Bloggers and internet marketers have many different metrics to consider, and domain authority (DA) is one of them. DA is a way of measuring how authoritative and trustworthy a website is. The higher the domain authority, the more likely the site ranks well in search engines like Google.
If you want to improve your website or blog and make more money, increasing your DA is a good start. This article covers all the details you need to know about domain authority, plus some practical tips you can implement to improve the DA of your website or blog.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain Authority is a metric created by Moz to measure the strength of a website. Every website has a DA ranging from 1-100. The higher your Domain Authority (DA), the stronger your site is. A brand new site or domain will start with a DA of 1 and work its way up from there.
Moz came up with DA to gauge the overall strength or authority of a site and how likely it is to rank on the first page of Google. Although Moz created the metric, many other SEO tools use a similar metric of their own. For example, Ahrefs and Semrush have also developed their own metrics (Domain Rating and Authority Score), also ranging from 1-100.
Although these scores are all calculated differently, they exist to serve the same purpose. The tips and suggestions covered in this article also apply to Domain Rating and Authority Score. If you’re working to improve one of these scores, you’ll probably improve them all, even if the scores differ a little from one metric to the next.
Is DA a Google Ranking Factor?
Google does not use domain authority to determine or influence search rankings. We don’t know precisely how Google’s algorithm works, but Google has its methods for measuring the authority of a website relative to the search phrase. Moz created DA as an attempt to replicate how Google might measure a website’s authority.
Although it’s not a ranking factor, an increasing DA is a good sign that your site will likely improve rankings in Google searches and ultimately get more traffic.
Domain Authority vs. Page Authority
Moz has two separate but related metrics: domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA). Domain authority measures an entire domain, while page authority looks at a specific page. The pages on your blog or website will each have their own page authority, but the domain authority will stay consistent throughout the domain.
How to Check Your Domain Authority
Moz offers a free domain analysis tool you can use to check the DA of any website. You can also install MozBar, a free SEO toolbar, a free extension for Google Chrome that will display the DA and PA of every page you visit. With the MozBar installed, you’ll also see the DA and PA of each page in the Google search engine results.
How is DA Calculated?
Moz calculates domain authority by looking at how many links come from other websites and the authority of those websites. Both quantity and quality of links matter.
When you use the domain analysis tool from Moz, you’ll see the total number of links pointing to your site as well as the number of linking root domains. If the same website links to you ten different times, that will count as ten links and one linking root domain.
While having a high number of inbound links can increase DA, the number of linking root domains also matters. Having 1,000 links from the same website will not be as valuable as having one link from 1,000 different websites.
What is a Good Domain Authority?
There’s no exact measure or distinction of a good DA score. What matters is how your domain authority compares to the other blogs and websites competing for the same keywords and search phrases as you.
If you’re in a highly competitive industry, you may need a higher DA to have a realistic chance to rank on Google’s first page.
If you’re in a smaller niche that’s not as competitive, you might be able to rank very well with a much lower DA.
The best way to get a feel for a solid domain authority in your niche is to install the Mozbar and do some searches for top keywords in your niche, or the keywords you want to rank for. Check the DA of the pages ranking at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
If the sites ranking in the top 10 spots all have a DA of over 70, you should aim to get your DA that high if you want to rank on the first page. If several sites rank on the first page with DAs in the 20s or 30s, you might not need to go after a 70 for your site.
When you’re comparing your DA to another site, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Age matters. If your blog is six months old, it’s going to be hard to compare your DA to a blog that’s been around for eight years. Since every site starts with a DA of 1, the older a site is, the more of an advantage it has in building a higher DA. Naturally, aged sites are likely to have higher DAs. Keep things in perspective when comparing your site to others.
- The higher DA gets, the harder it is to increase. For a brand new site, you may be able to increase DA pretty quickly just by getting a few links. However, as the DA gets higher, you’ll need to get better links to see much of an impact. Going from 60-70 is much more complicated than 20-30, even though both would increase by 10.
Does Domain Authority Really Matter?
Domain authority serves the valuable purpose of helping to gauge the strength of a website, but it’s essential to keep things in perspective.
Having a high DA does not guarantee that your site will rank well in Google searches, and having a low DA does not mean that you won’t be able to outrank sites with a higher DA. It’s an indication but certainly not a guarantee.
Improving your domain authority will not directly make more money for you. Although it’s a helpful metric, you shouldn’t get overly obsessed with DA. Use it as a way to gauge your progress but don’t put more emphasis on DA than you put on actual search engine rankings, traffic, or revenue.
However, there are a few specific ways that having a high domain authority may help you, aside from the chance at better search rankings:
- Increased opportunities for links. Bloggers, journalists, and website owners prefer to link to high-authority websites that are trusted sources. Having a higher DA will increase your chances of naturally attracting links from other sites, which will increase your DA even more.
- Improved sponsorship opportunities. Some advertisers and sponsors will check a website’s domain authority to see if they want to become a sponsor or advertise on the website. In this case, having a higher DA could lead to more income.
- Higher website value. If you ever look to sell your online business, having a higher DA may help to increase the value of your website. Other factors (like profit) will be more critical, but having a high DA can help to make your site more attractive to buyers.
How to Increase Your Domain Authority
Now, let’s take a look at some specific, actionable tips you can follow if you want to improve your website or blog’s DA.
1. Actively Pursue Links
Inbound links are the most significant factor that will influence a website’s domain authority. If you want to improve your site’s DA, you should be actively working to build links.
Some effective link building approaches don’t involve actively pursuing links, such as creating a valuable tool or calculator at your website and waiting for others to link to it naturally. However, if increasing DA is a priority, you should be actively working on getting new links regularly.
Link building is too big of a topic to cover in detail in this article, but here are two helpful resources if you want to learn more about getting links to your site:
- 8 Ways to Build Backlinks in Boring Niches
- How to Use HARO to Build High Authority Backlinks to Your Blog
2. Get Links from High-Authority Websites in Your Niche
Not all links are equal. Links from high-authority websites will do more for increasing your DA and improving your search engine rankings than links from websites and blogs that have low authority or low DA. The number of links pointing to your site matters, but the quality of those links is even more critical.
To maximize your DA and improve your chances of ranking at the top of Google’s SERPs, don’t spend all your time pursuing links from low-quality or low-authority websites and blogs. Instead, focus on getting links that will have a real impact. Of course, getting links from high-authority sites takes more time and effort, but the results can justify the added effort.
There are plenty of different ways to build links to your site, but here are a few of the most effective strategies for getting high-quality links:
- Write guest posts for high-authority blogs. Many websites and blogs accept guest post submissions. You’ll need to write a high-quality article to get it published on an authoritative website, and it will take some effort, but this is one of the most effective ways to get high DA backlinks.
- Use HARO. Help a Reporter helps journalists to find expert sources for their articles. Most of the time, but not all of the time, the source will be credited in the article with a link to their site. Many of the journalists using HARO are writing for high authority websites.
- Publish original data. Want to attract loads of high-quality links? Publish original data, statistics, and surveys of your own. Growth Badger includes a detailed guide to the double survey technique that is perfect for attracting links.
- Come up with an exciting PR story and pitch journalists. Writers are always looking for newsworthy stories to cover. If you can develop a unique story or angle of interest to journalists in your industry, you can proactively pitch them your story.
- Build your network. The stronger your professional network is, the more likely it will be to lead to link opportunities. Work on building strong connections with bloggers, website owners, freelance writers, and influencers in your niche. It will take time, but you’ll find some outstanding opportunities through your networking efforts.
3. Take a Long-Term Approach
Building a high-authority website or blog takes time. You can’t expect to go from a DA of 8 to 50 in a week. Just like building a successful blog, improving your DA should be a long-term goal.
New links to your site aren’t likely to have an immediate impact on your DA. Those links will need to be crawled and indexed. It can easily take a few weeks or longer to see the effect on your domain authority from the links you’re building.
With a long-term approach, you should set up several specific and measurable goals for different timeframes.
For example, if your DA is currently 23, maybe you’ll set a goal to increase it to 35 by the end of the year. And perhaps your goal for the end of the following year is 45.
Be sure that your goals are specific and that they have a deadline, so you can measure your success and know if you hit the goal.
4. Become Known as an Expert in Your Niche
Think about the types of websites you tend to link to in your blog content. Chances are, you prefer to link to trusted websites and people that you view as experts rather than linking to an unknown website.
When you become recognized as an authority in your niche or industry, your content will naturally attract more links. Any effort you put into link building will be more effective.
Working to establish your expertise and authority in the niche will take time, but it’s one of the most effective ways to improve your DA if you have a long-term approach.
If you want to become known as an expert on a particular topic, there are several steps you can take:
- Publish quality content that’s hyper-focused on a specific topic.
- Write and publish guest posts at other blogs on the same topic.
- Promote your best content to get more visibility (use social media, feature it on your homepage or other highly visible areas of your site, focus your link building efforts on that content)
- Brand yourself and your blog accordingly (for example, start an SEO blog instead of a general internet marketing blog if you want to be known for SEO).
5. Publish High-Quality Content
Link building is much easier when you’re trying to get links to high-quality content. Instead of putting all of your efforts into outreach and contacting people about links, put most of your energy into creating fantastic content others will want to link to.
You can still do some proactive outreach to build links to your content, but let the content do some of the work for you.
Some types of quality content that tend to attract links include:
- Ultimate guides
- Original data, studies, and surveys
- Statistics compiled from other sources
- List posts
- Tools and calculators
Of course, there are other possibilities, but these types of content have proven effective for link building.
6. Use Effective Internal Links
When you’re looking to build links and improve your domain authority, it’s not just links from other websites and blogs that you should be paying attention to. You can also use internal links from your site to help with DA and SEO.
An internal link leads from one page to another page on the same site. When you’re publishing new content, you should actively look for places where you can add links to other relevant content on your site. You can also go back through the archives and add links to the new content you’re publishing.
There are a few key benefits when you’re using internal links:
- You have complete control over the pages you link to. You can improve the page authority (PA) of your most important pages by linking to them more often.
- You can take advantage of your most powerful pages. The pages on your site that have the most inbound links are likely to have the highest PA. You can link these pages to other relevant pages on your site to improve the PA of those other pages. Do this strategically to enhance the pages that are most important to you.
- You control the anchor text. Anchor text, the past of the text that includes the hyperlink, can improve the SEO of the pages you’re linking to. When you’re getting a link from another site, you won’t have complete control over the anchor text. But with internal links, you can use whatever anchor text you choose.
7. Don’t Take Shortcuts
Earlier, I mentioned that increasing your site’s domain authority is a long-term process. That’s true if you’re doing it the right way, but there are some shortcuts you could take.
For example, you could hire an SEO company or purchase a gig on Fiverr that will guarantee to increase your site’s DA to a specific number. That’s not a good idea because they’ll blast out a bunch of links to your site.
The links are unlikely to look natural, and they may do more harm than good.
If you’re in it for the long haul, be sure that you don’t take shortcuts that will damage your long-term results. Have patience and do things the right way.
8. Fix Any Technical Errors with Your Site
Technical errors with the coding of your site can make it difficult for spiders to crawl the site. If Google spiders have a hard time crawling your site, it will hurt your search engine rankings.
The spiders from Moz need to be able to access your site to get the best results with your domain authority. Technical issues can derail your search engine rankings and hurt your DA as well.
Ahrefs offers a free website checker that is an excellent tool for identifying any issues that may be hurting the crawlability of your site. You’ll need to create an account, but the tool is free to use, and it will notify you of errors and other issues that you might want to address.
9. Focus on User Experience and Page Speed
Improving your site’s user experience and load speeds won’t directly build links or improve your domain authority, but it certainly makes the job easier.
User experience is essential, and that’s more true now than ever, thanks to Google’s recent algorithm update that includes core web vitals scores from PageSpeed Insights as a ranking factor.
Providing users with an excellent experience, including fast page load speeds, will help your site rank higher, leading to more visibility, which leads to more links, which leads to a higher DA.
Your outreach and link building efforts are also likely to be more effective if your site presents a positive user experience.
For example, if someone contacts me asking for a link, I visit their website, and it has a bunch of popups or an otherwise poor user experience, I’m not going to link to it.
Prioritize user experience, and everyone wins.
10. Remove or Disavow Toxic Links
Bad links could damage your search engine rankings and domain authority. These bad links are those from spammy, low-quality websites that offer no real value. In some cases, you may be able to have them removed by reaching out to the website owner, but this isn’t an option in many cases with toxic links. If you cannot get the link removed, you can use the disavow tool with Google’s Search Console to disassociate yourself from those links.
You can use a tool like Moz, Ahrefs, or Semrush to analyze the sites linking to you and find any that should be removed or disavowed.
While domain authority does not directly influence search engine rankings or put money in your pocket, it can be a helpful metric for gauging the overall strength of your blog or website.
If you want to have success in the long term, increasing your domain authority should be one of your goals. Using the tips and techniques covered here, you now know how to improve your domain authority.
Take some time to implement these techniques, and you’ll be well on your way to success.