If you run a WordPress site, your top priorities will be to ensure your site appears high on search engine results pages (SERPs). After all, nabbing a top spot on SERPs makes it easier for users to find your website and more likely to click on it. A high search ranking, however, can feel like the holy grail. 

How do you beat out your competitors and rise through the search rankings? There isn’t a single answer, but one important factor that impacts your search ranking is domain authority (DA). 

What is domain authority? How can you improve your WordPress site’s domain authority?

If these are questions you have, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about domain authority. You’ll also discover how to improve yours to boost your search ranking. 

What is Domain Authority?

Domain authority is a metric first developed by Moz but is now used by many SEO tools. The rating helps website administrators predict where their website will appear on SERPs. Your site authority is based on a range of factors that determine how high a site is likely to appear in the search rankings. 

Does domain authority matter?

If you want to appear high on SERPs and drive website traffic, then yes. Achieving the top spot on SERPs gives an average of 28.5% click-through rate (CTR), compared to 15.7% for the second result. 

Domain authority is not an official ranking factor for Google. Use it to improve the overall performance of your website and compare yourself to competitors, rather than as an absolute metric for your search engine performance. That said, if you improve your domain authority, you will, in turn, be ticking boxes required by Google to give you a top spot on SERPs. 

How is domain authority calculated? DA calculators use a variety of factors to assess the DA of any given site. These include:

  • Quantity and quality of backlinks – Links to your website from other websites (known as linking root domains) and the authority of those domains. 
  • Technical ranking factors – These include page speed, internal linking structure, and mobile-friendliness. 
  • SEO – content across the domain and how well optimized it is for search engines. 
  • Social signals – How much the pages in your domain are being shared and interacted with on social media platforms. 

DA calculators collect these metrics and compare your domain with other domains within your niche or industry. Your domain is then given a score out of 100. You might be wondering, what is a good domain authority score?

That depends on the score of your competitors. If your competitors are scoring 50, then you want your DA score to be 55+. 

One final thing to consider before we dive into ways you can improve your DA, you might be wondering what the difference is between Domain Authority and Page Authority. Put simply, your DA is the score for your domain. Page authority, on the other hand, uses the same metrics but scores individual pages. 

6 Ways To Improve Domain Authority

Now that you understand what domain authority is and why it matters, here are some simple tips for improving your WordPress site’s DA. 

1. Increase Social Engagement

If a web page has been liked, shared, and commented on hundreds of times on social media, it’s more likely to get organic links to its website and will get more branded searches (searches for the brand name rather than a product or service), which help it rank highly. 

Using social media to interact with users interested in your content will improve your DA and help drive traffic and improve that search ranking. 

If you’re unsure about how to increase your website’s social engagement, it could be time for you and your team to get some social media training. This will help you understand how social media can be used to improve your WordPress site and give you the tools you need to post likable and shareable content. 

2. Improve Page Speed

If your WordPress site is experiencing poor loading speed, a few factors could be contributing to it. These include:

  • A basic hosting provider.
  • A theme or Content Management System that needs to be optimized.
  • Too many widgets and plugins.
  • Image and video files that are too big. 

Page speed impacts where your content ranks in the search results, which will affect domain authority. Site speed will affect your bounce rate (users leaving your website) too. One report found that 93% of users have left a website because it took too long to load. 

If your pages consistently take more than two or three seconds to load, it might be time to find out why. If widgets, ads, or large images and video files slow your website speed, you may need to remove these. If you want to keep these, it’s time to upgrade your hosting provider.

3. Improve Internal Linking and Backlinks

Internal linking and backlinks are both vital to your domain authority and your search ranking. Internal links are links on your website that link to other pages on your website, helping users navigate the site. Backlinks are links to your website from other sites. 

Improving your internal linking is simple. Ensure that you have do-follow links with relevant anchor texts dispersed across your site. That helps your users and Google’s crawler bots find relevant and useful information about your website. The anchor text for these links should be short (don’t link to pages using entire paragraphs). Don’t stuff your pages with too many links, either. 

Backlinks are less simple to get since it is not your website that’s providing them. Crafting linkable content and writing guest posts (more on both below) are the best ways to get high-quality backlinks. 

4. Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

With mobile users accounting for more than half of all website traffic, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is vital in 2021. Not only will this make the user experience on your website better, but it will also improve your domain authority. 

Improving the mobile-friendliness of your website often comes down to web design. A well-designed website that doesn’t use many pop-ups and redirects will be much easier for mobile users. There are mobile tools you can use to check the appearance of your site on different devices. 

5. Craft Linkable Content

Crafting linkable content is one of the best ways to get backlinks. This means creating content on your website that other websites will want to link to. Some of the best examples of linkable content are:

  • How-to guides and informative web pages. 
  • Product reviews.
  • Long-form blog posts. 
  • Original images, visuals, and infographics.
  • Video content. 

Great content that is SEO optimized will organically generate links. By providing original, useful, and relevant content in your niche or industry, you can generate backlinks, improve your search ranking, and boost your domain authority score. 

6. Run Guest Post Campaigns 

Linkable content encourages other websites to link to yours, but a guest post campaign gives you a say in where backlinks appear. This is important to your domain authority as DA calculators take into account the quality of backlinks as well as the quantity. Backlinks should be from legitimate, authoritative, and reputable websites. 

If you want to run a guest post campaign, here are some steps you can take:

  • Know your goals. Are you trying to drive traffic to specific pages on your website or to build awareness about your brand? Or maybe you just want to increase backlinks and up your domain authority. Whatever the reason, define your goals from the outset. 
  • Find websites to contribute to. Chances are, you won’t be writing articles for the New Yorker or Forbes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find popular, reputable websites to write for. Google your topic keyword phrase and ‘write for us’ or ‘become a contributor’ to find websites in your field that you can write guest posts for. 
  • Choose relevant topics. Choosing a topic that is relevant but interesting is vital. Relevant content makes readers of your guest post more likely to click through to your WordPress site. 

Writing guest posts generates backlinks, but they come with other benefits. They let you build a relationship with another website, provide relevant content that shows users you’re an expert in your field and improve your website’s search ranking. 

Bottom Line

Whether you want to improve your search ranking, optimize your website for users, or compare yourself to your competitors, domain authority is a useful metric for any WordPress site owner. Remember that domain authority predicts success rather than guaranteeing it, but it offers a useful goalpost to measure your website with. 

This guide has offered several useful yet simple tips for improving the domain authority of your WordPress site. Not only will these steps boost your DA score, but they’ll also make your website more user-friendly and help out your search ranking. Good luck!


About the Author

Chris Norton

Founder of insight-led PR agency Prohibition, former University lecturer, author of “Share This Too” and listed in the UK's top 10 PR and social media bloggers.

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