Domain authority (DA) has been a constant debate among SEO professionals — there's always a war going on in the SEO world. Is DA important? Should I focus on improving DA, or are my efforts better utilized elsewhere? Before answering these questions, let's first define Domain Authority.
What Is Domain Authority (DA)?
Domain authority was developed by MOZ to determine the likelihood of a website ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). As per MOZ's score, DA ranges from 0-100. This metric works on the basis that the higher your DA score, the more likely you are to rank highly on SERPs.
MOZ uses a couple of factors such as backlinks amounts, the quality, and the relevance of those links. MOZ does not entirely disclose these factors but relies on machine learning to determine the authority of a domain.
SEO enthusiasts are on two opposite ends of the DA debate. Some insist that DA is still a useful metric, albeit not for reasons cited years ago. On the other spectrum are SEO professionals who claim DA is irrelevant in determining website rank.
In past interviews, Google's John Mueller stated that DA is not one of the ranking algorithms they use to determine SERPs ranks. Nonetheless, DA is not an entirely irrelevant metric in your SEO efforts. Let's find out why below.
How Does Domain Authority Impact Google Results?
Google is not always explicit on whether DA affects ranking results. That said, different studies have shown a high chance of a correlation between DA and website rankings. One study by Ahrefs found a correlation between DA and keyword rankings. The higher a DA was, the more keywords it ranked for.
Domain Authority Still Plays a Part In SERPs Ranking
In an interview with Will Critchlow, John Mueller clarified the long-standing debate. He admitted to Google having a domain metric that "maps into similar things" as MOZ's DA metric, albeit entirely different. This metric by Google does impact search results, but links are not the only method of determining the authority score.
For instance, if you add a new page to a website that Google recognizes as trustworthy, it will be easily picked up and probably rank better than a new page on an unrecognized website.
So should you still put the effort in trying to improve your Domain Authority?
Yes. Aside from boosting your chances of ranking for more keywords, DA is a great way to perform competitor analysis. But there's a catch— DA should not be the sole metric you use to analyze your performance in SERPs. There's more that comes into play, such as your overall online presence, customer experience, and the EAT factor.
Google recommends that you put more effort into building trust with your customers through the Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness content concept (EAT).
What Causes Domain Authority Ranking To Fluctuate?
First, Domain Authority fluctuation is a normal thing and is inevitable. DA is calculated by assessing ranking factors such as linking root domains and the total number of links. This means that some websites will have more or relevant links over time than your website, leading to a fluctuation in the Domain Authority metric.
Fluctuation will also most likely occur every time Google makes an update, as it happened in 2019. In such a scenario, the DA fluctuation is okay and even expected.
However, There's This Other Side Where Your DA Drops, But Your Competitors' DA Doesn't.
This type of fluctuation results from a couple of SEO related issues on your part, such as:
- You have not produced or updated content since the last time Google crawled your site
- Your site engaged in sketchy backlink building that Google prohibits
- Increased linkage by low-level DA websites
- Security issues, such as website downtimes, hacking, and spammy content.
You can quickly resolve these issues and boost your Domain Authority with these strategies we are about to review.
How to Increase Domain Authority
In the SEO game, quality is paramount than quantity. The same case applies to improving your Domain Authority score. Here are three techniques to use for increasing your website's DA.
Perform a Backlink Audit
A link audit will help you determine the gaps in your link-building efforts. Which links are broken? Are there any links from spammy sites? Which pages need a backlink uplift?
Once you know where you stand, you can improve your inbound link profile by adding relevant backlinks and internal links, disavowing low-quality links and fixing the broken links.
Create Link-Worthy Content
Google rallies for organic link building as opposed to other methods. However, for people to link to your content organically, it needs to be beyond the standard and present something new. Infographics, own company research, and expert's take are great ways to gain organic links.
Invest in A Link-Building Strategy
After organic link building, content promotion and building relations with bloggers and other companies are the next best thing. Whatever link-building strategy you choose, make sure it aligns with Google recommendations. Guest posting is a legit technique to start with.
How to Improve Google Search Rankings
Improve Your Website Speed
40% percent of visitors will unapologetically leave your site if it loads in more than 3 seconds. This will lead to an increase in abandonment rate, and Google will push you lower on the SERPs. On the other hand, a fast-loading website is a type that Google and visitors love.
Focus on User Experience (UX)
Google tries to rank pages that not only answer a searcher's query but also those that are easy to use. Make sure your website is user-friendly, taking note of typography, images, and the overall look of your website.
How To Improve Domain Authority and Google Search Ranking At Once
Two words for this: Quality Content.
Content is the link that determines whether you get placed high on the SERPs or you don't. The quality of content also determines whether you get the juicy backlinks or you miss out on them.
If you want to simultaneously improve your DA and Google Search Rankings, shift your focus to creating valuable content for your audience. Quality content will always result in a ripple effect.
- Your audience loves the content since it solves their problem; they share it on social platforms.
- Other websites find your content useful; they link back to it.
- Google receives these signals, and your DA and keyword ranks move higher.
Increasing your Domain Authority score is totally possible. But it shouldn't be the end goal of your SEO strategy. Supplement DA score efforts with awesome content, a visible online presence, and of course, fantastic products and services.