Domain Authority (DA) is a bit of a buzzword in the blogging community at the moment. Working in blogger outreach, I see it from both sides, so I know that over the past couple of months that bloggers have been panicking about it a lot recently! Domain Authority has almost replaced Google Page Rank as a ranking factor for knowing how well your blog is doing, and some companies use them as guidelines for who they want to work with. As you probably know, Page Rank stopped updated a little while ago so is now pretty much defunct as many newer blogs will have an n/a ranking, and it’s likely that had it still been updating, even blogs with a higher rank may have been penalised in the intervening time so would have dropped. So DA has taken its place a little bit, showing how well your site is doing.
Domain Authority is set by Moz’s Open Site Explorer – this is the best place to check yours as you can’t be certain that other checkers will be correct. Be warned though that you can only check 3 per day unless you have an account, so don’t go crazy on it! Basically it works by crawling the web to find sites that link back to your site; it then measures the value of these links and (magically!) generates a number based on that.
There was a bit of a panic in the blogosphere back in June as the vast majority of bloggers noticed a drop in their DAs when Moz updated (this usually happens around once a month, so everyone’s scores will change at the same time). The reason for this was that they had only crawled a smaller index of links during this update, so not every link was taken into account.
Yesterday was scheduled to be the next update, although it took a little longer than usual and is still glitching slightly at the moment (although it appears right now that it’s settled down). During this update, most people have seen their scores return, and some have seen them rise above what they had before – for example, prior to June, my DA was 25. It dropped to 20 in June and has now risen to 26.
Hopefully this will reassure some of you a bit: generally for many of the opportunities we have at work, we don’t have a “specific” DA number that we want your blog to be above. We choose bloggers for our opportunities based on their relevance to the project and their quality. We do take domain authority into account though so that we can figure out the quality of your blog, so while we’re not ruling out any bloggers based on their DA number, it helps for you to have a higher number as it means a better quality blog.
But the question on many bloggers’ lips (particularly ones new to this) is, how do you increase your domain authority?
There are a few different methods that you can use to go about increasing your DA, and I’ve also noticed a few slightly misinformed recommendations too, so I thought I’d give you a few tips on making sure that you’re doing the best you can to increase your domain authority.
The aim of the game is to get good quality links from good sites. It’s as simple as that, I promise. The key is not to spam it or go against Google guidelines though – doing so will end up getting you penalised by Google and cause you to drop in search results, meaning less traffic and reduced rankings. There are a number of ways you can go about it, but here are a few of my recommendations:
1. Create consistent, high quality content
People often say this but they don’t really explain why. Creating good quality content is sometimes only half the battle, particularly if you don’t have the traffic already, because you need people to see that content for it to count. The point is that you want people to find your content and talk about it, share it, so that you can gain good quality, natural links because of it.
2. Build a social following
Tied into the point above, you need people to share your good content in order to be able to gain links through it, and one of the best ways to do this is to have an actively engaged social following. There’s no point in having a load of bought followers who don’t care (or even see, as they’re not real people) what you’re creating. Instead, interact with people to grow a real following who are interested in sharing what you’re creating.
3. Ensure that you’re using SEO properly
SEO sounds like a scary word to most people, but bear in mind that a lot of bloggers will be doing it naturally anyway. There are few things you need to learn to do, such as using Alt tags on your images and making sure to title your post using keywords, but in reality, as long as you’re sharing good content and making sure to use keywords properly, you’ll be fine. The purpose of this is that having good SEO on your blog will meant that it appears to more people in search engines, making it more likely to be shared.
4. Build relationships with other bloggers
Before I even knew what SEO and domain authority were, I was already rising in rankings due to the fact that I was gaining links from other bloggers who I’d interacted with. At the time, I was blogging simply because it was fun (not that it isn’t now, but I wasn’t even attempting to grow any metrics then). But other bloggers linked to me because I was their friend, because they liked my outfit, because we guest posted for each other when we were on holiday etc. These links are completely natural and will all have an effect on domain authority. A lot of bloggers nowadays use guest posting for this purpose too, although not so much simply because they’re on holiday and want to keep some content rolling (the blogosphere was a different place 5 years ago!). I’m still friends with a lot of bloggers who shared links to my content all those years ago now and will sometimes share their links when relevant on my blog too – it just goes to show what building good relationships can do.
Has the Domain Authority update affected you this time round? And was this post helpful to you? If you have any questions on it, don’t hesitate to let me know!