This post is response to a question on Quora about what is domain authority and how can we improve it.
Domain authority (DA) is a score calculated logarithmically and given to your domain (most authoritatively by Moz.) calculated on the basis of the unique root domain linking back directly to your site.
It is also determined to calculate how a site will perform in search engine but it is not definitive as links are one of the factors by which search engines determine ranking of a website.
This does not mean that a site with better domain authority will always rank number one or we would see all pages of Wikipedia (with DA 100) at the top of SERP.
As opposed to page authority which is more useful signal for a page’s SERP, domain authority tells you the overall strength of a domain. Domain Authority score is a good signal if you do link exchange for SEO together especially when combined with Alexa Rank of the domain and Page Rank of the page from where you are interested in getting a link back to your site.
As the definition goes, link building is the only way to improve your domain authority and if I try to twist it in words of Matt Cutts then create content compelling enough that your website visitors and competitors say WOW! What a compelling piece of content and then they give back a link to your site referring their audience to you cause you deserve it Mr. great content creator.
This is what Cutts refer to as natural link building, the art of getting links to your site. And it has a nice ring to it too but the problem is this is true only if you are good at Finding Neverland. But alas! It we cannot.
I myself have gotten many natural links for one of my sites but that nothing to do with content but its consistent number 1 position over the years in Google, Yahoo and Bing. And most of this natural links are from news site like Telegraph and NYtimes and top travel magazines (Almost all of them).
However I’d suggest that you do request for links from relevant and quality website with good DA and PA and Alexa Rank. Getting good link from the authority websites in your niche can do wonder for both your SERP and DA.
Also consider submitting articles on 1000s of good article websites that except free articles. That way not only you increase your DA but also promote your social account.
Submit PR and I’d recommend paid pr on sites like PRNEWSWIRE, PRWEB etc. from where you could get 100s of link through syndication and believe me it’s not harmful and do indeed help you in better SERP. Check this out for a cool experiment http://bit.ly/13SePKh.
Did you notice that this is a classic example of natural link? I just linked back to a press release page and if you’ll check, you’d also notice that this page PR is 3 and PA is 54 all because many others like me would have linked back to this compelling and authoritative post.
If you are wondering how to check PA and DA of a page and domain the solution is easy. Install the MOZ Bar extension for chrome/Firefox which is free and if you need a thorough SEO study of your site go for the premium account at MOZ.COM which is paid.
Yet another way to increase the domain authority of your website is to have a blog on your domain and keep it regularly updated. Submit your blog to various good quality blog directories like Technorati and it will get you additional links hence increase DA. Whereas content on a site is limited a blog give you freedom to write and create compelling and authoritative content which in turn has more probability of creating natural links.
Another great way to increase your domain authority is through guest posting. And believe me when I say that here Matt Cutts is absolutely right if you do it right. One good pitch followed by a post on authoritative websites like Copyblogger (if you are content marketer), Huffington Post (if you are anyone) or Lonely Planet/Gogobot (if you are in Travel) or any news site will not only create a buzz for your site but also help you gain instant audiences.
Then there’s always the option of Bookmarking, Local Listing, Directory Submissions and Social Media Optimization on Facebook, Youtube, Gplus etc. but you need to be very careful while choosing where to submit. One wrong submission could lead to thousands of back links to your domain making your site vulnerable to Google’s Penguin penalty for link building.
Also be wary of sharing link of your webpage with every social media update especially Gplus updates as Google count then as backlinks to your site. Have a stong presence across social media channels like video sharing, podcasts, documents, social networks and blog and create or curate quality content across channels.
Forum posting on authority sites and asking and answering questions on sites like Quora and Wikihow could also get you some authority links back to your site.
Remember there are many things you could do to increase your domain authority and these are only the basics for increasing domain authority. If you could think of more ways to increase domain authority and how to do it, feel free to leave your suggestion through comments.
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