When it comes to search engine rankings, there are literally hundreds of factors that Google takes into account when they rank your site. Unfortunately, we don’t know every single thing that goes into their algorithm, nor are we positive about the weighting of each factor. But we do have a good idea about domain authority, which is a fairly significant ranking factor.
You may have heard of domain authority, but do you know what it actually means? And what’s the difference between domain authority and page authority? We’ve explored these questions in more detail below, and also looked at ways in which you can improve your website’s authority and ranking.
So, what is domain authority? Often referred to as DA, it’s a concept that was developed by SEO software company Moz, which quantitatively measures the authority of your site. Moz has a 100 point scale, which takes into account a range of metrics, such as the following:
- The age of your site
- The popularity of your website
- Your trust score
- Your spam score
- How many links you have
Overall, these signals predict how well you’re likely to rank in search engines. In fact, there is a myth that your domain authority is the only thing Google looks at when determining your search result ranking. But as mentioned above, DA is just one of many factors. It’s essentially a way for the strength of your site to be calculated.
What is Page Authority?
As the similarity in name suggests, page authority is rather like domain authority. It’s basically the same concept, but rather than taking a holistic view of your entire website, it just ranks one page in particular. So you can have a higher page authority on certain pages, such as your homepage, than your overall domain authority. Despite this, it’s generally considered good practice to focus more on DA, as this will help improve your individual page authority, and is a better long term strategy.
You may not know that before Moz created page authority, there was a site run by Google called PageRank, which offered a similar service. It was a popular tool for measuring the quality and authority of a webpage, but as technology developed, the software became rather obsolete, and as of 2019, the patents for PageRank were allowed to expire. PageRank is no longer the only algorithm used by Google to order search results, but is the best known, as it was the first to be used by the company.
In order to start building your domain authority, one of the first things you need to do is look at the technical aspects of your website. This may not be the most thrilling of tasks, but unless your site is structured well, and has clear navigation, you’re unlikely to see much DA improvement.
Things to consider include your URL structure, breadcrumbs, and tags. The latter can refer to meta tags (snippets describing the page’s content) header tags (as the name suggests, these separate headings and subheadings from paragraph text) and alt tags (image descriptors). You should furthermore give a lot of thought to what keywords you’re hoping to rank for, and make sure you include them fairly frequently in your text.
Other than technical changes, one of the best things you can do to improve your DA is include internal links, and encourage others to link to your site. The former is certainly easier than the latter, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore external links! If anything, they’re probably more important than internal links when it comes to domain authority.
Ranking through links works through something called ‘link equity’. Websites can pass authority to each other by linking to another site. So if your website has content that is informative, has value, and is engaging, other businesses may have links pointing towards your site in their blogs and articles. The idea is that the better your content, the more inclined others will be to link to it.
Internal links are ones on your website that point to other pages on your site. For instance, we can link to a blog post on external linking here, as it’s a relevant topic. Internal linking helps create a strong network within your website, which shows Google’s crawl bots how the site is organised and how pages connect together.
The methods listed above are relatively straightforward, but unfortunately boosting your DA is not an overnight process. It can take months, if not longer, to see significant results, especially as one of the domain authority factors is the age of your site. Concentrating on DA at the same time as you do SEO is often a good tactic, as improving one will help improve the other.
In terms of checking your domain authority, this is as simple as entering your domain into Moz’s free analysis tool. This tool will also show you other key metrics, like ranking keywords and your top pages based on page authority.