Every blogger has heard of DA. I want to share my professional experience and discuss how to build domain authority the right way.
By day, I’m a digital marketer. Specifically, I’m a content marketer, so I spend most of my working day improving and creating onsite content for brands, as well as building backlinks to their websites. I love my job, but it’s been a learning curve. Over the past five years, I’ve learned a lot about how to build domain authority (DA), how to boost rankings, how to optimise old content and how to write effective metadata. The one thing that every digital marketer knows is, just as soon as you get used to one set of rules, Google introduces a new algorithm and we all have to adjust — we’re all constantly learning and changing to suit the Google gods.
The best thing about my job is seeing my work pay off in terms of data. I’ve helped clients boost their DA and I’ve helped them land the coveted position 0 for valuable keywords. Since starting my own blog, I’ve seen a lot of fellow bloggers discuss domain authority and they’ve got some pretty legitimate questions — how can you build domain authority? Is it all about backlinks? How often does domain authority get updated?
Because I’m a massive geek, I really wanted to take the opportunity to share what I know and to discuss what I love. When it comes to building DA, there are over 40 factors to consider, but the factors below are certainly largely considered to be the most important, and most cited.
I’ve focused on mummy blogs here (for obvious reasons) but the rules below will apply to pretty much any blog. Grab a coffee. I’ve got you for a while.
You might also enjoy: Where to use keywords for SEO
What is Domain Authority (DA)?
Before we kick off, I’d love to discuss what domain authority actually is, for anyone who isn’t entirely clear.
Domain authority is a metric developed by Moz. It is a factor in predicting how well a website will rank in the search engine results. And the higher you rank in search engines, the better your web traffic. Domain authority is scored on a scale of 1 to 100. It is much easier, and quicker to build a domain authority from 0 to 20 than it would be to go from 20 to 40, and so on. Don’t worry if your progress stalls over time. Realistically, you’ll never hit 100. Even the very best blogs tend to be about 65 — as a PR, if I work with a blogger with a DA of 65, that is a massive win. Most of the bloggers I work with have a DA between 20 and 40, and they get plenty of work.
How to Build Domain Authority
Here are ten effective methods to improve your domain authority over time.
1. Have a Relevant, Appropriate Domain Name
If you’re going to set up a new website, A well-suited domain name certainly factors into Google’s algorithm. It acts as a relevancy signal. This is part of the reason I picked my own domain name — ‘Not Another Mummy Blogger’ (while self-deprecating) is highly relevant. I knew I wanted to write about parenting topics. Having my own name as my domain name would have been largely pointless. Without wanting to sound too emo, nobody cares who I am. Nobody knows me. I need to attract people who are looking for mummy content, so I picked a name that suited that.
2. Build Backlinks to your Mummy Blog
If there’s one thing everyone knows, the number of backlinks to your website is important in building domain authority. This is true. However, it’s not that simple. If you have, for example, 30 backlinks from one website, that’s generally not as valuable as having ten from ten different websites. As well as the number of links, the number of linking domains matters, too, so spread your net wide. It’s a great idea to work with a lot of other parenting bloggers or parenting experts to build a strong and varied backlink profile.
Here are some useful, free SEO tools for bloggers that will help you track your backlinks (among other things)
3. … But Make Sure They’re Quality Links
There’s no sense in getting lots of backlinks if they’re terrible quality. If you have lots of low-quality, or spammy backlinks, this will be reflected in your domain authority. This is part of the reason people disavow links. Take the time every now and then to conduct a link audit and disavow bad backlinks. This will clean up your backlink profile and ultimately increase your domain authority.
4. Link to High-Authority Sources
Some say that outbound links (links from your website to others) is one of the most undervalued tactics in content marketing. Outbound links are important to the user experience and to SEO. They add an element of authenticity and trustworthiness to your website. Google wants to know that, in the creation of this quality content, you have used reputable, relevant sources.
For full transparency, I’m going to go ahead and let you know that Google flat out officially refuses the idea that linking to high authority external websites is a factor when it comes to ranking or domain authority. I hate to call them a bunch of liars (love you, Google), but test after test proves that it plays some sort of a role. It could be a coincidence, it could not, but where appropriate and relevant, link to high-authority external sources. So when discussing baby health, for example, do your research and link to trusted medical sources.
5. Creating Regular, Quality Content
When it comes to improving domain authority, this is one of the most important factors. Just focus on writing addictive, engaging, shareable content that people love. And do it regularly. Google absolutely loves regular content, which is why content calendars are so important to keep you on track.
If you create ‘linkable content’, your website should organically gain backlinks over time. Evergreen content (content that is always relevant) is great for this, but don’t be afraid to go back and update once-popular posts to keep them up-to-date. For example, when I created this post where I discuss parenting books to read, I made a note to update the post next year.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget about your URL slugs when creating regular content. Keep your URLs short, pretty and user-friendly. Experts suggest that Google factors in the URL slug as it ranks your page for a specific keyword.
6. Having Content That is Well-Shared on Social Media
I’m not a natural when it comes to social media, which sucks, because social signals are a huge factor for Google when it comes to identifying quality content. The number of retweets, likes and shares all matter. It’s a clear indicator to Google that your material is enjoyed and well-received, so Google will make it easier for people to find by boosting your ranking. This is why it’s so important to put effort into your social presence. Share your content and connect with your audience. Create material they’ll love so they will want to share it.
It’s a great idea to get other people involved with posts and to create collaborative material. When you have a number of people invested in the success of a post, the odds of it being well-shared are much greater. For example, when I teamed up with the amazing Dr Sarah Mundy to create this post about Coronavirus and kids, I knew she would be inclined to share the content, too. Every little helps.
7. Good Use of SEO and Site Structure
Unsurprisingly, good use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will affect your domain authority. Abide by SEO basics (internal linking, appropriate use of anchor text, title tags, image alt tags, etc) and make sure your website is user-friendly.
Internal linking is an area where a lot of people fall down. Some bloggers get so fixated on backlinks that they overlook internal links, which is a huge SEO mistake. Internal links improve your link structure, they direct your readers to other, interesting posts and they improve user experience.
Also (geek talk) internal links make it much easier for Google to index your whole site. When linking internally, try to use appropriate anchor text — this will help to tell Google what the page you’re linking to is actually about.
8. Having a Mobile-Friendly Website
This is an overlooked element of domain authority! More and more people are viewing websites on their phones these days. Personally, if it weren’t for work, I’d never crack open my laptop. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll lose out on a lot of visitors and your rankings will drop.
It’s easy enough to check whether your website is mobile-friendly. Simply follow this link and type in your domain. You’ll see something similar to the image below:
9. Having a Great Loading Speed
Poor loading speed can result in a high bounce rate — meaning your users get frustrated and leave before spending any real time on your website. So if you’re wondering how to build domain authority, this is an area you need to explore. People don’t have patience these days (I know I certainly don’t) so use this website to see how your website holds up. You’ll see something similar to the image below:
10. Get an SSL Certificate
Google has officially, publicly announced that HTTPS sites (sites with an SSL certificate) get better ranking than domains that are unsecure. In fact, Google has said that getting an SSL certificate is the easiest single thing you can do to boost SEO ranking. Google prefers websites that are both trusted and certified. And so do users. If you come across an unsecure website, you’re probably not going to go ahead and visit it.
To check whether you have an SSL certificate, visit Why No Padlock? Remember, there are a lot of mummy bloggers out there — anything you can do to stay one step ahead is well worth it.
Be Patient — A Higher Domain Authority Will Literally Come With Time
Patience is not a virtue of mine, but it certainly pays off in terms of domain authority. If you keep regularly producing quality content and following the tips above, your domain authority will naturally increase with time.
I hope this has been helpful. I could talk about this for days, so if you have any questions, contact me. I’d love to hear from you and help you out.