How to Boost Your Domain Authority in 2020
The Definition, History, and Google
In search engine optimization, the concept of authority can relate to three things: pages, links, and domains. For a page authority means its effectiveness in organic ranking, and, most often, the higher this indicator, the better. In the case of links, this refers to the influence that they can transfer to the sites they lead to. Various sources also use the concepts of link weight, link juice, and others. These are subjective concepts based on perception rather than a commonly accepted metric.
Unlike links, domain authority definition first appeared thanks to the analytical service Moz. It is also closely related to the Popular PageRank page rating at the time. However, the two concepts should be distinguished. When talking about the domain authority of a particular site, it often means its leading or representative positions within a certain industry. For example, Netflix is a high profile in the entertainment industry. By entering “movies” into the search, the fifth organic result is the corresponding Netflix category.
To understand what domain authority is for a particular site or industry, you need to look at the broader picture. The extent to which a site corresponds to a particular area, how often it is associated with it determines this authority.
Naturally, the desire to influence the authority of websites has attracted an entire industry of unfair advertising and abuse of available search engine optimization tools. The desire to find domain authority and get as much information as possible about the results of their efforts has always existed among webmasters.
This is quite closely related to the history of Google PageRank, which for years served as the main source of data on the success of certain pages in search results. In March 2016, Google confirmed that PageRank data, which was previously widely used in extensions and toolbars for all major browsers, will no longer be updated. However, PageRank did not disappear, it just became an internal metric for determining domain ranking. Danny Sullivan explained his position on this issue and why this transition is for the better in his article “RIP Google PageRank Score.”
The main reason was that the PR was based on quantitative evaluations and had a difficult time taking into account the quality of links pointing to the domain. Thus, in the world of modern search engine optimization, this approach was outdated and ineffective.
However, Google has repeatedly denied the existence of such a concept as the overall authority of the domain. An example is the exchange of tweets between Gary Illyes and John Mueller.
Mueller also continues to support this position. In an AMA session on Reddit, he evaded a direct answer to Bill Hartzer’s question, continuing to deny the existence of universal domain authority anywhere other than Moz, essentially recommending this service as a domain authority checker.
The main analytical services use proprietary methods for measuring and evaluating the significance of a particular domain. Fortunately, most of them allow you to use a free domain authority checker in one form or another. For example, SEMRush evaluates the credibility of a website based on backlinks. The indicator is based on the possible significance of a particular link in terms of attracted traffic. The overall quality of the website and its compliance with the basic search engine optimization standards are considered as additional factors. Read the article based on the topic: Build High-Quality Backlinks. Additionally, the following data is used for the assessment:
- The health of the link profile- backlinks, the number of unique referring domains, the ratio of dofollow and nofollow links, and much more. There is more information on the topic in the article: Power of Nofollow Links.
- Performance of organic search, including traffic, keywords, and ranking. Read more in the article How to Do Keyword Research.
- Total monthly traffic.
SimilarWeb determines the significance of a domain by the amount of incoming traffic. As an additional factor, user engagement indicators are used to best separate sites with large volumes of low-quality traffic from established leaders.
Additionally, global and regional results are separated for each of the available categories and areas of interest.
If you are often asking, what is my domain authority, many services including Alexa, can help you get an answer. The evaluation uses a similar approach to SimilarWeb: the popularity of websites is also calculated based on traffic, but additional criteria are unique users and page views.
Data is updated daily and sites are ranked from the first to the millionth position.
Ahrefs uses the term “Website Authority” that reflects the combined strengths of the domain in terms of ranking and search engine optimization. It should not be confused with “Domain Rating.” This indicator is updated every quarter based on data about:
- the number of domain links from other sites
- the rating of referring sites
- the number of unique links from each of the sites of interest to other unique domains
After that, the data is processed to reflect what is a good domain authority on a scale from 1 to 100.
In turn, Moz claims that domain authority is an assessment of the effectiveness of ranking in search services designed to predict the most likely results. Answering the question, what is a high DA, Moz calculates this indicator on a scale from 1 to 100 and the higher it is, the better. The calculation is based on many factors, including the domains that link to the site and the total number of links.
Among the main factors influencing how to increase domain authority, Moz mentions:
- The link profile and how accurate and complete it was considered by the search algorithm.
- The growth and development of the reference mass of other sites. Since the algorithm is based on relative indicators.
- Link sources and compliance with Google ranking rules.
- The most recent results of updating site data- the number of indexed pages, and so on.
- The current relative position of the domain in the ranking. The higher the position, the more stable it is.
Tips for Existing Websites
If you already have a website and are interested in proven ways of how to build domain authority, below we have collected some basic recommendations that will help you achieve good results as quickly and easily as possible. Some recommendations will require web development skills and knowledge, but most of them can be completed independently.
Start with the most basic- the page title and description. The title may contain a mention of your brand or service or other important information about the site that can be placed in one line. The recommended page title length is up to 70 characters. If you do not know where to begin and how to approach your page titles correctly, the article How to Create Search Engine Friendly Title Tags will help you.
Intermediate or meta descriptions are often unduly ignored by webmasters. It is a summary of the content of a particular website page. The description provides context for search bots and helps them better determine the appropriate category for the page. It is also displayed in organic search results and is intended to give users a more detailed understanding of what your site is about and whether to click on the link. A good description is based on keywords, main services, offers, and the information the page contains. To learn more about how to create meta descriptions, read our article How to Build a Nice Meta Description to Get More Click-Throughs.
The header structure is another simple but useful action that can improve your search results. Use H1 and H2 headers logically so that their content correctly reflects the page structure. You can have one or more headers of each type, depending on your preferences. The main thing is that they truly represent how the content is organized. If you are using an automated visual CMS, such as Squarespace or Tilda, read the module descriptions carefully. Some may offer two fields to fill in, the actual title displayed on the page and the title for search services. Also, be careful when copying modules that offer automatic markup of the content entered for headers. For more information about headers and how to effectively use them for your site, see our article: H1 Tag: How To Create a Great Header.
To learn more about how to perform internal site optimization, read the article: Types of SEO: On-Page, Off-Page, and Technical SEO for your site.
Additionally, to Google’s basic recommendations about the quality and usefulness of the content, we suggest paying some attention to its organization and markup. Regularly performing a simple site health audit using SEMRush will help you check the presence of pages without internal links leading to them. It is also useful for searching for broken links, which often happens when renaming, migrating to a new platform, or updating protocols.
If you are using a CMS and actively blogging, be careful when editing post titles. Most often, automated CMS, such as Squarespace, generates links to publications based on the title. Accordingly, interfering with an existing title can change the link to the material with all the consequences that follow. In these cases, we recommend using redirection. To select the appropriate forwarding type and settings, read our article: 301 vs. 302 redirects.
Since this section includes everything that is not directly on the site, you will need to use special tools. There are two main areas to consider: the growth and development of the link mass, for example, through an outreach campaign, and the removal of toxic links. Here is an article on the subject: Blogger Outreach.
To increase the number of domains that link to your website, you need to evaluate its current position. A simple analysis of backlinks in any convenient analytical service will help you do this. For example, we described in detail how Ahrefs and SEMRush do this analysis in the publication Ahrefs vs. SEMrush – Which SEO Tool to Use in 2020?
To get an idea of the direction in which the site can be developed, we recommend looking at the best practices of competitors and similar projects. How to identify your real competitors based on keywords and search queries, we consider this in the article SEO Competitive Analysis. This information will help you create a list of suitable sites for analysis. Then you can either independently or use special tools to analyze their backlinks profiles and select the most suitable options.
Removing toxic links is as important a part of optimizing your site as filling it with relevant content or regularly monitoring the ranking results. To help you understand the features and tools used to analyze and evaluate the quality of linking sites, we have prepared the article What Are Bad Links?
Over time, each professional develops a personal set of favorite tools for frequently occurring tasks or standard checks. For your convenience, we have prepared a selection of several useful and free services that will significantly save time when searching for ways about how to improve the domain authority.
A special extension for the browser. For example, SEO META in 1 CLICK for Google Chrome provides a quick overview of each page of interest momentarily. It is fast and useful.
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool provides comprehensive information on the current level of site optimization. If you do not know if you need technical optimization or where to begin, this service will help you figure it out.
- To learn more about the website optimization status, use GTmetrix. You will get not only a well-structured view of the main features of improvements but also a guide to their implementation.
- Naturally, the friendliness of the site for mobile devices is extremely important. All of the services listed above support the analysis of the mobile version of the site, but if you want to get more information, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Read more in the article: Mobile Search.
- Are you using micro-markup? To learn about how to implement it correctly, Google offers a special instrument, Structured Data Testing Tool.
- Do you want to know which keywords and phrases you use most frequently on your pages? The Keyword Density Analyzer and similar services will help you get comprehensive information quickly.