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Domain authority is a ranking factor and an overarching term used to describe competence in a certain domain. It’s a concept used extensively in the field of digital marketing, especially when it comes to SEO and content marketing. It can also be used to determine the source of the information provided, by running a domain authority (DA) check on a certain website or blog.
Domain authority was a metric created by Moz, as a way to describe how authoritative a site is in a certain domain. A score is given between 0 to 100, to determine the effectiveness of its ranking in the search engine results page (SERP). Search engines, such as Google and Bing, rank websites on certain keywords. Generally, the higher the DA, the higher its rank would be.
What does domain authority capture?
Essentially, domain authority captures multiple ranking signals onto its scoring algorithm. These ranking factors are what Google assigns a website’s overall search ranking on. Many of these factors are dynamically updated, while some form the cornerstone of domain authority–based ranking.
It’s best to use a domain authority checker tool from time to time, to gauge the performance of your website. There are tools that even offer bulk DA checking, so that you can research your competition better. DA tools also provide tips to improve your overall score.
Certain factors such as “link equity,” “metadata,” “user sessions,” “backlinking,” and “domain quality” contribute to a domain authority score. A higher score enables your website to perform better for competitive keywords and niches when people search for information related to your business.
Best practices for increasing domain authority
There are several best practices that all brands should follow in order to increase their domain authority. They are listed below.
Link to trusted websites
When it comes to on-page SEO, it’s important to have content that links out to high-quality websites. Sometimes, brands may install plugins or add-ons via their website-builder programs to link out to promotional pages, but these can ultimately lower your domain authority. It’s good practice to audit your complete website for any linking out to spam pages.
Avoid spam and “black hat” practices
Black hat practices, which include actions such as cloaking, keyword stuffing, and setting up private link networks, reduce the domain authority of the website. Google’s official stance on “black hat” practices is quite strict, leaving you with a lower domain authority long-term. You may not be able to revive your website after indulging in black hat practices.
Googlebot searches through your website’s metadata to get deeper cues about the content on your website. It then ranks your web pages higher for certain keywords, if the metadata is easily identifiable and consistent. Having good metadata on every single page, asset and media file, allows for move diverse signals to enter Google’s crawling mechanism.
Enhance user signals
User signals are a strong indicator of continual success, as the search engines consider key components such as “time on site,” “bounce rate,” and “pages visited,” as strong factors. If your website has strong user signals, then it will rank higher on domain authority.
Expertise within domain
If your website showcases stronger expertise, then your content will link out to more pages, publishing outlets and platforms. This will enhance the “link equity” delivered to your web presence, giving you higher domain authority overall.
Ultimately, domain authority is a good indicator as to how well your website will rank against your competitors. That’s why it’s important to find a relevant niche and then expand deeper into that niche with high-quality content.