How to Improve Domain Authority

Hilary Thompson, Outreach Team Lead

Domain Authority (DA) is a proprietary measurement created by a leader in SEO, Moz.com. It measures your site’s likeliness to rank in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) in comparison to your competitors. When evaluating your DA, it is always important to only compare your Domain Authority with others in your industry or vertical. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to compare the New York Times to your favorite site, UnderwaterBasketweavers.com. But you can compare the New York Times to the Chicago Tribune.

Note: Domain Authority is not a ranking factor metric used by Google, and it will not directly impact your position in the SERPs. It merely reflects your ability to rank.

When you improve your ability to rank, your Domain Authority naturally reflects this and will increase accordingly. And an increase in Domain Authority means you’re doing something right! But how do you do this? TLDR: (and much like underwater basket weaving), it’s complicated.

How Difficult is it to Improve Domain Authority?

One thing is for certain: improving your Domain Authority takes time. Doing it the right way is a long game, and everything you do to accomplish it should be above-board. It might be tempting to pay someone to get a lot of links for you quickly, but it can really hurt you in the end. This is called black-hat link building, and it can earn you costly penalties. “White-hat” is the only way that will get you the quality links you need.

It is also important to be consistent with your strategies. Tending to your on-page SEO once a year, or doing one link building campaign every six months or so, isn’t going to help you much. You have to keep at it. This is a long-term investment in your organic strategy.

Another observation that may come as good news is that the lower the Domain Authority, the more quickly it moves. It’s much easier to get from a DA of 22 to a DA of 35 than to get from a DA of 75 to a DA of 80.

Strategies for Improving Domain Authority

The following recommendations will get your Domain Authority moving in the right direction: up.

Button Up Your On-Page SEO

We’ve seen on-page SEO changes improve rankings and slightly elevate Domain Authority in and of itself. Suffice it to say, always have your on-page SEO in order. Title tags, meta descriptions, and internal linking strategies should always be paid the proper attention and time. On-page SEO can significantly affect your rankings, and therefore your Domain Authority.

Take Care of Your Off-Page SEO (Link Building)

There’s no getting around it; you need off-page SEO to improve Domain Authority—it carries more than 50% of Google’s ranking factors. There is no doubt that link building done right drives organic visibility, improves rankings, and your Domain Authority reflects this. Each backlink earned is a signal of trust for the search engines. Backlinks are directly correlational to Google’s rankings in the SERPs. There are various ways to build links, and different strategies affect Domain Authority more than others.

Guest Post Link Building

In its heyday, guest posting moved mountains. But Google’s search algorithm is giving less authority to guest post links. It still improves Page Authority (PA), though, and we’ve seen six links to a priority page improve the PA of that page by over 20%. Guest posting can’t provide the heavy lift that other strategies can, so while valuable, it should still be done in combination with other more powerful strategies.

Link Reclamation

Link reclamation is simply an effort to repair broken links, or ask for links when your brand or product is mentioned without including one back to your site. When a link is broken or doesn’t exist at all, no link equity is passing to the domain. Reaching out to these publications where a broken link or unlinked brand mention exists and asking them to add the correct link can regain link equity and those valuable trust signals that search engines rely on. It must be done in large quantities to be effective, and can be a long, tedious process to complete. Some sites have thousands of broken links and/or unlinked brand mentions.

Consider link reclamation to be your site hygiene. Keeping users from reaching 404 pages is always ideal. You should always be repairing broken links and asking for links when someone mentions your brand.

Does it impact Domain Authority? Yes, but again, it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. Keep weaving that basket.

Content Promotion

Content promotion is by far the fastest and most effective way to boost organic visibility and therefore improve Domain Authority. I’ll say it again. Content promotion is by far the fastest and most effective way to boost organic visibility and therefore improve Domain Authority. Effective promotion of quality content is a win-win for everyone.

What is content promotion? At Portent, our content strategy team ideates, creates, designs, and develops newsworthy, notable, engaging content for our clients. Then, we reach out to thousands of our media contacts to make sure it’s seen, seeking coverage from online publications who, in turn, link back to our client’s content.

The amazing thing about content promotion is that, in one calculated effort, we are creating:

  1. Excellent content for your users
  2. Positive brand awareness
  3. Referral traffic as people read coverage
  4. More backlinks for your backlink profile
  5. Trust signals to search engines
  6. Media attention
  7. Increased organic visibility

All this results in improved Domain Authority and likelihood to rank in the SERPs. It can sometimes be a moderately heavy lift involving several teams, but in our experience, it is well worth the effort.

To Recap

There is no predictable course or formula for improving Domain Authority. If you are putting forth consistent effort, your DA will improve over time. People often neglect off-page SEO to their detriment; regular link building campaigns can drive organic visibility in ways even you crazy basketweavers haven’t imagined.

Hilary Thompson, Outreach Team Lead

Hilary Thompson

Off-Page SEO / Digital PR Team Lead
Off-Page SEO / Digital PR Team Lead

Hilary leads the off-page SEO / digital PR team at Portent. With a background in digital marketing strategy, sales, and PR, she has driven results by leading campaigns that boost organic visibility and brand awareness for her clients. Hilary has also created and directed the influencer marketing program at Portent, building valuable influencer partnerships on behalf of her clients. She lives on coffee, sheer grit, and an insatiable love of Oreos.

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Comments

  1. Hello Hilary,
    Woud you be so kind as to let me know what you think about social media signal according to domain authority?

    1. Certainly, Robert. It is clear that Google’s algorithm takes into account any off-page factors. When Moz did a study of this a while back, https://moz.com/learn/seo/off-site-seo, they included social links in off-page factors that are taken into account when determining rankings. Domain authority is merely a reflection of these rankings in comparison to competitors in the space. Additionally, no-follow links have been changed from having no impact, to merely being a “suggestion” according to Google and as of March 2020. So links from traditionally no-followed sites like YouTube may actually be impacting ranking positively when they changed their ruling there.

      Hope this is helpful.

      Hilary

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