Domain Authority (DA) is a website metric developed by Moz. It is one of the most important numbers known to SEOs. The greater your DA, the more likely you are to have strong traffic and high rank.
Is domain authority something that you can change, or is it unalterable and immoveable? I am convinced there are practical things you can do to improve this important number.
But before we go over how you can improve your DA, there are a few things you need to know:
First off, let me share a few key facts about DA. This information will help you better understand exactly how you can move your DA upward:
- Domain authority is based on a lot of factors. Primarily, however, these are link profile factors such as how many backward links are pointing to your website and how authoritative those sites are.
- It is very difficult to gain a DA number of 100. Sites like Facebook and Google have it, so don’t be disappointed if you never hit 100.
- DA is difficult to influence directly. You can’t change your DA score like you can change your meta tags.
So, how do you improve your DA?
How to improve your Domain Authority
We’ve come to the very question this article attempts to answer: How do you improve your DA?
Improving your link profile is a crucial issue that I’ve addressed in detail before.
At the most basic level, to have a good link profile, you have to do two things:
- Get rid of bad links.
- Gain good links.
Let’s deal with the first one — getting rid of bad links. This is pretty straightforward. You request the removal of these links, and if that fails, you disavow them. Done.
Now, what about the second one — gaining good links? Realistically, you have two options. Option 1 is that you engage the services of an SEO agency that has relationships with websites and writers who can secure high-quality legitimate backlinks. This is a good option, but it is expensive and has risks.
Option 2 is to create a site with high value information that elicits links by virtue of its awesomeness. That, my friends, is content marketing.
What I’ve found is that content marketing is the solution to gaining DA. Although I’m still going to give you a list of things you can do to bump up your DA, I want to emphasize the most important factor: you improve your DA by doing content marketing well.
So, let’s take a closer look at the 5 things you can do to improve your DA:
Step #1: Ensure that your technical SEO is in place
Attending to all the technical aspects of SEO is absolutely important as a foundation. It may not be sexy to optimize your robots.txt or map out a URL structure, but without these important features, you won’t have effective SEO. First things first. Technical SEO comprises the core of a DA-improvement effort.
As Moz explains, to improve your DA, you need to improve your overall SEO, and that includes all the details that SEOs know and love — site structure, navigability, breadcrumbs, URL structure, meta tags, header tags, word count, keywords, alt tags, etc. SEO and content marketing require one another. They actually go together.
Make sure that your SEO is up to par before you go further in the pursuit of higher DA.
Step #2: Create lots of linkable content
Now, we get into something that has a more direct impact upon DA — your content.
In order to have content marketing, you have to have lots and lots of linkable content. What I do is create articles or infographics nearly every day. That’s a lot of output, considering my articles are over 1,000 words, my infographics are big, and my guides exceed 10,000 words.
This is a heck of a lot of content, but I’ve seen it pay off in big ways. Content drives my business. It forms the core of what I do. I would not have the level of success that I now enjoy were it not for the hard work of producing lots and lots of content.
It’s not mere content alone that drives links, of course. It’s top-notch content with power, authority and value. There is no industry so boring that it couldn’t produce engaging content. My resource on content marketing will explain how you can do this.
Step #3: Develop strong internal linking
Often overlooked in the craze over “high quality backlinks” is building of high quality internal backlinks. I can’t overemphasize the importance of internal linking. (See what I did there? That’s an internal link.)
Internal linking weaves a powerful network within your site that benefits both the user and the search engines that crawl and index your site. A site that lacks internal linking is like a collection of pebbles — disconnected and weak. But a site that has strong internal linking turns those pebbles into concrete — interconnected and unbreakable.
The great thing about having more content is that you’ll have more content to link to. And the more you link internally, the greater your ability to create a dense and powerful site network will be.
Step #4: Regularly remove toxic backlinks
SEO isn’t all glory and grandeur. There’s the nitty gritty of wading through spreadsheets and performing mind-numbing repetitive work.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. You’ve got to remove your toxic backlinks. Every now and then, you should dig into your link profile, find the spammy links, and get rid of them.
You’ll gain a huge competitive advantage by regularly cleaning your link profile. In my experience, this isn’t something that most webmasters are doing with any regularity. Sure, I see webmasters engage in clean-up with a vengeance, but it’s only after they’ve experienced the slump of an algorithm penalty or the heart-stopping experience of a manual penalty.
Don’t wait till a penalty strikes you to clean up your link profile. Do it now and then continue to do it on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
Explaining how to remove toxic backlinks is outside the scope of this article, so let me point you to some resources. This Quick Sprout Traffic University video helps you understand whether you’re at risk for a penalty, and this article on penalty recovery will show you exactly what you need to do to clean up your link profile (even if you haven’t been penalized).
This is the only way you’re going to have a tidy link profile — cleaning it up regularly. You can build the most awesome link-backs the world has ever seen, but if your profile is full of spammy backlinks, you’re not going to experience the success you want from content marketing. Your DA will remain low.
Step #5: Be patient
If you are doing exactly what I’ve explained in the above steps, your DA will rise. One of the factors that doesn’t get a lot of notice in discussions of higher DA is the domain age factor.
Generally speaking, the older the domain, the higher its authority. I examined the link profile of a website and discovered some historic domains. These historic domains had high DA levels.
To find out the age of a domain, you can use the free Domain Age Tool provided by Webconfs.com.
Domain age doesn’t automatically translate into domain authority, however. If the domain falls into disrepair, maintains outdated SEO techniques, lacks fresh content, or builds up a cruddy link profile, it will lose its DA.
As you pursue content marketing, you will gradually see your DA rise. My point is that it takes time. Be patient. SEO wins don’t happen in a day. They happen over the long haul.
You’ll find plenty of content elsewhere on the web that explains how you should improve your DA. Some of it is pretty good.
But most of it misses the whole point. You can’t simply “improve your DA” by jiggering this and tweaking that. Instead, you must look at the bigger picture of today’s SEO — it’s content marketing. And you can only win in the other areas — domain authority, traffic, organic search results, and ranking — by focusing on your content.
Better content means better everything else. You can improve your domain authority. It’s all about your content.