When unpacking SEO best practices, you can't get things done without domain authority. Domain authority is more than a vague notion that your company has a well-established website.
The domain authority of a website refers to its relevance for a specific subject area or industry in which someone provides products and services. And, like a lot of things in SEO, it can be measured. That measurement will clue you in to how your site is performing and how both site visitors and search bots may be perceiving your web pages and their content.
What Is Domain Authority and How Is It Calculated?
"Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank." Source: Moz
Moz calculates domain authority by evaluating multiple factors, including your linking root domains and your number of total links, and combining those factors into a single DA score. This score (a number between 0-100) can then be used to compare websites, or to track the "ranking strength" of your website over time.
Does Google use Domain Authority?
Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google to determine search rankings and has no direct effect on where your page ends up on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). It's not a direct metric of Google, but as a performance marketing agency, we highly recommend keeping an eye on it. For one, it gives you helpful information that will make your site better for the user and help you stand out as someone who knows their stuff. Not to mention DA can get you in the habit of monitoring site performance and making website improvements that will get Google's attention in other ways.
What Influences Domain Authority?
Moz Domain Authority relies on many aggregate factors. Here are the ones we recommend making a priority for a higher score, and better SEO:
Building Inbound Links: Getting more inbound links from unique root domains is a key factor in your DA score. Basically, you want more sites linking to your content directly, so people go from their site straight to yours, without passing go, and without having to find you among lots of other search engine results.
Using Ranking Keywords: If you're using keywords that rank well in SERPs, your domain authority score should increase over time.
Avoiding Spammy Content: When deciding between quality or quantity, choose quality every time. Don't keyword stuff or overwhelm your site with content, forms, and clutter in the hopes that more is better. It's only going to hurt your domain authority. Not to mention, nobody's a fan of being spammed.
Whether you're starting with a new website or ramping up more webpages, setting these three focus areas as goals is a smart way to approach SEO.
How Do I Get a Higher Domain Authority Score?
The key to a higher domain authority score is this: invest time, resources, and research into content marketing. Why?
Greater Focus: Focusing your content planning helps you get traction in the focus area where you want to rank for SEO, which will also help you improve domain authority by avoiding spammy web pages.
Deeper Dives: Developing deeper wells of content on some topics is a great way to earn more inbound links from other reputable sites.
Networking: Linking up for networking means a greater possibility of content exchange, including guest posts and cross-promotions, which are smart ways to increase inbound links and boost DA.
Stronger Keywords: Keywords are not about your gut. Make keyword research a priority, and integrate data-backed keywords into your meta content, landing pages, blogs, sub-service pages, videos, and podcast transcripts. Whatever goes up on your site, make it rich with keywords that get results on SERPs. After all, the better a keyword performs, the more your target audiences use it to talk about what you do. And Google will notice that.
Domain authority is only one piece of the puzzle, but it's integral to other SEO best practices. DA is a great way to make an educated guess about how your website will rank on search and how well your content will go over with your customers.