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Emily Neier
by Emily Neier
on October 5, 2018

You probably already know what SEO stands for, but when it comes to the real nuts and bolts of search engine optimization, does the technical jargon give you a headache? There’s a dozen new acronyms a day for a system that’s always changing—if you’re not an SEO expert, it’s hard to keep up. But, it’s still important to understand the basics when you’re creating website content. Domain authority is an SEO metric you can use (even when you’re not the team’s SEO specialist) to understand the overall quality of your website compared to your competitors.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz that is a predictive score of how well a website will rank on a search engine results page (SERP). The scores range from 1 to 100 on a logarithmic scale where higher scores have a higher ability to rank well. Reminder that logarithmic means exponential; it’s much easier to raise your domain authority from 20 to 30 than 60 to 70.

Domain authority takes into account a variety of things, but it’s focused on the strength of external links to your website on other sites (also referred to as inbound links). These are things like:

  • •Total inbound links to your website
  • The domain authority of the websites those links are on
  • How many different domains those links appear on.

DA is responsive, meaning the specific calculations account for changes to search engine algorithms and the authority of other websites, so your website’s domain authority can change without you changing anything about your online presence.

You can find out a website’s domain authority using MozBar, Link Explorer, or the SERP Analysis section of Keyword Explorer.

What Isn’t Domain Authority?

When we’re talking domain authority, we’re talking about the authority of the entire website, every webpage with a “mybusiness.com” address. This is not page authority, or the relevance of a particular page on your website to a search engine regarding specific keywords (although having excellent page authority is good for your site’s DA, too!).

Domain authority isn’t an absolute, end-all, final score for your website, either, meaning you don’t have to worry about raising your DA all the way to 100. Because DA is calculated in part by the number of inbound links to your website, there are websites you’ll never be able to compete against—but they’re also the websites you’re likely not competing against. Think of DA as the definitive ranking of all websites, with sites like Facebook, Amazon, and Wikipedia at the top. So when it comes to your business’s industry and keywords, domain authority won’t go all the way to 100.

Why is Domain Authority Important?

Your DA is an important metric to use comparatively with your competitors. You don’t need to have a DA of 100 to rank on SERPs, but it does need to compare to or exceed the DA of your competitors. Knowing your website’s domain authority means nothing if you don’t know the DA of your competitors.

If your competitors have a higher domain authority, it’s important to look at what they’re doing. What websites and kinds of content are their inbound links coming from? What content on their website are others linking back to? Use these insights to your advantage to make changes to your own strategy.

How to Influence Domain Authority

The struggle to reach the top spot on Google never ends. Positively influencing your DA will increase your website’s credibility to search engines, which means higher rankings for your website.

Influencing your DA is best done by improving your SEO with a focus on getting links to your website on other credible websites. There’s a couple ways you can go about this, but they start with the same step: look at your website’s top performing content. What do people come to your website for?

Knowing what people are interested in on your website, work on raising those specific page authorities. Is the content a little dated and could use a refresh? Search engines like content that’s updated, and Google takes into account when content was updated when it’s calculating a page’s credibility. Once the content is updated, you can reshare on social media to give others a new opportunity to share it or link back to it on their own websites.

Staying with that top performing content, is there more content on these topics your team can create and link back to original pieces? Not only does internal site linking raise page authority, but having new content to share will increase chances of sites linking back to you.

You can also specifically ask for others to link back to your content—but only if you have content that’s relevant and helpful to them! Make sure the websites linking back to you, especially those you reach out to, are also credible with domain authority comparable or higher than your own.

Domain authority has a complex calculation, but you don’t have to be a mathematician to use it to your website’s advantage.


If you’re interested in how you can leverage your website to grow your business, schedule a free growth consultation with ManoByte below!


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