If you’ve been tirelessly working to increase your domain authority but haven’t seen any results that you expected, you’re not alone.
Domain authority is a crucial metric in the world of digital marketing, with 42% of marketers relying on it to gauge a website’s backlink quality. Everyone wants to outshine their competitors and secure that coveted top spot in search engine rankings.
But building link equity and obsessing over domain authority as a vanity metric won’t yield the full benefits you seek.
So, let me guide you through understanding where you can truly compete and succeed.
What is Domain Authority and Why Does It Matter?
Domain authority refers to the quality and quantity of backlinks that point to your website from reliable sources. These backlinks should be relevant to your niche because they significantly influence your domain authority score.
The concept was introduced by Moz, and it helps marketers compare websites and track their ranking strength over time.
Let’s consider Dropbox as an example; its widespread influence in the digital realm can be credited to the copious sharing of visual content by people for their personal and professional needs. This fosters unique domain backlinks, thereby boosting Dropbox’s domain authority.
But why is domain authority so important, especially since it’s not a direct Google ranking factor? Well, studies suggest a correlation between domain authority and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.
It’s believed to be a useful metric for estimating the potential volume of organic traffic from Google. So, if you want better SEO rankings, you should focus on improving your domain authority.
The Time Factor: Why Building Domain Authority Takes Patience
As you might have gathered, backlinks play a crucial role in determining domain authority. Not only that, but they are among the two most significant ranking variables. Building domain authority is a gradual process that depends on your consistent efforts.
To optimize your website effectively, you must understand the keywords for which you’re considered an authority. However, domain authority isn’t solely dependent on keywords; it goes beyond that.
The size of your backlink profile is crucial in determining domain authority, and it follows a logarithmic scale. This means that individual backlink stats won’t always impact the score the same way. The higher the metric, the more significant its impact on your domain authority.
So, how long does it take to increase domain authority? The answer is, it varies. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on factors such as the age of your site, the absence of content history, and a limited backlink profile. Establishing authority takes time, and achieving a high rank can be a challenging task.
Lessons from Data Insights: Understanding How Domain Authority Grows
To better understand the dynamics of increasing domain authority, my team and I analyzed three websites’ domain ratings and their corresponding referring domains over a span of several years. Let’s delve into the lessons learned from Netlify, Digital Ocean, and Linode in the cloud software provider industry.
Netlify’s Success Story: The Significance of Referring Domain Quality
Netlify saw a remarkable jump in domain ratings in March 2015 when it reached a score of 25 with 34 referring domains. Over the course of 2015, Netlify managed to increase its domain authority to an impressive 71 with 201 referring domains. By 2017, they further boosted their domain authority to 78 with 1,531 referring domains.
The key takeaway here is that it took them approximately a year to increase their domain rating by 8 points. Their success can be attributed to doubling the number of links to their website, resulting in massive gains in domain rating.
Digital Ocean: The Referring Domain Leader
Digital Ocean’s domain rating journey began in March 2015 when it reached 12,644 referring domains and a rating of 87. Over time, they consistently maintained a high domain rating, with an increase to 91 in September 2020 and an impressive 86,822 referring domains.
Linode: Evidence of Site Authority
Linode’s path to domain rating 85 started in March 2015 with 6,824 referring domains. They faced some fluctuations over the years but ultimately achieved a domain rating of 86 with 23,666 referring domains.
The Power of Referring Domains: How They Impact Domain Authority
Based on the data from these three websites, it became evident that having around 23,000 to 25,000 referring domains can place you in the mid to high 80s domain rating. The number of referring domains seems to correlate with higher domain rating scores.
Digital Ocean stood out with over triple the number of referring domains compared to its competitors. Netlify achieved a domain rating of 88 with 24,423 referring domains, and Linode reached an 86 with 23,666 referring domains.
The small difference in domain rating points between Netlify and Linode can be attributed to the higher percentage of referring domains with a domain rating of 50 or higher for Netlify. In essence, having more high-quality sites linking to your website can significantly boost your domain rating.
Time is a Factor: The Road to Higher Domain Authority
The data also highlighted that the closer a website gets to a domain rating of 100, the longer and more challenging it becomes to increase domain authority. It’s relatively easy to progress from 0 to 10, but achieving higher scores demands sustained effort and patience.
Speeding Up the Process: Tips to Enhance Domain Authority
While patience is essential in the journey to increase domain authority, there are tips to speed up the process:
- Start with a Link Audit: Conduct a comprehensive link audit to identify and eliminate weak, spammy links that might harm your domain authority.
- Utilize Ubersuggest: This tool allows you to gain insights into your domain score, backlinks, and referring domains. You can analyze your link profile and identify authoritative links for faster progress.
Debunking Domain Authority Myths
Let’s bust some common domain authority myths:
Myth 1: Backlinks Don’t Matter Much
False! Backlinks do matter; they contribute to increased traffic and better rankings. Quality backlinks are far more valuable than numerous ineffective ones. Aim for links that are relevant and trusted by online users.
Myth 2: Never Get Links from Sites with Lower Domain Authority
Not true! Getting links from sites with lower domain authority won’t penalize you. Local sites or newer sites with few links are perfectly fine. The key is to ensure they are high-quality and link to other reputable websites.
Myth 3: Garnering Links Too Quickly is Suspicious
While building links rapidly is acceptable, be cautious not to engage in black hat SEO techniques or link buying. Focus on acquiring links from reputable sites steadily.
Conclusion: Mastering Domain Authority for Long-Term Success
Building domain authority is a gradual but rewarding process. It requires a multi-faceted approach that includes link-building, content marketing, and audience search intent research. Be patient and consistently work on improving the quality and relevance of your backlinks.
Remember, all metrics play a role in your domain authority, so focus on quality rather than quantity. Monitor your link profile and identify opportunities to acquire authoritative links using tools like Ubersuggest. With a well-planned strategy and persistence, you can boost your domain authority and secure a top spot in search engine rankings. Keep in mind that as you approach higher domain rating scores, the challenges increase, but the payoff in terms of SEO success is well worth the effort.
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