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What is Domain Authority?

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For several years, up until the end of 2013, Google had their own measurement for what we now call Domain Authority. Google called it PageRank. There were some real drawbacks with PageRank, namely that we all had to wait around for Google to update it, and that didn’t happen very often.

When it comes to understanding the “secret sauce” of Google’s algorithm, there are lots of self-proclaimed authorities on the subject. But, nobody has the respect and expertise on the subject as THE expert: MOZ.

What makes MOZ unique is they aren’t an SEO agency for hire. Instead, they focus on monitoring and documenting the trends of what works, and what doesn’t, by surveying SEO professionals. Take a look at the correlation chart below. According to 150 SEO professionals surveyed in 2015, the top two factors that correlated with higher Google organic rankings was Domain Authority and Page Authority.

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According to MOZ:

“Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. Use Domain Authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the “strength” of your website over time. We calculate this metric by combining all of our other link metrics—linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc.—into a single score.”

“We score Domain Authority on a 100-point, logarithmic scale. Thus, it’s easier to grow your score from 20 to 30 than it would be to grow from 70 to 80.”

Breaking down Domain Authority to each and every component would be a significant undertaking, but to simplify things, essentially Domain Authority boils down to “link metrics”:

  • How many links are pointing to your site?
  • How many unique websites are pointing to your site?
  • How authoritative are those sites linking to your site?
  • How relevant are those sites or pages linking to your site? (In other words, is the content found linking to you also relevant to your site, or the page being linked to?)

Not only are the metrics speaking loud and clear from SEO professionals that Domain Authority and Page Authority have a very strong correlation with high organic rankings, but from Google’s perspective, it makes total sense. Quality websites with high authority levels sending links to your site will have a positive impact your Domain Authority, especially if those pages or sites are relevant to your content.

Why is this important to Google?

First of all, Google is a for-profit business, and their primary revenue stream is generated from people using their search engine. Clearly, the quality of search results is a top priority for Google with the lion’s share of their $75 Billion in revenues coming from their advertising channel.

Google’s ad revenues depend heavily on users choosing Google as their primary search engine. With an estimated 80% of searchers clicking on organic search results, Google’s first focus is on the quality of those results.

Imagine if the quality of Google’s search results were to decline… would people stop relying on Google as their go-to for search?

Well, by all appearances, Google thinks so, and isn’t willing to gamble with their flagship product, Google Search.

What is Google doing to ensure their stranglehold on the 75%+ market share in search?

From Google’s perspective, the worst case scenario is that their organic search results are not the most relevant and authoritative websites for each search. Google has been trying for years to improve the quality of search results, and the end result has been a moving target for business owners trying to rank organically.

The key metric for identifying a website’s ability to rank is Domain Authority. This is formula that factors in several metrics and to determine a website’s overall likelihood to rank highly in Google search results.

How to move the Domain Authority Needle?

As a starting point, you need to have a good linkscape, which essentially involves getting new links from quality sites and getting rid of links from low quality, irrelevant sites.

In order to build good links, it’s important to seek out the low-hanging fruit. Consider giving a call to businesses in your industry where you have a good relationship and asking for a link.

More sophisticated strategies, which are a must when competing in most industries, typically involve hiring a professional agency. A good SEO company will pitch content ideas to high domain authority publishers, and get that newly published content linking back to you from authoritative, relevant sites.

Capture the low hanging fruit with internal link building

Internal linking is something else that commonly gets glossed over, although the level of effort is low, and the payoff is potentially high. Think about this from Google’s perspective. If your website is about “Digital Marketing,” and you want to set yourself apart as THE authority on “Digital Marketing,” then use common sense to link relevant pages on your site to your “Digital Marketing” page. By broadening your “Digital Marketing” footprint on your site with a web of links between pages, your authority on the subject of “Digital Marketing” will increase.

Getting rid of toxic links

There was a time where quantity of links was the name of the game. Google penguin rewrote that law, and now we need to be careful to only seek out links from relevant and authoritative sites. A manual penalty from Google will make your world stand still…and your traffic too. It’s best to keep your backlink profiles clean. You’ll also get an edge over your competitors if you monitor your backlink portfolio regularly and remove links from low quality, spammy sites.

Winning the marathon, not the sprint

In an ideal world, we would see immediate results from playing by the rules and working hard to build quality backlinks. But that’s just not reality.

On the one hand, Google has revised their strategy for rolling out algorithm updates to even things out and create fewer waves with more frequent, incremental updates to their algorithm. This would suggest they’re moving in the direction of higher frequency with indexing and updating.

On the other hand, speedy results are not often associated with “natural” SEO. In fact, speed is often taken a sign of “faking it.”

As you pursue SEO success, you will see your Domain Authority gradually increase over time, so remember to be patient. SEO success doesn’t happen in a day, or a week, or a month. But, if you stick with it, and keep your focus on relevance and quality, you’ll see those victories over the long term.

To find out more about how to use the latest developments in Domain Authority to your advantage, contact 180fusion today!

Mike Symonds

Mike Symonds

Mike Symonds brings over 12 years of digital marketing experience to the table, with practical, frontline experience growing small business to enterprise clients.  As a lead solutions architect with 180fusion, Mike works with CMOs and entrepreneurs crafting custom strategies to align with their business visions and succeed online.

Comments (1)

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