Domain Authority, like Page Authority, is determined by the quantity and quality of the links pointing to your domain as a whole.
How important is it?
According to the online marketing community domain authority is at least as important as page authority, maybe more so.
What can I do to improve it?
Get more incoming links. That seems to be the answer to every question about ranking in Google – get more links. In fact it isn’t the answer to every question, but it does answer most of them.
You need links to every page of your website to increase domain authority most effectively
If page authority is the chance of a particular page ranking for a keyword phrase, then domain authority refers to the chance of content on that domain ranking in Google.
The best way to illustrate that is by using an example;
Site A and Site B are both in the widget industry, there has been a new development in red widgets and both site A and Site B have taken a lot of time and trouble to produce a comprehensive blog post on the development complete with images and video.
So which one will rank higher?
As it is a new piece of content their page authority will be zero, so the site with the higher domain authority will have their new post ranked the highest. In this example that would be Site A.
How about if Site A’s post is not as good or comprehensive as Site B’s? Well it will still rank higher at the beginning. Over time because it is of higher quality Site B’s post may outrank Site A’s garner more links and receive better user engagement and this will increase Page Authority and Domain Authority.
Having said that it is not a given – as it does depend on how much more authority Site A has compared to site B. It could be that a lower quality piece of content could outrank a higher quality piece always due to the higher domain authority score.
Maybe that doesn’t make sense and you are asking;
Why would Google do that?
It not may seem to be logical, but it actually does make sense.
Google wants to return results in it’s search engine from sites that are an authority in their market, sites that are proven to be, through incoming links, social media shares and user-engagement to be valuable resources for users searching for information in that industry.
As we have noted previously Google considers links to a page as kind of votes for the quality of that page. If only one page of your site has lots of "votes", does it make sense for Google to consider it an authority?
No. When you think of an authority on a particular topic, you think of a resource that knows a lot about every aspect of the subject - not just one.
The fact is Google works hard to protect its results from manipulatio because it needs to serve the best, most useful websites in its results or users will move to a competitor like Bing or Yahoo and Google will lose significant portions of its ad revenue as users defect to competitors.
Therefore it makes sense for Google to take the entire site's links into consideration because it makes it harder to trick Google into ranking your site - it is easier to get a number of good links to a single page of your site than it is to get good links to every single page of your site..
So by setting its algorithm to favour sites with what we call good "link popularity" Google is ensuring that it's returning the best possible information to the searcher.
You can see this in action when you do a search and you see an Amazon product page or a wikipedia page on page one. These individual pages do not have a lot of links, if any at all, yet they still rank on page one – this is because of the huge power of their root domains! As a whole these domains have possibly millions of links pointing to them and so all their pages rank well.
What to do?
Based on what we have just discussed, it becomes obvious that if you only build links to your home page your domain authority will not increase by much and so it will be harder for your individual pages to rank.
How does Google handle multiple links from a single site?
It is important to understand something about how Google handles links – it is about linking domains, not pages. By this I mean that if you get 10 links each from 10 different sites that is not as powerful as getting one link each from 100 sites – so you want links from different domains not links from different pages of the same domain.
It actually goes a step further and looks at hosting and IP addresses - links from 10 domains on the same server with the same IP address is not as powerful as links from 10 domains on different servers with different IP addresses.
Again this makes it harder to manipulate and game the search engines.
So to summarise - it's important that your site has plenty of high quality links pointing to all of its pages and not just the homepage or an individual page that you are trying to rank in Google.
Google will favour websites that it considers an authority in their market, and to become an authority site in Google’s eyes you need plenty of incoming links from good quality sites to multiple pages on your website.
So how do you get links to all your pages?
Admittedly that is a tough one, however you must realise that everything is relative.
So for example if you wanted to rank for the topic of underwater basket weaving then it would not take many links to become an authority in that niche due to the lack of competition.
As it isn’t really a real thing!
So all you need to do is beat the link profile of sites on the first page.
Put in every page of your competitor sites service pages and see what kind of links they have pointing to their site.
You’ll be able to order the links themselves - by their trust and authority – so you can prioritise which are the most valuable links
So what you want to end up with is your 10 or so closest competitors with their service pages and what links you have found pointing to them all laid out in a spread sheet.
Then you can work out why they have a link and how you can possibly replicate it – did they do a guest post, give a testimonial, are they a supplier, is it a paid directory, etc?
Ok, that is the end for today – next time we’ll be pulling this focus on Page Authority and Domain Authority together and go over some practical ways to quickly improve your business websites link profile.