How to Increase the Domain Authority of Your WordPress Website
Domain authority is one of those things that experts just can’t seem to agree upon. Authority websites like Moz (who have their own metric tool and algorithm copyrighted as “Domain Authority” and included in their SEO toolbar) see it as a very important factor for the success of a website. On the other hand, it is unclear whether Google even sees domain authority as a ranking factor. The search engine’s bigwigs remain loyal to their signature elusive style in addressing this topic.
Nevertheless, while domain authority may not be a definitive and official ranking factor, it is certainly an important metric and one you need to work on. In this article we’re going to explain both why and how.
What is Domain Authority
Domain authority refers to the relevance or the authority that a website has in its particular industry or niche. It is a way of describing how authoritative a site is compared to the competition.
This relevance is calculated using complex analytic algorithms devised by the aforementioned Moz. The DA (Domain Authority) score goes from 1 to 100, with lower scores obviously representing lower domain authority.
Websites with DA of 40 or lower are considered to have poor domain authority. Those between 50 and 60 are considered good and everything over 60 is considered excellent domain authority.
The main criterion that is observed when awarding the DA score is the number of high-quality inbound links.
By high-quality, we mean authoritative sites with well-established online presence and trust. The more links there are pointing from such websites to yours, the better.
Fewer inbound links mean a lower DA score. Logically, brand new websites that no one linked to yet have the domain authority score of one.
Does Domain Authority Even Matter?
If domain authority is not officially employed by Google as a ranking factor, than the question is – why should we even bother with it?
Here’s the thing. Let’s say your website has a DA score of 55. That information alone doesn’t mean anything, until you compare it with other websites. Specifically, with the competition’s websites.
The number itself hardly has any significance, SEO-wise. However, if you use it to measure how you fare against the competition, it can be quite useful. Specifically, it can point out websites that you realistically stand a chance at competing with (sites that have a slightly higher DA), and the ones you should simply let go for the time being (those with a DA that is way higher than yours).
Domain authority is all about link equity or link juice. It is not a motor of success, but it certainly is one of the important indicators of success. Specifically, it’s a great indicator of aggregate link equity. Link equity is directly influenced by the number of links to individual pages. Even if you don’t measure the aggregate effect in a single metric, it is still a real (and important) thing.
If a site has high domain authority, it also has a lot of link equity. This means that it can transfer the equity to its own pages, which is important for brand new pages with zero authority and no backlinks.
The point is, domain authority matters as long as you remember it only has a relative and comparative value. As such, it can be a great tool for indirectly improving your rank. But on its own, the metric won’t provide much of an insight.
How to Increase the Domain Authority
Now that we’ve covered the basics of domain authority, let’s take a quick look at some of the methods for improving it.
1. Provide High-Quality On-Page Content
While quality backlinks are definitely a deciding factor when it comes to domain authority, it’s important to remember you can’t get such links without high-quality content.
By high-quality content we mean content that is:
Well-written and grammatically correct
Interesting and engaging
Highly relevant to its topic
Creative and 100% original
2. Build Quality Backlinks
As we said earlier, domain authority is all about backlinking. In order to improve this metric, you need to have a thorough backlinking strategy in place and refer to your analytics often to make sure everything is going as planned.
In backlinking, the motto “the more the better” applies, especially if we’re talking about links coming from reputable websites. It doesn’t have to be a monster of a website like Wikipedia either – it can be any website in your niche that is considered to be authoritative and expert in that field.
Of course, your own content is going to contain links to other websites as well. After all, that is how we build a network. Be careful, though, how you link and what you link to. The links need to make sense and the anchors should be clear and informative, so your visitors know exactly where the link is going to take them.
Steer clear of websites that look even remotely spammy. Those can cause some serious damage not just to your domain authority but directly to your ranking too.
Finally, don’t forget internal linking. As we said earlier, link equity passes between pages on a website thanks to internal linking and you definitely want to take advantage of that.
3. Increase Your Social Engagement
Social signals and engagement are a very important ranking factor. The more people interact (share, like, comment) with your content on social media, the better. Social networks are a great way of getting your links out there and bringing traffic to your website. They helps you get noticed by the “big league” players too, which is important for smaller websites.
Make sure your content is easy to share. Add social icons and buttons and place them on strategic places on your website.
Also, try to come up with different ways to encourage people to interact with your content. One of the best ways to do so is to simply – ask. You can do it in an email newsletter, for instance. People who receive your newsletter have already opted in, so you know they’re on your side. This makes them more likely to be cooperative and give you a hand when it comes to sharing and engagement.
4. Improve Your Site Speed and Performance
This is something that should be employed as a best practice regardless of domain authority. Google ranks down slow websites, especially on mobile, and users hate them too. No matter how hot your content is, other websites won’t link back to you if your website performs poorly. As a result, your domain authority will suffer.
To make your website load faster, try:
Optimizing your images
Removing unused plugins and themes
Switching to a dedicated server
Limiting the number of comments per page
Disabling trackbacks and pingbacks.
5. Become an Authority in Your Niche
Becoming an authority in your particular industry or niche has a direct positive impact both on your traffic (and conversions, too) and on your domain authority. However, this is one of those things that is easier said than done.
There are niches in which the competition is relatively low and weak, and establishing yourself as an authority doesn’t require that much of an effort. On the other hand, in many areas, the market is overflown with solid websites, a lot of which have already created a strong presence.
The best thing to do here is to be persistent and patient. You can’t become an authority overnight. However, if you plan your backlinking strategy right and provide informative, relevant and focused content, you can get there over time.
When we talk about domain authority, it is very important to remember the importance of keeping things in perspective. By this we mean only comparing your domain authority score to that of your immediate competitors. Only then will you be able to actually gain some valuable insights from this metric and apply the steps for improving it accordingly.