With so many factors contributing to search engine optimization and rank, there’s almost too many things to do. A strong domain authority can help you establish a better presence online with search and it starts with optimizations you can make on your website.
Before you get too excited, remember that boosting search rankings is a long-game, and domain authority is just one piece of the puzzle. But it can be quite relevant and is a part of website best practices.
Domain authority and SEO have a symbiotic relationship and boosting one is also good for the other. Here are five methods you can deploy.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain authority was coined by Moz, which also hosts tools to help you check and boost your score. It has evolved to a more general ranking that is rooted on plenty of search best practices.
“Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the “ranking strength” of a website over time,” is the description assigned by Moz.
Google does not use domain authority as a metric in search rank per se, but because domain authority is a cumulative metric rooted in multiple best practices there is an impact.
Domain authority is easy to understand because of the numerical ranking associated with it. It is scored on a 100-point logarithmic scale. A brand-new website, for example, will start with a domain authority score of 1.
Innately, some websites will have higher scores than others. Bigger companies and businesses automatically have more links and carry more authority than a local business with one employee, for example.
But websites with long life spans and collective links and authoritative content will grow over time. And that’s why SEO matters so much to domain authority as well as the inverse.
1. Snag a Domain and Keep Using It
Because a new domain ranks lower than an old one and because search and website traffic history carry weight, using the same domain for a longer time period is a good thing.
Older domains have longer digital tails, which show a history of people coming to your website, establish keyword history and authority, and creating legitimacy and credibility for your content.
But there is a caveat. If you change industries or branding, there can be a lot of value with a new domain as well.
So, the lesson is this: If you have a relevant domain that you have been using and works for your website or business, don’t mess with it. Keep growing on that domain, and remember to maintain URLs and redirect as necessary if you redesign your website (which will happen at some point).
If you are starting with a new business or domain, try to pick a name that’s as relevant as possible, and remember that this is a long game. With a domain authority of 1, you’ll have nowhere to go but up!
2. Create Amazing Content in Your Niche
Nothing helps search rank and domain authority like amazing content. We’ve been preaching this “content is king” philosophy for at least a decade now. That’s because it works.
Great content does a few things that make your website more relevant:
- It generates traffic from people who want to view the content and spend time on your website.
- It attracts other websites to want to link to it.
- It can establish authorship and “prestige” from top content producers, who can generate a following.
- It’s shareable and shareworthy, bringing more new users to your website.
- It connects your website and business and industry in a neat package, linked by keywords and informational credibility.
- It is part of a major series of metrics search engines use – total traffic, organic traffic, bounce rate, time on site, mentions, and return visitors – when calculating search rank, directly and indirectly.
3. Take Care with Links
Linking can be a search-rank gold mine as well as contributing factor for domain authority.
There are four elements to think about in relation to links on your website.
- Internal links: The most common problem most website has in terms of linking is associating content with other relevant content on the same website. Don’t cram pages full of internal links, but you should try to find at least one thing to link to related content on every page of your website. This internal link system shows relevance throughout the site about a certain topic or keyword.
- Link authority: Build link authority by linking to credible sites that aren’t your own. Links to other websites – that are appropriate and relevant – to quality top-level domains is important. For the most part, link authority starts with sites that end in .gov or .edu, then .org or .net, then .com, and then everything else with the exception of spammy TLDs such as .zip, .review, or .country.
- Backlinks: Websites that link to you can impact your website as well. You want more high-quality websites to link to your content, showing that your website is a valuable resource. The higher the domain authority a website that links to yours has, the more of a boost (and traffic flow) it can provide for your website. Solid backlinks help create trust between websites and establish content credibility for similar keywords or topics.
- Link cleanups: It’s a good practice to perform annual ink audits and clean up links on your site. Remove bad or broken links, anything that seems spammy, or has a poor rating as backlinked content, or is irrelevant to your website.
4. Be Zippy on All Devices
A fast website is a more relevant website. Period.
If your website is slow to load, it will reduce time on site, bum bounce rates, and generally be bad for inbound traffic from repeat users because they had a poor experience.
Do everything you can to ensure that your website loads fast on every single device type.
5. Create a Sound Structure
A solid code foundation and website structure is good for search, building domain authority, and creating a solid user experience. The rule of thumb here is to optimize where ever you can.
- Clean code without anything you don’t need.
- An understandable site structure and site map that’s easy to navigate and creates clear user paths.
- A solid content structure that removes irrelevant or out-of-date content and adds new information as necessary.
- Using appropriate metadata and tags so that search engines understand pages, content, images, videos, text hierarchy, and every other part of the website design.
Don’t expect your domain authority to jump overnight once you start doing some of the things mentioned here. It is a long game and takes patience, but the payoff is worthwhile.
The good news for you is that all of these tips and suggestions will improve your website immediately regardless of domain authority because they are rooted in search engine optimization best practices. So it’s a win-win (today and down the line).