How Does Domain Authority Work?

How is domain authority calculated?

If you’re interested in the world of search engine optimization (SEO), you’ve likely heard about the concept of domain authority (DA). In short, the higher your domain authority, the better your SEO results are going to be.

But what exactly is domain authority, and how does it work in the context of your SEO campaign?

Domain Authority Basics

Each website has an established domain authority, a measurement of its relevance for a specific topic or industry. The DA for a given website is often measured on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest possible authority.

The higher the score, the more likely it is for a website’s pages to rank highly in search engines like Google. In other words, if two competing sites have a similar article, the site with the higher DA will likely have its article rank higher.

Note that Google itself doesn’t calculate or publish DA scores directly. Instead, DA is an estimated measurement of the perceived authority of a given site.

DA is typically considered across four main areas:

  1. The prestige of a website, as well as the authors of that website.
  2. The accuracy and reliability of the information presented on the website.
  3. The information and website “centrality,” or relationship to other similar websites.
  4. The competition factor.

Many professional search engine optimizers make it their primary goal to boost the DA of a given site, so its ranking potential increases correspondingly.

Page Authority

It’s also worth noting that “page authority” (PA) is a related, yet distinct, concept. Like domain authority, page authority measures the trustworthiness of website content, but it operates on the page level, rather than referring to the entire domain. It can be boosted with page-level tactics, though DA and PA have a synergistic relationship.

How to Increase Domain Authority

So what steps can you take to increase the DA from a website?

For starters, your onsite content needs to be on point. Your website should be loaded with valuable, descriptive, and accurate information on a given topic. And it needs to be clear to users and search crawlers alike what the main point of your website is. Some of the highest-DA websites on the web have regularly updated blogs with high-quality, well-written work on their topic of choice.

Beyond that, according to Link.Build, the best way to increase DA for a website is to build high-quality links. Google uses an algorithm called PageRank to evaluate the trustworthiness of websites online. To explain it, the more inbound links a website has, and the more authoritative those links are, the higher the target site’s DA will rise. High-DA sites then pass more authority with their outbound links.

In other words, the best way to boost the DA of your website is to establish several inbound links from high-DA sources. Of course, it’s not as simple as spamming links back to your site. High-DA websites tend to carefully guard the content they publish to preserve their prestigious status. Additionally, Google has safeguards in place to prevent rank manipulation due to link spam.

The safest way to build links is to earn them naturally. That means creating content on your website that people will naturally want to link to. This usually manifests as original research, detailed whitepapers, and other high-quality material.

If you publish this content regularly and distribute it to people who will think it’s valuable, eventually, you’re bound to earn some links from authoritative sources. This process also carries significant momentum; the more links you earn, the easier it will earn links in the future.

However, there are some limitations to this approach. Namely, you’ll be completely reliant on the actions of others to build links on behalf of your brand. If you want to take more control over the situation, you can build links through high-quality offsite content.

The general idea is to write high-quality, audience-centric articles that provide some value to a target readership. You can reach out to publishers to make a pitch, collaborate with editors to refine that pitch, and eventually publish a piece on their website.

As long as you have a valid reason to do so, such as citing a statistic or a relevant fact, you can often build a link pointing back to your site. Insufficient volume and sufficiently high-DA publishers can massively boost your own DA.

Toward a Higher DA

Increasing your website’s domain authority isn’t something that happens overnight. In fact, for most sites, it takes weeks, if not months, of hard work to make a significant impact. But with higher search engine rankings, more visibility, and more traffic, it will all be worth it.

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