What’s domain authority, why should I want it and how do I get it?

GeneralCategory
7 min read
John Coomer

Domain authority is an important metric for any business with an online presence. In other words, it’s an important metric for nearly every business these days. Read on to find out everything you need to know about domain authority, why you should want it and how you can get it for your business website. 

What is domain authority? 

Domain authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that ranges from 1 to 100. This score rates the likelihood of a website ranking higher in organic (i.e., non-paid) search engine results. The higher the score, the higher the perceived DA of the website.  

Moz free domain authority checker
OzBargain.com.au has a domain authority of 63 out of 100.

Why does domain authority matter? 

Websites with a higher DA score are more likely to appear at (or near) the top in the results pages of search engines like Google for a search query.  Not surprisingly, studies show that the first three websites appearing organically (not paid ads) get the most clicks from web users/potential customers.  

Websites with a lower domain authority score generally appear lower down in search engine results pages.

Even appearing lower down on page one of search engine listings can drastically reduce a website’s click-through rate. These websites need to rely on paid search engine ads instead to appear at the top of page one and generate more traffic.  

Is domain authority legitimate? 

The domain authority metric was first developed by Moz, a search engine optimisation (SEO) and software company. Other companies have since developed similar DA scoring systems. They all try to correlate with the organic SEO algorithm used by Google to rank websites.  

It’s important to understand that Google’s algorithm is highly complex and constantly updated via machine learning, so it’s possible to have a high domain authority score but not rank highly on search engine results pages (and vice versa).

However, a domain authority score can be a useful guide to the ranking potential of your site at the very least.

What is a good domain authority? 

A good domain authority score is one that’s higher than your direct competitors.  It’s not necessarily one that’s close to 100.  

Examples of domain authority  

Sites that have the highest domain authority scores tend to be large global sites like www.google.com (94), www.youtube.com (99) and www.apple.com (97). GoDaddy.com has a domain authority of 93.

What is the domain authority for Google? 

Not surprisingly, Google’s domain authority score is 94. That’s because it has accumulated a huge number of high-quality backlinks over time. A website gains a backlink when another website links to it. They are also known as inbound links. 

Is a domain authority of 30 good?  

This depends on the scores of your competitors and how long your website has been in operation. Newer websites will usually have lower scores until their number of backlinks increases.

If a backlink to your site is coming from a highly ranked site, this will help to increase your domain authority score. The more high-quality backlinks you gain over time, the better for your domain authority score. It shows that other websites trust your page. 

Related: Google Analytics for beginners

How do I find my domain authority? 

You can find out your domain authority (DA) score by entering your web address into this free DA checker. You should compare your score with those of your direct competitors because those websites are the ones that you are trying to outrank in search engine results. 

If you do that comparison and find that you need (or want) to improve your score, try following the steps below. However, it’s important to understand two things before you start: 

  1. The higher your domain authority score, the harder it will be to improve.
  2. Any improvement to your score as a result of following these steps will likely take time. You won’t see immediate improvement.

What are some steps to improving domain authority? 

Many business owners make an effort improve their DA to push their web listings toward the top of the search results page.

The higher their website in search rankings, the more visitors may visit their sites.

Domain authority is also of interest to domain investors, as it factors into the monetary value of the domain name.

Not all backlinks to your site will improve your domain authority score. If you have low-quality backlinks to your site, they can decrease your score. Low-quality backlinks come from websites with low credibility.  

Closeup of a person’s hand on a computer mouse

You can use website tools like Link Explorer to identify low quality links to your site. You can then use the Google disavow tool to remove these links. 

There are two main ways you can do this: 

  1. Develop high-quality articles, videos and infographics on your site that will naturally encourage bloggers, news outlets and others to link to them.
  2. Contact high profile bloggers and owners of high-quality sites directly to see if you can negotiate a backlink to your site. One way to do this is to offer to write a blog post for them for free, in exchange for a link to your blog or website.

Related: Content marketing — the secret to backlinks

Step 3: Improve the SEO of your website pages

Simple ways that you can do this include: 

  • Using (but not overusing) keywords that are relevant for your business
  • Using structured titles and headings for your page content
  • Optimising any images and videos that are on your web pages
  • Adding internal links between your web pages

In addition, there are many more advanced strategies you can use to maximise the SEO of your site. It can be worthwhile to get technical help from an SEO expert. 

Related: A simple step-by-step guide to keyword research

Step 4: Make sure your website displays properly on mobile phones

According to the latest statistics from the Australian Communications and Media authority, 93% of Australians use mobile phones to access the internet.

Two young women looking at something on a cellphone

 

If you’re not sure that your web content is optimised to display well on mobile devices, you can run Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If it isn’t, you can find out how to make your WordPress site mobile-friendly here 

Step 5: Improve your web page loading speed

Google’s ranking algorithm tends to favour websites with faster page loading speeds. If your web page loads slowly, it’s worthwhile to contact a web developer for technical support to help it to load faster. 

Key takeaways 

Domain authority is a ranking score that predicts the likelihood of a website displaying highly in organic search engine results pages.  

Pages that display higher in organic search engine results pages get more web users clicking on them. Because a certain percentage of site visitors will become customers, most business owners try to increase the number of people coming to their websites.

Follow the steps described above to improve your website’s domain authority over time.