The terms “Domain Authority” and “DA” get thrown around a lot in the blogging world.
Whether it’s by a brand requiring a specific score for a sponsored post or a fellow blogger claiming that theirs has dropped dramatically, the sheer mention of DA can feel completely overwhelming if you’re new to the subject.
But not to worry — I’m here to help. In this DA guide for bloggers, I’ll explain what exactly Domain Authority is, how you can increase it and the benefits of doing so.
What is DA?
Ready? Let’s start with the basics.
Domain Authority is a metric that was created by Moz. This is a US-based company specialising in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) software, who assigns a score to your website between 1 and 100 to assess how much of an authority it would be in the eyes of Google.
Essentially, the higher a website’s DA, the higher it would rank on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
How is DA Calculated?
Domain Authority is calculated based on a number of aspects relating to your website’s SEO score. Google’s 200+ ranking factors are taken into account to determine your website’s level of expertise.
Like what, you ask? Well, I’m talking about the number of links that are pointing to your website, the quality of the websites that host these links (or “backlinks”), the age of your domain and more.
Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that DA scores work on a logarithmic scale. This means that it gets gradually more difficult to increase your DA as its value approaches 100.
What Does DA Mean for Bloggers?
Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!
The higher a blog’s DA score, the more credible it’s seen in the eyes of search engines, fellow bloggers and potential brand partners. And the more opportunities a blog is likely to be offered, as a result.
Want specifics? I’m referring to an increase in:
- Guest posts on your blog (where another blogger contacts you to contribute to your content for free in exchange for a backlink to their blog, which can subsequently improve their DA)
- Guest posting on other blogs (where you contact another blogger to contribute content for free in exchange for a backlink to your blog, which can ultimately increase your DA)
- Gifted brand sponsorships (where brands contact you to feature their brand and website link on your blog in exchange for free products because your content and audience fit with theirs)
- Paid brand sponsorships (the same as above but the brand offers payment instead of gifted product)
Winners all around!
What are Backlinks and Why are They Important?
As I just mentioned, backlinks are links back to your blog from other websites.
They’re kind of a big deal because every time another website links to yours, it passes on SEO juice (like a big thumbs up). Google will then see your website as a credible source and potentially improve your search engine ranking.
NoFollow Versus DoFollow Links
There are two types of backlinks: NoFollow and DoFollow links.
A default link to another website is a DoFollow link, which passes on the SEO juice. Whereas, if you choose to include a NoFollow tag in the HTML code of a blog post link, this NoFollow link won’t get any love.
To do this, simply insert the below without any spaces:
< a href=”http://www.website.com” rel=“nofollow” >NoFollow< /a >
But, why might you do this? Well, it used to be the case that you should always use NoFollow links when you’re working with brands on paid (or gifted) opportunities. This is because taking payment (or gifts) in exchange for a DoFollow link violates Google’s Terms and Conditions.
(And that’s a big no-no when you’re trying to rank higher on SERPs, not lower!)
Google recently announced that all paid links should be marked as Sponsored so that search engines know not to give it SEO juice.
Just use the following Sponsored (or NoFollow) tag without spaces in the HTML code of a specific blog post link — and you won’t be penalised:
< a href=”http://www.website.com” rel=“sponsored” >Sponsored< /a >
Good DA Scores for a Blog
Just a quick recap — the higher your blog’s DA score, the better! That said, DA is designed to be a comparative tool that you can use to assess your ranking position against your competitors.
There are just some websites that you’ll struggle to outrank, such as those that have been around for many years and those that are extremely authoritative (like Healthline or Wikipedia, for example).
Even so, a good blog DA score tends to be 20+. The majority of brands aren’t interested in working with blogs with a DA below 20. That said, some are, so don’t let this stop you from applying to opportunities!
Another thing to note is that the higher your DA, the more money you’ll be offered when you do partner up with brands. One word: kerching.
Where Can I Check My DA?
To check multiple domains for their DA score fast and efficiently, just use a simple tool like Website SEO Checker.
However, if you’re serious about increasing your DA and playing the long-term SEO game, use the Moz Bar browser extension like I do.
The major benefit of Moz Bar is that you can download it on Google Chrome and then check the DA scores of your own blog (and other blogs) as you browse. It’s quick, reliable and totally free!
How to Increase Your Blog DA
This wouldn’t be a decent DA guide for bloggers if I didn’t include the ways you can actively try and improve your blog’s Domain Authority score.
1. Use a Domain That’s At Least Three Years Old
Firstly, if you haven’t started your blog yet or you’re considering changing your domain name, be sure to choose a domain that’s at least three years old.
How come, you ask? Well, because the domain age affects your DA. Generally speaking, the younger the domain, the lower the score.
2. Create High-Quality, Long-Form Content
Ever heard the phrase “content is king”?
For Moz (and Google) to consider your blog a trusted resource, you need to create high-quality content that is lengthy and offers extreme value to your audience. This goes hand-in-hand with removing “thin” content that is 300 words or less, which offers little to no value.
3. Be Consistent With Your Content Strategy
FYI, Google likes fresh content.
This doesn’t just mean that they want to see a new blog post on your website every week. Rather, they also want to see old content being updated so that it’s always relevant, regardless of age.
If you need a full, detailed breakdown on how to write and optimise blog posts to please search engines and readers alike, the “Superstar Your Blog Post SEO” eBook has got you covered.
4. Guest Post on High-Authority, High-Quality Websites
Another way you can improve your blog DA is by building your backlink profile. This is where you guest post on other blogs for free in exchange for a backlink, byline and bio.
However, keep in mind that guest posting can only increase your DA if the website in question has a higher DA score than yours and produces high-quality content that’s relevant to your niche. If it doesn’t on both counts, this might cause your DA to decrease or stay the same.
At the end of the day, it’s important to purely choose guest posting opportunities that are right for your blog — and goals.
5. Become an Authority in Your Niche
Finally, the trick to building your backlink profile and increasing your blog DA is to become an expert in your niche. I mean, if your blog is known to be an authority in a certain field, your content is more likely to be linked to organically by other bloggers.
For example, say I’m a lifestyle blogger doing a post on what to do in London, but I don’t live there so I don’t know all the local tips. Then a travel blogger I do know specialises in England trips, lives in London and hosts a blog post all about the city’s hotspots.
In this case, I might want to include this blog post link in my blog post as an extra, useful resource for my readers.
DA Guide for Bloggers: The Takeaway
A key takeaway from this DA guide for bloggers? Improving your blog’s DA as part of your overall SEO strategy takes time. In fact, it might take months just to go from an 18 to a 20. Therefore, try not to feel disheartened.
As long as you’re persistent and focus on quality instead of quantity when it comes to brand, backlink and guest posting opportunities, there’s no reason why your DA score won’t increase eventually.
You’ve got this.
Did you find this DA guide for bloggers useful? Got any more tips in terms of how to improve your DA? Let me know in the comments!