Measure up?

Domain authority is a measure of the power of a domain name and is a good estimate of how well a site will perform on search engine results pages (SERPs). In general, the domain’s authority is based on the popularity of the number of external links pointing back to the domain, but the age of the domain name as well as the size of the website in terms of number of pages, affect domain authority.

Why Domain Authority is Important – Aside from the apparent advantage of invariably marking your site as a reliable information source of whatever niche you’ve sunk your hands in, a high domain authority will prove to be a boon for the financial viability of your site. One tip I’ve learned from successful domainers like Lawrence Ng is to put a premium on domains that have aged and accrued a high enough authority – the older the site, the more links pointing to it (of course, if the site is worthy). Moreover, webmasters would feel more inclined to link to your site and/or use it as a reference if it ranks high enough on the SERPs.

How Age of Domain Affects Authority – Search engines typically prefer old domains to new ones as old domains are generally considered more trustworthy. In contrast, new domains still have much to prove in terms of both credibility and popularity.

How Popularity Affects Domain Authority – When your site has a lot of incoming links from various sites, search engines tend to view your website as credible and worth promoting. Your chance of getting higher domain authority scores also increases when your site has more inbound than outbound links.

How Domain Size Affects Authority – The more indexed pages you have on your website, the higher your domain authority is likely to be. That’s because search engines typically appreciate websites with a lot of quality content. Large sites tend to have more content, and more content (high quality content, of course) tends to get more links.

How to check your domain authority

Perhaps the first thing you should do is find out how you’re faring in terms of domain authority. Does your website already have high authority? In that case, it may be wise to keep doing what you’re currently doing. If your domain authority is relatively low, however, then you should start taking the necessary steps to improve it.

Below are some tips on how you can check your domain authority, but keep in mind that all tools use only the number of backlinks to a domain to ascertain the domain authority. To my knowledge none of them use the size or age of the domain.

1. Mozbar

To use this tool, you need to install the Mozbar browser extension in either Firefox or Google Chrome. Once the extension is installed, you will automatically see the domain authority of any website you visit, including your own.

2. Open Site Explorer

This site allows you to check domain authority up to three times each day unless you’re a Moz Pro user, in which case you can check domain authority as many times as you want. Other than domain authority, the site also allows you to check other statistics like page authority, total links, and linking root domains.

3. Google Toolbar

Google’s toolbar display the so-called Google Toolbar PageRank, which is refreshed only several times a year, few months apart. It’s not the same domain authority (PR) Google uses in real time for its ranking algorithm. And the scale that ranges from 1 to 10 is not quite differentiating enough between sites. But it’s probably the most referenced metric amongst SEOs.

So, now you know what factors affect domain authority and why; you also have an idea on how you can check the authority of your sites. The next step, of course, is to find out how you can improve domain authority for a site that may not rank so well. Here are a few tips:

Improving domain authority

1. Guest Post

When you guest post on popular niche-related blogs, you effectively extend your reach to other sets of audience. This helps increase your brand’s visibility and also increases the chance of more people visiting your website. Of course, you should guest post only on blogs that are somehow related to your industry/niche – if you sell wedding dresses and guest post on agricultural blogs, it won’t help your business at all. Make sure your guest posts always offer relevant and useful information so readers will be encouraged to click on the link to your site. Remember that the more popular your site becomes, the higher your domain authority is likely to be.

2. Use Infographics

Create infographics that are visually attractive without being too colourful or crowded. Make sure these infographics offer relevant, useful, and updated content. Share these infographics not only on your website, but also on your social media pages. The greater the number of people who see your infographics, the greater your chances are of getting more traffic to your site. The greater your site traffic, the greater your chance of getting new backlinks and therefore increase your domain authority.

3. Create Presentations

PowerPoint presentations are excellent ways of featuring the products and/or services that you offer. Of course, you should also make sure that your presentations don’t focus solely on featuring your products. These should also offer valuable information to anyone who views it. The purpose of the presentations should be to encourage viewers to visit your website for more information. Share your presentations on popular sites like YouTube and SlideShare.

4. Use Social Media

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are now among the best places for you to find prospective customers. If you want to increase site and brand visibility, therefore, it’s a good idea to start being active on social media and to link your social media accounts to your official website. When you visit the Home page of renowned personalities, for example, you’ll often see clickable buttons that’ll lead you to their Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn profiles, among others. This practice is a very good way of linking your website to your social media accounts.

Other than the most popular social networking sites, you could also create accounts on niche-specific sites. Post regular updates and engage with other people on these sites such that you can establish yourself as an industry authority. Soon enough, you should get more traffic to your website and your domain authority should start improving.

5. Add Fresh Content and Web Pages Regularly

As mentioned earlier, one of the factors that affect domain authority is the size of a website. It goes without saying, therefore, that you should add new pages and quality content to your site on a regular basis if you want your authority to increase. Posting fresh and new content weekly is great for targeting long tail searches and generate additional traffic to your site.

Of course, you can’t do anything about the age of your website except wait. What’s important is for you to do as much as you can to let search engines know that you can provide reliable and invaluable content and/or services. As long as you succeed in doing that, you should be able to enjoy a satisfactory domain authority until the time your site becomes aged enough for search engines to trust completely.

Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media, an SEO company based in Vancouver, Canada. To read more posts written by Emma or to invite her to write for your blog please visit www.pitstopmedia.com.

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