You have a business that you want to grow. You want your business found online ahead of all your competitors. There are many factors that are involved to get your domain found online and above your competitors. A key piece of information is your domain authority often called DA. There are many aspects that you can do to help improve your DA. In this article, we will list several ways to improve your DA which can give you the potential (keyword: potential) of moving your rankings up in the search engines.
Disclaimer: There never is a guarantee in moving up in the search engines and anyone that states they can you need to run from as quickly as you can.
Some of the factors
No one knows all the rules and factors when it comes to improving your DA. What we do know is that your DA is (at a minimum) based on your domain age, page rank (which Google doesn't fully use anymore), social signals, linking root domains, total backlink profile (that are marked as "follow"), user experience, site loading time, traffic, TLS (SSL), etc. These are all items that you should be doing as part of your standard SEO which ultimately improves your DA.
Increasing your Domain Authority means following all the search engine best practices on a continuous basis. Your DA will move up and down based on what you do to your website to comply with the latest search engine standards. The search engine standards and best practices change often (sometimes multiple times per month).
Why Webdesigners "Brand" YOUR Business
This is a true pet peeve of ours and one reason we don't brand a site. But what is "branding" and why do we dislike it? Branding is when a web designer puts at the bottom (typically bottom right) of every page of your website that they built the page. This branding gives the web designer with credit they built your website but is not the true reason they do it. Yes, they want your business to promote and sell their business. More importantly though they have this link set as a "follow" link so that there DA moves up. You will not see one of our sites do this and it's not because we don't want to increase our DA as we do. We don't brand your business as this is your business and not ours. You paid us to build you a website that helps convert your business. You didn't give us your hard-earned money to sell our business.
We do have an exception to this rule. Now your thinking we just lied. That is the farthest from the truth as we live by what we call "Rule #1" which is "No Lying". So why is there an exception. There are some clients where we give them our services for free. For free? Really? Yes Really! These are certain businesses, typically not-for-profits, where we create and maintain their websites for them. We do this as we believe in giving back and part of that giving back is to self-advertise our business.
Below is a list we've generated after years of working in SEO that we have found help contribute to improving your Domain Authority. We know that there are more as we are constantly changing and improving our list of factors that help improve DA. Over the years we've learned this list is a pretty good start.
- Have a clean user experience
- Easy to follow site structure
- Easy to use menu
- Reduced (if not no) advertising
- Utilize text links throughout your site which match the page headings (H1) on the paging that they are linking to
- Have a sitemap that is human readable
- Have a sitemap that matches the human readable but in the recommended search engine standard format
- Don't have too many links on a page – there regretfully isn't a magical number for this one. We always recommend having the number you need to have a clean and efficient user experience and don't spam.
- Keep your site as fast as possible. There are no speeding tickets on the internet. In fact, the faster you go the more rewarded you will get. Quick ways to achieve this are:
- Keep your images optimized
- Combine your stylesheets
- Utilize variations of your primary keywords
- Keep your site updated and changing (blogs are great for this!)
- Create new and unique content that helps answer questions for your site visitors (don't write for the search engines – write for your visitors!)
- Utilize mailing lists based on your users opting in (don't just spam users)
- Promote your content on social media channels
- Use paid social posts that drive traffic to your website to gain more visitors that encourage users to participate and share your information.
- Do guest blog posts to show your expertise. Even with no direct link to your website these can still help if you are consistent with your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number).
- Social media
- Have your social media profiles setup properly
- Promote your social media channel from your website
- Engage with your audience
- Do live events that will drive active watchers to your website
- Gain awards as they often will link back to your website
- Credible online newspapers that will bring awareness to your brand
- Utilize offline marketing. Think
- Business Cards
- "Swag" that has your website on it
- Etc., that drive people to your website
- Do some key link building with
- Influences (experts in your industry)
- Chamber of Commerce
- Ask people to share your content to their friends and family
- Fix technical issues with your site - A great source is the W3C Markup Validation Service.
- Remove bad links
- Buy your domain and keep it! In the internet age matters.
- Don't sign up for every link you can get from websites. These are some of the sites that can hurt your SEO:
- Sites that do not do SEO
- Sites that don't promote items in your industry
- Sites are known to not be doing positive actions
- Sites that have known security problems (this can be no TLS/SSL certificate, a CMS (Content Management System) that is outdated, etc.)
- Sites that have old content or a lot of spammy comments
- Have your "technical SEO" in-place. Technical SEO items to look at are:
- Good site structure
- Structured Meta Data
- Unique title and description tags
- Unique content
- A good URL structure that a user can easily understand
- Pages that are between 2,000 and 2,500 words are the optimal size
- Be mobile friendly
- Remove toxic backlinks. Remove links that are no longer valid on your website.
- Have quality content people want to read! Quality content helps more than you can ever realize.
- And finally, be patient! SEO is truly a marathon and improving your DA is part of SEO and doesn't change overnight.
Being an authoritive source on the internet will help give you an edge over your competitors and move above them on the search engines. It takes time, doing the right thing, and being patient through the entire process. The search engines entire goal is to provide users with results that can be trusted, answer questions, and provide a value.