One of the best things you can do as a small business to increase your website traffic is to increase your domain authority – the more trustworthy your site is, the more likely it is that users will click on your link over your competitor’s.
Ask any content marketer worth their salt and they’ll tell you that one of the most important SEO metrics you can actually measure is website authority. While it’s true that search engines rank individual pages and not websites as a whole, a site with higher domain authority is more likely to rank for its target keywords regardless.
But what exactly is domain authority (DA) and how can you measure it?
In this post, we’ll explore what website authority means and how you can increase yours to earn more clicks and rank for your target keywords.
What is Domain Authority?
“Website Authority” as a concept has been around about as long as the internet itself. Everyone wants to be the most trusted site in their niche because it means more clicks for you and less for the competition. The “Domain Authority” metric, however, was developed by Moz to measure a website’s trustworthiness and authority in its space. This metric tells you how strong your SEO is, how likely you are to rank for your target keywords, and where you’re likely to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Obviously, the higher Domain Authority score you have, the better.
Moz’s Domain Authority tool scores your website’s authority on a scale of one to 100 – with 100 being the highest score possible. The tool take several things into account when measuring a domain’s authority. For example:
- MozRank – This is the number of links within your website, including the quality of those links. Quality is key here. You can have 1000 low-quality links on your site, and would still earn a lower MozRank than another website that had only 100 high-quality links.
- Content quality – Is your site full of spammy, keyword-stuffed content, or have you taken the time to develop resources your users can actually utilize? The higher the quality your content is, the better.
- Backlinks – In addition to the links you have on your site, the Domain Authority tool also checks the quality of the sites that link back to you. If you have a bunch of links from less-than-trustworthy sites, that’s bad news for your DA.
- User-friendliness – This metric is based on how user-friendly your site is and how easy it is for a search engine to crawl. Have you taken the time to optimize your meta data and put thought into your user experience? If not, you’ll suffer in this area.
- Social media engagement – Not only does Moz want to know how high-quality your content is, it also checks your site’s overall social media engagement, or how many times your content is being liked, shared, commented on, etc.
Ways to quickly build your domain authority
Now that you know what goes into domain authority, the next step is to work on those areas you may be lacking in so you can earn a higher score and snag that top ranking in the SERPs. Here are 10 easy ways that you can start building your website authority today:
- Get links from friends
Many of your partner sites or friends in the industry are likely ranking for keywords that you would also like to be ranking for. An easy way to get quality external links is to ask these connections to link back to your site. This is beneficial only if you’re trying to rank for a keyword that they rank for, but that isn’t critical to their core business. Your direct competitors will obviously not want to link to your site for a keyword they’re ranking for. A word of warning however – be sure that the sites you’re asking for links from are high-quality, and ensure that the link will actually increase the posts’ value and not just add spam. Falling into either of these traps can actually hurt your DA score.
- Write guest posts
Another great way to utilize your connections in your space is to guest post on other company’s blogs. This increases your site’s domain authority and your own subject matter expertise, not to mention drives traffic back to your site. When guest posting, be sure to do your homework so you can pitch a topic that will be relevant for your users as well as theirs, write a high-quality post that readers will want to share, and link back to your own content so users can learn more.
A second option for guest posting is to reach out to sites to do a post exchange – you write a guest post for their site and they write one for yours. This arrangement is beneficial for both of you because it gives both sites relevant backlinks, free content to publish, and an entirely new audience to write to. Plus, this arrangement is much easier to sell to potential partner sites than something one-sided.
- Appear as a guest on podcasts
An easy way to generate more content without actually having to do much of the creation legwork is to appear as a guest on podcasts that are relevant to your industry. This strategy works to build your clout and your brand authority, and if the podcast host posts show notes, you can ask them to link to your site, and then repost the content on your own with a link to the show. It’s a win-win for both parties because podcasts need guests who are subject matter experts and you need backlinks.
- Create great content
One of the most important pieces of building domain authority is ensuring that your content is top-notch and is adding so much value to your users that they will want to share your content with their friends. Creating spammy or low-quality content may fill up your blog quickly, but the time you waste creating low-quality content is time you could have spent creating resources that build trust among your readers and lead them to see you as an authority in your space. Aim to create well-thought-out content that answers your users’ questions, gives practical insights, shares new data, and helps users see you as the go-to site for information about your niche.
- Promote (and re-promote!) your content on social media
Social media moves quickly, which means that posting your new content once on each of your social media channels isn’t enough – the content you’ve likely spent hours or days creating will very quickly be lost amongst other likes and shares. Aim to post all of your new content multiple times over all of your channels, and schedule old posts to be re-posted at regular intervals as well. The more people have opportunity to find your content, the more clicks and shares you’ll naturally have.
- Utilize influencers
There are lots of ways to creatively use influencers in your content marketing strategy that will help you build your own website authority. Utilizing influencers makes those subject matter experts aware of your business and what you offer, which is great for you, but it also allows you to tap into their audiences and build your authority at the same time. If you want to dip your toes into the world of influencer marketing, try creating a roundup post of quotes from the influencers in your space about a topic related to your content strategy. Or, get involved in (or organize) a Twitter chat and retweet and share posts by these experts on your own social media channels.
- Weed out spammy links
A quick way to hurt your brand authority is to have bad links on your site. This includes both broken links, which hurts your user experience, as well as spammy links that go to either untrustworthy sites, or irrelevant pages. All of the links on your site should add value to your end user, not just take up space. A quick way to check whether you have bad links on your site is to use the SEMrush backlink audit tool.
- Link to your own content
While it’s very important to get external backlinks to your site, it’s also a great idea to link to your own content on pieces that are related to each other. This benefits you in several ways: the first is that it keeps users on your site longer by leading them to more information about a given topic, it gives you more opportunity to get eyeballs on the other great content you’ve created, and lastly, it makes it easier for Google to crawl your site to gauge your site’s authority. The more high-quality content you have that links to each other, the better.
- Optimize your content
One of the most critical (and simple!) things you can do to increase your domain authority is to optimize your already existing content. Ensure that the great content that you’ve spent time creating has relevant keywords that are popular, but not too competitive, so you have a chance to actually rank for them. In addition, use synonyms, secondary, and long-tail keywords within the body of the content to give yourself even more of a boost in the SERPs. The easier it is for Google to tell what your content is about, the more easily people will be able to find it.
- Review your technical SEO
The foundation of domain authority is SEO optimization, so ensure that you’ve double-checked all of the basic elements of good SEO on your site as you aim to improve your website authority. It’s a good idea to do a site-audit to review the technical elements of your content including meta tags, alt tags, keywords, site structure, content word count, and user experience. Be sure that your site is easy to navigate, easily searchable by keywords, that images load quickly, and that your site is responsive. All of these factors are considered in your domain authority score and should be taken seriously in your SEO strategy.
Boost your website authority with expert insights
Building your website authority is critical for every small business owner – to be taken seriously in your space you need to take yourself seriously, and that includes ensuring that your site is as high-quality as your products are. But running a small business is a full-time job on its own, without all of your marketing to-do’s on top. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Big Leap has helped hundreds of small businesses like yours improve their domain authority through innovative SEO strategies, intelligent content marketing, and set-it-and-forget-it marketing automation. Schedule your free consultation with a Big Leap SEO strategist and start playing in the big leagues today.