There are a lot of factors that impact how well your website performs in search engine rankings. From site loading speeds to the quality of your content, making sure your website gets seen by the right audience requires a multi-dimensional approach.
If you’ve been trying to build your digital presence, you may have come across the term domain authority, but understanding exactly what it is and how it fits into the SEO landscape is another matter entirely.
In this blog, we aim to demystify domain authority, helping you to understand its role in how well your site ranks and how it can be leveraged to improve your SEO.
What is Domain Authority?
Developed by Moz, domain authority (DA) is a score that allows you to measure the likelihood of your website ranking in search engine results pages. However, unlike keyword optimisation and backlinks, domain authority isn’t actually a ranking factor. This means that while domain authority can give you a good indication of how well your website is doing, search engines don’t monitor the score itself.
While it was Moz’s machine learning algorithm that made domain authority possible, you can now find and track similar metrics through a range of SEO tools that have followed suit. Many tools also allow you to compare your domain authority score against that of your competitors, giving you a better idea of where your site is positioned within your industry.
How to Check Your Domain Authority
It’s completely free to check your domain authority with Moz’s Link Explorer tool. Simply sign up for an account and enter the root domains you want to check. Not only will you gain access to your domain authority, but you’ll also be able to see how many linking domains and inbound links you have, as well as the number of keywords your website ranks for in Google’s top 50 results.
What is a Good Domain Authority Score?
Domain authority is subjective, so there’s no magic number that every website should be aiming for. Moz measures domain authority on a scale of 1 to 100, and while higher scores are more likely to perform better in search engine results pages, that doesn’t mean that lower scores are necessarily bad.
For instance, if your website is brand new or relatively young, a low domain authority score is to be expected. Regardless of how well-optimised your site is, it takes time to build your domain authority. Larger sites are also more likely to have a higher domain authority than those of smaller businesses. This is because your DA score is at least partially influenced by the number and quality of your backlinks, and larger websites are more likely to have a wider-reaching influence than smaller ones.
The best way to judge whether your domain authority score is on track is by comparing it to those of your competitors. After all, these are the sites you will be hoping to outrank on Google, so they should be able to provide you with an idea of the best domain authority scores range to be in.
Domain Authority and Page Authority: What’s the Difference?
Domain authority measures how likely it is for a whole website to rank well in Google search results, whereas page authority hones in on a particular web page. Page authority can vary significantly across a website, regardless of its domain authority, so if you’ve noticed a particular page isn’t ranking, it could be worth checking its page authority to investigate the problem.
Page authority is also useful when performing audits, as you’ll be able to quickly determine which pages on your website need some extra work. Ideally, you want your homepage and any key landing pages to have the highest page authority scores, but it’s important not to
How to Improve Your Domain Authority
While there’s no gold standard for domain authority scores, increasing your domain authority is unlikely to hurt your website’s chances of being seen. If you’ve already been thinking about your website’s SEO and the value it brings to your audience, you’re probably already on the right track. However, implementing some of the following steps should help you to build your website’s domain authority to even greater heights:
Prioritise High-Quality Links
Having a high number of linking root domains can have a big impact on your site’s domain rating, but this impact will only be a positive one if these domains have a high authority score themselves. Building lots of low-quality links from sites that have little value and are unrelated to your industry will only reduce your domain authority and make it harder to rank for your target keywords. If you think some of your current referring domains could be having a negative impact on your website, conduct an in-depth link audit and start building links in the right way.
Optimise Your Content
High-quality content that provides real value to users is an effective way to not only increase domain authority but to rank for relevant keywords. As more of your content starts to rank and gain traffic, you’ll be more likely to earn backlinks naturally. Search engines will begin to view your website as an authority on a particular subject matter and your domain rating should increase.
To make this task more manageable, check the page authority score for each of your pages and begin optimising your existing content from there. Analyse search engine results pages and keywords to determine which pages have potential and which ones aren’t worth updating.
Conduct Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis should be at the heart of your domain authority journey, as it will help you to understand what you should be aiming for. However, competitor analysis can also help you to find link building opportunities and give you new ideas for content. For example, if a competing website has a great link profile, investigate which sites they used to build backlinks and reach out to them yourself. Similarly, if competitors are all covering similar blog topics, you may want to add your own fresh perspective to the conversation and target the same keywords.
Domain authority is just one part of a website’s digital strategy, but it’s a great place to begin. Use Moz’s domain authority checker to find out how your site compares to the competition and begin building an SEO strategy that will help you grow your business.