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What Is Domain Authority (DA)? An In-depth Guide for Beginners

The phrase Domain Authority (DA) has been around for years. It is not a newly buzzing metric in the SEO world that everyone is talking about.

In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about domain authority, its significance and how you can increase it so that it works to your advantage.

Do know that domain authority is one of the factors that search engines consider while ranking your website. So, needless to say, it is an important factor that you should be thinking about.

Up until 2013, PageRank dictated the authority of a website. But Google stopped considering it as a ranking factor for a ton of reasons. The biggest reason was that it was fairly easy to manipulate page rank.

When domain authority came into the picture, things became a lot harder to manipulate. And that makes sense from Google’s perspective. If things are harder to manipulate, the more important that ranking factor becomes.

And you see how it can be more rewarding compared to other things that you would focus your time and energy on?

This is the main reason why I wanted to write this blog post. I wanted you to differentiate between the many things you would focus on when it comes to SEO. And only focus on the most important things. Because usually, those things will get the job done.

So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into it.

What is Domain Authority (DA)?

Doman authority is a metric that was created by Moz. Moz is a SaaS company and is one of the first SaaS (Software As A Service) companies to create their own metrics to rate a website. Domain authority uses a rating on a scale of 1-100 in which 100 is the best and 1 being the worst.

Typically, the higher your domain authority is, the higher your website will rank in search engines.

They use their own proprietary algorithm to gauge the domain authority of a website. And they are pretty accurate in doing so.

My advice would be to think of domain authority as a metric that compares your website to your competitors. And the website with the highest domain authority will rank #1 for the keywords they are targeting. This is factually correct as well.

Just like domain authority, there is another metric that was created by Moz as well; Page Authority (PA).

So what’s the difference between them?

With domain authority, they measure the authority of the entire domain. They do this by aggregating up to 40 different ranking signals that include the number of links pointing your website and also the number of links that are linking to your root domains.

With page authority, they measure the authority of a single page on a domain. They do this by using the same methods as domain authority, but in this case, they consider the links pointing to that specific page.

 

How Do You Check Domain Authority?

There are a couple domain authority checkers that you can use to check your website’s DA. But the best way to find out your website’s DA is by going to the official page of Moz; Open Site Explorer and type in your domain or the URL of the page of which you’re trying to find out the page authority.

Another way to find that out is by using the Extension or Addon for Chrome or Firefox respectively.

This is handy if you are someone who constantly finds themselves checking the domain authority of many different websites. A ton of SEO experts use this extension on a daily basis because it saves them a ton of time.

Here’s the link to the MozBar extension.

 

 

So How Do You Increase Your Domain Authority?

Now we’re getting to the important and fun stuff.

It is important to increase your domain authority because by doing so, you increase your chances of ranking higher in the search engines. What it means is that if you want some of that sweet SEO traffic, you want to start focusing on your DA more than other metrics.

The very first thing you want to do before even creating a single backlink, is you want to find out the domain authority of your competitors. Because that will let you know what you’re up against.

Usually, if your competitor’s DA is higher, the harder it will be to outrank them.

Well, not harder because I will be giving you everything you’ll need in detail here. But it will take a lot more resources and time to outrank a competitor who has a very high DA.

To get in the right mindset while building links to your website, you want to make sure that you are focusing on these two things:

Increasing the domain authority of your website
Only getting links from websites/blogs that have a high DA

And if you want to stretch your dollar as much as you can, make sure that you follow my tips as closely as you can.

 

1. Extend the expiry of your domain

Although this is not a very strong factor, it is a factor. And it is a factor that you can easily change to work in your favor.
If your domain name is expiring in the next year or maybe this year, it is a factor that tells search engines that this website cannot be trusted because it will be gone very soon. The best way to build trust is to show search engines that you are going to be around for a very long time.

So if your domain is set to expire this year, you want to extend that by at least 3-4 years. I know it will cost you money, but you will be investing that money in the right place. And it will be very helpful for you in the long run.

 

2. Start getting more high-quality backlinks

 

Backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors out there. And they certainly affect your DA the most. This is the factor that you should be focusing on the most.
You want to get as many backlinks as you can from a lot of websites with high domain authority.
Now I know what you’re thinking right now, “what if I just go ahead and buy backlinks from these high domain authority websites? Or what if I just get a software and create a ton of backlinks?”

That is a valid thought. And that it would’ve worked if this was 2007. But it is 2018, and things are a LOT different. Google doesn’t like seeing websites that have a ton of backlinks. It wants to see that your website has a low amount of backlinks that are highly relevant and are from very high DA websites that are also relevant to your niche.

So what are the best ways to get backlinks from some of the best websites on the internet?

I’m glad you asked.

Here I will mention 4 ways that you can use to get backlinks from a ton of high domain authority websites:

    • Guest Posting

Over the years a ton of things have changed, but guest posting has remained as one of the best ways people can get backlinks from very high authority websites.

Guest posting helps you write high-quality content for websites that are on the top of your niche and get a backlink from them. But the most important thing it does, is it lets you develop a professional relationship with them. And trust me, this goes a long way.

Once you have a strong relationship with the leaders in your niche, you will see that you start getting backlinks to your website even without any guest posting.

 

    • Social Networking Sites

This is probably one of the most natural ways to build backlinks.

Everyone is on social media these days. And it is natural for people to include a backlink to their website (if they have a website) in their profile. But a lot of people forget that these social networking websites have a very high DA, a lot of the time is above 90.

And they allow you to have a dofollow link to your website in your bio.

It is time you start taking advantage of that. Never underestimate the power of these links.

 

    • Press Releases

Press releases are one of the biggest reasons why these high authority websites like Quora, AngiesList, etc. Sit at the top of search engines.

Do you notice that whenever they do something new, or anything, they do a press release and then suddenly the news websites start mentioning them?

Well, that is because press releases do that. They supply a ton of content to smaller websites through which the bigger news websites pick their news. And then the circle keeps going.

With press releases, you want to make sure that you have a catchy title. This will help you grab the attention of the people and get them interested in what your press release has to say.

You also want to make sure that you have a backlink to your website in the content. Because you definitely do not want people to be plagiarising your content, or even spinning it and using it without giving you credit.

 

    • Document Sharing Websites

This is a very underutilized method of link building.

People think that they have to write an entire eBook if they want to get a backlink from these websites. But they are wrong.

You just need to convert your blog posts in a PDF format and upload it to these websites. And Viola! You have successfully gotten a backlink to your website from a document sharing website.

But you should make sure that you are using these websites in moderation because a lot of them are highly trusted by Google. And most of them allow do follow links.

If you exploit them, you could end up getting your website penalized.

 

3. Diversifying your backlink profile

I see a ton of people do the right thing when getting backlinks, but they forget to diversify it. And Google notices that and it raises red flags.
How unnatural would it look to get all of your backlinks just from social networking websites?

That would definitely look like you had hired an employee to create them for you. Well, Google thinks the same way, but it looks more closely than you.

And to avoid putting all that hard work in jeopardy, you want to make sure that you are getting backlinks from different sources, different countries, websites that have different domain extensions and also from websites that are outside of your niche.

Remember, that looks natural. Natural is what you should always be thinking about.

 

4. Have an internal linking structure

I know that link building can take up a majority of your time. But internal linking can be done very quickly. And if you’re using WordPress, that can make things easier and quicker.
I always follow the Wikipedia example.

Ever notice how Wikipedia internally links to their other pages? That is very powerful and it tells Google that you know what you’re doing.

So whenever you are publishing a new blog post on your website, make sure that you go back and see if you can find relevant blog posts and link to them from your new blog post.

But don’t stop there. Once you publish your new post, go back to those old blog posts and link from them as well. This will pass massive link juice to your new posts and give them the jump they need to perform even better.

Google sees internal linking as improving the user experience on your website. So the more internal links you have to relevant blog posts, the higher you will rank in search engines because they want to showcase websites that offer the best user experience.

 

5. Get rid of backlinks that are hurting your website

What do I mean by links that are hurting your website? More importantly, how do you find out that a link is hurting your website?
Well, it is simple and easy. If you see a backlink that is coming from a website that is either penalized, a directory, an article directory, or any website that massively links to other websites, you want to get rid of it.

For example, if you get a backlink from a Chinese website that has hundreds of backlinks to other websites on their homepage, you want to get rid of it.

And if your website is in English and you’re getting a backlink from a website that is in Chinese or Russian, you want to get rid of it.

The best way to make sure that Google doesn’t consider those backlinks is by using their Disavow tool. It will take a couple of weeks for them to negate those links in their system, but it is better than trying to contact the owners of these websites and requesting to remove your backlink.

 

6. Becoming an authority in your niche

This can be a tough one and it will definitely take some time, but it is doable.
Becoming an authority in your niche has more to do with the quality of the articles that you post and how much you are helping other people.

Let’s focus on the quality of your articles for now.

If you’re posting 10 average quality article, it will get you through and maybe even rank your website on page 1 for the keywords you’re targeting. But it will not help you become an authority because people want in-depth content about the topics they are searching.

So the best way to do that would be to write up an in-depth article about a topic and only post 2-3 blog posts like that. And even if you post 4 blog posts in a month, which is 1 blog post per week, you will be on the right track.

These in-depth articles will help your readers/audience build up the trust for your website. And every page they visit, every blog post that they read, they will trust that information. You want that. Because at the end of the day, you don’t just want to rank #1 for your target keyword just because you can. You want people to trust you and buy from you.

And people only do business with people they trust.

Now if you look from Google’s perspective, having high-quality in-depth content on your website means that you’re providing a better user experience. You are giving them everything they are searching for.

 

Conclusion

If you have never focused on building up the domain authority of your website, now is the time to do so. Because Moz’s DA only uses the most important ranking factors to find out the DA of your website. And if you too only focus on those ranking factors and build them up, you will eventually rank #1.