While many may be familiar with how to improve their domain authority on Google, there is another way to measure your performance amongst competitors and that’s through Domain Authority (DA). In this article, we will be delving into the metrics to understand what it’s all about and how to incorporate it into your SEO strategy.
What is Domain Authority?
Let’s cover the basics, shall we? Domain Authority is an SEO analysis tool invented by Moz that determines how high you will rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). The tool provides a score that is greatly formed by the number of high-quality backlinks you have alongside other factors, the higher the score = the greater the ranking.
How is Domain Authority Calculated?
Domain Authority is calculated by factors such as the number of root domains included, the speed of a site and most importantly, the total number of good quality backlinks. You can calculate your Domain Authority on popular engines developed by Moz or Ahrefs.
Here is a comparison of the rankings from TSCA (top) and one of our competitors Rise At Seven (below) using Moz’s DA calculator. You can see that we rank better for Domain Authority because the number of linking root domains we have obtained is stronger and make more of an impact to score in contrast to ranking keywords.
Something to note is that Google does not rank domains using the DA metric so even though your site may rank highly on DA calculators, it will not affect the likelihood of SERPs. However, Google does still rank domains highly if they contain backlinks from websites displaying the qualities of E-A-T (Expert, Authoritative, Trustworthy) so establishing your Domain Authority remains a valuable asset to SEO. It will give you a better understanding of how your link building and content activities are stacking up against your competitors, but what are backlinks and how do they help?
Image source: Raven
What are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links from external sites crediting yours, this can be from recommendations, quotations or even the use of images you produced. For example, if you were a Mancunian bar and a credible blog was to post an article about the best secret bars in Manchester featuring you, they would link your website for readers to find out how to make a reservation, generating traffic to your domain.
They are the strongest contributor to a good DA ranking however it’s not as easy as flooding your domain’s content with dodgy backlinks as this tactic could result in penalties from Google deeming your site untrustworthy. High-quality backlinks must be earned through hard work: producing quality content and maintaining a strong social outreach.
To make it simple, here is a list of the key ways to increase domain authority.
ANALYSE YOUR BACKLINK PROFILES
Your link profile is the overall assessment of all the inbound links your site has earned and its state helps search engines understand how your site relates to other sites on the Internet.
Make sure you are tracking domains that backlink to your site, if they have low Domain Authority it will affect your score too. For example, backlink sites with spam content (excessive links), slow site speed or low root domain links.
CREATE QUALITY CONTENT
As mentioned previously, good links are earned by creating informative and engaging content that other sites will trust and enjoy enough to share with their followers. If you want to reach a wider audience, keep an eye on the current trends; what are people talking about and what are people searching for?
Let’s go back to the banana bread craze at the beginning of 2020 as an example; the search for potassium-based bakes never soared so high and even appeared in the charts of Google’s Year in Search Terms for 2020. If you were a supermarket retailer/ online food supplier, a good idea would be to produce your banana bread recipe for your blog or as a featurette using products you sell; demonstrating your ability to create E-A-T content that others will want to link to.
If you can create content that fills an untapped area of research then even better, the less competition for backlinks means the greater the chance of your unique content getting linked. Maybe this means creating a banana bread recipe with a twist – banana bread for hamsters? Or formatting content as an instructional video when others may only write a recipe. Whatever you do, keep content genuine, engaging and newsworthy.
ANALYSE YOUR COMPETITORS
It’s always advisable to watch how your competitors are performing in contrast to you. If they are earning more backlinks than you are, take a look at what they are being referenced for and how you can improve your SEO strategy to earn more backlinks of your own. This isn’t about copying your competitors, if it were that would be very boring and you wouldn’t look trustworthy to root domains.
Take insights gathered from your competitors and use them to generate new and unique resources that improve your likelihood of being back-linked. Are they voicing strong emotions on a trending topic? Creating something visually appealing? Addressing timely needs/interests of consumers by creating location-specific resources? Look for what makes the content unique and link-worthy to inspire the content of your own, as a result, you will stand out amongst competitors, earn more backlinks thus increasing your Domain Authority ranking.
UPDATE PREVIOUS CONTENT
Updating old content is a simple yet effective tactic to keep your content high in the search algorithms, Google considers ‘freshness’ one of the factors for determining whether content should rank higher on SERP’s. Therefore, it’s wise to go back through outdated posts to spruce them up and to make them more relevant for today’s searcher.
One great example is to look at trending key terms that could easily integrate into old content, for example, that piece you wrote noting Ed Sheeran in ‘Top Ten Rising Artists’ is hardly likely to be regarded as relevant now, is it? So you can refresh it with a new list of artists making headlines in this category. Other easy tips include updating outdated images you may have used…
Source: CNN Business
…if you still have images like this then I needn’t say more.
OUTREACH CURRENT CONTENT
You are making quality, genuine and exciting content, that’s great! Except, it does not matter if no one can see it. If you are struggling to get your work seen then try engaging more online, this can be through emailing root domain platforms to see if they would consider sharing your content or simply by being more active on social media.
Say you are a real estate agent and have uploaded a new video to YouTube touring a cool new Camden flat on the market perfect for a trendy young Londoner. Think about what this audience interacts with, they heavily rely on social media and have short attention spans so you could share previews of your video on Instagram that contain hashtags to reach this crowd alongside links to watch the full video.
For establishing relations with root domains, this YouTuber could email Tatler for a real estate feature that could appeal to the wealthy millennials that read their online blog. Partnerships like this benefit both sides because the larger domain gets free content whilst the other gets free promotion and backlinks from an authoritative domain.
Source: @DavidAndJennyMustard on Instagram
While Domain Authority metrics don’t influence Google’s algorithm directly, it can be a great asset to analyse competitors stats and for improving your SEO strategy.
The key takeaways are:
- Analyse backlink profiles – If they link to low-quality domains, this will hurt your DA rating.
- Analyse your competitors – How can their content help to improve your own and what gap in the market can you fill from their absence?
- Update previous content – Renovating old work will increase your rankings on SERP’s.
- Outreach current content – Demonstrate how you are authentic and approachable by engaging with your community. Don’t be afraid to reach out to established sites, if your work is E-A-T then they should be interested.
Want to know more about how to increase your Domain Authority? At TSCA, we offer a variety of expert SEO services including link building.
We offer a diverse range of SEO services so we can help your business thrive.