Every organic/inbound marketer in the world today seems to be talking about increasing domain authority today.
So before we dive into the proven strategies on how to increase domain authority, let’s first address the elephant in the room…
Is domain authority that important?
After all, the almighty search engine Google itself, does not seem to have an official domain authority calculator!
Why is Domain Authority Important?
Yes, Google doesn’t use domain authority in its massive and immensely complicated website ranking algorithm.
But multiple studies, including one by Ahrefs, have found a direct connection between an increase in domain authority and an increase in search engine ranking.
As a result, the industry has begun to use domain authority as a metric to measure your progress towards a better organic ranking on Google.
What are the Factors that Impact Your Domain Authority then?
Among 100’s of factors, are a few of the most crucial ones that you will need to pay attention to, like:
- Optimized on-page SEO
- Focused off-page SEO
- Fast page load speed
- Mobile-friendly web pages
- High-quality content, and
- High-quality backlinks
Now with the air cleared out, let’s get down to business.
How to Increase Domain Authority?
Ask a marketer how to increase domain authority, and you will get a full list of activities that will take an entire army of search engine specialists to plan and execute.
But at the end of the day, there are only 3 proven needle-moving activities you need to focus on to increase your domain authority.
1. Improve your on-page SEO
Your on-page SEO is among the first things that a search engine pays attention to, to determine what you’re an authority on, and how much of an authority you are.
While search engine optimization (SEO) can be a full-scale project on its own, for now, there are a few steps you can take to improve your website’s SEO ranking.
How to improve your on-page SEO:
1.1. Identify potential keywords that you want to rank for.
Use the Google Keyword Planner to identify good fit keywords for your industry.
Keep an eye out for the ideal, “low competition and high search volume” keywords that are relevant to your brand/services/products.
Be sure to think about the visitor’s search intent behind these keywords to ensure a good fit.
1.2. Optimize your page titles.
Use this keyword or phrase in your page tag to signal to both Google and your visitors what you are about. As SEO best-practices, follow the keyword-based page title, with your brand name.
1.3. Optimize the meta description of each web page.
Again use the keyword here to send the right signals to Google. But don’t just do a keyword dump. Make the meta description attractive enough to hook the attention of your target audience and make them want to read more.
1.4. Format your page and optimize the headings.
Organize your on-page content into H1, H2, H3, and body content to signify a clear hierarchy and on-page organization. Next, try to incorporate the keywords into the main and subheadings. But do it in a readable and relevant fashion, as to not drive away your human visitors.
1.5. Optimize your internal linking system.
Your website’s internal linking should ideally resemble a pyramid to make it easy for Google’s search crawlers to find other pages on your website.
So get your pages all in order, and ensure that their URL also follows the same structure.
2. Review and boost your on-site content
Aside from working on your website structure and on-page SEO, you should also dedicate time to improving your website content.
Again, keyword dumping is not the way to go. Google is smarter than that.
(And you will drive away any website visitors with meaningless keyword-stuffed content.)
The goal here is for you to create content that will allow you to show up as an industry authority to both Google bots and your visitors.
How can you do that?
With a strong content marketing game and good SEO practices.
The strategy here is to first start getting authority for the easier low-competition (and low search volume) keywords and eventually work your way up to the more lucrative high-search-volume keywords and topics.
Here is what your content marketing/search engine marketing strategy should look like:
Start with more in-depth keyword research.
You will need to go beyond the obvious keywords and identify multiple buckets of topics (and keywords) that you want to be seen as an authority.
Next, you need to focus on creating “content pillars” with long-form, deep-dive content pieces that will educate and nurture your audience on those specific topics. These pieces will likely be focused on high-competition keywords and topics.
Once you have the foundational pillar pieces set up, you can then focus on creating content on more nuanced topics (these will usually have lower competition keywords).
These posts will help you capture the low-hanging fruits of low-competition keywords, and start ranking for those.
You can then direct your visitors (and Google bots) from these posts to the higher-competition pillar posts.
Over time, as your content starts to stack up, Google and your visitors will both start to consider you an authority on those topics. As a result, your domain authority will increase and so will your SERP.
This might seem like a slow and long game. But remember, in the game of increasing domain authority, the consistent and patient ones are the winners.
And if this feels like a monumental task, that you do not have the time or capacity to handle, then consider hiring a good search engine marketing agency to do the work for you.
3. Focus on building the right kinds of backlinks
Finally, we come down to the last but not the least important activity: building your backlinks.
A strong link profile is perhaps the MOST crucial factor in helping you increase your domain authority.
But before you start brainstorming a list of websites to cold email for a backlink, there are a few steps you need to follow:
3.1. Conduct a link audit first.
You need to first be aware of the kind of backlinks you already have. To do this, you can use tools like Google Search Console, Moz, or Ahrefs.
The purpose of a link audit is to run through all your backlinks and assess whether or not each of them is good for your website’s authority ranking.
You need to watch out for links coming from scammy or low-quality websites, as they can drag down your ranking too. Find and get rid of these at once.
A few markers of “bad links” you should get rid of at once are:
- Links from a site that activates your anti-virus / gives you a virus warning
- Links from a site without indexing
- Links from any spam sites
- Links from sites that are unrelated to your industry, niche, or expertise.
Aside from these, you might also have links from low-authority websites. This might not damage your domain authority, they won’t do much for it either.
So try and get more links from higher-authority sites to make a difference in your domain authority.
3.2. Work towards getting more high-quality backlinks.
Once you’ve gotten rid of all the “bad links”, you can start working to build a strong “backlinking portfolio”.
To do this, first, identify a set of high-authority websites in your industry. These are essentially websites that are popular and high ranking in your industry.
Then confirm that the website has high domain authority, by using a tool like Moz or Ahrefs. Remember, the higher their domain authority, the more impactful a backlink from them will be.
Now you can start trying to get your website linked on their web pages.
The easiest way to do this is by guest posting on their website.
Alternatively, you can also find existing content pieces on their website that are relevant to your niche and request them to add a link to your website or your content pieces.
If there are any existing high-authority online directories in your industry, then be sure to apply to get listed on those websites too.
And finally, remember, it is better to have a few high-quality backlinks than a lot of low-quality or irrelevant backlinks.
So off you go then. We’ll see you soon, somewhere on the 1st page of Google’s search results.