Domain Authority: What Is It and How Do I Boost It?

Date: October 31, 2019

Even though you can’t optimize for all of Google’s ranking factors, you can focus on and optimize one of the most heavy-hitting ones: page authority.

SEO factors listed in a notebook that a man is writing in

If you think that you have every nook and cranny of SEO figured out, think again. Did you know that Google considers over 200 factors when determining who ranks where in the search engine results pages (SERPs)? That makes it nearly impossible for anyone, let alone SEO’s and marketers, to optimize a website and content for every single ranking factor. 

But, here’s the good news: Even though you can’t optimize for all of Google’s ranking factors, you can focus on and optimize one of the most important ones: page authority, or domain authority.

What is domain authority?

Here’s how Google sees it: Your domain authority speaks to the reputation that your company has as an industry expert. The search engine uses this factor to verify that you know what you’re talking about via relevant, high-quality content. If your domain authority is good, Google will boost your SEO ranking. If it’s not so good, you’ll be lucky to rank at all. 

The idea behind domain authority was developed by Moz, a highly-respected SEO company. Basically, domain authority is an SEO ranking score, from 1 to 100, that predicts how well a website will rank in the SERPs. Naturally, the higher the score, the better the rankings. 

So, what is a “good” domain authority score? That depends on how high your competitor’s domain authority is. It’s less about trying to hit a particular number and more about just having a higher score than your direct competitors. 

If you want to measure your domain authority, you can use MozBar. It’s free. 

Calculating domain authority

Moz accounts for over 40 factors when calculating domain authority, but high-quality inbound links are weighted most heavily. Websites with a high volume of quality inbound links have very high domain authority, and newer sites with little to no inbound links have low domain authority. 

There are a couple of nuances when it comes to domain authority. First, domain authority is logarithmic, meaning it’s easier to increase a lower score, say from 10 to 20, than it is to increase a high score, like from 80 to 90.

Second, your domain authority is relative to the domain authority of other high-ranking websites, meaning that your domain authority can take a hit if another highly reputable site scores a bunch of backlinks at one time. 

How to increase your domain authority

High-quality backlinks

Scoring high-quality backlinks is the foundation for boosting your domain authority, but the trick is earning those links from websites and pages that already have high authority scores. 

There are several ways to earn backlinks, including the skyscraper method, where you find a competitor with a ton of links and ultimately get all of the sites that have linked to your competitor to link to your site instead. Or, you could just ask other sites with high domain scores to link to your top content. That works too. 

Content, content, content

Sure, everyone knows that creating high-quality content is like the bread and butter of any SEO strategy, but it really matters for domain authority. Why? Because good content is measured by engagement metrics like total and organic traffic, time on site, bounce rates, and return visits. If you want to boost your site’s engagement and domain authority, you must produce high-quality content. Plus, solid content is the best way to attract the most backlinks from other websites. 

Examine your link profile

Not all backlinks are created equal. As a matter of fact, if scuzzy sites are linking back to yours, it can seriously hurt your domain authority. Google wants your link profile to include links from a high variety of high-authority sites and considers your link profile to be the tell-tale sign of how trustworthy you are. 

There are many free tools available to help you assess the health of your link portfolio, and Google’s Disavow Tool can help you recognize and remove links from sites that you don’t want to be associated with. 

Ultimately, you shouldn’t expect an overnight win when trying to boost your domain authority. That said, if you continue to try and earn quality backlinks; write engaging, quality content; and stay on top of your link profile, your domain authority will improve and so will your SEO rankings.

Need help boosting your site’s domain authority? Drop us a line.