Domain authority － A term you may or may not have heard before. If you’re a startup or new to the SEO industry, it raises the questions; what is it and is it essential to my business?
In the simplest terms, domain authority is the ranking of your website compared to your competition. You can view your website ranking through many SEO tools, but it is recommended you use Moz site’s MozBar, Link Explorer, or Keyword Explorer. Why? Because they’re the creators of the idea of domain authority. But if by chance you happen to know a guy, introduced to you by your stylist, the same one that your friend’s friend’s mother goes to and chats non-stop for her duration of stay, that developed their own ranking tool and you want to support the local guy, then by all means.
Now going back on track, in this article we will go over why DA is important, why you should care, some common misconceptions, and lastly, some tips to help influence DA.
Domain Authority VS Page Authority
The technical definition of domain authority refers to the term created by Moz as a predictive score used to rank a website on a given search engine results pages(SERP for short). Page authority is another SEO term that refers to the relevance of a specific page of your website to the search engine results. A common misconception is that these terms are the same which is not true. Domain authority is the authority of the entire website, encompassing all the pages. So increasing your page authority is one of the factors to influencing domain authority. Domain authority ranking considers many factors but, focuses explicitly on the number of inbound links to your website, the domain authority of those links, and how many different domains those links appear on. In general, sites with a high number of quality inbound links such as Wikipedia or Google will have a much higher DA score. And here we have another misconception, which brings us to the next point.
Why is it Important and Should You Care?
Domain authority is not an absolute metric. I repeat this is not a score you take at face value. If, for example, say you were in the middle of reading this article, and you ventured off to look up your website’s domain ranking, and that number was 50, then at that point you’d think ‘Wow, 50/100. That’s such a crappy score’, but that is where you made a mistake. Domain authority is best used as a comparative metric against your competitors.
Let’s use a specialty burger business for our scenario, but only because burgers are universal. You have established a specialty burger store on the busy streets of London Avenue, two blocks away from the chain-giant WholeFoods, and a new specialty burger shop opens up near you. It would be ridiculous to compare yourself to WholeFoods, which probably has higher domain authority but is in a different category. It would be like comparing a heavyweight boxer to a lightweight. You want to compare yourself with competitors with similar demographics and reach as your own.
Now say your burger business has a strong following; a nicely set up four-year-old website with a domain ranking of 50, and visitors that come from all walks of life whereas the new burger joint has limited funds, so their site isn’t as established. Their domain ranking sits lower at 10. Long story short, if a vast majority of your competitors are under 50 DA, then you are likely sitting at the top end of the spectrum, my friend. So remember, domain authority isn’t an end-all, absolute score meaning, you don’t have to worry about getting your website ranking to 100; it’s not an exam. Plus, there are ways to boost your ranking, if you want to.
Measuring Domain Authority
Domain authority is measured on a 1-100 scale with increasing difficulty as you climb higher. It is set up in a way that makes it hard to influence directly. Improving your overall SEO and in particular, your link profile would help increase domain authority.
Tips to Improve
Here are some tips that will help your overall SEO and DA:
Be useful: Offer value to the customers not just from the product, service, or information but, at every step they experience on your website. Reach out to other sites to link back to your content, but make sure you provide a benefit to them as well and don’t be scammy and blatantly ask for links. Provide them with valuable content that organically links to your site.
Be interesting: Your site needs to stand out and be intriguing. You are more likely to experience brand mentions, backlinks, and shares if your website is engaging and your content is relevant and valuable.
Be up to date: If your website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, you are missing out on a large portion of traffic. Also, make sure you are updating your content regularly and doing proper internal site linking.
Content Depth: A website with thin, low-quality content won’t be seen as authoritative by Google OR the people. Always create things for PEOPLE, not search engines.
Be organized: Website errors, slow load speed, poor navigation, and interface will damage your authority. Optimize and organize your site for both search engines and searchers for a clean experience.
How Much Should You Care? Final Thoughts.
Because domain authority is a comparative metric, there will be fluctuations. Kind of like the stock market. So don’t be alarmed if (and when) your DA changes. If your DA is on the lower end of the scale, it is more likely to be impacted by the fluctuations which can be caused by higher domain authority sites experiencing link growth.
So with hundreds of factors of consideration when indexing and ranking a website, is domain authority really significant? Yes. Regarding local SEO, domain authority ranks near the top of important localized factors. Specific niche industries that benefit greatly from local SEO include medical, law, real estate, restaurants, plumbing, and even pet services. If your DA score is lower than the competition, it is a good idea to look at what they’re doing and adjust your strategy.
Although SEO and DA are essential, the quality of your content should be a top priority. No matter how well you market and promote, your efforts are wasted if Google likes your content, but readers don’t. Google isn’t your customer. So remember that.