What is Domain Authority and why does it matter for your business?
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Whist domain authority is becoming a more widely understood term, if you don’t work within the digital marketing world, the term may still be alien to you. You may be curious as to what it is and why it should matter to you for your business.
In essence, domain authority plays a crucial role in enabling your website to rank higher on a search engine. It ranks websites 1 to 100 with 100 being the best and 1 the worst.
How do you know if you have a high or low authority domain?
First of all, if your website is relatively new its perfectly normal to have a low domain authority. A good SEO agency can help you to understand what good looks like for your sector, tell you how your competitors are doing, and set you on a path with an achievable target.
So why does it matter?
There are a number of reasons why having a high domain authority is a good thing.
Having a high domain authority will increase your SERP (search engine results page) position. This is because search engines like to provide the most useful results for a search, and if they see your website as authoritative for certain keywords and key phrases, then it will automatically present your website higher than a less authoritative website in a search result.
Getting onto that first page of Bing or Google is a key goal of any website, but another benefit is that you may attract affiliate sales if you’re an e-commerce site, sponsored posts, advertisers, and increased guest posts. Affiliate sales and sponsored posts are passive income for your website whilst guest posts are a fantastic free PR tool.
Domain authority is also a useful metric against your competitors. If their site has a higher domain authority, and they are ranking for your target keywords then this gives you a powerful goal as part of your digital KPIs.
So how can you increase domain authority?
First of all, it’s important to be patient because domain authority does not increase overnight. Just like social media marketing its about quality and consistency.
There are several ways to increase domain authority some of which you may already be doing as part of your marketing approach, other tactics may be new to you.
Compelling content still tops the list when it comes to web rankings and traffic. So make sure you are posting unique, creative and relevant content on your website regularly.
Also, try to make your site as user friendly as possible. This will ensure you increase the number of viewers due to the high speed of the page and this in turn increases domain authority.
Work on the bounce rate for your website as a high bounce rate will affect your domain authority. Determining a good bounce rate depends on the type of website and the sector you’re involved in, but somewhere between 25% and 40% is good. Once you’ve attracted visitors to your website make sure you keep them on there!
Consistently post across various social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc as this all gets picked up by the search engine and shows your website to be an active one. Continue to share your content to a growing audience.
Increase your backlinks from high domain authority websites by using a Digital PR agency to outreach to journalists on your behalf. PR experts know exactly which websites are seen as the highest authority within your target audience. They will pitch your blog, article or other linkable asset on your behalf to a journalist, and as they have built up a relationship with the journalists, they are more like to gain fast results. They will also have the time and expertise to respond quickly to journalist enquiries. Your agency’s SEO expert will be able to check the domain authorities of the websites you are targeting too. All this adds to your Digital PR and SEO strategy.
Similarly, creating outbounds links from your own website to high authority websites is another important tactic in increasing domain authority. This may seem counter intuitive. Why would you want to send your reader elsewhere? But executed in a strategic way and to the correct high authority web links, this will increase your website’s domain authority.
Avoid spammy links. What do we mean by this? Simply put spammy links are low quality backlinks which are pointed to your domain from spam or poor authority sites. If you see a sharp spike in traffic to your domain you may have inadvertently attracted low quality backlinks, often from countries outside your core audience.
Make sure you’re driving links to your site that are going to drive traffic. There is no point in chasing a link that no one will see, and that doesn’t drive traffic. Not only does this not drive business, but it’s also highly likely that a search engine will penalise this type of link.
Do not buy links. Lots of companies will email you saying they will get you links to websites for $200 as an example. Do not invest your marketing budget this way. Make sure you become seen as an authority the correct way, through writing authoritative blogs and articles, and by pitching them to the right journalists and website editors. Yes it’s a longer strategy, but it’s the only strategy if you’re serious about being a thought leader in your chosen sector, with a recognised brand and with ultimately a high ranking website.
So what should you do next?
Use a free tool off the web or contact an SEO agency like Join the Dots and find out your website’s domain authority. Have a conversation with an expert about what good looks like within your sector and website type, and then benchmark against the competition. Set an achievable goal for your website alongside your other digital KPIs and make a note to report on it monthly.
Commit to creating SEO optimised content every month and then share this via your social media channels and undertake outreach to editors and journalists, pitching your blog to them.
If this is too time consuming or you don’t have the skills in house, then find budget for this. Do not spend money on just an SEO specialist OR just a PR agency. Invest in an agency that offers both including digital PR services and the budget will then kill two birds with one stone in terms of raising your public relations profile AND improving your SEO.