have plenty of links directing people to your site, but they’re from terrible sources.
Healthy link profiles are ones with lots of quality backlinks directing traffic to your site. This tells Google that your website is trustworthy and authoritative because all of these trusted sources are linking to you.
Consequently, sites with healthy link profiles composed of many quality backlinks are likely to have excellent DA scores. Your domain is seen as an authority source because other authority sources are linking to you. Therefore, your blog is likely to rank higher in searches.
Why Should Bloggers Care About DA?
At this point in the guide, you’re probably wondering why Domain Authority is worth caring about. After all, didn’t we say it’s not technically a ranking factor? Yes, that is true, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about your DA as a blogger.
Domain Authority is a brilliant way of understanding a couple of key things about your blog:
- The health of your link profile
- How well your blog stands up to its competitors
When obtaining your Domain Authority, you’ll learn a lot about your link-building strategy and the backlinks directing people to your site. This provides so much information on where you can improve. If your score is terrible, you know that you need to focus on generating more backlinks from high-quality traffic sources.
At the same time, DA is an excellent way of comparing your blog to rival blogs. Most tools that let you check DA will show you the other sites with higher scores than you. Now, you know who your biggest rivals are, allowing you to focus on beating them and improving your DA so theirs goes down. You can carry out competitive research to look at their sites and see what they’re doing better than you. From here, adjust your strategy to beat them!
Despite not being a ranking factor itself Domain Authority still provides information on how well your site is likely to rank. It also encourages you to do something that many bloggers neglect: link-building! Getting links from authoritative sources is always a huge ranking factor. Google likes to place websites high in the rankings when it believes they’re trustworthy and worthwhile. The best way to know this is by seeing how many other sites link to a website. Better yet, if these sites are already known to be authoritative, it means the site they’re linking to must also be trustworthy, right?!
So, yes, you should care about Domain Authority for your blog. Focus on maintaining an above-average score and it could translate to better search engine performances for your chosen keywords.
How To Improve Domain Authority
Following on from above, another reason to take DA seriously is that you will improve your site’s SEO if you focus on improving your DA.
How does that work?
Well, think back to what influences your DA score. We mentioned link profiles, and having a healthy link profile will improve your SEO. Yes, this includes backlinks, but it also takes your external links into account. If you link outwards to trusted sites, while generating inbound links from authority sources, your search engine performance is highly likely to improve.
Additionally, you can improve your DA by simply doing things that boost SEO. Running a good social media strategy to promote your blog posts has a hugely positive effect. Why? Because you’re directing organic traffic to your site. Websites or blogs that get a lot of organic traffic are seen as authoritative sources by Google. Therefore, you’re likely to get a bit of a ranking boost which means people are more likely to visit your blog than others, improving your Domain Authority.
The same goes for things like bounce rate or UX. A low bounce rate shows that people visit your blog and stay there for a decent amount of time. It shows you’re creating a good user experience – which can also be influenced by page loading speeds or your site’s structure.
It would be remiss of us to not talk about content here. When blogging, content is the main thing driving people to your site. Creating high-quality content that adds value to Google is always the best way to soar up the rankings. Google wants to direct its users to sites that answer their search queries or provide insights into things. Conduct keyword research to further optimise your blog posts for search engines. Learn the best way to structure each post using headings, meta descriptions, alt tags and so on.
These are all good SEO practices, but they also influence your Domain Authority. The more we talk about it, the clearer it is that DA and SEO are closely linked. Improving your search engine optimisation will improve your Domain Authority.
How Do You Measure Domain Authority?
We mentioned that Domain Authority was initially created by Moz. As such, there are two free tools offered by them.
The first is MozBar – which is a Chrome Extension you add to your toolbar and it automatically shows you the Domain Authority for your blog and any other website you’re on.
The second is the Free Domain Authority Checker where you simply enter a domain into the search box and get data on its authority. You can do this up to three times per day – if you need additional checks, it might be worth getting Moz Pro, but that’s entirely up to you!
In conclusion, Domain Authority is a score that shows the probability of your blog ranking in search engines compared to rival sites. It is not an SEO ranking factor, but it is a good way of measuring the searchability of your site. Your score is largely influenced by backlinks, but following good SEO practices will also improve it.
That’s the key thing to take from this guide. You should use Domain Authority as an indicator of the overall success of your SEO strategy. If your DA is constantly high, it means your site is well-optimised for search engines and has a high chance of outranking its rivals. From here, you get more eyes on your blog posts!