What is Domain Authority (And How You Can Increase It)
If you own a website, your biggest goal is probably getting your content onto the first page of Google, right?. This is where you can see consistent targeted traffic (AKA customers) coming to your business every month.
While many people aim for the first page, very few achieve it (only 10, actually). The search engines could be hating on your website for many things; including poor dwell time, horrible click-through rates, or lack of useful content. Whatever the reason, my job is to help you become Google’s best friend.
Many different factors play a role in your ranking, but one of the biggest is how high your “Domain Authority” is.
What exactly is Domain Authority?
Let’s say you have two friends, one has done nothing but good things for you and you absolutely love them for it. While the second friend doesn’t show up when you really need them and sometimes you feel anxious telling them secrets. After being around them both for a while, you’ll start to put more favor on the friend that is doing good things, right?
Domain Authority is a ranking factor used by search engines to determine the quality of the content on a whole domain. Search engines use Domain Authority to predict how credible a webpage is. DA is calculated using many factors, but links from other webpages have been proven to be the most correlated with a higher number.
Google ranks every website on the Internet from 1-100 on how well they can be trusted. If you’re wanting to rank up, you’ll need to make sure that you adhere to some of the factors that play a role. If a couple 100s say "yo, that website is soooo cool!", then Google's going to trust you... because the other 100s trust you.
Domain Authority was originally coined by the Company MOZ (more about domain authority), but has been used widely since.
How to Boost Your Domain Authority
While Google hasn’t come straight out and told us all the factors that play a part in ranking, they have given us some clues.
Just a few, really simple changes to your process can help you improve your Domain Authority and get Google to trust you more. Remember that this isn’t an overnight process, most companies spend months working on their Domain Authority before seeing results. Don’t let this get you discouraged though. It’s just a time-game when you know these tips!
Here are the ways you can increase your Domain Authority.
1) Create Quality SEO Optimized Content
It’s estimated that there are more than 380 websites created per minute. This is why it’s crucial that your content is SEO optimized so Google can easily scan it and promote it.
Many know that Google is a powerhouse of a Search Engine, but not many know how they figure out which content is valuable and will help their users. Google uses “Crawlers”, which are basically robots to search millions of web pages every minute and decides what the content is about and how reputable it its.
To increase your Domain Authority, you need to make it easy for Google to know what your content is about. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of making it easier for Google to know what your webpage is about.
You can optimized your webpage by doing this 1 Simple Trick:
Keywords are the main words that make it possible for someone to find you through a Search Engine. When writing your content, make sure that you include words that tell Google what you’re talking about.
For example… When I wrote this article I made sure to incorporate around 4-5% of the word “Domain Authority”. Now, most white-hat SEO consultants say 4-5% keyword density is needed for great rankings, but honestly... If you're focusing on creating great content, your keyword density will be perfect!
When writing, you can check your keyword densities on Wordcounter.net. Just copy and paste your article over, and they'll check it for free!
For example… If I was writing about "blogging for beginners", I would make sure that the word “Blogging for Beginners” was in the title, the description, metadata, and specifically a H1 heading on the page.
For more tips, check out my full guide on SEO Optimizing a Blog Post.
2) Work on Guest Posting
Domain Authority is all about showing Google that you’re a trustworthy site. If they promote a piece of your content that isn’t correct and someone reads it and their question isn’t answered, then Google looks bad for not delivering. To punish you, Google lowers your rankings.
For you to show that you’re a trustworthy site, you’ll need to start building more backlinks. While there are both Internal and External Backlinks, we’ll be focusing on the links coming from other domains.
The reason that Backlinks are so important is because it shows Google that your website has great content... by others referencing it. Would you rather buy a product with 3 reviews, or 3,000 reviews? Exactly!
Basically, if Google trusts a website, and that website talks about your blog, then your overall score will increase.
One of the most sought out methods of building backlinks is to "guest post" on websites with a higher domain authority than you. A guest post is where you’ll write up content on a certain subject that relates to the other person's website so it helps their reader and in return you’ll have a link to one of your articles within the post.
DO NOT GUEST POST ON BLOGS THAT TALK ABOUT OTHER NICHES!
Here is a quick list of websites that accept guest posts with a high domain authority.
I highly recommend sticking to websites in your Niche though, this will show Google that you’re becoming a leading figure in your industry, and not doing shady link-building tactics (you know, the ones Google could punish you for?)
Once you find a website you want to post on, think of ideas for an article. It needs to be content that will be beneficial to their audiences. Something to actually add value!
Now that you have a great post idea, go ahead and email the blogger or website owner. Use the first email to introduce yourself and say ‘Thank you for taking the time to read my offer”. Also tell them how the post will be beneficial to them: will it bring more social shares? Is it something that hasn’t been talked about yet?
This is the place where many get discouraged, as most website owners won’t respond. To win with guest posts, you need to use the numbers. Find 100s of blogs in your niche and even outsource this task if needed (it's very monotonous).
Check out this article for more information on How to Write The Perfect Guest Post Pitch.
3) Page Speed
One of the most underrated factors in your Domain Authority is your website's page loading speed. While it shouldn’t be 100% of your focus, you should be concerned on if your website is loading slower than 3 seconds.
Google wants to provide their users with answers fast. This means that your website also needs to be fast.
Here are a few ways you can make your page speed faster:
- Compress Images: Crystal clear cost come at a cost: large file size. These larger files cause your website to slow down and load slower. Before you upload your files make sure that you’ve compressed them either from get go or use websites like Compressor.io.
- Host Speed: Most of us think that the pictures and other items on our website are what are slowing us down. But your host might be what is slowing you done. Many hosts offer shared hosting for cheaper discounts. Contact your host to see if you can increase your bandwidth and other items.
- Image Type: Are your images .JPG, .PNG, or .GIF? While file types go unnoticed, they do make a big effect on your sites loading speed. JPEG images are the smallest in size.
All these different things can increase the speed of your webpage, and ultimately your domain authority. Though it might not seem like a big problem at the moment, your speed can cause people to leave your page and show Google that it’s not that important.
To test your websites speed, I love to use Pingdom.
4) Encourage Social Media Sharing
There has been some debate on if Google actually uses social shares as a way to judge a website's Domain Authority. But I think they do, as one of my most shared articles on Practical Psychology includes a backlink from a Youtube video that went viral.
In 2014, Google released a statement which said that they do use Facebook and Youtube shares as a way to see if a piece of content is valuable or not. Though, they don’t tell us how much weight is put into social sharing. Do shares matter after 10 shares? Do you need 1000 before they start counting it?
This is why it’s important now that you make sure you’re asking your audience to share your content. Even more important... that you're creating content that is so awesome, it's worth sharing! If you have your website already, you can implement a few different methods to increase social sharing, it’s good to encourage it.
Here are a few ways to encourage social sharing:
- Just Ask: If someone is reading your content, then you’re building a relationship with them. I would ask in the middle or towards the end of your content for them to share. It could be as simple as saying “If you’ve found value, please share with a friend”. Most will want to share with someone they know.
- Include A Social Bar: These are social bars at either the top or on the side of your content. They include links to Facebook, Youtube, and any other platform that your content would do well on. If you’re using WordPress, a plugin I use is “Social Shares”
- Include Humor: Content that is funny and increases someone's mood will increase your shares. Try adding more little witty jokes in your next post and see how well it performs.
These are just a few ways to increase your social shares. Remember, social sharing is almost like rolling a snowball down a hill. The more it rolls, the bigger it gets!
Quick Tip: To increase both social shares and backlinks, make sure to post your content on as many relevant social media platforms as you can.
5) Create Linkable Content
This branches from the Guest Post, but means more about your content. Just as you’ve been focusing on SEO, you also need to make sure that you’re creating posts that are linkable.
Linkable content is content that other creators can find useful. Maybe they don't want to spend 5000 words explaining how to properly read your SEO analytics, but you've written a 2000 word post on why it is important.
As another example… Above in this article, you can see that I include many different links, these are all links to other posts (some are mine, most aren't). Your goal is to create content that gets other websites to link to your content.
These posts can include:
- List Posts: These posts are easily able to be skimmed through and shared. For example… "13 Tricks to Increase Your Memory"
- How-To’s: How-To’s are where you’ll explain how to do something in the certain field and then it’ll be easier for your reader to share your content. For example… "How to Write A Blog Post"
- Expert Tip Roundups: These posts are great for getting links, find a topic and include all the expert tips on it (email them, and they might share it when you're done!). For example… "13 things High-Income Bloggers Don't Recommend"
These posts are all able to be shared easily and should entice other audiences around your niche.
Domain Authority doesn’t need to be scary and it doesn’t need to be only achievable by large companies. Use these 5 tips to start boosting your Domain Authority today.
Before I leave I want to give a recap on everything you’ve learned:
- SEO Optimize Your Content: Make it easy for google to understand what your content and website is about.
- Start Guest Posting: Find websites to write content for. This’ll show Google that other websites trust you and that they can also.
- Speed Up Your Website: Website is often overlooked. Though little changes can boost your website speed. You can see your website speed at Pingdom.
- Encourage Social Media Sharing: Show google that people are loving your content. Include call to actions and social share buttons within your post.
- Create Clickable Content: Think of new post ideas where other websites can easily link to your content. Unlike guest posts, this traffic is coming to learn something also.
If you’ve found value in this please go ahead and share with a friend.