The great DA-bate: What is DA and how do I increase it?

Every single day thousands of websites are created, some will be successes, some will be failures, some will be full of quality content and information, some not.

So the question is why are people so obsessed over DA and ranking charts?

If you like it or not you need to understand that DA and rankings matter, especially for influencers, where PR companies and brands are involved & are looking to work with you. They’re looking for influencers in which Google and Moz recommend and find influential so the higher you rank in charts, the greater volume and quality of work you’ll receive.

What is DA?

Moz, the company behind the ever so stressful ranking metric which measures your DA (or Domain Authority) to help people understand Google’s algorithm updates, based on your authority or credibility on the internet. With Domain Authority being a massively contentious issue amongst the blogging community Moz’s Domain Authority is a way to compare your website’s performance competitively when challenged with other websites, blogs or online publications in your niche.

With Domain Authority a score out of 100, which takes into a plethora of many different SEO factors the higher up the rankings, the greater authority your page will have and the greater visibility it will obtain in Google’s search rankings.

It is actually worth noting that Moz themselves, the creators of this dark cloud and performance indicator have a DA of around 90, whilst Facebook has a DA of 100. I mean if I was ranking myself on my own website for relevance and importance for ranking others, I think I’d pretty much rank myself a strong 100 wouldn’t you agree?

You can check out your own site’s DA on Moz here

How do they work out how to rank you?

There’s a multitude of different factors that are taken into account and usually towards the end of the month Moz updates which of course, sends all bloggers & influencers into huge meltdown as they panic about where their DA will be, will it increase or will it decrease. I’m not going to lie, it’s a horrible couple of days waiting, and whilst sometimes you’re so excited to have risen, your friend’s sites may have dropped meaning you can’t truly celebrate or vice versa.

Like I said there are many SEO factors that are taken into account, however, the key elements which make up the DA score are; the age of the website (although this isn’t a major factor – I know of a 10-year-old site with a DA of only 1), how popular the site is in terms of traffic and length of time on the site, how many backlinks and internal links the site has, MozRank, and MozTrust. The full list of factors is quite difficult to come across which means it’s virtually impossible for you to storm the chart and jump from say a 10 to a 50.

Similarly with ranking, going from 0-10 is relatively easy, from 10-20 is a little more strenuous but still easy, but can take a little while and you’ll notice that it’s a bumpy path. The road from 20-30 is increasingly long and winding and again will be full of disappointments and triumphs. When you get to 30 you’ll strive to hit 50.

This is probably the ranking you’ll start getting frustrated around as 30 onwards is super slow and extremely difficult to climb from. Don’t forget though that Inthefrow has a DA of 45, Tanya Burr has a DA of 45 and Zoella has a DA of 47 (at time of writing), these three are massively influential with millions of page views and visits to their site monthly. So don’t beat yourself up too much.

How to increase DA

By using Mozscape, their own web index to calculate inbound and outbound links and Google, which uses tens of thousands of metrics to determine ranking, it is possible to work these factors to increase your DA.

It is worth noting that while you can’t track every factor that influences DA you can still better yourself on their major factor for ranking. Linkings. As updates occur and algorithm changes both Moz and Google now take into account popularity shares of a link, how many times your link is referenced and how much engagement it has. The more people who link back to your site or share it across social channels the bigger increase you’ll see in your DA.

Whilst you can’t influence their metrics, you can put in the hard work to get authoritative websites to link back to you. You can internally link all relevant content to other pages and posts and you can actively encourage social sharing of your links with high engagements.

The main way to increase your DA is by creating extremely marketable content. With content always being King it’s imperative that you create great quality content to either, inform, entertain or resolve. If your content falls into one of those three categories you’re onto a winning start. It secondly needs to be marketable, so people will want to share it. If your content is valuable and a great use of reader’s time it’s more likely to be shared. The more often it’s shared the greater relevance it will have due to the volume of traffic hitting the page. It’s also more likely to be picked up by a major publisher or PR companies who have a higher DA than yours and will link back to your post. Regardless of your strategy, you must always remember that content is key and should always come first.

The next stage once you create high quality, engaging content is to get your post seen, and then get it linked by a high authority blog or online publication. What I’ve discovered after a lot of research is that many people make the mistake of publishing guest posts on a single site, which drives backlinks from the same domain. Perhaps, personally I think this is a DA flaw as clearly more backlinks to and from a single source makes the connection and the authority stronger? However, this is not the case. The way DA works is that it prefers a diverse range of backlinks from multiple authoritative websites. This helps DA increase significantly.

For those of you who write for the likes of The Huffington Post it’s worth also noting that once your link has been established between your site and a high-quality site, there’s no real gain in terms of DA and backlinks from writing continuously for link building purposes.

Again another really important habit to get into is linking relevant content from your own site to your new posts is a major method used to measure DA, this should not be ignored. This is where I’m going to shamelessly drop a link about Micro vs Macro Influencers. Hey! I’m trying to increase my DA too and you should always practice what you preach. I have been linking between 3 and 4 older posts to each post since the last Moz update so will let you know how it’s going after the next update.

Newly published pages, when linked to older pages which have a higher page authority (another metric to worry about but not as much as DA), these links pass on ‘link juice’ which helps these newer pages rank a little better on Google and it massively increases your overall site’s SEO.

If you notice, sites with high DA constantly link back to previous posts in their articles. These links I must point out should be natural, diverse and not overdone. If you disregard these three points it could see Google punish you! Great linking between your pages is an indicator of a powerful website and this will increase DA.

Have you ever hear of too much of something is not always good? Sometimes too many backlinks spoil the SEO broth. Some online publishers post far too many backlinks in the hope they increase DA. It’s better to have 5 high-quality backlinks than 500 spammy links. It’s also important that you check your links regularly to remove any dead links from sites that are no longer active or have removed the linked page. This too will also help increase DA.

SEO is vital in increasing your DA too, make sure you Noindex archive pages, ensure your site has a sitemap file and that it’s frequently submitted to Google Webmaster tools. It’s also important that you maintain a proper heading hierarchy in your posts, keep headings both bot friendly and reader friendly and optimise your URLs.

Finally, another important discovery is that MOZ favours own self-hosted domain names and not sub-domains such as .wordpress and .blogspot URLS, with domains starting at just 99p it’s really worth investing in not only to help increase DA but to also give a more cohesive brand image and shows your level of seriousness for PR companies contacting you.

For the past 6 years, I’ve owned websites and I have tried different web hosting companies including Blue Host and Fast Hosts, however, I’ve personally found GoDaddy to be the provider which works best for my business needs. They also offer a FREEdomain with 1 month hosting. Hosting prices start at as little as £1.49 per month!

You don’t necessarily have to solely write a blog to be conscious of your DA, anybody who owns a website should be aware of DA scores to help them rank higher on search engine sites.

What’re your thoughts on DA? Are you obsessive about it? Do you have a plan implemented to increase your DA? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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