Building Backlinks 101

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Even the best on-site SEO efforts aren’t going to be enough to rank your website on Google. Today, most search engines account for over 200 ranking factors when it determines a SERP’s pecking order, so it’s pretty much impossible to optimize your site and page content for each of their ranking factors.

Though you won’t be able to optimize for all of Google’s ranking factors, you may still optimize for one of the most important ranking factors in search — and that is domain authority.

From Google’s view, your domain authority is like your reputation as a thought leader. Google uses your domain authority to verify that you can deliver the highest-quality content concerning your specific subject matter. If you do deliver, you’ll have positive domain authority and Google will lift up your content’s rankings within it’s index. If you do not, you will acquire a bad domain authority and they will not rank your content.

Prior to us diving deeper into how your domain authority impacts your rankings and what you must do to improve your domain’s authority score, let’s review what it is exactly.

What is domain authority?

Put together by the SEO software company Moz, domain authority is a search engine ranking score that forecasts a website’s ability to rank specifically on search engine results pages or “SERPs”. Domain authority scores range from 1 to 100. And yes, the higher your score, the better your website will rank in search.

To figure a websites’ domain authority, Moz accounts for over 40 ranking factors, like the total number of inbound links and root domains. Websites with a great amount of high-quality inbound links, take Wikipedia for example, have the highest domain authority scores. New websites with limited to no inbound links typically have a domain authority of just one.

The domain authority scale by Moz is also logarithmic, which means when your domain authority is higher, it’s much harder to raise your authority score. For example, increasing your domain authority from 60 to 70 is much more challenging than, say increasing it from 10 to 20.

In addition, your domain authority can even decrease, even if you don’t technically lose any backlinks, when a high-authority site, like Facebook.com, secures an influx of backlinks.

Since Moz cannot give the highest-authority sites a domain authority score over 100, they maintain their score at the 100 mark while lowering the sites below them. In other words, your domain authority is figured relative to the domain authorities of the highest websites.

What is an acceptable domain authority score?

According to Moz, domain authority is best utilized as a comparative search metric — a “good” domain authority score will depend on the domain authority of the websites you are competing with within the SERPs. Knowing this, your intention should not be to have the highest authority score, however to acquire a higher authority score than your closest competition.

In order to measure your domain authority easily, use MozBar, a free Chrome extension that installs right into your browser. This tool can also predict your website’s probability to rank for specific search queries and key phrases. The authority scores are a great way of measuring other domain’s backlinks and domain value as well.

How do I  improve my domain authority?

  • Audit your domain’s backlink profile
  • Create compelling and noteworthy content
  • Obtain high-quality links to your site

Audit your domain’s backlink profile

Google prefers that link profiles (a listing of all backlinks to your domain) to consist of backlinks from a large variety of websites and high-authority domains. Google considers this a strong marker of a trustworthy and authoritative site.

Create compelling and noteworthy content

In part, Google’s algorithm will rank your content based off of your engagement metrics, like total amount of web traffic, organic search traffic, direct traffic through a browser, the total time on site, your site’s bounce rate, your SERP click through rate (CTR), any brand mentions on other authoritative sites, and the amount of return visits.

To elevate your website’s engagement factor, and, in turn, domain authority, there’s honestly only one way to do it — you must appeal to and engage a loyal audience by providing high-quality content to your visitors. Compelling and noteworthy content will also bring in the most organic backlinks from other domains in your industry.

Obtain high-quality links to your site

Obtaining high-quality inbound backlinks from other websites and domain pages with high authority scores is a must for boosting your own domain authority.

One way to earn high-quality links is by requesting other websites that have a much higher domain or page authority score to link to your best content pieces. Just be sure that your content is relevant to the content of the referring domain.

In the end, you just need to play the long game with domain authority.

Finally, you cannot directly regulate your domain authority in the short-term. But if you consistently monitor the health of your link profile, create compelling and noteworthy content, and obtain high-quality links to your site, your domain authority will regularly improve, increasing your Google rankings and organic search traffic in the long-term.

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