There are over 200 on-page SEO factors that affect website search rankings. Thankfully, you don’t have to keep track of all 200 factors individually to determine website performance. Your website’s domain authority (DA) is an easy way to measure your SEO strategy’s overall success.
Domain authority is a definitive measure of how likely your content is to rank on Google. However, there remains confusion about precisely what it is, how it’s measured, and most importantly, how to increase it. So let’s begin by defining DA.
What is Domain Authority
You can think of domain authority as your website’s reputation. Moz, a leading SEO tool, introduced domain authority as a metric for measuring a website’s predicted ranking in organic searches. It combines over 40 SEO factors, such as linking root domains, inbound links, and site loading speed, into one composite score.
Domain Authority scores use a scale of 0-100. The higher your score, the higher the chance your content will rank in the search results. New sites start on zero. The most authoritative sites in your niche will have the highest authority. Domain Authority uses a logarithmic scale. A logarithmic scale means it is easier to raise your score from 20 to 40 than to improve it from 60 to 80.
Domain Authority vs. Page Authority
Domain authority is a score for the overall website. Your Page Authority (PA) refers to individual pages on your website. Individual pages on a website with a high DA will also have a high PA. Acquiring inbound links to a page on your site will increase the PA of that page and your site’s DA.
The strategies for raising domain and page authority are similar. We will look at them in greater detail later in this article. The one point to remember is that it is easier to raise the PA than your site’s DA.
How to Use Domain Authority?
Domain Authority will play an essential part in your content marketing efforts. Firstly, when picking a keyword to target, you should review what sites appear in the search results for the term you are targeting. You can then compare the DA of your site against the other sites on the first page.
Let’s say your company sells sportswear. When your potential customer launches a search for running shoes, who are the companies listed on the results page? The other companies on the SERP are your competitors.
If all of the sites on the front page of Google have a DA of 90+, and your website has a DA of 20+, you should consider an alternative target keyword. You want to identify opportunities where sites with a similar or lower DA to yours are ranking. When you find these opportunities, you can then look at other factors that impact your ranking chance—for example, Page Authority.
Remember: the DA score is only relevant when you look at it relative to your competition.
How Do I Measure My DA Score?
Moz created the concept of domain authority. Today several SaaS companies offer online DA checkers.
- Moz: Moz is the leader in providing domain authority data. Their suite of DA checking tools uses over 40 SEO parameters to evaluate your website’s domain authority.
- Ahrefs: The Ahrefs Site Explorer tool uses a database of over 12 trillion links and 200 million root domains.
- Majestic: Majestic has the largest link index database, and its Fresh and Historic index options provide a customized solution for calculating DA scores.
Websites like these allow SEO marketers to get an accurate DA score for your site. You can also compare your DA scores against that of your competition.
Why Should You Care About the DA of Your WordPress Site?
Getting a relatively high DA score for your WordPress site has four tangible benefits:
- Better Visibility: A higher DA score will give your website higher SERP rankings, increasing your visibility to potential customers. The added visibility will generate a higher volume of organic traffic to your website, raising your conversion levels.
- More Quality Backlinks: A good DA score will enable you to earn backlinks from reputable sites. Guest posts and outreach can help you get much-needed backlinks for your WordPress site. If you have a good DA score, you will find it easy to do link exchanges with other high-authority sites.
- More Advertisers: Your DA score can be your gateway to attracting paid ads. Companies will pay to promote their products and services on high-traffic, high-ranking websites.
- Affiliate Marketing: Companies are always on the lookout for affiliate partners who can help them make additional sales. As an affiliate partner, you can earn a commission on every sale that comes from your website.
Domain authority is more than just a number. It can help you form your SEO strategy so you can maximize your website’s ROI. When you understand why DA is such an influential factor in search engine rankings, you can use it more effectively to generate more revenue.
But Wait! Google Says it Doesn’t Use Domain Authority.
According to Google’s John Mueller said that he had to say again.&text=We don’t use domain authority at all in our algorithms.), Google does not use the domain authority in calculating SERP rankings. Instead, they use a proprietary algorithm called PageRank to determine which sites go to the top of the results.
But is there a relationship between DA and PageRank? Moz seems to think the two have more in common than Google would like you to believe. According to a Moz case study, there is a 92% correlation between a site’s DA and its search engine performance.
While Google’s algorithm is a closely-guarded secret, the Moz domain authority algorithm (and others like it) comes very close to duplicating its effect on search rankings. After all, they use many common concepts to determine how worthy a site is of ranking high in search results. Read on to learn how Moz and other service providers calculate domain authority.
How is Domain Authority Calculated?
Every SaaS company that provides DA checkers uses its customized and proprietary algorithm. Few companies share the exact steps they take to rank a website. However, some SEO factors seem common to all the algorithms.
The pie chart above shows some common SEO factors that impact the SERP rankings in Google searches. Aside from sites’ built-in DA (20%), the quality (18%) and density (18%) of external links also make an impact on domain authority. Hence, domain authority and its components account for around 56% of SERP ranking factors.
While different algorithms can use up to 40 SEO parameters to calculate the DA score, the best way to improve your score is to increase the quality and density of external links from different root domains.
Inbound links (IBLs) or backlinks are links from an external website that point to a page on your website. Search engine algorithms read the density of backlinks to your website to indicate that your website provides useful content.
While you can always aim for a higher number of backlinks, you also need to consider their quality. Multiple links from low-authority websites won’t do much to raise your DA score, while links from reputable websites (read: those with higher DA scores) have the potential to boost your DA massively. The illustration below clarifies this concept.
When it comes to increasing your WordPress site’s DA score, try to get backlinks from high-quality sites that are considered leaders in your niche. The more powerful the links you can secure, the faster your content will rank in the search results.
Linking Root Domains
Let’s say you have two websites: Website A and Website B. When Website A links back to Website B, Website A is called the linking root domain. Different DA calculations and search engine algorithms count the number of linking root domains to help determine if a website should rank high in search results.
Note that almost all DA algorithms count unique linking root domains. For example, if Website A has 20 backlinks to Website B, all of them are considered as coming from just one linking domain. What matters is the number of unique websites that send you inbound links. In other words, one unique link from five different reputable websites has more weight on the ranking than 20 links from just one website.
Aside from inbound links and linking root domains, some other SEO factors that affect DA to a lesser degree are:
- Internal links
- User experience factors
- Quality of the content
Again, search algorithms are complex and change frequently. But for most, the factors we’ve mentioned above clearly hold a high degree of relevance.
5 Ways to Improve the DA of Your WordPress Website
Increasing the DA score of your WordPress website is a long-term game. Raising your DA score from 40 to 60 could take you 12-18 months of patience and perseverance. However, with the right strategy, you can start seeing small incremental results in 6-8 weeks.
Here are a few of my top tips to help you start seeing results as quickly as possible:
- Conduct a Link Audit: Search engines audit the worth of your site based on its link profile. You can improve your WordPress site’s link profile by conducting an audit of your website and removing outbound links to low-quality sites.
- Improve Internal Linking: You need to build internal links to strengthen your site from the inside. Start by defining a page hierarchy of your website. Ensure that the highest number of internal links point to the most important page, the second-highest number of links to the next page in the hierarchy, and so on.
- Create Quality Content: Creating high-quality and compelling content is the best way to raise engagement levels with your traffic and attract high-quality backlinks. Focus on creating high-quality on-page content and thought-leadership blogs. You may want to hire a content marketing expert to improve the quality of your content.
- Run a Guest Post Campaign: The density of inbound links from reputed websites is the single largest contributor to your domain and page authority score. Not only do these links build your DA score, but they also drive traffic to your website. You can generate those links through a range of content marketing strategies. For example, you can write guest posts to create links to your website. I recommend you use an email finder to get the details of site editors.
- Optimize Your User Experience: You need to optimize your website’s design and layout. Make sure your website loads fast, has a responsive layout and is easy to navigate. The better your UI, the more likely you are to get links from other websites.
Remember: patience is the name of the game when it comes to improving your DA. Keep at it, and give it time.
Your website’s domain authority has a direct bearing on your SERP rankings. A DA score that is equal to or better than that of your competition will help you in opening up multiple revenue streams and maximize the ROI from your website.
Raising your DA score is a long-term game. Enhancing your website authority should be one of the core parts of your overall SEO strategy. A high DA score will mean more traffic, more exposure, and more opportunities to make money from your content and platform.