How to increase your domain authority (and why you should)

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If you’ve come across the abbreviations DA and PA in your search engine optimisation (SEO) research, you’d be forgiven for dismissing them as babytalk. But these terms actually stand for ‘domain authority’ and ‘page authority’ — two important factors every business needs to consider when optimising web content for SEO.

In this article, we explore Google-approved ways to increase your domain authority and connect with your ideal audience. Let’s go!

First up, what exactly is domain authority?

Domain authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that indicates how likely a website is to rank in Google Search. It uses a 1–100 scale, with higher scores suggesting better performance in search engines.

What’s the difference between DA and PA in SEO?

Where domain authority predicts the ranking power of whole website domains, page authority (PA) predicts the ranking power of individual pages. PA is evaluated using the same methodology as DA (more on this in a tick) and also employs a 1–100 scale, with higher scores indicating good ranking strength.

How is domain authority calculated?

Domain authority is used by a range of SEO tools, with each tool applying its own algorithm to decide a site’s authority score. These algorithms take several factors into account, including (but not limited to):

  • links from other sites pointing to yours (known as ‘backlinks’)
  • referring domains (external websites linking to yours)
  • search traffic

When it comes to your backlinks, quality is key:  the more ‘backlinks’ you secureyou’ve secured on websites that are reputable and respected, the stronger your DA will be.

With this in mind, it can be helpful to imagine Google’s ranking system as one big popularity contest, with the most popular sites rising to the top.

“The only way to become more popular is by association,” says Sarah Spence, Founder and Strategic Director of Content Copywriting. “When you build links, the aim of the game is to get links from sites that are more popular than yours — those that have a higher DA. This way, some of their popularity is going to sprinkle down to your website.”

If you’ve accumulated lots of backlinks from trusted sites, Google will deduce that your content must be of good quality too.

The lesson? In cyberspace, it pays to go rub shoulders with the cool kids.

Started from the bottom and now we’re here

If this article has prompted you to check your DA (stay tuned for ways to do this) and it’s looking a bit sad, don’t fret. We’ve been on the same journey and are pleased to share how link building can help.

Like all new websites, the Content Copywriting website you’re currently on started with a humble DA of 1. Safe to say our online presence was virtually non-existent.

Today, we occupy the top spot for our primary keyword ‘content marketing agency Sydney’.

Nice. But how did we get here?

Authority building (the process of improving your domain authority) was central to our digital marketing strategy. And we also use it in all our clients’ strategies because of the consistent results it delivers.

What is a good domain authority?

DA is evaluated on a logarithmic scale. This means it’s far easier to jump from 10 to 20 than it is to climb from 60 to 70.

In contrast to new sites, sites with loads of authoritative backlinks (like Wikipedia) sit at the top end of the scale.

The good news is that you don’t need to aim for the mighty 100.

“To be successful and visible in Google when your ideal client or customer is searching for a problem you solve, you just need to have a DA that’s higher than — or on par with — your competitors,” says Sarah.

This means all you need to focus on is achieving a high score within the context of your niche.

How important is domain authority?

While Google doesn’t use DA as a ranking factor, DA is still useful for checking your website’s SEO health. You can also use it to compare your website strength to that of your competitors.

In other words, it gives you an idea of:

  • how well your SEO strategies are working
  • where you stand in relation to your competitors
  • the improvements required to achieve or maintain competitive advantage

PA, on the other hand, directly influences your site’s DA as well as your ranking strength. So it’s important to track your PAs to make sure they are helping rather than hurting your DA.

If one of your blog articles has a low PA, you can compare the article to similar articles that have achieved a high PA in order to understand what needs to be fixed.

You can find out your popularity scores using a number of online tools. The best DA and PA checkers include Semrush and Ahrefs.

How authority building can benefit your business

To engage with prospects and grow conversions, you must make it easy for your audience to find your website. This is why ranking well in Google is so important.

“When your ideal audience searches for a solution you provide, you want to be at the top,” says Sarah.

But remember, you won’t rank well unless your domain authority is at least at a reasonable level to that of your competitors.

“There are other things that come into ranking competitively — DA is just one element of SEO,” Sarah says. “But what authority building does is help to influence your popularity and therefore your DA.”

How to increase your domain authority

Link building is important for DA growth, but it won’t get you to the top spot on its own. The best way to increase your DA (and therefore your site’s overall SEO performance) is by publishing well-researched, quality content.

Adopt a content-led SEO strategy

Google’s ‘helpful content’ update in September 2022 confirmed that carefully crafted, human-centred content will help you rank. Google wants its users to have a satisfying experience, so it rewards content that appears to provide real value.

In short, you can improve your DA by posting high-quality content more frequently. This means making sure your content is:

  • original and insightful
  • providing valuable information to its readers
  • nicely formatted
  • free of errors
  • appropriately cited

Do this in tandem with your link building efforts for the best results.

“For example, you might plan to write a batch of articles using a Pillar and Cluster Model, and create ebooks and videos,” says Sarah. “But you should also approach it from an authority-building perspective, because those two efforts are far more powerful when they’re together.”

Engage a content marketing team who know their stuff

While it is possible to engage an SEO agency that promises to increase DA through link building, you are likely going to end up with a collection of low-quality backlinks that do little to increase your ranking.

“You are much better to put budget towards authority building, which takes a wider strategic approach to improving DA,” Sarah says.

Content marketing agencies like us here at Content Copywriting undertake authority building as part of a broader content marketing strategy for your business. The strategy will involve a number of actions to improve your site’s search engine friendliness, including:

  • undertaking keyword research to inform content planning
  • regularly publishing insightful long-form content that is relevant to your brand and your audience
  • using a Waterfall Strategy to amplify content across a range of channels (e.g. social media)

On the authority-building side of things, we only use ethical methods that are Google-approved, such as securing backlinks via guest posting. This involves creating valuable content and offering it to external sites in exchange for a link back to our client’s site.

“We only reach out to websites that have a high domain authority,” notes Sarah. This ensures that with every link, we’re maximising those sweet, sweet popularity sprinkles.

Let the authority building begin

Increasing your domain authority is an effective way to help raise your search rankings and drive audience engagement. But it’s important to nestle this endeavour within a tailored content marketing strategy that focuses on building a strong foundation of link building and quality content production.

Our talented team has the specialist skills and knowledge needed to ensure your content marketing efforts are a success. Let’s talk.

Content Rebels is proud to be a strategic content marketing agency helping brands with big ideas confidently connect with their audiences.

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