In this article, we understand what Domain Authority is, how it’s measured, the benefits of improving it and what to focus on, along with tools and other resources to help anyone looking to improve their website’s domain authority.
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Domain Authority (DA), also rereferred to as Domain Rating (DR) (and sometimes Domain ranking), is a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will likely rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score usually ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank than competitors with a lower score.
Typically, a well-established, trusted website that sees a lot of internet traffic and delivers valuable, accurate and original content will have a higher DA DR score than a newly established site with lower quality or lacking content. Examples of sites with a high DA or DR score may include Amazon.com, BBC.com, Microsoft.com, etc., and even Google itself.
Domain authority is an arbitrary metric calculated differently depending on your tool or service. Note: Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google or other search engines as a ranking factor. So while it does not directly affect SERP rankings, it could be considered a reliable metric used to depict the SEO fitness of a given domain against its competitors in the same industry type or niche.
Most SEO tools calculate a domain’s DA by looking at website metrics which consider and calculate some or all of the following factors:
- A website’s trust
- A website’s authority
- The number and quality of backlinks that link back to a page or pages on the website
- The domain authority of backlinks coming from their respective referring domains
- Organic search data
- Other SEO-related factors or metrics
Most SEO tools’ DA calculation is logarithmic, so it’s much easier to increase your score from 20 to 30 than increase it from 70 to 80.
If your Domain authority or rating is similar to or higher than that of your competitors, then you are probably in good shape for your industry type or niche from an SEO fitness point of view. However, with SEO, there is always room for improvement! 🤓
What are the benefits of improving my DR DA scores?
There are many benefits of having a high Domain Authority or Rating. Here are some examples:
- A higher domain authority or rating means your site is more likely to rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs), which leads to more organic traffic and potential customers/clients for your business.
- A high DA or DR indicates that Google and other search engines will see your site as a trusted, authoritative source of information that can help your website rank higher for certain keywords or phrases.
- A high DA or DR score can also help increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your website’s organic search listings, as users are more likely to click on results from a trusted source.
- Having a high DA or DR can also help build brand awareness and credibility, as users are more likely to trust a website with high domain authority.
- A high DA or DR can lead to more inbound links from other websites, as they are more likely to link to a trusted source of information. This can further improve your website’s SEO.
- Last but not least, having a high DA or DR can help increase the visibility and reach of your website, as it is more likely to be shared by other users and websites.
Many factors can influence your Domain Authority or Domain Rating score. Here are some examples:
- The age of your Domain: typically, the longer a domain has been around, the more credible it is seen by search engines and other websites. This is because a website that has been around for a long time is more likely to have good content, be well-established, and have earned the trust of its users.
- The number of backlinks pointing to your website: the more backlinks you have from other high-quality websites, the higher your DA or DR score will be. This is because backlinks are seen as a vote of confidence from other websites and indicate to search engines that your website is delivering quality information worth linking to.
- The quality of backlinks pointing to your website: not just the quantity of backlinks that matters, but also the quality. A backlink from a high-quality website (i.e., a website with a high DA or DR score) is worth more than a backlink from a low-quality website. In addition, a backlink from trusted sources signals to search engines that your website is also trustworthy.
- Your website’s content: having well-written, informative and original content on your website can help increase your DA or DR score. Good quality content is a sign of a credible and authoritative website.
- Your website’s design and user experience: A well-designed website that is easy to navigate and use can also help increase your DA or DR score. This is because a good user experience signals to search engines that your website is trustworthy and worth linking to.
- Your website’s loading speed: if your website takes too long to load, users are likely to click away, which signals to search engines that your website is not delivering a good user experience. This can negatively impact your DA or DR score.
- Your website’s mobile-friendliness: as more and more users access the internet from mobile devices, it’s important to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, this could negatively impact your DA or DR score.
Make sure that all of your links are working properly. Next, find and fix any broken links on your website. Broken links are bad. They send a user to a 404-page error or, even worse, a URL that cannot load a page. This negatively affects the user’s experience, making them more likely to click away from your website.
Google and other search engines also know about it as their crawlers experience the same problems following your broken link. Also, other people or websites are less likely to share or link to your pages if they are full of broken links or content that may be perceived as outdated or incorrect.
3. Monitor 404 errors and make good use of redirects
Be sure to make monitoring 404 errors on your site a routine task. Review the 404 errors regularly and identify where a link to your site may have sent a user to a page that might have moved or the URL slug or permalink has changed. You’ll want to jump on these almost as quickly as broken links as your users will suffer from a degraded experience. And if your users are having problems, so will Google and other search engines.
4. Improve the quality of your website’s content
This should be a constant process—an ongoing evolution of the pages and the content you produce for them. It would help if you always strived to produce the best content. So check in on what the competition is doing. Find out what is working for them and adapt it to your style. Only do it better. Search for the same search terms as the keywords your pages are attempting to target. See what is new. Ask yourself how you can improve on that? What can you do better? What would your visitors or clients like to see, or what content may make your website better than the competition?
Remember this – If your content is more engaging and helpful to your audience, Google and other search engines are also aware of this. In addition, your audience is more likely to share it, which gets you more eyes on the pages. And your DA DR increases as a result.
6. Review your User Interface (UI) / User Experience (UX)
Make sure your website is well-designed and easy to use. The page design, navigation, and layout should be user-focused and easy to use. If you get these things right, your user experience will be pleasant. A pleasant user experience will satisfy many factors that increase a website’s Domain Authority or Domain rating.
7. Loading speeds
Periodically analyze your page load speeds. Page load speeds are a user experience factor. Google and other search engines also monitor them. You need to know if your load times are bottlenecking for any reason. Bottlenecking could be due to a web hosting issue, server resource problem, 3rd party applications or source files, or perhaps an on-page technical SEO-related problem.
Keep your site loading as quickly as possible and if you identify areas causing delays or long load times, be sure to take steps to rectify them. Tools like Google Page Speed Insights or GTMetrix can help you identify problem areas.
8. Responsive design
Make sure your website is mobile and tablet friendly. Given that most people in the world have smartphones and internet connections on the move, it’s no surprise that the number of people using these devices to access websites is overtaking desktop usage for internet browsing. Therefore, your site should have a responsive design to accommodate screen sizes and content for mobile devices and desktop browsers.
Google and other search engines also have crawlers that check to see if your website is mobile-friendly. If yours isn’t ready or there are problems displaying mobile content, you will likely feature further down the SERPs. This will have an indirect effect on your DA DR.
9. Online directory listings
Be sure to list your business in as many online directories as possible (such as Google My Business). Directory listings come in paid-for and free options. Try and find directories that hold a high Domain Authority, are well-known, and have a good, trusted reputation.
Often the paid-for directories will present in your listing an opportunity to display a link to your website, which will strengthen your website’s backlink profile and will directly affect your DA score.
10. Align your business data
Ensure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across all listing sites and on your website. For example, if your phone number is listed as +44 (0)1234 5678910 on your website, don’t list it elsewhere as variations of that number (e.g., +44 1234 5678910 or 01234 5678910).
They all may be valid numbers to key into a phone and get you connected. Still, Google and other search engines see that as an inconsistent listing, and your trust and, therefore, Domain Authority could be indirectly and adversely affected.
11. Reviews, testimonials, and feedback
Encourage happy customers and clients to leave reviews of your business on popular review sites (such as Google Reviews, Yelp, Trustpilot, etc.) In addition, it’s no bad idea to include a testimonial section on your website with kind words from your happy clients.
12. Search engine indexing
Submit your website to search engines such as Google and Bing and ensure it is indexed. You’ll need a sitemap to do this.
13. Google Search Console
Check-in with Google Search Console every once in a while. Try to look out for any crawling or indexing errors or warnings, and be sure to fix them as soon as possible.
14. Track your DA score
Monitor your website’s DA or DR score over time and track your progress. You can use the tools mentioned below to do this. If you have hired an SEO professional or agency, talk to them about receiving regular updates or reports that can demonstrate the stats and upwards trends to show your SEO efforts are paying off.
15. Call in the professionals
If you feel the above tasks are outside your comfort zone or you don’t have the time to give them your attention, then you could consider hiring SEO professionals like PagesThatConvert.com to do the heavy lifting. If this is you, get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements.
Tools that can help you improve and track your Domain Authority progress
Several tools can help you analyze your website’s backlinks, DA or DR score, and more to track your progress over time. Some of the best tools to use for this purpose include:
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs is probably our favorite and go-to SEO tool that you can use to analyze a website’s backlinks, DR score, and much more. You can use it to track your progress over time.
- SEMrush: In second place is SEMrush – another popular SEO tool you can use to analyze your website’s backlinks, DA or DR score, and more to track your progress over time. You can sign up for seven day trial of SEMRush here.
- Moz Pro: Moz Pro is a paid-for SEO tool that you can use to analyze your website’s backlinks and DA score and track your progress over time. Moz was the founder of the concept of analyzing and calculating Domain Authority.
- Ubersuggest: Ubersuggest is a free SEO tool that can analyze your website’s backlinks, DA, or DR score and track your progress over time. Upgrade options to paid plans give more functionality and history tracking.
- Google Search Console: Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that you can use to register a website’s sitemap, ready for indexing. Once your site has been added and is gathering search data, you should check for errors, warnings, or potential problems with your website.
- Domain Authority Checker: Domain Authority Checker is a free online tool that you can use to check your website’s DA or DR score.
- Google page insights: Google’s Page Speed Insights will run tests on your website for mobile and desktop versions and help you identify page load problems or bottlenecks.
- GTMetrix – GTMetrix is our preferred tool for identifying page loading issues. Very similar to Google Page Speed Insights, but we find the waterfall charts easier to read, and the suggested remedies are more helpful.
Further resources for learning more about Domain Authority and SEO
- For further comparisons on the SEO domain authority checking tools, check out this independent and informative SEO authority checker article published on SearchEngineJournal.com
- Wikipedia’s page entry for Domain Authority
- Ahref’s “Authority” checker tool – With a great explanation of how they measure and calculate website authority
- Hubspot’s top-rated article on Domain Authority and how to improve it.
- From the founders of the Domain Authority metric – Moz’s article on Domain Authority and how to use it effectively
- SEMRush’s article on Authority score – explaining how their tools measure and calculate Domain authority
Whichever tool you find most comfortable working with or valuable, there is no denying it – website or business owners with an online presence need to be aware of what Domain Authority is and what steps are required to improve their scores. Whether you are happy to do the steps yourself or hire a professional to help you, it’s an important factor of your digital marketing strategy that you should not put aside.
What are your thoughts? What are the most important aspects of improving your website’s domain authority? Have we missed anything? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.