How to Increase Your Domain Authority (DA) Before the Next Update
Want to Increase Your Domain Authority? Before we dive into this let me be clear on one thing: I think all third party metrics are trusted far too much, especially Moz’s Domain Authority (DA). It has nothing to do with Google’s algorithm and it surely doesn’t dictate how Google ranks your website.
But, everyone wants to move up in the SERPs, so any “tool” or “motivation” that can be used to help achieve that can be used in a positive manner. With so many people stuck on DA, I wanted to put together a blog post about how to increase your Domain Authority before the next update. Moz typically updates once a month, although lately they have been running a bit behind.
While DA can be manipulated by spamming low quality Fivver links, let’s not even get into that. I’m writing this to help people with legit websites that have the goal of increasing its overall authority in the eyes of Google, and not necessarily Moz. Google’s Page Rank toolbar is not public anymore, so people are desperate for a metric to help them gauge their progress. Page Rank was great. When your PR increased, you knew Google was putting more trust and weight on your website because that metric was coming directly from the source.
So how do you increase your Domain Authority? Well lets get down to it..
Why DA? What is It Exactly?
Domain Authority is a metric that Moz created, which operates on a scale of 1 to 100. In Moz’s eyes, the higher your DA, the higher your rankings should be. Unfortunately, they don’t dictate how Google ranks a website and their formula isn’t tied to Google’s algorithm in any way. It’s a pure guess. But it’s one of the only ways SEOs and website owners can base their progress off now.
Now, just like Google, Moz doesn’t make their algorithm public knowledge, but it’s very clear what influences DA the most: LINKS! Wow, imagine that!
There are plenty of theories out there that try to estimate what DA is made up of, but anyone in this game for a while knows that link diversity and link authority are the main components that contribute to a higher Domain Authority.
So, while I think DA is a totally worthless metric (and it is), increasing it means one thing: you are building the right kind of links, and in the end, that is what has the biggest impact on your Google rankings. Here is a simple, yet guaranteed way to increase your website’s Domain Authority before the next update.
Audit Your Entire Link Profile
Now, just like Google doesn’t like spammy links, neither does Moz. But, there is more to this that I need to touch on. If someone is only spamming a domain with hundreds of thousands of Fivver links, then the DA will increase. This just goes to show you that the Domain Authority algorithm is flawed big time.
But, if you are doing SEO the right way and have intentions of building your authority for the long-term, then a link audit is a great idea. If you have some good links but then add a handful of spammy ones that register a high spam score with Moz it will drop your Domain Authority. If they are removed, then the score will increase.
Removing some bad links and cleaning up your link profile will actually increase your DA, but more importantly, this is a good practice that will reward you in the Google SERPs. Remember, Domain Authority itself is worthless, but the same things that will increase it will also help to improve your visibility in Google, so use it as a way to measure your progress.
Build High Quality Editorial Links
This is the number one way to increase your Domain Authority and it should be something that you are putting the majority of your SEO effort into, even if DA didn’t exist. Want to know how flawed Moz is? You could build a single link on Forbes and the Domain Authority will increase, but you could build several links on the same site, say Inc.com, and the DA can actually drop.
This is because Moz has frequency and diversity components built into their algorithm. Do you think Google will reward a website that is featured in a major publication like Inc.com multiple times? Of course! It is telling Google that they are relevant and highly trusted. You should always be focused on link building, and to see the greatest DA increase you will want to secure links from the top websites.
This effort will also reward you with higher Google rankings simply because you are establishing more trust by getting linked to from authority sources. Domain Authority plays no role in your rankings; it’s the links, not the score, that matter.
Diversify with Natural-Looking Links
Remember how I told you that Domain Authority was so easily manipulated? Well, if someone wanted to increase their DA fast, they could do so by just building comment links. Yup, no-follow comment author links can totally game the Domain Authority of a website very quickly. I have personally seen websites that are new with nothing but comment links score over 40 DA.
So, mixing in things like blog comments and directory listings will impact your Domain Authority in a positive way, but they will also help you create a natural looking link profile. Imagine if a website only had links from Forbes, Inc. and Fortune. Those are great links, but if those major outlets are talking about a website, wouldn’t a lot of smaller website also be linking? You have to use logical thinking, and it’s a good practice to create a very diverse link profile. Build links from smaller sites, with DA from 20 to 40 in addition to going after the top authority websites.
Things like blog comments and business listings are naturally occurring links that you also need to get to make it look like all links pointing to your URL are natural. Just avoid the mass link packages that offer 30,000 blog comments and things like that. It might increase your DA a couple of points, but Google will slap your website out of the SERPs quickly if those links are indexed at the same time.
Publish Content That Visitors Will Share
I’m going to sound like a guru, so please excuse me: You need to create content that is so good your website visitors will want to share it on social media and other websites will want to reference it and link to it.
But I will also add to that in a way no other guru does, by telling you that you will need to spend time and money to get people to share your content. You either need to dump money into your SEO and pull organic traffic or run paid social media to drive traffic, which then creates shares in the event that your content is good enough.
I built my agency with content marketing and I would never had experienced the same growth if my content was low quality. I also used Facebook ads to amplify my message, as nobody would have read the blog posts if I just published them and let them sit on my blog. I had to drive visitors and engagement, and that costs money.
A lot of social shares are great and it helps with social signals and it gives off the appearance that your content is popular, but the ultimate goal is to have people link back. This is why I love infographics. They are easy to share and re-publish, and other websites will be more than happy to copy and paste your code to post it on their website, linking back, giving your website creation credit.
Audit Your On-Page SEO
Moz doesn’t care about on-page SEO. Sure, their algorithm might not take it directly into account, but it 100% has an indirect impact on the magical DA score. If your on-page SEO is on point you will rank in the SERPs for long tail keywords and very specific search terms.
When other blogs are looking for resources and references they will search in Google. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen clients secure great links simply because someone used one of their blog posts as a reference point, linking back. When you align your SEO and content to work together, you start to target a lot of long tail keywords. A professional design and strong content can get you links from local blogs and smaller startup blogs, but those links are great because they are truly natural and give great diversity in terms of authority.
For the Domain Authority fans, Moz has an on-page grader that will give you a letter grade, from F to A+ and let you know what needs to be changed. It’s fairly basic but it’s a decent reference tool.
Fix All Technical Aspects (Site Speed, Sitemap, Mobile-Friendly, Navigation)
I have heard rumors that Moz’s new algorithm takes into account site speed, because as they describe DA, it’s the probability of a website showing up high in the SERPs. So, if a website has a DA of 34, a competitor that has a DA of 74 is a website, that in Moz’s eyes will rank higher.
Google has said that website speed and mobile-friendliness is part of their algorithm. In fact, they have stated that multiple times. I have seen a website that loaded in 6 seconds that was optimized until it loaded in 1.5 seconds gain 2 points on the next Domain Authority because of the change. There are so many other factors to take into consideration, but more importantly, their average time on site increased and their bounce rate was reduced. Overall, conversions went up and their revenue, which is much more important than DA.
When you do everything right, from link building to improving the technical aspects on your website, everything falls into place and results across the board improve.
Two to Five HARO Replies Daily
“Tommy, I want to get the best links out there but I don’t have the budget to spend $600, $900 or even $1,500 per link. What do I do?”
I hear this several times a day, and I always have the same response: Get active on Help a Reporter Out (HARO). It is free to sign up and it is free to submit your input to journalists that post their needs.
They send out emails three times a day and you need to really be on top of it. First, you need to reply quickly, as these writers are looking for sources for stories with deadlines. Open the emails as soon as you receive them and scan them for opportunities. You don’t want to reply to everything; only the ones that you can provide input that will be well received.
Make it a point to reply to anywhere from 2 to 5 a day. If you are consistent, you will see great results. A lot of people try and give up after a few days. Once you start doing this for months, you will see new links for your efforts.
If you reply to 2 to 5 per day, you should see no less than two new authority level links per month. This alone is enough to bump your DA a point or two. This is a great SEO strategy for those with no budget and those with large budgets. Links are links, no matter how they are secured.
Secure Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce Links
There are a few link types that seem to carry much more weight in Moz’s eyes than others. I have noticed that links from the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce will increase Domain Authority more than even the best authority websites.
I have a theory about this. These are links that you can’t really “buy” like you can the others. Sure, a BBB link requires that you pay for an annual membership, but you have to be a legitimate business in good standing. A domain that has BBB links is going to naturally be more trustworthy than a company that isn’t linked by them. DA aside, these types of links are very valuable for local search as well as national search.
These only apply if your website represents a business, but don’t assume you need a physical location. You can register an LLC or other corporation and use a virtual address. You can then list your website(s) as being owned and controlled by that entity. These links are easier to secure than many think.
I see so many people getting stuck on DA and what to do to raise it. Honestly, you need to worry about improving the overall authority of your domain, and not a metric that Moz releases in an attempt to sell more monthly software subscriptions.
But, as mentioned above, if this silly metric helps people get ahead in SEO by doing the things that actually matter, then so be it. If you have any questions about SEO, please leave them in the comments section below and I will do my best to reply as soon as possible.
I’m curious about how other SEOs view Domain Authority. Please leave your thoughts below as well.
Latest posts by Tommy McDonald (see all)
- How to SEO Your Infographics for the Best Results! - August 14, 2017
- On-Site SEO in 2017: The Definitive Guide to HIGHER SERP Rankings - August 8, 2017
- The REAL TRUTH About Content & Links: By a No Nonsense SEO! - July 31, 2017