Domain Authority: Become the Master of Your Domain
Two of the keys to a successful brick-and-mortar business are location and curb appeal. You need to be in a place people can find you, and once they find you, they need a reason to come inside. But location is key in ecommerce, as well. And what is the best location for a web-based business? The top of Google’s search results, of course. To get there, you’ve got to increase your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking, and you do that by building domain authority and page authority.
Domain authority and page authority are two linked but distinct concepts. Domain authority refers to a ranking assigned to your entire website, while page authority measures the same thing for individual pages within a website. Websites whose individual pages have high page authority will have high domain authority and should rank well on SERPs.
Domain authority estimates how likely your website is to appear in search results, as measured by the quality of the site’s backlinks (links to other websites and pages). It is represented by a score of 1 to 100. A high score doesn’t mean that your site will definitely have a higher SERP rating, only that a site has a higher likelihood of appearing higher up in search results.
A higher domain authority score does not directly result in a higher SERP rating because Google doesn’t use domain authority scores when ranking websites. However, the practices that will result in a higher domain authority score typically correlate to a higher search ranking. So while it’s not something that Google uses directly, building domain authority is best practice for increasing SERP rating.
Increasing Domain Authority
When Google’s bots are crawling a website to index it in its search engine, it measures a website’s relevance by the quality of backlinks. Note that it is the quality rather than the quantity that is important. SEO in general is about quality, not quantity, and domain authority is no different. It won’t do to simply stuff your pages with links, which was common practice ten years ago.
Building domain authority takes time and intention: time to grow organic engagement, and intention in understanding the customer journey. You have to know who you are trying to reach, how they discover products like yours, what problems they are facing, and so on. While there’s no magic bullet for increasing domain authority, here are some steps you can take to organically increase your domain authority score over time.
- Create helpful content. Keyword stuffing, like link stuffing, is a thing of the past. Just putting the words, phrases, and questions Google users enter into the search bar is not enough to ensure a high ranking. Your content has to be coherent and genuinely helpful. Google’s search results privilege content made by humans for the benefit of humans—and customers appreciate helpful, readable content written in an authentic voice. You’ll not only increase your SERP by creating this type of content, you’ll build relationships with customers.
- Know your audience. How can you create helpful content otherwise? Understand who they are and how to best communicate with them (the Gen Z sense of humor can be perplexing to Millennials, and vice versa). Determine what sorts of problems, questions, and concerns they have about products like yours and show them that you can help solve those problems and address those concerns.
- Share everywhere. Regularly scheduled posts on social media and newsletters to your mailing list are great ways to drive traffic to your site and increase the quality of backlinks.
- Update old content. Don’t ignore old pages when working on domain authority. Go back and add backlinks linking to new content, and make sure all old links are still working. When individual pages have high page authority, your site will have high domain authority.
Checking Your Domain Authority Score
There are a number of tools available online that will help you determine your domain authority. Here are a few that you can use for free.
Domain Authority Takes Time
Finally, remember that building domain authority is a process. In reality, the exact score your site receives is not as important as following the advice laid out above, as those are practices that organically increase SERP rating. There are no shortcuts to SEO. It’s just hard work. And it often takes a few months to see an increase in domain authority score.
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