Domain Authority, What is it Good For?
Domain Authority Defined
In short, domain authority is a means of measuring how well a website will rank on search engines. Developed by Moz, domain authority scores range from one to 100—the higher the score, the better a website’s ability to rank in search. Sites like Wikipedia and Facebook are at the upper end of the DA score due to their large number of high-quality external links. Small businesses and websites with far fewer inbound links typically have much lower scores. Brand new websites will start with a domain authority score of one. A DA score is best used as a comparative metric rather than a definitive score.
The Resume Analogy
While we can’t take credit for this well-thought out analogy that instead goes to Dali Ma, Marketing Manager at EYEMAGINE, we did want to share it in an effort to help explain domain authority.
Think of Google as a recruiter who is searching for the most qualified candidates for its client. The searcher is Google’s client and your website, along with all the others on the internet, is the potential candidate. The strength of a resume is what sets one candidate apart from the others. In this recruitment analogy, the resume is your domain authority.
What makes for a quality resume? It’s the inclusion of several important factors. First, it needs to be comprehensive (quality content), include excellent references (inbound links), have examples of your work (outbound links), and have an attractive presentation (UX and UI).
In order for the recruiter (or Google in this case) to recommend a candidate, they must possess strengths in all of the areas mentioned above. If you want to improve your domain authority score, you’ll need to optimize each of the following areas of your website.
What Affects Domain Authority Score?
Quality Content - There are two essentials elements to keep in mind here. When creating content, focus on your goals and on the intent of your audience. If you want the content to rank well in search engine results, create longer, 500+ word blogs. For mobile users, you’ll want content that is easily accessible, allowing them to get the information they need quickly. The proper use of headings, bullet points, and lists will help in that endeavor.
High-quality content should be at the core of your SEO strategy. With each algorithm update, Google has prioritized promoting the content of the highest quality to searchers.
Inbound Links- Just as no one trusts a candidate with poor references, Google too will view your website with skepticism should you lack inbound links. What’s an inbound link, you ask? Great question. It’s actually pretty simple. An inbound link is a hyperlink coming from another site to your website. The right kinds of backlinks provide two great benefits to your website:
1. Inbound links drive traffic to your website. You’ll benefit from referral traffic, users that click on the third party hyperlink.
2. Inbound links help you rank higher in search. Backlinks from high-quality sites indicate to search engines that your website is an authority on a particular subject.
An important note about inbound links: Google will not prioritize your content if all of your links are from irrelevant sources or spammy websites. The goal is quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
Outbound Links- Google likes links, and just as we recommend that you be intentional about garnering inbound links, the same can be said for outbound ones. As the name implies, outbound links are links meant to take you elsewhere on the internet. Before linking to an external website, you’ll want to do your homework. Be sure that you’re linking to an authoritative page that contains related and relevant content.
User Interface/User Experience- Publishing great content on your website is only one piece of the SEO puzzle. Visitors need to be able to easily find their way around your website, regardless of the type of device they are using to view it. If the user experience is poor, visitors are likely to leave your website quickly, and Google shuns sites with high bounce rates. The website should have a well-defined structure and navigation that is easy to use.
While the four factors mentioned above are key, it’s important to pay attention to the latest updates to Google’s search algorithms. In 2015, Google began to penalize websites that were not mobile friendly, for example.
Have a question about optimizing your website? Feel free to add it to the comments section.
Author: Melissa Hunsberger
Title: Senior Marketing Manager
About: As the Senior Marketing Manager at One Firefly, Melissa is responsible for the management and execution of clients’ integrated digital marketing campaigns. A graduate of Penn State University, Melissa has a background in journalism and emergency preparedness and response. She has freelanced for a number of community newspapers and online publications. Her love of news began in college where she wrote for the school’s daily newspaper. Melissa also studied at the University of Manchester and worked for Channel 5 news station in London. During her free time, Melissa volunteers with the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County, encouraging fellow citizens to become more informed and actively participate in government.