After the last Moz update, a lot of bloggers found that their Domain Authority score had slipped a few points. How can you increase your score?
This is not such a straightforward question to answer. That’s because Domain Authority is based upon a complicated algorithm, which aims to predict how sites will rank on a search engine like Google. This means that it’s not easy to ‘game’ Domain Authority like you can with some other metrics and rankings.
By the way it’s important to remember that, like interest rates, Domain Authority can go down as well as up. If your blog lost a few points in the most recent update, the most important thing is do not panic! There are some things you can do which may increase your chances of seeing your Domain Authority go up next time your site gets crawled. And the good news is that most of them are things which will also improve your website for your readers.
1 – Create Great Content
You’re probably bored of hearing this by now, but the one of the best things you can do to help increase your Domain Authority is to create great content that people want to share. Try to create content that is evergreen, unique to your site, and detailed. This makes your blog more shareable than churning out identikit posts that can be found on any website.
Creating shareable content will help you to create a good quality link profile. Although some people worry about bad or ‘spammy’ backlinks, unless you have thousands of them it is more productive to concentrate on gaining good quality backlinks. Click here to read an article on the Moz website about it.
2 – Link Building
Internal linking will help to keep readers on your blog for longer, and increase your page views. You can start off by using a related posts widget, I currently use this one which was originally developed by Zemanta. But ideally you want to create content which contains links to other pages on your blog in a natural way. A spreadsheet which contains links to all of your posts can help you to identify relevant posts.
Also, be sure to make your links clearly visible. It always amazes me when I visit a blog and find that I can hardly see where the texts are. Make them stand out with bold, underlined or different colour text.
3 – Improve on-page SEO
There are differing points of view about how important on-page SEO is for rankings these days. But it certainly can’t hurt to spend some time working on your posts. If your site is on WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin makes it easy to see where SEO can be improved. You can also use the plugin to boost the readability of your post, which should make it more shareable – which takes us back to Point 1 above!
I will cover this plugin in more depth in a future #BlogTips post. And of course I’ll link to it from here when I do.
4 – Check broken links
Broken links on your website are frustrating for your readers and a negative influence on Domain Authority. Check for broken links and correct the URLs or delete the links from the posts. It’s worth doing this on a regular basis so that the task doesn’t become unmanageable.
I wouldn’t recommend installing a broken link checker plugin on your website. These don’t always pick up every dead link, and they can also slow down your blog (not a good thing – see point 7 for more!). I use this website to check my blog and try to do it at least once or twice a month. If the list of broken links on your website is too big, and you don’t have time to do the work yourself, you could hire a Virtual Assistant to do this for you. This will free you up to concentrate on other tasks.
5 – Spam Score
When you check your Domain Authority score on the Moz website, it will also give you a Spam score. I explain this in a bit more detail in this post, but basically it’s an indicator of how likely your website is to appear spammy. The higher the number of flags, the more likely you are to receive a penalty from Google.
The free version of the Moz checker will show you some of the flags that your site has against it. If you only have a few then this probably isn’t a high priority action for you. But if you have 6 flags or even more, then it’s worth trying to address some of these point. If this is a big concern for you, the free trial of Moz Pro will give you access to their Spam Analysis tool.
6 – Get Social
Make sure you have a Social Media marketing strategy and put it into action. You need to make sure that you are creating shareable content (back to point 1 again…), and that you’re making it easy for people to share. If you aren’t already doing so, then it would be a good idea to use a scheduling service such as Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule social media posts. I’ll be looking at all of this in more detail in future #BlogTips posts.
You could also consider using paid promotion on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to increase the visibility of your content. This depends on the budget that you have to spend, but it can be a good investment.
7 – Make it User Friendly
Making your site as user friendly as possible means that people are more likely to stay around for longer. Make sure that your site is quick loading, and that the image files aren’t too big. If your site is taking several seconds to load, people are more likely to click away. Use a site like Pingdom to check how fast your site is loading, and the Google Page Speed Tool will give you pointers on how to improve it.
Increasing the amount of white space on your site can make it look cleaner and highlights your words and photos. Remove anything that is cluttering up your site unnecessarily – do you really need all those badges in your sidebar? They increase your site’s load time, so consider whether any of them are out of date or unneeded.
It’s also worth taking a look at your site’s navigation every so often as well. Do your menus and sidebar make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for? Are you highlighting your best content effectively?
8 – Make it Mobile Friendly
Google now gives extra weighting to sites that are mobile friendly. And as the Moz algorithm attempts to replicate search engine rankings, it’s a factor in Domain Authority as well. So it’s worth checking that your site is running a mobile responsive template. If not, then you might want to consider moving to a new template which has a mobile friendly version.
9 – Wait…
Yes, this final suggestion is both the easiest and the most difficult on the list. Unfortunately Moz only updates once a month, and they don’t crawl each site every time. So even if you make changes, they may not be picked up for several weeks or even 2-3 months. The age of your domain is also a factor in Domain Authority, so as your domain ages you should see some increase in DA. But of course, there’s little you can do to affect this aspect of it.
So the best thing you can do is to try not to get too obsessed about your Domain Authority score. Instead, try to concentrate on producing great content and a great experience for your site visitors. And hopefully your hard work will be rewarded in good time.