The best metrics to measure your website’s success depends on its goals. For e-commerce sites, the conversion rate is the key stat. For blogs relying on ad revenue, traffic is king.
Despite these differences, domain authority is a crucial measure of the site’s online stature and the chance of continued success for all websites.
But why do digital marketing professionals cherish this metric? Our BRANDefenders guide to domain authority answers all your questions and lets you know how to build yours.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain authority measures how trusted search engines consider a website. Authoritative websites tend to rank favorably compared to sites with low authority scores.
This isn’t a measure of “trust” in the sense that we usually refer to pages as being “trustworthy” or not — that refers to whether the page is safe to visit. Instead, this describes a well-regarded website by other websites to be considered helpful by the search algorithm.
At BRANDefenders, we understand that this metric is an excellent way for business owners to monitor their website’s success over time. While numerous digital marketing services can indicate your site’s domain authority score, a popular choice is a software developer called Moz.
Moz allows you to check any website’s DA score, ranking sites from 1-100. 1 is a new site, while 100 means it’s the internet’s most-referenced website.
Domain Authority vs. Page Authority
Domain authority is distinct from page authority:
- Domain authority describes how well-regarded a website’s root domain is.
- Page authority tells how well-regarded a single page on that website is.
Strong page authority can bring traffic to your site just because that single page ranks highly. It also contributes to overall domain authority, so it’s worth building this up independently.
Think of a YouTube channel that consistently achieved 10k views per video until that one video blew up and hit 300k. While not everyone who watched the big hit will watch every other video on the channel, it contributes to long-term success by dramatically boosting visibility.
How Do Search Engines Calculate Domain Authority?
Moz is a trusted service and is incredibly helpful for digital marketing teams — at BRANDefenders, we use Moz all the time. However, it’s important to remember that Moz is a highly effective but independent service from search engines. Therefore, Moz isn’t directly involved in the algorithm’s process.
While the factors contributing to good domain authority are the same factors that will help you rank highly on Google, the metric itself is not used in ranking calculations. The domain authority score you’ll find on Moz is an analysis rather than a contributing factor.
The exact methodology that search algorithms use is somewhat secretive and constantly updating. Likewise, Moz doesn’t give up too much information on how it makes its decisions.
However, the main factors are pretty well-known in digital marketing.
Here are the most prominent factors that contribute to your domain authority.
The volume of inbound links directed to a website plays a massive role in determining its credibility. More links mean more external sources that regard the website as trustworthy enough to reference — however, it’s not just about quantity. Quality is more important.
Linking Root Domains
The root domain of external sites linking back to your website determines how seriously search engines take the reference. A site’s root domain is the “Wikipedia” part of www.wikipedia.org. A highly-regarded root domain will be taken much more seriously than an inbound link from a website with a low authority score.
If this system seems somewhat circular, that’s because it is. It’s the search engines’ way of getting websites to peer-review each other. It also protects against black-hat SEO and digital marketing tricks like building blank websites simply to link back to the page you’re trying to rank.
At BRANDefenders, we know that the search algorithms are far too clever for lazy black hat techniques these days. Building domain authority organically is the only way.
Google and other search engines play a role in determining domain authority scores. Search links are still links, after all. Sites with higher search traffic tend to be rated more highly than those that never appear in searches.
Inbound links’ click-through rate helps determine whether the links are well-placed and relevant. A higher click-through rate means that your inbound links served a useful purpose on the website linking to you and weren’t simply thrown in to help you rank more highly. Paid links are an accepted part of digital marketing, but search engines will punish lazy attempts at paid linking compared to relevant, informative referencing.
Improving click-through rate is vital in so many areas of digital marketing. At BRANDefenders, we help our clients optimize their websites to enhance click-through performance, whether in search traffic or inbound links.
Demystifying the Algorithms
Would it be nice to know search algorithms inside out? Of course, it would. However, we don’t need to be discouraged just because the information giants like to keep a few secrets to themselves.
A successful digital marketing strategy is about paring information down to relevant and actionable information. At BRANDefenders, that’s how we consistently help our clients build their domain authority. We know the primary factors that create domain authority, and we help clients through a clear plan to get them where they want to be.
What is a Good Domain Authority?
The higher, the better, right? Yes, and not necessarily.
Domain authority is calculated on an absolute scale. This means that crudely speaking, 1 = no links at all, while 100 = the most high-quality inbound links of any site on the internet. Only a few websites will rank above 90 for this reason, and for most small-to-medium-sized businesses, it’s a steep ask to crack those top spots.
Consider your domain authority relative to your competitors rather than relative to massive platforms. At BRANDefenders, we can analyze your key competitors’ performance and bring your score up.
There are a few more caveats worth noting:
- It’s much easier to climb from 30 to 40 than 40 to 50, and so on. The competition scales up dramatically once you reach the big leagues.
- There are other important metrics besides domain authority. Yes, it’s always worth taking steps to improve this score. Still, if an e-commerce business adopts a digital marketing strategy that drives incredible conversion rates but only a minor shift in its domain authority score, your digital presence is thriving.
- Your ranking on Moz or any similar service is valuable, but it’s not law. Moz updates and adjusts its service to provide more accurate reflections all the time — search engines and analysis tools don’t work from all the same insights and algorithms.
Does Domain Authority Help You Rank Higher on Google?
Seeing your domain authority score is a helpful indicator of how Google views your website. However, checking your score simply means you’re looking at your website through a search engine’s lens. It isn’t a distinct area of SEO or digital design; it’s a summary of how well your efforts are performing.
It’s like saying that having a good credit score improves your credit score. Instead, think of the factors behind the information rather than the metric itself. The SEO, backlinking, and digital marketing strategies offered by BRANDefenders will help improve your standing in Google’s eyes, and, as a result, your domain authority will be reported as higher.
Will Improving My Site’s SEO Improve My Domain Authority?
SEO contributes to a strong domain authority in several ways:
- Improving search traffic. When more people click high-ranking search links to your site, it contributes to your domain authority level.
- You become a visible reference. Acquiring inbound links means people see your website or web page and click on it. They’ll only see it if it’s a top-rated answer to common search queries. You need SEO to achieve this.
- SEO backlinking campaigns. These managed campaigns link back to your website from high-traffic sites by creating mutually relevant content for both websites. SEO makes this content more visible and effective in driving your click-through rate.
Remember that quality is more important than quantity. You want to be referenced by high-quality sources — put content on your website that those sources will feel comfortable linking to. The team at BRANDefenders can help you devise a complete backlinking strategy for this.
Improving Domain Authority for Your Business
It’s not the score — it’s what it means. You need to work with a digital marketing agency that understands why, if domain authority score isn’t translating into good returns for your website or online business, it’s just another number.
BRANDefenders will improve your domain authority score alongside other key success metrics of your online business. Get in touch with us about improving your website’s domain authority today.