“Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about partnering with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.” – Phil Frost
At Marketwake, we work every day with businesses who consider their website’s ranking potential a top priority. We’d be willing to bet that most marketing agencies have gotten the dreaded call from potential clients that goes something like this, “Hey, can you get us to the top of organic Google search results in x number of days?”
We don’t judge. This is a seemingly reasonable request…It’s simply misinformed. But let’s be real – search engine rankings is no easy topic to grasp. With nonstop updates to Google’s search algorithm (500-600 per year, to be exact) and a plethora of SEO tools out there on the market, it can be daunting to set goals and take action. We’re here to help you.
Before we dive into the deep end, let’s get a few things straight…
What is Domain Authority?
Domain authority is a number (on a scale of 0 -100) used to predict how a website will perform in search engine rankings. Your domain authority depends heavily on link metrics – root domains, number of total links, the reputation of those links, etc.
What is Page Authority?
Page authority is simply the page-specific version of domain authority. It’s important to note that Google itself does not rank websites, it ranks web pages. An increase in domain authority increases the likelihood of pages on the site ranking in search results.
Domain and page authority are much more difficult to influence directly than other SEO metrics, but not all hope is lost. Your quest to improve these metrics will be gradual, but SEO experts agree that small, consistent steps make a big difference.
Okay, you’re ready. Here are eight steps you can take to boost your page and domain authority:
1. Find high-ranking content partners.
When Google crawls the web, it’s looking for websites that play nicely with others. If it’s not already, building relationships online should be an integral part of your SEO strategy. Don’t be scared to reach out to potential link partners (preferably websites with a high domain authority) and pitch content you think would be applicable to their audience. When it comes to building the link profile of your website, quality trumps quantity, so look for sites that have a domain authority of 40 or higher.
2. Be a stickler for site structure.
Laying the foundation for better SEO is a critical first step for improving your domain authority. Moz, a powerful software that helps you track SEO trends and opportunities, says that the best way to influence this metric is to improve your overall SEO – that includes site structure, meta tags, header tags, keywords and all the other aspects of technical SEO we know and “love.”
3. Link between pages on your website.
Internally linking from one page on your website to another won’t directly improve your overall domain authority, but it will help guide your visitors to high-value pages, boosting usability and individual page authority. Don’t force it – link to your site’s related pages naturally and only when relevant. Smart internal linking helps Google crawl your site and index pages more efficiently.
4. Create linkable content.
We recently participated in an awesome webinar by Buzzsumo about the importance of creating linkable content to build authority. The type of content people share versus link to is very different. Linkable content is typically serious, opinion-forming journalism that offers new insights based on in-depth research. It is also typically over 1,000 words and is evergreen in that it has the ability to appeal to readers over a long period of time. In other words, before you go asking high authority sites to link to your content, you better have something worth their while to link to.
5. Write those testimonials.
Your momma probably told you – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Nowadays, business owners have an awesome opportunity to share their experiences with their vendors and partners online. If you ever get a request from another business to share your experience on behalf of your company, do it. Not only are you helping them out by spreading some love, you’re also increasing the chances of that company linking back to your website/business.
6. Break up with toxic links.
Get into the habit of regularly cleaning up your link profile by checking for any toxic backlinks. Linking to low trust sources directly impacts your PageRank and domain authority, and not in a good way, my friend. Use Google Webmaster Tools’ backlinks report or Moz’s Open Site Explorer tool to discover/ potentially damaging links.
7. Make it super speedy.
Poor loading speed is so last year and can have a major effect on your site’s bounce rate. In 2010, Google announced that website speed would begin having an impact on search ranking. Since then, web masters have upped their game in back-end performance with a heavy focus on improving user experience.
8. Focus on creating/sharing relevant content.
Um, duh, right? Relevance is a concept that is so obvious, it can sometimes be overlooked. When it comes to improving domain authority, genuinely engaging your target audience should be your main focus, not simply moving the needle of your score. After you’ve created relevant content, share it on social media so it’s not just sitting on your site unnoticed.
We’ll admit that the title of this post is somewhat misleading. There is no “quick” solution here. That’s the thing about improving your organic search rankings – it’s a bit of a beautiful mystery. Great content and effective marketing is your starting point. If you need some help, we’d love to hear from you.