Understanding the Essentials of Domain Authority

June 24, 2022

By Vince Laliberte, Swiss Army Knife

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a quantitative measure of a website’s authority and relevance online as it relates to Search Engines (such as Google). Every website has a DA score on a 100-point scale. The score is calculated based on over 40 signals including the age, data, security, popularity, trust, and relevance of a website. A site with higher DA will experience better performance in web traffic and SERP rankings.

What is a “good” Domain Authority score?

A Domain Authority score between 50-60 is considered a good score. Anything over 60 is fantastic. Massive brands like AmazonDellInstagramNetflix, and others have scores over 90 due to their popularity, the age of their site, and the resources they put into their online presence.

Netflix Domain Authority via Moz

It typically takes years to build a good Domain Authority score. For the first few years of your business, even with a focus on your SEO, it is common to have a score under 30 – do not be discouraged by this.

How can I grow my Domain Authority?

The highest priority task would be to increase the quality and quantity of backlinks leading to your site. A website with high Domain Authority that links to your site will improve your site’s Domain Authority. In that same vein, toxic sites that link to your domain will reduce your DA.

In the long-term, focus on growing your brand within your industry and the overall experience of your site. Google’s goal is to provide users with answers to their search queries; they want users to get to their answer quickly and with as much accuracy as possible. Every time a user types into Google search the next few seconds is a test that Google grades our sites on. This happens billions of times every day.

For instance, if a user searches for “Improve my SEO” and clicks on two of the results, spends 5 seconds on one site and 20 minutes on another, both of those sites will get a grade for the entire experience. The site where the user only spent 5 seconds will get a bad grade while the other site will get a good grade. If this happens often over the course of time, the good and bad grades will effect the domain authority for those two sites. One site will lose domain authority, and rank lower for the keyword “SEO” while the other will see their DA increase, as will their keyword rankings related to SEO.

A takeaway from this that might not be obvious is that jamming keywords into a page is not the route you want to go because it can hurt the SEO on your site. If it’s not organic, it’s not going to help. If you successfully get users to your site using keywords, but those users aren’t finding the information they were looking for, they will leave and leave quick. This experience will hurt your rankings for those precious keywords and have a negative effect on your Domain Authority.

How can I earn quality backlinks?

On some sites it’s easy, such as social media sites where you can build a free profile that include your URL. Within minutes you can create your own backlinks on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other sites that have high Domain Authority. Quick and easy wins like this do not happen often when it comes to SEO so take advantage of them.

Outside of that, a brand with high domain authority will want to verify your company, products, and site are up to their standards. Contact them and request a backlink. In your email, give them a reason why they should honor your request.

(Soft Sell: Ask us about our Backlinking campaigns if you’d like Taction to handle this for you)

Your focus should be in your industry. If you work in construction, authoritative sites in your field will help you the more than sites outside of it. Think about it like this: if you were to ask around for a great real estate agent and you got a recommendation from your 14 year-old nephew and another from your friend who has 20 years experience as an architect, one of their recommendations is more authoritative than the other. Websites work the same way, and Google tries to do that math for us on the backend.

Reciprocity, Guest Blogging, and Podcasts

There are other methods to earning backlinks as well! Ultimately, more opportunities will arise for businesses with strong brand strategy and those who are present in the community their businesses live in. Here are three clever strategies we encourage you to try:

  • Reciprocating links with business partners
    • Associations you are a part of (chambers of commerce, unions, sustainability agreements, social good programs, etc.)
    • Vendors, manufacturers, or retailers you work with
    • Bloggers, influencers, endorsements for your business, product, or services
  • Guest blogging or publishing an article
    • Don’t forget to include your contact information and URL in your author profile!
  • Getting featured on a podcast or event
    • Make sure the producer includes your contact information, including your website, in the details section of the recording or event

How long until my Domain Authority increases?

SEO is not an investment you will see a return on overnight. Certain aspects of Domain Authority rely on the age and popularity of your site itself. Yes, your organic traffic will likely grow within a few months, but the true power of good SEO comes much later. SEO is a seed you plant today for a peach tree that comes later.

The good news is that the fruits of your labor are not a one-time payoff. SEO typically has a snowball effect and once results come, they build on each other, and they are felt forever. Once your site is performing well on SERPs, your DA will go up, and they’ll perform even better moving forward. When you get to this point, you’ll thank yourself for making the investment as early as you did.

Go the DIY route to start!

We encourage all business owners to go the DIY route in the beginning. You might ask yourself why this important. After all, you have enough on your plate, why learn about something you will eventually offhand to someone else? Well, there are a few reasons:

  • The most obvious: to save money. There are simple tasks you can do yourself such as claiming your Google My Business listing, ensuring your site has proper titles and headers, and learning the basics.
  • It will ensure your literacy when someone else is doing the work. We have clients that have been taken advantage of in the past because they didn’t exactly know what they were paying for. Note: if you are worried this is happening to you, schedule a free consultation with us.
  • Being involved in all facets of your marketing will help you better understand your brand and how it is perceived by your audience.

Ultimately, every business owner gets to a point where the DIY route will cost more than it saves. If you are ready to offhand your SEO, or if you just want to discuss strategy, schedule a free consultation with us. Even if you don’t become a client we’re happy to learn more about your business and offer some tips.

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