In keeping with the dynamics of technological advances, Google is continually updating their criteria for ranking websites in the user’s search results. In 2010, page rank authority was the dominant factor used to determine the order of which sites would be displayed. Fast forward to 2014, and the search engine giant had made some significant changes to its website ranking signals.
Before their 2014 update, a brilliantly designed website with perfectly implemented on-page search engine optimisation (SEO) would have dramatically increased the chances of a high ranking. However, Google began to tweak their criteria, meaning that off-page SEO became a critical factor when ranking pages. Consequently, page rank became less important while domain authority stepped up as the primary rank determiner.
Through a series of multiple scoring criteria with advanced algorithms, domain authority is how Google automatically determines the score of a website. All websites begin with a score of zero when new, and then effectively work their way up over time. The maximum score of one hundred out of one hundred is very difficult to attain. Anything between thirty to one hundred is considered good.
As the name suggests, domain authority takes into account how authoritative your website and its content is compared to that of similar websites. Google will consider the relevance and quality of your content before displaying it to its users. Therefore, if your website offers extremely high-quality content relevant to your business’ niche, your site will be boosted up the ranks towards page one as Google gradually continues to increase your website score. On the other hand, if your website design and content is inadequate or irrelevant, your site continues to be reduced and slip down the page rank.
Google uses highly sophisticated algorithms to calculate your website score. There are over two hundred and forty factors that influence a website’s authority, such as the root domain and the number of inbound links a site has. An example of a website with high a high website score is Wikipedia, due to its popularity and reference-based model. The incredibly high number of inbound links contributes significantly to its high score with Google. Conversely, newer websites that have no – or even very few – inbound links to have a domain authority score of one out of a hundred.
To ensure its users are provided with the very best content, Google’s domain authority scale works on a logarithmic basis. This means that the higher a website’s authority score is, the more difficult it will be for that score to improve. For example, increasing your score from seventy-five to eighty-five would be more of a challenge, than increasing from twenty-five to thirty-five.
The bad news is that it’s not all plain sailing when your website has attained a high domain authority score, as your score can also decrease – even if any of your high-quality backlinks are not lost.
Although Google has over two hundred and forty criteria to determine a website’s authority – and therefore, it is ranking in search results – domain authority can be described as four main factors:
- Prestige – both of the website itself and its authors
- Quality of website design, function, presentation, and content
- The centrality of the website and the information it provides
- Topic competitiveness and relevancy
Depending on the ranking body, the influence each of these factors has when determining domain authority can vary tremendously. A website’s prestige, along with that of its authors play a significant role when its domain authority is being calculated. Additionally, all aspects of the quality of a website such as its design, function, ease of navigation, and content contribute to a website’s score. The competitiveness of a particular topic a website is based on, as well as the quality of in-and-outbound links, and the relevancy of the content also helps to determine a website’s domain authority.
During the website scoring process, search engines such as Google rely on specific algorithms and automated analysis to help determine how relevant each of these factors are to each website being ranked for a particular search term. As it would be incredibly ineffective to rely on human reasoning to judge domain authority, these algorithms must be continually developed to ensure the highest-quality information is being presented for each search term to the user, in the most logical order.
However, how can you, as a business owner, improve the score of your website?
It’s simple; one action would be to publish high-quality content relevant to your target audience regularly.
By doing so, you will increase user engagement of your website, which invariably leads to organic backlinks to your site from other industry-relevant websites – all of which positively affects your domain authority.
Here are some sure-fire ways to help increase your website’s domain authority:
Earn high-quality backlinks
The more high-quality inbound links from high authority websites you can earn, the more authoritative your website becomes. This can be achieved by regularly publishing fresh, insightful and industry-specific content, then asking relevant, pre-established websites to link to your content.
Eliminate Poor, Toxic, and Broken Links
It would help if you made a habit of exploring your link profile to search for backlinks that are of poor or toxic quality, as these can harm your domain authority. Not only that, but broken links or links from your site to poor or low-authority websites will have a negative impact – so be sure to remove these as well.
Increase Your Website Loading Speed
Web users are impatient – you could have the highest quality content on the web, but if it takes too long to load, your potential audience will go elsewhere. This is your bounce rate, and the more it happens, the more it will negatively affect your domain authority.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Content
Websites are about people, and therefore, social media signals are important when trying to increase your domain authority score. The more eyes you have on your content – through self-promotion on social media – the higher your content is likely to rank. This can be achieved by using your social media channels to post a link to each fresh piece of content you publish and occasionally adding a new twist to older publications.
Embrace Domain Authority as a Long-Term Commitment
Attaining high domain authority will not happen overnight – much like anything else worthwhile; it takes time to develop. However, by continually monitoring the health of your link profile, publishing a variety of high-quality, relevant content, and earning backlinks from authoritative websites, your domain authority score will begin to grow steadily. When this happens, your website will organically rise with greater visibility on Google’s search engine, reaching out to your future clients.
Senka Pupacic is the founder of Top 10 SEO: www.top10insydney.com.au.