What Is the Meaning of Domain Authority in SEO?

Posted on April 5, 2024 | Updated on April 24, 2024

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for increasing your site’s ranking on search engines like Google. When working on SEO, you may come across the term domain authority (DA) occasionally. Yet, what is DA, and why is it important for SEO? Gaining a deeper understanding of this subject is crucial so you can use tactics to raise your DA and improve your SEO.

What Is DA?

DA is a metric that measures how likely your site will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). Moz created this score indicator that ranges from one to 100, with higher scores meaning a greater chance of ranking. DA is calculated by evaluating many factors, including the number of backlinks and the quality of those links. 

One thing to note is that Google doesn’t use DA in its ranking algorithm, so it doesn’t influence search rankings directly. Instead, it’s a useful tool for comparing competitor websites or tracking the ranking strength of a website over time. Websites with a higher DA are generally considered more authoritative and likely to rank better than those with a lower DA.

Why Should You Check Domain Authority?

Why should you care about checking your DA? It’s important for several reasons. Firstly, knowing your DA score suggests your likelihood of ranking in SERPS. The higher your score, the stronger your ability is to rank. Secondly, it helps you gauge the effectiveness of your SEO strategies. If your DA increases over time, your efforts to build high-quality backlinks and improve your website’s content are working. 

Building relevant backlinks is key for ranking on Google. If other sites are linking to your website, it signals to Google that your site has high-quality, relevant content, making it look more credible. Lastly, knowing your DA allows you to compare your website’s performance against competitors. This enables you to adjust your SEO tactics to compete more effectively.

What Is a Good DA?

A good DA score varies depending on the context and the websites you compare it to. Generally, a higher DA score that’s closer to 100 is better. However, it’s important to consider industry and competition. For a new website, a score of 20-30 can be a good starting point. An average score is typically between 40 and 50, which may be typical for a small business. As a more established site, a 60-70 or higher DA is considered excellent, especially in a competitive industry. 

However, a good DA score for your site should be based on the DA of similar websites in your niche. Comparing your score with direct competitors gives you a better idea of where your site stands. Instead of aiming for a perfect score, focus on outperforming competitors and improving your DA over time. A good DA should show steady improvement and rank well against similar sites. 

How To Check Domain Authority

Checking your website’s domain authority is easy when you use tools like Moz’s Link Explorer, SEMrush or Ahrefs. These tools can provide instant results for you. As a general guideline, you’ll want to visit one of these websites and find a search bar to enter your website’s URL. After entering the URL, the tool will process your site’s data and display the DA score. Along with the DA, these tools often provide other insights, such as:

  • The number of backlinks.
  • The quality of these backlinks.
  • How your DA compares to competitors.

Keep in mind that some tools require a subscription, but many offer free versions or trials. For instance, Moz’s most popular plan is typically $179 monthly and provides a 30-day free trial. Checking your DA with these tools over time helps you keep track of your SEO progress and guide your digital marketing strategies. 

Ways to Increase Your DA

Once you start working on your website’s domain authority, remember that raising your score takes time. Sometimes, it takes months to see improvements. Other times, it may take a few weeks, depending on your industry’s competitiveness. With that in mind, there are a few key ways to boost your DA score significantly.

1. Earn High-Quality Backlinks from Authoritative Sites

Focusing on earning high-quality backlinks is one of the main components of increasing your domain authority. To get these links, start by looking into your top referrals. Referrals are site sources that show where you’re getting your traffic from. If you think you can get more links from these websites, you can reach out to the site owners and suggest they link to your content. This works, especially if it adds value to their users. 

Guest blogging on reputable sites in your niche is another effective strategy. When you write a guest post, you can include a link to your site. Ensure these links are of the highest quality so you have a greater impact on your DA. 

2. Write Link-Worthy Content

Another way to increase your domain authority is to write highly valuable content that other sites will want to link to naturally. To create such content, focus on originality and quality. Start by choosing topics centered around your audience and provide insightful information. You can do so by using engaging formats like how-to guides, in-depth research studies, infographics and compelling narratives. 

Ensure your content is well-researched and cites authoritative sources, which builds credibility. Additionally, making your content easy to read and visually appealing is encouraged so others feel compelled to share and link your site. Overall, it’s important to create content that incorporates your perspective. This makes it more unique and stands out among others in your industry. 

Plus, making great content is crucial for ranking higher in the SERPs. When your site sits on the first page of search engine results, others will see your site as trustworthy. As such, you’ll increase your chances of getting more backlinks. 

5. Update Old Content and Broken Links

Updating your old content and internal links is a great way to increase your DA. Over time, information can become outdated, and links can break, negatively affecting your site’s credibility and SEO. Therefore, it’s essential to audit your site’s content periodically and identify pieces that seem outdated or no longer accurate. Update these articles with current information, statistics and data to ensure they remain useful and authoritative.

Ensure you check for broken links within your articles as well. Replace non-working links with active ones, and you’ll maintain a higher-quality website. 

Domain Authority Is Your Chance to Search Engine Ranking Success

Increasing your DA is a gradual process that requires consistent effort. Yet, remember that the domain authority is just one part of SEO that’s used to improve your rankings. Focusing on creating high-quality content is key. As such, acquiring reputable backlinks will follow, increasing your chances of reaching your ultimate goal.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

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