How to Boost Your Domain Authority in 2023
If you want to boost your domain authority then you 'get' the fact that DA (domain authority) plays an important role in ranking.
Luckily, regardless of how old your domain is or where your DA is right now, there are tried and tested methods to improve your domain authority.
And that's what I'm going to cover in this article.
How to improve the domain authority of your website - the 5 steps to follow
Working for years as an SEO, I dealt with many confounded clients who came to me because their websites weren't ranking for anything useful. Many of those were new domain names with a Domain Authority of 1, and typically hadn't built a single backlink.
DA is driven primarily by the power of the backlinks that link to your domain. Generally, the more powerful those links are, the higher the domain authority of a website is - especially if many of those backlinks are 'dofollow', which is a term that describes a link that passes page rank.
But don't sweat it if you're not familiar with this term. Nofollow links are also important and a combination of both types of links is ideal in order to build a natural looking link profile.
Let's quickly revisit DA:
What is domain authority?
DA is actually a measurement that MOZ came up with - not Google. This is an important point because ultimately we want to rank in Google, so keep in mind that this is not part of Google's algorithm criteria, at least publicly.
Nonetheless, DA is a good gauge of the things that help most websites rank. Moz did a good job of figuring out relevant metrics, and a testament to this is the fact that you want to boost your domain authority as much as the rest of us.
Back in the day, we had a similar measurement to gauge the importance of a domain name. It was called Page Rank. But Google did away with that some years ago, and Moz came up with Domain Authority, which is a good replacement.
They also came up with Page Authority, which I will also cover in a moment.
Let's move on...
Step 1: check your domain authority with this free tool
Before we can measure how well we're doing in terms of where we want to go, we need to know where we are, to begin with.
So the first thing to do is to check the domain authority of your website or blog.
How to check the domain authority of your website
As you'd expect, the same people who came up with DA have a domain authority checker that measures DA. And the good news is that they allow free access for a quick check.
The tool is called Open Site Explorer
Here's how you use the Domain Authority Checker tool:
Here's what a result looks like:
Domain Authority vs Page Authority
Note that the Page Authority metric is displayed also. This lets you know how important the page that you're checking is. The higher the authority, the more important it is.
By 'important' I simply mean how well is that page doing the things that Moz figured out help you rank.
We'll get into what those 'things' are in a moment...
So Page Authority (PA) is pretty much the same thing as Domain Authority. It's a gauge of how well that page is doing the things that we know (or suspect) help pages rank in Google.
So, the higher the PA, the better that page is. And just as with DA, the PA of a page is largely determined by what links are pointing to it.
This means that bad links can and do affect your DA and PA score.
Which brings us to the next step...
Step 2: conduct a link audit
DA is mostly about backlinks. But not just any backlinks. You need good quality links to boost your domain authority.
And this means, of course, that any spammy links are going to hold you back from achieving a higher DA.
So the next thing to do is to check your link profile and see if there's any potential trash in there.
SEMrush has a tool that enables you to perform a deep backlink analysis. Here it is: link checker.
Another cool tool is Majestic.
NOTE: there's probably a ton of other tools around that do this - I'm just showing you the ones that I've always used.
How to do a link audit and clean up your backlinks
This is pretty straightforward. You run your domain name through the link checker and then gauge the quality of your backlinks going by the tool's scoring of each link.
The object here is to identify any and all spammy links pointing to a website so that we can take steps to remove them.
Incidentally, you'll find an explanation of how the tool works on the same SEMrush page where the tool is. Read it, because that is, in effect, how to do a link audit.
Step 3: remove any poor links from your link profile to increase your domain authority
The next step is to rid ourselves of those unwanted links. If we get rid of poor links that are affecting our DA score, then naturally that will increase domain authority.
Just keep in mind that the DA does not improve in real time, so typically you'll wait weeks or even months to see your new score. That said, you'll probably experience a ranking boost even before you see your improved score.
How to disavow links
In order to remove those links from your link profile, you essentially need to let Google know to discount those links. And you do this with their disavow tool.
Here' what Google says about how to disavow backlinks
Once you disavow the offending links, you'll be left with a clean link profile.
[clickToTweet tweet="Boosting your Domain Authority begins with cleaning up your link profile. Use disavow tools to loose the garbage." quote="Boosting your Domain Authority begins with cleaning up your link profile. Use disavow tools to loose the garbage." theme="style3"]
At this point, the next thing to do to improve domain authority is to gain new links. Remember: the better quality the link, the bigger the boost to your domain authority and your page authority too.
So let's look at ways to do that:
Step 4: create great content
The safest link building approach these days is to engage in content marketing.
Here's the formula for that:
find topics that have potential search volume that are relevant to your website or blog
create good content that you think your intended audience will find useful
publish that content
The idea here is to earn backlinks naturally, which will naturally boost your domain authority as well as your page authority.
And that brings us to the key part of getting those links...
Step 5: distribute your content for backlinks
Distribution is a key part of content marketing. Your content needs to be seen in order for people to share and link to it.
Here are some channels you can use to distribute your content:
social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc)
forums where your content solves a problem
[clickToTweet tweet="Social signals and backlinks from other sites are both factors that can improve website authority." quote="Social signals and backlinks from other sites are both factors that can improve website authority." theme="style3"]
Forums can be a great way to get backlinks. The key is to provide value with a good answer, and - whenever appropriate - link back to a piece of content on your website where you discuss the answer more in-depth.
Just don't get caught up visiting the domain authority checker tool each time you post content (I check domain authority once a month when a website is new, but soon leave it to around once every 6 months).
Here are my 5 tips to increase your Domain Authority (video)
Other factors that affect Domain and Page Authority
There are other things that we all need to take care of in order to improve our DA.
If you happen to run a WordPress site, then check out my WordPress optimisation step by step guide.
Here are other key things that can affect your score:
have a fast loading website (get decent hosting)
make sure your on-page SEO is good (titles, metas and general content)
make sure your website structure is good
When it comes to website structure, check Google Search Console to see if Google is reporting any crawl issues on your website.
Domain Authority is a gauge of how important a domain name is. Generally speaking, the higher the DA of a website, the better it should be at ranking for competitive terms.
You can improve the authority of your domain by making sure that you have a clean link profile and acquiring new links. And the safest way to get links is content marketing.
The bottom line is: create great content that people find useful and want to share.