Everyone with a website knows about DA — but how can you give yours a much-needed boost? Let’s discuss how to build domain authority the right way.
Domain authority can be a contentious issue for digital marketers. A lot of us like to pretend it doesn’t matter. But the reality isn’t so black and white. It’s certainly not the be-all-and-end-all, but it is an indicator of success in many ways. A high domain authority indicates you’ve been around for a while, that you create sharable and linkable content and that your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) knowledge is up to scratch. But a website with a low domain authority is unlikely to be found on the first few pages of Google for its target keywords, meaning it likely won’t be found organically — and we all know the importance of organic search.
Fortunately, as digital marketing experts who’ve been in the game for a long time, and who have helped many clients gradually build their domain authority, we can give you a nudge in the right direction.
The first thing to highlight is that building domain authority is not easy, nor is there a way you can cheat to boost your DA. It requires a lot of work, patience and perseverance. It can be time-consuming and frustrating — if there is one thing every digital marketer knows, it’s that just as soon as you get used to following one set of rules, Google updates its algorithm and we all have to adjust — we’re all constantly learning and changing to appease the Google gods.
The one question we often get asked by prospective clients and influencers when it comes to their websites is, “How can you build domain authority?”
Is it all about backlinks?
How often does domain authority get updated?
Is it even important?
When it comes to building the DA of your children’s brand, there are said to be over 40 factors to consider, but the ones we’ve listed below are largely considered the most important.
Grab a coffee. We’ve got you for a while.
What is Domain Authority (DA)?
Domain authority is a metric developed by Moz, and it’s a factor in predicting how well a website will rank in the search engine results. The higher you rank in search engines, the more potential eyes you can get on your site.
Domain authority is scored on a scale of 1 to 100. It is much easier, and quicker, to build a domain authority from 0 to 20 than to go from 20 to 40, and so on. Don’t worry if your progress stalls over time. Realistically, you’ll never hit 100. Even the very best blogs tend to have a DA of around 65.
It’s important to remember that domain authority isn’t a ranking factor. Having a high DA doesn’t mean you’ll dominate the search results. It is more likely, though, purely because you’ll likely have all the signals Google is looking for.
But that doesn’t mean that DA isn’t worth focusing on. If you’re an influencer, having a higher domain authority can make you more valuable and be a crucial factor for PR firms determining who to collaborate with. For businesses, a higher domain authority will indicate a diverse and high-quality backlink profile, which is an important ranking factor.
How to Build Domain Authority
Here are ten effective methods to improve your domain authority over time — tried and tested by experienced digital marketers.
1. Have a Relevant, Appropriate Domain Name
If you’re going to set up a new website, a well-suited domain name will give you an early boost. It certainly isn’t as effective as it used to be — when Google’s algorithm was in its infancy, it was almost stupidly easy for a plumber in Liverpool to rank in position one for “liverpool plumber” simply by having the domain, liverpoolplumber.com.
While that’s not quite the case anymore, your domain can act as a relevancy signal. Take our company name — Enchanting Digital. We offer digital marketing services, so the name is highly relevant. Some great examples are The Baby Hamper Company and The Baby Boutique. This isn’t just good practice from an SEO perspective, though. Never forget that you’re targeting real, human people. And human people want to know that they’re in the right place, so your domain of choice is a great way to tell visitors exactly what they can expect.
2. Build Backlinks to Your Website…
If there’s one thing most know, it’s that the number of backlinks pointing to your website is a vital part of building domain authority. It’s important to know how to build backlinks to your website, absolutely, but it’s not that simple.
You could have 30 backlinks from a single website, but that won’t be as valuable as having 10 links, each from a different website. The number of linking domains matters just as much as the links themselves, so spread your net wide.
And just to throw another spanner in the works, the best type of backlink to build is one that’s relevant. If you sell children’s toys, a link from a parenting blog will boost your domain authority far more than a link from a site that sells dog collars — even if it’s the most popular and authoritative dog collar shop online!
3. …But Make Sure They’re Quality Links
There’s no sense in getting lots of backlinks if they’re terrible quality. If you have lots of low-quality or spammy backlinks, it’ll reflect in your domain authority. This is a big reason marketers recommend regularly taking stock of your backlinks and disavowing any low-quality ones. This won’t actually remove the backlink, but it will tell Google to ignore it, preventing it from negatively impacting your DA. Take the time every now and then to conduct a link audit and disavow bad backlinks. This will clean up your backlink profile and ultimately increase your domain authority.
4. Link to High-Authority Sources
Some say that paying attention to your outbound links (links from your website to others) is one of the most undervalued tactics in content marketing. Outbound links are important to the user experience and SEO. By linking to high-quality, well-researched materials, you can piggyback off of their credibility and trustworthiness, because Google wants to rank content that is backed by reputable, relevant sources.
For full transparency, we’ll tell you Google flat out denies that linking to authoritative external content is a factor when it comes to ranking or domain authority. We wouldn’t want to liken the search engine to a loveable puppet with a long nose, but test after test proves that it plays some part. Whatever official stance Google takes on the subject, it’s simply good practice to link to trusted sources. You want to give your website visitors the best possible experience and arm them with correct knowledge, not lead them astray. So if you’re writing an article about baby health, for example, the occasional anecdotal evidence is fine, but make sure you do your research and also link to trusted medical sources.
5. Create Quality Content, Regularly
When it comes to improving domain authority, this is one of the most important factors. Just focus on writing addictive, engaging, shareable content that people love, and do it often, and you’re golden. The more linkable your content, the more organic backlinks it will earn over time, all on its own. Evergreen content (content that is always relevant) is great for this, but don’t be afraid to go back and update once-popular posts to keep them up to date.
6. Produce Shareable Content
Social signals are an increasingly important factor for Google to identify and rank quality content. The number of retweets, likes and shares all matter. They’re clear indicators that your material is enjoyed and well-received, so Google will make it easier for people to find by boosting your ranking. Social media should never be your sole channel, but don’t neglect it either. Share your content and connect with your audience. Create material they’ll love so they will want to share it.
It’s a great idea to get other people involved with posts and create collaborative material. When you have a number of people invested in the success of a post, the odds of it being well-shared are much greater.
7. Don’t Forget SEO and Your Site Structure
Unsurprisingly, following SEO best practice will affect your domain authority. Abide by SEO basics (such as internal linking, appropriate use of anchor text, title tags, image alt tags, etc.) and make sure your website is user-friendly.
Internal linking is an area where a lot of people fall down. Some website and business owners get so fixated on backlinks that they overlook internal links, which is a huge mistake. Internal links improve your link structure, direct your readers to other, interesting posts and improve user experience.
Internal links also make it much easier for Google to index your entire site. When linking internally, try to use appropriate anchor text (ideally, the keyword you want the linked page to rank for) — this will tell Google what the page you’re linking to is actually about.
8. Have a Mobile-Friendly Website
Ever since Google moved to mobile-first indexing, having a mobile-friendly website has become more important than ever. With more and more people viewing websites on their phones, if yours isn’t optimised to look good on mobile, your rankings will drop, and the visitors who do come to your site via mobile won’t stick around for a poor user experience.
Google’s free tool is a quick, easy and free way to see whether your website is mobile-friendly.
9. Improve Your Loading Speed
A poor loading speed can cause visitors to bounce right back to the search results before your website has even loaded. If users get frustrated and leave immediately, not only will your rankings dwindle, but you’ll struggle to convert visitors and make money — the reason you want to improve your domain authority in the first place. If you’re doing everything else right and still not seeing an uptick in bounce rate, check out your loading speed. This speed test tool will show you your loading speed and give you handy recommendations for improving it.
10. Get an SSL Certificate
This is a simple, quick way to boost DA. Google has publicly announced that HTTPS sites (sites with an SSL certificate) get better ranking than domains that are unsecure. In fact, Google has said that getting an SSL certificate is the easiest single thing you can do to boost SEO ranking. Google prefers websites that are both trusted and certified. And so do users. If you come across an unsecure website, are you really going to trust that your personal details are safe? Your visitors will have the same concerns if your domain isn’t secure.
To check whether you have an SSL certificate, visit Why No Padlock?.
Be Patient — A Higher Domain Authority Will Literally Come With Time
Patience certainly pays off when it comes to your domain authority. If you regularly produce quality content and follow our tips above, your domain authority will naturally increase with time.
Navigating the ins and outs of all things SEO can be a bit of a minefield, which is why digital marketing services like ours exist — we take the pain out of the process. We don’t place a massive focus on domain authority because we like to centre our attention on writing compelling copy, emails that convert and blogs that will actually attract real leads. However, all the services we offer work together to improve your overall online presence — including your domain authority. Because Google rewards quality, and that’s exactly what we offer.