How to increase your domain authority?
That's the question all bloggers ask themselves.
Because higher domain authority means higher rankings in the search results.
But how much domain authority do you need?
Before answering that question, I should explain that Google doesn't use domain authority.
DA is a metric created by Moz to predict how well a domain will rank on Google.
If you want to find your own DA, just head over to OpenSiteExplorer.org and type in the URL of your website. Then hit 'Search'.
If the DA for your website is less than about 20, it's going to be difficult for you to rank on page 1 of the Google search results for any of the keywords that you're chasing.
So how can you increase your domain authority? And how long will it take?
The short answer is:
- by creating content that other sites link to and
- it will take time (we’re talking months rather than weeks).
At this point you may be feeling like someone just took the wind out of your sails, like a sailing boat becalmed on the high seas.
But that’s not the case at all.
There are many other sources of traffic that are independent of Google. And you can tap into them right away (more on that later).
Use those alternative traffic streams while you take steps to increase your domain authority.
But first, let’s look more closely at DA.
What Is Domain Authority?
DA is a metric on a scale of 10 to 100, created by Moz, that predicts a website's performance in search engine rankings.
Here are some important facts about Domain Authority:
- DA rank is based on over 40 factors, including (1) the number of links pointing to your site from other websites, (2) the Domain Authority of those sites that link to your site, and (3) the age of your website.
- Although Domain Authority is not a concept or term that Google uses, the Google algorithm takes these factors into account when deciding how to rank a web page.
- Because DA is a logarithmic scale, each increment represents an increase by a factor of 10 rather than by equal increments
- For this reason, it is much easier to go from a DA of 10 to a DA of 30 than it is to go from a DA of 70 to a DA of 80
To easily see the DA of your own or any other website, simply install the Moz SEO Toolbar Chrome Extension.
Once you’ve installed it, you’ll need to sign up for a free Moz account.
When you’ve activated your Moz account, the Moz Chrome Extension will display a small black box with a green bar. Inside that box is a number that shows the Domain Authority of the site you’re currently visiting.
In the screenshot below, the Moz Extension shows a DA of 100 for Wikipedia:
Eleven Ways to Increase Your Domain Authority
1. Publish Content That People Link To
It may be a cliché but its true: content is King.
You need other sites to link to your site and the only (legitimate) way to achieve that is to create content that other people want to link to.
Write long-form articles that cover a topic in-depth. Examples are definitive guides and tutorials.
If possible, include an infographic or two.
This will earn you high authority backlinks. And that will increase your domain authority.
2. Check Your On-Page SEO
Optimizing the on-page SEO factors for each of your blog posts will also help to increase your Domain Authority.
For more information on this, read Neil Patel’s On-Page SEO Cheat Sheet.
3. Improve Internal Linking
Linking from within your blog post to other blog posts on your website will improve user experience and increase the time that visitors spend on your site.
These are both factors that Google’s algorithm measures. So Internal Linking will also increase your domain authority.
For information on how to do Internal Linking, read the Moz Guide on Internal Links.
4. Do Some Guest Posting
Guest Posting will increase traffic to your site and increase the number of sites linking to your site.
So Guest Posting will also increase your Domain Authority. For an excellent guide on Guest Posting, read Brian Dean’s article, referred to below:
5. Get Some Social Signals
Google monitors the number of times your blog post is shared on social media.
These ‘social signals’ are part of the algorithm that determines how high your page will rank in the search results. More social media shares means higher DA.
For a detailed guide on getting more social media shares for your blog post, read Adam Connell’s How To Get More Social Shares: The Definitive Guide For Bloggers.
6. Buy an Aged Domain
A big part of Domain Authority is simply the age of the domain.
One strategy some people use is to purchase an Aged Domain in the After Market and then use it as their blogging platform. If the Aged Domain has a good DA this technique can save you the 6 to 12 months it normally takes for a brand new domain to acquire Domain Authority.
An alternative strategy is to point an Aged Domain to your brand new domain. The new domain then acquires some of the Domain Authority of the Aged Domain.
For an excellent introduction to buying and using Aged Domains, read Brandon Gaille’s The Right Domain Name Strategy Can Make or Break Your Blog.
7. Blog Frequently and Regularly
Google's algorithm seems to favor recency of content.
By blogging frequently and regularly (i.e. at regular intervals), the algorithm will look kindly on you. And that's going to improve your DA.
8. Reduce Site Loading Time
Site loading time is another factor that Google measures. Its part of the algorithm that determines how high your site ranks.
But it also impacts visitor behavior.
Let’s say someone clicks on your site from a Google search results page and then clicks the back button because your site is taking too long to load.
Google is watching that and is going to push your page further down the results (because they’re constantly trying to improve user experience).
For some great tips on how to reduce load time, read Kathryn Aragon's 10 Ways to Speed Up Your Website – and Improve Conversion by 7%.
9. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
51.3% of all web visits are now made from a mobile device. (Source)
If your site is not optimized for mobile, you will you lose a large chunk of your potential traffic.
But more than that, Google will notice that your site is not mobile-friendly and will penalize you in the mobile search engine rankings.
So a mobile responsive website design is another factor that will increase your Domain Authority.
StudioPress has some great mobile-responsive WordPress themes. I can recommend them because I'm using one of them for this website.
Also, StudioPress themes are well-known for being SEO-friendly.
10. Remove Toxic Backlinks
Toxic links are backlinks that damage your link profile.
To keep track of toxic backlinks, use a backlink checking tool like Monitor Backlinks. This tool picks up new links to your website and tells you which links are harming your link profile.
Typically, these links come from web pages that:
- are not indexed in Google
- have low Majestic Trust Flow
- have a high number of external links (>100)
- use unnatural anchor text
- have spammy looking domain names, containing numbers and dots
The acid test is to visit the site that’s linking to you. You’ll see straight away whether or not it’s a legitimate website.
Ideally you should approach the source of the toxic link and ask them to remove it.
But that’s going to be very time-consuming. Also, the offending website is unlikely to oblige. They may even want to charge you to have the bad link removed.
So, the next best thing is to use Google’s Disavow Tool.
Your backlink monitoring tool will compile a list of bad backlinks. You can then disavow those toxic links by submitting the list to Google.
Here’s an article on how to disavow toxic backlinks.
11. Improve Your Internal Linking Structure
A well-organized internal linking structure helps your visitors find their way around your website.
If you add ‘Related Post’ links at the foot of each article, your visitors will end up spending more time on your site. And that’s going to improve your SEO, which will improve your domain authority.
Also, the more internal links you have, the easier it is for search engines to crawl your site. And that means more indexed pages. Which will also help to improve your DA.
Here’s an article on how to improve your internal linking structure
Bonus Tip: Create Infographics
One of the easiest ways to get external links from high DA websites is by creating and publishing Infographics.
Good quality infographics that display the latest statistics on a particular topic have a good chance of being linked to by a news site.
And news sites typically have very high Domain Authority:
- CNN: DA = 98
- BBC News: DA = 96
- Reuters: DA = 95
- Forbes: DA = 90
- Huffington Post: DA = 72
As Brandon Gaille explains, one or two links from a high DA news site can do more for your website rankings than hundreds of links from run-of-the-mill blogging sites.
When you create Infographics you give yourself a huge advantage over other creators of content.
This is because only 1000 Infographics are published every day. This compares with 2 million blog posts published every day. (Source)
Obviously, you have a much better chance of getting a link from an Infographic than from a blog post.
Not only that:
- An infographic is 30 times more likely to be read than a purely textual article. (Source)
- Infographics are "liked" and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content. (Source)
What To Do While You’re Waiting?
Increasing your Domain Authority takes time. It can take a year or more to take a domain from a DAof 0 to a DA of 30.
There's some evidence that Google places all new websites on probation for a period of up to 6 months.
Referred to as the ‘March 2004 Sandbox filter’ (because that’s the date it was first noticed), the effect is that new websites rank lower than would otherwise be expected for a certain period of time.
That period of time can range from 1 to 6 months, with three to four months being the most common timeframe. (Source)
So what can you do to get traffic in the meantime?
There are many ways of getting traffic to your site quickly without waiting for your blog posts to rank in Google.
Here are just some of them:
Forum commenting – Some people have had great success with this technique. Read for example, Matthew Woodward’s blog post How I Drive Traffic To My Blog. The advantage of answering questions on forums is that these are people who are pre-qualified as being highly interested in your content.
Domain Authority is vital for getting your blog posts listed on the first page of search results.
Two of the most important factors that determine DA are:
- age of your domain
- number and quality of external links
Other than buying an aged domain that already has high Domain Authority, there are no shortcuts to getting a higher DA.
The surest way to increase your website's Domain Authority is to create high quality content that gets linked to by other websites.
And that takes time.
There’s no short-term fix for domain authority. Especially when you consider that your new domain may be in the Google Sandbox for up to 6 months.
But while you’re creating all that high quality content and getting all those external links, there are plenty of alternative traffic sources you can tap into.